1 Samuel 13:22
So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) There was neither sword nor spear.—These words must not be pressed too literally. The general result of the raids alluded to in 1Samuel 13:16-17 was that in the open valleys of Southern Canaan, especially in the Benjamite territory, the districts whence Saul and Jonathan could most easily recruit their thinned and dispirited forces, there was an absence of arms. This fact is especially dwelt upon, for the Philistines appear to have armed their fighting men to the teeth. (Compare the description of their champion, Goliath, who is described as “clad in armour.”)

But with Saul.—These words probably signify that the companies of regulars, who throughout this disastrous period were always with the king and prince, were—in contrast to the country people around—fully armed. (See allusion, for instance, to Jonathan and his armour-bearer in the next chapter.)

1 Samuel 13:22. There was neither sword nor spear — This, it seems, must be restrained to the six hundred that were with Saul and Jonathan; for there were, no doubt, a considerable number of swords and spears among the Israelites, but they generally hid them, as now they did their persons, from the Philistines. And the Philistines had not yet attained to so great a power over them as wholly to disarm them, but thought it sufficient to prevent the making of new arms, knowing that the old ones would shortly be decayed and useless. There were likewise other arms more common in those times and places than swords and spears; to wit, bows and arrows, and slings and stones. And besides these, people anciently often used clubs, wherewith to beat down their enemies; and, before the invention of spears with iron points, they had sharp stakes hardened in the fire, as many authors inform us.13:15-23 See how politic the Philistines were when they had power; they not only prevented the people of Israel from making weapons of war, but obliged them to depend upon their enemies, even for instruments of husbandry. How impolitic Saul was, who did not, in the beginning of his reign, set himself to redress this. Want of true sense always accompanies want of grace. Sins which appear to us very little, have dangerous consequences. Miserable is a guilty, defenceless nation; much more those who are destitute of the whole armour of God.This seems to be mentioned here, in anticipation of the narrative in the next chapter, to enhance the victory gained, through God's help 1 Samuel 14:23, by the comparatively unarmed Israelites over their enemies. What with occasional skirmishes with the Philistines, the necessity of using their arms for domestic purposes, accidental losses, and the ordinary wear and tear, coupled with the impossibility of renewing their arms from the want of smiths and forges, the people that were with Saul and Jonathan came to be very imperfectly armed. It has been observed, moreover, that the Benjamites were more famous for the use of the sling than for any other weapon Judges 20:16, and this would be an additional cause of the paucity of swords and spears. 21. Yet they had a file—as a kind of privilege, for the purpose of sharpening sundry smaller utensils of husbandry. Quest. How could the Israelites smite either the garrison of the Philistines, above, 1 Samuel 13:3, or the host of the Ammonites, 1 Samuel 11:11, without arms? And when they had conquered them, why did they not take away their arms, and reserve them to their own use?

Answ. 1. This want of swords and spears is not affirmed concerning all Israel, but is restrained unto those six hundred who were with Saul and Jonathan, whom God by his providence might suffer to be without those arms, that the glory of the following victory might be wholly ascribed to God; as for the very same reason God would have but three hundred men left with Gideon, and those armed only with trumpets, and pitchers, and lamps Jud 7. There were no doubt a considerable number of swords and spears among the Israelites, but they generally hid them, as now they did their persons, from the Philistines. And the Philistines had not yet attained to so great a power over them, as wholly to disarm them, but thought it sufficient to prevent the making of new arms, knowing that the old ones would shortly be decayed and useless.

2. There were other arms more common in those times and places than swords and spears, to wit, bows and arrows, and slings and stones; as appears from Judges 20:16 2 Samuel 1:18,22 2 Kings 3:25 1 Chronicles 12:1,2; besides clubs, and instruments of agriculture, which might easily be turned into weapons of war.

3. God so governed the affairs of the Israelites, that they had no great number of swords or spears, Judges 5:8, that so they might be kept in more dependence upon and subjection unto God, wherein their safety and happiness consisted. And therefore that famous victory obtained against the Philistines in Samuel’s days, was not got by the sword of men, but only by thunder from heaven, 1 Samuel 7:10. So it came to pass in the day of battle,.... When that drew near, and they were called to it, and obliged to fight or flee, or surrender:

that there were neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: which was not owing to their leaving them behind in the camp, or casting them away from them through fear, as they followed Saul with trembling, but to the cause now mentioned. In what manner some preceding battles were fought with the Philistines and Ammonites, notwithstanding, have been accounted for on 1 Samuel 13:19, but it is strange that the Israelites did not furnish themselves with the arms of the Philistines at the defeat of them in Ebenezer, 1 Samuel 7:10 and with the arms of the Ammonites at Jabeshgilead, 1 Samuel 11:11 and that such a warlike prince as Saul appeared at his first setting out to be should not in the first place take care to provide armour for his men by some means or another; for that those that left him should have arms, and not those that abode with him, does not seem reasonable. It may be the Benjamites, being expert in slinging, were indifferent to and neglected the use of any other weapon, or method of fighting:

but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found; swords and spears, and with them only.

So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither {n} sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found.

(n) To declare that the victory only came from God, and not by their force.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 22. - There was neither sword, etc. Armed only with clubs and their farming implements, it is no wonder that the people were afraid of fighting the Philistines, who, as we gather from the description of Goliath's armour, were clad in mail; nor is it surprising that they despised and neglected Saul and his few men, whom probably they regarded as an unarmed mob of rustics. The Ammonites probably were far less efficiently armed than the Philistines, who, as commanding the sea coast, could import weapons from Greece. Disarming of Israel by the Philistines. - The following account is no doubt connected with the foregoing, so far as the facts are concerned, inasmuch as Jonathan's brave heroic deed, which brought the Israelites a splendid victory over the Philistines, terminated the war for which Saul had entreated the help of God by his sacrifice at Gilgal; but it is not formally connected with it, so as to form a compact and complete account of the successive stages of the war. On the contrary, the 16th verse, where we have an account of the Israelitish warriors and their enemies, commences a new section of the history, in which the devastating march of the Philistines through the land, and the disarming of the Israelites by these their enemies, are first of all depicted (1 Samuel 13:17-23); and then the victory of the Israelites through Jonathan's daring and heroic courage, notwithstanding their utter prostration, is recorded (1 Samuel 14:1-46), for the purpose of showing how the Lord had miraculously helped His people.

(Note: From this arrangement of the history, according to which the only two points that are minutely described in connection with the war with the Philistines are those which bring out the attitude of the king, whom the nation had desired to deliver it from its foes, towards Jehovah, and the way in which Jehovah acted towards His people, whilst all the rest is passed over, we may explain the absence of any closer connection between 1 Samuel 13:15 and 1 Samuel 13:16, and not from a gap in the text. The lxx, however, adopted the latter supposition, and according to the usual fashion filled up the gap by expanding 1 Samuel 13:15 in the following thoughtless manner: καὶ ἀνέστη Σαμουὴλ καὶ ἀπῆλθεν ἐκ Γαλγάλων· καὶ τὸ κατάλειμμα τοῦ λαοῦ ἀνεβη ὀπίσω Σαοὺλ εἰς ἀπάντησιν ὀπίσω τοῦ λαοῦ τοῦ πολεμιστοῦ· αὐτῶν παραγενομένων ἐκ Γαλγάλων εἰς Γαβαὰ Βενιαμὶν καὶ ἐπεσκέψατο Σαοὺλ, κ.τ.λ. For there is no sense in εἰς ἀπάντησιν ὀπίσω, and the whole thought, that the people who were left went up after Saul to meet the people of war, is unintelligible, since it is not stated whence the people of war had come, who are said to have met with those who had remained behind with Saul, and to have gone up with him from Gilgal to Gibeah. If, however, we overlook this, and assume that when Saul returned from Gilgal to Gibeah a further number of fighting men came to him from different parts of the land, how does this assumption agree with the account which follows, viz., that when Saul mustered the people he found only six hundred men, - a statement which is repeated again in 1 Samuel 14:2? The discrepancy remains even if we adopt Ewald's conjecture (Gesch. iii. 43), that εἰς ἀπάντησιν is a false rendering of לקּרב, "to the conflict." Moreover, even with the Alexandrian filling up, no natural connection is secured between 1 Samuel 13:15 and 1 Samuel 13:16, unless we identify Geba of Benjamin with Gibeah, as the Septuagint and its latest defenders have done, and not only change the participle ישׁבים (1 Samuel 13:16) into the aorist ἐκάθισαν, but interpolate καὶ ἔκλαιον after "at Geba of Benjamin;" whereas the statement of the text "at Geba in Benjamin" is proved to be correct by the simple fact that Jonathan could only attempt or carry out the heroic deed recorded in 1 Samuel 14 from Geba and not from Gibeah; and the alteration of the participle into the aorist is just as arbitrary as the interpolation of καὶ ἔκλαιον. From all this it follows that the Septuagint version has not preserved the original reading, as Ewald and Thenius suppose, but contains nothing more than a mistaken attempt to restore the missing link. It is true the Vulgate contains the same filling up as the Septuagint, but with one alteration, which upsets the assertion made by Thenius, that the repetition of the expression הגּלגּל מן, ἐκ Γαλγάλων, caused the reading contained in the Septuagint to be dropped out of the Hebrew text. For the text of the Vulgate runs as follows: Surrexit autem Samul et ascendit de Galgalis in Gabaa Benjamin. Et reliqui populi ascenderunt post Saul obviam populo, qui expugnabant eos venientes de Galgala in Gabaa in colle Benjamin. Et recensuit Saul, etc. Jerome has therefore rendered the first two clauses of 1 Samuel 13:15 in perfect accordance with the Hebrew text; and the addition which follows is nothing more than a gloss that has found its way into his translation from the Itala, and in which de Galgala in colle Benjamin is still retained, whereas Jerome himself rendered הגּלגּל מן de Galgalis.)

1 Samuel 13:16

The two clauses of this verse are circumstantial clauses: "But Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people that were with him, were sitting, i.e., tarrying, in Geba of Benjamin (the present Jeba; see at 1 Samuel 13:3); and the Philistines had encamped at Michmash." Just as in 1 Samuel 13:2-4 it is not stated when or why Saul went from Michmash or Geba to Gilgal, but this change in his position is merely hinted at indirectly at the close of 1 Samuel 13:4; so here Saul's return from Gilgal to Geba with the fighting men who remained with him is not distinctly mentioned, but simply taken for granted as having already occurred.

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