1 Samuel 13 – “Saul’s Fatal Mistake”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
In response to Saul’s offensive, the Philistines prepare to attack Israel. Saul assembles an army but offers a sacrifice before Samuel arrives. Samuel tells him that he is doomed to lose the monarchy.

II. Photo
The Philistines prepare to attack: “The Philistines, in turn, gathered to attack Israel: 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen, and troops as numerous as the sands of the seashore.” (v. 5a)

III. Important Verses
3: Jonathan struck down the Philistine prefect in Geba; and the Philistines heard about it. Saul had the ram’s horn sounded throughout the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear.”
6-7a: When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble — for the troops were hard pressed — the people hid in caves, among thorns, among rocks, in tunnels, and in cisterns. Some Hebrews crossed the Jordan, to the territory of Gad and Gilead.
11-14: But Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul replied, “I saw the people leaving me and scattering; you had not come at the appointed time, and the Philistines had gathered at Michmas. I thought the Philistines would march down against me at Gilgal before I had entreated the LORD, so I forced myself to present the burnt offering.” Samuel answered Saul, “You acted foolishly in not keeping the commandments that the LORD your God laid upon you! Otherwise the LORD would have established your dynasty over Israel forever. But now your dynasty will not endure. The LORD will seek out a man after His own heart, and the LORD will appoint him ruler over His people, because you did not abide by what the LORD had commanded you.”
19-21: No smith was to be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines were afraid that the Hebrews would make swords or spears. So all the Israelites had to go down to the Philistines to have their plowshares, their mattocks, axes, and colters sharpened. The charge for sharpening was a pim for plowshares, mattocks, three-pronged forks, and axes, and for setting the goads.

IV. Outline
1-2. Saul assembles an army
3. Jonathan defeats the Philistines at Geba
4-5. The Philistines respond and prepare for war
6-7a. Some Israelites flee
7b-9. Samuel is absent and Saul offers a sacrifice
10-14. Samuel predicts Saul’s downfall
15-18. The Philistine military advances
19-22. The Israelites lack metal smiths
23. The Philistine advance

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Klein, Ralph W. “1 Samuel” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 10 (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1983).
McCarter, P. Kyle, Jr. “1 Samuel,” Anchor Bible vol. 8 (New York: Doubleday, 1980).
Photo taken from http://i1.trekearth.com/photos/52130/pict0012_web.jpg