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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 13

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-23

Saul’s War against the Philistines

1. The age of Saul at his accession has fallen out of the text and also one of the two numbers representing the length of his reign. Our present text is ’Saul was.. years old when he began to reign, and he reigned.. and two years.’ We have no means of recovering the former number. For the latter Keil, with great probability, conjectures 22: see on 2 Samuel 2:10 and Intro. § 9.

2. Michtnash] still retains its ancient name; it is a village 9 m. from Jerusalem, and is just N. of a narrow pass leading to Geba; hence it was a thoroughly well-chosen strategic position; cp 1 Samuel 14:4.

3. And the Philistines.. Hebrews hear] The text is probably corrupt. Driver emends to ’And the Philistines heard saying The Hebrews have revolted,’ and puts ’And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land’ at the beginning of 1 Samuel 13:4.

4. Gilgal] Cornill would read ’Gibeah’ here.

5. Thirty thousand] LXX has ’3,000’; the chariots were less in number than the horsemen; cp. 2 Samuel 10:18; 1 Kings 10:26.

6. The people did hide themselves] The prompt action of the Philistines quite quenched the ardour of the undisciplined peasants with Saul.

8. Saul at Gilgal would be anxious lest the Philistines should seize Geba and the heights. Samuel had appointed] The reference is probably to 1 Samuel 10:8.

9. It is, to say the least, doubtful whether Saul offered the sacrifice with his own hands, or whether he caused it to be offered. At any rate, his offence was not in his offering sacrifice, but in his unwillingness to obey the directions of God and of God’srepresentative, the prophet. It must be admitted that Saul’s position was a difficult one; but this single act was really an index to a weakness in his character: see, however, on 1 Samuel 14:24.

14. After his own heart] David’s actions were by no means all of them the actions of an ideal character; but he is presented in the narratives as maintaining on the whole an attitude towards God very different from that of Saul: cp. 1 Samuel 16:1.

16. Abode in Gibeah] Saul with his reduced numbers was compelled to abandon the other two positions and to concentrate his forces at Gibeah.

17. The spoilers] i.e. bands sent out to ravage the country immediately concerned in the insurrection. This unwise weakening of the Philistine forces gave the Israelites their opportunity. Ophrah] a town in Benjamin.

Shual] Position unknown, as is also that of Zeboim in the next v.

18. Beth-horon] on the border of Benjamin and Ephraim, was on the direct road from Michmash to Philistia.

21. Yet they had, etc.] RM proposes, ’When the edges of the mattocks.. and of the axes were blunt.’ We can hardly imagine that the text as it stands is to be taken literally after the narrative of 13f.

23. To the passage] RV ’unto the pass.’

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 13". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/1-samuel-13.html. 1909.
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