Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel,
A. M. 2911. B.C. 1093. An. Ex. Is. 398
reigned one year
Heb. the son of one year in his reigning. This verse is variously interpreted; but probably it only means, according to the Hebrew idiom, that, during the first year nothing remarkable occurred; but after two years, (or in the second year of his reign,) the subsequent events took place.
Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent.
Michmash was situated east of Bethaven, or Bethel; and Eusebius says it was in his time a considerable place, about nine miles from Jerusalem, towards Rama.
And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear.
or, the hill.
And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal.
was had in abomination
Heb. did stink.
And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up, and pitched in Michmash, eastward from Bethaven.
thirty thousand chariots
The Philistines had no doubt collected troops in this emergency, from all the surrounding nation; but the number of chariots is immensely large beyond any example, and wholly disproportioned to the number of their cavalry. It is probable, therefore, that for sheloshim aileph, "thirty thousand," we should read shelosh aileph, "three thousand," with the Syriac and Arabic.
as the sand
When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits.
in a strait
And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.
followed him trembling
Heb. trembled after him.
And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.
And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.
And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.
Heb. bless him.
And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;
Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.
made supplication unto
Heb. intreated the face of, etc. I forced.
And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.
Thou hast done
hast not kept
But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.
And Samuel arose, and gat him up from Gilgal unto Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul numbered the people that were present with him, about six hundred men.
The LXX. have, "Samuel arose and went away from Gilgal, and the remainder of the people went up along with the men of war after Samuel from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin." This is probably the true reading; for it does not appear that Samuel went to Gibeah, which was Saul's usual residence; and the Hebrew copyist, as Dr. Wall observes, seems to have missed a line, and added to the sentence concerning Samuel, that which ended the sentence concerning Saul. One MS. instead of Samuel, in the beginning of the sentence, reads Saul.
Heb. found. about six.
And Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people that were present with them, abode in Gibeah of Benjamin: but the Philistines encamped in Michmash.
And the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned unto the way that leadeth to Ophrah, unto the land of Shual:
in three companies
And another company turned the way to Bethhoron: and another company turned to the way of the border that looketh to the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.
Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears:
there was no
It is probable that the Philistines in the former wars had carried away all the smiths from Israel.
Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads.
Heb. a file with mouths. sharpen. Heb. set.
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.
there was neither
And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the passage of Michmash.
or, standing camp.