Saul Dies – 1055 B.C. & Aphek

I knew that Saul wouldn’t be cool, messing with the evil spirits.  He should know they can only cause problems.  Besides, he knew that they are Your enemies.

Turkish fort at Aphek/Antipatris.
The site of Antipatris was known as Aphek in Old Testament times. It is the place where the Philistines were encamped when they took the ark of the covenant from the Israelites who had camped at nearby Ebenezer (1 Saml 4:1).

Antipatris was built by Herod the Great and named in honor of his father.

Herod was also a lover of his father, if any other person ever was so; for he made a monument for his father, even that city which he built in the finest plain that was in his kingdom, and which had rivers and trees in abundance, and named it Antipatris.

He also built a wall around a citadel that lay above Jericho, and was a very strong and very fine building, and dedicated it to his mother, and called it Cypros. (Jewish Wars 1:417).

Because Aphek/Antipatris sat on a major south-north and west-east routes, it was dominated by many nations. The dominant feature of the site today is the Turkish fort. Inside are the excavated ruins of buildings from Canaanite to Herodian/Roman times.

David Gathers His Mighty Men

The Philistines gathered to Aphek and the Israelites by a fountain in Jezreel.  The princes of the Philistines asked what the Hebrews were doing there.  And Achish said that was David, the servant of King Saul and he had been with him for years and there was  no reason why he couldn’t be there.

The Philistines then told him to send him back to his homestead because he didn’t trust David to fight with them, thinking he would turn and rebel against them.  He then said, Is not this David, of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands, and David his ten thousands?

“Then Achish called David, and said unto him, Surely, as the LORD liveth, thou hast been upright, and thy going out and thy coming in with me in the host is good in my sight: for I have not found evil in thee since the day of thy coming unto me unto this day: nevertheless the lords favor thee not. 

Wherefore now return, and go in peace, that thou displease not the lords of the Philistines.

And David said unto Achish, But what have I done?  And what hast thou found in thy servant so long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may not go fight against the enemies of my lord the king? 

And Achish answered and said to David, I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God: notwithstanding the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to the battle” (1 Sam 29:6-10).

David was then told to leave in the morning, so they went to the land of the Philistines and the Philistines went to Jezreel.

The Yarkon River at Aphek-Antipatris.
Aphek/Antipatris is known by the modern name Ras el-Ain because it is located at the source of the Yarkon River which flows a few miles into the Mediterranean.

When a plot was raised against Paul while he was in the Fortress of Antonia in Jerusalem, he was sent by night to Antipatris.

The next day he was escorted to Caesarea.

” Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris.

32 On the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the castle:

33 Who, when they came to Caesarea and delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him” (Acts 23:31-33).

From Jerusalem to Antipatris is about 30 miles. From there to Caesarea is an additional 27 miles.

Paul would remain in custody at Caesarea for two years.

“And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;

And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way “(1 Sam 30:1-2).

When David got there he saw that not only the town was burnt and the animals were missing, but his wives, Ahinoam and Abigain, had been captured.  The people wept until they were so distraught they couldn’t weep anymore and talked about stoning David.

“David then told Abiathar to bring him the ephod, and David enquired at God, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop?  Shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all” (1 Sam 30:8).

David and his 600 men went to the brook Besor, and 200 of them stayed because they were so faint to fight.  They found an Egyptian in the field and brought him to David, who fed him and gave him water. 

“And David said him, To whom belongest thou?  And whence art thou?  And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days alone I fell sick. 

We made an invasion upon the south of the Cherethites, and upon the coast which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire.

Located in the Sharon Plain, on the outskirts of Petah Tikva, at the headwaters of the Yarkon River, Aphek was among the earliest (fortified) royal Canaanite cities.

It guarded the Aphek Pass of the Via Maris.

This is the place where the Israelite’s suffered one of the most devastating defeats – the loss of the Ark of the Covenant, to the Philistines.

Paul was taken here on the way to Caesarea, according to the Acts of the Apostles.

And David said to him, Canst thou bring me down to this company?  And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company” (1 Sam 30:13-15).

David and his men arrived to where the Amalekites were eating, drinking, and dancing to celebrate their victories.  And David smote them from that night until the next night, and only 400 men on camels managed to escape the slaughter.

David retrieved all the belongings the Amalekites had taken, as well as everything they had.

David then went back to the brook Besor where the 200 were at.  David was a fair leader and was going to share the spoil with all 600 of his men. Yet, some of the men, the 400, which were seen as wicked or men or Belial, argued that they didn’t deserve any of the spoil.

“Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand. 

From the Chalcolithic Period to the Ottoman Period the place that was previously known as Tell Ras el-‘Ain, and later known as Tel Aphek-Antipatris was continuously inhabited.

Its location was identified based on numerous Biblical, Egyptian, Assyrian, and Roman-Byzantine sources.

The Ark of the Covenant had, on numerous occasions, accompanied the Israelites into battle.

As they prepared for the first major battle against the Philistines, they sent word to Shiloh (east of Eben Ezer), that the ark was needed.

For who will hearken unto you in this matter?  But as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike” (1 Sam 30:23-24).  And the men didn’t argue anymore.

“David also shared some of the spoil to the elders of Judah.  To his friends in Beth-el, Ramoth, Jattir, Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, Rachal, the Jerahmeelites, and the cities of Kenites, he said, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD” (1 Sam 30:26).

“Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. 

And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchi-shua, Saul’s sons. 

And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers.

Then said Saul unto his armor bearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me.  But his armor bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. 

In the battle that ensued, the Israelites suffered great losses.

Reportedly, 30,000 men died.

However, that was not the only tragedy.

The Philistines, took the Ark of the Covenant, the most important symbol of the Jewish faith, to Ahdod and placed it in the temple of their god, Dagon.

The following day, they found the statue of Dagon on the ground, on its face (I Sam 5).

After yet another day, the statue was found decapitated.

The ark was then sent on to Gath and later Ekron. It was finally returned to the Israelites after seven months because of its apparent deadly effect on the inhabitants of any city to which it was sent.

After the return of the ark, it took another twenty years for the Israelites to once more believe in their god.

In the interim they had abandoned their beliefs and had accepted other gods.

And when his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. 

So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor bearer, and all his men, that same day together” (1 Sam 31:1-6).

When the men of Israel on the other side of the valley  and Jordan saw all this they fled from the cities and the Philistines moved into them. 

The next day the Philistines came to strip the dead and found Saul and his three sons so they cut off his head and took his armor. 

They then sent Saul’s head into their land to publish it in the house of idols and put his armor in the house of Ashtartoth the goddess, and fastened Saul and his son’s bodies to the wall of Beth-shan.

“And when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul;

All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there. 

And they took their bones, and buried them” (1 Sam 31:11-13).

Aphek

Aerial view of Aphek/Antipatris
Aphek is mentioned in 1 Sam. 4:1 as the site of the Philistine camp as they prepared for battle against Israel.

This was in the last days of Eli’s tenure as High Priest and Judge of Israel.

In the New Testament this location was known as Antipatris, and is mentioned in Acts 23.

When the Roman commander Claudius Lysias became aware of an assassination plot to kill the Apostle Paul in Jerusalem, he order a military escort of Paul to Caesarea.

This was for Paul’s own protection.

The commander was thorough: two centurions were commanded to prepare 200 soldiers, 200 spearmen, and 70 horsemen.

The Roman militia departed at 9:00 PM (Acts 23:23).

On the way to Caesarea, the governor’s residence, they went through Antipatris:

“Then the soldiers, as they were commanded, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris” (v.31).

The next day the horsemen went on with Paul to his destination, whereas the soldiers returned to the barracks (v.32) at Jerusalem.

In Samuel 29:1 the Philistines used Aphek as a place to muster their troops against Israel.

Previously they had gathered at this same location just before they had routed the army of Israel.

The precise location of Aphek is somewhat problematic because the numerous places that share this or a very similar name.

Aphek is mentioned eight times in the Old Testament(nine if we include the place called Aphekah in Josh 15:53), and the scholarly consensus is that there are four distinct locations so designated:

* Josh 19:29-30 refers to a town within the tribal allotment of Asher.

* 1 Kgs 20:26,30 and 2 Kgs 13:17 speak of a town Aram (Syria), north of Israel.

* Josh 13:4 speaks of another Aphek that most likely served as the northern bor­der of the land of Canaan.

* The fourth Aphek was located in the Sharon plain. This may be the Aphek of Josh 12:18 and is most likely the Aphek of 1 Sam 4 and 29.

Tel Ras el-Ain, northeast of Joppa at the source of the Yarkon River, is assumed to be the modern location for the fourth Aphek.

Its relative proximity to Philistine territory con­firms the likelihood that this is the town in­tended in 1 Sam 29.

This Aphek is attested in Egyptian sources from the 15th century B.C. in a topographical listing of place names (possibly of the cities taken in a military cam­paign or in an itinerary from Thutmose III, as well as in an account of Amenhotep II’s second military campaign® the region.

In 1 Sam 28:4 the Philistine army was encamped at Shunem, near En Dor, the Val­ley of Jezreel and Mount Gilboa (the location of Saul’s death).

It is most likely that the reference to Aphek in chapter 29 indicates that the events of this chapter actually preceded those of 28:3-25.

Aphek would have been a natural staging area for the Philistine push northward to meet the Israelite forces at Jezreel.

In addition to being the most logical reconstruction of Philistine troop movements, such a reading does no violence to the Biblical portrayal of events in chapters 28-31.

The author evidently used a  thematic, rather than a strictly  chronological, arrangement to structure this account.

Saul and the Woman with a Familiar Spirit & Ancient Necromancy

So did King Saul completely give up on killing David?

Necromancy
In the village Messopotamos, a short distance from the beach, you will find the archaeological site of necromancy.

The existence of the oracle is estimated in ancient times, and the major buildings were added in the third and second century B.C. Built on a hill northwest of Lake Acherousian over a cave is an impressive sight.

Here in ancient times was believed to be the Gates of Hades, the entrance of the souls of the dead to the underworld.

The famous oracle accepted each year large crowds of pilgrims.

Through a mystical process that lasted several days, they thought that they could communicate with the souls of the dead and learn what they had requested.

“And it came to pass in those days, that the Philistines gathered their armies together for warfare, to fight with Israel.  And Achish said unto David, Know thou assuredly, that thou shalt go out with me to battle, thou and thy men. 

And David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head forever” (1 Sam 28:1-2).

The Philistines pitched in Shunem and Saul in Gilboa.

“And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. 

And when Saul enquired of the LORD, 1 the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets” (1 Sam 28:5-6).

After Samuel died, Saul got rid of all the 2 familiar spirits and wizards.  But now he wanted one so he told his servants to find him a woman that had a familiar spirit.  His men told him there was one in En-dor, so Saul disguised himself and took two men with him.

“And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? 

And Saul swore to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. 

Lake Acherousia
In antiquity, the confluence of the rivers Acheron, Kokytos and Vovou, formed the lake Acherousia.

The lake covered the area between the villages Kastri, Acherousia, Kanalaki, Chohla and Mesopotamia.

According to the ancient Greeks, the boat was carrying the souls of the dead to Hades, with the boatman Charon starting from Oracle and headed towards the depths of the lake, where there were the so-called “Gates of Hell.”

Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee?  And he said, Bring me up Samuel.

And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me?  For thou art Saul. 

And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.

And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. 

And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?  And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.

Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? 

And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbor, even to David: 

Efyra
At the junction of the Acheron and its tributary Kokytos flourished in the 5th and 6th centuries. BC Efyra the ancient city, which was known by the necromancy of building of the 5th century. B.C.

Visitors flocked from all over the known world in this unique oracle, where they could stay after an initiation process and to communicate with the dead.

Today, the remains of distinguished rooms, corridors, the central underground chamber, pots etc.

It is the oldest city of the continent and you will find it 500 meters from the Oracle.

It was built in 13-14 century B.C. by Mycenaean colonists and was an important trading center since the days of Homer.

Often referred to the Odyssey and other tales.

Today only parts of the outer wall and two tombs from the Iron Age are saved.

The city was destroyed by the Romans in 167 B.C., like other 69 cities in Epirus.

Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day.

Pandosia (Ancient Greek: Πανδοσία) was an ancient Greek city of Epirus. Together with the other Elean colonies Bucheta and Elatea it was a city of the Cassopaeans, who were a sub-tribe of the Thesprotians. It was located south of the river Acheron.

History
Very little is known about its history, save that Pandosia and its neighbours Bucheta and Elatea were conquered by Philip of Macedon. He transferred the cities to the possession of Alexander I of Epirus.

Alexander was allegedly warned by an oracle to beware of Pandosia and the Acheron river. When he left Epirus for a military campaign on the Italian Peninsula he thought himself to be safe, far away from the two places. He did not realize there was also a city called Pandosia and identically named river in Bruttium until it was too late. He was killed there during the Battle of Pandosia.

Archaeology
In 1994, archaeological surveys were started on small number of fortified town sites in Southern Epirus. The modern village Kastri is most frequently identified as the site of the ancient city. The ruins of an acropolis can be seen on a hill near Kastri.

This site 33 hectares (82 acres) occupies and was investigated with an archaeological survey in 1994. Over 85,000 artifacts were uncovered, more than 15,000 pottery sherds and more than 70,000 tile and brick fragments.

A definitive identification of this site as Pandosia has not been possible however, because Strabo described the city as situated to the south of the Acheron, but Kastri is just north of the river. This uncertainty has led to the suggestion that it might have been located much further inland at Gourana. Alternatively, the Acheron river might have changed its course over time to the south of the city.

Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines. 

Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.

And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, Behold, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my life in my hand, and have hearkened unto thy words which thou spakest unto me. 

Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee; and eat, that thou mayest have strength, when thou goest on thy way.

But he refused, and said, I will not eat. But his servants, together with the woman, compelled him; and he hearkened unto their voice. So he arose from the earth, and sat upon the bed. 

And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof:

And she brought it before Saul, and before his servants; and they did eat. Then they rose up, and went away that night” (1 Sam 28:9-25).

1 God will not answer prayers that come from evil people. 

Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. 

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear (Is 59:1-2).

Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: He will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings (Mic 3:4).

2 Why Saul got rid of the familiar spirits and wizards is unknown, since he still chose to use them.  He may have thought by doing that God would forgive him because participating with evil spirits is a sin. 

The Chinese shaman tomb and its contents from 2,800 years ago. Almost 800 grams of cannabis was found inside the tomb.
Magic in the Greco-Roman world

Early necromancy was related to – and most likely evolved from – shamanism, which calls upon spirits such as the ghosts of ancestors.

Classical necromancers addressed the dead in “a mixture of high-pitch squeaking and low droning”, comparable to the trance-state mutterings of shamans.

Necromancy was prevalent throughout Western antiquity with records of its practice in Babylon, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

In his Geographica, Strabo refers to νεκρομαντία (necyomanteis), or “diviners by the dead”, as the foremost practitioners of divination among the people of Persia, and it is believed to have also been widespread among the peoples of Chaldea (particularly the Sabians, or “star-worshipers”), Etruria, and Babylonia.

The Babylonian necromancers were called manzazuu or sha’etemmu, and the spirits they raised were called etemmu.

The oldest literary account of necromancy is found in Homer’s Odyssey.

Under the direction of Circe, a powerful sorceress, Odysseus travels to the underworld (katabasis) in order to gain insight about his impending voyage home by raising the spirits of the dead through the use of spells which Circe has taught him.

He wishes to invoke and question the shade of Tiresias in particular; however, he is unable to summon the seer’s spirit without the assistance of others.

The Odyssey’s passages contain many descriptive references to necromantic rituals: rites must be performed around a pit with fire during nocturnal hours, and Odysseus has to follow a specific recipe, which includes the blood of sacrificial animals, to concoct a libation for the ghosts to drink while he recites prayers to both the ghosts and gods of the underworld.

 There shall not be found among you anyone that maketh is son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times,

Or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 

For all that do these things are abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee (Deut 18:10-12).

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.  Because thou has rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee form being king (1 Sam 15:23).

Necromancy/Satan’s Heaven
The picture shows John Dee and Edward Kelley practicing Necromancy by Ebenezer Sibly (1806).<br />

The blackest of all the black arts is undoubtedly necromancy, the ancient method of communication with the dead.

The art of raising the dead and controlling their spirits takes its name from Greek words meaning “dead” and “divination”.

Necromancy can be divided into two main branches:

Divination by means of ghosts, and divination from corpses.

The second method leads to the disinterment of corpses and rifling of graves for grisly charms which magicians and witches consider necessary for the effective performance of the magical arts.

Necromancy is a universal practice of great antiquity, only the profoundly initiated, brave and single-minded magician has any chance of success in such a venture, always considered to be extremely dangerous, for not only is a pact with the Devil necessary, but it is thought that the “astral corpse” has an intense desire to live again and could, by absorbing life-energy from living creatures, prolong its life indefinitely, thus, unless he has taken adequate precautions, the magician might be in great danger.

To evoke the dead the magician needs to obtain the help of powerful spirits, both for his own protection and to compel the corpse or ghost to submit to his will.

A spell from ancient Greece calls upon the powers of the mighty Kore, Persephone, Ereshkigal, Adonis, Hermes and Thoth, to bind the dead.

According to a ritual described by Seneca, the Roman dramatist, the summoning of the dead involves not only a burnt sacrifice but a blood-drenched altar.

Scent and odors must be carefully produced from burning substances for their powerful influences.

Elaborate preparations include careful study of the positions of the planets, and especially of the moon and the influence of Saturn.

The site for the operation has to be chosen with care, the most favorable is some lonely crossroads, a vault, a ruin, an unfrequented forest, or a blasted heath.

Once a time is decided upon for the operation, a series of concentric circles of power must be drawn on the grounds within which are inscribed crosses and other symbols, together with holy names of God.

I have never practiced this so I don’t know if the above information is correct or not, other than you would need the devil’s assistance.

But call all the supposed holy names of God that you like, He won’t help you, but He will send you to hell.

The circle must be blessed and consecrated, with the magician and his assistant standing at its center, protected by the holy names from all danger.

Then, wand in hand, the magician summons the dead to rise, using names of power.

Eliphas Levi and other magicians have suggested the need for some attempt at identification between the living and the dead, as for example the presence of a portrait, and a portion of bread which the ghost would be invited to consume.

In his evocation, the magician summons the dead by name and, if he is successful, he has to face the frightening ordeal of a phantom screaming and gibbering with rage at having been compelled against its will to return to the realms of the living.

Samuel was not happy when Saul summoned him (1 Sam 28:15).

Now the work of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.  Of the which I tell you before, as I have last told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal 5:19-21).

Ancient Necromancy

Necromancy, the practice of divination through inquiring of the dead, was forbidden under Biblical law (Lev 19:31; 20:6).

Saul himself had banned this activity from the land and yet, in his desperation to receive some instruction regarding the future, he himself turned to a necromancer.

Such attempts to communicate with the dead are known throughout the ancient Near East.

Mesopotamia provides a few examples of the most famous of which is the Sumerian story of “Gilgamesh, Enkidu and the Netherworld,” in which Nergal summons the ghost of Enkidu to rise from a hole in the ground in order that he might speak to Gilgamesh.

Other Mesopotamian examples attest to necromancers (both male and female) using skulls to house the spirits while they were being questioned.

In Egypt, letters were written to the dead, most likely for purposes of necromancy.

In 1 Sam 28:13, when the necroman­cer sees Samuel she asserts that she is seeing a “divine being” or “gods” (elohim in Hebrew).

This use of elohim to refer to a ghost is unique in the Bible and has given rise to numerous historical and theological questions.

Is this an indication that the dead were deified in ancient Israel and could be sought out in order to provide an oracle?

Other surround­ing cultures had ceremonies to honor the dead in cultic fashion; in Mesopotamia such a ceremony was called the kispu ritual.

The cities of Mari and Ugarit also practiced food offerings and libations for the dead.

Laws against such activities in the Bible (Lev 19:31, 20:27; Deut 18:9-14) suggest that a similar prac­tice was well known, though forbidden, in Israel.

Saul’s willingness to contravene his own decree and God’s law and engage in the heterodox practice of divining the dead demonstrates the desperation and degradation to which his unfaithfulness had brought him.

David Spares Saul a Second Time & The Kenites

You fired Saul from being king, but I guess he stays king until he dies.  Is David going to kill him later, or what’s going on? 

The Serpent Seed and the Kenites
The Serpent Seed doctrine is the teaching that in the Garden of Eden, the serpent (the devil) had sexual relations with Eve.

The result was that she bore Cain.
The descendants of Cain are called Kenites. Abel, however, is the result of Adam and Eve having relations.

According to Arnold Murray, the pastor of the Shepherd’s Chapel, “We must continue to teach who the Kenites are.”

Eventually, the Kenites permeated the nation of Israel and are the ones who shouted “Crucify Him,” in reference to Jesus.

This is true if Sadducees were Kenites.
When God found out what Eve had done He had said,
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen 3:15).

Murray says God was speaking to the devil. I have to agree with that because the only other male there was Satan,
Murray says that the Kenites survived the flood and are found in the lineage of Israel, not Judah.

Nobody survived the flood accept for Noah and his family, and of course the Olive Trees.

Besides that, the Kenites are not mentioned until Gen 15:19, 11 chapters after the flood.
In regard to Murray, anything he says I take as a grain of salt, or maybe a half a grain.

The late Arnold Murray (1929) and the very late Charles Darwin (1882) are a lot of like.
They both come up with an idea and do their best to promote it, but they don’t have valid proof of it being true.

They have superstantial evidence only, but no absolute facts.
Therefore, unless there are others that coincide with them and are bringing proven facts to the table take they’re words for what they are, just words.

Most things that Murray preached, like the Catholics, Mormons, Christian Science, and the New Age preach are in defiance of God.

Yet, the Serpent Seed, even though it cannot be proven to be true, can’t be proven to be wrong.
In regard to the Serpent Seed, I stand neutral in my opinion because the pros and cons of the doctrine have equal weight.

Yet, if I had to choose I would agree with it because there is nothing in regard to God and the devil that is not possible.

Satan is a rapist, a child molester, a homosexual, a murderer and anything else disgusting if it is against God.

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.
When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (Jn 8:44).
But the devil is also a little sissy girl, he goes around screeching as though he caught his boyfriend with another man.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet 5:8).

“And the Ziphites came unto Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon? 

Then Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph” (1 Sam 26:1-2).

Saul pitched his tent in the hill of Hachilaw, which is before Jeshimon, and David was in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul was after him again and he sent out spies.

At night, David and his men went  to where Saul was.  Saul was sleeping within the trench, with his men surrounding him.  David and Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, went down to the camp.   Saul had his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster.

“Then said Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time. 

And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD’S anointed, and be guiltless? 

…As the LORD liveth, the LORD shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish. 

The LORD forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the LORD’S anointed: but, I pray thee, take thou now the spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go” (1 Sam 26:8-11).

After they took the spear and the cruse they left.  David then went to the other side and stood on the top of hill quite a ways apart.  He then shouted out and

“…then Abner responded with, Who art thou that criest to the king?

And David said to Abner, Art not thou a valiant man?  And who is like to thee in Israel?  Wherefore then hast thou not kept thy lord the king?  For there came one of the people in to destroy the king thy lord. 

This thing is not good that thou hast done. As the LORD liveth, ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master, the LORD’S anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his bolster” (1 Sam 26:14-16).

Saul woke up and he knew David’s voice and said,

“Is this thy voice, my son David?  And David said, It is my voice, my lord, O king. 

And he said, Wherefore doth my lord thus pursue after his servant?  For what have I done?  Or what evil is in mine hand? 

Now therefore, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the LORD have stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering: but if they be the children of men, cursed be they before the LORD; for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the LORD, saying, Go, serve other gods. 

Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains.

Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly. 

And David answered and said, Behold the king’s spear!  And let one of the young men come over and fetch it. 

The LORD render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: for the LORD delivered thee into my hand today, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the LORD’S anointed. 

And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the LORD, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation.

Then Saul said to David, Blessed be thou, my son David: thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place” (1 Sam 26:17-25).

Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, slays the Canaanite general Sisera.
The Kenites were a nomadic tribe of the ancient Levant, many of whom became affiliated with the Israelites.

The Kenites are described as showing kindness to the Israelites during the Exodus and later settling among them in the tribal areas of Judah and Naphtali after the conquest of Canaan.

They intermarried with the Israelites and are depicted in the biblical narratives as supporting Israel in its fight against the Canaanites and Amalekites.

Among the well-known Kenites were Jethro, the “priest of Midian,” and his daughter Zipporah, who became the wife of Moses and mother of his two sons.

The biblical heroine Jael, who slew the Canaanite general Sisera after the battle of Mount Tabor, was the wife of Heber the Kenite.

Modern scholars believe the Kenites were shepherds and metalworkers, who may have shared some of their vital technological knowledge with the Israelites.

For the most part, they seem to have assimilated into the Israelite population, although the Rechabites, a Kenite clan, maintained a distinct nomadic lifestyle until at least the time of Jeremiah.

According to one theory, the Hebrew God Yahweh was originally a tribal god of the Kenites and was later identified by the Israelites with the God of Abraham, whom he knew as “El Shaddai.”

The Kenites are the Jews, but as you can see there are a few, very few, that are not bad.

“And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand” (1 Sam 27:1).

David, his two wives, and his 600 men went to Achish, the son of Macoch, king of Gath.

Saul was told that David was in Gath, but Saul chose not to chase after him.

David asked the king for a place to live in a small town in the country and the king gave him the place known as Ziklag.  This was Philistine country, and David lived there for 16 months.

David and his men then went and invaded the Geshurites, the Gezrites, and the Amalekites, conquering them as far as Egypt.

“And Achish said, Whither have ye made a road to day? And David said, Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites.

And David saved neither man nor woman alive, to bring tidings to Gath, saying, Lest they should tell on us, saying, So did David, and so will be his manner all the while he dwelleth in the country of the Philistines. 

And Achish believed David, saying, He hath made his people Israel utterly to abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant forever” (1 Sam 27:10-12).

The Kenites

The Kenites are listed among the nations of the land promised to Abraham (Gen 15:19-21).

The root of “Kenite” (“smith”) may indicate a connection to metalworking activities.

The Kenites were generally located in the southeastern regions of Israel.

However, being pastoral nomads, some Ken­ites could be found as far north as the Jezreel Valley (Jdg 4:11, 17) or as far south as the Sinai region (Ex 3:1; Jdg 1:16).

A postexilic source indicates that several Kenite house­holds took on the scribal profession as well (1 Chr 2:55).

The Kenites kinship to Moses through his Midianite father-in-law (Jdg 1:16) appears to have set a positive tone in Israelite-Kenite relations.

During the judges period Jael’s loyalty and her “nailing” of Sisera were cele­brated in the Song of Deborah (Jdg 5:24-274:17-22).

The Kenites apparently avoided direct involvement in the conflicts between Israel and Midian (Num 31; Jdg 6-7), although Balaam briefly mentioned them in a judg­ment orade (Num 24:21-22).

The bond remained strong during the united mon­archy, when both Saul and David went out of their way to spare the Kenites when attack­ing the Amalekites.

Attesting to their fluid connections, some Kenite families were also included in the Recabite family tree (1 Chr 2:55).

Samuel Dies & The Ekron Inscription of Akhayus

So David will be the new king.  Does Saul have to die before David becomes king?  How does Saul die, do You kill him? 

Tel-Miqne
The biblical city of Ekron is now identified with Tel Miqne (Khirbat al-Muqannaʾ), a large fortified mound (75 acres), situated 22 mi. southwest of Jerusalem on the frontier zone that once separated Philistia from Judah.

Apart from ceramic finds from the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Ages, the earliest remains of a settlement at the site date from the Middle Bronze Age (MB II), including monumental platforms – the base of a fortifications rampart, and intramural burials.

The Late Bronze Age settlement was apparently unfortified and restricted to the ten acres of the northeast acropolis/upper city, while the lower city was abandoned.

Finds attest to links with Cyprus, the Aegean, and Anatolia, on the one hand, and Egypt, on the other.

The final LB stratum was destroyed by fire.

Ekron saw a process of re-urbanization during the Iron Age I with the founding of the first Sea Peoples/Philistine city in the second quarter of the 12th century B.C.

This fortified urban center, encompassing upper and lower cities, was characterized by a new material culture with Aegean affinities, including megaron-type buildings and local versions of Mycenaean wares.

The Iron Age I city was destroyed in the first quarter of the tenth century B.C., either by the Egyptians (at the time of Pharaoh Siamun) or by the Israelites.

The Iron Age IIA–B city (10th–8th centuries B.C.) was limited to the northeast acropolis/upper city.

Following the Assyrian conquest in 701 B.C., when Ekron became an Assyrian vassal city-state, the city once again expanded encompassing the lower and upper cities and a new area of 25 acres to the north of the site.

During the Iron Age II period, when the Aegean affinities of the Philistine material culture had ceased to exist, the Philistines themselves did not disappear but underwent a process of acculturation.

Nevertheless, throughout this period the Philistines were able to maintain their ethnic identity.

Excavations have shown that in the seventh century B.C. Ekron achieved its zenith of economic growth, with the largest industrial center for the mass production of olive oil yet known from antiquity.

Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshing floors. 

Therefore David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah.

And David’s men said unto him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more than if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines? 

Then David enquired of the LORD yet again.  And the LORD answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand (1 Sam 23:1-4).

David and his men went to Keilah, slaughtered the Philistines and walked away with their cattle, so the people of Keilah were saved.

Saul was told that Abiathar had taken a ephod to David in Keilah, and he was happy because he thought, God hath delivered him into mine hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars (1 Sam 23:7).

Saul gathered his army to go down and destroy David.  But David knew that Saul would be coming so he told Abiathar to bring him the ephod.

Then said David, O LORD God of Israel, thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake. 

Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand?  Will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard?  O LORD God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant.  And the LORD said, He will come down.

Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?  And the LORD said, They will deliver thee up (1 Sam 23:10-12). 

David’s Ziklag
David, while fleeing from King Saul, joined the Philistines, ancient Israel’s bitter enemies.

With 600 men (and their families), David presented himself to Achish, king of the Philistine city of Gath, and asked for asylum.

Achish gave David the town of Ziklag, and David lived there a year and four months (1 Sam 27:1–7).

With Ziklag as his base, David raided the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites, who, we are told, inhabited the region of Olam (or Telem) on the way to Shur and on to the land of Egypt (1 Sam 27:8).

When David reported his raids, he told Achish that he had raided several Negev regions, including the Negev of Judah, belonging to his own people, but in fact David studiously avoided any attack on his own people (1 Sam 27:9–11).

The Philistines must have hated King Saul a lot because remember David had killed and beheaded Goliath who had been a Philistine.

David and his 600 men took off and stayed on a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph.  Saul had found out that David had left and he searched for him, but God wouldn’t let him find him.

Jonathan found David, which strengthened David’s faith in God, especially when he said,

…Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth. 

And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house (1 Sam 23:17-18).

The Ziphites came to Saul and suggested that David was hiding in the hill of Hachilaw, south of Jeshimon.  And they told him that if he would be look kindly upon them they would hand David over to him.

And Saul said, Blessed be ye of the LORD; for ye have compassion on me. 

Go, I pray you, prepare yet, and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who hath seen him there: for it is told me that he dealeth very subtly. 

See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hideth himself, and come ye again to me with the certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Judah.

And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon. 

Saul also and his men went to seek him. And they told David: wherefore he came down into a rock, and abode in the wilderness of Maon.  And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon.

And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them. 

But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land. 

Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Selahammahlekoth. 

And David went up from thence, and dwelt in strong holds at En-gedi (1 Sam 23:21-29).

After Saul was done with the Philistines he was told that David had travelled to En-gedi and hid in the rocky area where the goats lived.  He then took 3,000 men to find David, who was hiding out.

Saul found a cave and entered it and David and his men were there, but he didn’t see them.  And David’s men said to him,

And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily. 

Philistine Temple, Ekron. 7th century B.C.
The Philistines were the chief adversary of Biblical Israel in the 12th and 11th centuries B.C.

They were also the conquerors of the Canaanite cities of the southern coastal plain.

At the beginning of the first millennium B.C., however, the Philistine cities were destroyed and the Philistines themselves seem to have become a casualty of history, as they apparently disappeared from the archaeological and historical record.

This was the conclusion of most historians and archaeologists—until we began to excavate the Philistine site of Tel Miqne (Biblical Ekron), on the border of the Israelite hill country, 22 miles southwest of Jerusalem.

Israeli archaeologist The excavation produced dramatic new evidence that has radically altered our understanding of Philistine history.

What were regarded as the distinctive features of Philistine culture, indeed, did disappear.

As the archaeological evidence piled up, however, it became clear that the Philistines continued to exist, although they had adopted features of other cultures.

However—and this is the important point—they also retained their ethnic identity as Philistines, only to be obliterated in the path of the Babylonian assaults of the late 7th century and early 6th century B.C.

Those assaults also destroyed Jerusalem, burned the Temple and put an end to the state of Judah and the 400-year dynasty founded by King David.

And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt (1 Sam 23:4-5).

David responded with, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD’S anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD (1 Sam 24:6). 

So David’s men didn’t do anything.  Saul then walked out of the cave and David went out also and shouted to Saul, My lord the king.  And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself (1 Sam 24:8).

David then told Saul that God had delivered him to David, but he chose not to kill him because he was the anointed one.  To prove to Saul that he could have killed him he showed him the skirt of his robe that he had cut off.  David went on to say that he would not sin against him or against God.  That he isn’t the evil one.

As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee. 

After whom is the king of Israel come out?  After whom dost thou pursue?  After a dead dog, after a flea. 

The LORD therefore be Judge, and Judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.

And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David?  And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. 

And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil. 

And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the LORD had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not.

For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away?  Wherefore the LORD reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day. 

And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand. 

Swear now therefore unto me by the LORD, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father’s house. 

And David swore unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the hold (1 Sam 24:13-22).

The Ekron Inscription of Akhayu

Sometimes evidence from proper names (onomastic evidence) helps us to reconstruct the history and racial identity of a people.

Philistine Beer Jug decorated with typical pattern: fish and ducks, c. 12th c. B.C., Ashdod Excavations.

In 1996 a dedicatory inscription was discovered in a Philistine temple at Ekron, reading in part:

“The temple that Achish, son of Padi,… ruler of Ekron, built for PTGYH.”

Although PTGYH’s identity is de­bated, Achish and Padi are known from As­syrian records as kings of Ekron.

Achish appears by the name Ikaiisu in Ashurbanipal’s annals from the early 70th century B.C.

But both appear to derive from a previous form of the name, Akhayus, which is similar to the Greek term Achaios (Achaean).

The Achaeans were one of the archaic Greek peoples. ln short, widespread evidence sug­gests that the Philistines were related to the Greeks.

According to 1 Sam 21:11-16,27:1-29:9 and 1 Kgs 2:39—40, the ruler(s) of Gath were named Achish from the time of Saul to the days of Solomon (10th – 9th centuries B.C.).

Ekron Inscription
An inscription carved into a limestone slab found at Tel Miqne, 23 miles southwest of Jerusalem, confirms the identification of the site as Ekron, one of the five Philistine capital cities mentioned in the Bible.

The inscription is unique because it contains the name of a biblical city and five of its rulers, two of whom are mentioned as kings in texts other than the Bible.

The only such inscription found in situ in a securely defined, datable archaeological context, it has far-reaching implications for our understanding of the history of Ekron and Philistia.

The inscription was found in the Babylonian destruction debris of a 186-by-124-foot structure, known as Temple Complex 650, in the elite zone on the site’s lower tel.

Consisting of 72 letters in five lines, it reads:

“The temple which he built, ‘kys (Achish, Ikausu) son of Padi, son of Ysd, son of Ada, son of Ya’ir, ruler of Ekron, for Ptgyh his lady. May she bless him, and protect him, and prolong his days, and bless his land.”

The inscription records the dedication of the temple by Ikausu, son of Padi, both of whom Assyrian records refer to as kings of Ekron.

Padi is mentioned in annals of Sennacherib in the context of the Assyrian king’s 701 B.C. campaign.

The kings Ysd, Ada, and Ya’ir, forefathers of Ikausu in the inscription, are otherwise unknown.

The name Ikausu is interesting in that it is the only non-Semitic name among those of the 8th and 7th century Philistine kings mentioned in the Assyrian records.

It may be related to the word Achaean, meaning Greek.

Similarly, an 8th century Philistine ruler of Ashdod used the nickname Yamani, which seems to be a cor­ruption of the word Ionian (another Greek peopie).

Thus it appears that various Philistine rulers used their Greek ethnic identity as a title for themselves.

This conclusion is supported by their material culture in the 12th century B.C., which is Achaean.

This evidence also fits well with the assertions of Jer 47:4, Amos 9:7 and Zeph 2:4-6 that the Philistines were Kerethites (hailing from Crete [aka Caphtor]) who came to Canaan along with the Greek Sea Peoples.

David’s Wanderings and Adventures & Herem, Holy War

Now I see why You were sorry that You had anointed Saul to be king. 

Will he and people like him go to Hell?

Statuary David receives sacral bread from the priest Ahimelech in Ceremoniall Hall in Hradisko Monastery in Olomouc (Czech Republic). Winterhalder in 1734.

Ahimelech the son of Ahitub and father of Abiathar (1 Sam. 22:20-23), described in 2 Sam. 8:17 as the son of Abiathar and in four places in 1 Chr.

He descended from Aaron’s son Ithamar and the high priest Eli. In 1 Chr. 18:16 his name is Abimelech according to the Masoretic Text, and is probably the same as Ahiah (1 Sam. 14:3, 18).

He was the twelfth High Priest, and officiated at Nob, where he was visited by David (to whom and his companions he gave five loaves of the showbread) when David fled from Saul (1 Sam. 21:1-9).

He was summoned into Saul’s presence, and accused, on the information of Doeg the Edomite, of disloyalty because of his kindness to David; whereupon the king commanded that he, with the other priests who stood beside him, 86 in all, should be slain with his family.

This sentence was carried into execution by Doeg in the most cruel manner (1 Sam. 22:9-23).

Possibly Abiathar had a son also called Ahimelech, or the two names, as some think, may have been accidentally transposed in 2 Sam. 8:17; 1 Chr. 18:16.

“Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshing floors. 

Therefore David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah.

And David’s men said unto him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more than if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines? 

Then David enquired of the LORD yet again.  And the LORD answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand” (1 Sam 23:1-4).

David and his men went to Keilah, slaughtered the Philistines and walked away with their cattle, so the people of Keilah were saved.

“Saul was told that Abiathar had taken a ephod to David in Keilah, and he was happy because he thought, God hath delivered him into mine hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars” (1 Sam 23:7).

Saul gathered his army to go down and destroy David.  But David knew that Saul would be coming so he told Abiathar to bring him the ephod.

“Then said David, O LORD God of Israel, thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake. 

Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand?  Will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard?  O LORD God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant.  And the LORD said, He will come down.

Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?  And the LORD said, They will deliver thee up” (1 Sam 23:10-12). 

David and his 600 men took off and stayed on a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph.  Saul had found out that David had left and he searched for him, but God wouldn’t let him find him.

“Jonathan found David, which strengthened David’s faith in God, especially when he said, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth.

And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house” (1 Sam 23:17-18).

Nob
An ancient priestly town to which David came on his way South when he fled from Saul at Gibeah (1 Sam 21:1).

Here he found refuge and succor with Ahimelech.

This was observed by Doeg the Edomite, who informed the king, and afterward became the instrument of Saul’s savage vengeance on the priests, and on all the inhabitants of the city (1 Sam 22).

The name occurs in Neh 11:32 in a list of cities, immediately after Anathoth.

In Isaiah’s ideal account of the Assyrians’ march against Jerusalem, Nob is clearly placed South of Anathoth.

Here, says the prophet, the Assyrian shall shake his hand at the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.

It was a place, therefore, from which the Holy City and the temple were clearly visible.

The Ziphites came to Saul and suggested that David was hiding in the hill of Hachilaw, south of Jeshimon.  And they told him that if he would be look kindly upon them they would hand David over to him.

“And Saul said, Blessed be ye of the LORD; for ye have compassion on me. 

Go, I pray you, prepare yet, and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who hath seen him there: for it is told me that he dealeth very subtly. 

See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hideth himself, and come ye again to me with the certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Judah.

And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon. 

Saul also and his men went to seek him. And they told David: wherefore he came down into a rock, and abode in the wilderness of Maon.  And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon.

And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them. 

But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land. 

The Cave of Adullam was originally a stronghold referred to in the Old Testament, near the town of Adullam, in which David, already anointed to succeed Saul as king, sought refuge from the latter.

The word “cave” is usually used but “fortress”, which has a similar appearance in writing, is used as well.

Given that this was a bandits’ hideout, it would be reasonable to describe this as a fortified cave.

During this period, David passed up several opportunities to kill Saul, who in turn was attempting to kill his young rival, whose followers believed had been chosen by God to succeed King Saul.

David refused to fight unfairly, for instance by killing the bellicose Saul in his sleep.

According to the Old Testament God honored David’s high ethical standards, and soon King David and his Mighty Men who had once hidden in the Cave of Adullam, were renowned throughout Israel for their deeds of valor.

The term “Cave of Adullam” has been used by political commentators referring to any small group remote from power but planning to return.

Thus in Walter Scott’s 1814 novel Waverley when the Jacobite rising of 1745 marches south through England, the Jacobite Baron of Bradwardine welcomes scanty recruits while remarking that they closely resemble David’s followers at the Cave of Adullam; “videlicet, every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented.”

Remains of a Biblical city, located south of the valley of Elah.

This was the home village of the wives of Judah, the hiding place of future king David, and a city fortified by King Rehobam.

Remains of a Biblical city, located south of the valley of Elah.

This was the home village of the wives of Judah, the hiding place of future king David, and a city fortified by King Rehobam.

Wherefore Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Selahammahlekoth. 

And David went up from thence, and dwelt in strong holds at En-gedi” (1 Sam 23:21-29).

After Saul was done with the Philistines he was told that David had travelled to En-gedi and hid in the rocky area where the goats lived.  He then took 3,000 men to find David, who was hiding out.

Saul found a cave and entered it and David and his men were there, but he didn’t see them.  And David’s men said to him,

“And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily. 

And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt” (1 Sam 23:4-5).

“David responded with, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD’S anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD” (1 Sam 24:6). 

So David’s men didn’t do anything.  Saul then walked out of the cave and David went out also and shouted to Saul, My lord the king.  And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself “(1 Sam 24:8).

David then told Saul that God had delivered him to David, but he chose not to kill him because he was the anointed one.  To prove to Saul that he could have killed him he showed him the skirt of his robe that he had cut off.  David went on to say that he would not sin against him or against God.  That he isn’t the evil one.

“As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee. 

After whom is the king of Israel come out?  After whom dost thou pursue?  After a dead dog, after a flea. 

The LORD therefore be Judge, and Judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.

And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David?  And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. 

And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil. 

And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the LORD had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not.

For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away?  Wherefore the LORD reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day. 

And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand. 

Swear now therefore unto me by the LORD, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father’s house. 

And David swore unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the hold” (1 Sam 24:13-22).

Herem, Holy War

Supplicating Pilgrim at Masjid al Haram. Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Haram

Not to be confused with Harem or Herem.

Ḥarām is an Arabic term meaning sinful. In Islamic Jurisprudence, haram is used to refer to any act that is forbidden by Allah, and is one of five that define the morality of human action.

Acts that are haram are typically prohibited in the religious texts of the Quran and the Sunnah.

The category of haram is the highest status of prohibition.

Islam teaches that a haram (sinful) act is recorded by an angel on the person’s left shoulder.

If something is considered haram, it remains prohibited no matter how good the intention is or how honorable the purpose is.

A haram is converted into a gravitational force on the day of judgement and placed on mizan (weighing scales).

Views of different mad

The command given to Saul in Sam 15:3 to “totally destroy everything” belonged to the Amalekites represents the translation of the Hebrew word Haram.

This verb, which means to “ban” or “completely destroy,” has a related noun herem, meaning “absolute destruction.”

In keeping with its frequent use within the context of Old Testament Hebrew warfare, the verb is also found in Deut 20:16-18, where the Israelites were commanded to “completely destroy” all the peoples living within the land God had given them as an inheritance.

These verses in Deuteronomy indicate that this total destruction involved killing all the people and domestic animals belonging to a place.

The same verb appears in the Moabite language, as attested on the 9th century B.C.

Mesha Stele, an inscribed monument on which King Mesha of Moab claimed to have “totally destroyed” the people of Nebo for the god Chemosh.

Moabite Stone
Mesha was the king of the Moabites who was forced to pay tribute to his neighbor, the Nation of Israel.

The Bible tells us that this tribute suddenly stopped: “Mesha, king of Moab, rebelled against the king of Israel…” (2 Kgs 3:5).

Mesha’s account of his rebellion against Israel is found on a large stone monument known as the Moabite Stone (Mesha Stele).

The stone inscription was discovered by a German missionary in 1868 at Dibon (ancient Moab; present-day Jordan).

The Moabite Stone is a dark-colored, basalt monument about four feet high by two feet wide, dating to the reign of King Mesha in about 850 B.C.

This artifact is another important source that corroborates the biblical account of the early Israelites.

It currently resides in the Louvre Museum, Paris.

Mesha’s use verb demonstrates a connection between Israel and her neighbors in the realm ideology.

While the phrase “holy war” may be somewhat misleading, the Biblical idea of war is rooted in the notion that God led his people into battle and that certain Old Testa­ment battles were executed as religious acts.

Although it has been suggested that herem was an element of every Biblical holy war, this is most unlikely, since it was not decreed in every battle.

While it is not mentioned in 1 Samuel 15, the ark of the covenant served as the pal­ladium (a religious image or object thought to provide divine protection to a people or place) that signified Yahweh’s presence among the Israelite army in battle.

Yahweh was often portrayed as a warrior God who was victori­ous over the powers of chaos.

This ideology was prevalent throughout the ancient Near East, and, along with associated injunctions to purity among the warriors, it provided the essential elements of the holy war.

In the Bible this offers a powerful meta­phor for God’s mighty acts in salvation history that will culminate in the absolute destruc­tion of all who oppose him.

The Stela of Mesha: building inscription from ancient Moab, famous because it describes events from the history of Israel that are also described in the Bible.

In the first half of the ninth century B.C.

Israel was a mighty kingdom. Its king Omri (884-873) owned at least two thousand chariots and even king Šalmaneser of Assyria admitted that Israel was a powerful enemy.

Omri’s son Ahab (873-852) brought the kingdom to even greater prominence.

The herem in Israelite warfare strikes many readers as cruel, but it is helpful to keep three factors in mind:

* The Israelites were executing divine judg­ment on Canaan specifically, they were not called to wage holy war on the nations around them in order to create an empire.

+ The herem was intended to remove per­manently the pagan influence from the Israelite vicinity.

+ The herem was meant to remind the Israelites that their warfare was not for the purpose of acquiring slaves and booty but was meant to secure the land as their inher­itance. When the Israelites failed to carry out the herem, the reason was often not mercy on their part but greed.

David Gathers His Mighty Men & By Words and Insults in the Ancient World

So You even made Saul’s son prefer David over him.  So is Saul going to kill Jonathan now, or what’s going to happen?

David Gathers His Mighty Men

David went to Nob to see Ahimelech the priest, and the priest was afraid when he saw David.  He asked David,

“Why art thou alone, and no man with thee? 

And David said…The king hath commanded me a business, and…Let no man know anything of the business where about I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place. 

Now therefore what is under thine hand?  Give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present. And the priest answered David…There is no common bread undermine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women.

Nob was a priestly town in ancient Israel in the vicinity of Jerusalem. It may have been located close to Bahurim, near the Mount of Olives or possibly further north at Tell Shuafat. It likely belonged to the Tribe of Benjamin, Jerusalem being at the border between the tribes of Benjamin and Judah.
The first biblical reference to the city of Nob is in Samuel I. During King Saul’s reign, after the destruction of Shiloh, priests from the house of Eli resided in Nob, and the tabernacle was located there. After Saul discovered that one of the priests, Ahimelech ben Ahituv, gave David Goliath’s sword, which was also kept in Nob, and that David had managed to escape, the king ordered all of Nob’s inhabitants killed. “And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen and asses and sheep, with the edge of the sword” (1 Sam 22:19).
Despite Saul’s vengeance, the city remained intact for hundreds of years. The prophet Isaiah mentions it in his description of a journey taken by King Ashur of Assyria in 701 BCE, when he attempted to conquer Jerusalem. Nob is referred to as the last city the Assyrian army passed through on its way to Jerusalem. “This very day shall he halt at Nob, shaking his hand at the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem” (Is 10:32).

And David answered…Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel. 

So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away” (1 Sam 21:1-6).

Doeg, an Edomite and Saul’s chief herdsman was there, and God detained them.

“And David said unto Ahimelech, And is there not here under thine hand spear or sword?  For I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste. 

Nob is mentioned again, in Nehemiah’s description of the return to Zion, as one of the settlements in the region of Benjamin, located north of Jerusalem between Anathoth, identified with the modern village of Anata, and Ananiah, identified with the modern village of Azzariyeh, according to accepted theories.
During the last 100 years, however, none of these biblical references helped researchers locate remains of the ancient settlement. While the Old Testament clearly indicates that the city was located somewhere north of Jerusalem, no site was found that provided sufficient evidence to connect it with Nob. All that remains is speculation regarding the city’s location.
Archaeologist Professor Hanan Eshel, a senior lecturer at the Martin Szusz Department of Land of Israel Studies at Bar-lan University, suggests that Nob may have been located in the center of the present-day village of Shoafat. His colleague in the Martin Szusz Department, Dr. Gabi Barkai, proposes Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood as the location of Nob. Other geographic “candidates” competing for the title of the priestly city include the A-Tur neighborhood

And the priest said, The sword of Goliath…it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.

And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath. 

And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land?  Did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands? 

And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath.

And he changed his behavior before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard. 

Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought him to me? 

Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”  (1 Sam 21:8-15).

David  left and went to the cave Adullam, and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it they went there too, about 400.  And he became their captain.  Then David went to Mizpeh and asked the king to let his parents stay there until he knew what God wanted him to do, and the king allowed it. 

“The prophet Gad told David not to stay in the hold, but to go to the land of Judah, so he did and went into the forest of Hareth.

When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him, (now Saul abode in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him;). 

Then Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds;

That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that sheweth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or sheweth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?” (1 Sam 22:6-8)

“Doeg told Saul that he saw David going to Nob, and he obtained food and Goliath’s sword from Ahimelech the priest.  Saul then had the priest brought to him and he asked him why he conspired against him by helping David.

Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king’s son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honorable in thine house? 

Did I then begin to enquire of God for him?  Be it far from me: let not the king impute anything unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father: for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more. 

Dr. Boaz Zissu believes the city was situated at the top of the hill overlooking the Eli branch of the Kidron Valley, called Wadi al-Joz in Arabic. However, since he lacks unequivocal proof to connect the remains he found with any specific settlement, including Nob, Zissu asks that his theory be approached with caution. Despite that, corroborating data indicates there is a good chance he is right.
This data began to accumulate in June 2001, when Zissu started excavations near the Kidron Valley, to salvage a site about 50 meters north of what is known as Ramban’s Cave. That dig, under the auspices of the Israel Antiquities Authority, began after work to lay a new sewage pipe revealed an ancient limestone quarry.
The boulders in this quarry are of the desirable Melekeh variety local builders treasured. Excavation marks at the site indicate the boulders were hewn into blocks for building. Similar quarries operated during the Late Israelite (Iron) Period (586-1000 BCE), when Israeli and Judean kings reigned, and they remained active until modern times in the area surrounding Jerusalem.
Zissu concludes that the quarries in the Kidron Valley operated until the end of the Hasmonean era, during the first century BCE. This conclusion is based on his discovery of vessel shards, including cooking pots and a pitcher, which masons left in the niches of the quarry’s walls. After operations ceased, the quarry area was covered in a thick layer of dust. The dust included building stone and shards from the final days of the Iron Age. These shards are remnants of pitchers, bowls, candleholders, and other ceramic vessels associated with the seventh and sixth centuries B.C.E. The dust did not include shards from other periods.
Where did the ceramic vessels found in the dust come from? That question will apparently never be answered, but it is reasonable to conclude that they belonged to residents of a settlement near the quarry: Either in the present-day American Colony neighborhood, south of the quarry, or in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, north of the quarry. Both neighborhoods are situated north of the Temple Mount, on the main road to Nablus, and, in either neighborhood, it is possible to see a man “shaking his hand (Is 10:32) at the hill.
Remnants of the ancient settlement were not found, and that is one reason for Zissu’s caution. He says it is possible that stones used to build in the settlement were dismantled to expand the quarry. An aqueduct, constructed in a style typically found in the area’s springs, was unearthed at the Western end of the excavation site, at a depth of about 3.5 meters. The aqueduct predates activities in the quarry, since the quarries run across the aqueduct’s trench. The discovery of an aqueduct of this type raises the possibility that a spring once flowed near the site.
Other evidence of an Iron Age settlement at the Kidron Valley is found in Ramban’s Cave. Signs that boulders were hewn into blocks of stone were found in the cave as well, and a system of four troughs, cut in the rocks, was found next to the hewn boulders. Water entered these troughs by means of a canal that came from a nearby spring. Zissu assumes that the spring was discovered during quarrying activities at the site, and associates this find with a settlement that was once located here – quite possibly the mysterious, priestly city.

And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father’s house” (1 Sam 22:14-16).

Saul then told his men to kill the priest, but they wouldn’t.  Saul then told Doeg to do it and he killed the priest and 85 others that wore priestly garments.  Saul then turned to Nob, which is the city of the priests, where David was, and they killed men, women, children, ox, asses, and sheep.

Abiathar, one of Ahimelech’s sons, escaped and went and told David that Saul had killed all these priests.

And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father’s house. 

Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard” (1 Sam 22:22-23).

Bywords and Insults
in the Ancient World

Nabal’s answer to David’s agents (1 Sam 25:10-11) was a flagrant insult; David had been serving him with honor, but Nabal responded by speaking of David in scurrilous terms as an outlaw.

In the ancient world men (and particularly warriors) placed an enormous premium on their personal reputations and thus took insults and perceived slights to their honor very seriously.

Examples of this abound in ancient literature; perhaps the most famous is the Greek hero Achilles, who sat in his tent and refused to fight against the Trojans when he felt that his fellow Greeks had failed to show due respect for his prestige (as described in Homer’s Iliad).

When the Phi­listine Goliath defied the ranks of Israel (ch. 17), the young David regarded this as reason enough to go out to fight the giant.

David was later willing to start a war with the Ammonites to avenge their humiliating treatment of his ambassadors (2 Sam 10).

Insults and slights required an appropri­ate response on behalf of the individual so affronted.

Ex 21:17 prescribes the death penalty for those who cursed (reviled or insulted) their parents, and the 42 young men making fun of Elisha were mauled by two bears (2 Kgs 2:23—25).

The New Testament calls upon Christians to be forbearing toward those who insult them (1 Pet 3:9), but in order to understand David and his responses to taunts we need to comprehend the warrior-culture in which he lived.

In addition, as in the above examples, when Yahweh’s people or his anointed are insulted the reputation of Yahweh himself has been affronted.

Jonathan Protects David & The Pass at Micmash

I understand it now, You are putting the evil spirit in Saul, not to have David hurt, but to show everyone that no one can hurt David because You are with him.  You even control the evil spirits when You want to. 

1 There’s nothing You can’t do. 

Geba
A town on the Northeast boundary of the territory of Benjamin (Josh 18:24), given to the Levites (Josh 21:17 1 Chr 6:60).

It stood on the northern frontier of the kingdom of Judah, Geba and Beersheba marking respectively the northern and southern limits (2 Kgs 23:8).

In 2 Sam 5:25 “Geba” should be altered to “Gibeon,” which stands in the corresponding passage, 1 Chr 14:16. In Jdg 20:10, 33 1 Sam 13:3, 16, the Hebrew reads “Geba,” the translation “Gibeah” being due to confusion of the two names.

From 1 Sam 14:5 we gather that Geba stood to the South of the great gorge, Wady Suweinit, commanding the pass at Michmash.

This was the scene of Jonathan’s daring enterprise against the Philistines, when, accompanied by his armor-bearer, he accomplished an apparently impossible feat, climbing the rocky steeps of the gorge to the North and putting the enemy to flight.

There can be no doubt that the modern village of Jeba` occupies the ancient site.

It stands to the South of Wady Suweinit, looking toward Michmash-modern Mukhmas-with Seneh, the crag on the southern lip of the gorge, in front of it.

The distance from Jerusalem is about 6 miles.

It was fortified by Asa with materials that his enemy Baasha had used to fortify Ramah against him (1 Kgs 15:22).

It is named by Isaiah in his description of the terrifying march of the Assyrians upon Jerusalem from the North (10:28).

It appears among the cities which were reoccupied by Israel after the Exile.

“And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, What have I done?  What is mine iniquity?  And what is my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life?

And he said unto him, God forbid; thou shalt not die: behold, my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he will shew it me: and why should my father hide this thing from me?  It is not so” (1 Sam 20:1-2).

“Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee” (1 Sam 20:4).

The next day was the New Moon and David was expected to eat with the king and he refused not to show up. 

But David said he was going to hide in the field for three days, and if Saul missed him he wanted Jonathan to tell him that he went to Beth-lehem for a yearly sacrifice for his family.

Cliffs near Michmash and the Pass
A town in the territory of Benjamin, apparently not of sufficient importance to secure mention in the list of cities given in Josh 18:21.

It first appears as occupied by Saul with 2,000 men, when Jonathan, advancing from Gibeah, smote the Philistine garrison in Geba (1 Sam 13:2).

To avenge this injury, the Philistines came up in force and pitched in Michmash (1 Sam 13:5).

Saul and Jonathan with 600 men held Geba, which had been taken from the Philistine garrison (1 Sam 13:16).

It will assist in making clear the narrative if, at this point, the natural features of the place are described.

Michmash is represented by the modern Mukhmas, about 7 miles North of Jerusalem.

From the main road which runs close to the watershed, a valley sloping eastward sinks swiftly into the great gorge of Wady es-Suweinit.

The village of Mukhmas stands to the North of the gorge, about 4 miles East of the carriage road. The ancient path from Ai southward passes to the West of the village, goes down into the valley by a steep and difficult track, and crosses the gorge by the pass, a narrow defile, with lofty, precipitous crags on either side-the only place where a crossing is practicable.

To the South of the gorge is Geba, which had been occupied by the Philistines, doubtless to command the pass.

Their camp was probably pitched in a position East of Mukhmas, where the ground slopes gradually northward from the edge of the gorge.

The place is described by Josephus as “upon a precipice with three peaks, ending in a small, but sharp and long extremity, while there was a rock that surrounded them like bulwarks to prevent the attack of the enemy”.

Conder confirms this description, speaking of it as “a high hill bounded by the precipices of Wady es-Suweinit on the South, rising in three flat but narrow mounds, and communicating with the hill of Mukhmas, which is much lower, by a long and narrow ridge.”

The Philistines purposed to guard the pass against approach from the South.

On the other hand they were not eager to risk an encounter with the badly armed Israelites in a position where superior numbers would be of little advantage.

It was while the armies lay thus facing each other across the gorge that Jonathan and his armor-bearer performed their intrepid feat (1 Sam 14:1).

“If he say thus, It is well…but if he be very wroth, then be sure that evil is determined by him.

Therefore thou shalt deal kindly with thy servant…if there be in me iniquity, slay me thyself; for why shouldest thou bring me to thy father? 

And Jonathan said, Far be it from thee: for if I knew certainly that evil were determined by my father to come upon thee, then would not I tell it thee?

Then said David to Jonathan, Who shall tell me?  Or what if thy father answer thee roughly? 

And Jonathan said unto David, Come, and let us go out into the field.

And Jonathan said David, O LORD God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about tomorrow any time, or the third day, and, behold, if there be good toward David, and I then send not unto thee, and shew it thee.

The LORD do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father to do thee evil, then I will shew it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the LORD be with thee, as he hath been with my father. 

And thou shalt not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the LORD, that I die not.

But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house forever: no, not when the LORD hath cut off the enemies of David everyone from the face of the earth.  

So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, Let the LORD even require it at the hand of David’s enemies.

And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul. 

Then Jonathan said to David, Tomorrow is the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty. 

And when thou hast stayed three days, then thou shalt go down quickly, and come to the place where thou didst hide thyself when the business was in hand, and shalt remain by the stone Ezel. 

And I will shoot three arrows on the side thereof, as though I shot at a mark. 

And, behold, I will send a lad, saying, Go, find out the arrows. If I expressly say unto the lad, Behold, the arrows are on this side of thee, take them; then come thou: for there is peace to thee, and no hurt; as the LORD liveth.

But if I say thus unto the young man, Behold, the arrows are beyond thee; go thy way: for the LORD hath sent thee away. 

And as touching the matter which thou and I have spoken of, behold, the LORD be between thee and me forever” (1 Sam 20:7-23).

Shiloh and Michmash
Standing where the Holy of Holies was.

Ask most Americans where Shiloh is, and you’ll likely get a blank stare.

Historians may point to a Civil War battle in Hardin County, Tennessee.

Music buffs may start singing the chorus to a Neil Diamond song.

But question someone who knows his or her Bible, and Shiloh means something far more significant.

Shiloh is a Promise and a Person.

The patriarch Jacob first spoke of Shiloh on his deathbed, giving a promise to the tribe of Judah:

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples” (Gen 49:10).

Most commentators agree that Jacob’s prediction had messianic overtones and included a promise of kings as well as a place of rest.

Ultimately, the tribe of Judah would produce the Messiah, Jesus (Heb 7:14; Rev 5:5).

After Israel entered the Promised Land, the Tabernacle of Moses indeed did rest from its wanderings.

It rested at a place named Shiloh (Josh 18:1).

Shiloh is a Place

Archaeologists have identified a large, level area.

The space measures 400 feet long and 77 feet wide.

Although not all agree, this place likely represents the place where the Tabernacle at Shiloh rested.

It was hard to take in the truth of it, but if the Tabernacle at Shiloh stood where I was standing, then the Holy of Holies had been beneath my feet.

God’s glory—right there!

For three centuries, those obedient among the tribes of Israel would have come here to the Tabernacle at Shiloh for the annual feasts.

Joshua divided the tribes’ allotment of land at Shiloh (Josh 18).

At Shiloh the godly woman, Hannah, prayed to conceive, and her son Samuel ministered before the Lord here (1 Sam 1:1-28; 3:21).

From the time Israel entered the land until the time of Samuel, the Ark of the Covenant remained in the Tabernacle at Shiloh.

But because ancient Israel refused to walk with God,

“He abandoned the dwelling place at Shiloh, the tent which He had pitched among men, and gave up His strength to captivity and His glory into the hand of the adversary” (Ps 78:60-61).

The Philistines took the Ark and destroyed Shiloh in 1104 B.C. (1 Sam 4:10-11).

So David hid himself in the field, and King Saul sat at the table.

“And it came to pass on the morrow, which was the second day of the month, that David’s place was empty: and Saul said unto Jonathan his son, Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neitehr yesterday, nor today?

And Jonathan answered Saul, David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Beth-lehem:

…for our family hath a sacrifice in the city…Therefore he cometh not unto the king’s table.

Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan…Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother’s nakedness? 

For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die.

And Jonathan answered…Wherefore shall he be slain?  What hath he done? 

And Saul cast a javelin at him to smite him: whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined of his father to slay David. 

So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no meat the second day of the month: for he was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame.

And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him. 

And he said unto his lad, Run, find out now the arrows which I shoot. And as the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 

And when the lad was come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the lad, and said, Is not the arrow beyond thee? 

And Jonathan cried after the lad, Make speed, haste, stay not. And Jonathan’s lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master.

But the lad knew not anything: only Jonathan and David knew the matter. 

And Jonathan gave his artillery unto his lad, and said unto him, Go, carry them to the city. 

And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded.

Mukhmas, also known as Michmash Gorge, where Jonathan battled the Philistines.

And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed forever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city” (1 Sam 20:27-42).

1 God is always in control.  I form the light and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things (Is 45:7).“See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand” (Deut 32:39).

The Pass at Micmash

Reference to a specific geographic feature is not typical in Scripture, but the geographic details of the pass near Micmash and Geba are carefully described in Sam 14:5.

Most north/south traffic in the hill country follows the watershed ridge, because of the deeply cutting ravines (wadis) on either side.

The mile-wide break in the otherwise steep cliffs of the Wadi Suwenit allowed for the existence of a secondary route in the territory of Benjamin, which paralleled the watershed ridge route and came to be known simply as “the pass.”

During the time of King Saul the Philis­tines guarded this pass, but Jonathan and his armor-bearer surprised the enemy garrison by circumventing it and climbing the steep cliffs of Bozez and Seneh.

Isaiah prophesied of a terrifying army that would travel along this road, leaving baggage at Micmash and spending the night at Geba.

Asa’s earlier fortifications of Geba were also an apparent recognition of the importance of this route.

Scholars routinely identify Micmash with the modem Arab village of Mukhmas, nearly 7 miles (11.2 km) northeast of Jeru­salem in the West Bank.

However, very few Iron Age remains have been found there, and thus some suggest that Micmash may have been at Khirbet el-Hara el-Fawqa, less than 1 mile (1.6km) farther north – a spot at which researchers have found both Iron I and II Age sherds.

Saul’s Third Attempt to Kill David & Technological Supremacy of the Philistines’ Iron Weapons

Wow, I thought Jacob was a sneak when he got Esau’s birthright and blessing.  Saul’s out for blood. 

How is this going to work out?

“And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David. 

But Jonathan Saul’s son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeketh to kill thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself:

Sling Shot
Many people think of ancient slings as not much more than toys.

However, the Bible tells us that a young shepherd named David killed the giant Philistine, Goliath, with a very accurately slung stone (1 Sam 17:40, 49).

The Bible states that the Israelites used slings as weapons of war (2 Kgs 3:25).

Archaeologists are finding evidence that confirms these biblical stories.

Slingstones were important weapons in an ancient army’s arsenal.

At one excavation site in Israel, 10 miles north of Jerusalem, slingstones have been found in almost every area of the dig.

Interestingly, the site is located in the territory given to the tribe of Benjamin.

This tribe was known for an elite corps of slingers (Jdg 20:15-16; 1 Chr 12:2), many of whom were left-handed slingers.

700 of them could each “sling a stone at a hair and not miss.”

“After three seasons of excavation, we have found nearly three dozen slingstones.

Most are roughly round and slightly over two inches in diameter, from the size of a billiard ball to a tennis ball.”

And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where thou art, and I will commune with my father of thee; and what I see, that I will tell thee” (1 Sam 19:1-3).

Jonathan spoke highly of David to Saul, reminding him of all that he did and that he hadn’t sinned against him in anyway.  Aside from that, if he killed David it would be cold blooded murder and it would be against God.  Saul then said, As the LORD liveth, he shall not be slain  (1 Sam 19:6).

Khopesh – Liberty Biblical Museum
Khopesh also known as the Egyptian sickle-sword that evolved from battle axes.

A typical khopesh is 50–60 cm (20–24 inches) in length, though smaller examples do also exist.

This blade was designed for hooking an opponent’s shield or disarming them.

These weapons changed from bronze to iron in the New Kingdom period.

The blade is only sharpened on the outside portion of the curved end.

The khopesh evolved from the epsilon or similar crescent shaped axes that were used in warfare.

Note, however, that the khopesh is not an axe.

Unlike an axe, the khopesh did not make push-cuts, but rather slashes, like a sabre.

The khopesh went out of use around 1300 B.C. However, in the 196 B.C. Rosetta Stone it is referenced as the “sword” determinative in a hieroglyphic block.

“After that things went back to normal, and there was another war with the Philistines and David went out and slew them with a great slaughter, and they fled from him.

And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand. 

And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night. 

Saul also sent messengers unto David’s house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David’s wife told him, saying, If thou save not thy life tonight, tomorrow thou shalt be slain.

So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped. 

And Michal took an image, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats’ hair for his bolster, and covered it with a cloth.  

And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, He is sick.

And Saul sent the messengers again to see David, saying, Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him. 

And when the messengers were come in, behold, there was an image in the bed, with a pillow of goats’ hair for his bolster.

And Saul said unto Michal, Why hast thou deceived me so, and sent away mine enemy, that he is escaped? And Michal answered Saul, He said unto me, Let me go; why should I kill thee? 

So David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth” (1 Sam 19:9-18).

“And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.

Slingstones/Flying Stones
Slingstones, among the most prominent weapons of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, first appear in the cultural context of the Wadi Rabah culture of the Southern Levant.

After a relatively short time span, this “tool” type disappeared with the fading of this culture and the onset of the later, Chalcolithic cultures.

It seems that slingstones first appeared during a period when there was an increased dependence on the herding of domesticated animals, and they may have been an element of the tool-kit of herders. In this regard, it should be emphasized that the producers of slingstones preferred specific raw material, shape and dimensions, as well as weight.

This homogeneity may have helped the slingers to maintain better control of the distance and accuracy of each throw.

And when it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also.

Then went he also to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu: and he asked and said, Where are Samuel and David? And one said, Behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah. 

And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 

And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?”  (1 Sam 19:20-24).

Technological Supremacy
of the Philistines’ Iron Weapons

Two Edged-Sward
“… Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab.
But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh.
And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man.
And Ehud came unto him; and he was sitting in a summer parlour, which he had for himself alone. And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee. And he arose out of his seat.
And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly:
And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out” (Jud :15-17, 20-22).

Iron weaponry placed the Philistines in a position of distinct advan­tage over their adversaries.

Perhaps more than any other factor, iron weapons proved the decisive element in the Philistines’ early domination of Israel.

The Philistines were one of the Sea Peoples who had arrived on the Canaanite shores at the end of the Bronze Age.

There is evidence of ironwork from the early Iron Age both in Egypt to the south and in the Hittite Empire in Asia Minor to the north.

But both empires guarded their technological advancement. Still, during the second half of the second millennium B.C., the Philistines defeated the Hittites and most likely took from them the technology of ironwork.

To protect this valuable commodity and their corresponding advantage, the Philistines guarded the technology from their neighbors, notably the Israelites.

Within Palestine, facili­ties of iron smelting have been discovered in the ancient Philistine settlements at Ekron and Tell Qasile.

A iron-wheeled chariot, probably of similar design to the chariots used by Sisera’s forces.

See the story of Chariots at Warfare: Chariots or Warfare: Armour.

In fact, the Phili­stines prohibited Israelites from engaging in the trade of ironsmithing, lest the Israelites also gain iron weapons.

Go­liath the Philistine had a spearhead made of iron. The Hebrew text describes this spear as a “weaver’s beam”; it is possible that this term was used because the iron weapon was rela­tively new to the Israelite culture and no word had as yet been coined to describe it.

It was partially the threat of the Philistines and their superior weapons that motivated the tribes of Israel to demand a king.

As the monarchy began under Saul, the Philistines continued to dominate Israel’s armies in open battle, including the battle at Mount Gilboa where Saul and his sons died.

To combat the weapon superiority of the Philistines, the Israelites relied upon super­ior knowledge of the landscape and on guerilla warfare.

But it was not until David was crowned king that the Israelites began to ex­perience victory over their traditional foe.

As David’s conquests expanded the borders of Israel, he was able to secure rich iron deposits to the south in Edom.

These proved an extremely valuable asset to Israel.

David and Jonathan & Rachel’s Tomb

That’s quite the story, but it doesn’t surprise me.  You do strange things all the time, things that no person could even get close to doing.  And of course, not everything You do makes since to us, but hey, You’re God, who are we to argue?

Rachel’s Tomb
Rachel’s site is revered as the burial place of the matriarch Rachel. The tomb has been considered holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims for 2000 years.[3] Since the mid-1990s, Palestinians have referred to the site as the Bilal bin Rabah mosque (Arabic: مسجد بلال بن رباح‎).

The tomb, located at the northern entrance of Bethlehem, is built in the style of a traditional maqam. The burial place of the matriarch Rachel as mentioned in Jewish Tanakh, Christian Old Testament and in Muslim literature[8] is contested between this site and several others to the north. Although this site is considered unlikely to be the actual site of the grave, it is by far the most recognized candidate.

“And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 

And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house. 

Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. 

And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle” (1 Sam 18:1-4).

Saul put David in charge of his military, and everyone accepted him.

“And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music. 

And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (1 Sam 18:6-7). 

Saul didn’t like that.

“And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand. 

And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it.  And David avoided out of his presence twice. 

And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul.  Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people” (1 Sam 18:10-13).

Everyone loved David, except for Saul.

“And Saul said to David, Behold my elder daughter Merab, her will I give thee to wife: only be thou valiant for me, and fight the LORD’S battles.  For Saul said, Let not mine hand be upon him, but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him. 

Rachel’s Tomb Today
The present tomb, a Saracenic building, subsequent certainly to the Crusading times, is neither rich nor imposing, but no sumptuous mausoleum is needed to keep in memory the grave of Rachel-beautiful, beloved, untimely taken away .

It is mentioned by Jerome and in the Crusading chronicles, and was visited by Maundrell two hundred years ago. We may well recall how the prophet represents Rachel sitting weeping for her children as the long train of captive exiles passed from the south on their way to Babylon, and note how the tomb is close to the roadside; and then as we see Bethlehem not a mile distant we understand how aptly the Evangelist transfers the figure to the Massacre of the Innocents by Herod.

And David said unto Saul, Who am I?  And what is my life, or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son in law to the king?

But it came to pass at the time when Merab Saul’s daughter should have been given to David, that she was given unto Adriel the Meholathite to wife. 

And Michal Saul’s daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.

And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.  Wherefore Saul said to David, Thou shalt this day be my son in law in the one of the twain. 

And Saul commanded his servants, saying, Commune with David secretly, and say, Behold, the king hath delight in thee, and all his servants love thee: now therefore be the king’s son in law” (1 Sam 18:17-22).

Saul was an evil and jealous man and thought he could out maneuver God.  Later he said to his servants,

“…Thus shall ye say to David, The king desireth not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king’s enemies. But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. 

And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king’s son in law: and the days were not expired. 

Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king’s son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.

And Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal Saul’s daughter loved him. 

And Saul was yet the more afraid of David; and Saul became David’s enemy continually. Then the princes of the Philistines went forth: and it came to pass, after they went forth, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul; so that his name was much set by” (1 Sam 18:25-30).

The wall around Bethlehem separates Bethlehem from the countryside Today Rachel’s tomb is surrounded by the wall, so it is only accessible from the Jerusalem, for the Israelis even it is situated on the west bank. On the picture it is seen as a round cupola a little to the right of the middle

Rachel’s Tomb

Graffiti on the wall.

Rachel died near Ephrath, which is another name for Bethlehem.

Traditionally, her burial place has been located at a medieval building near the town, but 1 Sam 10:2 indicates that site was within the tribal territory of Benjamin.

Jeremiah 31:15, in which Rachel’s weeping voice is heard “in Ramah,” suggests that the site was actually in the vicinity of Bejamite Ramah, located a few miles north of Jerusalem.

Some suggest that there was another Bethlehem nearby, a “Bethlehem of Benjamin,” but evidence for this is slight, and most believe that the only Bethlehem/Ephrath of the Bible was in Judah, south of Jerusalem.

According to Josh 19:15 there was another Bethlehem in Zebulun, but this has no bearing on the burial place of Rachel.

Where, then, was Rachel buried? One possible solution is that she was actually buried in Bethlehem of Judah but that her tomb in Benjamin was a cenotaph, an empty tomb intended to serve as a memorial to a deceased ancestor.

Graffiti on the wall.

Cenotaphs were common in the ancient world, and the Benjamites had a particular reason to so honor Rachel: The matriarch of the tribe, she had died giving birth to Benjamin.

Matthew 2:18 cites Jer 31:15, claiming that this prophecy was fulfilled in the slaughter of the innocents.

It appears that Matthew was working from two differ­ent perspectives. First, Rachel’s actual burial place was in Bethlehem, where the slaugh­ter took place.

Second, Jesus’ suffering and the bloodshed around him echoed the suf­fering of Ephraim and Benjamin that Jer 31:15 bewailed. 

David and Goliath – 1985 B.C. & Battle By Champions

When You took the kingship from Saul I bet he was sorry.  You should have done that when Obama was president.  

Anyway, David’s just a kid, and You’re going to make him king?

The Battle of Thermopylae 480 B.C.
“A fox has a lot of tricks; but the hedgehog has the best one.”

{ πόλλ οιδ αλώπηξ, αλλ εχινος εν μέγα }

Archilochus 650 B.C.

46 nations, under thirty Persian generals, were assembled for the invasion of Greece, five of whom where sons of the royal house.

On the arrival of Xerxes at Thermopylae, he found that the place was defended by a body of three hundred Spartans and about seven thousand hoplites from other states, commanded by the Spartan King Leonidas.

David and Goliath

The Philistines that belonged to Judah gathered in Shochoch to battle,  and Saul and his men gathered in the valley of Elah.  The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side and Israel on the other side, a valley was in between them.

“And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span (a little more than 9 feet). 

And he had a helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels (approximately 114 pounds) of brass. 

And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. 

And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron (approximately 14 pounds): and one bearing a shield went before him.

And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array?  Am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul?  Choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. 

Archilochus c. 680 – 645 B.C. was a Greek lyric poet from the island of Paros in the Archaic period.

He is celebrated for his versatile and innovative use of poetic meters and as the earliest known Greek author to compose almost entirely on the theme of his own emotions and experiences.

Alexandrian scholars included him in their canonic list of iambic poets, along with Semonides and Hipponax, yet ancient commentators also numbered him with Tyrtaeus and Callinus as the possible inventor of the elegy.

However modern critics often characterize him simply as a lyric poet.

Although his work now only survives in fragments, he was revered by the ancient Greeks as one of their most brilliant authors, able to be mentioned in the same breath as Homer and Hesiod, yet he was also censured by them as the archetypal poet of blame—his invectives were even said to have driven his former fiancee and her father to suicide.

He presented himself as a man of few illusions either in war or in love, such as in the following elegy, where discretion is seen to be the better part of valor:

Ἀσπίδι μὲν Σαΐων τις ἀγάλλεται, ἥν παρὰ θάμνῳ

ἔντος ἀμώμητον κάλλιπον οὐκ ἐθέλων·

αὐτὸν δ’ ἔκ μ’ ἐσάωσα· τί μοι μέλει ἀσπὶς ἐκείνη;

Ἐρρέτω· ἐξαῦτις κτήσομαι οὐ κακίω.

One of the Saiôn in Thrace now delights in the shield I discarded

Unwillingly near a bush, for it was perfectly good,

But at least I got myself safely out.

Why should I care for that shield?

Let it go. Some other time I’ll find another no worse.

Archilochus was much imitated even up to Roman times and three other distinguished poets later claimed to have thrown away their shields—Alcaeus, Anacreon and Horace.

If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.  And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together” (1 Sam 17:4-10).

Saul and his men were dismayed and greatly frightened.   The battle began because there was no one to fight against Goliath on his own.

David’s older brothers were down with the troops and Jesse, their dad, told David to bring them some corn, ten loaves of bread, and cheeses.  While David was talking to his brothers Goliath came out and said what he had said before, and David heard him, and all the Israel’s fled in fear.

Xerxes I
Persian king who led the failed invasion of Greece in 480 B.C.

Our knowledge of Xerxes comes mainly from the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, whose viewpoint is hostile; he portrays the king as sometimes reflective and aesthetic-minded, but also intoxicated by power and capable of great lust, cruelty, anger, and cowardice.

“Xerxes” is the Greek form of the name, which in Persian sounded like Khshah-yar-shan and meant “king of kings.”

In the biblical book of Esther, Xerxes is called King Ahasuerus and is pictured favorably.

As son and heir of the brilliant king Darius I, Xerxes was about 32 years old when he came to the throne in late 486 B.C.

Soon he turned his attention westward, to resume his father’s conflict with the mainland Greeks.

Various Persian inscriptions of Xerxes’ reign make it clear that he was a pious worshiper of Ahura Mazda, the Zoroastrian supreme god, and he may have thought he was on a divine mission to conquer Greece.

After four years’ preparation, including the spanning of the Hellespont with elaborate twin bridges of boats, Xerxes led a mighty host—perhaps 200,000 troops and 600 warships—to Europe.

Descending through Thrace and Macedon, he subdued northern and central Greece, but his navy was first eroded due to storms and a sea battle, and then destroyed when Xerxes over confidently decided to attack the Greek fleet inside Salamis channel.

After the Salamis defeat in late summer 480 B.C., Xerxes hurried back to Asia with most of his force, leaving behind a Persian army, which the Greeks smashed at Plataea the following summer.

Little is known of Xerxes’ life afterward.

He apparently devoted himself to construction of royal buildings at Persepolis, the empire’s summer capital, and was assassinated in a palace intrigue around 465 B.C.

He was succeeded by his son Artaxerxes I.

To the Greeks, Xerxes supplied the prime living example of the sin of Hubris—insane pride that leads to divinely prompted self-destruction.

The abiding picture of him in Western tradition (whether true or false) is a vainglorious emperor who, after a Hellespont storm had wrecked his boat-bridges, ordered his men to punish the channel by lashing its waters with whips.

“And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up?  Surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel. 

And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel?  For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?

And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him. 

And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither?  And with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness?  I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. 

And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause? 

And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner (1 Sam 17:25-30).

And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. 

And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. 

And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:

And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.

Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. 

David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.  And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.

And Saul armed David with his armor, and he put a helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.  

And David girded his sword upon his armor, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it.  And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them.  And David put them off him.

And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him. 

And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.

And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?  And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.  And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.

Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 

This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel” (1 Sam 17:32-46).

“And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 

David and Goliath, a color lithograph by Osmar Schindler (c. 1888).

Goliath or Goliath of Gath (one of five city states of the Philistines) is a giant Philistine warrior defeated by the young David, the future king of Israel, in the Bible’s Books of Samuel (1 Saml 17).

The original purpose of the story was to show David’s identity as the true king of Israel.

Post-Classical Jewish traditions stressed Goliath’s status as the representative of paganism, in contrast to David, the champion of the God of Israel.

Christian tradition gave him a distinctively Christian perspective, seeing in David’s battle with Goliath the victory of God’s King over the enemies of God’s helpless people as a prefiguring of Jesus’ victory over sin on the Cross and the Church’s victory over Satan.

And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.

So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. 

Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled. 

And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron” (1 Sam 17:48-52).

David and Goliath, and Philistine Armor
David and Goliath is one of the better known Bible stories.

Anyone who doubts the authenticity of the story should take a little time to look at the evidence.

As is usually the case, the latest archaeological discoveries add even more weight to the authenticity of the biblical account.

To some, the idea of one champion fighting on behalf of an entire army is fanciful, whereas this was the common practice of the Philistines in deciding the outcome of a battle.

To the Philistines, a battle of champions represented the will of the gods!

If their champion won, then the gods were on their side and they could expect victory over their enemy.

The ‘Battle of Champions’ was characteristic of Aegean peoples and this form of battle was known almost exclusively from the Greek Epic tradition. This form of battle however was unheard of among the Israelites which might explain their difficulty in selecting a champion of their own.

The fact that this battle, in the minds of the Philistines, was a battle of the immortals would explain why the Philistines fled following Goliath’s defeat!

Goliath was indeed a formidable and intimidating champion chosen no doubt for his size, (nine foot and three inches), which some attribute to the possibility that he was a descendant of the Anakim.

When Joshua expelled the giant Anakim people from the land of Canaan a few found refuge in the city of Gath where Goliath originated from.

Some also try to discredit this biblical account by saying that, according to the Egyptian reliefs in the tomb of Ramesses III, the Philistines wore no coats of mail or greaves and so the biblical narrative is incorrect!

They forget that these ancient carvings are depicting the ‘captured’ Philistine army which had been deprived of all weaponry and armor as was the practice inflicted on a defeated enemy.

The Israelites not only took Goliath’s weapons and armor, they weighed them too!

“And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armor in his tent. 

And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell. 

And the king said, Enquire thou whose son the stripling is. 

And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 

And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Beth-lehemite” (1 Sam 17:54-58).

Does that story sound a bit farfetched?  I would say so, in regards to man, but with God anyone can do anything.  God is the creator of all things and He can make anything happen (Lk 18:27).

Battle by Champions

The story of David and Goliath stands within the tradition of “Bat­tle by Champions” in the an­cient Near East.

Such battles differed from duels in that they had ramifications for entire armies or nations.

The strongest member, or cham­pion, of each party fought a similar representative of the opponent to the death, and the victory of one man vindi­cated the entire host.

Battle of Champions – 546 B.C.
The Battle of Champions was a battle between Sparta and Argos who fought for control of the Thyrean plains.

The Argives comprehensive defeat of the Spartans at the Battle of Hysiae 669 B.C. have given the Argives the upper hand in the area, but Sparta it seems had recovered enough in the interim to again challenge Argos for Peloponnesian supremacy.

Previously, many small skirmishes and such took place, but both nemeses’ now agreed to conclude hostilities once and for all in a battle.

The Spartans and the Argives decided that instead of another major war taking place it should be decided by just 300 champion hoplites from each side and thus spare the others.

This would be known as “The Battle of Champions”.

With everything to loose, the battle would have been hard and fierce.

The killing was on an unprecedented scale, each side would not allow any survivors for any reason.

The injured or incapacitated hoplite did not mean he would be left for medical attention, wholesale butchery was the call of the day.

The fighting was so very fierce that neither force could outdo the other, until it ended with two exhausted Argives left standing.

They surveyed the area to make sure there were no more survivors and left to return to Argos to inform them of their victory.

Similar battles are found in the Egyp­tian History of Sinuhe, in the encounter of Marduk and Tia- mat in the Babylonian epic Enuma Elish and in the con­flict of Paris and Menelausin Homer’s Iliad, 3.340-82.

Sec­ond Samuel 2:12-16 also contains an account of a representative battle waged by 12 selected warriors.

Such”single combat”was practiced based upon the belief that the gods of each army actually fought or decided the battle.

Therefore, only one “champion” was needed from each side. This concept is clear in 1 Sam 17:43-45, as both David and the Philistine call upon their respective gods.

David’s victory over the Philistine giant indeed proves that, against either pagan armies or false gods, “the battle is the Lord’s” (v. 47).

Unlike those who trusted in the stature, strength and skill of their best warriors, Israel sent an untrained, ill-equipped boy into battle as its only willing champion.

David himself, however, trusted in God’s might rather than his own.

For other war-related issues, see:

Horses and Chariots in Ancient Warfare,

Technological Supremacy of the Philistines’ Iron Weapons,

Herem, Holy War,

Siege Warfare,

Songs of Warriors and

Warfare in the Ancient World.