22 December 2009

God forced the Philistines to kill each other

After helping Jonathan with his first slaughter (which wasn't really his first, but Oh well), God took over the killing himself. He didn't have much choice if he wanted to get the killing done, because there were only two swords in all Israel at the time, Jonathan's and Saul's. And it's hard to kill Philistines with only sticks and stones.
So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found. 1 Samuel 13:22
But God had a plan. He'd force the Philistines to kill each other (and throw in an earthquake for dramatic effect).
And there was trembling ... and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling. ...
The multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another... Every man's sword was against his fellow. 1 Samuel 14:15-20
After the Philistines killed each other, the Israelites must have gathered up their swords and spears, because by the end of the same chapter Saul is fighting everybody at once, "vexing" them all.
So Saul ... fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines: and whithersoever he turned himself, he vexed them. And he gathered an host, and smote the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them. 1 Samuel 14:47-48
(Since the Bible doesn't say that God was involved in these battles, I didn't include the victims in God's total.)

How many Philistine soldiers did God kill by forcing them to kill each other? The Bible doesn't say, so I just guessed the usual 1000.

God's next killing: The Amalekite Genocide


busterggi said...


What happened to all the swords the Israelites were using to slaughter all those other folks?

For that matter, if Yahweh could cause the Philistines to kill one another why did he need the Israelites to do the other killings?

The OT makes less sense the more you read it.

Matthew Blanchette said...

Yep; yet another passage they didn't teach you in Sunday school.

Thomas Seidler said...

i do teach this stuff in Sunday school, and in church! ;) and many of my brethren too. BTW you've missed out a number of verses on this particular theme, so i thought you'd be fascinated: Judges 7:22, 2 Chr 20:22-25, Ezk 38:21, Zech 14:13. Now the Ezekiel ref is fascinating cos its the famous 'Gog' of Revelation 19 reference. So quite possibly a prophecy about what will happen at the end of the world.

That God causes people to get 'hoist by their own petar' seems no less unlovely than 'what goes around comes around', 'live by the sword die by the sword', etc. It is one aspect of reality that God sometimes allow to play in full. As in these amazing examples - in the Chronicles reference the Israelites come across an entirely dead army. they have all killed each other - to no last man standing.

He often makes the point throughout OT history that it is Him that fights for Israel most effectively, and not they themselves. This is designed to enable a true and real humility, if God were not for us, we'd be broken, all our victories can be attributed to him. [Though the obverse is not true - all our failures are our own entirely]

Anyways, may God bless you in the place you are in, thank you for discussing these things. To my mind it shows the mark of the dangerous genius of God.

L8r, T

Steve Wells said...

Thanks, Thomas, for the response. I didn't know that any of this stuff was taught in Sunday school.

As for the verses that you site, I think I've highlighted all of them at the SAB and included them in God's killings at the blog (when a killing was involved), except for 2 Chr 20:22-25. That's a good one. I'll add it to the list. Thanks!

I disagree with you on this statement, though: "That God causes people to get 'hoist by their own petar' seems no less unlovely than 'what goes around comes around', 'live by the sword die by the sword', etc."

It seems much more "unlovely" to me. Forcing people to kill each other is as about as evil as it gets, except maybe then forcing them to eat each other after they're done (which God likes to do too, and I suppose you enthusiastically approve of, as well).

I hope you'll continue to participate here. I'm especially interested in any more of God's killings that I've missed.

Huldah said...

busterggi I was searching for this battle but had to read 1 Samuel 13 - 15 to get the whole picture. The Philistines had confiscated the Israelite's weapons.