Updated: Jul 1, 2020
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I Sam. 15
INTRODUCTION. Saul's first battle with the Philistines took place following his defeat
of the Ammonites at Jabesh Gilead. First, Saul's son Jonathan conducted a successful
raid on the Philistine garrison at Geba, a strategic city located in the territory of
Benjamin (I Sam. 13:1-4). The Philistines then assembled a large army and camped
in Michmash while the Israelites camped in Gilgal (I Sam. 13:5-7).
As Saul prepared for the battle, his first conflict with Samuel occurred. Samuel directed
Saul to wait for him at Gilgal for seven days. When Samuel delayed, Saul became
anxious because his army was deserting. To keep his army together, Saul offered
a burnt offering instead of waiting for Samuel to come and offer the sacrifice.
When Samuel arrived late on the seventh day, he reproved Saul for his disobedience
and told him his kingdom would not continue (I Sam. 13:8-15).
The Philistines at Michmash then began sending out raiding parties to pillage and loot
the country (I Sam. 13:16-18). Meanwhile Jonathan and his armorbearer surprised the
remaining Philistine garrison at Michmash, causing the enemy to panic. Saul and his
army joined the battle and defeated the confused and terrified Philistines, driving them
back to Aijalon, a town some distance away. The fighting then ceased and both sides
went home (I Sam. 14).
The conflict between Saul and Samuel continued when Saul later went to battle
against the Amalekites. Samuel told Saul to utterly destroy those people and their
animals. Instead Saul spared the king and the animals, telling Samuel the people took
the animals to sacrifice them to the Lord. Samuel told Saul that because of his disobedience,
God had given his kingdom to another. Samuel then left Saul and came to
see him no more, mourning for him (I Sam. 15).