Strategic Dominance For Warfare

Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears:…. 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 13:19‭, ‬22 KJV

This battle with the Philistines have been long in preparation. The Philistines had a strategic perspective on the preparation. This is how Walter Bruggenan puts it in a blog post in 2022: ” One way of maintaining dominance by the Philistines over Israel was to deny Israel access to the equipment required to flourish. Thus it is reported that the Philistines did not allow the Israelites to have any blacksmiths in Israel, that is, any artisan who could work with and shape iron into useful tools.” You would have thought economic suppression is a twenty first century development. Here it is. By the control of the production and maintenance of farming implements, they indirectly controlled even the agricultural production as well as the strength of the army. Our report says there were only two swords in the entire military. I know how you feel….to imagine that nobody could for see it. Bruggeman compares the Philistines decision to the history of gun control in the United States. It makes a good reading. Generally for Saul, this turning point is heading towards a tragedy. Our hope today is that no matter what the enemy tries, there’s always a remnant.” In any case, we learn that the rationing of iron by the Philistines is not foolproof; it never is and never can be! Iron may be rationed by the strong and kept from the vulnerable; however the iron is distributed”, At least two swords were left. Let’s have hope.

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