We are going to begin and talk about a place called Sukkot and then relate it to our own spiritual warfare. It was David’s headquarters across the Jordan to the east and Jerusalem was his capital on the west side. It is mentioned in 2 Sam 11.6-13 where the NASB translates Sukkot as “temporary shelters” but it means Sukkot, a definite place. So, when fighting the Arameans (Syrians), who were in the north, he was based at Sukkot.
In his campaigns with the Philistines, Amorites, Edomites and Moabites, he was based in Jerusalem, from a single center working outwards. The Valley of Sukkot was filled with 19 towns, and in the 8th century major campaigns were launched from there against the northern kingdom of Israel.
King Solomon made Temple utensils there (2 Chr 4.16-17). The reason for these two bases was because David did not want to spread himself “too thin” like the Hittites did against the Egyptians. The strategic value of operating from a single center outwards is he enjoined the advantage of fighting with interior lines of communication and supplies, maintaining a smaller army that could be rushed in any direction.
The weakness of this is it relied too much on the “direct approach.” The routes to his advance to an enemy offered no scope for surprise and could always be anticipated because there were only so many roads, and ambushes could be set up. This called the “direct approach.”
In modern Israel, this was a problem in the Yom Kippur War in 1973. When the Syrians in the north, and the Egyptians in the south advanced, they did it where Israel had no roads, so Israel could not move troops. Following the war, a massive road-building program was initiated so they could move troops on the ground.
A strategic base needs these qualifications. Appropriate and secure lines of communication forward to the enemy and to the rear. Topographic conditions need to be present in order to defend the area around the base, with minimal forces.
When we talk about the Valley of Sukkot, keep in mind that when Yeshua crosses the Jordan to minister, it was very often here. There was a lot of water there and Jacob sees God there (Gen 32.2-22 through 33.17). It is believed that this is where the believers will flee during the Birth-pains (Rev 12.14). They fled there in in the first and second Jewish war against the Romans (70 and 135 AD).
It has the greatest potential for yielding manuscripts since the Dead Sea Scrolls. Whole libraries were buried because they contained the name of God. These are called “genizah’s.” The communities were primarily believers and the Valley of Sukkot is mentioned over and over again in the Scriptures and will play a major role in the near future. The problem is, it is in Jordan now.
This valley is on the main communication route between Jerusalem and Damascus. It was linked by the most secure routes to Samaria. It could be easily defended with small units against chariots, which is important if you don’t have any. It had the Jordan River in the west, The Jabbok River in the southeast, high mountain ridges in the east and northeast, and deep ravines in the north. It had many springs, and water was abundant for agriculture as well.
The metals found there made it perfect for metal working, as we have seen in 2 Chr 4.16-17. When Shishak came during Rehoboam’s time, he by-passed most of Israel and went to the Valley of Sukkot first. He then used it as a base for attack (learning a valuable warfare tactic from David). It was also one of the 24 administrative districts of Solomon (1 Kings 4.14 where it says “Mahanaim” in the Valley of Sukkot), with an army and a governor based there.
Because of Sukkot, David’s ability to wage war against the northern kings of Syria, and prevent them from sending for help to the Ammonites, was enhanced. There were only three routes into Trans-Jordan (“across the Jordan”) and David loses to the Ammonites one time because of this, but he learns and adjusts.
In spiritual warfare, the “direct approach” is the “confrontation” approach used by many people. They are always “in your face” and very direct and straight-forward. But there is a time and place for everything, and we need to be led of God if you use this approach. It is not the cure-all approach, and if you confront a person using this tactic, you are going to be in constant warfare with that person, and they are going to “pin your ears back” most of the time.
Like David, they will see you coming if you always use the direct approach, and they will “set you up” and ambush you by getting you into an argument at the wrong time. David nearly lost the battle against the Ammonites and Syrians (Arameans) because of the direct approach (2 Sam 10.9; 1 Chr 19.10). He launched out too quick and nearly got caught between the two armies. He took the wrong road and got surrounded.
Spiritually, how many times have we reacted too quickly and “took the wrong road?” We need to hear from the Lord before we say anything and rush to confront the enemy.
What is a “crusader?” For example, several people years ago got together to fight the TV show “Barney” and an article on this said they felt they had to “pick a project to please God” and they had only been believers for 18 months. This is a crusader. What they needed to do was to study and learn the Scriptures for quite some time, to learn true spiritual warfare. Then if God tells you to pick up a sword, then do it because you will be ready. But many people are swatting to the left and to the right, not watching what they say and don’t know what they are talking about, creating all sorts of things that are not from God.
We have had this in the faith and some of the “stupidest” arguments. People have argued over whether believers should be “dunked” or “sprinkled” or tongues or no tongues. They argue over grace versus law, or “King James version only” and other things. What is going to happen is you are going to have the Arameans in front of you, and the Ammonites in back of you, and then you are going to be saying, “I was only trying to serve you, Lord” as you limp off, wounded. No, you were trying to serve yourself, it was an “ego trip” and all of us have done it.
But, you don’t have to keep going through that. The majority of biblical arguments are not of God. Spend your time studying, learning the Scriptures and its concepts from someone who knows what they are doing, not arguing. Gain the “chachmah” of God so that when an argument comes up, you have been seasoned by the warfare, and you have the “weapons” to use and to rely upon.
Another problem is the only thing people know is the Epistles, or one part of Scripture. What is an “epistle?” It is a commentary on the Torah. If you don’t understand the Torah, how are you going to understand the commentary? Into your battles, you are going to need different approaches (unless you are ambushed). You need to decide which one to use, and be led of God.
The shortest, most direct route is not always the best way. Being “honest” and “open” isn’t always the best route. The battle of 2 Sam 10 was considered, in the first century, to be one of the most important battles of the biblical period, similar to David and Goliath.
In the Mishnah, Sotah 8.1, there is prayer of the priest anointed for war that says “The Philistines came in the strength of Goliath and the children of Ammon came in the strength of Zobah.” We need to think like the Lord of the armies. The bad news is our thoughts are not his thoughts (Isa 55.8-9). The good news is we have the mind of Messiah (1 Cor 2.16). Yeshua is the image of God, he didn’t speak of himself, his ways were God’s ways. If Yeshua is the visible image of God (remember what “tzitzit” means?) and we can have his mind, we should be seeing and thinking like God.
But there is a problem, flesh to spirit. Jacob didn’t believe that Joseph was alive until he saw the wagons, then he believed (Gen 45.27). Then he went from flesh to spirit. Just because we have a “spiritual thought” doesn’t mean it came from God. We can read through the Scriptures and never “see” what is important (like this battle, but it was important to the Jewish world in the first century).
Our minds need to be transformed, we need to see what is important to the Lord, then read the Scriptures. That is why we have this website. People can come and study all the topics we have and really see things that they never saw before, renewing their minds, and we have only scratched the surface on what will be contained on this site and we are not the last word on any subject.
In 2 Sam 11.11, we learn that the Valley of Sukkot was a staging area for action against Ammon and Syria for the militia. The army in Israel is set up today similar to how David’s was. There was a regular army and reserves who served two months out of the year and lived at home and pursued occupations.
Part of David’s role in the wilderness was protecting the people (1 Sam 1.1-17). The tribes may help each other, or some may not because of tribal strife. David had to overcome their tribal mentality and strife and make units of all of them. This was a major task.
There is a quote from Yigael Yadin, who wrote the “Art of Warfare” that says, “It is no accident that the IDF, established after thousands of years of exile, should today be organized in a pattern similar to that of the armies of David and Solomon. The Israeli forces of today are based on a relatively small regular standing army and a large militia, funded on the exact same principles that governed the formation of David’s militia.” It is not based on “spit and polish” like the American army, but on “effectiveness.” Uniforms are not pressed, and one officer of the Barak Brigade was seen with a rip in his uniform one time.
We know that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and his ways are not our ways (Isa 55.8-9), but the Lord wrote down his thoughts and his ways 8n the Scriptures.
In Part 14, we will begin to look at how David organized Israel in so many ways. He organized the divisions of the Levites, the Kohanim (priests), the musicians, the gatekeepers for the Temple, the Gabbai Tzedekah, the army, the tribes and the kings counselors (1 Chr 23 through 27), but our focus will be on the army.
All of this was given by God by the Ruach ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit). So, David was given the thoughts and the ways of God, and Israel will be successful as long as they hold to this plan. What comes forth is not from David (1 Chr 28.11-19) and this includes how the military will be structured.