In Exodus 17.8-16 we read about the war between Amalek and Israel. The Lord says that there will be a perpetual battle with Amalek, so this battle will extend into the future. 1 Sam 9.1-2 tells us about a man named Shaul (Saul) who is from Benjamin and the family of Kish. Shaul will be the first king of Israel. He is a picture of the first Adam who was the first “king” over the creation.
We learn from Est 2.5 that there was a Jew in Susa who was a descendant of Benjamin, from the family of Kish named Mordechai. So, he was related to Shaul. He is a picture of Yeshua, the second Adam, who saves his people. King Shaul did not wipe out the Amalekites as ordered by God and allowed King Agag to live (1 Sam 15.1-9), and later, King Shaul is killed by an Amalekite in 2 Sam 1 after the Lord takes the kingdom away from him. Remember, King Shaul is a picture of the first Adam who had the kingdom taken away from him.
The villain in Esther is a man named Haman who descended from Agag the Amalekite (Est 3.1). After a plot to destroy the Jews was exposed, Haman is destroyed and the people are saved by Mordechai (like Yeshua). For more on this subject, see “The Encoded Prophetic Messages in the Book of Esther” on this website. Amalek, therefore, is a picture of Satan and the false messiah, and just as Israel was not to leave any part of Amalek alive, this is what we need to do with Satan and the false messiah.
Anything having to do with them (their teachings, false religions, anti-Torah sentiments, idols, etc) should be “destroyed” by not getting involved. 1 John 3.8 says that we are to destroy the works of the enemy and not to participate in their evil deeds (2 John 11). Here is a caution. Even though Satan and the false messiah are “taken out” we still have to deal with the flesh. Remember, Satan is “bound” and forbidden to interfere in the Messianic Kingdom, but the people will still sin.
The story of Esther relates to warfare in this way. Haman is hung on the 17th of Nisan, but the story isn’t finished till Adar one year later, no sooner, no later. It is the same with us. Yeshua was slain on the 14th of Nisan and rose on the 17th of Nisan, defeating Satan, 2000 years ago. But, the story isn’t over till the 7000 year plan of God is complete, no sooner, no later, and this comes after a fight.
Iron Age I (1200 to 900 BC) brings us to the period of the Judges and the Divided Kingdom. Now, Israel and Judah were united under one king (Shaul, David, Solomon) called the “Dual Monarchy” but after Solomon things change. The kingdom was “divided” and the first king in Judah was Rehoboam, son of Solomon, and the first king in Israel was Jeroboam. The civil center in Judah was Jerusalem, in Israel it was Jezreel, then to Samaria.
The religious center in Judah was Jerusalem, in Israel it was Bethel and Dan. The Hittite and the Egyptian kingdoms break-up and towards the end of the Iron Age I we see the rising of the nation of Assyria. Several kingdoms and nations unite for strength, like the Syrians with the Phoenicians. North of the Euphrates River is called Paddan-Aram, south is Aram.
Phoenicia has two main cities called Tyre and Sidon. To the east and south of Israel, the Ammonites, Moabites and the Edomites were in alliance. On the coast to the west, the Philistines and the “sea peoples”, who were made up of other peoples, made alliances. The Egyptians and the Hittites clash during the period of the Judges. We are going to look at battles in the time of King Shaul and David, who had the first organized army later. Let’s look at the “sea peoples” who have been mentioned several times before in more detail.
They were made up of groups of people from the Aegean called the Tejeka, Shekelish, Dinyian, Weshhesh, Sherdens and we all have heard of the Philistines. The Sherdens, who related to the Philistines, were used as part of Pharaohs bodyguard. Why not Egyptians?
This was common. David used Philistines and Hittites in his bodyguard, and the Romans used Gauls. They were used as bodyguards because foreigners were not related to anyone, therefore, distant from internal affairs and concerns. There were no family connections to be distracted with when protecting the king.
Spiritually, in a congregation, it is better not to have people prone to the internal strife and strains of the people in the congregation as leaders, it is less hassle. The sea peoples came from the Aegean Sea, with many tribes. They will combine and make incursions into Israel, with the Philistines who introduced iron to the Middle East, settling on the coast. They reach their peak in the 12th century BC.
By contrast, David will be beginning around the 10th century BC. The sea peoples have been vanquishing everyone because they had iron weapons. Infantry and chariots with composite bows had two functions. Chariots were mobile firing platforms (like a tank today) for the bow, and then they were an assault force. Egyptian helmets follow the skull and cover the ears. The infantry had oblong shields with a rounded top, while charioteers had round shields (magen).
The principle weapon of the infantry were long, metal scourges or long baton. The Egyptians will attack in groups of three to four, holding the shield with the left hand away from the body, with weapons in the right hand. A small number are armed with a spear and a sickle sword. The sea peoples wore a helmet with a feather, with tribal markings on them.
In Judges, there are five cities that operate in a confederacy, but independent like Greek city states. These cities are Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron (Judges 3.3). The sea peoples operated in three components. They were the chariots, the infantry and the non-combatants, which were the wagons and so on. Their principle weapons were the long sword and the spear.
The Philistines had few bows and chariots typical of the north (6-spiked wheels and two horses) with a crew of three, similar to the Hittites. They were armed in Hittite style, with a spear. They had a bow in the chariot with two long spears for throwing. The Philistines were armed for short-range combat with a mobile infantry and engaged in hand to hand combat after the enemy had been routed by the chariot force.
Wagons were used to transport the families of warriors, migrating south and also used by the army. The infantry was armed with a magen shield, two spears or a straight sword. He was protected by a helmet, shield, coat of armor in the upper body because their style was to get as close to you as they could.
There was a naval battle between the sea peoples (Philistines) and the Egyptians near the Nile delta. The Egyptians had a naval force and infantry on shore. They were the “mop up” force and this is important as we’ll see in the book of Judges. The sea peoples are armed with spears or swords, with a round shield and no bows. The Egyptians on the shore are in groups of four with composite bows and also in the boats. The advantage of the composite bows determined the outcome of this battle because it could pierce armor, it was a long range weapon (300 yards) and they had power.
Egyptian slingers served as spotters in the crows nest of the boats and they could shoot from there. As we study these battles, you will be able to see why one army will win over another. Once we see how the Philistines fight, when we get into spiritual battles you are going to see the classic “Philistine” fight and you will learn how to defeat them. The bow was never among the advanced types of weapons used by the Philistine warrior, even in the time of David.
We don’t have Philistine warriors as we move through the Scriptures because they go by the way because they wouldn’t use the bow. They had the capability of having composite bows, they had knowledge of the bow, but wouldn’t use it. What does that tell us in spiritual warfare?
Many have knowledge, but no wisdom. Many can tell you what God “said”, but can’t tell you what he “means.” They liked to fight close. For medium range, they used a javelin called a “heddle” and this is what Goliath used. David used a sling because it was a long range weapon and David knew his success would be from long range, not close combat. David defeats Goliath before he is in range of Goliath’s heddle. That is how you defeat the “Philistine” in a spiritual battle. You knock them out before they get close to you. You never want to fight on “their turf.” Anytime you are in a “Philistine” battle, you must attack him from long range, knock him down and don’t let him get close to you. Then you can “cut his head off.”
The Egyptian boats were powered by sails and oars, the Philistine ships had only sails. The Egyptians had an advantage in mobility, plus they “lured” the Philistines into the Nile River. This added to their mobility and the Philistines couldn’t escape. In the open sea, they would’ve had the advantage because they were sea peoples. The Egyptians were not sea peoples and had ships that were faster, sleeker and designed to come in and strike fast because they were not made for sea travel. As a result, the Philistines were bombarded by archers with composite bows from the shore and in boats.
Spiritually, we need to assess our enemy and take away his advantages. We need to place him in a position where he can’t maneuver, but you can. Take away his advantage in “armor” (what protects him, like their false doctrine and teachings), and use what you have to your advantage, and never interrupt your enemy when they are making a mistake. Never fight unless you are in a place of your choosing.
The Egyptian army has changed from the time of the Exodus. They have new, short range weapons and straight swords and staves. They have four man infantry units used to cover assault groups. These were used to counteract the threats of the sea peoples as they advanced into the Middle East during this time. The sea peoples go to the coast and establish their five cities mentioned above after they are defeated by the Egyptians.
Israel at this time will be very weak. They have no iron weapons to use and for the most part, didn’t even have swords. They fight with pick axes, hoes, slings and farming equipment (1 Sam 13.19-22). When Shaul becomes king, there are only two swords in the entire army (1 Sam 13.22). The Philistines had a form of “gun control” over the Israelites and made it impossible for Israel to make their own iron weapons in order to keep the advantage and control them.
In Part 10, we will begin to look at actual battles in the Scriptures and use what we have learned already to evaluate these battles and pick up more concepts relating to our own spiritual warfare. Remember, warfare was taught to the people by the Lord (Judges 3.1-2) and it is a part of the “moreshet karav” (the heritage of war) so it is an important thing to learn in our spiritual battles.