New Defender's Study Bible Notes
13:1 reigned two years. Contrast Acts 13:21, which indicates that Saul reigned forty years. Actually the Hebrew text in this verse is somewhat uncertain, and the Septuagint omits it altogether. The Hebrew text as it now stands actually reads: “Saul was — years old when he began to reign, and he reigned — and two years over Israel.” Consequently various translators have used various ways of supplying the lost numbers. If it is rendered approximately as follows: “Saul was thirty five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and two years over Israel;” then the subsequent narratives, along with Acts 13:21, will be found to fit well together, and it is so interpreted by many modern scholars. The fact is, however, that the actual numbers are unknown, so the best chronological constraint for this period must come from Paul’s summary in Acts 13:21.
13:2 with Saul in Michmash. Michmash was seven miles north of Jerusalem. Jonathan was in Gibeah, southwest of Michmash. Both cities were in the territory of Benjamin. The Philistines assembled their armies in Beth Aven, just west of Michmash.
13:5 thirty thousand chariots. The ancient Syriac translation, as well as some Septuagint and Arabic Bible manuscripts, read “three thousand chariots.” This latter figure seems more reasonable, in view of the terrain, the Philistine population, and the general comparative data regarding chariots and horsemen. However, it may be possible that the Philistines could have enlisted many allies. I Chronicles 19:7 notes that the Ammonites used thirty-two thousand chariots against David.
13:8 tarried seven days. Note Samuel’s earlier instructions to Saul in I Samuel 10:8.
13:14 hast not kept that. Samuel had warned Saul that, if he were to be king, he must obey God’s commandments. Now Saul had arrogated to himself the function of God’s priest as well as king, and God had to reject him. The Lord would find what He was seeking—“a man after [His] own heart”—in David (Acts 13:22).
13:19 no smith. It is believed that the Philistines acquired their knowledge of iron forging from the Hittites, giving them a significant advantage over the Hebrews, who apparently did not learn this art until around the time of David (I Chronicles 22:3). Consequently, their arrows were mostly arrows and slings. They did have bronze weapons and armor of a sort.
13:21 coulters. Plow blades that cut vertically.