Jonathan and His Armor Bearer — 1 Samuel 14

One of the famous stories surrounding the life of Saul is that of how Saul’s son Jonathan, along with his armor bearer attacked the Philistine garrison at Michmash (1 Samuel 14:1–16)—about 7.5 mi. north northeast of Jerusalem.

In the story it is recounted how from a ridge on the south they descended into a wadi (today the Suweinit) and ascended the slope north of the wadi to attack Michmash.

1Sam. 14:4     On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez, and the other Seneh.  5 One cliff stood to the north toward Michmash, the other to the south toward Geba. (1 Samuel 14:4–5)

Carl Rasmussen Copyright and Contact

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View looking east down the Wadi Suweinit in the vicinity of Michmash (modern Mukmas). Note the rugged cliffs on the north (left) and south (right). — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download.

It is probable that the cliff on the north is “Bozez” and that on the south (right) is “Seneh.”  But this is an area that they probably avoided due to the steepness of the cliffs.  They probably looked for a more gradual slope as they made their way down into (from upper right) and up out of the Wadi bed (upper left).

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View looking north from the ridge on the south side of the Wadi Suweinit towards the Palestinian city of Mukmas—biblical “Michmash.”  This is probably in the vicinity of “the pass” mentioned in 1 Samuel 14:4. — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download.

View looking north from the ridge on the south side of the Wadi Suweinit—from where Jonathan and his armor bearer began their two man attack—towards the Palestinian city of Mukmas—biblical “Michmash.”  Michmash/Mukmas is situated on the hill in the distance.  The bottom of the Wadi Suweinit is (out of view) just beyond the fence and grass in the foreground.

The slope down into and out of the wadi is steep but passable—and this area avoids the cliffs to the north and south of this “pass”—see the image of the Wadi Suweinit above.

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6 responses to “Jonathan and His Armor Bearer — 1 Samuel 14

  1. Pingback: Michmash, Site of Battle Israel vs Philistines | Leon's Message Board

  2. I love this, Carl. Such great lessons in God’s power. Interestingly, God used the victory at Michmash to relocate the Philistine invasion of the Hill Country south via the Elah Valley. This provided the stage upon which God would elevate David as the national hero who would one day become king. Thanks for a great peek into this seldom-seen site.

  3. Hey Carl! I love your Atlas of the Bible and plan on purchasing it soon! Beautiful!

    I’m curious about something. Is the pass described in 1 Sam 14:4-5 the same as the pass described just verses earlier in 1 Samuel 13:23?

    Thanks! Great website!

    • Philip, thanks for your kind comments! I think that the “pass of Michmash” (1 Sam 13:23) is about 1 km. to the northwest of the place where Jonathan and his armor bearer crossed over to attack the Philistines. Actually, the “pass” of 1 Sam 13:23 is probably the same one as mentioned in Isaiah 10:29.

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