12Abner marched the soldiers of King Ishbosheth out of Mahanaim, across the Jordan River, and to the banks of a pool at Gibeon. 13David’s commander, Joab son of Zeruiah, marched his men to the other side of the pool. So, the two groups took up positions on opposite sides of the pool.
14Abner called out to Joab, “Hey, let’s have some of our men step forward and show us what they’re made of.” Joab agreed, “Okay, let them come.” 15Men stepped up and counted off. Generals limited the fight to a dozen men from each side—mortal combat, tribe against tribe. Twelve stood from Ishbosheth’s tribe of Benjamin and 12 from David’s tribe of Judah. 16Each man grabbed an enemy by the head and stabbed him in the side. They all fell together. That spot in Gibeon became known as Flint Field, for the blades that fell on the ground.
17The battle that followed was intense. David’s men won, defeating Abner’s army.
18David’s sister, Zeruiah, had three sons: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Asahel ran like a wild gazelle. 19He targeted Abner, who was retreating from the lost battle. Asahel refused to fight anyone else. He kept eyes on his bullseye, the enemy commander running away.
20Abner looked back and yelled, “Is that you, Asahel?” He said, “You bet it’s me.” 21Abner said, “Go after one of these other men and take what you want” Asahel kept gaining on him.
22Abner said, “Pick someone else. I don’t want to kill you. If I do, how could I ever face your brother Joab?” 23Asahel kept running. He ran right into the butt end of Abner’s spear. It bore through his stomach and broke through his back. Asahel, David’s nephew, dropped dead. When fellow warriors came to his body, they stood for a time in silence.
King Saul's hasty retreat from the Philistine army began when Prince Jonathan, with a battalion of 1,000 men, attacks and destroys a Philistine camp in a small town near what is now Jerusalem. His father , King Saul, backs him up by leading 2,000 men into the area to patrol the towns and communities.
Philistines retaliate with overwhelming force: 3,000 chariots pulled by 6,000 horses. And there are more infantry than anyone can count.
"When Israel saw they were in trouble, most of the army retreated to anything they could crawl into or behind: caves, rocks, tombs, dry wells called cisterns, and dirt holes in the ground. They got invisible fast.Some jumped the Jordan. They crossed the Jordan River into territory of Gad’s tribe and the land of Gilead. But Saul stayed at Gilgal, with a lot of terrified Israelite citizens" (1 Samuel 13:6-7).Saul waited to attack for seven days, to give time for Samuel to get there. Samuel told him to do that. But Saul’s fighters were quickly slipping out of camp and running away.
Meanwhile, Philistines set up camp in the hills around Michmash, in the area where the Israelite had been before they ran away.
One more thing: "On the day of the battle, Saul and his son Jonathan each had a sword and spear. No one else did. There weren’t any weapons in town.A company of Philistines advanced to set up camp at the valley pass of Michmash."Israel didn’t have any ironsmiths who could make iron weapons or tools. Philistines outlawed it. They said, “Hebrews aren’t allowed to make swords or spears for themselves.”So, Israelites couldn’t sharpen or repair their iron plow tips, picks, axes, and sickles. They had to go to Philistine ironsmiths for that.
A bronze sword doesn't hold up well against an iron one.