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According to 1 Shmuel ch. 13 the Jews did not have weapons with which to fight the Plishtim yet in a previous battle in chapter 11 the Jewish army defeated the Ammonites, which would seemingly have required weapons. According to the simple reading the intervening time between chapters 11 and 13 are minimal and there is no indication that the Jews were at one point able to make weapons and then lost that ability due to the Plishti control.

Based on these assumptions from the simple reading of the text please explain how the Jews had weapons when fighting the Ammonites and did not when fighting the Plishtim

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    Jewish Virtual Library's Shmuel I:13 says the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his plowshare, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock… it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan…' As for most of time the peasants had no 'weapons' as such but made do with every-day tools. Chapter 11 says they 'smote the Ammonites'… not what the people were armed with, nor why they might not have used the same every-day implements. Commented Jan 24 at 16:40

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The group that defeated the ammonites were based in Jabesh Gilead, which is in the transjordan. Gad was always a strong tribe and may not have been under Philistine control.

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  • Indeed, in 13:7 it mentions Jews "crossing the river to the lands of Gad and Gilead," presumably because Philistine control didn't extend that far.
    – Meir
    Commented Jan 21 at 17:34

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