Why Did God Have To March On Tree Tops To Defeat The Philistines And Not Air?
The scene is found in 2 Samuel 5:22-25. Just before the Philistines found out that David was newly anointed the King of Israel so they went on a search and destroy mission. David hear about it and moved into his stronghold to wait. After inquiring of the Lord he set out in a full frontal assault and defeated them easily with God’s help. This did not stop the Philistines just yet. They came out for more a second time. This time God told David not to directly attack them, but to circle around behind them and attack them opposite of some balsam trees. The Lord told David to act decisively because He would be marching out before them ahead. God told David that it would be apparent the Lord is marching out ahead of his army t attack the camp of the Philistines because David and his men would actually hear the sounds of God’s marching in the tops of the balsam trees. David did what God said. So obviously he heard the sounds of marching in the tops of trees then attacked and slaughtered many Philistines for miles. He won.
The Philistines came up again and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim. So David inquired of the Lord, and He answered, “Do not make a frontal assault. Circle around behind them and attack them opposite the balsam trees. When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, act decisively, for then the Lord will have marched out ahead of you to attack the camp of the Philistines.” So David did exactly as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Geba to Gezer.
Why did God have to do it this way this time? Why circle around and why did he have to hear marching and why did God have to use the tree tops to make the sound of his marching known? These are questions I think about after watching documentaries on the History Channel or somewhere else about biblical things. Shows like Battles B.C. who created an episode on the battle of Jericho completely ignored all supernatural things or wrote them off and tried to explain them away with natural things. After reading the above passage it causes me to play the Devil’s advocate and pretend I am a secular scholar explaining away the supernatural occurrence with something natural. I will raise up skepticism with statements and then answer it from my own thoughts.
David did not really talk to God or hear him. It was his own mind and his own confidence as a new king to defeat the Philistines. The first battle, he defeated them by pure will power and might. The second battle where he went to the trees was a new trick he used in order to confuse the Philistines who would expect another full frontal assault. When David went to the trees there must have been wind that blew the trees around making the branches hit together. David mistook that for God marching above him in the tree tops. With David’s confidence as a new King who felt destined to own all of Israel this empowered him even more to go into battle and with this energy he won a second time. He used military genius to defeat them again and it was not anything supernatural.
No. It was supernatural and David may have bad prior battle experience in Saul’s army and was a new King but this does not mean he would be simply confident in himself. Obviously the Philistines scared him and he ran away into his stronghold to wait. He did not just go and fight them. He waited and was protected in his stronghold. That does not speak of military confidence or an assumption he will win in himself. He did wait and did inquire of the Lord. He did everything like that and only fought when the Lord told him he would win. The Philistine army was fierce and always scared the Israelites even int he days of Saul and they freshly defeated Saul and his men just a bit earlier which included the death of Jonathon. Obviously David was not confident in himself. David also just fought on the side of Judah in a small civil war with Israel and Benjamin. This would not build military confidence in a newly appointed King. God did talk to David and did fight for him and went out to attack before David so he would have victory.
Why would God have to use trees to make sounds? Couldn’t he do it in the air with nothing if He is God? If God is so powerful why would he need to use tree tops to make marching sounds? It was obviously wind or a storm that shook the tree tops which David superstitiously assumed was God.
There is no mention of wind or any kind of storm during this battle. If there was a storm or high winds it seems as though it would be important enough to mention. If there wa sa storm and high winds why would David assume the wind blowing the trees was God marching? It would be blatantly obviously it was just wind. No, this had to be something way different and unusual. Since there is no mention of a storm it is totally right to assume the day was clear and normal. There is also no mention of the trees physically moving. No mention of branches or trees swaying either. It is right to assume they di not move, the trees did no sway, and the trees were still and God marched over them and the sound was supernatural. Did God march alone as Himself or did God bring his army? Would David have heard 1 pair of feet marching for God alone or would he have heard multitudes of feet marching from God bringing his angels into the battle? I believe God brought his heavenly army into the battle so David heard God heavenly army with his angels feet marching above the trees. The trees remained still and there was no wind and the only noise was God and His army marching towards the Philistines.
So why did God have to be above trees and not the air? Well if it was in the air with no trees it could be possibly mistaken for thunder. Thunder has been known to occur even on days it seems there is no storm. God also probably wanted to use a physical thing on earth as a reference point for David and his soldiers to have clearer hearing and sight. God probably wanted David to stay behind the Philistines so they could not flee backwards after God disrupts them for the second time. The first battle before this God burst out into them so they may he terrified to run backwards. This would enable David to kill them easier. Also, with the trees being perfectly still and God’s marching above them, David’s men would not be confused to assume it was just a windy day or thunder. With no movement of trees and just the sounds of an army above them would give them total faith in God that this is supernatural.
I find it silly when secular scholars explain away miracles or the supernatural history in the Bible as some natural thing. It would not be possible to win these biblical battles without the Lord. These were no win situations for the Israelites if they had to rely on their own tactics and fighting ability. The enemies of Israel were so powerful an scary. It was God who won the battles and was completely supernatural. God did physically march over the trees that day and did fight for David.
That day David listened to the Lord and he defeated the evil army of the Philistines and had rest. God moved and worked in very special ways in ancient times. God was actively and physically guiding Israel during the Old Testament times. We no long for this to happen again. We can be assured that on the Day of the Lord when Christ returns there will be en even bigger noise and terror in the world.