Every battle in the Bible

This is a list of every battle in the OT. It is part of my biblical-theological analysis of the theology of War in the Bible. You can find my initial summary of the OT theology of war here.

In short, I argue that the Old Testament history shows that war was part of God’s gift of the land to Israel. Now that we have the greater gift of Jesus, and the final battle over sin has been won, there is no justification for evangelical, bible-believing Christians to engage in war. For a more detailed argument, see my article A Defence of Christian Pacifism or my longer Honours Thesis (pdf).

Passage Enemy Result God’s involvement Comments
Gen 14:1-20 Nations near Sodom and Gomorrah Won Abraham gave tithe to Melchizedek and Melchizedek attributes victory to God (Gen 14:19-20)
Gen 34 ??
Ex 17:8-15 Amalekites Won While Moses’ arms were raised, Israel won
Num 14:39-45(Deut 1:41-46) Amalekites(Amorites) Lost God commands them not to fight
Num 21:1-3 Canaanites Won ‘The LORD listened to Israel’s request, the Canaanites were defeated, and Israel completely destroyed them and their cities.”‘ (v3)
Num 21:21-35(Deut 3:1-6) Amorites, Bashan Won ‘The LORD said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have handed him over to you along with his whole army and his land.”‘ (v34)
Num 31:1-8 Midianites Won ‘The LORD spoke to Moses, “Execute vengeance for the Israelites against the Midianites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.”‘ (vv1-2)
Josh 6 Jericho Won Direct commands from God, and miraculous destruction of the walls
Josh 7:1-12 Ai Lost God says the reason for loss is that Israel had kept the plunder from Jericho against God’s command (vv11-12)
Josh 8:1-24 Ai Won After fixing the plunder issue, God commands Joshua to attack and gives strategic commands (vv1-8, 18)
Josh 10:1-13 Amorite kings Won God says that he will defeat them, throws them into confusion, then sends hail storms. The stun stands still until the battle is finished. (v8-13)
Josh 10:28-43 List of cities conquered “Joshua captured all these kings and their land in one campaign, because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.” (v42)
Josh 11:1-23 Large coalition of kings, followed by various victories. Won “The LORD handed them over to Israel” (v8)”For it was the LORD’s intention to harden their hearts, so that they would engage Israel in battle, be completely destroyed without mercy, and be annihilated, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.” (v20)
Judges 1:1-5 Canaanites and Perizzites Won “The LORD handed the Canaanites and Perizzites over to them” (v4)
Judges 1:8-2:3 List of battles and land taken, and nations that Israel failed to drive out Mixed “The LORD was with Judah and enabled them to take possession of the hill country, but they could not drive out the people who were living in the valley because those people had iron chariots.” (v19)”Therefore, I now say: I will not drive out these people before you. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a trap to you.” (2:3)
Judges Battles labelled ‘Cycle’ are cycles which involve Israel forsaking God, God specifically handing Israel over to be defeated by an enemy, Israel returning to God and then God acting to rescue them.
Judges 3:8-10 Aram Cycle God raises Othniel. The Spirit of the Lord is on him (vv9-10) Othniel
Judges 3:12-30 Moabites, Ammonites, Amalekites Cycle God raises Ehud. (v15) He told them, “Follow me, because the LORD has handed over your enemies, the Moabites, to you.” (v28) Ehud
Judges 3:31 Philistines Cycle? Shamgar (only one line  description, Judges Cycle implied?)
Judges 4 Canaanites Cycle “The LORD threw Sisera, all his charioteers, and all his army into confusion with the sword” (v15). “That day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites.” (v23) Deborah & Jael
Judges 6-7 Midianites Cycle The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many people for Me to hand the Midianites over to you, or else Israel might brag: ‘I did it myself.'” (7:4). Army reduced to 300 men (7:7), God sends the Midianites into a panic and they attack each other (7:22). Gideon
Judges 9:22-57 Shechem Won “God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the lords of Shechem. They treated Abimelech deceitfully, so that the crime against the 70 sons of Jerubbaal might come to justice and their blood would be avenged on their brother Abimelech, who killed them, and on the lords of Shechem, who had helped him kill his brothers.” (v23-24) Abimelech is killed (v56)
Judges 10-11 Philistines and the Ammonites. Cycle Jephthah. “Then the LORD God of Israel handed over Sihon and all his people to Israel, and they defeated them” (11:21) Jephthah
Judges 12:1-6 Gileadites vs Ephraimites Civil War
Judges 13 Philistines Cycle Samson’s strength comes to him from the Spirit (14:6, 15:14, 16:28) and his actions are directed by God (14:6) Samson
Judges 18 Laish Won God doesn’t actually speak (v5-6). The Priest in question seems to be a priest for a false image (18:30). “they went to Laish, to a quiet and unsuspecting people. They killed them with their swords and burned down the city.” (18:27) this seems to be a condemnation?
Judges 20 Israel vs Benjaminites Civil War God directs order of battle and gives them victory (20:18, 23, 28). Punishment of city (city given chance to hand the guilty men over). People weep over the war.
Judges 21 Jabesh-Gilead Civil War
1 Sam 4:1-11 Philistines Lost (Cycle?) The elders of Israel asked, “Why did the LORD let us be defeated today by the Philistines? Let’s bring the ark of the LORD’s covenant from Shiloh. Then it will go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.” (v3) Lost the next battle and lost the Ark.
1 Sam 7:3-11 Philistines Won (2nd half of Cycle?) “The LORD thundered loudly against the Philistines that day and threw them into such confusion that they fled before Israel” (7:10)
The Monarchy
1 Sam 11:1-11 Ammonites Won “When Saul heard these words, the Spirit of God suddenly took control of him, and his anger burned furiously.” (11:6)
1 Sam 13-14 Philistines Won Saul initiates battle, but needs Samuel to sacrifice to God’s for his favour. Samuel does not come for 7 days. Saul offers sacrifice instead.Samuel said to Saul, “You have been foolish. You have not kept the command which the LORD your God gave you. It was at this time that the LORD would have permanently established your reign over Israel, but now your reign will not endure.”(13:13-14)Jonathan said to the attendant who carried his weapons, “Come on, let’s cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps the LORD will help us. Nothing can keep the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.” (14:6)”The earth shook, and terror from God spread.” (14:15) “So the LORD saved Israel that day. ” (14:23)Jonathan breaks Saul’s oath, which results in a failure to completely defeat the Philistines (14:37-46)
1 Sam 14:47-48 List of victories for Saul
1 Sam 15 Amalekites Won God commands Saul to attack (15:2-3). Saul wins, but fails to destroy the flocks. God rejects Saul.
1 Sam 17 Philistines Won God gives David victory over Goliath (17:37, 45-47)
1 Sam 18:1-19:8 List of victories for David God is with David (18:14)
David vs Saul
1 Sam 23:1-5 David vs Philistines Won David asks God whether to attack, God says yes, “for I will hand the Philistines over to you.” (23:1-4)
1 Sam 27 David vs Geshurites, Girzites and Amalekites Won Raids conducted while David was hiding from Saul amongst the Philistines and pretending to be on their side
1 Sam 30 David vs Amalekites Won Raiders took his people. David asks God, who tells him to attack (30:7-8).
1 Sam 28-29, 311 Cron 10:1-14 Saul vs Philistines Lost God refuses to respond to Saul, Saul gets medium to summon Samuel who says God give victory to Philistines (28:19). Philistines win and Saul is killed.
David’s Reign
1 Chron 11-12 List of warriors and battles References to the Spirit guiding warriors, and God giving victory.
2 Sam 2-4 David vs Benjaminites Civil War Benjaminites eventually turn against each other, then finally recognise David
2 Sam 5:6-10 Jebusites (Jerusalem) Won “David became more and more powerful, and the LORD God of Hosts was with him.” (5:10)
2 Sam 5:17-20 Philistines Won David asks God what to do, God says “Go, for I will certainly hand the Philistines over to you.” (5:19)
2 Sam 5:22-251 Chron 14:9-17 Philistines Won David asks God, who gives specific tactical instructions (5:23-24)
2 Sam 8:1-141 Chron 18 List of victories “The LORD made David victorious wherever he went.” (8:14)
2 Sam 101 Chron 19-20 Ammonites and Arameans Won Ammonites pick fight (10:6), hire Arameans to help. After loss, Arameans make peace with Israel.
2 Sam 11-12 Ammonites Won Bathsheba incident occurs here
2 Sam 13-18 David vs Absalom Civil War Leading up to the battles, God causes Absalom to make bad decisions (17:14).
2 Sam 20 David vs Sheba Civil War
2 Sam 21:15-22 Lists of victories against the Philistines Fighting descendants of Goliath
Solomon
1 Kings 11 Solomon sins. God raises up Hadad the Edomite and Rezon son of Eliada as enemies (11:14, 23)
1 Kings 11-122 Chr 11 Rehoboam vs Jeroboam Civil War “the turn of events came from the LORD to carry out His word” (12:15)Rehoboam gathers army, but God says “You are not to march up and fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Each of you must return home, for I have done this.” (12:24) Kingdom splits
1 Kings 142 Chr 12:1-12 Judah vs Egypt Lost God says “You have abandoned Me; therefore, I have abandoned you into the hand of Shishak.” (2 Chr 12:4)God makes Judah become  vassal of Egypt (2 Chr 12:8) Egypt sacked the Temple
2 Chron 13 Israel vs Judah Judah won “God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.” (13:15)
2 Chron 14:10-14 Judah vs Cush Won “So the LORD routed the Cushites before Asa”
1 Kings 152 Chr 16 Judah vs Israel Judah won Judah make alliance with Aram (Aram breaks previous alliance with Israel). They defeat Israel.
1 Kings 20 Israel vs Aram Won God says “I am handing it over to you today so that you may know that I am the LORD.” (20:13)”Because the Arameans have said: The LORD is a god of the mountains and not a god of the valleys, I will hand over this entire immense horde to you. Then you will know that I am the LORD.” (20:28)
1 Kings 222 Chr 18 Israel & Judah vs Aram Lost Kings ask prophets of Baal, who say good idea.The Prophet Micaiah says that God is enticing Israel to fight because he has pronounced disaster on them (22:17-23)They fight anyway, Ahab is killed (fulfils prophecy)
2 Kings 3 Israel & Judah vs Moab Won Elisha provides water for the armies. “This is easy in the LORD’s sight. He will also hand Moab over to you.” (3:18)
2 Chr 20 Judah vs Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites Won Nation fasts. Jehoshaphat prays and tells them they will not even have to fight. Judah lines up and sings praises to God, and God causes the enemies to fight amongst themselves and kill each other (20:21-23)
2 Kings 6 Israel vs Aram Won God gives tactical direction (6:9)Aram sends men after Elisha, but God blinds them (6:18)
2 Kings 6:24-7:16 Israel vs Aram Won Aram besieges Samaria. God says he will break the siege and the hunger (7:1)God causes the Amarean’s to hear the sound of a large army and run away (7:6-7)
2 Kings 8:20-222 Chr 21:4-10 Judah vs Edom Lost Because king Jehoram has done evil in God’s sight (2 Chr 21:6, 10) Edom is still in rebellion to this day (8:22)
2 Kings 8:28-292 Chr 22:5-8 Israel & Judah vs Aram Result unspecified Israel’s king Joram is wounded. God then replaces him with Jehu (below)”Ahaziah’s downfall was from God” (2 Chr 22:7)
2 Kings 9-102 Chr 22:8-11 Joram vs Jehu (Judah) Civil War God anoints Jehu to replace Joram . Jehu then takes Israel in battle and kills Joram
2 Kings 10:32-33 Israel vs Aram Lost God causes Israel to lose battles and lose land (10:32)
2 Kings 13:1-5 Israel vs Aram Cycle Israel do evil, so God hands them over to Aram. But Israel return to him and he raises deliverer to protect Israel (11:4-5)
2 Chr 24:23-24 Judah vs Aram Lost “Although the Aramean army came with only a few men, the LORD handed over a vast army to them because the people of Judah had abandoned the LORD God” (24:24)
2 Kings 14:7 Judah vs Edom Won Killed 10,000 Edomites
2 Chr 25: 5-13 Judah vs Seirites Won Judah hires Ephraimites to help. Prophets tells him to send them home (25:7). He does and wins. Ephraimites sent home raid Judah.
2 Kings 14:8-142 Chr 25:17-24 Judah vs Israel Israel Won Judah picks fight with Israel. Israel warns that he will lose. Fights anyway and loses. Israel loots Temple
2 Kings 14:25-27 Israel vs Aram Won God allows Israel to restore borders previously lost
2 Chr 26:6-8 Judah vs Philistines, Meunites, Ammonites Won “God helped him against the Philistines” (26:7)
2 Kings 15:16 Israel vs Tiphash (?) Won Rips open pregnant women
2 Kings 15:19-20 Israel vs Assyria Treaty Assyria invades, Israel pays tribute and becomes vassal
2 Kings 15:29 Israel vs Assyria Lost Towns captured and people exiled
2 Chron 27:2-6 Judah vs Ammonites Won “Jotham strengthened himself because he did not waver in obeying the LORD his God.” (27:6)
2 Kings 16:5-62 Chr 28:5 Judah vs Aram Lost “the LORD his God handed Ahaz over to the king of Aram.” (2 Chr 28:5) Aram take towns. Judah asks Assyria for help, and swears allegiance. Assyria takes Damascus back.
2 Chr 28:5-13 Israel vs Judah Israel Won God hands Judah to Israel (28:5). Israel wins and takes slaves, but God says to send them home (28:9-11)
2 Chr 28:17-19 Judah vs Edom and Philistines Lost For the LORD humbled Judah because of King Ahaz of Judah, who threw off restraint in Judah and was unfaithful to the LORD. (28:19)
2 Kings 17:3-23 Israel vs Assyria Lost “The LORD removed Israel from His presence just as He had declared through all His servants the prophets.” (17:23) Refuse to pay tribute. Assyria conquers Samaria and deports people.
2 Kings 18:8 Judah vs Philistines Won “The LORD was with him” (18:7)
2 Kings 18-192 Chr 32 Judah vs Assyria Won God says “I will defend this city and rescue it for My sake and for the sake of My servant David.”  That night the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. (19:34-35) Hezekiah rebelled against Assyria (18:7). When Assyria defeated Samaria, they continued into Judah and besiege Jerusalem.
2 Chr 33:9-13 Judah vs Assyria Lost God brought Assyria against Judah because Manasseh was evil (33:9-11). Manasseh was captured, repented, and God released him.
2 Kings 23:292 Chr 35:20-24 Judah vs Egypt Lost When Pharaoh spoke to Josiah, he spoke with God’s words (35:22) but Josiah ignored him. Egypt marches against Assyria. Judah fights Egypt, King Josiah is killed.Pharaoh dictates who are next few kings and Judah pays tribute (2 Kings 23:31-37).
2 Kings 24:12 Chr 36:608 Judah vs Babylon Lost Babylon conquers Judah and Judah becomes vassal. Then Judah rebels.
2 Kings 24:2-4 Judah vs Chaldeans, Arameans, Moabites, and Ammonites Lost “This happened to Israel only at the LORD’s command to remove them from His sight. It was because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all he had done” (24:3)
2 Kings 24:7-20 Judah v s Babylon Lost “Because of the LORD’s anger, it came to the point in Jerusalem and Judah that He finally banished them from His presence” (24:20) Nebuchadnezzar besieges Jerusalem and ti surrenders.First exile.
2 Kings 252 Chr 36:16-21 Judah v s Babylon Lost Judah rebels again (24:20). Nebuchadnezzar besieges Jerusalem and takes it.Second exile.

45 thoughts on “Every battle in the Bible

  1. Pingback: All the Battles of the Bible « Constantly Reforming

  2. Wow, I needed to compile an outline of the battles in the bible for personal my personal warfare prayers and it appeared like a huge task ; now you’ve taken the load. Thank you for your effort.

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  4. I an teaching 1 seventh grader and I let the student pick the topic. He chose battles in the Bible and wanted to start with Bablon. We are using concordances etc to find scripture. I think this chart will be very helpful as we take our journey together.
    Judie

  5. Thank you so much for posting this. Its amazing how little information there even is about battles in the Bible!

  6. This is great, we need to have a full understanding how these battles were won and lost; so we can win the battle for our mind today.

    • I was thinking the exact same thing when I found this great bit of research this morning.. to add to it .. the hebrew definitions of the people and places of all of these .. the Word lives on ..the battle has been won in the Lord.

  7. How many battles exactly are there in the Old Testament? You chart is amazing. I have bee battling a physical for
    4 1/2 years. I know I have the victory, but I realized I was still in a battle. It was so good to know that God’s
    chosen people were also in long battles, yet still had the victory.
    Thank you for this revelation.
    gin

  8. This is certainly helpful to me because i need to know when to fight, and it also tells me unless GOD is with me i can’t win more so wars did not last long when God was involved.

  9. What a great resource. I am a Christian history podcaster about to explore Judges and Joshua. This will be a great resource. My podcast on iTunes is called message to kings – a biblical history of man. I am looking for others with a passion for biblical battles who study them. Please contact me if you find the time.

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    • Thanks for mentioning this. Do you mean the 1 Sam 30 incident where David rescues his people? I’ve got a reference to 1 Sam 30, but I don’t mention the town’s name. I listed it by the enemy (Amalekites) rathe than the location. But if I missed something, please let me know.

  11. Okay. I was doing a search on your site for certain battles for a project. I found AI and other battles using the name of the city and presumed that Ziklag’s battle would include the city name (to make it recognizable). Thanks for the response.

    • That was a legit expectation! The table was keyed originally to the enemy they fought, whether they won, and what God’s involvement was (commanding it, miracle, none etc). The comments with names were just my little comments where I thought it was interesting or appropriate. I should put identifiable city names in, though.

      What I found particularly interesting was the pattern: As God’s promise moved from being about the land to being about the Messiah and (eventually) Christ and the church, he stopped commanding wars, and Israel stopped winning them. It is almost as if war stopped being something we should do, in the same way that sacrificing sheep in a temple stopped when Christ came.

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  13. Thanks so much Mike for the hard work. Very useful for my study as I’m thinking of how it might apply to today.

  14. I am trying to write a traditional gospel song portraying GOD as a mighty warrior and i needed to check all the supernatural wars …wow! I am amazed. Thank you so much. I wouldn’t have been able to do much without this. All i need now is check the passages in my Yoruba bible. I wish you could read it. but stop by at ThepraisesofGod.wordpress.com Thanks again.

    • Glad to be of help. When writing your hymn, please remember that Jesus has fulfilled all OT themes, and that the victories of the OT point to his victory over sin and death.

  15. Thank you as well. This is of most importance to know. God Bless Israel and all of his people right now and forever!!! Praise His Holy name.

    • You are welcome. God will care for his people. However, the Biblical narrative shows that he does not need (or want) his people to fight for themselves, since he will fight for them. I think modern Israel has missed this point significantly.

      Psalm 33:
      16 No king is saved by the size of his army;
      no warrior escapes by his great strength.
      17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
      despite all its great strength it cannot save.
      18 But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
      on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
      19 to deliver them from death
      and keep them alive in famine.
      20 We wait in hope for the Lord;
      he is our help and our shield.
      21 In him our hearts rejoice,
      for we trust in his holy name.
      22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
      even as we put our hope in you.

      The same is just as true of tanks and iron domes.

      • What would be an appropriate response, in your opinion, for Israel to take while they are being attacked by the Palestinians or any other itentity?

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  17. I teach a Bible Study and want be sure I have my facts straight. Concerning ISIS attack on Israel I , I have been told that every effort was made to warn/protect the Palestinians in Gaza. So I was led to study if Israel had ever been the instigator of war or if they were just responding to attacks on themselves. I know God ordered some ”wars’ such as in the conquest of Canaan. However, I read that, even then, as Israel approached a city residents were given a choice of leaving, making peace or declaring war. Your page has been very helpful.

    • Thanks for that, I’m glad it helped. I recommend you read my page on the OT theology of war, because the conclusion is that God is no longer calling Israel to holy war for the land. In addition, Jesus has won the final war against God’s enemies.

      However, if you want to think about how nations could wage war in a more ‘just’ way, I would read Oliver O’Donovan’s short book ‘Just War Revisited’. He is the best thought-out just-war thinker and he gives strong theological support for his position. I suspect that O’Donovan would consider neither Hamas’ or Israel’s actions have been appropriate or just behaviour for a war.

      If I were you, I would avoid taking sides in this war. Neither side has acted well in my view.

  18. In many cases God handed over the victory before the battle was even fought. It was by faith that Joshua conquered Jericho, for The Lord said to Joshua, ” see, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with it’s Kings and fighting men” he said I HAVE, not I will. So it is with us…the battle has already been won and by faith the blessing of our lives are waiting to be released

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