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
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.

97 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.

  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.

  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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  20. Thank you for compiling. Extensive research that I actually intended is now no more a concern. I’m working on a new book which ideally captures the battles won and the divine help received. The focus is how there is supernatural help for the battles in OT. The same truth applicable in our daily life. Thanks again.

  21. Too many of the Christian repsonses make one suspect that Jesus is regarded as Prince of War instead of Prince of Peace. Long live Advent!

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  23. Pingback: Sacred Violence | The Challenge of the Complicated Conversation

  24. How might we rid ourselves of this evil called Isis? It took troops to stop Hitler. Do you believe that prayer will stop the horrible things that are happening? I sincerely wish some one to give me an answer. i believe that God will bless America if we take steps to stop this evil.

    • Which do you believe is more powerful, the gun or the gospel? What would have happened if, instead of parachuting thousands of marines in Germany, the allies parachuted thousands of evangelists? Western Christians are too scared to trust the gospel as our protection and salvation, and we resort to cowering behind our guns. Maybe we should try the braver option? Just some thoughts.

    • God will bless America if it starts turning itself around and going in the right direction, all one has to do is look at recent legislation (as favored by our culture) to see that we’re going against Biblical principles. From Isaiah “And the government will rest on His shoulders” means that God is the one in charge and only allows the enemy to exist in order to accomplish his will. In accordance with Conrad Cardinal I agree that we as a nation should be repenting, glorifying God, spreading/acting out God’s Word in order to accomplish true change and peace.

      • I agree that all people should be “repenting, glorifying God, spreading/acting out God’s Word in order to accomplish true change and peace”. I would argue that it is not the role of the “nation”, but the role of each person living within the nation, and role of the church (both as the whole body of God’s people, and as the local gathering). Jesus and Paul never called on “Rome” to do anything, they called on people to repent and follow Jesus.

        Also, I’m not American! I’m an Australian (born in New Zealand, so I don’t even fit in my own country) and we have never had the same tight connection between faith and Government that the US has. We have never had the narrative of “God will bless Australia if Australia is faithful”, rather we more think in terms of “let’s bless Australia by being faithful”.

  25. Our God is a God of battle who fight for His children and delivered them from the hands of the enemy, but this generation have fail to trust in God to fight for them in time of trials and trouble

  26. Mike, Thanks for your great research that you have given away free to the children of God. One question that I would like to hear from you is whether it is right for a Christian to serve in the military? Blessings.

    • Hi David. I try to avoid language of “wrong” because it can inflame the debate, but I can’t see how it is appropriate for a Christian to hold a combative role in the military (there may be non-combative roles, like chaplaincy or medic, that are more appropriate). If Jesus is serious about the turning the other cheek thing, then that job seems to require us to park Jesus at the door when we pick up our M16. The existence of war in the OT does not legitimise Christians going to war any more than the existence of the temple in the OT means that Christians should be making sacrifices. Jesus has won the final battle, and has called us to a war against evil, death and Satan. Eph 6 makes this very clear, Paul says “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” and then goes on to re-appropriate the images of war and point them to the spiritual weapons of prayer and gospel ministry. If nothing else, I think that time spent physically fighting and training to fight is a waste of time when we have so much more powerful weapons at hand.

      Does that help?

  27. This compendum is quite useful. I’m doing a personal study and was looking for a list of battles Isreal won when they got God involved in praise and the battles they lost when they showed ingratitude. I’m glad i found this. I celebrate you.

  28. In response to the thesis that war is no longer part of God’s plan for his people, I offer Eph 6:12 “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” As with most of the Old Testament, war was a pattern and foreshadowing of the spiritual realm, so that as God might give victory over carnal enemies, so might he give victory over our spiritual battles which are mostly fought within ourselves. I wouldn’t advocate that our country abandon its army for defense, but the focus of Christians should certainly be more on the spiritual warfare we’re engaged in. Thanks for this compilation of battles, it’s a helpful resource.

  29. Thank you, this is a great summary! Maybe I missed it somewhere else, or I need to study it more, but I am wondering what “cycle” means?

    • “Cycle” is my short-hand for a single story that covers Israel(/Judah’s) sin, their defeat by an enemy, their repentance, and their restoration. So in the story, God’s people first lose and then win – showing very clearly how military victory is a result of faithfulness not skill. It is named after what some scholars call the “judges cycle”, which is this same cycle.

  30. Mike thanks so much for this wonderful research. I just had a dream when somem member of my church was injuring about spiritual war fare and she was asking about who is a soldier in the spiritual war and she also wanted to know if that soldier gets scars and wounds what that means…….please help me answer that.

    • I’m not quite sure what you are asking, but it is important to remember that the main thing that the bible says about spiritual warfare is that the battle is already won. Even if it does not feel like it at times, Jesus won the battle when he rose from the dead. Every Christian is part of the victory, and so is a soldier, but our job is not win the battle but to keep following Jesus who has already won it. Being a Christian is hard, and we will get ‘scars’ like people rejecting or persecuting us, but we win when we stay with the one who has won. Does that help?

  31. Please accept my gratitude for your work here. As a progressive Christian Minister(retired) I have a lot of friends who believe that Islam teaches nothing but hate and war. I continually remind them that ‘Islam’ means ‘Peace’ and that in the Hebrew Scriptures we have this long list of wars and terror by us Judeo-Christians. The major Prophets had a lot to say against so much of the violence coming from a desire to put war ahead of trusting in God and following the commandments. We still need to heed the words ‘judge not that you too fall under judgement.’ When it comes to war and violence we need to be a confessional community of faith and wage Shalom on our neighbors. Thank you again

    • “Islam” means literally, “submission” or “surrender”, particularly to the god Allah. You are correct that Islam teaches peace in the first Suras but war throughout the larger remainder.

      • I’m uncomfortable discussing the nature of Islam here, simply because I have no claim to expertise, and I fear that it might distract from the topic at hand in this post. Equally, I’m not comfortable with describing the wars of the OT as terror. The point I’ve been trying to raise is that OT war features either as (a) part of God’s good promise to his people about the land or (b) God’s judging actions against some nations, or even against his own people. Both these roles have been fulfilled by Jesus, suggesting that the OT pattern of war is no more a pattern for modern Christians than the OT pattern of Temple sacrifice.

  32. Grand work, Mr. Southon. Not only did I enjoy your thoroughness but your careful answers to the posts.

  33. Wow this is amazing. You wouldn’t believe it but my 10 yr old daughter just said to me yesterday that the Bible seems to have a lot of war and killing in it. I tried to explain war and why it occurs etc and then I find this today!!! It will help my research to be able to understand more fully to retell to her and hope she doesn’t see the Bible in the negative because of this. (PS I’m in NZ 🙂 )

  34. This is an excellent compilation. Is there a resource to help people apply lessons from OT battles in spiritual warfare? I am curious. In the meantime I will be going through your list.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    • I’m not aware of such a resource, but I’m sure a bunch exist. Some will be excellent, some … less so. My greatest concern with applying OT lessons to post-NT spiritual is that some writers don’t take it through Jesus first.
      I think Paul’s example in Ephesians with the armour / weaponry of God is the best pattern to follow.
      However, two OT accounts jump out as good examples: the Hezekiah’s response to invasion in Isa 36-37, and his complete reliance on God and prayer would be a good example to consider in spiritual warfare, as would the the example of Nehemiah, and his blending of reliance on God/prayer, and doing what he could in the physical world to serve faithfully.

      Hope that helps a bit

  35. Pingback: Charles Lindbergh Sr. Against War | praythroughhistory

  36. Pingback: War, What Good Is It? – War History Buff

  37. minor typo on chart in the “2 Kings 24:1 2 Chronicles 36:608” – should be 6-8 – not a big deal, but if you update this

  38. Pingback: The Victory Is His – As He Walked

  39. The first century Christians were not pacifists though. Overcoming evil with good, or being without guile like doves, does not mean allowing your family or your nation to be annihilated. God’s morality didn’t change from the OT to the NT. Men are still required morally to fight evildoers and invaders. The only reason we don’t strike with the sword for Jesus is that His kingdom is not of this world. We’re still charged with the protection of our families. Jesus’ disciples went armed for this reason. Mark said, no one can enter a strong man’s house. If he’s a Christian, you might ask for his help instead though. This was obvious even to the apostles. Do not bind where God has not bound.

    • Thanks for your comment.
      Firstly, the first century Christians were pacifists, that is evident in their writings. I recommend the new history Bullies and Saints by John Dickson as a good overview.
      Secondly, Jesus discples did not go around armed – they had one sword amongst the lot of them, and Jesus wanted it so that “they might be counted amongst the transgressors”. The later rebukes Peter for using that one sword saying “he who lives by the sword will die by it”.
      Thirdly, we do have a moral requirement to care for our families – but not to sin in the process of that care. We care for our familes by raising them in the love and service of the Lord. I am not going to justify breaking commands of Jesus by claiming that it is needed to protect my family – that would be showing that I do not trust God’s ways. Instead, I will care for my family the way God commands, and trust that he is all powerful and good, and will achieve what I cannot.

      • The Lord would have never asked someone to do something to be counted among the transgressors/sinners.
        It’s not a sin to have weapons and its not a sin to defend ones self and their families from common aggression.

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