Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel
Out of the 300,000 that went with him to fight the Ammonites, and returned with him to Gilgal, where he now was, and had stayed as may be supposed about a year, since now he had reigned two years. These 3000 men some of them doubtless were appointed as a guard about his person, and the rest were a standing army to preserve the peace of the nation, to protect them from their enemies, to watch the motions of the Philistines, and to be ready on any sudden invasion:
whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash, and in Mount Bethel;
"Michmash", according to Bunting, F19 was four miles from Gilgal. Jerom
F20 says, in his time it was shown a large village on the borders of Aella, or Jerusalem, retaining its ancient name, nine miles distant from it, near the village Rama. Adrichomius F21 says it is now called Byra, and Mr. Maundrell F23 observes that it is supposed by some to be the same with Beer, whither Jotham fled after he had delivered his parable, ( Judges 9:21 ) . Michmash is in the Misnah F24 celebrated for the best wheat being brought from it; and near to it, as appears from hence, was Bethel, and the mount of that name; and so Jerom F25 speaks of Bethel as over against Michmash; and this mount very probably is the same said to be on the east of Bethel, where Abraham built an altar, ( Genesis 12:8 ) for Michmash lay to the east of Bethel:
and one thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin;
the native place of Saul, and this Jonathan was the son of Saul, ( 1 Samuel 13:16 ) . According to Bunting F26, Gibeah, where Jonathan was stationed, was eight miles from Michmash:
and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent;
to their own houses; or, as the Targum, to their cities; these were they that came at his summons, and were numbered at Bezek, and went with him to the relief of Jabeshgilead, and had been with him ever since, and now dismissed.
F19 Travels of the Patriarchs p. 126.
F20 De loc Heb. fol. 93. F.
F21 Thestrum Terrae S. p. 28.
F23 Journey from Aleppo, p. 64.
F24 Menachot, c. 8. sect. 1.
F25 Ut supra, (De loc Heb.) fol. 89. G.
F26 Ut supra, (Travels of the Patriarchs) p. 127.