Saul and his son Jonathan and the men with them were staying in Gibeah in Benjamin, while the Philistines camped at Mikmash.
Raiding parties went out from the Philistine camp in three detachments. One turned toward Ophrah in the vicinity of Shual,
another toward Beth Horon, and the third toward the borderland overlooking the Valley of Zeboyim facing the wilderness.
Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!”
So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plow points, mattocks, axes and sickles sharpened.
The price was two-thirds of a shekel for sharpening plow points and mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening forks and axes and for repointing goads.
So on the day of the battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.
Now a detachment of Philistines had gone out to the pass at Mikmash.