1 Samuel 13:17

17 Three squads of raiding parties were regularly sent out from the Philistine camp. One squadron was assigned to the Ophrah road going toward Shual country;

1 Samuel 13:17 Meaning and Commentary

1 Samuel 13:17

And the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in
three companies
Saul not daring to come out to fight them, and there being none throughout the land to oppose them, they sent out three companies of soldiers to ravage and spoil the country; of so little use and service was a king to Israel, they were so extremely desirous of; and this was suffered, to convince them of their vain confidence in him, and that their trust ought to be in the Lord their God; never was their country more exposed to rapine and violence than now:

one company turned unto the way that leadeth to Ophrah;
a city in the land of Benjamin, of which see ( Joshua 18:23 ) and lay southwest from Michmash, where the army of the Philistines were:

unto the land of Shual:
which the Targum paraphrases,

``the land of the south;''

it seems to have had its name from the multitude of foxes in it, Shual signifying a fox.

1 Samuel 13:17 In-Context

15 At that, Samuel got up and left Gilgal. What army there was left followed Saul into battle. They went into the hills from Gilgal toward Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul looked over and assessed the soldiers still with him - a mere six hundred!
16 Saul, his son Jonathan, and the soldiers who had remained made camp at Geba (Gibeah) of Benjamin. The Philistines were camped at Micmash.
17 Three squads of raiding parties were regularly sent out from the Philistine camp. One squadron was assigned to the Ophrah road going toward Shual country;
18 another was assigned to the Beth Horon road; the third took the border road that rimmed the Valley of Hyenas.
19 There wasn't a blacksmith to be found anywhere in Israel. The Philistines made sure of that - "Lest those Hebrews start making swords and spears."