World War I Incident repeats Bible Account

Walter Copes (
Tue, 30 Apr 1996 09:22:48 -0500

    During WWI the Ottoman Empire (Turks) ruled all the Middle East
and a considerable portion of North Africa. The Turks allied
themselves with Germany during the war. General Allenby was the
commander of the British forces that fought the Turks and defeated
them. If was the results of this victory that eventually led to the
establishment of the nation of Israel after WWII.

    The article below is a direct quote. I found it interesting
because of the related Bible information. Hope you enjoy this excerpt.


Spach, John Thom, "Allenby And The Last Crusade," MILITARY HISTORY,
March, 1996, (741 Miller Dr. SE, Suite D-2, Suite 300, Leesburg, VA

     On February 13, 1918, the 60th Division took over the Deir Ibu
Obed-Ras es Suffa-Hezmeh Line from the 53rd Division, and on the next
day, operational orders were issued for an attack on Jericho with the
object of driving the enemy across the Jordan River. Before the main
attack could take place, it was necessary to straighten out the Brit-
ish line by capturing a small village in the hands of the Turks and
directly in front of the 180th Brigade. The village was named Mukhmas,
or Michmash.

     A frontal assault was decided upon. Supported by artillery and
machine guns. The brigade was to move down into the valley separating
the two lines, and at dawn it would storm up the other side, in the
face of the enemy fire. The plan would entail some casualties, but
those were deemed unavoidable. All orders were issued, then the troops
got what rest they could.

     In his bivouac, by the light of a candle, Major Gilbert read his
Bible. When the raid was first discussed, the name Michmash had sound-=7F
ed vaguely familiar, although he could not quite place it. Just as he
was about to put out his candle, he thought he would try one more time
to find the name. At last he found what he was searching for in I
Samuel, Chapter 13 and 14: "And Saul and Jonathan, his son, and the
people that were present with them, abode in Gibeah: but the Philis-
tines encamped in Michmash.

     "Now it came to pass upon a day that Jonathan, the son of Saul,
said unto the young man that bare his armor, 'Come and let us go over
to the Philistines' garrison, that is on the other side,' but he told
not his father....And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone.

     "And between the passages, by which Jonathan sought to go over to
the Philistine garrison, there was a sharp rock on the one side, and a
sharp rock on the other side: the name of one was Bozez, and the name
of the other Seneh. The forefront of one was situated northward over
against Michmash, and the other southward over against Gibeah. And
Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour...'It may be that
the Lord will work for us; for there is no restraint to the Lord to
save by many or by few.'"

     The major read on how Jonathan went through the pass of Michmash,
between Bozez and Seneh, and climbed the hill with his armor-bearer
following behind, until they came to a place high up, about "a half
acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow," and the Philistines
who were sleeping awoke, thought they were surrounded by the armies of
Saul, and the "multitudes melted away" as they fled in disorder. Saul
then attacked with his whole force of 600 men. It was a great victory
for him, and "so the Lord saved Israel that day and the battle passed
over into Bethaven."

     "This pass, these rocky headlands and flat piece of ground are
probably still there," Gilbert told himself. "Very little has changed
in Palestine throughout the centuries." He woke General Watson and in-
formed him of what he had found in the Bible. Together they read the
story over again. Then Watson sent out scouts, who came back and
reported finding the pass, thinly guarded by the Turks, with rock
crags on either side--obviously Bozez and Seneh. Up in Michmash, the
moonlight shone on a flat piece of ground just big enough for a team
to plough.

     Immediately, Watson decided to change the plan of attack. Instead
of the whole brigade, one infantry company advanced in the dead of
night along the pass of Michmash. The few Turks they met were quickly
and silently dealt with. They passed between Bozez and Seneh, climbed
the hillside and, just before dawn, found themselves on the flat piece
of ground. When the Turkish soldiers awoke, they thought they were
surrounded by several British armies and fled in disorder.

     Every enemy soldier who had slept that night in Michmash was
either killed or captured. After thousands of years, the tactics of
Jonathan and Saul had again met with success.
Walter L Copes=20