1 Samuel 7:13—Were the Philistines expelled once and for all, or only temporarily?

Problem: This verse says that “the Philistines were subdued, and they did not come anymore into the territory of Israel.” However, only a few chapters later (9:16; cf. 10:5; 13:5, 17) they were repeatedly fighting the Philistines.

Solution: There are two ways to explain this difficulty. One is that it may simply be a strong idiom, not to be taken as excluding all future incursions on their land by the Philistines. In other words, “they came no more” for some time. Or, it could simply mean that “they came no more” at that time. A third possibility is that “they came no more” to occupy and dwell in the territory of Israel, which would not exclude them coming back to fight again and again.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.