#66 Great Battles of Jewish History (Part 1)

The earliest detailed accounts we have of military contests between the Jewish people and their enemies are found in the Bible. In this podcast episode, the first in a four-part series on great battles of Jewish History, David examines three events from the books of Judges and Samuel in which the Jewish people experience war. Beginning with an in-depth exploration of the fundamental role played by the geography and topography of the land, David explains how an understanding of these details can transform our historical picture of the tactics, leadership, and circumstances of those involved. He also discusses other significant elements that led to the success or failure of each military test and how figures like Devorah and Barak, Gidon, and Saul each fared in these critical moments of individual and national survival.

For listeners to the podcast who can not see the maps David draws in this lecture, we have provided a series of graphics that capture the information provided on the whiteboard. In order to gain the most from this lecture, we recommend referring to these maps as you listen.

Find a large-size pdf of the maps here https://bit.ly/3qj2L0P

Included in this podcast episode:

  • Israel’s technological disadvantage in early warfare, including its lack of iron for weapons and chariots
  • how Devorah and Barak (and Yael) defeated Sisera and the Canaanite army at the Battle of Mount Tabor
  • the tactics used by Gideon to defeat the Midianites at the Battle of Moreh
  • the story behind Saul’s defeat by the Philistines at the Battle of Gilboa
  • the importance of understanding geography and topography in military campaigns
  • the role of mobility and intelligence in military victories

Find more of David Solomon’s podcast, with dozens of lectures on Jewish history, the Bible, Jewish philosophy, and Kabbalah here.


This four-part series was recorded at Caulfield Shule in 2019.