After securing the promise of God’s blessing in 2 Samuel 5:19, David marched against the Philistines who had gathered for battle in the Valley of Rephaim, only three or four miles southwest of Jerusalem, and there he administered to them a resounding defeat.
Ironically the Philistines abandoned their idols to the Israelites as Israel, in Samuel’s early days, had surrendered the ark of the covenant, the token of God’s presence, to the Philistines (1 Samuel 4:11).
But the Philistines rallied and came up to Rephaim again (2 Samuel 5:22). This time the divine strategy was different. Israel circled behind the Philistines and when they heard a marching-like rustle in the balsam trees they attacked and drove the Philistines from Gibeon. All could see the evidence of God’s protection and power on David and his kingdom.