19 No smith was to be found in all the land of Yisrael, for the Philistines were afraid that the Hebrews would make swords or spears.
v’- kha-RASH LO yi-ma-TZAY b’-KHOL E-retz yis-ra-AYL kee a-m’-RU f’-lish-TEEM PEN ya-a-SU ha-iv-REEM KHE-rev O kha-NEET
יט וְחָרָשׁ לֹא יִמָּצֵא בְּכֹל אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי־אמר [אָמְרוּ] פְלִשְׁתִּים פֶּן יַעֲשׂוּ הָעִבְרִים חֶרֶב אוֹ חֲנִית׃
13:19 No smith was to be found in all the land of Yisrael
Under Philistine rule, the People of Israel are not allowed to engage in metal work, as the Philistines are afraid they will use these workshops to make weapons. Therefore, any time the Israelites need metal work, such as for sharpening plows, they have to travel and pay exorbitant prices to have the work done by Philistine craftsmen. Later, this becomes a model for oppressors of the Jews, who would control access to weapons and minimize economic opportunities. During British rule over the Land of Israel, Jews were similarly not allowed to maintain weapons. Like Shaul and Yonatan who made secret weapons to defend their people, there were brave Jews who secretly imported weapons and made bullets that later became critical in the War of Independence. For example, the Ayalon Institute near Rehovot was the site of a secret bullet factory, hidden under what was officially a kibbutz training center. Despite harsh conditions and life-threatening risks in the pre-State days, young Jews worked underground making bullets that would later be used to defend the newborn State of Israel against its enemies.