War with the Philistines
13 1 Saul was forty years old when he began to reign; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, 2 Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel, of which two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in the Mount of Bethel, and one thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent. 3 Jonathan struck the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba: and the Philistines heard of it. Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear!” 4 All Israel heard that Saul had struck the garrison of the Philistines, and also that Israel was had in abomination with the Philistines. The people were gathered together after Saul to Gilgal. 5 The Philistines assembled themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the seashore in multitude: and they came up, and encamped in Michmash, eastward of Beth Aven. 6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait (for the people were distressed), then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in coverts, and in pits. 7 Now some of the Hebrews had gone over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead; but as for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.
8 He stayed seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel didn’t come to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. 9 Saul said, “Bring here the burnt offering to me, and the peace offerings.” He offered the burnt offering. 10 It came to pass that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. 11 Samuel said, “What have you done?”
Saul said, “Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you didn’t come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines assembled themselves together at Michmash; 12 therefore I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down on me to Gilgal, and I haven’t entreated the favor of Yahweh.’ I forced myself therefore, and offered the burnt offering.” 13 Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of Yahweh your God, which he commanded you; for now Yahweh would have established your kingdom on Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. Yahweh has sought for himself a man after his own heart, and Yahweh has appointed him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept that which Yahweh commanded you.”
15 Samuel arose, and went from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin. Saul numbered the people who were present with him, about six hundred men. 16 Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people who were present with them, abode in Geba of Benjamin: but the Philistines encamped in Michmash. 17 The spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned to the way that leads to Ophrah, to the land of Shual; 18 and another company turned the way to Beth Horon; and another company turned the way of the border that looks down on the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness. 19 Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel; for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears;” 20 but all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his plowshare, mattock, axe, and sickle; 21 yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the plowshares, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to set the goads. 22 So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found. 23 The garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.
14 1 Now it fell on a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, and let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison, that is on the other side.” But he didn’t tell his father. 2 Saul abode in the uttermost part of Gibeah under the pomegranate tree which is in Migron: and the people who were with him were about six hundred men; 3 and Ahijah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the priest of Yahweh in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. The people didn’t know that Jonathan was gone. 4 Between the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistines’ garrison, there was a rocky crag on the one side, and a rocky crag on the other side: and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. 5 The one crag rose up on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba. 6 Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, and let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that Yahweh will work for us; for there is no restraint on Yahweh to save by many or by few.” 7 His armor bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Turn and, behold, I am with you according to your heart.” 8 Then Jonathan said, “Behold, we will pass over to the men, and we will reveal ourselves to them. 9 If they say thus to us, ‘Wait until we come to you!’ then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up to them. 10 But if they say this, ‘Come up to us!’ then we will go up; for Yahweh has delivered them into our hand. This shall be the sign to us.” 11 Both of them revealed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, “Behold, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they had hidden themselves!” 12 The men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armor bearer, and said, “Come up to us, and we will show you something!”
Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come up after me; for Yahweh has delivered them into the hand of Israel.” 13 Jonathan climbed up on his hands and on his feet, and his armor bearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armor bearer killed them after him. 14 That first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armor bearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were half a furrow’s length in an acre of land. 15 There was a trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people; the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled; and the earth quaked: so there was an exceeding great trembling.
16 The watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and behold, the multitude melted away, and they went here and there. 17 Then said Saul to the people who were with him, “Count now, and see who is missing from us.” When they had counted, behold, Jonathan and his armor bearer were not there. 18 Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God here.” For the ark of God was there at that time with the children of Israel. 19 It happened, while Saul talked to the priest, that the tumult that was in the camp of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand!” 20 Saul and all the people who were with him were gathered together, and came to the battle: and behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great confusion. 21 Now the Hebrews who were with the Philistines as before, and who went up with them into the camp, from the country all around, even they also turned to be with the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 Likewise all the men of Israel who had hid themselves in the hill country of Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, even they also followed hard after them in the battle. 23 So Yahweh saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over by Beth Aven.
24 The men of Israel were distressed that day; for Saul had adjured the people, saying, “Cursed is the man who eats any food until it is evening, and I am avenged of my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food. 25 All the people came into the forest; and there was honey on the ground. 26 When the people were come to the forest, behold, the honey dropped: but no man put his hand to his mouth; for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan didn’t hear when his father commanded the people with the oath: therefore he put forth the end of the rod who was in his hand, and dipped it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened. 28 Then one of the people answered, and said, “Your father directly commanded the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed is the man who eats food this day.’” The people were faint. 29 Then Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. Please look how my eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much more, if perhaps the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies which they found? For now has there been no great slaughter among the Philistines.” 31 They struck of the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. The people were very faint; 32 and the people flew on the spoil, and took sheep, and cattle, and calves, and killed them on the ground; and the people ate them with the blood. 33 Then they told Saul, saying, “Behold, the people are sinning against Yahweh, in that they eat meat with the blood.”
He said, “You have dealt treacherously. Roll a large stone to me this day!” 34 Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people, and tell them, ‘Bring me here every man his ox, and every man his sheep, and kill them here, and eat; and don’t sin against Yahweh in eating meat with the blood.’” All the people brought every man his ox with him that night, and killed them there. 35 Saul built an altar to Yahweh. This was the first altar that he built to Yahweh.
36 Saul said, “Let us go down after the Philistines by night, and take spoil among them until the morning light, and let us not leave a man of them.”
They said, “Do whatever seems good to you.”
Then the priest said, “Let us draw near here to God.” 37 Saul asked counsel of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you deliver them into the hand of Israel?” But he didn’t answer him that day. 38 Saul said, “Draw near here, all you chiefs of the people; and know and see in which this sin has been this day. 39 For, as Yahweh lives, who saves Israel, though it is in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” But there was not a man among all the people who answered him. 40 Then said he to all Israel, “You be on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side.”
The people said to Saul, “Do what seems good to you.” 41 Therefore Saul said to Yahweh, the God of Israel, “Show the right.”
Jonathan and Saul were chosen; but the people escaped. 42 Saul said, “Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son.”
Jonathan was selected. 43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done!”
Jonathan told him, and said, “I certainly did taste a little honey with the end of the rod that was in my hand; and behold, I must die.” 44 Saul said, “God do so and more also; for you shall surely die, Jonathan.” 45 The people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has worked this great salvation in Israel? Far from it! As Yahweh lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he has worked with God this day!” So the people rescued Jonathan, that he didn’t die. 46 Then Saul went up from following the Philistines; and the Philistines went to their own place.
47 Now when Saul had taken the kingdom over Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines: and wherever he turned himself, he put them to the worse. 48 He did valiantly, and struck the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of those who despoiled them. 49 Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, and Ishvi, and Malchishua; and the names of his two daughters were these: the name of the firstborn Merab, and the name of the younger Michal: 50 and the name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the captain of his army was Abner the son of Ner, Saul’s uncle. 51 Kish was the father of Saul; and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel. 52 There was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul: and when Saul saw any mighty man, or any valiant man, he took him to him.