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1 Samuel 13 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

13 Sha’ul was — years old[a] when he began his reign, and he had ruled Isra’el for two years, when he chose three thousand of Isra’el’s men. Two thousand of them were with Sha’ul in Mikhmas and in the hills of Beit-El, and a thousand were with Y’honatan in Giv‘at-Binyamin. The rest of the people he sent back to their respective tents.

Y’honatan assassinated the governor of the P’lishtim in Geva. The P’lishtim heard of it; so Sha’ul had the shofar sounded throughout the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear!” All Isra’el heard that Sha’ul had assassinated the governor of the P’lishtim and thus made Isra’el a stench in the nostrils of the P’lishtim. So the people rallied behind Sha’ul in Gilgal; while the P’lishtim assembled themselves together to make war on Isra’el — 30,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen and an army as large as the number of sand grains on the seashore. They came up and pitched camp at Mikhmas, east of Beit-Aven. The men of Isra’el saw that their options were limited and that the people felt so hard pressed that they were hiding themselves in caves, thickets, crevices, watchtowers and cisterns; while some of the Hebrews crossed the Yarden to the territory of Gad and Gil‘ad. But Sha’ul was still in Gilgal, where all the people were eager to follow him. He waited seven days, as Sh’mu’el had instructed; but Sh’mu’el didn’t come to Gilgal; so the army began to drift away from him. Sha’ul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings,” and he offered the burnt offering. 10 As soon as he had finished sacrificing the burnt offering, there was Sh’mu’el — he had come, and Sha’ul went out to meet and greet him.

11 Sh’mu’el said, “What have you done?” Sha’ul answered, “I saw that the army was drifting away from me, that you hadn’t come during the time appointed and that the P’lishtim had assembled at Mikhmas. 12 I said, ‘Now the P’lishtim will fall on me at Gilgal, and I haven’t asked the favor of Adonai,’ so I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.” 13 Sh’mu’el said to Sha’ul, “You did a foolish thing. You didn’t observe the mitzvah of Adonai, which he gave you. If you had, Adonai would have set up your kingship over Isra’el forever. 14 But as it is, your kingship will not be established. Adonai has sought for himself a man after his own heart, and Adonai has appointed him to be prince over his people, because you did not observe what Adonai ordered you to do.” 15 Then Sh’mu’el left Gilgal and went up to Giv‘at-Binyamin.

Sha’ul counted how many were still there with him, about 600 men. 16 Sha’ul, Y’honatan his son and the men with him took up quarters at Giv‘at-Binyamin, while the P’lishtim remained in camp at Mikhmas. 17 Then raiding parties began coming out from the camp of the P’lishtim, three of them: one group turned toward the road leading to ‘Ofrah in the territory of Shu‘al; 18 another group took the road toward Beit-Horon; and another company took the road toward the desert through the territory overlooking Vadi Tzvo‘im.

19 Now there was no metalsmith to be found anywhere in all the land of Isra’el, because the P’lishtim had said, “We don’t want the Hebrews making themselves swords or spears.” 20 So whenever any of the people of Isra’el wanted to sharpen his hoe, plowshare, axe or pick, he had to go down to the P’lishtim, 21 where the exorbitant prices were two-thirds of a shekel for filing a pick or plowshare and one-third of a shekel for filing an axe or setting an oxgoad in its handle. 22 Thus when the time came to fight, no one in the army of Sha’ul and Y’honatan was equipped with either sword or spear; although Sha’ul and Y’honatan his son did have them.

23 A garrison of the P’lishtim had gone out to the pass of Mikhmas.


  1. 1 Samuel 13:1 The Hebrew text lacks the number.
Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

1 Samuel 13 New King James Version (NKJV)

Saul’s Unlawful Sacrifice

13 Saul [a]reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose for himself three thousand men of Israel. Two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in the mountains of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the people he sent away, every man to his tent.

And Jonathan attacked the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. Then Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear!” Now all Israel heard it said that Saul had attacked a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel had also become [b]an abomination to the Philistines. And the people were called together to Saul at Gilgal.

Then the Philistines gathered together to fight with Israel, [c]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, to the east of Beth Aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in danger (for the people were distressed), then the people hid in caves, in thickets, in rocks, in holes, and in pits. And some of the Hebrews crossed over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.

As for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. Then he waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. So Saul said, “Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might [d]greet him.

11 And Samuel said, “What have you done?”

Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, 12 then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the Lord.’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.”

13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”

15 Then Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of [e]Benjamin. And Saul numbered the people present with him, about six hundred men.

No Weapons for the Army

16 Saul, Jonathan his son, and the people present with them remained in [f]Gibeah of Benjamin. But the Philistines encamped in Michmash. 17 Then raiders came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies. One company turned onto the road to Ophrah, to the land of Shual, 18 another company turned to the road to Beth Horon, and another company turned to the road of the border that overlooks the Valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.

19 Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make swords or spears.” 20 But all the Israelites would go down to the Philistines to sharpen each man’s plowshare, his mattock, his ax, and his sickle; 21 and the charge for a sharpening was a [g]pim for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to set the points of the goads. 22 So it came about, on 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 they were found with Saul and Jonathan his son.

23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.


  1. 1 Samuel 13:1 Heb. is difficult; cf. 2 Sam. 5:4; 2 Kin. 14:2; see also 2 Sam. 2:10; Acts 13:21
  2. 1 Samuel 13:4 odious
  3. 1 Samuel 13:5 So with MT, LXX, Tg., Vg.; Syr. and some mss. of LXX three thousand
  4. 1 Samuel 13:10 Lit. bless him
  5. 1 Samuel 13:15 So with MT, Tg.; LXX, Vg. add And the rest of the people went up after Saul to meet the people who fought against them, going from Gilgal to Gibeah in the hill of Benjamin.
  6. 1 Samuel 13:16 Heb. Geba
  7. 1 Samuel 13:21 About two-thirds shekel weight
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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