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1 Samuel 13 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Saul Makes His First Mistake

13 Saul was 30[a] years old when he became king. He ruled over Israel 42 years.[b] Saul chose 3000 men from Israel. There were 2000 men who stayed with him at Micmash in the hill country of Bethel. There were 1000 men who stayed with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul sent the other men in the army back home.

Jonathan defeated the Philistines at their camp in Geba. The Philistines heard about this. They said, “The Hebrews have rebelled.”[c]

Saul said, “Let the Hebrew people hear what happened.” So Saul told the men to blow trumpets through all the land of Israel. All the Israelites heard this news: “Saul has killed the Philistine leader. Now the Philistines will really hate the Israelites!”

The Israelites were called to join Saul at Gilgal. The Philistines gathered to fight Israel. The Philistines camped at Micmash, east of Beth Aven. They had 3000[d] chariots and 6000 horse soldiers. There were so many Philistines that they were like sand on the seashore.

The Israelites saw that they were in trouble. They felt trapped. They ran away to hide in caves and cracks in the rock. They hid among the rocks, in wells, and in other holes in the ground. Some Hebrews even went across the Jordan River to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul was still at Gilgal. All the men in his army were shaking with fear.

Samuel said he would meet Saul at Gilgal. Saul waited there seven days. But Samuel had not yet come to Gilgal, and the soldiers began to leave Saul. So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offerings and the fellowship offerings.” Then Saul offered the burnt offering. 10 As soon as Saul finished offering that sacrifice, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet him.

11 Samuel asked, “What have you done?”

Saul answered, “I saw the soldiers leaving me. You were not here on time, and the Philistines were gathering at Micmash. 12 I thought to myself, ‘The Philistines will come here and attack me at Gilgal, and I haven’t asked the Lord to help us yet.’ So I forced myself to offer the burnt offering.”

13 Samuel said, “You did a foolish thing. You did not obey the Lord your God. If you had done what he commanded, the Lord would have let your family rule Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom won’t continue. The Lord was looking for a man who wants to obey him.[e] He has found that man—and the Lord has chosen him to be the new leader of his people, because you didn’t obey his command.” 15 Then Samuel got up and left Gilgal.

The Battle at Micmash

Saul and the rest of his army left Gilgal[f] and went to Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul counted the men who were still with him. There were about 600. 16 Saul, his son Jonathan, and the soldiers went to Geba in Benjamin.

The Philistines were camped at Micmash. 17 So their best soldiers began the attack. The Philistine army split into three groups. One group went north on the road to Ophrah, near Shual. 18 The second group went southeast on the road to Beth Horon, and the third group went east on the road to the border. That road looks over the Valley of Zeboim toward the desert.

19 There were no blacksmiths in Israel. The Philistines would not allow them because they were afraid the Israelites would make iron swords and spears. 20 Only the Philistines could sharpen iron tools. So if the Israelites needed to sharpen their plows, hoes, axes, or sickles, they had to go to the Philistines. 21 The Philistine blacksmiths charged 1/3 ounce[g] of silver for sharpening plows and hoes and 1/6 ounce[h] of silver for sharpening picks, axes, and the iron tip on ox goads. 22 So on the day of battle, none of the Israelite soldiers with Saul had iron swords or spears. Only Saul and his son Jonathan had such weapons.

23 A group of Philistine soldiers guarded the mountain pass at Micmash.


  1. 1 Samuel 13:1 30 This first number and part of the second number in this verse are missing in the Hebrew text. The whole verse is missing from most copies of the ancient Greek version, but a few late Greek copies have the numbers 30 and 42. Acts 13:21 says that Saul was king for 40 years.
  2. 1 Samuel 13:1 He ruled … 42 years Or “After he had ruled over Israel for 2 years, ….”
  3. 1 Samuel 13:3 They said … rebelled This is from the ancient Greek version.
  4. 1 Samuel 13:5 3000 This is found in some copies of the ancient Greek version and the Syriac version. The standard Hebrew text has “30,000.”
  5. 1 Samuel 13:14 a man who wants to obey him Literally, “a man according to his heart.” This could also mean “a man of his own choosing.”
  6. 1 Samuel 13:15 Saul and the rest of his army left Gilgal This is found in the ancient Greek version but not in the standard Hebrew text.
  7. 1 Samuel 13:21 1/3 ounce Literally, “1 pim” (7.8 g).
  8. 1 Samuel 13:21 1/6 ounce Literally, “1/3 shekel” (3.8 g).
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

1 Samuel 13 New International Version (NIV)

Samuel Rebukes Saul

13 Saul was thirty[a] years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty-[b] two years.

Saul chose three thousand men from Israel; two thousand were with him at Mikmash and in the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. The rest of the men he sent back to their homes.

Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet blown throughout the land and said, “Let the Hebrews hear!” So all Israel heard the news: “Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel has become obnoxious to the Philistines.” And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.

The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand[c] chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven. When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.

Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.

11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.

Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

15 Then Samuel left Gilgal[d] and went up to Gibeah in Benjamin, and Saul counted the men who were with him. They numbered about six hundred.

Israel Without Weapons

16 Saul and his son Jonathan and the men with them were staying in Gibeah[e] in Benjamin, while the Philistines camped at Mikmash. 17 Raiding parties went out from the Philistine camp in three detachments. One turned toward Ophrah in the vicinity of Shual, 18 another toward Beth Horon, and the third toward the borderland overlooking the Valley of Zeboyim facing the wilderness.

19 Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears! 20 So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plow points, mattocks, axes and sickles[f] sharpened. 21 The price was two-thirds of a shekel[g] for sharpening plow points and mattocks, and a third of a shekel[h] for sharpening forks and axes and for repointing goads.

22 So on the day of the battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.

Jonathan Attacks the Philistines

23 Now a detachment of Philistines had gone out to the pass at Mikmash.


  1. 1 Samuel 13:1 A few late manuscripts of the Septuagint; Hebrew does not have thirty.
  2. 1 Samuel 13:1 Probable reading of the original Hebrew text (see Acts 13:21); Masoretic Text does not have forty-.
  3. 1 Samuel 13:5 Some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac; Hebrew thirty thousand
  4. 1 Samuel 13:15 Hebrew; Septuagint Gilgal and went his way; the rest of the people went after Saul to meet the army, and they went out of Gilgal
  5. 1 Samuel 13:16 Two Hebrew manuscripts; most Hebrew manuscripts Geba, a variant of Gibeah
  6. 1 Samuel 13:20 Septuagint; Hebrew plow points
  7. 1 Samuel 13:21 That is, about 1/4 ounce or about 8 grams
  8. 1 Samuel 13:21 That is, about 1/8 ounce or about 4 grams
New International Version (NIV)

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