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Jonathan Defeats the Philistines

14 A day came that Jonathan, the son of Saul, said to the young man that bore his armor, “Come, and let us cross over to the Philistine garrison which is on the other side.” But he did not tell his father.

Now Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under the pomegranate tree which is in Migron. And the people that were with him were about six hundred men. And Ahijah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the priest of the Lord in Shiloh, was wearing the ephod. But the people did not know that Jonathan had gone.

Between the passages, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistines’ garrison, there was a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side. And the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. The crag of the one rose north opposite Mikmash, and the other faced southward opposite Geba.

Jonathan said to the young man bearing his armor, “Come, and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. Perhaps the Lord will work for us. For the Lord is not limited to save by many or by few.”

His armor bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Turn yourself, and I will be with you according to your heart.”

Then Jonathan said, “Now we will cross over to these men, and we will reveal ourselves to them. If they say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the Lord has delivered them into our hand, and this will be a sign to us.”

11 So the two of them revealed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, “Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the caves where they have hidden themselves.” 12 The men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armor bearer, and said, “Come up to us, and we will teach you something.”

So Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come up after me. For the Lord has delivered them into the hand of Israel.”

13 Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet with his armor bearer behind him. And they fell before Jonathan. And his armor bearer was dealing death blows after him. 14 That first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armor bearer made, was about twenty men within about a half-acre field.

15 There was trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and the raiders also trembled, and the ground quaked. It was the fear of God.

16 The watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and behold, the multitude melted away, and they went even here and there. 17 Then Saul said to the people that were with him, “Number now, and see who has gone from us.” And when they had numbered, Jonathan nor his armor bearer were there.

18 Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring here the ark of God.” For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel. 19 It came to pass, while Saul talked to the priest, that the noise which was in the camp of the Philistines went on and increased. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.”

20 Saul and all the people who were with him assembled, and they went to the battle. And every man’s sword was against his fellow, so that there was very great confusion. 21 Even the Hebrews who were with the Philistines the days before, who went up with them into the camp from the country round about, even they also turned to be with the children of Israel that were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 Also all of Israel’s fighting men, who had hidden themselves in mountains of Ephraim, heard that the Philistines fled, and even they followed hard after them in the battle. 23 So the Lord saved Israel that day, and the battle passed beyond Beth Aven.

Saul’s Rash Oath

24 Now Israel’s fighting men were distressed that day. For Saul had placed the people under a curse, saying, “Cursed is the man that eats any food before it is evening, and I have been avenged on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted any food.

25 All the people of the land came to the forest, and there was honey on the ground. 26 When the people came into the forest there was flowing honey. But no man put his hand to his mouth, because the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard when his father made the people swear. Therefore he put forward the end of the rod that was in his hand, and dipped it in the honeycomb. Then he put his hand to his mouth, and his eyes were brightened. 28 Then one of the people answered, and said, “Your father surely made the people swear, saying, ‘Cursed is the man that eats any food this day.’ ” And the people were weary.

29 Then said Jonathan, “My father has troubled the land. See how my eyes have brightened, because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much more, if the people had surely eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies which they found? But now the defeat of the Philistines has not been great.”

31 And they struck the Philistines that day from Mikmash to Aijalon, and the people were very weary. 32 The people rushed upon the spoil; they took sheep, oxen, and calves and slew them on the ground. And the people ate them with the blood. 33 Then they reported to Saul, saying, “Look, the people are sinning against the Lord by eating the blood.”

And he said, “You have dealt faithlessly. Roll a great stone to me this day.” 34 Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people, and say to them, ‘Bring to me here every man his ox or sheep. And slaughter them here, and eat. But you shall not sin against the Lord by eating with the blood.’ ”

And all the people brought every man his ox with him that night, and slew them there. 35 And Saul built an altar to the Lord. It was the first altar that he built to the Lord.

36 Saul said, “Let us go down after the Philistines by night and plunder them until the morning light. And let us not leave a man of them.”

And they said, “Do whatever seems good to you.”

Then the priest said, “Let us draw near here to God.”

37 Saul asked of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will You deliver them into the hand of Israel?” But He did not answer him that day.

38 Saul said, “Come here, all you leaders of the people, and observe and see how this sin has come about this day. 39 For, as the Lord lives, who saves Israel, even if it is in Jonathan my son, he will surely die.” But there was not one who answered him from among all the people.

40 Then he said to all Israel, “You will be on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side.”

And the people said to Saul, “Do what seems good to you.”

41 Therefore Saul said to the Lord, the God of Israel, “Give a perfect lot.” And Saul and Jonathan were taken, but the people escaped. 42 Saul said, “Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken.

43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.”

And Jonathan told him, and said, “I indeed tasted a little honey with the end of the staff that was in my hand. Here I am. I must die.”

44 Saul said, “May God do so to me and more also, for you will surely die, Jonathan.”

45 The people said to Saul, “Will Jonathan die, who has worked this great salvation in Israel? God forbid. As the Lord lives, there will not one hair of his head fall to the ground. For he has worked with God this day.” So the people rescued Jonathan, and he did not die.

46 Then Saul went up from following the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.

47 So Saul took the kingdom over Israel and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the Ammonites, against Edom and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines. Whatever place he turned himself, he defeated them. 48 He gathered an army, and struck the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hand of its plunderers.

Saul’s Family

49 Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malki-Shua. And the names of his two daughters were Merab, the firstborn, and Michal, the youngest. 50 And the name of the wife of Saul was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz. And the name of the captain of his army was Abner, the son of Ner, the uncle of Saul. 51 Kish was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.

52 There was strong war against the Philistines all the days of Saul, and when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he took him into his service.