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Jonathan Defeats the Philistines

14 Now it happened one day that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who [a]bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison that is on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. And Saul was sitting in the outskirts of (A)Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron. The people who were with him were about six hundred men. (B)Ahijah the son of Ahitub, (C)Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh, was (D)wearing an ephod. But the people did not know that Jonathan had gone.

Between the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over (E)to the Philistines’ garrison, there was a sharp rock on one side and a sharp rock on the other side. And the name of one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. The front of one faced northward opposite Michmash, and the other southward opposite Gibeah.

Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these (F)uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord (G)from saving by many or by few.”

So his armorbearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart.”

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

11 So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, “Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have (I)hidden.” 12 Then the men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armorbearer, and said, “Come up to us, and we will [b]show you something.”

Jonathan said to his armorbearer, “Come up after me, for the Lord has delivered them into the hand of Israel.” 13 And Jonathan climbed up on his hands and knees with his armorbearer after him; and they (J)fell before Jonathan. And as he came after him, his armorbearer killed them. 14 That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armorbearer made was about twenty men within about [c]half an acre of land.

15 And (K)there was [d]trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and (L)the raiders also trembled; and the earth quaked, so that it was (M)a very great trembling. 16 Now the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and there was the multitude, melting away; and they (N)went here and there. 17 Then Saul said to the people who were with him, “Now call the roll and see who has gone from us.” And when they had called the roll, surprisingly, Jonathan and his armorbearer were not there. 18 And Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the [e]ark of God here” (for at that time the ark of God was with the children of Israel). 19 Now it happened, while Saul (O)talked to the priest, that the noise which was in the camp of the Philistines continued to increase; so Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” 20 Then Saul and all the people who were with him assembled, and they went to the battle; and indeed (P)every man’s sword was against his neighbor, and there was very great confusion. 21 Moreover the Hebrews who were with the Philistines before that time, who went up with them into the camp from the surrounding country, they also joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 Likewise all the men of Israel who (Q)had hidden in the mountains of Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, they also followed hard after them in the battle. 23 (R)So the Lord saved Israel that day, and the battle shifted (S)to Beth Aven.

Saul’s Rash Oath

24 And the men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had (T)placed the people under oath, saying, “Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food. 25 (U)Now all the people of the land came to a forest; and there was (V)honey on the ground. 26 And when the people had come into the woods, there was the honey, dripping; but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath; therefore he stretched out the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in a honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his [f]countenance brightened. 28 Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed is the man who eats food this day.’ ” And the people were faint.

29 But Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. Look now, how my countenance has brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much better if the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies which they found! For now would there not have been a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?”

31 Now they had [g]driven back the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. So the people were very faint. 32 And the people rushed on the [h]spoil, and took sheep, oxen, and calves, and slaughtered them on the ground; and the people ate them (W)with the blood. 33 Then they told Saul, saying, “Look, the people are sinning against the Lord by eating with the blood!”

So he said, “You have dealt treacherously; roll a large stone to me this day.” 34 Then Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people, and say to them, ‘Bring me here every man’s ox and every man’s sheep, slaughter them here, and eat; and do not sin against the Lord by eating with the blood.’ ” So every one of the people brought his ox with him that night, and slaughtered it there. 35 Then Saul (X)built an altar to the Lord. This was the first altar that he built to the Lord.

36 Now 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 to God here.”

37 So Saul (Y)asked counsel of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will You deliver them into the hand of Israel?” But (Z)He did not answer him that day. 38 And Saul said, (AA)“Come over here, all you chiefs of the people, and know and see what this sin was today. 39 For (AB)as the Lord lives, who saves Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” But not a man among all the people answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, “You be on one side, and my son Jonathan and I 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 God of Israel, (AC)“Give[i] a perfect lot.(AD)So Saul and Jonathan were taken, but the people escaped. 42 And Saul said, “Cast lots between my son Jonathan and me.” So Jonathan was taken. 43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, (AE)“Tell me what you have done.”

And Jonathan told him, and said, (AF)“I only tasted a little honey with the end of the rod that was in my hand. So now I must die!”

44 Saul answered, (AG)“God do so and more also; (AH)for you shall surely die, Jonathan.”

45 But the people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has accomplished this great deliverance in Israel? Certainly not! (AI)As the Lord lives, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground, for he has worked (AJ)with God this day.” So the people rescued Jonathan, and he did not die.

46 Then Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.

Saul’s Continuing Wars

47 So Saul established his sovereignty over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, against the people of (AK)Ammon, against Edom, against the kings of (AL)Zobah, and against the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he [j]harassed them. 48 And he gathered an army and (AM)attacked[k] the Amalekites, and delivered Israel from the hands of those who plundered them.

49 (AN)The sons of Saul were Jonathan, [l]Jishui, and Malchishua. And the names of his two daughters were these: the name of the firstborn Merab, and the name of the younger (AO)Michal. 50 The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz. And the name of the commander of his army was Abner the son of Ner, Saul’s (AP)uncle. 51 (AQ)Kish was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.

52 Now there was fierce war with the Philistines all the days of Saul. And when Saul saw any strong man or any valiant man, (AR)he took him for himself.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Samuel 14:1 carried
  2. 1 Samuel 14:12 teach
  3. 1 Samuel 14:14 Lit. half the area plowed by a yoke of oxen in a day
  4. 1 Samuel 14:15 terror
  5. 1 Samuel 14:18 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; LXX ephod
  6. 1 Samuel 14:27 Lit. eyes
  7. 1 Samuel 14:31 Lit. struck
  8. 1 Samuel 14:32 plunder
  9. 1 Samuel 14:41 So with MT, Tg.; LXX, Vg. Why do You not answer Your servant today? If the injustice is with me or Jonathan my son, O Lord God of Israel, give proof; and if You say it is with Your people Israel, give holiness.
  10. 1 Samuel 14:47 LXX, Vg. prospered
  11. 1 Samuel 14:48 Lit. struck
  12. 1 Samuel 14:49 Abinadab, 1 Chr. 8:33; 9:39

14 One day Jonathan son of Saul said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father.

Saul was staying(A) on the outskirts of Gibeah(B) under a pomegranate tree(C) in Migron.(D) With him were about six hundred men, among whom was Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod. He was a son of Ichabod’s(E) brother Ahitub(F) son of Phinehas, the son of Eli,(G) the Lord’s priest in Shiloh.(H) No one was aware that Jonathan had left.

On each side of the pass(I) that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez and the other Seneh. One cliff stood to the north toward Mikmash, the other to the south toward Geba.(J)

Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised(K) men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing(L) can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many(M) or by few.(N)

“Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”

Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign(O) that the Lord has given them into our hands.(P)

11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews(Q) are crawling out of the holes they were hiding(R) in.” 12 The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.(S)

So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the Lord has given them into the hand(T) of Israel.”

13 Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him. 14 In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.

Israel Routs the Philistines

15 Then panic(U) struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding(V) parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.[a]

16 Saul’s lookouts(W) at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the army melting away in all directions. 17 Then Saul said to the men who were with him, “Muster the forces and see who has left us.” When they did, it was Jonathan and his armor-bearer who were not there.

18 Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring(X) the ark(Y) of God.” (At that time it was with the Israelites.)[b] 19 While Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the Philistine camp increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest,(Z) “Withdraw your hand.”

20 Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking(AA) each other with their swords. 21 Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went(AB) over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the Israelites who had hidden(AC) in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit. 23 So on that day the Lord saved(AD) Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.(AE)

Jonathan Eats Honey

24 Now the Israelites were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath,(AF) saying, “Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!” So none of the troops tasted food.

25 The entire army entered the woods, and there was honey on the ground. 26 When they went into the woods, they saw the honey oozing out; yet no one put his hand to his mouth, because they feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard that his father had bound the people with the oath, so he reached out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb.(AG) He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened.[c] 28 Then one of the soldiers told him, “Your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying, ‘Cursed be anyone who eats food today!’ That is why the men are faint.”

29 Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble(AH) for the country. See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?”

31 That day, after the Israelites had struck down the Philistines from Mikmash(AI) to Aijalon,(AJ) they were exhausted. 32 They pounced on the plunder(AK) and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood.(AL) 33 Then someone said to Saul, “Look, the men are sinning against the Lord by eating meat that has blood(AM) in it.”

“You have broken faith,” he said. “Roll a large stone over here at once.” 34 Then he said, “Go out among the men and tell them, ‘Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep, and slaughter them here and eat them. Do not sin against the Lord by eating meat with blood still(AN) in it.’”

So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there. 35 Then Saul built an altar(AO) to the Lord; it was the first time he had done this.

36 Saul said, “Let us go down and pursue the Philistines by night and plunder them till dawn, and let us not leave one of them alive.”

“Do whatever seems best to you,” they replied.

But the priest said, “Let us inquire(AP) of God here.”

37 So Saul asked God, “Shall I go down and pursue the Philistines? Will you give them into Israel’s hand?” But God did not answer(AQ) him that day.

38 Saul therefore said, “Come here, all you who are leaders of the army, and let us find out what sin has been committed(AR) today. 39 As surely as the Lord who rescues Israel lives,(AS) even if the guilt lies with my son Jonathan,(AT) he must die.”(AU) But not one of them said a word.

40 Saul then said to all the Israelites, “You stand over there; I and Jonathan my son will stand over here.”

“Do what seems best to you,” they replied.

41 Then Saul prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, “Why have you not answered your servant today? If the fault is in me or my son Jonathan, respond with Urim, but if the men of Israel are at fault,[d] respond with Thummim.” Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared. 42 Saul said, “Cast the lot(AV) between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken.

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

So Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey(AX) with the end of my staff. And now I must die!”

44 Saul said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely,(AY) if you do not die, Jonathan.(AZ)

45 But the men said to Saul, “Should Jonathan die—he who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Never! As surely as the Lord lives, not a hair(BA) of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God’s help.” So the men rescued(BB) Jonathan, and he was not put to death.

46 Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they withdrew to their own land.

47 After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab,(BC) the Ammonites,(BD) Edom,(BE) the kings[e] of Zobah,(BF) and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them.[f] 48 He fought valiantly and defeated the Amalekites,(BG) delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them.

Saul’s Family

49 Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua.(BH) The name of his older daughter was Merab, and that of the younger was Michal.(BI) 50 His wife’s name was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of Saul’s army was Abner(BJ) son of Ner, and Ner was Saul’s uncle.(BK) 51 Saul’s father Kish(BL) and Abner’s father Ner were sons of Abiel.

52 All the days of Saul there was bitter war with the Philistines, and whenever Saul saw a mighty or brave man, he took(BM) him into his service.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Samuel 14:15 Or a terrible panic
  2. 1 Samuel 14:18 Hebrew; Septuagint “Bring the ephod.” (At that time he wore the ephod before the Israelites.)
  3. 1 Samuel 14:27 Or his strength was renewed; similarly in verse 29
  4. 1 Samuel 14:41 Septuagint; Hebrew does not have “Why … at fault.
  5. 1 Samuel 14:47 Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint king
  6. 1 Samuel 14:47 Hebrew; Septuagint he was victorious

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