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1 Samuel 14 New Life Version (NLV)

Jonathan’s Battle with the Philistines

14 One day Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who was carrying his battle-clothes, “Come, let us go over to the place where the Philistine soldiers are on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. Saul was staying beside Gibeah under the pomegranate tree in Migron. There were about 600 men with him, and Ahijah the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the religious leader of the Lord at Shiloh, wearing the linen vest. And the people did not know Jonathan had gone. Between the passes where Jonathan went to cross over to the Philistine soldiers, there was a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side. The name of one was Bozez. The name of the other was Seneh. One rock stood on the north in front of Michmash. The other stood on the south in front of Geba.

Jonathan said to the young man who was carrying his battle-clothes, “Come, let us go over to the place where the soldiers are who have not gone through the religious act of the Jews. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for there is nothing to keep the Lord from saving by many or by few.” The young man who was carrying his battle-clothes said to him, “Do all that is in your mind. I am with you in whatever you think to do.” Jonathan said, “We will cross over to the men and show ourselves to them. If they say 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, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up. For the Lord has given them into our hands. This will be the special thing for us to see.” 11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine soldiers. The Philistines said, “See, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves.” 12 The soldiers of that place said to Jonathan and the one who was carrying his battle-clothes, “Come up to us and we will tell you something.” Jonathan said to the one who was carrying his battle-clothes, “Come up after me. For the Lord has given them into the hands of Israel.” 13 Then Jonathan went up the hill on his hands and feet, with the one who was carrying his battle-clothes behind him. The soldiers fell in front of Jonathan. The young man, who was carrying his battle-clothes after him, killed them. 14 In that first killing done by Jonathan and the man who carried his battle-clothes, about twenty men fell dead within a small piece of land. 15 There was fear among the Philistines, in the field, and among all the people. Even the soldiers shook with fear. And the earth shook, so there was much fear.

16 Saul’s men who were watching in Gibeah of Benjamin looked and saw the people running away. They went here and there. 17 Saul said to the people who were with him, “Number them, and see who has left us.” When they numbered, they found that Jonathan and the young man who carried his battle-clothes were not there. 18 Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the special box of God here.” For the special box of God was with the people of Israel at that time. 19 While Saul talked to the religious leader, the noise of the Philistines became louder. So Saul said to the religious leader, “Take your hand away.” 20 Then Saul and all the people with him gathered together and went into the battle. Every man’s sword was against the man next to him. It was as if no one knew what to do. 21 The Hebrews, who had been with the Philistines and had gone up with them among the tents returned. They returned to be with the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the men of Israel who had hidden themselves in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines had run away, they ran after them in the battle. 23 So the Lord saved Israel that day. And the battle spread farther than Beth-aven.

24 Now the men of Israel were troubled that day. For Saul made a promise and said to the people, “Cursed will be the man who eats food before evening and before I have punished those who fight against me.” So none of the people tasted any food. 25 And all the people came among the trees, and there was honey on the ground. 26 The people went among the trees and saw honey flowing, but no man tasted it. For the people were afraid of Saul’s promise. 27 But Jonathan had not heard his father make the promise to the people. So he put the stick that was in his hand into the honeycomb. Then he put it to his mouth, and his eyes became bright. 28 One of the men told him, “Your father put the people under a promise, saying, ‘Cursed will be the man who eats food today.’” The people were tired and weak. 29 Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. See how my eyes have become bright because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much better it would be if the men had been free to eat today of the food that had belonged to those who fought against them! For not many Philistines have been killed.”

31 They killed the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. And the people were very tired and weak. 32 The people rushed upon the things that had belonged to the Philistines. They took sheep and cattle and calves, and killed them on the ground. And the people ate them with the blood. 33 Then Saul was told, “See, the people are sinning against the Lord by eating meat with the blood in it.” And Saul said, “You have not been faithful. Roll a big stone to me here.” 34 And he said, “Divide yourselves among the people and say to them, ‘Each one of you bring me his bull or his sheep, and kill it here and eat. Do not sin against the Lord by eating with the blood.’” So every one of the people brought his bull with him that night, and killed it there. 35 And Saul built an altar to the Lord. It was the first altar that he built to the Lord.

36 Then Saul said, “Let us go down to the Philistines during the night and take until morning what belongs to them. Let us not leave a man of them alive.” They said, “Do whatever you think is best.” So the religious leader said, “Let us ask of God here.” 37 So Saul asked God, “Should I go down to the Philistines? Will You give them into the hand of Israel?” But God did not answer him that day. 38 Saul said, “Come here, all you leaders of the people. Look and see how this sin has happened today. 39 For as the Lord lives Who saves Israel, even if it is in Jonathan my son, he will die for sure.” But not one of all the people answered him. 40 Then Saul said to all Israel, “You will be on one side and I and my son Jonathan will be on the other side.” And the people said to Saul, “Do what you think is best.” 41 So Saul said to the Lord, the God of Israel, “May the right name be drawn.” And the names of Saul and Jonathan were drawn, and the people went free. 42 Then Saul said, “Draw names between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan’s name was drawn.

43 Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” So Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the end of the stick that was in my hand. Here I am. I must die.” 44 Saul said, “May God do this to me and more also, for you will die for sure, Jonathan.” 45 But the people said to Saul, “Must Jonathan die, who has saved all these people of Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives, not one hair of his head will fall to the ground. For he has worked with God this day.” So the people saved Jonathan and he did not die. 46 Then Saul stopped going after the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.

Saul’s Family

47 When Saul had become king over Israel, he fought against all those around him who hated him. He fought against Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. He punished them in every way he turned. 48 He acted with strength of heart and destroyed the Amalekites. He saved Israel from those who came to rob them.

49 Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malchishua. And he had two daughters. The name of the first-born was Merab, and the name of the younger one was Michal. 50 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, the brother of Saul’s father. 51 Kish was the father of Saul. And Abner’s father Ner was the son of Abiel.

52 There was fighting against the Philistines all of Saul’s life. When Saul saw any strong man, or any man with strength of heart, he would have the man join him.

New Life Version (NLV)

Copyright © 1969 by Christian Literature International

1 Samuel 14 New International Version (NIV)

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 on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men, among whom was Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod. He was a son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh. No one was aware that Jonathan had left.

On each side of the pass 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.

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

“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 that the Lord has given them into our hands.

11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding 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.

So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the Lord has given them into the hand 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 struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.[a]

16 Saul’s lookouts 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 the ark 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, “Withdraw your hand.”

20 Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking 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 over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the Israelites who had hidden 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 Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.

Jonathan Eats Honey

24 Now the Israelites were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, 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. 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 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 to Aijalon, they were exhausted. 32 They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood. 33 Then someone said to Saul, “Look, the men are sinning against the Lord by eating meat that has blood 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 in it.’”

So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there. 35 Then Saul built an altar 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 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 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 today. 39 As surely as the Lord who rescues Israel lives, even if the guilt lies with my son Jonathan, he must die.” 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 between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken.

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

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

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

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 of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God’s help.” So the men rescued 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, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings[e] of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them.[f] 48 He fought valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them.

Saul’s Family

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

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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