1 Samuel 14 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Jonathan Surprises and Routs the Philistines
14 One day Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistine garrison on yonder side.” But he did not tell his father. 2 Saul was staying in the outskirts of Gib′e-ah under the pomegranate tree which is at Migron; the people who were with him were about six hundred men, 3 and Ahi′jah the son of Ahi′tub, Ich′abod’s brother, son of Phin′ehas, son of Eli, the priest of the Lord in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people did not know that Jonathan had gone. 4 In the pass,[a] by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistine garrison, there was a rocky crag on the one side and a rocky crag on the other side; the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. 5 The one crag rose on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba.
6 And Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us; for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.” 7 And his armor-bearer said to him, “Do all that your mind inclines to;[b] behold, I am with you, as is your mind so is mine.”[c] 8 Then said Jonathan, “Behold, we will cross over to the men, and we will show ourselves to them. 9 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 given them into our hand. And this shall be the sign to us.” 11 So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines; and the Philistines said, “Look, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hid themselves.” 12 And the men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armor-bearer, and said, “Come up to us, and we will show you a thing.” And Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Come up after me; for the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.” 13 Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, and his armor-bearer after him. And they fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer killed them after him; 14 and that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armor-bearer made, was of about twenty men within as it were half a furrow’s length in an acre[d] of land. 15 And there was a panic in the camp, in the field, and among all the people; the garrison and even the raiders trembled; the earth quaked; and it became a very great panic.
16 And the watchmen of Saul in Gib′e-ah of Benjamin looked; and behold, the multitude was surging hither and thither.[e] 17 Then Saul said to the people who were with him, “Number and see who has gone from us.” And when they had numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armor-bearer were not there. 18 And Saul said to Ahi′jah, “Bring hither the ark of God.” For the ark of God went at that time with the people of Israel. 19 And while Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the camp of the Philistines increased more and more; and Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” 20 Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and went into the battle; and behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow, and there was very great confusion. 21 Now the Hebrews who had been with the Philistines before that time and who had gone up with them into the camp, even they also turned to be with[f] the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 Likewise, when all the men of Israel who had hid themselves in the hill country of E′phraim heard that the Philistines were fleeing, they too followed hard after them in the battle. 23 So the Lord delivered Israel that day; and the battle passed beyond Beth-a′ven.
Saul’s Rash Oath
24 And the men of Israel were distressed that day; for Saul laid an oath on the people, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats food until it is evening and I am avenged on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food. 25 And all the people[g] came into the forest; and there was honey on the ground. 26 And when the people entered the forest, behold, the honey was dropping, but no man 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; so he put forth the tip of the staff that was in his hand, and dipped it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes became bright. 28 Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food this day.’” And the people were faint. 29 Then 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 if the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies which they found; for now the slaughter among the Philistines has not been great.”
31 They struck down the Philistines that day from Michmash to Ai′jalon. And the people were very faint; 32 the people flew upon the spoil, and took sheep and oxen and calves, and slew them on the ground; and the people ate them with the blood. 33 Then they told Saul, “Behold, the people are sinning against the Lord, by eating with the blood.” And he said, “You have dealt treacherously; roll a great stone to me here.”[h] 34 And Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people, and say to them, ‘Let every man bring his ox or his sheep, and slay 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 slew them there. 35 And Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first altar that he built to the Lord.
Jonathan in Danger of Death
36 Then Saul said, “Let us go down after the Philistines by night and despoil them until the morning light; let us not leave a man of them.” And they said, “Do whatever seems good to you.” But the priest said, “Let us draw near hither to God.” 37 And Saul inquired of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Wilt thou give them into the hand of Israel?” But he did not answer him that day. 38 And Saul said, “Come hither, all you leaders of the people; and know and see how this sin has arisen today. 39 For as the Lord lives who saves Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” But there was not a man among all the people that answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, “You shall 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, “O Lord God of Israel, why hast thou not answered thy servant this day? If this guilt is in me or in Jonathan my son, O Lord, God of Israel, give Urim; but if this guilt is in thy people Israel,[i] give Thummim.” And Jonathan and Saul were taken, but the people escaped. 42 Then Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan was taken.
43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” And Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the tip of the staff that was in my hand; here I am, I will die.” 44 And Saul said, “God do so to me and more also; you shall surely die, Jonathan.” 45 Then the people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has wrought this great victory in Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he has wrought with God this day.” So the people ransomed Jonathan, that he did not die. 46 Then Saul went up from pursuing the Philistines; and the Philistines went to their own place.
Saul’s Continuing Wars
47 When Saul had taken the kingship over Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, against the Ammonites, against Edom, against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines; wherever he turned he put them to the worse. 48 And he did valiantly, and smote the Amal′ekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of those who plundered them.
49 Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Mal′chishu′a; and the names of his two daughters were these: the name of the first-born was Merab, and the name of the younger Michal; 50 and the name of Saul’s wife was Ahin′o-am the daughter of Ahim′a-az. And the name of the commander of his army was Abner the son of Ner, Saul’s uncle; 51 Kish was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abi′el.
52 There was hard fighting against the Philistines all the days of Saul; and when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he attached him to himself.
1 Samuel 14 New International Version (NIV)
14 1 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.
2 Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men, 3 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.
4 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. 5 One cliff stood to the north toward Mikmash, the other to the south toward Geba.
6 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.”
7 “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”
8 Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. 9 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.
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.