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13 Saul was thirty years old when he ·became king [began to reign/rule], and he ·was king [reigned; ruled] over Israel forty-two years.[a] Saul chose three thousand men from Israel. Two thousand men stayed with him at Micmash in the ·mountains [hill country] of Bethel, and one thousand men stayed with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul sent the other men in the army back ·home [L to their tents].

Jonathan ·attacked [L struck] the Philistine ·camp [garrison] in Geba, and the other Philistines heard about it. Saul said, “Let the Hebrews hear what happened.” So he told the men to blow ·trumpets [ram’s horns] through all the land of Israel. All the Israelites heard the news. The men said, “Saul has ·defeated [struck] the Philistine camp [garrison; C Saul receives credit for Jonathan’s victory]. Now ·the Philistines will really hate us [L Israel will stink among the Philistines]!” Then the Israelites were called to join Saul at Gilgal.

The Philistines gathered to fight Israel with three thousand[b] chariots and six thousand ·men to ride in them [horsemen; charioteers]. Their soldiers were as many as the grains of sand on the seashore. The Philistines went and camped at Micmash, which is east of Beth Aven. When the Israelites saw that they were in ·trouble [a tight spot; desperate straits], they went to hide in caves and ·bushes [thickets; or holes], among the ·rocks [cliffs; crevices], and in ·pits [cellars; tombs; vaults] and ·wells [cisterns]. Some Hebrews even went across the Jordan River to the land of Gad and Gilead.

But Saul stayed at Gilgal, and all the men in his army were ·shaking with fear [trembling; quaking]. Saul waited seven days, ·because Samuel had said he would meet him then [L the period/time Samuel had set; C as a priest, Samuel had to offer sacrifices before battle]. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the soldiers began to ·leave [scatter; slip away].

So Saul said, “Bring me the whole burnt offering and the ·fellowship [peace; communion] offerings.” Then Saul ·offered [sacrificed] the whole burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished, Samuel arrived, and Saul went to greet him.

11 Samuel asked, “What have you ·done [been doing]?”

Saul answered, “I saw the soldiers ·leaving [scattering from] me, and you were not here ·when you said you would be [at the set/appointed time]. The Philistines were gathering at Micmash. 12 Then I thought, ‘The Philistines will come against me at Gilgal, and I haven’t asked for the Lord’s ·approval [help; favor].’ So I ·forced myself [felt compelled/it necessary] to offer the whole burnt offering.”

13 Samuel said, “You acted foolishly [C only priests could legitimately offer sacrifices]! You haven’t ·obeyed [kept] the command of the Lord your God [C frightened troops should have been allowed to leave; Deut. 20:8–9]. If you had obeyed him, the Lord would have ·made your kingdom continue [established your kingdom] ·in [over] Israel always [C Saul rather than David would have had a dynasty], 14 but now your kingdom will not ·continue [last; endure]. The Lord has ·looked for the kind of man he wants [L sought a man after his own heart; 16:6–13]. He has appointed him to ·rule [L be prince over] his people, because you haven’t ·obeyed his [kept the Lord’s] command.”

15 Then Samuel left Gilgal and went to Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul counted the men who were still with him, and there were about six hundred.

Hard Times for Israel

16 Saul and his son Jonathan and the soldiers with him stayed in Gibeah in the land of Benjamin. The Philistines made their camp at Micmash. 17 Three ·groups [raiding parties] went out from the Philistine camp to make raids. One ·group [company] went on the Ophrah road in the land of Shual. 18 The second group went on the Beth Horon road. The third group went on the border road that overlooks the Valley of Zeboim toward the ·desert [wilderness].

19 The whole land of Israel had no blacksmith because the Philistines had said, “The Hebrews ·might [L must not] make swords and spears.” 20 So all the Israelites had to go down to the Philistines to have their plows, hoes, axes, and sickles sharpened. 21 The Philistine blacksmiths charged ·about one-fourth of an ounce of silver [L two-thirds of a shekel] for sharpening plows and hoes. And they charged ·one-eighth of an ounce of silver [L one-third of a shekel] for sharpening picks, axes, and the ·sticks used to guide oxen [goads].

22 So when the battle came, the ·soldiers [people] with Saul and Jonathan had no swords or spears [L in their hands]. Only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.

Israel Defeats the Philistines

23 A ·group from [unit/detachment of] the Philistine army had gone out to the pass at Micmash.


  1. 1 Samuel 13:1 Saul… years This is how the verse is worded in some early Greek copies. The Hebrew is not clear here.
  2. 1 Samuel 13:5 three thousand Some Greek copies read “three thousand.” Hebrew copies say “thirty thousand.”

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