1 Samuel 13 The Voice (VOICE)
13 Saul was about 30[a] years old when he became king, and after he ruled for at least two years, 2 Saul chose 3,000 men of Israel: 2,000 stayed with him in the hill country of Bethel at a place called Michmash, and the other 1,000 joined Saul’s son Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. He sent all the rest home to their tents.
3 Jonathan crushed the Philistine regiment at Geba, and news of this slaughter reached the Philistines. Saul ordered that a trumpet be blown throughout Israel to announce Jonathan’s victory to the people.
Saul: Let the Hebrew people know about this!
4 When all Israel had heard the news of how Saul had defeated the Philistines, and when they learned that the Philistines were filled with hatred toward them, Saul called the people out to join him at Gilgal.
5 Now the Philistines had gathered their forces: 30,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen, and so many foot soldiers they were like grains of sand on the beach. They made camp at Michmash, east of Beth-aven. 6 When the people of Israel saw they were in danger, for their troops were seriously outnumbered, they hid in caves and in holes, among the rocks, tombs, and cisterns. 7 Some of the Hebrews crossed over the Jordan River into Gad and Gilead. But Saul remained at Gilgal; the people continued to follow him, but they were terrified.
8 Saul waited for Samuel for seven days, the amount of time he had been told by Samuel to wait. But the prophet did not come to Gilgal, and the people began to slip away. A few more days and Saul would have no army left, so he decided to take matters into his own hands.
Saul: 9 Bring me the animals for burnt offerings and the offerings of peace for the Lord.
10 Although Saul was not a priest, he offered the burnt offering himself without waiting for Samuel. Immediately after Saul finished the offering, when the aroma of the sacrifice lingered over the land, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him and to pay his respects. But Samuel knew Saul had overstepped his bounds.
Samuel: 11 What have you done?
Saul: The people were deserting me! You didn’t come when you promised, and the Philistines were gathering for war at Michmash. 12 I thought, “The Philistines are going to attack me here in Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked the Eternal One to favor us.” So I took matters into my own hands—I didn’t want to—but I offered the burnt offering myself.
Samuel: 13 That was a foolish thing, Saul. You have not kept the commandment that the Eternal, your True God, gave to you. He was willing to establish your kingdom over Israel for all time, 14 but now your kingdom, your dynasty, will not last. He has found a man who seeks His will and has appointed him king over all the people instead of you because you have not kept to what the Eternal One commanded.
15 Samuel left Gilgal then and went on his way to Gibeah in the land of Benjamin. When Saul counted his forces, they numbered about 600 men. 16 Saul, his son Jonathan, and the people who had remained with him camped at Geba in Benjamin, but the Philistines were camped at Michmash.
17 Philistine raiders left their camp in three divisions: one group went toward Ophrah, in the land of Shual. 18 Another group went toward Beth-horon, and another group went toward the borderland that looks down on the valley of Zeboim in the wilderness.
19 Now at that time there were no blacksmiths in all the land of Israel because the Philistines said, “Then the Hebrews will be capable of making swords or spears.” 20 That meant that the Israelites had to go to Philistine blacksmiths to have their farm implements and their axes sharpened. 21 They charged one-fourth of an ounce to sharpen picks and plow blades, and one-eighth of an ounce for axes and goads. 22 That meant that on the day of the battle, none of the forces of Israel owned swords or spears, except for Saul and his son Jonathan.
23 The garrison of Philistines left the camp and came to the pass of Michmash.
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