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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.