1 Samuel 4-14New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Philistines Take the Ark in Victory
4 Thus the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out to meet the Philistines in battle and camped beside Ebenezer while the Philistines camped in Aphek. 2 The Philistines drew up in battle array to meet Israel. When the battle spread, Israel was [a]defeated before the Philistines who killed about four thousand men on the battlefield. 3 When the people came into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us take to ourselves from Shiloh the ark of the covenant of the Lord, that [b]it may come among us and deliver us from the power of our enemies.” 4 So the people sent to Shiloh, and from there they carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts who sits above the cherubim; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
5 As the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth resounded. 6 When the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?” Then they understood that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. 7 The Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp.” And they said, “Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. 8 Woe to us! Who shall deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who smote the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness. 9 Take courage and be men, O Philistines, or you will become slaves to the Hebrews, as they have been slaves to you; therefore, be men and fight.”
10 So the Philistines fought and Israel was [c]defeated, and every man fled to his tent; and the slaughter was very great, for there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. 11 And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.
12 Now a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes torn and [d]dust on his head. 13 When he came, behold, Eli was sitting on his seat [e]by the road eagerly watching, because his heart was trembling for the ark of God. So the man came to tell it in the city, and all the city cried out. 14 When Eli heard the noise of the outcry, he said, “What does the noise of this commotion mean?” Then the man came hurriedly and told Eli. 15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his eyes were set so that he could not see. 16 The man said to Eli, “I am the one who came from the battle line. Indeed, I escaped from the battle line today.” And he said, “How did things go, my son?” 17 Then the one who brought the news replied, “Israel has fled before the Philistines and there has also been a great slaughter among the people, and your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been taken.” 18 When he mentioned the ark of God, [f]Eli fell off the seat backward beside the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for [g]he was old and heavy. Thus he judged Israel forty years.
19 Now his daughter-in-law, Phinehas’s wife, was pregnant and about to give birth; and when she heard the news that the ark of God was taken and that her father-in-law and her husband had died, she kneeled down and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women who stood by her said to her, “Do not be afraid, for you have given birth to a son.” But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 And she called the boy [h]Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel,” because the ark of God was taken and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 She said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God was taken.”
Capture of the Ark Provokes God
5 Now the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it to the house of Dagon and set it by Dagon. 3 When the Ashdodites arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set him in his place again. 4 But when they arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. And the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off on the threshold; [i]only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. 5 Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor all who enter Dagon’s house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.
6 Now the hand of the Lord was heavy on the Ashdodites, and He ravaged them and smote them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territories. 7 When the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for His hand is severe on us and on Dagon our god.” 8 So they sent and gathered all the lords of the Philistines to them and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” And they said, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be brought around to Gath.” And they brought the ark of the God of Israel around. 9 After they had brought it around, the hand of the Lord was against the city with very great confusion; and He smote the men of the city, both young and old, so that tumors broke out on them. 10 So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And as the ark of God came to Ekron the Ekronites cried out, saying, “They have brought the ark of the God of Israel around to [j]us, to kill [k]us and [l]our people.” 11 They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, so that it will not kill [m]us and [n]our people.” For there was a deadly confusion throughout the city; the hand of God was very heavy there. 12 And the men who did not die were smitten with tumors and the cry of the city went up to heaven.
The Ark Returned to Israel
6 Now the ark of the Lord had been in the [o]country of the Philistines seven months. 2 And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us [p]how we shall send it to its place.” 3 They said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty; but you shall surely return to Him a guilt offering. Then you will be healed and it will be known to you why His hand is not removed from you.” 4 Then they said, “What shall be the guilt offering which we shall return to Him?” And they said, “Five golden tumors and five golden mice according to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for one plague was on all of [q]you and on your lords. 5 So you shall make likenesses of your tumors and likenesses of your mice that ravage the land, and you shall give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps He will ease His hand from you, your gods, and your land. 6 Why then do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He had severely dealt with them, did they not allow [r]the people to go, and they departed? 7 Now therefore, take and prepare a new cart and two milch cows on which there has never been a yoke; and hitch the cows to the cart and take their calves home, away from them. 8 Take the ark of the Lord and place it on the cart; and put the articles of gold which you return to Him as a guilt offering in a box by its side. Then send it away that it may go. 9 Watch, if it goes up by the way of its own territory to Beth-shemesh, then He has done us this great evil. But if not, then we will know that it was not His hand that struck us; it happened to us by chance.”
10 Then the men did so, and took two milch cows and hitched them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home. 11 They put the ark of the Lord on the cart, and the box with the golden mice and the likenesses of their tumors. 12 And the cows took the straight way in the [s]direction of Beth-shemesh; they went along the highway, lowing as they went, and did not turn aside to the right or to the left. And the lords of the Philistines followed them to the border of Beth-shemesh.
13 Now the people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley, and they raised their eyes and saw the ark and were glad to see it. 14 The cart came into the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite and stood there where there was a large stone; and they split the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 The Levites took down the ark of the Lord and the box that was with it, in which were the articles of gold, and put them on the large stone; and the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices that day to the Lord. 16 When the five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned to Ekron that day.
17 These are the golden tumors which the Philistines returned for a guilt offering to the Lord: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron; 18 and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both of fortified cities and of country villages. The large [t]stone on which they set the ark of the Lord is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite.
19 He struck down some of the men of Beth-shemesh because they had looked into the ark of the Lord. He struck down of all the people, 50,070 men, and the people mourned because the Lord had struck the people with a great slaughter. 20 The men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? And to whom shall He go up from us?” 21 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have brought back the ark of the Lord; come down and take it up to you.”
Deliverance from the Philistines
7 And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took the ark of the Lord and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the Lord. 2 From the day that the ark remained at Kiriath-jearim, the time was long, for it was twenty years; and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.
3 Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the Lord with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts to the Lord and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the sons of Israel removed the Baals and the Ashtaroth and served the Lord alone.
5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah and I will pray to the Lord for you.” 6 They gathered to Mizpah, and drew water and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the sons of Israel at Mizpah.
7 Now when the Philistines heard that the sons of Israel had gathered to Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the sons of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 Then the sons of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry to the Lord our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it for a whole burnt offering to the Lord; and Samuel cried to the Lord for Israel and the Lord answered him. 10 Now Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, and the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the Lord thundered with a great [u]thunder on that day against the Philistines and confused them, so that they were [v]routed before Israel. 11 The men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and struck them down as far as below Beth-car.
12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it [w]Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 13 So the Philistines were subdued and they did not come anymore within the border of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14 The cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even to Gath; and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. So there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.
15 Now Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 He used to go annually on circuit to Bethel and Gilgal and Mizpah, and he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then his return was to Ramah, for his house was there, and there he judged Israel; and he built there an altar to the Lord.
Israel Demands a King
8 And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel. 2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judging in Beersheba. 3 His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice.
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; 5 and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing was [x]displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. 8 Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9 Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly [y]warn them and tell them of the [z]procedure of the king who will reign over them.”
Warning concerning a King
10 So Samuel spoke all the words of the Lord to the people who had asked of him a king. 11 He said, “This will be the [aa]procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to [ab]do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and [ac]use them for his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. 18 Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
19 Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 Now after Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the Lord’s hearing. 22 The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to their voice and [ad]appoint them a king.” So Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”
9 Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, the son of a Benjamite, a mighty man of [ae]valor. 2 He had a son whose name was Saul, a choice and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people.
3 Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to his son Saul, “Take now with you one of the servants, and arise, go search for the donkeys.” 4 He passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they did not find them.
5 When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, and let us return, or else my father will cease to be concerned about the donkeys and will become anxious for us.” 6 He said to him, “Behold now, there is a man of God in this city, and the man is held in honor; all that he says surely comes true. Now let us go there, perhaps he can tell us about our journey on which we have set out.” 7 Then Saul said to his servant, “But behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread is gone from our sack and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?” 8 The servant answered Saul again and said, “Behold, I have in my hand a fourth of a shekel of silver; I will give it to the man of God and he will tell us our way.” 9 (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he used to say, “Come, and let us go to the seer”; for he who is called a prophet now was formerly called a seer.) 10 Then Saul said to his servant, “Well said; come, let us go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was.
11 As they went up the slope to the city, they found young women going out to draw water and said to them, “Is the seer here?” 12 They answered them and said, “He is; [af]see, he is ahead of you. Hurry now, for he has come into the city today, for the people have a sacrifice on the high place today. 13 As soon as you enter the city you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat, for the people will not eat until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now therefore, go up for you will find him at once.” 14 So they went up to the city. As they came into the city, behold, Samuel was coming out toward them to go up to the high place.
God’s Choice for King
15 Now a day before Saul’s coming, the Lord had [ag]revealed this to Samuel saying, 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over My people Israel; and he will deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have regarded My people, because their cry has come to Me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord [ah]said to him, “Behold, the man of whom I spoke to you! This one shall rule over My people.” 18 Then Saul approached Samuel in the gate and said, “Please tell me where the seer’s house is.” 19 Samuel answered Saul and said, “I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place, for you shall eat with me today; and in the morning I will let you go, and will tell you all that is on your mind. 20 As for your donkeys which were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found. And for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father’s household?” 21 Saul replied, “Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the [ai]tribe of Benjamin? Why then do you speak to me in this way?”
22 Then Samuel took Saul and his servant and brought them into the hall and gave them a place at the head of those who were invited, who were about thirty men. 23 Samuel said to the cook, “[aj]Bring the portion that I gave you, concerning which I said to you, ‘Set it [ak]aside.’” 24 Then the cook took up the leg with what was on it and set it before Saul. And Samuel said, “Here is what has been reserved! Set it before you and eat, because it has been kept for you until the appointed time, [al]since I said I have invited the people.” So Saul ate with Samuel that day.
25 When they came down from the high place into the city, Samuel spoke with Saul on the [am]roof. 26 And they arose early; and at daybreak Samuel called to Saul on the roof, saying, “Get up, that I may send you away.” So Saul arose, and both he and Samuel went out into the street. 27 As they were going down to the edge of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Say to the servant that he might go ahead of us and pass on, but you remain standing now, that I may proclaim the word of God to you.”
Saul among Prophets
10 Then Samuel took the flask of oil, poured it on his head, kissed him and said, “Has not the Lord anointed you a ruler over His inheritance? 2 When you go from me today, then you will find two men close to Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say to you, ‘The donkeys which you went to look for have been found. Now behold, your father has [an]ceased to be concerned about the donkeys and is anxious for you, saying, “What shall I do about my son?”’ 3 Then you will go on further from there, and you will come as far as the [ao]oak of Tabor, and there three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a jug of wine; 4 and they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from their hand. 5 Afterward you will come to [ap]the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is; and it shall be as soon as you have come there to the city, that you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and a lyre before them, and they will be prophesying. 6 Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed into another man. 7 It shall be when these signs come to you, do for yourself what [aq]the occasion requires, for God is with you. 8 And you shall go down before me to Gilgal; and behold, I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice peace offerings. You shall wait seven days until I come to you and show you what you should do.”
9 Then it happened when he turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed [ar]his heart; and all those signs came about on that day. 10 When they came to [as]the hill there, behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him mightily, so that he prophesied among them. 11 It came about, when all who knew him previously saw that he prophesied now with the prophets, that the people said to one another, “What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12 A man there said, “Now, who is their father?” Therefore it became a proverb: “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13 When he had finished prophesying, he came to the high place.
14 Now Saul’s uncle said to him and his servant, “Where did you go?” And he said, “To look for the donkeys. When we saw that they could not be found, we went to Samuel.” 15 Saul’s uncle said, “Please tell me what Samuel said to you.” 16 So Saul said to his uncle, “He told us plainly that the donkeys had been found.” But he did not tell him about the matter of the kingdom which Samuel had mentioned.
Saul Publicly Chosen King
17 Thereafter Samuel called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah; 18 and he said to the sons of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I brought Israel up from Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the [at]power of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ 19 But you have today rejected your God, who delivers you from all your calamities and your distresses; yet you have [au]said, ‘No, but set a king over us!’ Now therefore, present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your clans.”
20 Thus Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 Then he brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its families, and the Matrite family was taken. And Saul the son of Kish was taken; but when they looked for him, he could not be found. 22 Therefore they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?” So the Lord said, “Behold, he is hiding himself by the baggage.” 23 So they ran and took him from there, and when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. 24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen? Surely there is no one like him among all the people.” So all the people shouted and said, “[av]Long live the king!”
25 Then Samuel told the people the ordinances of the kingdom, and wrote them in the book and placed it before the Lord. And Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his house. 26 Saul also went to his house at Gibeah; and the valiant men whose hearts God had touched went with him. 27 But certain [aw]worthless men said, “How can this one deliver us?” And they despised him and did not bring him any present. But he kept silent.
Saul Defeats the Ammonites
11 Now Nahash the Ammonite came up and [ax]besieged Jabesh-gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a covenant with us and we will serve you.” 2 But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, “I will make it with you on this condition, that I will gouge out the right eye of every one of you, thus I will make it a reproach on all Israel.” 3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Let us alone for seven days, that we may send messengers throughout the territory of Israel. Then, if there is no one to deliver us, we will come out to you.” 4 Then the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and spoke these words in the hearing of the people, and all the people lifted up their voices and wept.
5 Now behold, Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen, and [ay]he said, “What is the matter with the people that they weep?” So they related to him the words of the men of Jabesh. 6 Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul mightily when he heard these words, and [az]he became very angry. 7 He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers, saying, “Whoever does not come out after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen.” Then the dread of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out as one man. 8 He [ba]numbered them in Bezek; and the sons of Israel were 300,000, and the men of Judah 30,000. 9 They said to the messengers who had come, “Thus you shall say to the men of Jabesh-gilead, ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you will have deliverance.’” So the messengers went and told the men of Jabesh; and they were glad. 10 Then the men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will come out to you, and you may do to us whatever seems good [bb]to you.” 11 The next morning Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the camp at the morning watch and struck down the Ammonites until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
12 Then the people said to Samuel, “Who is he that said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ [bc]Bring the men, that we may put them to death.” 13 But Saul said, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has accomplished deliverance in Israel.”
14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come and let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they also offered sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.
Samuel Addresses Israel
12 Then Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have listened to your voice in all that you said to me and I have [bd]appointed a king over you. 2 Now, here is the king walking before you, but I am old and gray, and behold my sons are with you. And I have walked before you from my youth even to this day. 3 Here I am; bear witness against me before the Lord and His anointed. Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? I will restore it to you.” 4 They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.” 5 He said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day that you have found nothing in my hand.” And they said, “He is witness.”
6 Then Samuel said to the people, “It is the Lord who [be]appointed Moses and Aaron and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt. 7 So now, take your stand, that I may plead with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous acts of the Lord which He did for you and your fathers. 8 When Jacob went into Egypt and your fathers cried out to the Lord, then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron [bf]who brought your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place. 9 But they forgot the Lord their God, so He sold them into the hand of Sisera, captain of the army of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them. 10 They cried out to the Lord and said, ‘We have sinned because we have forsaken the Lord and have served the Baals and the Ashtaroth; but now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ 11 Then the Lord sent Jerubbaal and [bg]Bedan and Jephthah and Samuel, and delivered you from the hands of your enemies all around, so that you lived in security.
The King Confirmed
12 When you saw that Nahash the king of the sons of Ammon came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ although the Lord your God was your king. 13 Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen, whom you have asked for, and behold, the Lord has set a king over you. 14 If you will fear the Lord and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the [bh]command of the Lord, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God. 15 If you will not listen to the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the [bi]command of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers. 16 Even now, take your stand and see this great thing which the Lord will do before your eyes. 17 Is it not the wheat harvest today? I will call to the Lord, that He may send [bj]thunder and rain. Then you will know and see that your wickedness is great which you have done in the sight of the Lord by asking for yourselves a king.” 18 So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord sent [bk]thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.
19 Then all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, so that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil by asking for ourselves a king.” 20 Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have committed all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 You must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which can not profit or deliver, because they are futile. 22 For the Lord will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the Lord has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. 23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way. 24 Only [bl]fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. 25 But if you still do wickedly, both you and your king will be swept away.”
War with the Philistines
2 Now Saul chose for himself 3,000 men of Israel, of which 2,000 were with Saul in Michmash and in the hill country of Bethel, while 1,000 were with Jonathan at Gibeah of Benjamin. But he sent away the rest of the people, each to his tent. 3 Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. Then Saul blew the trumpet throughout the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear.” 4 All Israel heard [bo]the news that Saul had smitten the garrison of the Philistines, and also that Israel had become odious to the Philistines. The people were then summoned [bp]to Saul at Gilgal.
5 Now the Philistines assembled to fight with Israel, 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen, and people like the sand which is on the seashore in abundance; and they came up and camped in Michmash, east of Beth-aven. 6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait (for the people were hard-pressed), then the people hid themselves in caves, in thickets, in cliffs, in cellars, and in pits. 7 Also some of the Hebrews crossed the Jordan into the land of Gad and Gilead. But as for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.
8 Now he waited seven days, according to the appointed time set by Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering from him. 9 So Saul said, “Bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him and to [bq]greet him. 11 But Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “Because I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the appointed days, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, 12 therefore I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.” 13 Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, for now the Lord would have established your kingdom [br]over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”
15 Then Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul [bs]numbered the people who were present with him, about six hundred men. 16 Now Saul and his son Jonathan and the people who were present with them were staying in Geba of Benjamin while the Philistines camped at Michmash. 17 And the [bt]raiders came from the camp of the Philistines in three [bu]companies: one [bv]company turned [bw]toward Ophrah, to the land of Shual, 18 and another [bx]company turned [by]toward Beth-horon, and another [bz]company turned [ca]toward the border which overlooks the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.
19 Now no blacksmith could be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make [cb]swords or spears.” 20 So all Israel went down to the Philistines, each to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, and his hoe. 21 The charge was [cc]two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to fix the hoes. 22 So it came about on the day of battle that neither sword nor spear was found in the hands of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan, but they were found with Saul and his son Jonathan. 23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.
14 Now the day came that Jonathan, the son of Saul, said to the young man who was carrying his armor, “Come and let us cross over to the Philistines’ garrison that is on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. 2 Saul was staying in the outskirts of Gibeah under the pomegranate tree which is in Migron. And the people who were with him were about six hundred men, 3 and Ahijah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the priest of the Lord at Shiloh, was [cd]wearing an ephod. And the people did not know that Jonathan had gone. 4 Between the passes by which Jonathan sought to cross over to the Philistines’ garrison, there was a sharp crag on the one side and a sharp crag on the other side, and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. 5 The one crag rose on the north opposite Michmash, and the other on the south opposite Geba.
6 Then Jonathan said to the young man who was carrying his armor, “Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; perhaps the Lord will work for us, for the Lord is not restrained to save by many or by few.” 7 His armor bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart; turn yourself, and here I am with you according to your [ce]desire.” 8 Then Jonathan said, “Behold, we will cross over to the men and reveal ourselves to them. 9 If they [cf]say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you’; then we will stand in our place and not go up to them. 10 But if they [cg]say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the Lord has given them into our hands; and this shall be the sign to us.” 11 When both of them revealed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines, the Philistines said, “Behold, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves.” 12 So the men of the garrison [ch]hailed Jonathan and his armor bearer and said, “Come up to us and we will tell you something.” And Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come up after me, for the Lord has given them into the hands of Israel.” 13 Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, with his armor bearer behind him; and they fell before Jonathan, and his armor bearer put some to death after him. 14 That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armor bearer made was about twenty men within about half a furrow in an acre of land. 15 And there was a trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. Even the garrison and the raiders trembled, and the earth quaked so that it became a [ci]great trembling.
16 Now Saul’s watchmen in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and behold, the multitude melted away; and they went here and there. 17 Saul said to the people who were with him, “[cj]Number now and see who has gone from us.” And when they had [ck]numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armor bearer were not there. 18 Then Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God here.” For the ark of God was at that time with the sons of Israel. 19 While Saul talked to the priest, the commotion in the camp of the Philistines continued and increased; so Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” 20 Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and came to the battle; and behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow, and there was very great confusion. 21 Now the Hebrews who were with the Philistines previously, who went up with them all around in the camp, even they also turned 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 fled, even they also pursued them closely in the battle. 23 So the Lord delivered Israel that day, and the battle [cl]spread beyond Beth-aven.
Saul’s Foolish Order
24 Now the men of Israel were hard-pressed on that day, for Saul had put the people under oath, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats food [cm]before evening, and until I have avenged myself on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food. 25 All the people of the land entered the forest, and there was honey on the ground. 26 When the people entered the forest, behold, there was a flow of honey; but no man put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard when his father put the people under oath; therefore, he put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened. 28 Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly put the people under oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food today.’” And the people were weary. 29 Then Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. See now, how my eyes have brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much more, if only 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 among the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. And the people were very weary. 32 The people [cn]rushed greedily 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, saying, “Behold, the people are sinning against the Lord by eating with the blood.” And he said, “You have acted treacherously; roll a great stone to me today.” 34 Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people and say to them, ‘Each one of you bring me his ox or his sheep, and slaughter it here and eat; and do not sin against the Lord by eating with the blood.’” So all the people that night brought each one his ox [co]with him and slaughtered 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 after the Philistines by night and take spoil among them until the morning light, and let us not leave a man of them.” And they said, “Do whatever seems good [cp]to you.” So the priest said, “Let us draw near to God here.” 37 Saul inquired of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will You give them into the hand of Israel?” But He did not answer him on that day. 38 Saul said, “Draw near here, all you [cq]chiefs of the people, and investigate and see how this sin has happened today. 39 For as the Lord lives, who delivers Israel, though it is in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” But not one of all the people 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 [cr]to you.” 41 Therefore, Saul said to the Lord, the God of Israel, “Give a perfect lot.” And Jonathan and Saul were taken, but the people escaped. 42 Saul said, “Cast lots 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 and said, “I indeed tasted a little honey with the end of the staff that was in my hand. Here I am, I must die!” 44 Saul said, “May God do [cs]this to me and more also, for you shall surely die, Jonathan.” 45 But the people said to Saul, “Must Jonathan die, who has [ct]brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.” So the people [cu]rescued Jonathan and he did not die. 46 Then Saul went up from [cv]pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.
47 Now when Saul had taken the kingdom over Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, the sons of Ammon, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines; and wherever he turned, he [cw]inflicted punishment. 48 He acted valiantly and [cx]defeated the Amalekites, and delivered Israel from the hands of [cy]those who plundered them.
49 Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan and Ishvi and Malchi-shua; and the names of his two daughters were these: the name of the firstborn Merab and the name of the younger Michal. 50 The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz. And the name of the captain 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 Abiel.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
Want to get the most out of Bible Gateway? Find out why Bible Gateway Plus is the ultimate toolkit for anyone seeking to grow closer to the Word. For less than the cost of a latte, Plus membership gives you access to a complete digital Bible study library and reduced banner ads. Try it free for 30 days!
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.