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1 Samuel 13 Good News Translation (GNT)

War against the Philistines

13 [a] Saul picked three thousand men, keeping two thousand of them with him in Michmash and in the hill country of Bethel and sending one thousand with his son Jonathan to Gibeah, in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. The rest of the men Saul sent home.

Jonathan killed the Philistine commander[b] in Geba, and all the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul sent messengers to call the Hebrews to war by blowing a trumpet throughout the whole country. All the Israelites were told that Saul had killed the Philistine commander and that the Philistines hated them. So the people answered the call to join Saul at Gilgal.

The Philistines assembled to fight the Israelites; they had thirty thousand war chariots, six thousand cavalry troops, and as many soldiers as there are grains of sand on the seashore. They went to Michmash, east of Bethaven, and camped there. Then they launched a strong attack against the Israelites, putting them in a desperate situation. Some of the Israelites hid in caves and holes or among the rocks or in pits and wells; others crossed the Jordan River into the territories of Gad and Gilead.

Saul was still at Gilgal, and the people with him were trembling with fear. He waited seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him to do, but Samuel still had not come to Gilgal. The people began to desert Saul, so he said to them, “Bring me the burnt sacrifices and the fellowship sacrifices.” He offered a burnt sacrifice, 10 and just as he was finishing, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet him and welcome him, 11 but Samuel said, “What have you done?”

Saul answered, “The people were deserting me, and you had not come when you said you would; besides that, the Philistines are gathering at Michmash. 12 So I thought, ‘The Philistines are going to attack me here in Gilgal, and I have not tried to win the Lord's favor.’ So I felt I had to offer a sacrifice.”

13 “That was a foolish thing to do,” Samuel answered. “You have not obeyed the command the Lord your God gave you. If you had obeyed, he would have let you and your descendants rule over Israel forever. 14 But now your rule will not continue. Because you have disobeyed him, the Lord will find the kind of man he wants and make him ruler of his people.”

15 Samuel left Gilgal and went on his way. The rest of the people followed Saul as he went to join his soldiers. They went from Gilgal[c] to Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin. Saul inspected his troops, about six hundred men. 16 Saul, his son Jonathan, and their men camped in Geba in the territory of Benjamin; the Philistine camp was at Michmash. 17 The Philistine soldiers went out on raids from their camp in three groups: one group went toward Ophrah in the territory of Shual, 18 another went toward Beth Horon, and the other one went to the border overlooking Zeboim Valley and the wilderness.

19 There were no blacksmiths in Israel because the Philistines were determined to keep the Hebrews from making swords and spears. (20 The Israelites had to go to the Philistines to get their plows, hoes, axes, and sickles[d] sharpened; 21 the charge was one small coin for sharpening axes and for fixing goads,[e] and two coins for sharpening plows or hoes.) 22 And so on the day of battle none of the Israelite soldiers except Saul and his son Jonathan had swords or spears.

23 The Philistines sent a group of soldiers to defend Michmash Pass.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Samuel 13:1 One ancient translation does not have verse 1; Hebrew has as verse 1 Saul was … years old when he became king, and he was king of Israel for two years. The Hebrew text is defective at two points in this verse.
  2. 1 Samuel 13:3 killed the Philistine commander; or defeated the Philistines camping.
  3. 1 Samuel 13:15 Some ancient translations on his way … went from Gilgal; Hebrew does not have these words.
  4. 1 Samuel 13:20 One ancient translation sickles; Hebrew plows.
  5. 1 Samuel 13:21 Probable text the charge … fixing goads; Hebrew unclear.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

1 Samuel 13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Saul’s Unlawful Sacrifice

13 Saul was . . .[a] years old when he began to reign; and he reigned . . . and two[b] years over Israel.

Saul chose three thousand out of Israel; two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin; the rest of the people he sent home to their tents. Jonathan defeated the garrison of the Philistines that was at Geba; and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear!” When all Israel heard that Saul had defeated the garrison of the Philistines, and also that Israel had become odious to the Philistines, the people were called out to join Saul at Gilgal.

The Philistines mustered to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and troops like the sand on the seashore in multitude; they came up and encamped at Michmash, to the east of Beth-aven. When the Israelites saw that they were in distress (for the troops were hard pressed), the people hid themselves in caves and in holes and in rocks and in tombs and in cisterns. Some Hebrews crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul was still at Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.

He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people began to slip away from Saul.[c] So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the offerings of well-being.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, Samuel arrived; and Saul went out to meet him and salute him. 11 Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul replied, “When I saw that the people were slipping away from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines were mustering at Michmash, 12 I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down upon me at Gilgal, and I have not entreated the favor of the Lord’; so I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” 13 Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which he commanded you. The Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever, 14 but now your kingdom will not continue; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart; and the Lord has appointed him to be ruler over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” 15 And Samuel left and went on his way from Gilgal.[d] The rest of the people followed Saul to join the army; they went up from Gilgal toward Gibeah of Benjamin.[e]

Preparations for Battle

Saul counted the people who were present with him, about six hundred men. 16 Saul, his son Jonathan, and the people who were present with them stayed in Geba of Benjamin; but the Philistines encamped at Michmash. 17 And raiders came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies; one company turned toward Ophrah, to the land of Shual, 18 another company turned toward Beth-horon, and another company turned toward the mountain[f] that looks down upon the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.

19 Now there was no smith to be found throughout all the land of Israel; for the Philistines said, “The Hebrews must not make swords or spears for themselves”; 20 so all the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen their plowshares, mattocks, axes, or sickles;[g] 21 The charge was two-thirds of a shekel[h] for the plowshares and for the mattocks, and one-third of a shekel for sharpening the axes and for setting the goads.[i] 22 So on the day of the battle neither sword nor spear was to be found in the possession of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan; but Saul and his son Jonathan had them.

Jonathan Surprises and Routs the Philistines

23 Now a garrison of the Philistines had gone out to the pass of Michmash.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Samuel 13:1 The number is lacking in the Heb text (the verse is lacking in the Septuagint).
  2. 1 Samuel 13:1 Two is not the entire number; something has dropped out.
  3. 1 Samuel 13:8 Heb him
  4. 1 Samuel 13:15 Gk: Heb went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin
  5. 1 Samuel 13:15 Gk: Heb lacks The rest . . . of Benjamin
  6. 1 Samuel 13:18 Cn Compare Gk: Heb toward the border
  7. 1 Samuel 13:20 Gk: Heb plowshare
  8. 1 Samuel 13:21 Heb was a pim
  9. 1 Samuel 13:21 Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1 Samuel 13 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

13 Saul was a child of one year when he began to reign, and he reigned two years over Israel.

And Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel: and two thousand were with Saul in Machmas, and in mount Bethel: and a thousand with Jonathan in Gabaa of Benjamin, and the rest of the people he sent back every man to their dwellings.

And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines which was in Gabaa. And when the Philistines had heard of it, Saul sounded the trumpet over all the land, saying: Let the Hebrews hear.

And all Israel heard this report: Saul hath smitten the garrison of the Philistines: and Israel took courage against the Philistines. And the people were called together after Saul to Galgal.

The Philistines also were assembled to fight against Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and a multitude of people besides, like the sand on the sea shore for number. And going up they camped in Machmas at the east of Bethaven.

And when the men of Israel saw that they were straitened, (for the people were distressed,) they hid themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in dens, and in pits.

And some of the Hebrews passed over the Jordan into the land of Gad and Galaad. And when Saul was yet in Galgal, all the people that followed him were greatly afraid.

And he waited seven days according to the appointment of Samuel, I and Samuel came not to Galgal, and the people slipt away from him.

Then Saul said: Bring me the holocaust, and the peace offerings. And he offered the holocaust.

10 And when he had made an end of offering the holocaust, behold Samuel came: and Saul went forth to meet him and salute him.

11 And Samuel said to him: What hast thou done? Saul answered: Because I saw that the people slipt from me, and thou wast not come according to the days appointed, and the Philistines were gathered together in Machmas,

12 I said: Now will the Philistines come down upon me to Galgal, and I have not appeased the face of the Lord. Forced by necessity, I offered the holocaust.

13 And Samuel said to Saul: Thou hast done foolishly, and hast not kept the commandments of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee. And if thou hadst not done thus, the Lord would now have established thy kingdom over Israel for ever.

14 But thy kingdom shall not continue. The Lord hath sought him a man according to his own heart: and him hath the Lord commanded to be prince over his people, because thou hast not observed that which the Lord commanded.

15 And Samuel arose and went up from Galgal to Gabaa of Benjamin. And the rest of the people went up after Saul, to meet the people who fought against them, going from Galgal to Gabaa in the hill of Benjamin. And Saul numbered the people, that were found with him, about six hundred men.

16 And Saul and Jonathan his son, and the people that were present with them, were in Gabaa of Benjamin: but the Philistines encamped in Machmas.

17 And there went out of the camp of the Philistines three companies to plunder. One company went towards the way of Ephra to the land of Sual;

18 And another went by the way of Beth-horon, and the third turned to the way of the border, above the valley of Seboim towards the desert.

19 Now there was no smith to be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines had taken this precaution, lest the Hebrews should make them swords or spears.

20 So all Israel went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his ploughshare, and his spade, and his axe, and his rake.

21 So that their shares, and their spades, and their forks, and their axes were blunt, even to the goad, which was to be mended.

22 And when the day of battle was come, there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan, except Saul and Jonathan his son.

23 And the army of the Philistines went out in order to advance further in Machmas.

1 Samuel 13 The Message (MSG)

“God Is Out Looking for Your Replacement”

13 Saul was a young man when he began as king. He was king over Israel for many years.

Saul conscripted enough men for three companies of soldiers. He kept two companies under his command at Micmash and in the Bethel hills. The other company was under Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. He sent the rest of the men home.

3-4 Jonathan attacked and killed the Philistine governor stationed at Geba (Gibeah). When the Philistines heard the news, they raised the alarm: “The Hebrews are in revolt!” Saul ordered the reveille trumpets blown throughout the land. The word went out all over Israel, “Saul has killed the Philistine governor—drawn first blood! The Philistines are stirred up and mad as hornets!” Summoned, the army came to Saul at Gilgal.

The Philistines rallied their forces to fight Israel: three companies of chariots, six companies of cavalry, and so many infantry they looked like sand on the seashore. They went up into the hills and set up camp at Micmash, east of Beth Aven.

6-7 When the Israelites saw that they were way outnumbered and in deep trouble, they ran for cover, hiding in caves and pits, ravines and brambles and cisterns—wherever. They retreated across the Jordan River, refugees fleeing to the country of Gad and Gilead. But Saul held his ground in Gilgal, his soldiers still with him but scared to death.

He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel. Samuel failed to show up at Gilgal, and the soldiers were slipping away, right and left.

9-10 So Saul took charge: “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” He went ahead and sacrificed the burnt offering. No sooner had he done it than Samuel showed up! Saul greeted him.

11-12 Samuel said, “What on earth are you doing?”

Saul answered, “When I saw I was losing my army from under me, and that you hadn’t come when you said you would, and that the Philistines were poised at Micmash, I said, ‘The Philistines are about to come down on me in Gilgal, and I haven’t yet come before God asking for his help.’ So I took things into my own hands, and sacrificed the burnt offering.”

13-14 “That was a fool thing to do,” Samuel said to Saul. “If you had kept the appointment that your God commanded, by now God would have set a firm and lasting foundation under your kingly rule over Israel. As it is, your kingly rule is already falling to pieces. God is out looking for your replacement right now. This time he’ll do the choosing. When he finds him, he’ll appoint him leader of his people. And all because you didn’t keep your appointment with God!”

15 At that, Samuel got up and left Gilgal. What army there was left followed Saul into battle. They went into the hills from Gilgal toward Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul looked over and assessed the soldiers still with him—a mere six hundred!

Jonathan and His Armor Bearer

16-18 Saul, his son Jonathan, and the soldiers who had remained made camp at Geba (Gibeah) of Benjamin. The Philistines were camped at Micmash. Three squads of raiding parties were regularly sent out from the Philistine camp. One squadron was assigned to the Ophrah road going toward Shual country; another was assigned to the Beth Horon road; the third took the border road that rimmed the Valley of Hyenas.

19-22 There wasn’t a blacksmith to be found anywhere in Israel. The Philistines made sure of that—“Lest those Hebrews start making swords and spears.” That meant that the Israelites had to go down among the Philistines to keep their farm tools—plowshares and mattocks, axes and sickles—sharp and in good repair. They charged a silver coin for the plowshares and mattocks, and half that for the rest. So when the battle of Micmash was joined, there wasn’t a sword or spear to be found anywhere in Israel—except for Saul and his son Jonathan; they were both well-armed.

23 A patrol of Philistines took up a position at Micmash Pass.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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