Judges 4-8 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Deborah and Barak Rescue from Canaanites
4 But the Israelites again did evil in the sight of the Lord, after Ehud died. 2 So the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in [a]Harosheth-hagoyim. 3 Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord [for help], for Jabin had nine hundred iron chariots and had oppressed and tormented the sons of Israel severely for twenty years.
4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. 5 She used to sit [to hear and decide disputes] under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came up to her for judgment. 6 Now she sent word and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, “Behold, the Lord, the God of Israel, has commanded, ‘Go and march to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men [of war] from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun. 7 I will draw out Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his infantry to meet you at the river Kishon, and I will hand him over to you.’” 8 Then Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” 9 She said, “I will certainly go with you; nevertheless, [b]the journey that you are about to take will not be for your honor and glory, because the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 And Barak summoned [the fighting men of the tribes of] Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, and ten thousand men went up [c]under his command; Deborah also went up with him.
11 Now Heber the Kenite had separated himself from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab the [d]father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the [e]terebinth tree in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh.
12 When someone told Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera called together all his chariots, nine hundred iron chariots, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon. 14 Deborah said to Barak, “Arise! For this is the day when the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. Has the Lord not gone out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. 15 And the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and [confused] all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera dismounted from his chariot and fled away on foot. 16 But Barak pursued the chariots and the army to Harosheth-hagoyim, and the entire army of Sisera fell by the sword; not even one man was left.
17 But Sisera fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18 Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me! Have no fear.” So he turned aside to her [and went] into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19 And he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink because I am thirsty.” And she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink; then she covered him. 20 And he said to her, “Stand at the door of the tent, and if any man comes and asks you, ‘Is there anyone here?’ tell him, ‘No.’” 21 But Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent peg and a hammer in her hand, and came up quietly to him and drove the peg through his temple, and it went through into the ground; for he was sound asleep and exhausted. So he died. 22 And behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” And he entered [her tent] with her, and behold Sisera lay dead with the tent peg in his temple.
23 So on that day God subdued and humbled Jabin king of Canaan before the sons of Israel. 24 And the hand of the sons of Israel pressed down heavier and heavier on Jabin king of Canaan, until they had destroyed him.
The Song of Deborah and Barak
5 Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying,
And the land was at rest for forty years.
Israel Oppressed by Midian
6 Then the Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord gave them into the hand of Midian for seven years. 2 The [powerful] hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of Midian the sons of Israel made for themselves the dens (hideouts) which were in the mountains, and the caves and the [mountain] strongholds. 3 For it was whenever Israel had sown [their seed] that the Midianites would come up with the Amalekites and the people of the east and go up against them. 4 So they would camp against them and destroy the crops of the land as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel as well as no sheep, ox, or donkey. 5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, and they would come in as numerous as locusts; both they and their camels were innumerable. So they came into the land to devastate it. 6 So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the Israelites cried out to the Lord [for help].
7 Now it came about when they cried out to the Lord because of Midian, 8 that the Lord sent a prophet to the Israelites, and he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I brought you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of slavery. 9 And I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land, 10 and I said to you, “I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live.” But you have not listened to and obeyed My voice.’”
Gideon Is Visited
11 Now the [i]Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, and his son Gideon was beating wheat in the wine press [instead of the threshing floor] to [hide it and] save it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O brave man.” 13 But Gideon said to him, “Please my lord, if the Lord is with us, then why has all this happened to us? And where are all His wondrous works which our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.” 14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this strength of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” 15 But Gideon said to Him, “Please Lord, how am I to rescue Israel? Behold, my family is the least [significant] in Manasseh, and I am the youngest (smallest) in my father’s house.” 16 The Lord answered him, “I will certainly be with you, and you will strike down the Midianites as [if they were only] one man.” 17 Gideon replied to Him, “If I have found any favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speaks with me. 18 Please do not depart from here until I come back to You, and bring my offering and place it before You.” And He said, “I will wait until you return.”
19 Then Gideon went and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket and the broth in a pot, and he brought the food to Him under the oak (terebinth) and presented it. 20 The Angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth [over them].” And he did so. 21 Then the Angel of the Lord put out the end of the staff that was in His hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire flared up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the Angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. 22 When Gideon realized [without any doubt] that He was the Angel of the Lord, he declared, “[j]Oh no, Lord God! For now I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face [and I am doomed]!” 23 The Lord said to him, “Peace to you, do not be afraid; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it The Lord is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah, of the Abiezrites.
25 Now on that same night the Lord said to Gideon, “Take your father’s bull, the second bull seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father, and cut down [k]the Asherah that is beside it; 26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this mountain stronghold [with stones laid down] in an orderly way. Then take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice using the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.” 27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did just as the Lord had told him; but because he was too afraid of his father’s household (relatives) and the men of the city to do it during daylight, he did it at night.
The Altar of Baal Destroyed
28 Early the next morning when the men of the city got up, they discovered that the altar of Baal was torn down, and the Asherah which was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar which had been built. 29 So they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” When they searched about and inquired, they were told, “Gideon the son of Joash did it.” 30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, so that he may be executed, because he has torn down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah which was beside it.” 31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you [l]plead for Baal? Will you save him? Whoever pleads for Baal shall be put to death while it is still morning. If Baal is a god, let him defend himself, because someone has torn down his altar.” 32 Therefore on that day he named Gideon Jerubbaal, [m]meaning, “Let Baal plead,” because he had torn down his altar.
33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the east assembled together; and they crossed over [the Jordan] and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 So the Spirit of the Lord [n]clothed Gideon [and empowered him]; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together [as a militia] to follow him. 35 He sent messengers throughout [the tribe of] Manasseh, and the fighting men were also called together to follow him; and he sent messengers to [the tribes of] Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet them.
Sign of the Fleece
36 Then Gideon said to God, “If You are going to rescue Israel through me, as You have spoken, 37 behold, I will put a fleece of [freshly sheared] wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece, and it is dry on all the ground [around it], then I will know that You will rescue Israel through me, as You have said.” 38 And it was so. When he got up early the next morning and squeezed the dew out of the fleece, he wrung from it a bowl full of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let your anger burn against me, so that I may speak once more. Please let me make a test once more with the fleece; now let only the fleece be dry, and let there be dew on all the ground.” 40 God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and there was dew on all the ground [around it].
Gideon’s 300 Chosen Men
7 Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him got up early and camped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was north of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.
2 Then the Lord said to Gideon, “There are too many people with you for Me to hand over Midian to them, otherwise Israel will boast [about themselves] against Me, saying, ‘My own [o]power has rescued me.’ 3 So now, proclaim in the hearing of the people, ‘Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men returned [home], but ten thousand remained.
4 Then the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many people; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Therefore it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you; but everyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water, and the Lord said to Gideon, “You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels down to drink.” 6 Now the number of those who lapped [the water], putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men, but all the rest of the people kneeled down to drink water. 7 And the Lord told Gideon, “With the three hundred men who lapped I will rescue you, and will hand over the Midianites to you. Let all the other people go, each man to his home.” 8 So the three hundred men took people’s provisions [for the journey] and their trumpets [made of rams’ horns] in their hands. And Gideon sent [away] all the other men of Israel, each to his tent, but kept the three hundred men. And the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.
9 Now on that same night the Lord said to Gideon, “Arise, go down against their camp, for I have given it into your hand. 10 But if you are afraid to go down [by yourself], go with Purah your servant down to the camp, 11 and you will hear what they say; and afterward [p]you will have the courage to go down against the camp.” Then he went down with Purah his servant to the [q]outposts of the army that was in the camp. 12 Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east were lying [camped] in the valley, as countless as locusts; and their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. 13 When Gideon arrived, [r]there was a man telling a dream to his friend. And he said, “Listen carefully, I had a dream: there was a loaf of [s]barley bread tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat.” 14 And his friend replied, “This [dream] is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel. God has given Midian and the entire camp into his hand.”
15 When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down in worship. Then he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the camp of Midian into your hand.” 16 He divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put trumpets and empty pitchers into the hands of all of them, with torches inside the pitchers. 17 And he said to them, “Look at me, then do likewise. When I come to the edge of the camp, do just as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow the trumpet (ram’s horn), then all around the camp you also blow the trumpets and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’”
Confusion of the Enemy
19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the edge of the camp at the beginning of the [t]middle watch, when the guards had just been changed, and they blew the trumpets and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands. 20 When three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow, and they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 21 Then each stood in his place around the camp; and the entire [Midianite] army ran, crying out as they fled. 22 When Gideon’s men blew the three hundred trumpets, the Lord set the sword of one [Midianite] against another even throughout the whole army; and the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. 23 The men of Israel were summoned together from [the tribes of] Naphtali and Asher and all Manasseh, and they pursued Midian.
24 Then Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of [the tribe of] Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and take [control of] the waters before them [thereby cutting off the Midianites], as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan [River].” So all the men of Ephraim were assembled together and they took control of the waters, as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan. 25 Then the men of Ephraim took the two leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb, and they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and they killed Zeeb at the wine press of Zeeb, and pursued Midian; and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon from across the Jordan.
Zebah and Zalmunna Routed
8 And the men of [the tribe of] Ephraim said to Gideon, “What is this thing that you have done to us, not calling us when you went to fight with Midian?” And they quarreled with him vehemently. 2 But he said to them, “What have I done now [that is so significant] in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning (leftovers) of the grapes of [your tribe of] Ephraim better than the vintage (entire harvest) of [my clan of] Abiezer? 3 God has given the leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb into your hands; and what was I able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger toward him subsided when he made this statement.
4 So Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over [the river], he and the three hundred men who were with him—exhausted, yet [still] pursuing [the enemy]. 5 He said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who are following me since they are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.” 6 But the leaders of Succoth said, “Are Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hands, that we should give bread to your army?” 7 Gideon said, “For that [response], when the Lord has handed over Zebah and Zalmunna to me, I will thrash your bodies with the thorns and briars of the wilderness.” 8 He went from there up to Penuel and spoke similarly to them; and the men of Penuel answered him just as the men of Succoth had answered. 9 So Gideon said also to the men of Penuel, “When I come again in peace, I will tear down this tower.”
10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with their armies, about fifteen thousand [fighting] men, all who were left of the entire army of the sons of the east; for a hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen had fallen. 11 Gideon went up by the route of those who lived in tents to the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and he attacked their camp when the camp was unsuspecting. 12 When Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued them and captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and terrified the entire army.
13 Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres. 14 He captured a young man of Succoth and questioned him. And the youth wrote down for him [the names of] the leaders of Succoth and its elders, seventy-seven men. 15 He came to the men of Succoth and said, “Look here, Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me, saying, ‘Are Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are exhausted?’” 16 He took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briars, and with them he [u]punished the men of Succoth. 17 He tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.
18 Then Gideon said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men were they whom you killed at Tabor?” And they replied, “They were like you, each one of them resembled the son of a king.” 19 He said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the Lord lives, if only you had let them live, I would not kill you.” 20 So [to humiliate them] Gideon said to Jether his firstborn, “Stand up, and kill them!” But the youth did not draw his sword, because he was afraid, for he was still [just] a boy. 21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise up yourself and strike us; for as the man is, so is his strength.” So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent amulets that were on their camels’ necks.
22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule [as king] over us, both you and your son, also your son’s son, for you have rescued us from the hand of Midian.” 23 But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you.” 24 And Gideon said to them, “I would make a request of you, that each one of you give me an earring from his spoil.” For the Midianites had gold earrings, because they were [v]Ishmaelites [who customarily wore them]. 25 They answered, “We will certainly give them to you.” And they spread out a garment, and every one of them threw an earring there from his spoil. 26 And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was [w]seventeen hundred shekels of gold, apart from the crescent amulets and pendants and the purple garments which were worn by the kings of Midian, and apart from the chains that were on their camels’ necks. 27 Gideon made [all the golden earrings into] an ephod [a sacred, high priest’s garment], and put it in his city of Ophrah, and all Israel [x]worshiped it as an idol there, and [y]it became a trap for Gideon and his household.
Forty Years of Peace
28 So Midian was subdued and humbled before the sons of Israel, and they no longer lifted up their heads [in pride]. And the land was at rest for forty years in the days of Gideon.
29 Jerubbaal (Gideon) the son of Joash went and lived in his own house. 30 Now Gideon had seventy sons born to him, because he had many wives. 31 And his [z]concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelech. 32 Gideon the son of Joash died at a good advanced age and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
33 Then it came about, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the Israelites again played the prostitute with the Baals, and made Baal-berith their god. 34 And the Israelites did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hand of all their enemies on every side; 35 nor did they show kindness to the family of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in return for all the good that he had done for Israel.
Judges 11-16 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Jephthah the Ninth Judge
11 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a brave warrior, but he was the son of a prostitute. Gilead was the father of Jephthah. 2 Gilead’s wife bore him sons, and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, because you are the son of another woman.” 3 Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob; and worthless and unprincipled men gathered around Jephthah, and went out [on raids] with him.
4 Now it happened after a while that the Ammonites fought against Israel. 5 When the Ammonites fought against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob; 6 and they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our leader, so that we may fight against the Ammonites.” 7 But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me and drive me from the house of my father? Why have you come to me now when you are in trouble?” 8 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “This is why we have turned to you now: that you may go with us and fight the Ammonites and become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” 9 So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you take me back [home] to fight against the Ammonites and the Lord gives them over to me, will I [really] become your head?” 10 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “The Lord is [a]the witness between us; be assured that we will do as you have said.” 11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and leader over them. And Jephthah [b]repeated everything that he had promised before the Lord at Mizpah.
12 Now Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites, saying, “What is [the problem] between you and me, that you have come against me to fight in my land?” 13 The Ammonites’ king replied to the messengers of Jephthah, “It is because Israel took away [c]my land when they came up from Egypt, from the [river] Arnon as far as the Jabbok and [east of] the Jordan; so now, return those lands peaceably.” 14 But Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the Ammonites, 15 and they said to him, “This is what Jephthah says: ‘Israel did not take the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites. 16 For when they came up from Egypt, Israel walked through the wilderness to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh; 17 then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, “Please let us pass through your land,” but the king of Edom would not listen. Also they sent word to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel stayed at Kadesh. 18 Then they went through the wilderness and went around the land of Edom and the land of Moab, and came to the east side of the land of Moab, and they camped on the other side of the [river] Arnon; but they did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the [northern] boundary of Moab. 19 Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, “Please let us pass through your land to our place.” 20 But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory; so Sihon gathered together all his people and camped at Jahaz and fought against Israel. 21 The Lord, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them; so Israel took possession of all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. 22 They took possession of all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and from the wilderness [westward] as far as the Jordan. 23 [d]And now the Lord God of Israel has dispossessed and driven out the Amorites from before His people Israel, so [why] should you possess it? 24 Do you not possess what Chemosh your god gives you to possess? And everything that the Lord our God dispossessed before us, we will possess. 25 Now are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever go to war against them? 26 While Israel lived in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities along the banks of the Arnon for three hundred years, why did you not recover your lost lands during that time? 27 So I have not sinned against you, but you are doing me wrong by making war against me; may the Lord, the [righteous] Judge, judge this day between the Israelites and the Ammonites.’” 28 But the king of the Ammonites disregarded the message of Jephthah, which he sent to him.
Jephthah’s Tragic Vow
29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites. 30 Jephthah made a vow to the Lord and said, “If You will indeed give the Ammonites into my hand, 31 then whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites, it shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” 32 Then Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to fight with them; and the Lord gave them into his hand. 33 And from Aroer to the entrance of Minnith he struck them, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim (brook by the vineyard), with a very great defeat. So the Ammonites were subdued and humbled before the Israelites.
34 Then Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, and this is what he saw: his daughter coming out to meet him with tambourines and with dancing. And she was his only child; except for her he had no son or daughter. 35 And when he saw her, he tore his clothes [in grief] and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me great disaster, and you are the cause of ruin to me; for I have [e]made a vow to the Lord, and I cannot take it back.” 36 And she said to him, “My father, you have made a vow to the Lord; do to me as you have vowed, since the Lord has taken vengeance for you on your enemies, the Ammonites.” 37 And she said to her father, “Let this one thing be done for me; let me alone for two months, so that I may go to the mountains and weep over my [f]virginity, I and my companions.” 38 And he said, “Go.” So he sent her away for two months; and she left with her companions, and wept over her virginity on the mountains. 39 At the end of two months she returned to her father, who did to her as he had vowed; and she had no relations with a man. It became a custom in Israel, 40 that the daughters of Israel went yearly to tell the story of the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year.
Jephthah and His Successors
12 The men of [the tribe of] Ephraim were summoned [to action], and they crossed over to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, “Why did you cross over to fight with the Ammonites without calling us to go with you? [For that] we will burn your house down upon you.” 2 And Jephthah said to them, “My people and I were in a major conflict with the Ammonites, and when I called you [for help], you did not rescue me from their hand. 3 So when I saw that you were not coming to help me, I took my life in my hands and crossed over against the Ammonites, and the Lord handed them over to me. So why have you come up to me this day to fight against me?” 4 Then Jephthah assembled all the men of Gilead and fought with [the tribe of] Ephraim; and the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because they had said, “You Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim, in the midst of [the tribes of] Ephraim and Manasseh.” 5 And the Gileadites took the [g]fords of the Jordan opposite the Ephraimites; and when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead would say to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” 6 they said to him, “Then say ‘Shibboleth.’” And he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not [h]pronounce it correctly. Then they seized him and killed him at the fords of the Jordan. At that time forty-two thousand of the Ephraimites fell.
7 Jephthah judged Israel for six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.
8 And after him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. 9 He had thirty sons, and thirty daughters whom he gave in marriage outside the family, and he brought in thirty daughters [-in-law] from outside for his sons. He judged Israel for seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried at Bethlehem.
11 After him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel; and he judged Israel for ten years. 12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.
13 Now after him Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy donkeys; and he judged Israel for eight years. 15 Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried at Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.
Philistines Oppress Again
13 Now Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.
2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was infertile and had no children. 3 And the [i]Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are infertile and have no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son. 4 Therefore, be careful not to drink wine or [any other] intoxicating drink, and do not eat anything [ceremonially] unclean. 5 For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a [j]Nazirite [dedicated] to God from birth; and he shall begin to rescue Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” 6 Then the woman went and told her husband, saying, “A Man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the Angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask Him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name. 7 But He said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or [any other] intoxicating drink, nor eat anything [ceremonially] unclean, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from birth to the day of his death.’”
8 Then Manoah pleaded with the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do for the boy who is to be born.” 9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah; and the Angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field, but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the Man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.” 11 Then Manoah got up and followed his wife, and came to the Man and said to him, “Are you the Man who spoke to this woman?” He said, “I am.” 12 And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what shall be the boy’s manner of life, and his vocation?” 13 The Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “The woman must pay attention to everything that I said to her. 14 She may not eat anything that comes from the vine nor drink wine or [any other] intoxicating drink, nor eat anything [ceremonially] unclean. She shall observe everything that I commanded her.”
15 Then Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain you and let us prepare a young goat for you [to eat].” 16 The Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Though you detain me, I will not eat your food, but if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord.” For Manoah did not know that he was the Angel of the Lord. 17 Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that when your words come true, we may honor you?” 18 But the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful (miraculous)?” 19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to the Lord, and He performed miracles while Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the Angel of the Lord ascended in the altar flame. When Manoah and his wife saw this they fell on their faces to the ground.
21 The Angel of the Lord did not appear again to Manoah or his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the Angel of the Lord. 22 So Manoah said to his wife, “We will certainly die, because we have seen God.” 23 But his [sensible] wife said to him, “If the Lord had desired to kill us, He would not have received a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have announced such things as these at this time.”
24 So the woman [in due time] gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the boy grew and the Lord blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to [k]stir him at times in [l]Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
14 Samson went down to Timnah and at Timnah he saw a woman, one of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 So he went back and told his father and his mother, “I saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines; now get her for me as a wife.” 3 But his father and mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised (pagan) Philistines?” And Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, because she [m]looks pleasing to me.” 4 His father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord, and that He was seeking an occasion [to take action] against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.
5 Then Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother [to arrange the marriage], and they came as far as the vineyards of Timnah; and [n]suddenly, a young lion came roaring toward him. 6 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, and he tore the lion apart as one tears apart a young goat, and he had nothing at all in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done. 7 So he went down and talked with the woman; and she looked pleasing to Samson. 8 When he returned later to take her, he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion; and behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the body of the lion. 9 So he scraped the honey out into his hands and went on, eating as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gave them some, and they ate it; but he did not tell them he had taken the honey from the body of the lion.
10 His father went down to the woman, and Samson prepared a feast there, for that was the customary thing for young men to do. 11 When the people saw him, they brought thirty companions (wedding attendants) to be with him.
12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me now ask you a riddle; if you can tell me what it is within the seven days of the feast, and solve it, then I will give you thirty linen tunics (undergarments) and thirty changes of [outer] clothing. 13 But if you are unable to tell me [the answer], then you shall give me thirty linen tunics (undergarments) and thirty changes of [outer] clothing.” And they said to him, “Ask your riddle, so that we may hear it.” 14 So he said to them,
“Out of the eater came something to eat,
And they could not solve the riddle in three days.
15 Then on the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, “Persuade your husband to tell us [through you] the [answer to the] riddle, or we will burn you and your father’s household with fire. Have you invited us to make us poor? Is this not true?” 16 So Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me, you do not love me; you have asked my countrymen a riddle, and have not told [the answer] to me.” And he said to her, “Listen, I have not told my father or my mother [either], so [why] should I tell you?” 17 However Samson’s wife wept before him seven days while their [wedding] feast lasted, and on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. Then she told the [answer to the] riddle to her countrymen. 18 So the men of the city said to Samson on the seventh day before sundown,
“What is sweeter than honey?
And he said to them,
“If you had not plowed with [o]my heifer,
19 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their gear, and gave changes of clothes to those who had explained the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house. 20 But Samson’s wife was given to his [p]companion who had been his friend.
Samson Burns Philistine Crops
15 But after a while, in the time of wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife with a young goat [as a gift of reconciliation]; and he said, “I will go in to my wife in her room.” But her father would not allow him to go in. 2 Her father said, “I really thought you utterly hated her; so I gave her to your companion. Is her younger sister not more beautiful than she? Please take her [as your wife] instead.” 3 Samson said to them, “This time I shall be blameless in regard to the Philistines when I do them harm.” 4 So Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches and turning the foxes tail to tail, he put a torch between each pair of tails. 5 When he had set the torches ablaze, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and he burned up the heap of sheaves and the standing grain, along with the vineyards and olive groves. 6 Then the Philistines said, “Who did this?” And they were told, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he took Samson’s wife and gave her to his [chief] companion [at the wedding feast].” So the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire. 7 Samson said to them, “If this is the way you act, be certain that I will take revenge on you, and [only] after that I will stop.” 8 Then he struck them [q]without mercy, a great slaughter; and he went down and lived in the cleft of the rock of Etam.
9 Then the [army of the] Philistines came up and camped in [the tribal territory of] Judah, and overran Lehi (Jawbone). 10 The men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” And they answered, “We have come up to bind Samson, in order to do to him as he has done to us.” 11 Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Have you not known that the Philistines are rulers over us? What is this that you have done to us?” He said to them, “As they did to me, so I have done to them.” 12 They said to him, “We have come down to bind you, so that we may hand you over to the Philistines.” And Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not [r]kill me.” 13 So they said to him, “No, we will [only] bind you securely and place you into their hands; but we certainly will not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock [of Etam].
14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, and the ropes on his arms were like flax (linen) that had been burned, and his bonds [s]dropped off his hands. 15 He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, so he reached out his hand and took it and killed a thousand men with it. 16 Then Samson said,
“With the jawbone of a donkey,
17 When he finished speaking, he threw the jawbone from his hand; and he named that place Ramath-lehi (hill of the jawbone). 18 Then Samson was very thirsty, and he called out to the Lord and said, “You have given this great victory through the hand of Your servant, and now am I to die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised (pagans)?” 19 So God split open the hollow place that was at Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his spirit (strength) returned and he was revived. Therefore he named it En-hakkore (spring which is calling), which is at Lehi to this day. 20 And Samson judged Israel in the days of [occupation by] the Philistines for twenty years.
16 Then Samson went to Gaza and saw a prostitute there, and went in to her. 2 The Gazites were told, “Samson has come here.” So they surrounded the place and waited all night at the gate of the city to ambush him. They kept quiet all night, saying, “In the morning, when it is light, we will kill him.” 3 But Samson lay [resting] until midnight, then at midnight he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate and the two door-posts, and pulled them up, [security] bar and all, and he put them on his shoulders and carried them up to the top of the hill which is opposite Hebron.
4 After this he fell in love with a [Philistine] woman [living] in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 So the [five] lords (governors) of the Philistines came to her and said to her, “Persuade him, and see where his great strength lies and [find out] how we may overpower him so that we may bind him to subdue him. And each of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.” 6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies and with what you may be bound and subdued.” 7 Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh cords ([t]tendons) that have not been dried, then I will be weak and be like any [other] man.” 8 Then the Philistine lords brought her seven fresh cords that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 9 Now she had men lying in ambush in an inner room. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he broke the cords as a [u]string of tow breaks when it touches fire. So [the secret of] his strength was not discovered.
10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “See now, you have mocked me and told me lies; now please tell me [truthfully] how you may be bound.” 11 He said to her, “If they bind me tightly with new ropes that have not been used, then I will become weak and be like any [other] man.” 12 So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And the men lying in ambush were in the inner room. But he snapped the ropes off his arms like [sewing] thread.
13 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Until now you have mocked me and told me lies; tell me [truthfully] with what you may be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven braids of my hair with the web [v][and fasten it with a pin, then I will become weak and be like any other man.” 14 So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks (braids) of his hair and wove them into the web]. And she fastened it with the pin [of the loom] and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and pulled out the pin of the [weaver’s] loom and the web.
Delilah Extracts His Secret
15 Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times and have not told me where your great strength lies.” 16 When she pressured him day after day with her words and pleaded with him, he was annoyed to death. 17 Then [finally] he told her everything that was in his heart and said to her, “A razor has never been used on my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I will become weak and be like any [other] man.”
18 Then Delilah realized that he had told her everything in his heart, so she sent and called for the Philistine lords, saying, “Come up this once, because he has told me everything in his heart.” Then the Philistine lords came up to her and brought the money [they had promised] in their hands. 19 She made Samson sleep on her knees, and she called a man and had him shave off the seven braids of his head. Then she began to abuse Samson, and his strength left him. 20 She said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as I have time after time and shake myself free.” For Samson did not know that the Lord had departed from him. 21 Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with [two] bronze chains; and he was forced to be a grinder [of grain into flour at the mill] in the prison. 22 But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved off.
23 Now the Philistine lords gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to celebrate, for they said,
“Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hands!”
24 When the people saw Samson, they praised their god, for they said,
“Our god has handed over our enemy to us,
25 Now when they were in high spirits, they said, “Call for Samson, so that he may amuse us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars. 26 Then Samson said to the boy who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the [roof of the] house rests, so that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the house was full of men and women; all the Philistine lords were there, and on the flat roof were about three thousand men and women who looked on while Samson was entertaining them.
Samson Is Avenged
28 Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me just this one time, O God, and let me take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Samson took hold of the two middle [support] pillars on which the house rested, and braced himself against them, one with his right hand and the other with his left. 30 And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he stretched out with all his might [collapsing the support pillars], and the house fell on the lords and on all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life. 31 Then his brothers and his father’s entire [tribal] household came down, took him, and brought him up; and they buried him in the tomb of Manoah his father, [which was] between Zorah and Eshtaol. So Samson had judged Israel for twenty years.
1 Samuel 1-26 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Elkanah and His Wives
1 There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, of the [a]hill country of Ephraim, named Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an [b]Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives, one named Hannah and the other named Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
3 This man went up from his city [c]each year to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh. Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests to the Lord there. 4 When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions [of the sacrificial meat] to Peninnah his wife and all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he would give a double portion, because he loved Hannah, but the Lord had [d]given her no children. 6 Hannah’s rival provoked her bitterly, to irritate and embarrass her, because the Lord had [e]left her childless. 7 So it happened year after year, whenever she went up to the house of the Lord, Peninnah provoked her; so she wept and would not eat. 8 Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you cry and why do you not eat? Why are you so sad and discontent? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”
9 So Hannah got up after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his seat beside the doorpost of the temple (tabernacle) of the Lord. 10 Hannah was [f]greatly distressed, and she prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. 11 She made a vow, saying, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction (suffering) of Your maidservant and remember, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life; a [g]razor shall never touch his head.”
12 Now it happened as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli was watching her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart (mind); only her lips were moving, and her voice was not heard, so Eli [h]thought she was drunk. 14 Eli said to her, “How long will you make yourself drunk? Get rid of your wine.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman with a despairing spirit. I have not been drinking wine or any intoxicating drink, but I have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your maidservant as a wicked and worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and [bitter] provocation.” 17 Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.” 18 Hannah said, “Let your maidservant find grace and favor in your sight.” So the woman went on her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
Samuel Is Born to Hannah
19 The family got up early the next morning, worshiped before the Lord, and returned to their home in Ramah. Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her [prayer]. 20 It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; she named him [i]Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.”
21 Then the man Elkanah and all his household went up to offer to the Lord the [j]yearly sacrifice and pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “I will not go up until the child is [k]weaned; and then I will bring him, so that he may appear before the Lord and remain there as long as he lives.” 23 Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you. Wait until you have weaned him; only may the Lord establish and confirm His word.” So the woman remained [behind] and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24 Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a [l]leather bottle of wine [to pour over the burnt offering for a sweet fragrance], and she brought Samuel to the Lord’s house in Shiloh, although the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and brought the child to Eli. 26 Hannah said, “Oh, my lord! As [surely as] your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood beside you here, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my request which I asked of Him. 28 Therefore I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.” And they worshiped the Lord there.
Hannah’s Song of Thanksgiving
2 Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart rejoices and triumphs in the Lord;
11 Elkanah [and his wife Hannah] returned to Ramah to his house. But the child [Samuel] served the Lord [o]under the guidance of Eli the priest.
The Sin of Eli’s Sons
12 The sons of Eli [Hophni and Phinehas] were [p]worthless (dishonorable, unprincipled) men; they did not know [nor respect] the Lord 13 and the custom of the priests with [the sacrifices of] the people. When any man was offering a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged [meat] fork in his hand; 14 then he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; everything that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did in Shiloh to all [the sacrifices of] the [q]Israelites who came there. 15 Also, before they burned (offered) the fat, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give the priest meat to roast, since he will not accept boiled meat from you, only raw.” 16 If the man said to him, “[r]Certainly they are to burn (offer) the fat first, and then you may take as much as [s]you want,” then the priest’s servant would say, “No! You shall give it to me now or I will take it by force.” 17 So the sin of the [two] young men [Hophni and Phinehas] was very great before the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord disrespectfully.
Samuel before the Lord as a Boy
18 Now Samuel was ministering before the Lord, as a child dressed in a linen ephod [a sacred item of priestly clothing]. 19 Moreover, his mother would make him a little robe and would bring it up to him each year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the Lord give you children by this woman in place of the one she asked for which was dedicated to the Lord.” Then they would return to their own home.
21 And [the time came when] the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew before the Lord.
Eli Rebukes His Sons
22 Now Eli was very old; and he heard about everything that his sons were doing to all [the people of] Israel, and how they were lying with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle). 23 Eli said to them, “Why do you do such things, the evil things that I hear from all these people? 24 No, my sons; for the report that I keep hearing from the passers-by among the Lord’s people is not good. 25 If one man does wrong and sins against another, God will intercede (arbitrate) for him; but if a man does wrong to the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to their father, [t]for it was the Lord’s will to put them to death.
26 But the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor both with the Lord and with men.
27 Then a man of God (prophet) came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Did I not plainly reveal Myself to the house of your father (ancestor) when they were in Egypt in bondage to Pharaoh’s house? 28 Moreover, [u]I selected him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to go up to My altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before Me. And [from then on] I gave to the house of your father all the fire offerings of the sons of Israel. 29 Why then do you kick at (despise) My sacrifice and My offering which I commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, by fattening yourselves with the choicest part of every offering of My people Israel?’ 30 Therefore the Lord God of Israel declares, ‘I did indeed say that your house and that of [Aaron] your father would walk [in priestly service] before Me forever.’ But now the Lord declares, ‘Far be it from Me—for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be insignificant and contemptible. 31 Behold, the time is coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 You will look at the distress of My [v]house (the tabernacle), in spite of all the good which God will do for Israel, and there will never again be an old man in your house. 33 Yet I will not cut off every man of yours from My altar; your eyes will fail from weeping and your soul will grieve, and all those born in your house will die as men [in the prime of life]. 34 This will be the sign to you which shall come concerning your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas: on the same day both of them shall die. 35 But I will raise up for Myself a [w]faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him a permanent and enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed [x]forever. 36 And it will happen that everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread and say, “Please assign me to one of the priest’s offices so I may eat a piece of bread.”’”
The Prophetic Call to Samuel
3 Now the boy Samuel was attending to the service of the Lord [y]under the supervision of Eli. The word of the Lord was rare and precious in those days; visions [that is, new revelations of divine truth] were not widespread.
2 Yet it happened at that time, as Eli was lying down in his own place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well). 3 and the [oil] lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was, 4 that the Lord called Samuel, and he answered, “Here I am.” 5 He ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call you; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6 Then the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know [or personally experience] the Lord, and the word of the Lord was not yet revealed [directly] to him. 8 So the Lord called Samuel a third time. And he stood and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.” Then Eli understood that it was the Lord [who was] calling the boy. 9 So Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and it shall be that if He calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 Then the Lord came and stood and called as at the previous times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” 11 The Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will ring. 12 On that day I will carry out against Eli everything that I have spoken concerning his house (family), from beginning to end. 13 Now I have told him that I am about to judge his house forever for the sinful behavior which he knew [was happening], because his sons were bringing a curse on themselves [dishonoring and blaspheming God] and he did not rebuke them. 14 Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the sinful behavior of Eli’s house (family) shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”
15 So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the Lord’s house. But Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16 But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he answered, “Here I am.” 17 Then Eli said, “What is it that He said to you? Please do not hide it from me. May God do the same to you, and more also, if you hide from me anything of all that He said to you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything, hiding nothing from him. And Eli said, “It is the Lord; may He do what seems good [z]to Him.”
19 Now Samuel grew; and the Lord was with him and He let none of his words [aa]fail [to be fulfilled]. 20 And all Israel from Dan [in the north] to Beersheba [in the south] knew that Samuel was appointed as a prophet of the Lord. 21 And the Lord continued to appear in Shiloh, for the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord.
Philistines Take the Ark in Victory
4 And the word of [the Lord through] Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out to meet the Philistines in battle and they camped beside Ebenezer while the Philistines camped at Aphek. 2 The Philistines assembled in battle formation to meet Israel, and when the battle was over, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men on the battlefield. 3 When the people (soldiers) came into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, so that He may come among us and save us from the hand of our enemies.” 4 So the people sent word 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 with the ark of the covenant of God.
5 So it happened that as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all [the people of] Israel shouted with a great shout, and 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 [disaster is coming] to us! For nothing like this has happened before. 8 Woe to us! Who will rescue us from the hand of these mighty [ab]gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness. 9 Take courage, and be men, O Philistines, so that you do not become servants to the Hebrews, as they have been servants to you; act like men and fight!”
10 So the Philistines fought; Israel was defeated and every man fled to his tent. It was a very great defeat, for thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell. 11 Also the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were killed.
12 Now a man [from the tribe] of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh that same day with his clothes torn and dust on his head [as signs of mourning over the disaster]. 13 When he arrived, Eli was sitting on his seat by the road, keeping watch, because his heart was anxious about the ark of God. When the man arrived to report [the news] in the city, everyone in the city cried out [to God, for help]. 14 When Eli heard the noise of the outcry, he asked, “What is the noise of this uproar?” And the man came hurriedly and told Eli. 15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old; his eyes were dim so that he could not see. 16 The man said to Eli, “I have come from the battle line. Indeed, I escaped from the battle line today.” Eli said, “How did things go, my son?” 17 The messenger replied, “Israel has fled before the Philistines and there has also been a great slaughter among the people. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been taken.” 18 When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell off the seat backwards by the side of the [city] gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was old and heavy. He had judged Israel for forty years.
19 Now his daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, was pregnant, and was about to give birth; so when she heard the news that the ark of God had been taken and that her father-in-law and her husband had died, she kneeled down and gave birth, because her [labor] pains began. 20 And about the time of her death [following the sudden birth] the women attending her said to her, “Do not be afraid, for you have given birth to a son.” But she did not answer or pay any attention. 21 And she named the boy [ac]Ichabod, saying, “The glory has left Israel,” because the ark of God had been taken and because of [the deaths of] her father-in-law and her husband. 22 She said, “The glory has left Israel, for the ark of God has been taken.”
Capture of the Ark Provokes God
5 Then the Philistines took the ark of God, and they brought it from Ebenezer to [ad]Ashdod. 2 They took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it beside [the image of] Dagon [their chief idol]. 3 When the people of Ashdod got up early the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and returned him to his place. 4 But when they got up early the next morning, behold, Dagon had [again] fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord, and his head and both palms of his hands were [lying] cut off on the threshold; only the trunk [portion] of [the idol of] Dagon was left on him. 5 This is the reason neither the priests of Dagon nor any who enter Dagon’s house step on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.
6 Then the hand of the Lord was heavy on the people of Ashdod, and He caused them to be dumbfounded and struck them with [ae]tumors, both Ashdod and its territory. 7 When the men of Ashdod saw what had happened, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for His hand is heavy on us and on Dagon our god.” 8 So they sent word and gathered all the lords (governors) of the Philistines to them and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be brought around to [af]Gath.” So they took the ark of the God of Israel there. 9 But it happened that after they had taken it to Gath, the hand of the Lord was against the city, causing an extremely great panic [because of the deaths from the plague], for He struck the people of the city, both young and old, and tumors broke out on them. 10 So they sent the ark of God to [ag]Ekron. And as the ark of God came to Ekron, the Ekronites cried out, “They have brought the ark of the God of Israel [from Gath] to [ah]us, to kill us and [ai]our people.” 11 So they sent word and gathered all the lords of the Philistines and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel; let it be returned to its own place, so that it will not kill us and our people.” For there was a deadly panic throughout the city; the hand of God was very heavy (severe) there. 12 The men who had not died were stricken with tumors and the cry of the city [for help] went up to heaven.
The Ark Returned to Israel
6 Now the ark of the Lord had been in the country of the Philistines for seven months. 2 And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners (seers), saying, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Let us know how we can send it back to its place.” 3 They said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty [without a gift]; but be sure to return [it] to Him [together with] 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 the guilt offering be which we shall return to Him?” They answered, “[aj]Five golden tumors and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords (governors) of the Philistines, for one plague was on all of you and on your lords. 5 So you shall make replicas of your tumors and of your mice that ravage the land, and give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps He will lighten His hand [of judgment] on you and your gods and your land. 6 Why then do you harden your hearts [allowing pride to cause your downfall] just as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He had severely dealt with them and mocked them, did they not allow the people [of Israel] to go, and they departed? 7 Now then, make a new cart and prepare two [ak]milk cows on which a yoke has never been placed; and hitch the cows to the cart and take their calves back home, away from them. 8 Then take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart; and put the articles of gold which you are returning to Him as a guilt offering in a box beside it. Then send it away [without a driver]. 9 But watch, [al]if it goes up by the way of its own territory to [am]Beth-shemesh, then [you will know that] He has done us this great evil. But if not, then we will know that it was not His hand that struck us; this disaster happened to us by chance.”
10 And the men did so, and took two milk cows and hitched them to the cart, and corralled their calves at home. 11 They put the ark of the Lord on the cart, and the box containing the golden mice and the replicas of their tumors. 12 And the cows went straight toward Beth-shemesh along the highway, lowing as they went, and did not turn away to the right or the left. And the Philistine lords (governors) followed them to the border of Beth-shemesh.
13 Now the men of Beth-shemesh were gathering their wheat harvest in the valley, and they looked up and saw the ark and rejoiced to see it. 14 The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there. A large stone was there; and the men split up the wood of the cart [for firewood] and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 The Levites had taken down the ark of the Lord and the box beside 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 made sacrifices that day to the Lord. 16 When the five lords of the Philistines saw what happened, they returned to Ekron that day.
17 These are the golden tumors which the Philistines returned as a guilt offering to the Lord: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath and one for Ekron [the five chief cities of the Philistines]; 18 also the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both fortified cities and [unwalled] country villages. The large stone on which the Levites set the ark of the Lord remains a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh.
19 The Lord struck down some of the men of Beth-shemesh because they had looked into the ark of the Lord. He struck down 50,070 men among the people, 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 residents of Kiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to you.”
Rescue from the Philistines
7 So the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and they consecrated Eleazar his son to care for the ark of the Lord. 2 And from that day the ark remained in Kiriath-jearim for a very long time, for it was twenty years [until the reign of King David]; and all the house of Israel lamented (wailed) and grieved after the Lord.
3 Then Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth (pagan goddesses) from among you and direct your hearts to the Lord and serve Him only; and He will rescue you from the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the Israelites removed the Baals and the Ashtaroth and served the Lord alone.
5 Samuel said, “Gather all Israel together at Mizpah and I will pray to the Lord for you.” 6 So they gathered at 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 Israelites at Mizpah.
7 Now when the Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah, the lords (governors) of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the Israelites heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 And the sons of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, so that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord; and Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel and the Lord answered him. 10 As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines approached for the battle against Israel. Then the Lord thundered with a great voice that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated and fled before Israel. 11 And the men of Israel came out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and struck them down as far as [the territory] below Beth-car.
12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and he named it Ebenezer (stone of help), saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 13 So the Philistines were subdued and they did not come anymore into Israelite territory. 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 to Gath; and Israel recovered the cities’ territory from the Philistines. Also 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 a circuit to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah, and he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then he would return to Ramah, because his home was there; and there he judged Israel, and there he built an altar to the Lord.
Israel Demands a King
8 And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons as 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, took bribes, and perverted justice.
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said to him, “Look, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint us a king to judge us [and rule over us] like all the other nations.” 6 But their demand [an]displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge and rule over us.” So 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 abandoned (rejected) Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9 So now listen to their voice; only solemnly warn them and tell them the ways of the king who will reign over them.”
Warning concerning a King
10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them for himself to his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint them for himself to be commanders over thousands and over fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his implements of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves shall be his servants. 18 Then you will cry out on that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you on that day [because you have rejected Him as King].”
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 so that we too may be like all the nations [around us], that our king may judge [and govern] us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 Samuel had heard all the words of the people and repeated them [ao]to the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to their [ap]request and appoint a king for them.” So Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go, each man to his own city.”
9 There was a man of [the tribe of] Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of influence and wealth. 2 Kish had a son named Saul, a choice and handsome man; among the sons of Israel there was not a man more handsome than he. From his shoulders and up he was [a head] taller than any of the people.
3 Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, had wandered off and were lost. Kish said to his son Saul, “Please take one of the servants with you and arise, go look for the donkeys.” 4 And they passed through the hill country of Ephraim and the land of Shalishah, but did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there and the land of the Benjamites, but they [still] did not find them.
5 When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, let us return, otherwise my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and become anxious about us.” 6 The servant said to him, “Look here, in this city there is a man of God, and the man is held in honor; everything that he says comes true. Now let us go there; perhaps he can advise us about our journey [and tell us where we should go].” 7 Then Saul said to his servant, “But look, if we go [to see him], what shall we bring to the man? For the bread from our sacks is gone and there is no gift to bring to the man of God. What do we have [to offer]?” 8 The servant replied again to Saul, “Here in my hand I have a quarter of a shekel of silver; I will give that to the man of God, and he will advise us as to [where we should go on] our journey [to find the donkeys].” 9 (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he would say, “Come, let us go to the seer”; for he who is called a prophet today was formerly called a seer.) 10 Saul said to his servant, “Well said; come, let us go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was living.
11 As they went up the hill to the city, they met some young women going out to draw water, and said to them, “Is the seer (prophet) here?” 12 They answered them, “He is; look, he is ahead of you. Hurry now, for he has come into the city today because the people have a sacrifice on the high place today. 13 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 ask the blessing on the sacrifice; afterward, those who are invited will eat. So go up now, for about now you will find him.” 14 So they went up to the city. And as they came into the city, there was Samuel coming out toward them to go up to the high place.
God’s Choice for King
15 Now a day before Saul came, the Lord had [aq]informed Samuel [of this], saying, 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him as leader over My people Israel; and he will save My people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have looked upon [the distress of] My people, because their cry [for help] has come to Me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said to him, “There is the man of whom I spoke to you. This one shall rule over My people [as their king].” 18 Then Saul approached Samuel in the [city] gate and said, “Please tell me where the seer’s house is.” 19 Samuel answered Saul, “I am the seer. Go on ahead of 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 be concerned about them, for they have been found. And for whom are all things that are desirable in Israel? Are they not for you and for all your father’s household (family)?” 21 Saul replied, “Am I not a Benjamite, of [ar]the smallest of the tribes of Israel? And is not my family the smallest of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken this way to me [as if I were very important]?”
22 Then Samuel took Saul and his servant and brought them into the hall [at the high place] and gave them a place [to sit] at the head of the persons—about thirty men—who were invited [while the rest ate outside]. 23 Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the [priests’] portion that I gave you, regarding which I told you, ‘Set it aside.’” 24 Then the cook lifted up the leg (thigh) with the meat that was on it [indicating that it was the priest’s honored portion] and placed it before Saul. Samuel said, “Here is what has been reserved [for you]. Set it before you and eat, because it has been kept for you until the appointed time, ever since I 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 [as]roof [of his house]. 26 They got up early [the next day]; and at dawn Samuel called Saul [who was sleeping] on the roof, saying, “Get up, so that I may send you on your way.” Saul got up, and both he and Samuel went outside. 27 As they were going down to the outskirts of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us so that he may pass by but you stand still now so that I may proclaim the word of God to you.”
Saul among Prophets
10 Then Samuel took the flask of oil and poured it on Saul’s head, kissed him, and said, “Has the Lord not anointed you as ruler over His inheritance (Israel)? 2 When you leave me today, you will meet two men beside Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; they will say to you, ‘The donkeys you went to look for have been found. And your father has stopped caring about them and is worried about you, saying, “What shall I do about my son?”’ 3 Then you will go on further from there, and you will come to the terebinth tree of Tabor, and three men going up to [sacrifice to] God at Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a jug of wine. 4 They will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from their hand. 5 After that you will come to [at]the hill of God where the garrison of the Philistines is; and when you come there to the city, you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place [of worship] with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre before them, and they will be prophesying. 6 Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you mightily, and you will prophesy with them, and you will be changed into another man. 7 When these signs come to you, do for yourself whatever [au]the situation requires, for God is with you. 8 You shall go down ahead of me to Gilgal; and behold, I will be coming down to you to offer burnt offerings and to sacrifice peace offerings. You shall wait seven days until I come to you and show you what you must do.”
9 Then it happened when Saul turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart; and all those signs came to pass that day. 10 When they came to the hill [Gibeah], behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came on him mightily, and he prophesied [under divine guidance] among them. 11 Now when all who knew Saul previously saw that he actually prophesied now [by inspiration] with the prophets, the people said one to another, “What has happened to [Saul, who is nobody but] the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12 And a man from there answered, “But who is the father of the others?” So it became a proverb, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13 When Saul had finished prophesying, he went to the high place [of worship].
14 Saul’s uncle said to him and to his servant, “Where did you go?” And Saul said, “To look for the donkeys. And when we saw that they were nowhere to be found, we went to Samuel [for help].” 15 Saul’s uncle said, “Please tell me, what did Samuel say to you?” 16 And 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 Then Samuel called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah, 18 and he said to Israel, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘It was I who brought Israel up from Egypt, and I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and from all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ 19 But today you have rejected your God, who Himself saves you from all your disasters and distresses; yet you have said, ‘No! Set a king over us.’ Now then, present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your families (clans).”
20 And when Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, the tribe of Benjamin was chosen by lot. 21 Then he brought the tribe of Benjamin near by their families, and the family of Matri was chosen by lot. And Saul the son of Kish was chosen by lot; but when they looked for him, he could not be found. 22 So they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?” And the Lord answered, “He is there, hiding himself by the [av]provisions and supplies.” 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? For there is no one like him among all the people.” So all the people shouted and said, “Long live the king!”
25 Then Samuel told the people the [aw]requirements of the kingdom, and wrote them in a book and placed it before the Lord. And Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his home. 26 Saul also went home to Gibeah; and the [ax]brave men whose hearts God had touched went with him. 27 But some [ay]worthless men said, “How can this man save and rescue us?” And they regarded Saul with contempt and did not bring him a gift. But he ignored the insult and kept silent.
Saul Defeats the Ammonites
11 Now Nahash the [az]Ammonite [king] went up and [ba]besieged Jabesh-gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a treaty [of peace] with us and we will serve you.” 2 But Nahash the Ammonite told them, “I will make a treaty with you on this condition, that I will [bb]gouge out the right eye of every one of you, and make it a disgrace upon all Israel.” 3 The elders of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Give us seven days so that we may send messengers throughout the territory of Israel. Then, if there is no one to save us, we will come out [and surrender] to you.” 4 [bc]Then the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and told the news to the people; and all the people raised their voices and wept aloud.
5 Now Saul was coming out of the field behind the oxen, and he said, “What is the matter with the people that they are weeping?” So they told him about the report of the men of Jabesh. 6 The Spirit of God came upon Saul mightily when he heard these words, and he became extremely angry. 7 He took a team 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 to follow Saul and Samuel, the same shall be done to his oxen.” Then fear of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out [united] as one man [with one purpose]. 8 He assembled and counted them at Bezek; and the sons of Israel numbered 300,000, and the men of Judah 30,000. 9 They said to the messengers who had come, “You shall say to the men of Jabesh-gilead: ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you will have [bd]help [against the Ammonites].’” So the messengers came and reported this to the men of Jabesh; and they were overjoyed. 10 So the men of Jabesh said [to Nahash the Ammonite], “Tomorrow we will come out to you [to surrender], and you may do to us whatever seems good to you.” 11 The next morning Saul put the men into three companies; and they entered the [Ammonites’] camp during the [darkness of the early] morning watch and killed the Ammonites until the heat of the day; and the survivors were scattered, and no two of them were left together.
12 The people said to Samuel, “Who is the one who said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, and we will put them to death.” 13 But Saul said, “No man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has brought [be]victory to Israel.”
14 Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there restore the kingdom.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they also sacrificed 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 everything that you have said to me and have appointed a king over you. 2 And now, here is the king walking before you. As for me, I am old and gray, and here are my sons with you. I have walked before you from my childhood to this day. 3 Here I am; testify against me before the Lord and [Saul] His anointed [if I have done someone wrong]. Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I exploited? Whom have I oppressed or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes [to the truth]? [Tell me and] I will restore it to you.” 4 They said, “You have not exploited us or oppressed us or taken anything at all from a man’s hand.” 5 Samuel said to them, “The Lord is a witness against you, and [Saul] His anointed is a witness this day that you have not found anything in my hand.” And they answered, “He is a witness.”
6 Then Samuel said to the people, “It is the Lord who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your fathers (ancestors) up from the land of Egypt. 7 Now then, take your stand, so that I may plead and contend with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous acts of the Lord which He did for you and for your fathers. 8 When Jacob [and his sons] had come into Egypt [and later when the Egyptians oppressed them] and your [bf]fathers cried out to the Lord, then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron who brought your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place. 9 But when they forgot the Lord their God, He sold them into the hand of [bg]Sisera, commander of Hazor’s army, and into the hand of the Philistines and of the king of Moab, and they fought against them. 10 They cried out to the Lord, saying, ‘We have sinned because we have abandoned (rejected) the Lord and have served the Baals and the Ashtaroth; but now rescue us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ 11 Then the Lord sent Jerubbaal (Gideon) and [bh]Bedan and Jephthah and Samuel, and He rescued you from the hand of your enemies on every side, and you lived in security.
The King Confirmed
12 But when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites had come 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 [Saul] the king whom you have chosen, and for whom you asked; behold, the Lord has set a king over you. 14 If you will fear the Lord [with awe and profound reverence] and serve Him and listen to His voice and not rebel against His commandment, then both you and your king will follow the Lord your God [and it will be well]. 15 But if you do not listen to the Lord’s voice, but rebel against His [bi]command, then the hand of the Lord will be against you [to punish you], as it was against your fathers. 16 So now, take your stand and see this great thing which the Lord will do before your eyes. 17 Is it not [the beginning of the] wheat harvest today? I will call to the Lord and He will send thunder and rain; then you will know [without any doubt], and see that your evil which you have done is great in the sight of the Lord by asking for yourselves a king.” 18 So Samuel called to the Lord [in prayer], and He sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.
19 Then all the people said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for your servants, [bj]so that we will not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil—to ask for a king for ourselves.” 20 Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid. You have [indeed] done all this evil; yet do not turn away from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 You must not turn away, for then you would go after futile things which cannot profit or rescue, because they are futile. 22 The Lord will not abandon His people for His great name’s sake, 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 fear the Lord [with awe and profound reverence] and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. 25 But if you still do evil, both you and your king will be swept away [to destruction].”
War with the Philistines
2 Saul chose for himself 3,000 men of Israel; of whom 2,000 were with him in Michmash and in the hill country of Bethel, while 1,000 were with Jonathan at Gibeah of Benjamin. But he sent the rest of the people away, each one to his own tent. 3 Jonathan attacked and defeated the Philistine garrison which was at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul blew the trumpet throughout the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear.” 4 All Israel heard that Saul had defeated the Philistine garrison, and also that Israel had become despicable to the Philistines. And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.
5 Now the Philistines gathered to fight against Israel, 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen, and troops in multitude, like sand on the seashore. They came up and camped at Michmash, east of Beth-aven. 6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a tight situation (for their troops were hard-pressed), they hid in caves, in thickets, in cellars, and in [dry] cisterns (pits). 7 Also some of the Hebrews had crossed the [river] Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him, trembling [in fear and anticipation].
8 Now Saul waited seven days, according to the appointed time which Samuel had set, but Samuel had not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering away from Saul. 9 So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” And [bn]he offered the burnt offering [which he was forbidden to do]. 10 As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, [bo]Samuel finally came; Saul went out to meet and to [bp]welcome him. 11 But Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul said, “Since I saw that the people were scattering away from me, and that you did not come within the appointed time, 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 for the Lord’s favor [by making supplication to Him].’ So I forced myself to offer 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 [if you had obeyed] the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man (David) after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as leader and ruler over His people, because you have not kept (obeyed) what the Lord commanded you.”
15 Then Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul assembled and counted the people who were still with him, [only] about six hundred [fighting] men. 16 Saul and his son Jonathan and the people with them were staying in Geba of Benjamin, while the Philistines camped at Michmash. 17 And the raiding party came from the Philistine camp in three companies: one company turned toward Ophrah, to the land of Shual, 18 another company turned toward Beth-horon, and another toward the border overlooking the Valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.
19 Now no [bq]blacksmith (metal-worker) could be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears.” 20 So all [the men of] Israel went down to the Philistines, each to get his plowshare, pick, axe, or sickle sharpened. 21 The fee [for sharpening] was a pim (two-thirds of a shekel) for the plowshares, the picks, the pitchforks, and the axes, and to straighten the goads (cattle prods). 22 So it came about on the day of battle that [br]neither sword nor spear was found in the hands of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan; but Saul and Jonathan his son had them. 23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass at Michmash.
14 One day Jonathan the son of Saul said to his young armor bearer, “Come, let us go over to the Philistine garrison on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. 2 Saul was staying in the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron; and with him were about six hundred men, 3 and Ahijah the son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest at Shiloh, was wearing the ephod. And the people did not know that Jonathan had gone. 4 Between the passes by which Jonathan sought to cross over to get to the Philistine garrison, there was a rocky crag on the one side and a rocky crag on the other side; one [crag] was named Bozez, and the other, Seneh. 5 The one crag was on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba.
6 Jonathan said to his young armor bearer, “Come, let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For there is nothing to prevent the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” 7 And his armor bearer said to him, “Do everything that is in your heart (mind); here I am with you [bs]in whatever you think [best].” 8 Jonathan said, “See now, we are going to cross over to the [Philistine] men and reveal ourselves to them. 9 If they 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 say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will go up, for the Lord has handed them over to us; and this shall be the sign to us.” 11 When both of them revealed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines, the Philistines said, “Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves.” 12 So the men of the garrison responded to Jonathan and his armor bearer, “Come up to us and we will tell you something.” Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Climb up after me, for the Lord has given them into the hands of Israel.” 13 Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, his armor bearer following after him. The enemy fell before Jonathan [in combat], and his armor bearer killed some of them after him. 14 That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armor bearer made was about twenty men within about half a [plow] furrow in a plot of land [the area of which a yoke of oxen could plow in a day]. 15 And there was trembling in the [Philistine] camp, in the field, and among all the people; even the garrison and the raiding party trembled [in fear], and the earth quaked and it became a trembling and terror from God.
16 Saul’s watchmen in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and behold, the multitude melted away and they went here and there. 17 Then Saul said to the people with him, “Take a count and see who has left us.” When they had taken a count, behold, Jonathan and his armor bearer were missing. 18 Saul said to Ahijah [the priest], “Bring the ark of God here.” For at that time the ark of God was with the sons of Israel. 19 While Saul talked to the priest, the commotion in the Philistine camp 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 went into the battle; and behold, every [Philistine] man’s sword was against his companion, in wild confusion. 21 Now the Hebrews who were with the Philistines previously, who went up with them all around in the camp, 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, they too pursued them closely in the battle. 23 So the Lord saved Israel that day, and the battle spread beyond Beth-aven.
Saul’s Foolish Order
24 But the men of Israel were hard-pressed that day, because Saul had put the people under a curse, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats food before evening, and before I have taken vengeance on my enemies.” So none of the people ate any food. 25 All the people of the land came to a forest, and there was honey on the ground. 26 When the people entered the forest, the honey was dripping, but no man put his hand to his mouth [to taste it], because the people feared the oath [of Saul]. 27 But Jonathan had not heard when his father put the people under the oath. So he put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into a honeycomb, and then he put his hand to his mouth, and his [bt]energy was restored. 28 But one of the people told him, “Your father strictly put the people under an oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food today.’” And the people were exhausted [and hungry]. 29 Then Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land [with his foolish curse]. See how my [bu]energy is restored because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much better [it would have been] if only the people had eaten freely today from the spoil of their enemies which they found! For now the slaughter among the Philistines has not been great.”
31 They struck the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. And the people were very tired. 32 [When night came and the oath ended] the people rushed greedily upon the spoil. They took sheep, oxen, and calves, and slaughtered them on the ground; and they ate them [raw] with the blood [still in them]. 33 Then Saul was told, “Look, the people are sinning against the Lord by eating [the meat] with the blood.” And he said, “You have violated [the Law] and acted treacherously; roll a large stone to me today.” 34 Saul said, “Spread out among the people and tell them, ‘Each one of you bring me his ox or his sheep, and butcher it [properly] here and eat; and do not sin against the Lord by eating [the meat with] the blood.’” So that night each one brought his ox with him and butchered 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 plunder them until the morning light, and let us not leave a man of them [alive].” They said, “Do whatever seems good to you.” Then the priest said, “Let us approach God here.” 37 Saul asked [counsel] of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will You hand them over to Israel?” But He did not answer him that day. 38 Then Saul said, “Come here, all you who are leaders of the people, and let us find out how this sin [causing God’s silence] happened today. 39 For as the Lord lives, who saves Israel, for even if the guilt is in my son Jonathan, he shall most certainly die.” But not one of all the people answered him. 40 Then he said to all the Israelites, “[bv]You shall be on one side; I and my son Jonathan will be on the other side.” The people said to Saul, “Do what seems good to you.” 41 Therefore, Saul said to the Lord, the God of Israel, “Give a perfect lot [identifying the transgressor].” Then Saul and Jonathan were selected [by lot], but the other men went free. 42 Saul said, “Cast [lots] between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan was selected.
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 staff that was in my hand. Here I am, I must die!” 44 Saul answered, “May God do so [to me], and more also [if I do not keep my word], for you shall most certainly die, Jonathan.” 45 But the people said to Saul, “Must Jonathan, who has brought about this great victory in Israel, be put to death? 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 rescued Jonathan and he was not put to death. 46 Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.
47 When Saul assumed control of the kingdom of Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every side: Moab, the sons (descendants) of Ammon, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment. 48 He acted valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, and rescued Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them.
49 Now Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchi-shua. The names of his two daughters were these: the name of the firstborn was Merab, and the name of the younger, Michal. 50 The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz. The commander of his army was named 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.
52 Now the war against the Philistines was severe (brutal, relentless) all the days of Saul; and whenever Saul saw any mighty or courageous man, he recruited him for his staff.
15 Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over His people Israel. Now listen and pay close attention to the words of the Lord. 2 Thus says the Lord of hosts (armies), ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way when Israel came up from Egypt. 3 Now go and strike Amalek and completely destroy everything that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”
4 So Saul summoned the people and numbered them at Telaim—200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 men of Judah. 5 Saul came to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the valley. 6 Saul said to the [bw]Kenites, “Go, leave, go down from the Amalekites, so that I do not destroy you along with them; for you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they went up from Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7 Saul defeated the Amalekites, from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8 He captured Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, though he totally destroyed all [the rest of] the people with the sword. 9 Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and everything that was good, and they were not willing to destroy them entirely; but everything that was undesirable or worthless they destroyed completely.
Samuel Rebukes Saul
10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, 11 “I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned away from following Me and has not carried out My commands.” Samuel was angry [over Saul’s failure] and he cried out to the Lord all night. 12 When Samuel got up early in the morning to meet Saul, he was told, “Saul came to [bx]Carmel, and behold, he set up for himself a monument [commemorating his victory], then he turned and went on and went down to Gilgal.” 13 So Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the Lord. I have carried out the command of the Lord.” 14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” 15 Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen [by]to sacrifice to the Lord your God; but the rest we have destroyed completely.” 16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop, and let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” Saul said to him, “Speak.”
17 Samuel said, “Is it not true that even though you were small (insignificant) in your own eyes, you were made the head of the tribes of Israel? And the Lord anointed you king over Israel, 18 and the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, totally destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are eliminated.’ 19 Why did you not obey the voice of the Lord, but [instead] swooped down on the plunder [with shouts of victory] and did evil in the sight of the Lord?”
20 Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and have brought back Agag the king of Amalek, and have completely destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things [that were] to be totally destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.” 22 Samuel said,
“Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; for I have transgressed the command of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25 Now, please, pardon my sin and return with me, so that I may worship the Lord.” 26 But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you; for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” 27 As Samuel turned to go [away], Saul grabbed the hem of his robe [to stop him], and it tore. 28 So Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor, who is better than you. 29 Also the Splendor and Glory and Eminence of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.” 30 Saul said, “I have sinned; but please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and go back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God.” 31 So Samuel went back following Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord.
32 Then Samuel said, “Bring me Agag, the king of the Amalekites.” And Agag came to him [ca]cheerfully. And Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death has come to an end.” 33 Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel cut Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.
34 Then Samuel went to Ramah, but Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. 35 Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, for Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.
Samuel Goes to Bethlehem
16 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve for Saul, when I have rejected him as king over Israel? [cb]Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have chosen a king for Myself among his sons.” 2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? When Saul hears about it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer from the herd with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 You shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do [after that]; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate.” 4 So Samuel did what the Lord said, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and said, “Do you come in peace?” 5 And he said, “In peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” He also consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
6 So it happened, when they had come, he looked at Eliab [the eldest son] and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks [cc]at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass before Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” 9 Next Jesse had Shammah pass by. And Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen him either.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen [any of] these.” 11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” Jesse replied, “There is still one left, the youngest; he is tending the sheep.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Send word and bring him; because we will not sit down [to eat the sacrificial meal] until he comes here.”
12 So Jesse sent word and brought him in. Now he had a ruddy complexion, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. The Lord said [to Samuel], “Arise, anoint him; for this is he.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed David in the presence of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah.
14 Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented and terrified him. 15 Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord now command your servants who are here before you to find a man who plays skillfully on the harp; and when the evil spirit from God is on you, he shall play the harp with his hand, and you will be well.” 17 So Saul told his servants, “Find me a man who plays well and bring him to me.” 18 One of the young men said, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a brave and competent man, a warrior, discerning (prudent, eloquent) in speech, and a handsome man; and the Lord is with him.” 19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the flock.” 20 Jesse took a donkey [loaded with] bread and a jug of wine and a young goat, and sent them to Saul with David his son. 21 Then David came to Saul and attended him. Saul loved him greatly and [later] David became his armor bearer. 22 Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Please let David [cd]be my attendant, for he has found favor in my sight.” 23 So it came about that whenever the [evil] spirit from God was on Saul, David took a harp and played it with his hand; so Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would leave him.
17 Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle and were assembled at Socoh, which belongs to Judah; and they camped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. 2 Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together and they camped in the Valley of Elah, and assembled in battle formation to meet the Philistines. 3 The Philistines were standing on the mountain on one side and Israel was standing on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them. 4 Then a [ce]champion came out from the camp of the Philistines named Goliath of Gath, whose height was [cf]six cubits and a span. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and wore a coat of scale-armor (overlapping metal plates) which weighed [cg]5,000 shekels of bronze. 6 He had bronze shin protectors on his legs and a bronze [ch]javelin hung between his shoulders. 7 The [wooden] shaft of his spear was like a [ci]weaver’s beam; the blade-head of his spear weighed [cj]six hundred shekels of iron. And a [ck]shield-bearer walked in front of him. 8 Goliath stood and shouted to the battle lines of Israel, saying to them, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not the Philistine and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and have him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.” 10 Again the Philistine said, “I defy the battle lines of Israel this day; give me a man so that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
12 Now David was the son of the [cl]Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, named Jesse, who had eight sons. Jesse was old in the days of Saul, advanced in years among men. 13 His three older sons had followed Saul into battle. The names of his three sons who went to battle were Eliab, the firstborn; next, Abinadab; and third, Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. Now the three oldest followed Saul, 15 but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s flock at Bethlehem. 16 The Philistine [Goliath] came out morning and evening, and took his stand for forty days.
17 Then Jesse said to David his son, “Take for your brothers an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread and run quickly to the camp to your brothers. 18 Also take these ten cuts of cheese to the commander of the [cm]unit. See how your brothers are doing and bring back news of them. 19 Now they are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.”
David Accepts the Challenge
20 So David got up early in the morning, left the flock with a keeper, picked up the provisions and went just as Jesse had directed him. And he came to the encampment as the army was going out in battle formation shouting the battle cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines drew up in battle formation, army against army. 22 Then David left his provisions in the care of the supply keeper, and ran to the ranks and came and greeted his brothers. 23 As he was talking with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine of Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the army of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words again; and David heard him.
24 When the men of Israel all saw the man, they fled from him, and were very frightened. 25 The men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who is coming up? Surely he is coming up to defy Israel. The king will reward the man who kills him with great riches, and will give him his daughter [in marriage] and make his father’s house (family) free [from taxes and service] in Israel.”
26 Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes the disgrace [of his taunting] from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he has taunted and defied the armies of the living God?” 27 The men [cn]told him, “That is what will be done for the man who kills him.”
28 Now Eliab his oldest brother heard what he said to the men; and Eliab’s [co]anger burned against David and he said, “Why have you come down here? With whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption (overconfidence) and the evil of your heart; for you have come down in order to see the battle.” 29 But David said, “What have I done now? Was it not just a [harmless] question?” 30 Then David turned away from Eliab to someone else and asked the same question; and the people gave him the same answer as the first time.
David Kills Goliath
31 When the words that David spoke were heard, the men reported them to Saul, and he sent for him. 32 David said to Saul, “Let no man’s [cp]courage fail because of him (Goliath). Your servant will go out and fight with this Philistine.” 33 Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight him. For you are [only] a young man and he has been a warrior since his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and attacked it and rescued the lamb from its mouth; and when it rose up against me, I seized it by its whiskers and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted and defied the armies of the living God.” 37 David said, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.” 38 Then Saul dressed David in his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and put a coat of mail (armor) on him. 39 Then David fastened his sword over his armor and tried to walk, [but he could not,] because he was not used to them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, because I am not used to them.” So David took them off. 40 Then he took his [shepherd’s] staff in his hand and chose for himself five [cq]smooth stones out of the stream bed, and put them in his shepherd’s bag which he had, that is, in his shepherd’s pouch. With his sling in his hand, he approached the Philistine.
41 The Philistine came and approached David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42 When the Philistine looked around and saw David, he derided and disparaged him because he was [just] a young man, with a ruddy complexion, and a handsome appearance. 43 The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with [shepherd’s] staffs?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine also said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.” 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a [cr]javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. 46 This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the corpses of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that this entire assembly may know that the Lord does not save with the sword or with the spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will hand you over to us.”
48 When the Philistine rose and came forward to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 David put his hand into his bag and took out a stone and slung it, and it struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone penetrated his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.
50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck down the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand. 51 So he ran and stood over the Philistine, grasped his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their [mighty] champion was dead, they fled. 52 The men of Israel and Judah stood with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance to the valley and the gates of Ekron. And the [fatally] wounded Philistines fell along the way to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron. 53 The sons of Israel returned from their pursuit of the Philistines and plundered their camp. 54 Then David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his weapons in his tent.
55 When Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner the captain of the army, “Abner, whose son is this young man?” And Abner answered, “By your life, O king, I do not know.” 56 The king said, “Ask whose son the young man is.” 57 When David returned from killing [Goliath] the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58 Saul asked him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.”
Jonathan and David
18 When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bonded to the soul of David, and [cs]Jonathan loved him as himself. 2 Saul took David that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan stripped himself of the outer robe that he was wearing and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword, his bow, and his belt. 5 So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and he acted wisely and prospered; and Saul appointed him over the men of war. And it pleased all the people and also Saul’s servants.
6 As they were coming [home], when David returned from killing the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul with tambourines, [songs of] joy, and [ct]musical instruments. 7 The women sang as they played and danced, saying,
“Saul has slain his thousands,
8 Then Saul became very angry, for this saying [cu]displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed [only] thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 Saul looked at David with suspicion [and jealously] from that day forward.
Saul Turns against David
10 Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul, and he raved [madly] inside his house, while David was playing the harp with his hand, as usual; and there was a spear in Saul’s hand. 11 Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David evaded him twice.
12 Now Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, but had departed from Saul. 13 So Saul had David removed from his presence and appointed him as his commander of a thousand; and he [cv]publicly associated with the people. 14 David acted wisely and prospered in all his ways, and the Lord was with him. 15 When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he was afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he publicly associated with them.
17 Then Saul said to David, “Behold I will give you my older daughter Merab as a wife; only be brave for me and fight the Lord’s battles.” For Saul thought, “My hand shall not be against him, but let the hand of the Philistines be against him.” 18 David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be the king’s son-in-law?” 19 But at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, she was [instead] given to Adriel the Meholathite as a wife.
David Marries Saul’s Daughter
20 Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David; and when they told Saul, it pleased him. 21 Saul said, “I will give her to him so that she may become a snare (bad influence, source of trouble) to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David for a second time, “You shall be my son-in-law today.” 22 Then Saul commanded his servants, “Speak to David secretly, saying, ‘Listen, the king delights in you, and all his servants love you; now then, become the king’s son-in-law.’” 23 So Saul’s servants spoke these words to David. But David said, “Is it a trivial thing in your sight to become a king’s son-in-law, seeing that I am a poor man and insignificant?” 24 The servants of Saul told him what David said. 25 Then Saul said, “This is what you shall say to David: ‘The king wants no dowry except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king’s enemies.’” Now Saul’s intention was to cause [cw]David’s death at the hand of the Philistines. 26 When his servants told David these words, it pleased him to become the king’s son-in-law. Before the time [for the marriage] arrived, 27 David arose and went, he and his men, and killed two hundred Philistine men, and David brought their foreskins [as proof of death] and presented [cx]every one of them to the king, so that he might become the king’s son-in-law. So Saul gave him Michal, his [younger] daughter, as a wife. 28 When Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, his daughter, loved him, 29 Saul was even more afraid of David; and Saul became David’s constant enemy.
30 Then the Philistine commanders (princes) came out to battle, and it happened as often as they did, that David acted more wisely and had more success than all Saul’s servants. So his name was highly esteemed.
David Protected from Saul
19 Now Saul told his son Jonathan and all his servants to kill David, but Jonathan, Saul’s son, greatly delighted in David. 2 So he told David, “Saul my father is seeking to kill you. Now then, please be on guard in the morning, and stay in a secret place and hide yourself. 3 As for me, I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak with my father about you, and if I learn anything, then I will tell you.” 4 Then Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “May the king not sin against his servant David, since he has not sinned against you, and since his deeds have been very beneficial to you. 5 For he took his life in his hand and killed the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great victory for all Israel; you saw it and rejoiced. Why then would you sin against innocent blood by killing David without a cause?” 6 Saul listened to Jonathan and swore [an oath], “As the Lord lives, he shall not be put to death.” 7 So Jonathan called David and told him all these things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was [cy]in his presence [serving him] as previously.
8 Then there was war again, and David went out and fought with the Philistines and defeated them with a great slaughter, and they fled before him. 9 Then an evil spirit from the Lord came on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, and David was playing the harp with his hand. 10 Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he escaped from Saul’s presence, so that Saul only stuck the spear into the wall. Then David fled and escaped that night.
11 Then Saul sent messengers to David’s house to watch for him, so that he might kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, told him, “If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.” 12 So Michal let David down through the window, and he fled and escaped. 13 And Michal took the [cz]household idol and laid it on the bed, put a pillow of goats’ hair at its head, and covered it with clothes. 14 And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.” 15 Then Saul sent the messengers [again] to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me on his bed [if necessary], so that I may kill him.” 16 When the messengers came in, there was the [da]household idol on the bed with a quilt of goats’ hair at its head. 17 Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me like this and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?” Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go! Why should I kill you?’”
18 So David fled and escaped and came to Samuel at Ramah, and told him everything that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and stayed in Naioth. 19 Saul was told, “David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David; but when they saw the group of prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing and presiding over them, the Spirit of God came on the messengers of Saul; and they also prophesied. 21 When Saul was informed, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. So Saul sent messengers again, the third time, and they prophesied as well. 22 Then Saul went to Ramah himself and came to the great well that is in Secu; and he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” And he was told, “They are at Naioth [with the prophets] in Ramah.” 23 So he went on to Naioth in Ramah; and the Spirit of God came upon him too, and he went along continually prophesying until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 24 He also took off his [royal] robes [and armor] and prophesied before Samuel and lay down naked all that day and night. So they say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
David and Jonathan’s Covenant
20 David fled from Naioth in Ramah and he came and said to Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my [db]guilt? What is my sin before (against) your father, that he is seeking my life?” 2 Jonathan said to him, “Far from it! You shall not die. My father does nothing [dc]important or insignificant without telling me. So why would he hide this thing from me? It is not so!” 3 But David vowed again, saying “Your father certainly knows that I have found favor in your sight, and he has said, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, or he will be worried.’ But truly as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is hardly a step between me and death.” 4 Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” 5 David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the New Moon [observance], and I should sit at the table to eat [the sacrificial meal] with the king; but let me go, so that I may hide myself in the field until the third evening. 6 If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked permission from me to go to Bethlehem, his city, because it is the yearly sacrifice there for the entire family.’ 7 If he says, ‘All right,’ your servant will be safe; but if he is very angry, then be certain that he has decided on evil. 8 Therefore show kindness to your servant, because you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. But if there is iniquity (guilt) in me, kill me yourself; for why should you bring me to your father [to be killed]?” 9 Jonathan said, “Far be it from [happening to] you! In fact, if I indeed learn that my father has decided to harm you, would I not tell you about it?” 10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?” 11 Jonathan said to David, “Come, let us go out into the field [to talk].” So they went out to the field.
12 Then Jonathan said to David, “The Lord, the God of Israel, is my witness! When I have sounded out my father about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if he has a good feeling toward [dd]you, shall I not then send word to you and make it known to you? 13 But if it pleases my father to do you harm, may the Lord do so to Jonathan, and more if I do not let you know about it and send you away, so that you may go in [de]safety. And [df]may the Lord be with you as He has been with my father. 14 If I am still alive, will you not show me the lovingkindness and faithfulness of the Lord, [dg]so that I will not die? 15 You shall never cut off your lovingkindness and faithfulness from my house, not even when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the [dh]house of David. [[di]He added,] “May [dj]the Lord require it at the hands of David’s enemies. [that is, hold them accountable for any harm they inflict on David].” 17 Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, for Jonathan loved him as himself.
18 Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon [festival], and you will be missed because your seat will be empty. 19 When you have stayed for three days, you shall go down quickly and come to the place where you hid yourself [dk]on that eventful day [when my father tried to kill you], and shall stay by the stone Ezel. 20 I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a target. 21 And I will send a boy, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I specifically say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you, get them,’ then come [back to my father’s table]; for it is [dl]safe for you and there is [dm]no danger, as the Lord lives. 22 But if I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then go, for the Lord has sent you away. 23 As for the agreement of which you and I have spoken, behold, the Lord is between you and me forever [making sure that we each keep our word].”
24 So David hid in the field; and when the New Moon [festival] came, the king sat down to eat food. 25 The king sat on his seat as on previous occasions, on his seat by the wall; then Jonathan stood up, and Abner [his commander] sat down by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty. 26 Yet Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “It is an incident [of some kind] and [dn]he is not [ceremonially] clean—surely he is unclean.” 27 But on the next day, the second day of the new moon, David’s place was empty [again]; and Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has the son of Jesse not come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Please let me go because our family is holding a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to attend. Now, if I have found favor in your eyes, please let me slip away so that I may see my brothers.’ That is why he has not come to the king’s table.”
Saul Is Angry with Jonathan
30 Then Saul’s anger burned against Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a [do]wayward, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse [over me] to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you [as heir to the throne] nor your kingdom will be established. So now, send [someone] and bring him to me, for he [dp]must die.” 32 Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why must he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 Then Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him down, so Jonathan knew [without any doubt] that his father had decided to put David to death. 34 Then Jonathan stood up from the table in the heat of anger, and ate no food on that second day of the new moon (month), for he grieved and worried about David because his father had dishonored him.
35 In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for the meeting with David, and a young boy was with him. 36 And he said to his boy, “Run, please find the arrows which I am about to shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow past him. 37 When the boy came to the place where Jonathan had shot the arrow, Jonathan called to him, “Is the arrow not beyond you?” 38 And Jonathan called out after the boy, “Hurry, be quick, do not stay!” So Jonathan’s boy picked up the arrow and came back to his master. 39 But the boy was not aware of anything; only Jonathan and David knew about the matter. 40 Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, “Go, take them to the city.” 41 As soon as the boy was gone, David got up from the south side [beside the mound of stones] and fell on his face to the ground [in submission and respect], and bowed three times. Then they kissed one another and wept together, but David wept more. 42 Jonathan told David, “Go [dq]in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my descendants and yours forever.’” [dr]Then he stood and left, while Jonathan went into the city.
David Takes Consecrated Bread
21 Then David went to [ds]Nob to [dt]Ahimelech the priest; and Ahimelech came trembling [in fear] to meet David and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” 2 David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has commissioned me with a matter and has told me, ‘Let no one know anything about the matter for which I am sending you and with which I have commissioned you. I have directed the young men to a certain place.’ 3 Now what [food] do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever can be found.” 4 The priest answered David, “There is no ordinary (unconsecrated) bread on hand, but there is [du]consecrated bread; [you may have it] if only the young men have kept themselves from women.” 5 David answered the priest, “Be assured that [dv]women have been kept from us in these three days since I set out, and the [dw]bodies of the young men were consecrated (ceremonially clean), although it was an ordinary (unconsecrated) journey; so how much more will their vessels be holy today?” 6 So the priest gave him the consecrated bread; for there was no bread there except the bread of the [dx]Presence which was removed from before the Lord in order to put hot bread in its place when it was taken away.
7 Now one of Saul’s servants was there that day, detained before the Lord; his name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s shepherds.
8 David said to Ahimelech, “Do you not have a sword or spear here on hand? For I brought neither my sword nor my [other] weapons with me, because the king’s business was urgent.” 9 Then the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod; if you would take it for yourself, do so. For there is no other here except for it.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.”
10 Then David arose and fled from Saul that day, and went to Achish king of [dy]Gath. 11 The servants of Achish said to him, “Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing in praise of this one as they danced, saying,
‘Saul has slain his thousands,
12 David took these words to heart and was greatly afraid of Achish king of Gath. 13 So [fearing for his life] he changed his behavior in their sight, and acted insanely in their hands, and he scribbled on the doors of the gate, and drooled on his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Look, you see that the man is insane. Why have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you bring this one to behave like a madman in my presence? Shall this one come into my house?”
The Priests Slain at Nob
22 So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father’s house heard about it, they went down there to him. 2 Everyone who was suffering hardship, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. There were about four hundred men with him.
3 And David went from there to Mizpah of Moab; and he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my [dz]father and my mother come [out of Judah] and stay with you until I know what God will do for me.” 4 Then he left them with the king of Moab; and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the [ea]stronghold. 5 Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold; leave, and go into the land of Judah.” So David left and went into the forest of Hereth.
6 But Saul heard that David and the men who were with him had been discovered. Now Saul was in Gibeah, sitting under the tamarisk tree on the high place with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing around him. 7 Saul said to his servants who were standing around him, “Listen now, you Benjamites! Will the son of Jesse also give every one of you fields and vineyards? Will he make you all commanders of thousands and hundreds? 8 For all of you have conspired against me so that no one [eb]informs me when my son [Jonathan] makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you cares about me or informs me that my son has stirred up my servant against me to lie in ambush, as he does this day?” 9 Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing with Saul’s servants, replied, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech [the priest] the son of Ahitub. 10 Ahimelech inquired of the Lord for him, and gave him provisions and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”
11 Then the king sent someone to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s household, the priests who were at Nob; and all of them came to the king. 12 Then Saul said, “Listen now, son of Ahitub.” He replied, “Here I am [at your service], my lord.” 13 Saul said to him, “Why have you and the son of Jesse conspired against me, in that you have given him bread and a sword and have inquired of God for him, so he would rebel against me by lying in ambush, as he does this day?”
14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, “And who among all your servants is as faithful and trustworthy as David, who is the king’s son-in-law, and who is captain over your guard [and your confidant], and is honored in your house? 15 Did I just begin to inquire of God for him today? Far be it from me! Do not let the king impute any guilt to his servant or to any of the household of my father, for your servant knows nothing at all about this entire matter.” 16 But Saul said, “Be assured that you shall die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s household (extended family).” 17 And the king said to the guards who stood around him, “Turn around and kill the priests of the Lord, because their [ec]loyalty also is with David, and because they knew that he was fleeing and did not inform me.” But the servants of the king were not willing to put out their hands to attack the Lord’s priests. 18 So the king said to Doeg, “You turn around and attack the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned and [ed]attacked the priests, and that day he killed eighty-five men who wore the [priest’s] linen ephod. 19 And he struck Nob the city of the priests with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and infants; also he struck oxen and donkeys and sheep with the edge of the sword.
20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled to David. 21 Abiathar told David that Saul had murdered the Lord’s priests. 22 Then David said to Abiathar, “I knew that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would certainly tell Saul. I have brought about the death of everyone in your father’s household (extended family). 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life, but you are safe with me.”
David Rescues Keilah
23 Then they told David, saying, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are plundering (robbing) the threshing floors [of the grain].” 2 So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” 3 But David’s men said to him, “Listen, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the battle lines of the Philistines?” 4 Then David inquired of the Lord again. And the Lord answered him, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will hand over the Philistines to you.” 5 So David and his men went to Keilah and fought the Philistines; he drove away their cattle and struck them with a great slaughter. So David rescued the inhabitants of Keilah.
6 When Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, he came down with an ephod in his hand. 7 Now when Saul was informed that David had come to Keilah, Saul said, “God has handed him over to me, for he shut himself in by entering a city that has double gates and bars.” 8 So Saul summoned all the people (soldiers) for war, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men. 9 But David knew that Saul was plotting evil against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” 10 Then David said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, Your servant has heard for certain that Saul intends to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. 11 Will the men of Keilah hand me over to him? Will Saul come down just as Your servant has heard? O Lord, God of Israel, I pray, tell Your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” 12 Then David asked, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men to Saul?” The Lord said, “They will surrender you.” 13 Then David and his men, about six hundred, arose and left Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the pursuit. 14 David stayed in the wilderness in strongholds, in the hill country of the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul searched for him every day, but God did not hand David over to him.
Saul Pursues David
15 Now David became aware that Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the Wilderness of Ziph [in the woods] at Horesh. 16 And Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went [into the woods] to David at Horesh, and [ee]encouraged him in God. 17 He said to him, “Do not be afraid; the hand of my father Saul will not find you. You will be king over Israel and I will be second in command to you; my father Saul knows this too.” 18 So the two of them made a covenant before the Lord; and David stayed [in the woods] at Horesh and Jonathan went to his house.
19 Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is David not hiding with us in strongholds of Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, which is south of [ef]Jeshimon? 20 Now then, O king, come down [to Ziph] in accordance with all your heart’s desire to do so [and capture him]; and our part shall be to hand him over to the king.” 21 Saul said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, because you have had compassion on me. 22 Go now, be very persistent and investigate, and see where his [eg]haunt is and who has seen him there; for I am told he is very cunning. 23 So look, and take note of all the places where he hides and come back to me with the established facts, then I will go with you. If he is [anywhere] in the land, I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah.”
24 So they arose and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the Wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah south of Jeshimon. 25 Then Saul and his men went to search for him. When David was told about it, he went down to the rock and stayed [there] in the Wilderness of Maon. When Saul heard it, he pursued David in the Wilderness of Maon. 26 Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. And David was hurrying to get away from Saul, for Saul and his men were surrounding David and his men to capture them. 27 But a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, because the Philistines have attacked the land.” 28 So Saul returned from pursuing David and went to meet the Philistines; therefore they called that place the Rock of Escape. 29 [eh]David went up from there and stayed in the strongholds of Engedi.
David Spares Saul’s Life
24 When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the [ei]Wilderness of Engedi.” 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to search for David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. 3 On the way he came to the [ej]sheepfolds where there was a cave; and Saul went in to [ek]relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the cave’s innermost recesses. 4 David’s men said to him, “Behold, this is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will hand over your enemy to you, and you shall do to him as seems good to you.’” Then David arose [in the darkness] and stealthily cut off the hem (edge) of Saul’s robe. 5 Afterward, David’s [el]conscience bothered him because he had cut off the hem of Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, since he is the anointed of the Lord.” 7 So David strongly rebuked his men with these words and did not let them rise up against Saul. Saul got up, left the cave and went on his way.
8 Then David also got up afterward and went out of the cave and called after Saul, saying, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground and lay himself face down. 9 David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘David seeks to harm you?’ 10 Behold, your eyes have seen today how the Lord had given you into my hand in the cave. Some told me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not reach out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 Look, my father! Indeed, see the hem of your robe in my hand! Since I cut off the hem of your robe and did not kill you, know and understand [without question] that there is no evil or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you are lying in wait to take my life. 12 May the Lord judge between me and you; and may the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness’; but my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue [with three thousand men]? A dead dog, a single flea? 15 May the Lord be the judge and render judgment between me and you; and may He see and plead my cause and vindicate me by saving me from your hand.”
16 When David had finished saying these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” Then Saul raised his voice and wept. 17 He said to David, “You are more righteous and upright [in God’s eyes] than I; for you have done good to me, but I have done evil to you. 18 You have declared today the good that you have done to me, for when the Lord put me into your hand, you did not kill me. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away [em]unharmed? So may the Lord reward you with good in return for what you have done for me this day. 20 Now, behold, I know that you will certainly be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand. 21 So now swear to me by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me and that you will not destroy my name from my father’s household (extended family).” 22 David gave Saul his oath; and Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the mountain stronghold.
25 Now Samuel died; and all Israel assembled and mourned for him, and they buried him at his house in Ramah. Then David left and went down to the Wilderness of Paran.
Nabal and Abigail
2 Now there was a man in Maon whose business and possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very rich. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats, and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel 3 (now the man’s name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was intelligent and beautiful in appearance, but the man was harsh and evil in his dealings; he was a [en]Calebite). 4 David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. 5 So David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel and go to Nabal, and [eo]greet him in my name; 6 and this is what you shall say, ‘[ep]Have a long life! Peace be to you, and peace to your house, and peace to all that you have. 7 Now I have heard that you have shearers. Now your shepherds have been with us and we have not harmed them, nor were they missing anything all the time they were in Carmel. 8 Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your sight [and be well-treated], for we have come on a [eq]good (festive) day. [er]Please, give whatever you find at hand to your servants and to your son David.’”
9 When David’s young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in the name of David; then they waited. 10 But Nabal answered David’s servants and said, “Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? [es]There are many servants today, each of whom is breaking away from his master. 11 So should I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men when I do not know where they are from?” 12 So David’s young men made their way back and returned; and they came and told him everything that was said [to them by Nabal]. 13 David said to his men, “Each man put on your sword.” So each man put on his sword. David also put on his sword, and about four hundred men went up behind David while two hundred stayed back with the provisions and supplies.
14 But one of Nabal’s young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “Listen, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to bless (greet) our master, and he shouted at them [in contempt]. 15 But David’s men were very good to us, and we were not harmed or treated badly, nor did we miss anything as long as we were with them, when we were in the fields. 16 They were a wall [of protection] to us both night and day, all the time that we were with them tending the sheep. 17 Now then, know this and consider what you should do, for evil is [already] planned against our master and against all his household; but he is such a [et]worthless and wicked man that one cannot speak [reasonably] to him.”
18 Then Abigail hurried and took two hundred loaves of bread, two jugs of wine, five sheep already prepared [for roasting], five measures of roasted grain, a hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19 She said to her young men (servants), “Go on ahead of me; behold, I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. 20 It happened that as she was riding on her donkey and coming down by [way of] the hidden part of the mountain, that suddenly David and his men were coming down toward her, and she met them. 21 Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have protected and guarded all that this man has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missing of all that belonged to him; and he has repaid me evil for good. 22 May God do so to the enemies of David, and more also, if by morning I leave [alive] even one [eu]male of any who belong to him.”
23 When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from the donkey, and [ev]kneeled face downward before David and bowed down to the ground [in respect]. 24 [ew]Kneeling at his feet she said, “My lord, let the blame and guilt be on me alone. And please let your maidservant speak [ex]to you, and listen to the words of your maidservant. 25 Please do not let my lord [ey]pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal (fool) is his [ez]name and foolishness (stupidity) is with him; but I your maidservant did not see my lord’s young men whom you sent.
26 So now, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, since the Lord has prevented you from shedding blood, and from avenging yourself by your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord, be as [self-destructive as] Nabal. 27 Now this gift, which your maidservant has brought my lord, let it be given to the young men who [fa]accompany and follow my lord. 28 Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant; for the Lord will certainly make my lord a secure and enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord, and evil will not be found in you all your days. 29 Should anyone rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, then the life of my lord will be bound in the [precious] bundle of the living with the Lord your God; but the lives of your enemies—those He will hurl out as from the center of a sling. 30 And it will happen when the Lord does for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken (promised) concerning you, and appoints you ruler over Israel, 31 that this [incident] will not cause grief or [bring] a troubled conscience to my lord, both by having shed blood without cause and by my lord having avenged himself. When the Lord deals well with my lord, then remember [with favor] your maidservant.”
32 David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me this day. 33 And blessed be your discretion and discernment, and blessed be you, who has kept me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself by my own hand. 34 Nevertheless, as the Lord the God of Israel lives, who has prevented me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, most certainly by the morning light there would not have been left to Nabal so much as one male.” 35 So David [fb]accepted what she had brought to him and said to her, “Go up to your house in peace. See, I have listened to you and have [fc]granted your request.”
36 Then Abigail came to Nabal, and he was holding a feast in his house [for the shearers], like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s [fd]mood was joyous because he was very drunk; so she told him nothing at all until the morning light. 37 But in the morning, when [fe]Nabal was sober, and his wife told him these things, his [ff]heart died within him and he became [paralyzed and helpless] like a stone. 38 About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died.
David Marries Abigail
39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach [suffered] at the hand of Nabal and has kept His servant from [retaliating with] evil. For the Lord has returned the wickedness of Nabal on his own head.” Then David sent word to Abigail, proposing to take her as his wife. 40 When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they said to her, “David sent us to you to take you [to him] to be his wife.” 41 And she stood and bowed with her face to the ground and said, “Behold, your maidservant is [ready to be] a maid to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.” 42 Then Abigail quickly got up, and rode on a donkey, with five of her maidens who [fg]attended her; and she followed the messengers of David and became his wife.
43 David had also taken Ahinoam of Jezreel, and they both became his wives.
44 But Saul had given Michal his [younger] daughter, David’s wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was from Gallim.
David Again Spares Saul
26 The Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is David not hiding on the hill of Hachilah, east of Jeshimon?”
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