1 Samuel 13-16New King James Version (NKJV)
Saul’s Unlawful Sacrifice
13 Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel,[a] 2 Saul chose for himself three thousand men of Israel. Two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in the mountains of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. The rest of the people he sent away, every man to his tent.
3 And Jonathan attacked the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. Then Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear!” 4 Now all Israel heard it said that Saul had attacked a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel had also become an abomination to the Philistines. And the people were called together to Saul at Gilgal.
5 Then the Philistines gathered together to fight with Israel, thirty[b] thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the seashore in multitude. And they came up and encamped in Michmash, to the east of Beth Aven. 6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in danger (for the people were distressed), then the people hid in caves, in thickets, in rocks, in holes, and in pits. 7 And some of the Hebrews crossed over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.
As for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. 8 Then he waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. 9 So Saul said, “Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him.
11 And Samuel said, “What have you done?”
Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, 12 then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the Lord.’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.”
13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”
15 Then Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin.[c] And Saul numbered the people present with him, about six hundred men.
No Weapons for the Army
16 Saul, Jonathan his son, and the people present with them remained in Gibeah of Benjamin. But the Philistines encamped in Michmash. 17 Then raiders came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies. One company turned onto the road to Ophrah, to the land of Shual, 18 another company turned to the road to Beth Horon, and another company turned to the road of the border that overlooks the Valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.
19 Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make swords or spears.” 20 But all the Israelites would go down to the Philistines to sharpen each man’s plowshare, his mattock, his ax, and his sickle; 21 and the charge for a sharpening was a pim[d] for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to set the points of the goads. 22 So it came about, on the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan. But they were found with Saul and Jonathan his son.
23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.
Jonathan Defeats the Philistines
14 Now it happened one day that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison that is on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. 2 And Saul was sitting in the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron. The people who were with him were about six hundred men. 3 Ahijah the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh, was wearing an ephod. But the people did not know that Jonathan had gone.
4 Between the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistines’ garrison, there was a sharp rock on one side and a sharp rock on the other side. And the name of one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. 5 The front of one faced northward opposite Michmash, and the other southward opposite Gibeah.
6 Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.”
7 So his armorbearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart.”
8 Then Jonathan said, “Very well, let us cross over to these men, and we will show ourselves to them. 9 If they say thus to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place and not go up to them. 10 But if they say thus, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up. For the Lord has delivered them into our hand, and this will be a sign to us.”
11 So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, “Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden.” 12 Then the men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armorbearer, and said, “Come up to us, and we will show you something.”
Jonathan said to his armorbearer, “Come up after me, for the Lord has delivered them into the hand of Israel.” 13 And Jonathan climbed up on his hands and knees with his armorbearer after him; and they fell before Jonathan. And as he came after him, his armorbearer killed them. 14 That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armorbearer made was about twenty men within about half an acre of land.[e]
15 And there was trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and the raiders also trembled; and the earth quaked, so that it was a very great trembling. 16 Now the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and there was the multitude, melting away; and they went here and there. 17 Then Saul said to the people who were with him, “Now call the roll and see who has gone from us.” And when they had called the roll, surprisingly, Jonathan and his armorbearer were not there. 18 And Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark[f] of God here” (for at that time the ark[g] of God was with the children of Israel). 19 Now it happened, while Saul talked to the priest, that the noise which was in the camp of the Philistines continued to increase; so Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” 20 Then Saul and all the people who were with him assembled, and they went to the battle; and indeed every man’s sword was against his neighbor, and there was very great confusion. 21 Moreover the Hebrews who were with the Philistines before that time, who went up with them into the camp from the surrounding country, they also joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 Likewise all the men of Israel who had hidden in the mountains of Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, they also followed hard after them in the battle. 23 So the Lord saved Israel that day, and the battle shifted to Beth Aven.
Saul’s Rash Oath
24 And the men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had placed the people under oath, saying, “Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food. 25 Now all the people of the land came to a forest; and there was honey on the ground. 26 And when the people had come into the woods, there was the honey, dripping; but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath; therefore he stretched out the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in a honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his countenance brightened. 28 Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed is the man who eats food this day.’” And the people were faint.
29 But Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. Look now, how my countenance has brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much better if the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies which they found! For now would there not have been a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?”
31 Now they had driven back the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. So the people were very faint. 32 And the people rushed on the spoil, and took sheep, oxen, and calves, and slaughtered them on the ground; and the people ate them with the blood. 33 Then they told Saul, saying, “Look, the people are sinning against the Lord by eating with the blood!”
So he said, “You have dealt treacherously; roll a large stone to me this day.” 34 Then Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people, and say to them, ‘Bring me here every man’s ox and every man’s sheep, slaughter them here, and eat; and do not sin against the Lord by eating with the blood.’” So every one of the people brought his ox with him that night, and slaughtered it there. 35 Then Saul built an altar to the Lord. This was the first altar that he built to the Lord.
36 Now 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.”
And they said, “Do whatever seems good to you.”
Then the priest said, “Let us draw near to God here.”
37 So Saul asked counsel of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will You deliver them into the hand of Israel?” But He did not answer him that day. 38 And Saul said, “Come over here, all you chiefs of the people, and know and see what this sin was today. 39 For as the Lord lives, who saves Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” But not a man among all the people answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, “You be on one side, and my son Jonathan and I will be on the other side.”
And the people said to Saul, “Do what seems good to you.”
41 Therefore Saul said to the Lord God of Israel, “Give a perfect lot.”[h] So Saul and Jonathan were taken, but the people escaped. 42 And Saul said, “Cast lots between my son Jonathan and me.” So Jonathan was taken. 43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.”
And Jonathan told him, and said, “I only tasted a little honey with the end of the rod that was in my hand. So now I must die!”
44 Saul answered, “God do so and more also; for you shall surely die, Jonathan.”
45 But the people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has accomplished this great deliverance in Israel? Certainly not! 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 did not die.
46 Then Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.
Saul’s Continuing Wars
47 So Saul established his sovereignty over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, against the people of Ammon, against Edom, against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he harassed them.[i] 48 And he gathered an army and attacked the Amalekites, and delivered Israel from the hands of those who plundered them.
49 The sons of Saul were Jonathan, Jishui,[j] and Malchishua. And the names of his two daughters were these: the name of the firstborn Merab, and the name of the younger Michal. 50 The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz. And the name of the commander of his army was Abner the son of Ner, Saul’s uncle. 51 Kish was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.
52 Now there was fierce war with the Philistines all the days of Saul. And when Saul saw any strong man or any valiant man, he took him for himself.
Saul Spares King Agag
15 Samuel also said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the Lord. 2 Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. 3 Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”
4 So Saul gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men of Judah. 5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and lay in wait in the valley.
6 Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, get down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7 And Saul attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8 He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.
Saul Rejected as King
10 Now the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, 11 “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night. 12 So when Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul, it was told Samuel, saying, “Saul went to Carmel, and indeed, he set up a monument for himself; and he has gone on around, passed by, and gone down to Gilgal.” 13 Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have performed the commandment 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 And Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.”
16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Be quiet! And I will tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”
And he said to him, “Speak on.”
17 So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the Lord anoint you king over Israel? 18 Now the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the Lord?”
20 And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”
22 So Samuel said:
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, 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 And as Samuel turned around to go away, Saul seized the edge of his robe, 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 a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. 29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent.”
30 Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord your God.” 31 So Samuel turned back after Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord.
32 Then Samuel said, “Bring Agag king of the Amalekites here to me.” So Agag came to him cautiously.
And Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.”
33 But Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hacked Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.
34 Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house at Gibeah of Saul. 35 And Samuel went no more to see Saul until the day of his death. Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.
David Anointed King
16 Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.”
2 And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.”
But the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; you shall anoint for Me the one I name to you.”
4 So Samuel did what the Lord said, and went to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, “Do you come peaceably?”
5 And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons, and invited them to the sacrifice.
6 So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!”
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees;[k] for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
8 So Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.”
And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down[l] till he comes here.” 12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.
A Distressing Spirit Troubles Saul
14 But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him. 15 And Saul’s servants said to him, “Surely, a distressing spirit from God is troubling you. 16 Let our master now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp. And it shall be that he will play it with his hand when the distressing spirit from God is upon you, and you shall be well.”
17 So Saul said to his servants, “Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me.”
18 Then one of the servants answered and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.”
19 Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 20 And Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and a young goat, and sent them by his son David to Saul. 21 So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armorbearer. 22 Then Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Please let David stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.” 23 And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
For the best Bible Gateway experience, consider upgrading to Bible Gateway Plus. Bible Gateway Plus equips you to have in-depth biblical discussions with your friends, your family, and your peers. Try it free for 30 days!
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.