141One day Jonathan said to the young man who carried his weapons, “Let's go across to the Philistine camp.” But Jonathan did not tell his father Saul, 2who was camping under a pomegranate tree in Migron, not far from Gibeah; he had about 600 men with him. 3(The priest carrying the ephod was Ahijah, the son of Ichabod's brother Ahitub, who was the son of Phinehas and grandson of Eli, the priest of the LORD in Shiloh.) The men did not know that Jonathan had left.
4In the pass of Michmash, which Jonathan had to go through to get over to the Philistine camp, there were two large jagged rocks, one on each side of the pass: one was called Bozez and the other Seneh. 5One was on the north side of the pass, facing Michmash, and the other was on the south side, facing Geba.
6Jonathan said to the young man, “Let's cross over to the camp of those heathen Philistines. Maybe the LORD will help us; if he does, nothing can keep him from giving us the victory, no matter how few of us there are.”
7The young man answered, “Whatever you want to do,14.7 One ancient translation you want to do; Hebrew you want to do. Turn. I'm with you.”
8“All right,” Jonathan said. “We will go across and let the Philistines see us. 9If they tell us to wait for them to come to us, then we will stay where we are. 10But if they tell us to go to them, then we will, because that will be the sign that the LORD has given us victory over them.”
11So they let the Philistines see them, and the Philistines said, “Look! Some Hebrews are coming out of the holes they have been hiding in!” 12Then they called out to Jonathan and the young man, “Come on up here! We have something to tell14.12 tell; or show. you!”
Jonathan said to the young man, “Follow me. The LORD has given Israel victory over them.” 13Jonathan climbed up out of the pass on his hands and knees, and the young man followed him. Jonathan attacked the Philistines and knocked them down, and the young man killed them. 14In that first slaughter Jonathan and the young man killed about twenty men in an area of about a quarter of a hectare.14.14 Probable text in an area of about a quarter of a hectare; Hebrew unclear. 15All the Philistines in the countryside were terrified; the raiders and the soldiers in the camp trembled with fear; the earth shook, and there was great panic.
16Saul's men on watch at Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin saw the Philistines running in confusion. 17So Saul said to his men, “Count the soldiers and find out who is missing.” They did so and found that Jonathan and the young man who carried his weapons were missing. 18“Bring the ephod14.18 One ancient translation ephod (see 2.28); Hebrew Covenant Box. here,” Saul said to Ahijah the priest. (On that day Ahijah was carrying it in front of the people of Israel.)14.18 One ancient translation On that day… Israel; Hebrew Because on that day God's Covenant Box and the people of Israel. 19As Saul was speaking to the priest, the confusion in the Philistine camp got worse and worse, so Saul said to him, “There's no time to consult the LORD!” 20Then he and his men marched into battle against the Philistines, who were fighting each other in complete confusion. 21Some Hebrews, who had been on the Philistine side and had gone with them to the camp, changed sides again14.21 Some ancient translations changed sides again; Hebrew around also. and joined Saul and Jonathan. 22Others, who had been hiding in the hills of Ephraim, heard that the Philistines were running away, so they also joined in and attacked the Philistines, 23fighting all the way beyond Bethaven. The LORD saved Israel that day.
24The Israelites were weak with hunger that day, because Saul, with a solemn oath, had given the order: “A curse be on anyone who eats any food today before I take revenge on my enemies.” So nobody had eaten anything all day. 25They all14.25 Probable text They all; Hebrew All the land. came into a wooded area and found honey everywhere. 26The woods were full of honey, but no one ate any of it because they were all afraid of Saul's curse. 27But Jonathan had not heard his father threaten the people with a curse; so he reached out with the stick he was carrying, dipped it in a honeycomb, and ate some honey. At once he felt much better. 28But one of the men said, “We are all weak with hunger, but your father threatened us and said, ‘A curse be on anyone who eats any food today.’ ”
29Jonathan answered, “What a terrible thing my father has done to our people! See how much better I feel because I ate some honey! 30How much better it would have been today if our people had eaten the food they took when they defeated the enemy. Just think how many more Philistines they would have killed!”
31That day the Israelites defeated the Philistines, fighting all the way from Michmash to Aijalon. By this time the Israelites were very weak with hunger, 32and so they rushed over to what they had captured from the enemy, took sheep and cattle, slaughtered them on the spot, and ate the meat with the blood still in it. 33
Saul was told, “Look, the people are sinning against the LORD by eating meat with the blood in it.”
“You are traitors!” Saul cried out. “Roll a big stone over here14.33 One ancient translation here; Hebrew today. to me.” 34Then he gave another order: “Go among the people and tell them all to bring their cattle and sheep here. They are to slaughter them and eat them here; they must not sin against the LORD by eating meat with blood in it.” So that night they all brought their cattle and slaughtered them there. 35Saul built an altar to the LORD, the first one that he built.
36Saul said to his men, “Let's go down and attack the Philistines in the night, plunder them until dawn, and kill them all.”
“Do whatever you think best,” they answered.
But the priest said, “Let's consult God first.”
37So Saul asked God, “Shall I attack the Philistines? Will you give us victory?” But God did not answer that day. 38Then Saul said to the leaders of the people, “Come here and find out what sin was committed today. 39I promise by the living LORD, who gives Israel victory, that the guilty one will be put to death, even if he is my son Jonathan.” But no one said anything. 40Then Saul said to them, “All of you stand over there, and Jonathan and I will stand over here.”
“Do whatever you think best,” they answered.
Saul said to the LORD, the God of Israel, “LORD, why have you not answered me today? LORD, God of Israel, answer me by the sacred stones. If the guilt is Jonathan's or mine, answer by the Urim; but if it belongs to your people Israel,14.41 Some ancient translations answer me by the sacred stones… your people Israel; Hebrew does not have these words. answer by the Thummim.”14.41 Urim… Thummim: Two stones used by the priest to determine God's will; it is not known precisely how they were used. The answer indicated Jonathan and Saul; and the people were cleared. 42Then Saul said, “Decide between my son Jonathan and me.” And Jonathan was indicated. 43Then Saul asked Jonathan, “What have you done?”
Jonathan answered, “I ate a little honey with the stick I was holding. Here I am — I am ready to die.”
44Saul said to him, “May God strike me dead if you are not put to death!”
45But the people said to Saul, “Will Jonathan, who won this great victory for Israel, be put to death? No! We promise by the living LORD that he will not lose even a hair from his head. What he did today was done with God's help.” So the people saved Jonathan from being put to death.
46After that, Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they went back to their own territory.
47After Saul became king of Israel, he fought against all his enemies everywhere: the people of Moab, of Ammon, and of Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he fought he was victorious.14.47 One ancient translation was victorious; Hebrew acted wickedly. 48He fought heroically and defeated even the people of Amalek. He saved the Israelites from all attacks.
49Saul's sons were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchishua. His elder daughter was named Merab, and the younger one Michal. 50His wife was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz; his army commander was his cousin Abner, the son of his uncle Ner. 51Saul's father Kish and Abner's father Ner were sons of Abiel.
52As long as he lived, Saul had to fight fiercely against the Philistines. So whenever he found a man who was strong or brave, he would enlist him in his army.
Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one whom the LORD sent to anoint you king of his people Israel. Now listen to what the LORD Almighty says. 2
He is going to punish the people of Amalek because their ancestors opposed the Israelites when they were coming from Egypt. 3Go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they have. Don't leave a thing; kill all the men, women, children, and babies; the cattle, sheep, camels, and donkeys.”
4Saul called his forces together and inspected them at Telem: there were 200,000 soldiers from Israel and 10,000 from Judah. 5Then he and his men went to the city of Amalek and waited in ambush in a dry riverbed. 6He sent a warning to the Kenites, a people whose ancestors had been kind to the Israelites when they came from Egypt: “Go away and leave the Amalekites, so that I won't kill you along with them.” So the Kenites left.
7Saul defeated the Amalekites, fighting all the way from Havilah to Shur, east of Egypt; 8he captured King Agag of Amalek alive and killed all the people. 9But Saul and his men spared Agag's life and did not kill the best sheep and cattle, the best calves and lambs,15.9 One ancient translation the best calves and lambs; Hebrew unclear. or anything else that was good; they destroyed only what was useless or worthless.15.9 Some ancient translations useless or worthless; Hebrew unclear.
10The LORD said to Samuel, 11“I am sorry that I made Saul king; he has turned away from me and disobeyed my commands.” Samuel was angry, and all night long he pleaded with the LORD. 12Early the following morning he went off to find Saul. He heard that Saul had gone to the town of Carmel, where he had built a monument to himself, and then had gone on to Gilgal. 13Samuel went up to Saul, who greeted him, saying, “The LORD bless you, Samuel! I have obeyed the LORD's command.”
14Samuel asked, “Why, then, do I hear cattle mooing and sheep bleating?”
15Saul answered, “My men took them from the Amalekites. They kept the best sheep and cattle to offer as a sacrifice to the LORD your God, and the rest we have destroyed completely.”15.15 destroyed completely: These animals had been unconditionally dedicated to the LORD and had to be destroyed (see Lev 27.28).
16“Stop,” Samuel ordered, “and I will tell you what the LORD said to me last night.”
“Tell me,” Saul said.
17Samuel answered, “Even though you consider yourself of no importance, you are the leader of the tribes of Israel. The LORD anointed you king of Israel, 18and he sent you out with orders to destroy those wicked people of Amalek. He told you to fight until you had killed them all. 19Why, then, did you not obey him? Why did you rush to seize the loot, and so do what displeases the LORD?”
20“I did obey the LORD,” Saul replied. “I went out as he told me to, brought back King Agag, and killed all the Amalekites. 21But my men did not kill the best sheep and cattle that they captured; instead, they brought them here to Gilgal to offer as a sacrifice to the LORD your God.”
22Samuel said, “Which does the LORD prefer: obedience or offerings and sacrifices? It is better to obey him than to sacrifice the best sheep to him. 23Rebellion against him is as bad as witchcraft, and arrogance is as sinful as idolatry. Because you rejected the LORD's command, he has rejected you as king.”
24“Yes, I have sinned,” Saul replied. “I disobeyed the LORD's command and your instructions. I was afraid of my men and did what they wanted. 25But now I beg you, forgive my sin and go back with me, so that I can worship the LORD.”
26“I will not go back with you,” Samuel answered. “You rejected the LORD's command, and he has rejected you as king of Israel.”
Then Samuel turned to leave, but Saul caught hold of his cloak, and it tore. 28Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel away from you today and given it to someone who is a better man than you. 29Israel's majestic God does not lie or change his mind. He is not a human being — he does not change his mind.”
30“I have sinned,” Saul replied. “But at least show me respect in front of the leaders of my people and all Israel. Go back with me so that I can worship the LORD your God.” 31So Samuel went back with him, and Saul worshipped the LORD.
32“Bring King Agag here to me,” Samuel ordered. Agag came to him, trembling with fear, thinking to himself, “What a bitter thing it is to die!”15.32 trembling with fear… die; or confidently, thinking to himself, “Surely the bitter danger of death is past!” 33Samuel said, “As your sword has made many mothers childless, so now will your mother become childless.” And he cut Agag to pieces in front of the altar in Gilgal.
34Then Samuel went to Ramah, and King Saul went home to Gibeah. 35As long as Samuel lived, he never again saw the king; but he grieved over him. The LORD was sorry that he had made Saul king of Israel.
161The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you go on grieving over Saul? I have rejected him as king of Israel. But now get some olive oil and go to Bethlehem, to a man named Jesse, because I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”
2“How can I do that?” Samuel asked. “If Saul hears about it, he will kill me!”
The LORD answered, “Take a calf with you and say that you are there to offer a sacrifice to the LORD. 3Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will tell you what to do. You will anoint as king the man I tell you to.”
4Samuel did what the LORD told him to do and went to Bethlehem, where the city leaders came trembling to meet him and asked, “Is this a peaceful visit, seer?”
5“Yes,” he answered. “I have come to offer a sacrifice to the LORD. Purify yourselves and come with me.” He also told Jesse and his sons to purify themselves, and he invited them to the sacrifice.
6When they arrived, Samuel saw Jesse's son Eliab and said to himself, “This man standing here in the LORD's presence is surely the one he has chosen.” 7But the LORD said to him, “Pay no attention to how tall and handsome he is. I have rejected him, because I do not judge as people judge. They look at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart.”
8Then Jesse called his son Abinadab and brought him to Samuel. But Samuel said, “No, the LORD hasn't chosen him either.” 9Jesse then brought Shammah. “No, the LORD hasn't chosen him either,” Samuel said. 10In this way Jesse brought seven of his sons to Samuel. And Samuel said to him, “No, the LORD hasn't chosen any of these.” 11Then he asked him, “Have you any more sons?”
Jesse answered, “There is still the youngest, but he is out taking care of the sheep.”
“Tell him to come here,” Samuel said. “We won't offer the sacrifice until he comes.” 12So Jesse sent for him. He was a handsome, healthy young man, and his eyes sparkled. The LORD said to Samuel, “This is the one — anoint him!” 13Samuel took the olive oil and anointed David in front of his brothers. Immediately the Spirit of the LORD took control of David and was with him from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.
14The LORD's spirit left Saul, and an evil spirit sent by the LORD tormented him. 15His servants said to him, “We know that an evil spirit sent by God is tormenting you. 16So give us the order, sir, and we will look for a man who knows how to play the harp. Then when the evil spirit comes on you, the man can play his harp, and you will be all right again.”
17Saul ordered them, “Find me a man who plays well and bring him to me.”
18One of his attendants said, “Jesse, of the town of Bethlehem, has a son who is a good musician. He is also a brave and handsome man, a good soldier, and an able speaker. The LORD is with him.”
19So Saul sent messengers to Jesse to say, “Send me your son David, the one who takes care of the sheep.” 20Jesse sent David to Saul with a young goat, a donkey loaded with bread, and a leather bag full of wine. 21David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much and chose him as the man to carry his weapons. 22Then Saul sent a message to Jesse: “I like David. Let him stay here in my service.” 23From then on, whenever the evil spirit sent by God came on Saul, David would get his harp and play it. The evil spirit would leave, and Saul would feel better and be all right again.