12 Samuel said to all Israel, “I have done 1 everything you requested. 2 I have given you a king. 3 2 Now look! This king walks before you. As for me, I am old and gray, though my sons are here with you. I have walked before you from the time of my youth till the present day. 3 Here I am. Bring a charge against me before the Lord and before his chosen king. 4 Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I wronged? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I taken a bribe so that I would overlook something? Tell me, 5 and I will return it to you!”
4 They replied, “You have not wronged us or oppressed us. You have not taken anything from the hand of anyone.” 5 He said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and his chosen king 6 is witness this day, that you have not found any reason to accuse me.” 7 They said, “He is witness!”
6 Samuel said to the people, “The Lord is the one who chose Moses and Aaron and who brought your ancestors 8 up from the land of Egypt. 7 Now take your positions, so I may confront you 9 before the Lord regarding all the Lord’s just actions toward you and your ancestors. 10 8 When Jacob entered Egypt, your ancestors cried out to the Lord. The Lord sent Moses and Aaron, and they led your ancestors out of Egypt and settled them in this place.
9 “But they forgot the Lord their God, so he gave 11 them into the hand of Sisera, the general in command of Hazor’s 12 army, 13 and into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them. 10 Then they cried out to the Lord and admitted, 14 ‘We have sinned, for we have forsaken the Lord and have served the Baals and the images of Ashtoreth. 15 Now deliver us from the hand of our enemies so that we may serve you.’ 16 11 So the Lord sent Jerub-Baal, 17 Barak, 18 Jephthah, and Samuel, 19 and he delivered you from the hand of the enemies all around you, and you were able to live securely.
12 “When you saw that King Nahash of the Ammonites was advancing against you, you said to me, ‘No! A king will rule over us’ – even though the Lord your God is your king! 13 Now look! Here is the king you have chosen – the one that you asked for! Look, the Lord has given you a king! 14 If you fear the Lord, serving him and obeying him 20 and not rebelling against what he says, 21 and if both you and the king who rules over you follow the Lord your God, all will be well. 22 15 But if you don’t obey 23 the Lord and rebel against what the Lord says, the hand of the Lord will be against both you and your king. 24
16 “So now, take your positions and watch this great thing that the Lord is about to do in your sight. 17 Is this not the time of the wheat harvest? I will call on the Lord so that he makes it thunder and rain. Realize and see what a great sin you have committed before the Lord by asking for a king for yourselves.”
18 So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord made it thunder and rain that day. All the people were very afraid of both the Lord and Samuel. 19 All the people said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God on behalf of us – your servants – so we won’t die, for we have added to all our sins by asking for a king.” 25
20 Then Samuel said to the people, “Don’t be afraid. You have indeed sinned. 26 However, don’t turn aside from the Lord. Serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 You should not turn aside after empty things that can’t profit and can’t deliver, since they are empty. 27 22 The Lord will not abandon his people because he wants to uphold his great reputation. 28 The Lord was pleased to make you his own people. 23 As far as I am concerned, far be it from me to sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you! I will instruct you in the way that is good and upright. 24 However, fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. Just look at the great things he has done for you! 25 But if you continue to do evil, both you and your king will be swept away.”
13 Saul was [thirty] 1 years old when he began to reign; he ruled over Israel for [forty] 2 years. 2 Saul selected for himself three thousand men from Israel. Two thousand of these were with Saul at Micmash and in the hill country of Bethel; 3 the remaining thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin. 4 He sent all the rest of the people back home. 5
3 Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost 6 that was at Geba and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul alerted 7 all the land saying, “Let the Hebrews pay attention!” 4 All Israel heard this message, 8 “Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel is repulsive 9 to the Philistines!” So the people were summoned to join 10 Saul at Gilgal.
5 For the battle with Israel the Philistines had amassed 3,000 11 chariots, 6,000 horsemen, and an army as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Micmash, east of Beth Aven. 6 The men of Israel realized they had a problem because their army was hard pressed. So the army hid in caves, thickets, cliffs, strongholds, 12 and cisterns. 7 Some of the Hebrews crossed over the Jordan River 13 to the land of Gad and Gilead. But Saul stayed at Gilgal; the entire army that was with him was terrified. 8 He waited for seven days, the time period indicated by Samuel. 14 But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the army began to abandon Saul. 15
9 So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” Then he offered a burnt offering. 10 Just when he had finished offering the burnt offering, Samuel appeared on the scene. Saul went out to meet him and to greet him. 16
11 But Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul replied, “When I saw that the army had started to abandon me 17 and that you didn’t come at the appointed time and that the Philistines had assembled at Micmash, 12 I thought, 18 ‘Now the Philistines will come down on me at Gilgal and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt obligated 19 to offer the burnt offering.”
13 Then Samuel said to Saul, “You have made a foolish choice! You have not obeyed 20 the commandment that the Lord your God gave 21 you. Had you done that, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever! 14 But now your kingdom will not continue! The Lord has sought out 22 for himself a man who is loyal to him 23 and the Lord has appointed 24 him to be leader over his people, for you have not obeyed what the Lord commanded you.”
15 Then Samuel set out and went up from Gilgal 25 to Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin. 26 Saul mustered the army that remained with him; there were about six hundred men. 16 Saul, his son Jonathan, and the army that remained with them stayed in Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin, while the Philistines camped in Micmash. 27 17 Raiding bands went out from the camp of the Philistines in three groups. One band turned toward the road leading to Ophrah by the land of Shual; 18 another band turned toward the road leading to Beth Horon; and yet another band turned toward the road leading to the border that overlooks the valley of Zeboim in the direction of the desert.
19 A blacksmith could not be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines had said, “This will prevent the Hebrews from making swords and spears.” 20 So all Israel had to go down to the Philistines in order to get their plowshares, cutting instruments, axes, and sickles 28 sharpened. 21 They charged 29 two-thirds of a shekel 30 to sharpen plowshares and cutting instruments, and a third of a shekel 31 to sharpen picks and axes, and to set ox goads. 22 So on the day of the battle no sword or spear was to be found in the hand of anyone in the army that was with Saul and Jonathan. No one but Saul and his son Jonathan had them.
23 A garrison of the Philistines had gone out to the pass at Micmash.
14 Then one day Jonathan son of Saul said to his armor bearer, 1 “Come on, let’s go over to the Philistine garrison that is opposite us.” But he did not let his father know.
2 Now Saul was sitting under a pomegranate tree in Migron, on the outskirts of Gibeah. The army that was with him numbered about six hundred men. 3 Now Ahijah was carrying 2 an ephod. He was the son of Ahitub, who was the brother of Ichabod and a son of Phineas, son of Eli, the priest of the Lord in Shiloh. The army was unaware that Jonathan had left.
4 Now there was a steep cliff on each side of the pass through which Jonathan intended to go to reach the Philistine garrison. One cliff was named Bozez, the other Seneh. 5 The cliff to the north was closer to Micmash, the one to the south closer to Geba.
6 Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come on, let’s go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will intervene 3 for us. Nothing can prevent the Lord from delivering, whether by many or by a few.” 7 His armor bearer said to him, “Do everything that is on your mind. 4 Do as you’re inclined. I’m with you all the way!” 5
8 Jonathan replied, “All right! 6 We’ll go over to these men and fight them. 9 If they say to us, ‘Stay put until we approach you,’ we will stay 7 right there and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up against us,’ we will go up. For in that case the Lord has given them into our hand – it will be a sign to us.”
11 When they 8 made themselves known to the Philistine garrison, the Philistines said, “Look! The Hebrews are coming out of the holes in which they hid themselves.” 12 Then the men of the garrison said to Jonathan and his armor bearer, “Come on up to us so we can teach you a thing or two!” 9 Then Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come up behind me, for the Lord has given 10 them into the hand of Israel!”
13 Jonathan crawled up on his hands and feet, with his armor bearer following behind him. Jonathan struck down the Philistines, 11 while his armor bearer came along behind him and killed them. 12 14 In this initial skirmish Jonathan and his armor bearer struck down about twenty men in an area that measured half an acre.
15 Then fear overwhelmed 13 those who were in the camp, those who were in the field, all the army in the garrison, and the raiding bands. They trembled and the ground shook. This fear was caused by God. 14
16 Saul’s watchmen at Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin 15 looked on 16 as the crowd of soldiers seemed to melt away first in one direction and then in another. 17 17 So Saul said to the army that was with him, “Muster the troops and see who is no longer with us.” When they mustered the troops, 18 Jonathan and his armor bearer were not there. 18 So Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring near the ephod,” 19 for he was at that time wearing the ephod. 20 19 While 21 Saul spoke to the priest, the panic in the Philistines’ camp was becoming greater and greater. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand!”
20 Saul and all the army that was with him assembled and marched into battle, where they found 22 the Philistines in total panic killing one another with their swords. 23 21 The Hebrews who had earlier gone over to the Philistine side 24 joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the Israelites who had hidden themselves in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines had fled, they too pursued them in battle. 23 So the Lord delivered Israel that day, and the battle shifted over to Beth Aven. 25
24 Now the men of Israel were hard pressed that day, for Saul had made the army agree to this oath: “Cursed be the man who eats food before evening! I will get my vengeance on my enemies!” So no one in the army ate anything.
25 Now the whole army 26 entered the forest and there was honey on the ground. 27 26 When the army entered the forest, they saw 28 the honey flowing, but no one ate any of it, 29 for the army was afraid of the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard about the oath his father had made the army take. He extended the end of his staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb. When he ate it, 30 his eyes gleamed. 31 28 Then someone from the army informed him, “Your father put the army under a strict oath 32 saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food today!’ That is why the army is tired.” 29 Then Jonathan said, “My father has caused trouble for the land. See how my eyes gleamed 33 when I tasted just a little of this honey. 30 Certainly if the army had eaten some of the enemies’ provisions that they came across today, would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?”
31 On that day the army struck down the Philistines from Micmash to Aijalon, and they became very tired. 32 So the army rushed greedily on 34 the 35 plunder, confiscating sheep, cattle, and calves. They slaughtered them right on the ground, and the army ate them blood and all.
33 Now it was reported to Saul, “Look, the army is sinning against the Lord by eating even the blood.” He said, “All of you have broken the covenant! 36 Roll a large stone over here to me.” 34 Then Saul said, “Scatter out among the army and say to them, ‘Each of you bring to me your ox and sheep and slaughter them in this spot and eat. But don’t sin against the Lord by eating the blood.” So that night each one brought his ox and slaughtered it there. 37 35 Then Saul built an altar for the Lord; it was the first time he had built an altar for the Lord.
36 Saul said, “Let’s go down after the Philistines at night; we will rout 38 them until the break of day. 39 We won’t leave any of them alive!” 40 They replied, “Do whatever seems best to you.” 41 But the priest said, “Let’s approach God here.” 37 So Saul asked God, “Should I go down after the Philistines? Will you deliver them into the hand of Israel?” But he did not answer him that day.
38 Then Saul said, “All you leaders of the army come here. Find out 42 how this sin occurred today. 39 For as surely as the Lord, the deliverer of Israel, lives, even if it turns out to be my own son Jonathan, he will certainly die!” But no one from the army said anything. 43
40 Then he said to all Israel, “You will be on one side, and I and my son Jonathan will be on the other side.” The army replied to Saul, “Do whatever you think is best.”
41 Then Saul said, “O Lord God of Israel! If this sin has been committed by me or by my son Jonathan, then, O Lord God of Israel, respond with Urim. But if this sin has been committed by your people Israel, respond with Thummim.” 44 Then Jonathan and Saul were indicated by lot, while the army was exonerated. 45 42 Then Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan!” 46 Jonathan was indicated by lot.
43 So Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” Jonathan told him, “I used the end of the staff that was in my hand to taste a little honey. I must die!” 47 44 Saul said, “God will punish me severely if Jonathan doesn’t die!” 48
45 But the army said to Saul, “Should Jonathan, who won this great victory in Israel, die? May it never be! As surely as the Lord lives, not a single hair of his head will fall to the ground! For it is with the help of God that he has acted today.” So the army rescued Jonathan from death. 49
46 Then Saul stopped chasing the Philistines, and the Philistines went back home. 50 47 After Saul had secured his royal position over Israel, he fought against all their 51 enemies on all sides – the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. In every direction that he turned he was victorious. 52 48 He fought bravely, striking down the Amalekites and delivering Israel from the hand of its enemies. 53
49 The sons of Saul were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malki-Shua. 54 He had two daughters; the older one was named Merab and the younger Michal. 50 The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the general in command of his army was Abner son of Ner, Saul’s uncle. 55 51 Kish was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son 56 of Abiel.
52 There was fierce war with the Philistines all the days of Saul. So whenever Saul saw anyone who was a warrior or a brave individual, he would conscript him.