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1One day Jonathan, the son of Saul, spoke to the young man who was carrying his armor. "Come on," he said. "Let's go over to the Philistine army camp on the other side of the pass." But he didn't tell his father about it.
2Saul was staying just outside Gibeah. He was under a pomegranate tree in Migron. He had about 600 men with him. 3Ahijah was one of them. He was wearing a sacred linen apron. He was a son of Ichabod's brother Ahitub. Ahitub was the son of Eli's son Phinehas. Eli had been the Lord's priest in Shiloh. No one was aware that Jonathan had left.
4Jonathan planned to go across the pass to reach the Philistine camp. But there was a cliff on each side of the pass. One cliff was called Bozez. The other was called Seneh. 5One cliff stood on the north side of the pass toward Micmash. The other stood on the south side toward Geba.
6Jonathan spoke to the young man who was carrying his armor. He said, "Come on. Let's go over to the camp of those fellows who aren't circumcised. Perhaps the Lord will help us. If he does, it won't matter how many or how few of us there are. That won't keep the Lord from saving us."
7"Go ahead," the young man said. "Do everything you have in mind. I'm with you all the way."
8Jonathan said, "Come on, then. We'll go across the pass toward the Philistines and let them see us. 9Suppose they say to us, 'Wait there until we come to you.' Then we'll stay where we are. We won't go up to them. 10But suppose they say, 'Come up to us.' Then we'll climb up. That will show us that the Lord has handed them over to us."
11So Jonathan and the young man let the soldiers in the Philistine camp see them. "Look!" said the Philistines. "Some of the Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in."
12The men in the Philistine camp shouted to Jonathan and the young man who was carrying his armor. They said, "Come on up here. We'll teach you a thing or two."
So Jonathan said to the young man, "Climb up after me. The Lord has handed them over to Israel."
13Using his hands and feet, Jonathan climbed up. The young man was right behind him. Jonathan struck the Philistines down. The young man followed him and killed those who were still alive. 14In that first attack, Jonathan and the young man killed about 20 men. They did it in an area of about half an acre.
Israel Chases the Philistines Away
15Then panic struck the whole Philistine army. It struck those who were in the camp and the field. It struck those who were at the edge of the camp. It also struck those who were in the groups that had been sent out to attack Israel. The ground shook. It was a panic that God had sent.
16Saul's lookouts at Gibeah in the land of Benjamin saw what was happening. They saw the Philistine army melting away in all directions.
17Then Saul spoke to the men who were with him. He said, "Bring the troops together. See who has left our camp." When they did, they discovered that Jonathan and the young man who was carrying his armor weren't there.
18Saul said to the priest Ahijah, "Bring the ark of God." At that time it was with the people of Israel.
19While Saul was talking to the priest, the noise in the Philistine camp increased more and more. So Saul said to him, "Stop what you are doing."
20Then Saul and all of his men gathered together. They went to the battle. They saw that the Philistines were in total disorder. They were striking each other with their swords.
21At an earlier time some of the Hebrews had been on the side of the Philistines. They had gone up with them to their camp. But now they changed sides. They joined the people of Israel who were with Saul and Jonathan.
22Some of the people had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim. They heard that the Philistines were running away. They quickly joined the battle and chased after them.
23So the Lord saved Israel that day. And the fighting continued on past Beth Aven.
Jonathan Eats Honey
24The men of Israel became very hungry that day. That's because Saul had put the army under an oath. He had said, "None of you must eat any food before evening comes. You must not eat until I've paid my enemies back for what they did. If you do, may you be under a curse!" So none of the troops ate any food at all.
25The whole army entered the woods. There was honey on the ground. 26When they went into the woods, they saw the honey dripping out of a honeycomb. No one put any of the honey in his mouth. That's because they were afraid of the oath.
27But Jonathan hadn't heard that his father had put the army under an oath. Jonathan had a long stick in his hand. He reached out and dipped the end of it into the honeycomb. He put some honey in his mouth. It gave him new life.
28Then one of the soldiers told him, "Your father put the army under a strong oath. He said, 'None of you must eat any food today. If you do, may you be under a curse!' That's why the men are weak and ready to faint."
29Jonathan said, "My father has made trouble for the country. See how I gained new life after I tasted a little of this honey. 30Our soldiers took food from their enemies today. Suppose they had eaten some of it. How much better off they would have been! Even more Philistines would have been killed."
31That day the men of Israel struck the Philistines down. They killed them from Micmash to Aijalon. By that time they were tired and worn out. 32They grabbed what they had taken from their enemies. They killed some of the sheep, cattle and calves right there on the ground. They ate the meat while the blood was still in it.
33Then someone said to Saul, "Look! The men are sinning against the Lord. They're eating meat that still has blood in it."
Saul said to them, "You have broken your promise. Roll a large stone over here at once." 34He continued, "Go out among the men. Tell them, 'Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep. Kill them here and eat them. Don't sin against the Lord by eating meat that still has blood in it.' "
So that night everyone brought the ox he had taken and killed it there.
35Then Saul built an altar to honor the Lord. It was the first time he had done that.
36Saul said, "Let's go down after the Philistines tonight. Let's not leave even one of them alive. Let's take everything they have before it gets light."
"Do what you think is best," they replied.
But the priest said, "Let's ask God for advice first."
37So Saul asked God, "Should I go down after the Philistines? Will you hand them over to Israel?" But God didn't answer him that day.
38Saul said to the leaders of the army, "Come here. Let's find out what sin has been committed today. 39You can be sure that the Lord who saves Israel lives. And you can be just as sure that the sinner must die. He must die even if he's my son Jonathan." But no one said anything.
40Then Saul spoke to all of Israel's men. He said, "You stand over there. I and my son Jonathan will stand over here."
"Do what you think is best," the men replied.
41Then Saul prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel. He said, "Give me an answer." Jonathan and Saul were chosen by using lots. The other men were cleared of blame.
42Saul said, "Cast the lot to find out whether I or my son Jonathan is to blame." And Jonathan was chosen.
43Then Saul said to Jonathan, "Tell me what you have done."
So Jonathan told him, "I only used the end of my stick to get a little honey and taste it. And now do I have to die?"
44Saul said, "Jonathan, I must certainly put you to death. If I don't, may God punish me greatly."
45But the men said to Saul, "Should Jonathan be put to death? Never! He has saved Israel in a wonderful way. He did it today with God's help. You can be sure that the Lord lives. And you can be just as sure that not even one hair on Jonathan's head will fall to the ground." So the men saved Jonathan. He wasn't put to death.
46Then Saul stopped chasing the Philistines. They went back to their own land.
47After Saul's kingdom was set firmly in place in Israel, he fought against their enemies who were all around them. He went to war against Moab, Ammon and Edom. He fought against the kings of Zobah and the Philistines. No matter where he went, he punished his enemies. 48He fought bravely. He won the battle over the Amalekites. He saved Israel from the power of those who had carried off what belonged to Israel.
Saul's Family
49Saul's sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua. His older daughter was named Merab. His younger daughter was named Michal. 50Saul's wife was named Ahinoam. She was the daughter of Ahimaaz.
The commander of Saul's army was named Abner. He was the son of Ner. Ner was Saul's uncle. 51Saul's father Kish and Abner's father Ner were sons of Abiel.
52As long as Saul was king, he had to fight hard against the Philistines. So every time Saul saw a strong or brave man, he took him into his army.
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CHAPTER 14.
1Now it came to pass one day that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man that bore his armour: Come, and let us go over to the garrison of the Philistines, which is on the other side of yonder place. But he told not this to his father.
2And Saul abode in the uttermost part of Gabaa under the pomegranate tree, which was in Magron: and the people with him were about six hundred men.
3And Achias the son of Achitob brother to Ichabod the son of Phinees, the son of Heli the priest of the Lord in Silo, wore the ephod. And the people knew not whither Jonathan was gone.
4Now there were between the ascents, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the garrison of the Philistines, rocks standing up on both sides, and steep cliffs like teeth on the one side, and on the other, the name of the one was Boses, and the name of the other was Sene:
5One rock stood out towards the north over against Machmas, and the other to the south over against Gabaa.
6And Jonathan said to the young man that bore his armour: Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised, it may be the Lord will do for us, because it is easy for the Lord to save either by many, or by few.
7And his armourbearer said to him: Do all that pleaseth thy mind: go whither thou wilt, and I will be with thee wheresoever thou hast a mind.
8And Jonathan said: Behold we will go over to these men. And when we shall be seen by them,
9If they shall speak thus to us: Stay till we come to you: let us stand still in our place, and not go up to them.
10But if they shall say: Come up to us: let us go up, because the Lord hath delivered them into our hands, this shall be a sign unto us.
11So both of them discovered themselves to the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said: Behold the Hebrews come forth out of the holes wherein they were hid.
12And the men of the garrison spoke to Jonathan, and to his armourbearer, and said: Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said to his armourbearer: Let us go up, follow me: for the Lord hath delivered them into the hands of Israel.
13And Jonathan went up creeping on his hands and feet, and his armourbearer after him. And some fell before Jonathan, others his armourbearer slew as he followed him.
14And the first slaughter which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was of about twenty men, within half an acre of land, which a yoke of oxen is wont to plough in a day.
15And there was a miracle in the camp, through the fields: yea and all the people of their garrison, who had gone out to plunder, were amazed, and the earth trembled: and it happened as a miracle from God.
16And the watchmen of Saul, who were in Gabaa of Benjamin looked, and behold a multitude overthrown, and fleeing this way and that.
17And Saul said to the people that were with him: Look, and see who is gone from us. And when they had sought, it was found that Jonathan and his armourbearer were not there.
18And Saul said to Achias: Bring the ark of the Lord. (For the ark of God was there that day with the children of Israel.)
19And while Saul spoke to the priest, there arose a great uproar in the camp of the Philistines: and it increased by degrees, and was heard more clearly. And Saul said to the priest: Draw in thy hand.
20Then Saul and all the people that were with him, shouted together, and they came to the place of the fight: and behold every man's sword was turned upon his neighbour, and there was a very great slaughter.
21Moreover the Hebrews that had been with the Philistines yesterday and the day before, and went up with them into the camp, returned to be with the Israelites, who were with Saul and Jonathan.
22And all the Israelites that had hid themselves in mount Ephraim, hearing that the Philistines fled, joined themselves with their countrymen in the fight. And there were with Saul about ten thousand men.
23And the Lord saved Israel that day. And the fight went on as far as Bethaven.
24And the men of Israel were joined together that day; and Saul adjured the people, saying: Cursed be the man that shall eat food till evening, till I be revenged of my enemies. So none of the people tasted any food:
25And all the common people came into a forest, in which there was honey upon the ground.
26And when the people came into the forest, behold the honey dropped, but no man put his hand to his mouth. For the people feared the oath.
27But Jonathan had not heard when his father adjured the people: and he put forth the end of the rod, which he had in his hand, and dipt it in a honeycomb: and he carried his hand to his mouth, and his eyes were enlightened.
28And one of the people answering, said: Thy father hath bound the people with an oath, saying: Cursed be the man that shall eat any food this day. (And the people were faint.)
29And Jonathan said: My father hath troubled the land: you have seen yourselves that my eyes are enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey:
30How much more if the people had eaten of the prey of their enemies, which they found? had there not been made a greater slaughter among the Philistines?
31So they smote that day the Philistines from Machmas to Ailon. And the people were wearied exceedingly.
32And falling upon the spoils, they took sheep, and oxen, and calves, and slew them on the ground: and the people ate them with the blood.
33And they told Saul that the people had sinned against the Lord, eating with the blood. And he said: You have transgressed: roll here to me now a great stone.
34And Saul said: Disperse yourselves among the people, and tell them to bring me every man his ox and his ram, and slay them upon this stone, and eat, and you shall not sin against the Lord in eating with the blood. So all the people brought every man his ox with him till the night: and slew them there.
35And Saul built an altar to the Lord and he then first began to build an altar to the Lord.
36And Saul said: Let us fall upon the Philistines by night, and destroy them till the morning light, and let us not leave a man of them. And the people said: Do all that seemeth good in thy eyes. And the priest said: Let us draw near hither unto God.
37And Saul consulted the Lord: Shall I pursue after the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into the hands of Israel? And he answered him not that day.
38And Saul said: Bring hither all the corners of the people: and know, and see by whom this sin hath happened to day.
39As the Lord liveth who is the saviour of Israel, if it was done by Jonathan my son, he shall surely die. In this none of the people gainsaid him.
40And he said to all Israel: Be you on one side, and I with Jonathan my son will be on the other side. And the people answered Saul: Do what seemeth good in thy eyes.
41And Saul said to the Lord: O Lord God of Israel, give a sign, by which we may know, what the meaning is, that thou answerest not thy servant to day. If this iniquity be in me, or in my son Jonathan, give a proof: or if this iniquity be in thy people, give holiness. And Jonathan and Saul were taken, and the people escaped.
42And Saul said: Cast lots between me, and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan was taken.
43And Saul said to Jonathan: Tell me what thou hast done. And Jonathan told him, and said: I did but taste a little honey with the end of the rod, which was in my hand, and behold I must die.
44And Saul said: May God do so and so to me, and add still more: for dying thou shalt die, O Jonathan.
45And the people said to Saul: Shall Jonathan then die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? This must not be. As the Lord liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground, for he hath wrought with God this day. So the people delivered Jonathan, that he should not die.
46And Saul went back, and did not pursue after the Philistines: and the Philistines went to their own places.
47And Saul having his kingdom established over Israel, fought against all his enemies round about, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and Edom, and the kings of Soba, and the Philistines; and whithersoever he turned himself, he overcame.
48And gathering together an army, he defeated Amalec, and delivered Israel from the hand of them that spoiled them.
49And the sons of Saul, were Jonathan, and Jessui, and Melchisua: and the names of his two daughters, the name of the firstborn was Merob, and the name of the younger Michol.
50And the name of Saul's wife, was Achinoam the daughter of Achimaas; and the name of the captain of his army was Abner, the son of Ner, the cousin german of Saul.
51For Cis was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner, was son of Abiel.
52And there was a great war against the Philistines all the days of Saul. For whomsoever Saul saw to be a valiant man, and fit for war, he took him to himself.