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14
Jonathan’s Victory
1 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 Lords 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 #Lit according to your heart.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 #Lit eyes brightened.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 #Lit eyes have brightened.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, “#To identify the guilty party, Saul decided to have lots cast, which was a common and accepted means of finding God’s will. It may be that the Urim and Thummim that were kept in the priest’s breastpiece were used for this purpose (Ex 28:30). Saul chose to narrow the search by first separating Jonathan and himself from the rest of the people, only to discover (v 41) that the people were in fact innocent.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.
Constant Warfare
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.
14
Jonathan's Daring Deed
1One 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 six hundred 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 Michmash Pass, 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 tell#14.12: 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 half an acre.#14.14: Probable text in an area of about half an acre; 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.
The Defeat of the Philistines
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 ephod#14.18: 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 kept getting 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 again#14.21: 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.
Events after the Battle
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 all#14.25: 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 told him, “We are all weak from 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 from 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#Gn 9.4; Lv 7.26,27; 17.10-14; 19.26; Dt 12.16,23; 15.23 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 here#14.33: 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.
41 # Nu 27.21; 1 S 28.6 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.
Saul's Reign and Family
47After Saul became king of Israel, he fought 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 older 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.