1 Samuel Chapter 13 to 14 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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Saul Makes His First Mistake

13 At that time, Saul had been king one year. After Saul had ruled over Israel two years,* 2he chose 3,000 men from Israel. There were 2,000 men who stayed with him at Micmash in the hill country of Bethel. There were 1,000 men who stayed with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul sent the other men in the army back home. 3Jonathan defeated the Philistines at their camp in Geba. The Philistines heard about this. They said, “The Hebrews have rebelled.” Saul said, “Let the Hebrew people hear what happened.” So Saul told the men to blow trumpets through all the land of Israel. 4All the Israelites heard the news. They said, “Saul has killed the Philistine leader. Now the Philistines really hate the Israelites!” The people of Israel were called to join Saul at Gilgal. 5The Philistines gathered to fight Israel. The Philistines camped at Micmash, east of Beth Aven. The Philistines had 3,000* chariots and 6,000 horse soldiers. There were so many Philistines that they were like sand on the seashore. 6The Israelites saw that they were in trouble. They felt trapped. They ran away to hide in caves and cracks in the rock. They hid among the rocks, in wells, and in other holes in the ground. 7Some Hebrews even went across the Jordan River to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul was still at Gilgal. All the men in his army were shaking with fear. 8Samuel said he would meet Saul at Gilgal. Saul waited there seven days. But Samuel had not yet come to Gilgal, and the soldiers began to leave Saul. 9So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offerings and the fellowship offerings.” Then Saul offered the burnt offering. 10As soon as Saul finished offering that sacrifice, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet him. 11Samuel asked, “What have you done?” Saul answered, “I saw the soldiers leaving me. You were not here on time, and the Philistines were gathering at Micmash. 12I thought to myself, ‘The Philistines will come here and attack me at Gilgal. And I haven’t asked the Lord to help us yet! So I forced myself to offer the burnt offering.’” 13Samuel said, “You did a foolish thing! You did not obey the Lord your God! If you had obeyed God’s command, then he would have let your family rule Israel forever. 14But now your kingdom will not continue. The Lord was looking for a man who wants to obey him! The Lord has found that man—and the Lord is choosing him to be the new leader of his people. You didn’t obey the Lord’s command, so the Lord is choosing a new leader.” 15Then Samuel got up and left Gilgal.

The Battle at Micmash 

Saul and the rest of his army left Gilgal. They went to Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul counted the men who were still with him. There were about 600 men. 16Saul, his son Jonathan, and the soldiers went to Geba in Benjamin. The Philistines were camped at Micmash. 17{The Philistines decided to punish the Israelites living in that area.} So their best soldiers began the attack. The Philistine army split into three groups. One group went {north} on the road to Ophrah, near Shual. 18The second group went {southeast} on the road to Beth Horon. And the third group went {east} on the road to the border. That road looks over the Valley of Zeboim toward the desert. 19None of the people of Israel could make things from iron. There weren’t any blacksmiths* in Israel. The Philistines did not teach the Israelites how to make things from iron because the Philistines were afraid the Israelites would make iron swords and spears. 20Only the Philistines could sharpen iron tools. So if the Israelites needed to sharpen their plows, hoes, axes or sickles, they had to go to the Philistines. 21The Philistine blacksmiths charged 1/3ounce* {of silver} for sharpening plows and hoes. And they charged 1/6ounce* {of silver} for sharpening picks, axes and the iron tip on oxgoads.* 22So, on the day of battle, none of the Israelite soldiers with Saul had {iron} swords or spears. Only Saul and his son Jonathan had {iron} weapons. 23A group of Philistine soldiers guarded the mountain pass at Micmash.

Verse 1 Or, “Saul was … 1 year(s) old when he became king. He ruled … 2 years.” This verse is very hard to understand in Hebrew. Part of the numbers may be missing. This verse is not in the ancient Greek translation. 3,000 The Hebrew has, “30,000.” blacksmiths Workers that make things from iron. 1/3 ounce Literally, “1 pim.” 1/6 ounce Literally, “1/3 {shekel}.” oxgoad(s) A sharp stick that a person used to make animals go the right way.

 Jonathan Attacks the Philistines

14 That day, Saul’s son Jonathan was talking with the young man who carried his weapons. Jonathan said, “Let’s go to the Philistine camp on the other side {of the valley}.” But Jonathan did not tell his father. 2Saul was sitting under a pomegranate* tree in Migron at the edge of the hill.* This was near the threshing floor* at that place. Saul had about 600 men with him. 3One the men was named Ahijah. Ahijah was a son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub. Ichabod was the son of Phinehas. Phinehas was the son of Eli. Eli had been the Lord’s priest at Shiloh. Now Ahijah was the priest—Ahijah now wore the ephod.* Those men did not know that Jonathan had left. 4Jonathan was planning to go through a pass to get to the Philistine camp. There was a large rock on each side of the pass. The large rock on one side was named Bozez. The large rock on the other side was named Seneh. 5One large rock stood looking north toward Micmash. The other large rock stood looking south toward Geba. 6Jonathan said to his young helper who carried his weapons, “Come on, let’s go to the camp of those foreigners.* Maybe the Lord will use us to defeat these people! Nothing can stop the Lord—it doesn’t matter if we have many soldiers or just a few soldiers.” 7The young man who carried Jonathan’s weapons said to him, “Do what you think is best. I am with you all the way.” 8Jonathan said, “Let’s go! We’ll cross {the valley} and go to those Philistine guards. We’ll let them see us. 9If they say to us, ‘Stay there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are. We won’t go up to them. 10But if the Philistine men say, ‘Come up here,’ we will climb up to them. Why? Because that will be a sign from God. That will mean that the Lord will allow us to defeat them.” 11So Jonathan and his helper let the Philistines see them. The Philistine guards said, “Look! The Hebrews are coming out of the holes they were hiding in!” 12The Philistines in the fort shouted to Jonathan and his helper, “Come up here. We’ll teach you a lesson!” Jonathan said to his helper, “Follow me up the hill. The Lord is letting Israel defeat the Philistines!” 13–14So Jonathan climbed up the hill with his hands and feet. And his helper was right behind him. Jonathan and his helper attacked those Philistines. In the first attack, they killed 20 Philistines in an area about one-half acre in size. Jonathan fought the men who attacked from the front. And Jonathan’s helper came behind him and killed the men who were only wounded. 15All of the Philistine soldiers became scared—the soldiers in the field, the soldiers in the camp, and the soldiers at the fort. Even the bravest soldiers were scared. The ground began to shake and that really scared the Philistine soldiers! 16Saul’s guards at Gibeah in the land of Benjamin saw the Philistine soldiers running away in different ways. 17Saul said to the army with him, “Count the men. I want to know who left camp.” They counted the men. Jonathan and his helper were gone. 18Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring God’s Holy Box!*” (At that time God’s Holy Box was there with the Israelites.) 19Saul was talking to Ahijah the priest. {Saul was waiting for advice from God.} But the noise and confusion in the Philistine camp was growing and growing. {Saul was becoming impatient.} Finally, Saul said to Ahijah the priest, “That’s enough! Put your hand down {and stop praying}!” 20Saul gathered his army together and went to the battle. The Philistine soldiers were really confused! They were even fighting each other with their swords! 21There were Hebrews who served the Philistines in the past and who stayed in the Philistine camp. But now these Hebrews joined the Israelites with Saul and Jonathan. 22All the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard the Philistine soldiers were running away. So these Israelites also joined in the battle and began chasing the Philistines. 23So the Lord saved the Israelites that day. The battle moved on past Beth Aven. The whole army was with Saul—he now had about 10,000 men. The battle spread to every city in the hill country of Ephraim.*

Saul Makes Another Mistake

24But Saul made a big mistake that day.* The Israelites were tired and hungry. This was because Saul forced the people to make this promise: Saul said, “If any man eats food before evening comes and before I finish defeating my enemies, then that man will be punished!” So none of the Israelite soldiers ate any food. 25–26Because of the fighting, the people went into some woods. Then they saw a honeycomb on the ground. The Israelites went up to the honeycomb, but they didn’t eat any of it. They were afraid to break the promise. 27But Jonathan didn’t know about that promise. Jonathan didn’t hear his father force the people to make that promise. Jonathan had a stick in his hand. He dipped the end of the stick into the honeycomb and pulled out some honey. He ate the honey and began to feel much better. 28One of the soldiers told Jonathan, “Your father forced the soldiers to make a special promise. Your father said that any man who eats today will be punished! {So the men have not eaten anything.} That is why the men are weak.” 29Jonathan said, “My father has brought a lot of trouble to the land! See how much better I feel after just tasting a little of this honey! 30It would have been much better for the men to eat the food that they took from their enemies today. We could have killed many more Philistines!” 31That day the Israelites defeated the Philistines. They fought them all the way from Micmash to Aijalon. So the people were very tired and hungry. 32They had taken sheep, cows, and calves from the Philistines. Now the people of Israel were so hungry they killed the animals on the ground and ate them. And the blood was still in the animals! 33A person said to Saul, “Look! The men are sinning against the Lord. They’re eating meat that still has blood in it!” Saul said, “You have sinned! Roll a large stone over here. Now!” 34Then Saul said, “Go to the men and tell them each person must bring his bull and sheep to me. Then the men must kill their bulls and sheep here. Don’t sin against the Lord! Don’t eat meat that still has blood in it.” That night every person brought his animals and killed them there. 35Then Saul built an altar for the Lord. Saul himself began building that altar for the Lord! 36Saul said, “Let’s go after the Philistines tonight. We will take everything from them! We will kill them all!” The army answered, “Do whatever you think is best.” But the priest said, “Let’s ask God.” 37So Saul asked God, “Should I go chase the Philistines? Will you let us defeat the Philistines?” But God did not answer Saul that day. 38So Saul said, “Bring all the leaders to me! Let’s find who did the sin today. 39I swear (promise) by the Lord who saves Israel, even if my own son Jonathan did the sin, he must die.” None of the people said a word. 40Then Saul said to all the Israelites, “You stand on this side. I and my son Jonathan will stand on the other side.” The soldiers answered, “As you wish, sir!” 41Then Saul prayed, “Lord, God of Israel, why haven’t you answered your servant today? If I or my son Jonathan have sinned, Lord God of Israel, give Urim. If your people Israel have sinned, give Thummim.* Saul and Jonathan were chosen, and the people went free. 42Saul said, “Throw them again to show who is guilty—me or my son Jonathan.” Jonathan was chosen. 43Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” Jonathan told Saul, “I only tasted a little honey from the end of my stick. Should I die for doing that?” 44Saul said, “I made a promise and asked God to punish me if I didn’t keep my promise! Jonathan must die!” 45But the soldiers said to Saul, “Jonathan led Israel to a great victory today. Must Jonathan die? Never! We swear (promise) by the living God that {no one will hurt Jonathan}—not one hair of Jonathan’s head will fall to the ground! God helped Jonathan fight against the Philistines today!” So the people saved Jonathan. He was not put to death. 46Saul did not chase the Philistines. The Philistines went back to their place.

Saul Fights Israel’s Enemies

47Saul took full control of Israel. Saul fought all the enemies that lived around Israel. Saul fought Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the king of Zobah, and the Philistines. Saul defeated Israel’s enemies wherever he went. 48Saul was very brave. Saul saved Israel from all the enemies who tried to take things from the people of Israel. Saul defeated even the Amalekites! 49Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki Shua. Saul’s older daughter was named Merab. Saul’s younger daughter was named Michal. 50Saul’s wife was named Ahinoam. Ahinoam was the daughter of Ahimaaz. The commander of Saul’s army was named Abner son of Ner. Ner was Saul’s uncle. 51Saul’s father Kish and Abner’s father Ner were sons of Abiel. 52Saul was brave all his life. He fought hard against the Philistines. Any time Saul saw a man who was strong or brave, he took that man and put him into the group of soldiers that stayed near the king and protected him.

pomegranate A red fruit with many tiny seeds inside it. Each seed is covered with a soft, tasty part of the fruit. edge of the hill Or, “the edge of Gibeah.” threshing floor A place where grain is beaten or walked on to remove the hulls from the grain. ephod A special coat a man wore to show that he was a priest or a priest’s helper. foreigners Literally, “uncircumcised.” This showed these people were not Israelites and had not shared in their special agreement with God. Holy Box The Box of the Agreement, the box that contained the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them and the other things that proved God was with the people of Israel during their time in the Sinai Desert. The whole army … Ephraim These words are in the ancient Greek translation, but not in the Hebrew. But Saul … that day These words are in the ancient Greek translation, but not in the Hebrew. Urim … Thummim The priest used Urim and Thummim to learn God’s answer to questions. We don’t know exactly what they were, but they were used like lots—stones, sticks, or bones that were thrown like dice to help people make decisions.

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