Jonathan Defeats the Philistines
1 Now it happened one day that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison that is on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. 2 And Saul was sitting in the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron. The people who were with him were about six hundred men. 3 Ahijah the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD’s priest in Shiloh, was wearing an ephod. But the people did not know that Jonathan had gone.
4 Between the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistines’ garrison, there was a sharp rock on one side and a sharp rock on the other side. And the name of one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. 5 The front of one faced northward opposite Michmash, and the other southward opposite Gibeah.
6 Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the LORD will work for us. For nothing restrains the LORD from saving by many or by few.”
7 So his armorbearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart.”
8 Then Jonathan said, “Very well, let us cross over to these men, and we will show ourselves to them. 9 If they say thus to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place and not go up to them. 10 But if they say thus, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up. For the LORD has delivered them into our hand, and this will be a sign to us.”
11 So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, “Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden.” 12 Then the men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armorbearer, and said, “Come up to us, and we will show you something.”
Jonathan said to his armorbearer, “Come up after me, for the LORD
has delivered them into the hand of Israel.” 13
And Jonathan climbed up on his hands and knees with his armorbearer after him; and they fell before Jonathan. And as he came after him, his armorbearer killed them. 14
That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armorbearer made was about twenty men within about half an acre of land.[fn]
And there was trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and the raiders also trembled; and the earth quaked, so that it was a very great trembling. 16
Now the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and there
was the multitude, melting away; and they went here and there. 17
Then Saul said to the people who were
with him, “Now call the roll and see who has gone from us.” And when they had called the roll, surprisingly, Jonathan and his armorbearer were
not there. 18
And Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark[fn]
of God here” (for at that time the ark[fn]
of God was with the children of Israel). 19
Now it happened, while Saul talked to the priest, that the noise which was
in the camp of the Philistines continued to increase; so Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” 20
Then Saul and all the people who were
with him assembled, and they went to the battle; and indeed every man’s sword was against his neighbor, and there was
very great confusion. 21
Moreover the Hebrews who
were with the Philistines before that time, who went up with them into the camp from the
they also joined the Israelites who were
with Saul and Jonathan. 22
Likewise all the men of Israel who had hidden in the mountains of Ephraim, when
they heard that the Philistines fled, they also followed hard after them in the battle. 23
So the LORD
saved Israel that day, and the battle shifted to Beth Aven.
Saul’s Rash Oath
24 And the men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had placed the people under oath, saying, “Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food. 25 Now all the people of the land came to a forest; and there was honey on the ground. 26 And when the people had come into the woods, there was the honey, dripping; but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath; therefore he stretched out the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in a honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his countenance brightened. 28 Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed is the man who eats food this day.’ ” And the people were faint.
29 But Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. Look now, how my countenance has brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much better if the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies which they found! For now would there not have been a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?”
31 Now they had driven back the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. So the people were very faint. 32 And the people rushed on the spoil, and took sheep, oxen, and calves, and slaughtered them on the ground; and the people ate them with the blood. 33 Then they told Saul, saying, “Look, the people are sinning against the LORD by eating with the blood!”
So he said, “You have dealt treacherously; roll a large stone to me this day.” 34 Then Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people, and say to them, ‘Bring me here every man’s ox and every man’s sheep, slaughter them here, and eat; and do not sin against the LORD by eating with the blood.’ ” So every one of the people brought his ox with him that night, and slaughtered it there. 35 Then Saul built an altar to the LORD. This was the first altar that he built to the LORD.
36 Now 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.”
And they said, “Do whatever seems good to you.”
Then the priest said, “Let us draw near to God here.”
37 So Saul asked counsel of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will You deliver them into the hand of Israel?” But He did not answer him that day. 38 And Saul said, “Come over here, all you chiefs of the people, and know and see what this sin was today. 39 For as the LORD lives, who saves Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” But not a man among all the people answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, “You be on one side, and my son Jonathan and I will be on the other side.”
And the people said to Saul, “Do what seems good to you.”
Therefore Saul said to the LORD
God of Israel, “Give a perfect lot.
So Saul and Jonathan were taken, but the people escaped. 42
And Saul said, “Cast lots
between my son Jonathan and me.” So Jonathan was taken. 43
Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.”
And Jonathan told him, and said, “I only tasted a little honey with the end of the rod that was in my hand. So now I must die!”
44 Saul answered, “God do so and more also; for you shall surely die, Jonathan.”
45 But the people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has accomplished this great deliverance in Israel? Certainly not! 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 did not die.
46 Then Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.
Saul’s Continuing Wars
So Saul established his sovereignty over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, against the people of Ammon, against Edom, against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he harassed them.[fn] 48
And he gathered an army and attacked the Amalekites, and delivered Israel from the hands of those who plundered them.
The sons of Saul were Jonathan, Jishui,[fn]
and Malchishua. And the names of his two daughters were these:
the name of the firstborn Merab, and the name of the younger Michal. 50
The name of Saul’s wife was
Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz. And the name of the commander of his army was
Abner the son of Ner, Saul’s uncle. 51
the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was
the son of Abiel.
52 Now there was fierce war with the Philistines all the days of Saul. And when Saul saw any strong man or any valiant man, he took him for himself.