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1 Samuel 14

1 Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who carried his armor: »Come and let us go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.« He did not tell his father.

2 Saul stayed on the edge of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. There were about six hundred men with him.

3 Ahiah son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, son of Phinehas, son of Eli, Jehovah’s priest in Shiloh, who was wearing an ephod were with him. The people did not know that Jonathan was gone.

4 Johathan tried to go over to the Philistines garrison between the passes. There was a rocky crag on each side. The name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other crag was Seneh.

5 One cliff was on the north side of the pass facing Michmash. The other was on the south side facing Geba.

6 Jonathan said to the young man: »Let us cross over to the camp of those heathen Philistines. Maybe Jehovah will help us. If he does, nothing can keep him from giving us the victory no matter how few of us there are.«

7 His armor bearer answered him: »Do whatever you have in mind. Go ahead! I agree with you.«

8 »We will do this,« Jonathan said. »We will go across so they can see us.

9 »If they agree to come to us down the hill and fight where we are, then we will not climb up to their camp.

10 »But we will go to them if they tell us to come up the hill and fight. That will mean Jehovah will help us win.«

11 So they let the Philistines see them. The Philistines said: »Some Hebrews are coming out of the holes they were hiding in!«

12 They called out to Jonathan and the young man: »Come up here! We have something to tell you!« Jonathan said to the young man: »Follow me, for Jehovah gives Israel victory over them.«

13 Jonathan climbed out of the pass on his hands and knees. The young man followed him. Jonathan attacked the Philistines and knocked them down. The young man killed them.

14 In that first slaughter Jonathan and the young man killed about twenty men in an area of about half an acre.

15 There was panic among the army in the field. All the troops in the military post trembled with fear. The raiding party also trembled in fear. The earth shook, and there was a panic sent from God.

16 Saul’s watchmen at Gibeah of Benjamin could see the crowd in the Philistine camp dispersing in all directions.

17 »Call the roll,« Saul told the troops who were with him, »See who has left our camp.« They looked and found that Jonathan and his armor bearer were not there.

18 Then Saul said to Ahijah: »Bring the Ark of God here.« At that time it was with the Israelites.

19 While Saul was talking to the priest, the confusion in the Philistine camp grew worse. Then Saul said to the priest: »Remove your hand.«

20 Saul and all the people with him came together and went forward to the battle. Every man’s sword was turned against the man at his side. There was a very great noise.

21 The Hebrews who had been with the Philistines for some time went to their camp. They joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan.

22 All the men of Israel who had taken cover in the mountains of Ephraim, hearing that the Philistines had been put to flight chased them and attacked them.

23 Jehovah made Israel safe that day. The battle shifted to Beth-aven.

24 And all the people were with Saul. There were about twenty thousand men. The fight was general through all the mountains of Ephraim. Saul made a great error that day. He put the people under an oath, saying: »Let that man be cursed who eats any food before evening. I have taken vengeance on my enemies.« So the people did not eat.

25 All the people came to the forest. There was honey on the ground. The bees had gone from it.

26 When the people entered the woods, the honey was flowing. But no one put his hand to his mouth. The people were afraid of violating their oath.

27 Jonathan had not heard that his father forced the people to take an oath. So he stretched out the tip of the staff he had in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb. When he put it to his mouth his eyes lit up.

28 Then one of the people told him: »Your father forced the people to take a solemn oath, saying: ‘Cursed is anyone who eats food today.’« That is why the people were exhausted.

29 Jonathan answered: »My father brought trouble to the country. See how my eyes lit up when I tasted a little of this honey?

30 »If only the people had eaten some of the enemies’ food they found today. We would have killed more Philistines.«

31 That day they struck down the Philistines from Michmash to Aijalon, but the people were thoroughly exhausted.

32 They grabbed the food they had captured from the Philistines and started eating. They even killed sheep and cows and calves right on the ground and ate the meat without draining the blood.

33 Someone told Saul: »The army is disobeying Jehovah by eating meat before the blood drains out.« »You are right,« Saul answered. »They are being unfaithful to Jehovah! Hurry! Roll a big rock over here.«

34 »Then tell everyone in camp to bring their cattle and lambs to me. They can kill the animals on this rock and then eat the meat. That way no one will disobey Jehovah by eating meat with blood still in it.« That night the people brought their cattle over to the big rock and killed them there.

35 It was the first altar Saul had built for offering sacrifices to Jehovah.

36 Saul said: »Let us attack the Philistines again while it is still dark. We can fight them all night. Let us kill them and take everything they own!« The people answered: »We will do whatever you want.« Ahijah the priest said: »Wait! Let us ask God what we should do.«

37 Saul asked God: »Should I attack the Philistines? Will you help us win?« This time God did not answer.

38 Saul called his army officers together and said: »We have to find out what sin has kept God from answering.

39 »I promise by the living Jehovah, 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.

40 Then Saul said to them: »All of you stand over there. Jonathan and I will stand over here.« »Do whatever you think best,« they answered.

41 Saul said to Jehovah the God of Israel, give a perfect lot. Jonathan and Samuel were taken, but the people escaped.

42 Then Saul said: »Cast lots to decide between my son Jonathan and me.« And Jonathan was indicated.

43 Then 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.«

44 Saul said: »May God strike me dead if you are not put to death!«

45 But the people said to Saul: »Will Jonathan, who won this great victory for Israel, be put to death?« »No! We promise by the living Jehovah 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.

46 After that, Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines. The Philistines went back to their own territory.

47 After 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. He was victorious wherever he fought.

48 He fought heroically and defeated even the people of Amalek. He saved the Israelites from all attacks.

49 Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchishua. The names of his two daughters were Merab the firstborn daughter and Michal the younger daughter.

50 The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of his army was Abner son of Saul’s uncle Ner.

51 Kish, Saul’s father and Ner, Abner’s father, were the sons of Abiel.

52 There was intense warfare with the Philistines as long as Saul lived. Whenever any warrior or any skilled fighting man came to Saul’s attention, Saul would enlist him in the army.

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