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1 Samuel 13 International Children’s Bible (ICB)

13 Saul was 30 years old when he became king. He was king over Israel 42 years.[a] Saul chose 3,000 men from Israel. There were 2,000 men who stayed with him at Micmash in the mountains of Bethel. And 1,000 men stayed with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul sent the other men in the army back home.

Jonathan attacked the Philistine camp in Geba. And the other Philistines heard about it. Saul said, “Let the Hebrew people hear what happened.” So he told the men to blow trumpets through all the land of Israel. All the Israelites heard the news. The men said, “Saul has defeated the Philistine camp. Now the Philistines really hate us!” Then the Israelites were called to join Saul at Gilgal.

The Philistines gathered to fight Israel. They had 3,000[b] chariots and 6,000 men to ride in the chariots. Their soldiers were many in number, like the grains of sand on the seashore. The Philistines went and camped at Micmash which is east of Beth Aven. The Israelites saw that they were in trouble. So they went to hide in caves and bushes. They also hid among the rocks and in pits and wells. Some Hebrews even went across the Jordan River to the land of Gad and Gilead.

But Saul stayed at Gilgal. All the men in his army were shaking with fear. Saul waited seven days, because Samuel had said he would meet him then. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal. And the soldiers began to leave.

So Saul said, “Bring me the whole burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” Then Saul offered the whole burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished, Samuel arrived. Saul went to meet him.

11 Samuel asked, “What have you done?”

Saul answered, “I saw the soldiers leaving me, and you were not here. The Philistines were gathering at Micmash. 12 Then I thought, ‘The Philistines will come against me at Gilgal. And I haven’t asked for the Lord’s approval.’ So I forced myself to offer the whole burnt offering.”

13 Samuel said, “You acted foolishly! You haven’t obeyed God’s command. If you had obeyed him, God would make your kingdom continue in Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom will not continue. The Lord has looked for the kind of man he wants. The Lord has appointed him to become ruler of his people. He is doing this because you haven’t obeyed his command.”

15 Then Samuel left Gilgal and went to Gibeah in Benjamin. The rest of the army followed Saul into battle. Saul counted the men still with him, and there were about 600.

Hard Times for Israel

16 Saul and his son Jonathan stayed in Geba in the land of Benjamin. The soldiers with them also stayed there. The Philistines made their camp at Micmash. 17 Three groups went out from their camp to attack. One group went on the Ophrah road in the land of Shual. 18 The second group went on the Beth Horon road. And the third group went on the border road. It overlooked the Valley of Zeboim toward the desert.

19 The whole land of Israel had no blacksmith. This is because the Philistines had said, “The Hebrews might make swords and spears.” 20 So all the Israelites went down to the Philistines. They went to have their plows, hoes, axes and sickles sharpened. 21 The Philistine blacksmiths charged about one-fourth of an ounce of silver for sharpening plows and hoes. And they charged one-eighth of an ounce of silver for sharpening picks, axes and the sticks used to guide oxen.

22 So when the battle came, the soldiers with Saul and Jonathan had no swords or spears. Only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.

Israel Defeats the Philistines

23 A group from the Philistine army had gone out to the mountain pass at Micmash.


  1. 13:1 Saul . . . years. This is how the verse is worded in some early Greek copies. The Hebrew is not clear here.
  2. 13:5 3,000 Some Greek copies say 3,000. The Hebrew copies say 30,000.
International Children’s Bible (ICB)

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1 Samuel 13 New International Version (NIV)

Samuel Rebukes Saul

13 Saul was thirty[a] years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty-[b] two years.

Saul chose three thousand men from Israel; two thousand were with him at Mikmash and in the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. The rest of the men he sent back to their homes.

Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet blown throughout the land and said, “Let the Hebrews hear!” So all Israel heard the news: “Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel has become obnoxious to the Philistines.” And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.

The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand[c] chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven. When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.

Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.

11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.

Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

15 Then Samuel left Gilgal[d] and went up to Gibeah in Benjamin, and Saul counted the men who were with him. They numbered about six hundred.

Israel Without Weapons

16 Saul and his son Jonathan and the men with them were staying in Gibeah[e] in Benjamin, while the Philistines camped at Mikmash. 17 Raiding parties went out from the Philistine camp in three detachments. One turned toward Ophrah in the vicinity of Shual, 18 another toward Beth Horon, and the third toward the borderland overlooking the Valley of Zeboyim facing the wilderness.

19 Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears! 20 So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plow points, mattocks, axes and sickles[f] sharpened. 21 The price was two-thirds of a shekel[g] for sharpening plow points and mattocks, and a third of a shekel[h] for sharpening forks and axes and for repointing goads.

22 So on the day of the battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.

Jonathan Attacks the Philistines

23 Now a detachment of Philistines had gone out to the pass at Mikmash.


  1. 1 Samuel 13:1 A few late manuscripts of the Septuagint; Hebrew does not have thirty.
  2. 1 Samuel 13:1 Probable reading of the original Hebrew text (see Acts 13:21); Masoretic Text does not have forty-.
  3. 1 Samuel 13:5 Some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac; Hebrew thirty thousand
  4. 1 Samuel 13:15 Hebrew; Septuagint Gilgal and went his way; the rest of the people went after Saul to meet the army, and they went out of Gilgal
  5. 1 Samuel 13:16 Two Hebrew manuscripts; most Hebrew manuscripts Geba, a variant of Gibeah
  6. 1 Samuel 13:20 Septuagint; Hebrew plow points
  7. 1 Samuel 13:21 That is, about 1/4 ounce or about 8 grams
  8. 1 Samuel 13:21 That is, about 1/8 ounce or about 4 grams
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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