1 Samuel 14 International Children’s Bible (ICB)
14 One day Jonathan, Saul’s son, spoke to the officer who carried his armor. Jonathan said, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine camp on the other side.” But Jonathan did not tell his father.
2 Saul was sitting under a pomegranate tree at the threshing floor near Gibeah. He had about 600 men with him. 3 One man was Ahijah, who was a son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub. Ichabod was the son of Phinehas, Eli’s son. Eli was the Lord’s priest in Shiloh. He wore the holy vest. No one knew Jonathan had left.
4 There was a steep slope on each side of the pass. Jonathan planned to go through the pass to the Philistine camp. The cliff on one side was named Bozez. The other cliff was named Seneh. 5 One cliff faced north toward Micmash. The other faced south toward Geba.
6 Jonathan said to his officer who carried his armor, “Come. Let’s go to the camp of those men who are not circumcised. Maybe the Lord will help us. It doesn’t matter if we have many people, or just a few. Nothing can keep the Lord from giving us victory.”
7 The officer who carried Jonathan’s armor said to him, “Do whatever you think is best. Go ahead. I’m with you.”
8 Jonathan said, “Then come. We will cross over to the Philistines. We will let them see us. 9 They may say to us, ‘Stay there until we come to you.’ If they do, we will stay where we are. We won’t go up to them. 10 But they may say, ‘Come up to us.’ If so, we will climb up. And the Lord will allow us to defeat them. This will be the sign for us.”
11 Both Jonathan and his officer let the Philistines see them. The Philistines said, “Look! The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in!” 12 The Philistines in the camp shouted to Jonathan and his officer, “Come up to us. We’ll teach you a lesson!”
Jonathan said to his officer, “Climb up behind me. The Lord has given the Philistines to Israel!” 13 So Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet. His officer climbed just behind him. Jonathan cut down the Philistines as he went. And his officer killed them as he followed behind Jonathan. 14 In that first fight Jonathan and his officer killed about 20 Philistines.
15 All the Philistine soldiers panicked. Those in the camp and those in the raiding party were frightened. The ground itself shook! God caused the panic.
16 Saul’s guards were at Gibeah in the land of Benjamin. They saw the Philistine soldiers running in every direction. 17 Saul said to his army, “Check and find who has left our camp.” When they checked, they learned that Jonathan and his officer were gone.
18 So Saul said to Ahijah the priest, “Bring the Ark of the Covenant of God.” (At that time it was with the Israelites.) 19 While Saul was talking to the priest, the confusion in the Philistine camp was growing. Then Saul said to Ahijah, “Stop. There’s not time to pray now!”
20 Then Saul and the army with him gathered and entered the battle. They found the Philistines confused, even striking each other with their swords! 21 Earlier, there were Hebrews who had served the Philistines and had stayed in their camp. They now joined the Israelites with Saul and Jonathan. 22 All the Israelites hidden in the mountains of Ephraim heard that the Philistine soldiers were running away. They too joined the battle and chased the Philistines. 23 So the Lord saved the Israelites that day. And the battle moved on past Beth Aven.
Saul Makes Another Mistake
24 The men of Israel were miserable that day. This was because Saul had made an oath for all of them. He had said, “No one should eat food before evening and before I finish defeating my enemies. If he does, he will be cursed!” So no Israelite soldier ate food.
25 Now the army went into the woods. There was some honey on the ground. 26 They came to where the honey was. But no one took any because they were afraid of the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard the oath Saul had put on the people. So Jonathan dipped the end of his stick into the honey. He pulled out the honey and ate it. Then he felt better. 28 So one of the soldiers told Jonathan, “Your father made an oath for all the soldiers. He said any man who eats today will be cursed! That’s why they are weak.”
29 Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble for the land! See how much better I feel after just tasting a little of this honey! 30 It would have been much better for the men to eat the food they took from their enemies today. We could have killed many more Philistines!”
31 That day the Israelites defeated the Philistines from Micmash to Aijalon. After they did this, they were very tired. 32 They had taken sheep, cattle and calves from the Philistines. Now they were so hungry they killed the animals on the ground and ate them. But the blood was still in the animals! 33 Someone 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!” 34 Then he said, “Go to the men. Tell them that each person must bring his ox and sheep to me. They must kill and eat their ox and sheep here. Don’t sin against the Lord. Don’t eat meat with the blood still in it.”
That night everyone brought his animals and killed them there. 35 Then Saul built an altar to the Lord. It was the first altar Saul had built to the Lord.
36 Saul said, “Let’s go after the Philistines tonight. Let’s take what they own. We won’t let any of them live!”
The men answered, “Do whatever you think is best.”
But the priest said, “Let’s ask God.”
37 So Saul asked God, “Should I chase the Philistines? Will you let us defeat them?” But that day God did not answer Saul. 38 That is why Saul said to all the leaders of his army, “Come here. Let’s find what sin has been done today. 39 As surely as the Lord lives, even if my son Jonathan did the sin, he must die.” But no one in the army answered.
40 Then Saul said to all the Israelites, “You stand on this side. I and my son Jonathan will stand on the other side.”
The men answered, “Do whatever you think is best.”
41 Then Saul prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, “Give me the right answer.”
And Saul and Jonathan were chosen by throwing lots. The other men went free. 42 Saul said, “Throw the lot. It will show if it is I or Jonathan my son who is guilty.” And Jonathan was chosen.
43 Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.”
So Jonathan told Saul, “I only tasted a little honey from the end of my stick. And must I die now?”
44 Saul said, “Jonathan, if you don’t die, may God punish me terribly.”
45 But the soldiers said to Saul, “Must Jonathan die? Never! He is responsible for saving Israel today! As surely as the Lord lives, not even a hair of his head will fall to the ground! Today Jonathan fought against the Philistines with God’s help!” So the army saved Jonathan, and he did not die.
46 Then Saul stopped chasing the Philistines. And they went back to their own land.
Saul Fights Israel’s Enemies
47 When Saul became king over Israel, he fought against Israel’s enemies all around. He fought Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the king of Zobah and the Philistines. Everywhere Saul went he defeated Israel’s enemies. 48 He became strong. He fought bravely and defeated the Amalekites. He saved Israel from the enemies who had taken what the Israelites owned.
49 Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua. His older daughter was named Merab. His younger daughter was named Michal. 50 Saul’s wife was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The commander of his army was Abner son of Ner. Ner was Saul’s uncle. 51 Saul’s father Kish and Abner’s father Ner were sons of Abiel.
52 All Saul’s life he fought hard against the Philistines. When he saw strong or brave men, he took them into his army.
1 Samuel 14 New International Version (NIV)
14 1 One day Jonathan son of Saul said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father.
2 Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men, 3 among whom was Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod. He was a son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord’s priest in Shiloh. No one was aware that Jonathan had left.
4 On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez and the other Seneh. 5 One cliff stood to the north toward Mikmash, the other to the south toward Geba.
6 Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”
7 “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”
8 Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. 9 If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands.”
11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” 12 The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.”
So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.”
13 Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him. 14 In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.
Israel Routs the Philistines
15 Then panic struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.[a]
16 Saul’s lookouts at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the army melting away in all directions. 17 Then Saul said to the men who were with him, “Muster the forces and see who has left us.” When they did, it was Jonathan and his armor-bearer who were not there.
18 Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God.” (At that time it was with the Israelites.)[b] 19 While Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the Philistine camp increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.”
20 Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords. 21 Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit. 23 So on that day the Lord saved Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.
Jonathan Eats Honey
24 Now the Israelites were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, saying, “Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!” So none of the troops tasted food.
25 The entire army entered the woods, and there was honey on the ground. 26 When they went into the woods, they saw the honey oozing out; yet no one put his hand to his mouth, because they feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard that his father had bound the people with the oath, so he reached out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb. He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened.[c] 28 Then one of the soldiers told him, “Your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying, ‘Cursed be anyone who eats food today!’ That is why the men are faint.”
29 Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?”
31 That day, after the Israelites had struck down the Philistines from Mikmash to Aijalon, they were exhausted. 32 They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood. 33 Then someone said to Saul, “Look, the men are sinning against the Lord by eating meat that has blood in it.”
“You have broken faith,” he said. “Roll a large stone over here at once.” 34 Then he said, “Go out among the men and tell them, ‘Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep, and slaughter them here and eat them. Do not sin against the Lord by eating meat with blood still in it.’”
So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there. 35 Then Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first time he had done this.
36 Saul said, “Let us go down and pursue the Philistines by night and plunder them till dawn, and let us not leave one of them alive.”
“Do whatever seems best to you,” they replied.
But the priest said, “Let us inquire of God here.”
37 So Saul asked God, “Shall I go down and pursue the Philistines? Will you give them into Israel’s hand?” But God did not answer him that day.
38 Saul therefore said, “Come here, all you who are leaders of the army, and let us find out what sin has been committed today. 39 As surely as the Lord who rescues Israel lives, even if the guilt lies with my son Jonathan, he must die.” But not one of them said a word.
40 Saul then said to all the Israelites, “You stand over there; I and Jonathan my son will stand over here.”
“Do what seems best to you,” they replied.
41 Then Saul prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, “Why have you not answered your servant today? If the fault is in me or my son Jonathan, respond with Urim, but if the men of Israel are at fault,[d] respond with Thummim.” Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared. 42 Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken.
43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.”
So Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now I must die!”
44 Saul said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan.”
45 But the men said to Saul, “Should Jonathan die—he who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Never! As surely as the Lord lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God’s help.” So the men rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death.
46 Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they withdrew to their own land.
47 After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings[e] of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them.[f] 48 He fought valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them.
49 Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua. The name of his older daughter was Merab, and that of the younger was Michal. 50 His wife’s name was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of Saul’s army was Abner son of Ner, and Ner was Saul’s uncle. 51 Saul’s father Kish and Abner’s father Ner were sons of Abiel.
52 All the days of Saul there was bitter war with the Philistines, and whenever Saul saw a mighty or brave man, he took him into his service.