1 Samuel 14 Common English Bible (CEB)
14 One day Jonathan, Saul’s son, said to his young armor-bearer, “Come on! Let’s go over to the Philistine fort on the opposite side.” But he didn’t tell his father. 2 Saul was sitting on the outskirts of Gibeah under the pomegranate tree at Migron. He had about six hundred men with him, 3 including Ahijah, the son of Ahitub, who was Ichabod’s brother and the son of Phinehas the son of Eli, who was the Lord’s priest at Shiloh. He was wearing a priestly vest.[a] None of the troops knew that Jonathan had gone.
4 There were two stone outcroppings in the pass where Jonathan planned on crossing over to the Philistine fort—one on each side. One of these was named Bozez; the other was named Seneh. 5 One outcropping was on the north side, in front of Michmash, and the other was on the south side, in front of Geba. 6 Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come on, let’s go over to the fort of these uncircumcised men. Maybe the Lord will act on our behalf. After all, nothing can stop the Lord from saving, whether there are many soldiers[b] or few.”
7 “Go ahead with whatever you’re planning,” his armor-bearer replied. “I’m with you, whatever you decide.”
8 “All right then,” Jonathan said. “We’ll go over to the men and show ourselves. 9 If they say to us, ‘Stay there until we get to you,’ then we’ll stay where we are and won’t go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come on up,’ then we’ll go up because that will be the sign that the Lord has handed them over to us.”
11 So they showed themselves to the Philistine fort, and the Philistines said, “Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes they’ve been hiding in!” 12 Then the troops in the fort yelled to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come on up! We’ll teach you a lesson!”
So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Follow me, because the Lord has handed them over to Israel!” 13 So Jonathan scrambled up on his hands and feet with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan. His armor-bearer, coming behind him, would then finish them off. 14 In the first attack, Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed about twenty men in an area of about half an acre.[c] 15 Panic broke out in the camp, in the field, and among all the troops. Even those in the fort and the raiders shook with fear. The very ground shook! It was a terror from God.
16 Now Saul’s lookouts at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the Philistine camp running all over the place.[d] 17 Saul said to the troops with him, “Take a count and see who is missing.” So they counted, and Jonathan and his armor-bearer were gone. 18 Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the priestly vest!”[e] because at that time, Ahijah wore the priestly vest in Israel’s presence.[f] 19 As Saul was talking to the priest, the confusion in the Philistine camp continued to grow. Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.”[g]
20 Then Saul called all his troops together, and they went into battle. The Philistines were completely confused; every soldier’s sword was turned against his fellow soldier. 21 Even those Hebrews who had earlier joined up with the Philistines and moved into their camp changed sides to be with the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 Similarly, when all the Israelites who had been hiding in the highlands of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they also joined the battle in hot pursuit of the Philistines. 23 The Lord saved Israel that day, and the fighting carried on beyond Beth-aven.
24 Now the Israelite soldiers were in a difficult situation that day because Saul had bound the troops by a solemn pledge: “Anyone who eats anything before evening when I have taken revenge on my enemies is doomed.” So none of the army ate anything. 25 The troops[h] came across a honeycomb with honey on the ground. 26 But even when they came across the honeycomb with the honey still flowing, no one ate any of it because the troops were afraid of the solemn pledge. 27 But Jonathan hadn’t heard his father make the people swear the pledge, so he dipped the end of the staff he was carrying into the honeycomb. When he ate some his eyes lit up. 28 Then one of the soldiers spoke up: “Your father bound the troops by a solemn pledge: ‘Anyone who eats food today is doomed.’ That’s why the troops are exhausted.”
29 Jonathan said, “My father has brought trouble to the land. Look how my eyes lit up when I tasted just a bit of that honey! 30 It would have been even better if the troops had eaten some of their enemies’ plunder today when they found it! But now the Philistine defeat isn’t as thorough as it might have been.”
31 That day, after they had fought the Philistines from Michmash to Aijalon, the troops were completely exhausted. 32 So the troops tore into the plunder, taking sheep, cattle, and calves. They slaughtered them right on the ground and devoured them with the blood still in them. 33 When it was reported to Saul, “The troops are sinning against the Lord by eating meat with blood in it,” Saul said, “All of you are traitors! Roll a large stone over here right now. 34 Go among the troops and say to them, ‘Everyone must bring their ox or sheep, and slaughter them here with me. Don’t sin against the Lord by eating meat with blood still in it.’” So everyone brought whatever they had and slaughtered it there.[i] 35 And Saul built an altar to the Lord. It was the first altar he had built to the Lord.
36 “Let’s go after the Philistines tonight and plunder them until morning,” Saul said. “We won’t leave them a single survivor!”
“Do whatever you think is best,” the troops replied.
But the priest said, “Let’s ask God first.”
37 So Saul questioned God: “Should I go after the Philistines? Will you hand them over to Israel?” But God did not answer him that day.
38 Then Saul said, “All you officers in the army, come forward! Let’s find out what sin was committed today. 39 As surely as the Lord lives—the one who has saved Israel—even if it’s my own son Jonathan, that person will be executed.” Not one of the soldiers answered him. 40 So Saul said to all Israel, “You be on one side, and my son Jonathan and I will be on the other.”
“Do whatever you think is best,” the troops said.
41 Then Saul asked the Lord God of Israel, “Why haven’t you answered your servant today? If the wrongdoing is mine or my son Jonathan’s, respond with Urim, but if the wrongdoing belongs to your people Israel, respond with Thummim.”[j] Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the troops were cleared.
42 Then Saul said, “Decide between me and my son Jonathan.”[k] And Jonathan was selected.
43 “Tell me what you’ve done,” Saul said to Jonathan.
So Jonathan told him. “I only took a very small taste of honey on the end of my staff,” he said. “And now I’m supposed to die?”
44 “May God deal harshly with me and worse still if you don’t die today!”[l] Saul swore.
45 But the troops said to Saul, “Why should Jonathan die when he has won this great victory for Israel? No way! As surely as the Lord lives, not one hair off his head will fall to the ground, because he did this today with God’s help.” So the troops rescued Jonathan, and he wasn’t executed.
46 Then Saul stopped chasing the Philistines, and the Philistines went back to their own country.
47 Saul secured his kingship over Israel. He fought against his enemies on every side: against Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the king of Zobah,[m] and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he was victorious.[n] 48 He acted heroically, defeating the Amalekites and rescuing Israel from the power of any who had plundered them.
49 Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchishua. The names of his two daughters were Merab, the oldest, and Michal, the younger daughter. 50 The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam, Ahimaaz’s daughter. The name of his general was Abner, Ner’s son, Saul’s uncle. 51 Kish, Saul’s father, and Ner, Abner’s father, were Abiel’s sons.
52 There was fierce warfare against the Philistines throughout Saul’s lifetime. So whenever Saul saw any strong or heroic man, he would add him to his troops.
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.