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1 Samuel 14 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

14 That same day Saul’s son Jonathan said to the attendant who carried his weapons, “Come on, let’s cross over to the Philistine garrison on the other side.” However, he did not tell his father.

Saul was staying under the pomegranate tree in Migron on the outskirts of Gibeah.[a] The troops with him numbered about 600. Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod, was also there. He was the son of Ahitub, the brother of Ichabod son of Phinehas, son of Eli the Lord’s priest at Shiloh. But the troops did not know that Jonathan had left.

There were sharp columns[b] of rock on both sides of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine garrison. One was named Bozez and the other Seneh; one stood to the north in front of Michmash and the other to the south in front of Geba. Jonathan said to the attendant who carried his weapons, “Come on, let’s cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will help us. Nothing can keep the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”

His armor-bearer responded, “Do what is in your heart. You choose. I’m right here with you whatever you decide.”

“All right,” Jonathan replied, “we’ll cross over to the men and then let them see us. If they say, ‘Wait until we reach you,’ then we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come on up,’ then we’ll go up, because the Lord has handed them over to us—that will be our sign.”

11 They let themselves be seen by the Philistine garrison, and the Philistines said, “Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they’ve been hiding!” 12 The men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armor-bearer. “Come on up, and we’ll teach you a lesson!” they said.

“Follow me,” Jonathan told his armor-bearer, “for the Lord has handed them over to Israel.” 13 Jonathan climbed up using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer behind him. Jonathan cut them down, and his armor-bearer followed and finished them off. 14 In that first assault Jonathan and his armor-bearer struck down about 20 men in a half-acre field.

A Defeat for the Philistines

15 Terror spread through the Philistine camp and the open fields to all the troops. Even the garrison and the raiding parties were terrified. The earth shook, and terror spread from God.[c] 16 When Saul’s watchmen in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, they saw the panicking troops scattering in every direction. 17 So Saul said to the troops with him, “Call the roll and determine who has left us.” They called the roll and saw that Jonathan and his armor-bearer were gone.

18 Saul told Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God,” for it was with the Israelites[d] at that time. 19 While Saul spoke to the priest, the panic in the Philistine camp increased in intensity. So Saul said to the priest, “Stop what you’re doing.”[e]

20 Saul and all the troops with him assembled and marched to the battle, and there, the Philistines were fighting against each other in great confusion! 21 There were Hebrews from the area who had gone earlier into the camp to join the Philistines, but even they joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the Israelite men who had been hiding in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were fleeing, they also joined Saul and Jonathan in the battle. 23 So the Lord saved Israel that day.

Saul’s Rash Oath

The battle extended beyond Beth-aven, 24 and the men of Israel were worn out that day, for Saul had[f] placed the troops under an oath: “The man who eats food before evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies is cursed.” So none of the troops tasted any food.

25 Everyone[g] went into the forest, and there was honey on the ground. 26 When the troops entered the forest, they saw the flow of honey, but none of them ate any of it[h] because they feared the oath. 27 However, Jonathan had not heard his father make the troops swear the oath. He reached out with the end of the staff he was carrying and dipped it into the honeycomb. When he ate the honey,[i] he had renewed energy. 28 Then, one of the troops said, “Your father made the troops solemnly swear, ‘The man who eats food today is cursed,’ and the troops are exhausted.”

29 Jonathan replied, “My father has brought trouble to the land. Just look at how I have renewed energy because I tasted a little honey. 30 How much better if the troops had eaten freely today from the plunder they took from their enemies! Then the slaughter of the Philistines would have been much greater.”

31 The Israelites struck down the Philistines that day from Michmash all the way to Aijalon. Since the Israelites were completely exhausted, 32 they rushed to the plunder, took sheep, cattle, and calves, slaughtered them on the ground, and ate meat with the blood still in it. 33 Some reported to Saul: “Look, the troops are sinning against the Lord by eating meat with the blood still in it.”

Saul said, “You have been unfaithful. Roll a large stone over here at once.” 34 He then said, “Go among the troops and say to them, ‘Each man must bring me his ox or his sheep. Do the slaughtering here and then you can eat. Don’t sin against the Lord by eating meat with the blood in it.’” So every one of the troops 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 built an altar to the Lord.

36 Saul said, “Let’s go down after the Philistines tonight and plunder them until morning. Don’t let even one remain!”

“Do whatever you want,”[j] the troops replied.

But the priest said, “We must consult God here.”

37 So Saul inquired of God, “Should I go after the Philistines? Will You hand them over to Israel?” But God did not answer him that day.

38 Saul said, “All you leaders of the troops, come here. Let us investigate how this sin has occurred today. 39 As surely as the Lord lives who saves Israel, even if it is because of my son Jonathan, he must die!” Not one of the troops answered him.

40 So he said to all Israel, “You will be on one side, and I and my son Jonathan will be on the other side.”

And the troops replied, “Do whatever you want.”[k]

41 So Saul said to the Lord, “God of Israel, give us the right decision.”[l] Jonathan and Saul were selected, and the troops were cleared of the charge.

42 Then Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan,” and Jonathan was selected. 43 Saul commanded him, “Tell me what you did.”

Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the end of the staff I was carrying. I am ready to die!”

44 Saul declared to him, “May God punish me and do so severely if you do not die, Jonathan!”

45 But the people said to Saul, “Must Jonathan die, who accomplished such a great deliverance for Israel? No, as the Lord lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he worked with God’s help today.” So the people redeemed Jonathan, and he did not die. 46 Then Saul gave up the pursuit of the Philistines, and the Philistines returned to their own territory.

Summary of Saul’s Kingship

47 When Saul assumed the kingship over Israel, he fought against all his enemies in every direction: against Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he caused havoc.[m] 48 He fought bravely, defeated the Amalekites, and delivered Israel from the hand of those who plundered them.

49 Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchishua. The names of his two daughters were: Merab, his firstborn, and Michal, the younger. 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 Saul’s father was Kish. Abner’s father was Ner son of Abiel.

52 The conflict with the Philistines was fierce all of Saul’s days, so whenever Saul noticed any strong or brave man, he enlisted him.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Samuel 14:2 LXX reads on top of the hill
  2. 1 Samuel 14:4 Lit There was a tooth
  3. 1 Samuel 14:15 Or and a great terror spread
  4. 1 Samuel 14:18 LXX reads “Bring the ephod.” For he wore the ephod before Israel
  5. 1 Samuel 14:19 Lit Withdraw your hand
  6. 1 Samuel 14:24 LXX adds committed a great act of ignorance and
  7. 1 Samuel 14:25 Lit All the land
  8. 1 Samuel 14:26 Lit but there was none who raised his hand to his mouth
  9. 1 Samuel 14:27 Lit he returned his hand to his mouth
  10. 1 Samuel 14:36 Lit Do what is good in your eyes
  11. 1 Samuel 14:40 Lit Do what is good in your eyes
  12. 1 Samuel 14:41 LXX reads Israel, why have You not answered Your servant today? If the unrighteousness is in me or in my son Jonathan, Lord God of Israel, give Urim; but if the guilt is in Your people Israel, give Thummim.”
  13. 1 Samuel 14:47 LXX reads he was victorious

1 Samuel 14 King James Version (KJV)

14 Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines' garrison, that is on the other side. But he told not his father.

And Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron: and the people that were with him were about six hundred men;

And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod's brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord's priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone.

And between the passages, by which Jonathan sought to go over unto the Philistines' garrison, there was a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side: and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh.

The forefront of the one was situate northward over against Michmash, and the other southward over against Gibeah.

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.

And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.

Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them.

If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them.

10 But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the Lord hath delivered them into our hand: and this shall be a sign unto us.

11 And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves.

12 And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the Lord hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.

13 And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him.

14 And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow.

15 And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling.

16 And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another.

17 Then said Saul unto the people that were with him, Number now, and see who is gone from us. And when they had numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armourbearer were not there.

18 And Saul said unto Ahiah, Bring hither the ark of God. For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel.

19 And it came to pass, while Saul talked unto the priest, that the noise that was in the host of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said unto the priest, Withdraw thine hand.

20 And Saul and all the people that were with him assembled themselves, and they came to the battle: and, behold, every man's sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great discomfiture.

21 Moreover the Hebrews that were with the Philistines before that time, which went up with them into the camp from the country round about, even they also turned to be with the Israelites that were with Saul and Jonathan.

22 Likewise all the men of Israel which had hid themselves in mount Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, even they also followed hard after them in the battle.

23 So the Lord saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over unto Bethaven.

24 And the men of Israel were distressed that day: for Saul had adjured the people, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies. So none of the people tasted any food.

25 And all they of the land came to a wood; and there was honey upon the ground.

26 And when the people were come into the wood, behold, the honey dropped; but no man put his hand to his mouth: for the people feared the oath.

27 But Jonathan heard not when his father charged the people with the oath: wherefore he put forth the end of the rod that was in his hand, and dipped it in an honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened.

28 Then answered one of the people, and said, Thy father straitly charged the people with an oath, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food this day. And the people were faint.

29 Then said Jonathan, My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey.

30 How much more, if haply the people had eaten freely to day of the spoil of their enemies which they found? for had there not been now a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?

31 And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon: and the people were very faint.

32 And the people flew upon the spoil, and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, and slew them on the ground: and the people did eat them with the blood.

33 Then they told Saul, saying, Behold, the people sin against the Lord, in that they eat with the blood. And he said, Ye have transgressed: roll a great stone unto me this day.

34 And Saul said, Disperse yourselves among the people, and say unto them, Bring me hither every man his ox, and every man his sheep, and slay them here, and eat; and sin not against the Lord in eating with the blood. And all the people brought every man his ox with him that night, and slew them there.

35 And Saul built an altar unto the Lord: the same was the first altar that he built unto the Lord.

36 And Saul said, Let us go down after the Philistines by night, and spoil them until the morning light, and let us not leave a man of them. And they said, Do whatsoever seemeth good unto thee. Then said the priest, Let us draw near hither unto God.

37 And Saul asked counsel of God, Shall I go down after the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into the hand of Israel? But he answered him not that day.

38 And Saul said, Draw ye near hither, all the chief of the people: and know and see wherein this sin hath been this day.

39 For, as the Lord liveth, which saveth Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die. But there was not a man among all the people that answered him.

40 Then said he unto all Israel, Be ye on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side. And the people said unto Saul, Do what seemeth good unto thee.

41 Therefore Saul said unto the Lord God of Israel, Give a perfect lot. And Saul and Jonathan were taken: but the people escaped.

42 And Saul said, Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan was taken.

43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, Tell me what thou hast done. And Jonathan told him, and said, I did but taste a little honey with the end of the rod that was in mine hand, and, lo, I must die.

44 And Saul answered, God do so and more also: for thou shalt surely die, Jonathan.

45 And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? God forbid: as the Lord liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he hath wrought with God this day. So the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not.

46 Then Saul went up from following the Philistines: and the Philistines went to their own place.

47 So Saul took the kingdom over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines: and whithersoever he turned himself, he vexed them.

48 And he gathered an host, and smote the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them.

49 Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, and Ishui, and Melchishua: and the names of his two daughters were these; the name of the firstborn Merab, and the name of the younger Michal:

50 And the name of Saul's wife was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz: and the name of the captain of his host was Abner, the son of Ner, Saul's uncle.

51 And Kish was the father of Saul; and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.

52 And there was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul: and when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he took him unto him.

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