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1 Samuel 14 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 14

One day Jonathan, son of Saul, said to his armor-bearer, “Come, let us go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not inform his father— Saul was sitting under the pomegranate tree in Migron on the outskirts of Gibeah; with him were about six hundred men. Ahijah, son of Ahitub, brother of Ichabod, the son of Phinehas, son of Eli, the priest of the Lord at Shiloh, was wearing the ephod—nor did the soldiers know that Jonathan had gone. Flanking the ravine through which Jonathan intended to cross to the Philistine outpost were rocky crags on each side, one named Bozez and the other Seneh. One crag was to the north, toward Michmash; the other to the south, toward Geba. Jonathan said to his armor-bearer: “Come, let us go over to that outpost of the uncircumcised. Perhaps the Lord will help us, because it is no more difficult for the Lord to grant victory by means of a few than it is by means of many.” His armor-bearer replied, “Do whatever you think best; I am with you in whatever you decide.” Jonathan continued: “When we cross over to those men, we will be visible to them. If they say to us, ‘Stay there until we can come to you,’ we will stop where we are; we will not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will go up, because the Lord has delivered them into our hand. That will be our sign.”[a] 11 When the two of them came into the view of the Philistine outpost, the Philistines remarked, “Look, some Hebrews[b] are coming out of the holes where they have been hiding.” 12 The men of the outpost called to Jonathan and his armor-bearer. “Come up here,” they said, “and we will teach you a lesson.” So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me, for the Lord has delivered them into the hand of Israel.” 13 Jonathan clambered up with his armor-bearer behind him. As the Philistines fell before Jonathan, his armor-bearer, who followed him, would finish them off. 14 In this first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed about twenty men within half a furlong. 15 Then terror spread through the camp and the countryside; all the soldiers in the outpost and in the raiding parties shuddered in terror. The earth shook with an awesome shuddering.[c]

Rout of the Philistines. 16 Saul’s sentinels in Gibeah of Benjamin saw that the enemy camp had scattered and were running in all directions. 17 Saul said to those around him, “Count the troops and find out if any of us are missing.” When they had taken the count, they found Jonathan and his armor-bearer missing. 18 Saul then said to Ahijah, “Bring the ephod here.” (Ahijah was wearing the ephod before the Israelites at that time.) 19 While Saul was speaking to the priest, the uproar in the Philistine camp kept increasing. So he said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” 20 And Saul and all his men rallied and rushed into the fight, where the Philistines, wholly confused, were thrusting swords at one another. 21 The Hebrews who had previously sided with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp turned to join the Israelites under Saul and Jonathan. 22 Likewise, all the Israelites who were hiding in the hill country of Ephraim, hearing that the Philistines were fleeing, kept after them in the battle. 23 [d]Thus the Lord saved Israel that day.

Saul’s Oath. The battle continued past Beth-aven. 24 Even though the Israelites were exhausted that day, Saul laid an oath on them, saying, “Cursed be the one who takes food before evening, before I am able to avenge myself on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food. 25 Now there was a honeycomb lying on the ground, 26 and when the soldiers came to the comb the honey was flowing; yet no one raised a hand from it to his mouth, because the people feared the oath.

Violation of the Oath. 27 Jonathan, who had not heard that his father had put the people under oath, thrust out the end of the staff he was holding and dipped it into the honeycomb. Then he raised it to his mouth and his eyes brightened. 28 At this, one of the soldiers spoke up: “Your father put the people under a strict oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the one who takes food today!’ As a result the people are weakened.” 29 Jonathan replied: “My father brings trouble to the land. Look how bright my eyes are because I had this little taste of honey. 30 What is more, if the army had eaten freely of the enemy’s plunder when they came across it today, surely the slaughter of the Philistines would have been the greater by now!”

Consuming the Blood. 31 After the Philistines were routed that day from Michmash to Aijalon, the people were completely exhausted. 32 So the army pounced upon the plunder and took sheep, oxen, and calves, slaughtering them on the ground and eating the meat with the blood in it. 33 Informed that the army was sinning against the Lord by eating the meat with blood in it, Saul said: “You have broken faith. Roll a large stone here for me.” 34 He continued: “Mingle with the people and tell each of them, ‘Bring an ox or sheep to me. Slaughter them here and then eat. But you must not sin against the Lord by eating meat with blood in it.’” So that night they all brought whatever oxen they had seized, and they slaughtered them there; 35 and Saul built an altar to the Lord—this was the first time he built an altar to the Lord.

Jonathan in Danger of Death. 36 Then Saul said, “Let us go down in pursuit of the Philistines by night, to plunder them until daybreak and leave no one alive.” They replied, “Do what you think best.” But the priest said, “Let us consult God.” 37 So Saul inquired of God: “Shall I go down in pursuit of the Philistines? Will you deliver them into the hand of Israel?” But he received no answer on this occasion. 38 “All officers of the army,” Saul announced, “come forward. Find out how this sin was committed today. 39 As the Lord lives who has given victory to Israel, even if my son Jonathan has committed it, he shall surely die!” But none of the people answered him. 40 So he said to all Israel, “Stand on one side, and my son Jonathan and I will stand on the other.” The people responded, “Do what you think best.” 41 And Saul said to the Lord, the God of Israel: “Why did you not answer your servant this time? If the blame for this resides in me or my son Jonathan, Lord, God of Israel, respond with Urim; but if this guilt is in your people Israel, respond with Thummim.”[e] Jonathan and Saul were designated, and the people went free. 42 Saul then said, “Cast lots between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan was designated. 43 Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” Jonathan replied, “I only tasted a little honey from the end of the staff I was holding. Am I to die for this?” 44 Saul declared, “May God do thus to me, and more, if you do not indeed die, Jonathan!”

Rescue of Jonathan. 45 But the soldiers protested to Saul: “Is Jonathan to die, the man who won this great victory for Israel? This must not be! As the Lord lives, not a single hair of his head shall fall to the ground, for God was with him in what he did today!” Thus the soldiers rescued[f] Jonathan and he did not die. 46 After that Saul gave up the pursuit of the Philistines, who returned to their own territory.

Saul’s Victories. 47 After taking possession of the kingship over Israel, Saul waged war on its enemies all around—Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he was successful 48 and fought bravely. He defeated Amalek and delivered Israel from the hand of those who were plundering them.

Saul’s Family. 49 The sons of Saul were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchishua; the name of his firstborn daughter was Merob; the name of the younger was Michal. 50 The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam, daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of his general was Abner, son of Ner, Saul’s uncle; 51 Kish, Saul’s father, and Ner, Abner’s father, were sons of Abiel.

52 There was heavy fighting with the Philistines during Saul’s lifetime. Whenever Saul saw any strong or brave man, he took him into his service.

Footnotes:

  1. 14:10 That will be our sign: Jonathan acknowledges that the battle is in God’s hands.
  2. 14:11 Hebrews: while this term is often used by foreigners of Israelites, in this verse it seems to be a derogatory epithet for soldiers who deserted Saul’s army while he was waiting for Samuel to arrive in Gilgal.
  3. 14:15 Awesome shuddering: lit., “shuddering caused by God”; the panic in the Philistine camp is the work of Israel’s warrior God.
  4. 14:23 The victory apparently cleared the Philistines off the main ridge of mountains in the territories of Benjamin and Ephraim.
  5. 14:41 Urim…Thummim: objects, one representing a positive response and the other a negative response, kept in the front pocket of the priest’s ephod, a garment worn as a breastplate, and used to ascertain God’s will in certain instances, e.g., whether Saul should help rout the Philistines. Saul consults the priest but is too impatient to finish the consultation and hurries impulsively into battle.
  6. 14:45 Rescued: the Hebrew word used is that for the “redemption” of the firstborn (Ex 13:13–15).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

1 Samuel 14 New International Version (NIV)

14 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.

Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men, 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.

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. One cliff stood to the north toward Mikmash, the other to the south toward Geba.

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.

“Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”

Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. 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.

Saul’s Family

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.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Samuel 14:15 Or a terrible panic
  2. 1 Samuel 14:18 Hebrew; Septuagint “Bring the ephod.” (At that time he wore the ephod before the Israelites.)
  3. 1 Samuel 14:27 Or his strength was renewed; similarly in verse 29
  4. 1 Samuel 14:41 Septuagint; Hebrew does not have “Why … at fault.
  5. 1 Samuel 14:47 Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint king
  6. 1 Samuel 14:47 Hebrew; Septuagint he was victorious
New International Version (NIV)

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