11About a month later,* Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh-gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you. 2But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, On this condition I will make a treaty with you, namely that I gouge out everyones right eye, and thus put disgrace upon all Israel. 3The elders of Jabesh said to him, Give us seven days respite that we may send messengers through all the territory of Israel. Then, if there is no one to save us, we will give ourselves up to you. 4When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul, they reported the matter in the hearing of the people; and all the people wept aloud.
5 Now Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen; and Saul said, What is the matter with the people, that they are weeping? So they told him the message from the inhabitants of Jabesh. 6And the spirit of God came upon Saul in power when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled. 7He took a yoke of oxen, and cut them in pieces and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by messengers, saying, Whoever does not come out after Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen! Then the dread of the Lord fell upon the people, and they came out as one. 8When he mustered them at Bezek, those from Israel were three hundred thousand, and those from Judah seventy* thousand. 9They said to the messengers who had come, Thus shall you say to the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead: Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you shall have deliverance. When the messengers came and told the inhabitants of Jabesh, they rejoiced. 10So the inhabitants of Jabesh said, Tomorrow we will give ourselves up to you, and you may do to us whatever seems good to you. 11The next day Saul put the people in three companies. At the morning watch they came into the camp and cut down the Ammonites until the heat of the day; and those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
12 The people said to Samuel, Who is it that said, Shall Saul reign over us? Give them to us so that we may put them to death. 13But Saul said, No one shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has brought deliverance to Israel.
14 Samuel said to the people, Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship. 15So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they sacrificed offerings of well-being before the Lord, and there Saul and all the Israelites rejoiced greatly.
12Samuel said to all Israel, I have listened to you in all that you have said to me, and have set a king over you. 2See, it is the king who leads you now; I am old and grey, but my sons are with you. I have led you from my youth until this day. 3Here I am; testify against me before the Lord and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me* and I will restore it to you. 4They said, You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from the hand of anyone. 5He said to them, The Lord is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand. And they said, He is witness.
6 Samuel said to the people, The Lord is witness, who* appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your ancestors up out of the land of Egypt. 7Now therefore take your stand, so that I may enter into judgement with you before the Lord, and I will declare to you* all the saving deeds of the Lord that he performed for you and for your ancestors. 8When Jacob went into Egypt and the Egyptians oppressed them,* then your ancestors cried to the Lord and the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought forth your ancestors out of Egypt, and settled them in this place. 9But they forgot the Lord their God; and he sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of King Jabin of* Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab; and they fought against them. 10Then they cried to the Lord, and said, We have sinned, because we have forsaken the Lord, and have served the Baals and the Astartes; but now rescue us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve you. 11And the Lord sent Jerubbaal and Barak,* and Jephthah, and Samson,* and rescued you out of the hand of your enemies on every side; and you lived in safety. 12But when you saw that King Nahash of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, No, but a king shall reign over us, though the Lord your God was your king. 13See, here is the king whom you have chosen, for whom you have asked; see, the Lord has set a king over you. 14If you will fear the Lord and serve him and heed his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well; 15but if you will not heed the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you and your king.* 16Now therefore take your stand and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes. 17Is it not the wheat harvest today? I will call upon the Lord, that he may send thunder and rain; and you shall know and see that the wickedness that you have done in the sight of the Lord is great in demanding a king for yourselves. 18So Samuel called upon the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.
19 All the people said to Samuel, Pray to the Lord your God for your servants, so that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins the evil of demanding a king for ourselves. 20And Samuel said to the people, Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; 21and do not turn aside after useless things that cannot profit or save, for they are useless. 22For the Lord will not cast away his people, for his great names sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. 23Moreover as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. 24Only fear the Lord, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you. 25But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.
2 Saul chose three thousand out of Israel; two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin; the rest of the people he sent home to their tents. 3Jonathan defeated the garrison of the Philistines that was at Geba; and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear! 4When all Israel heard that Saul had defeated the garrison of the Philistines, and also that Israel had become odious to the Philistines, the people were called out to join Saul at Gilgal.
5 The Philistines mustered to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and troops like the sand on the seashore in multitude; they came up and encamped at Michmash, to the east of Beth-aven. 6When the Israelites saw that they were in distress (for the troops were hard pressed), the people hid themselves in caves and in holes and in rocks and in tombs and in cisterns. 7Some Hebrews crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul was still at Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.
8 He waited for seven days, the time appointed by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people began to slip away from Saul.* 9So Saul said, Bring the burnt-offering here to me, and the offerings of well-being. And he offered the burnt-offering. 10As soon as he had finished offering the burnt-offering, Samuel arrived; and Saul went out to meet him and salute him. 11Samuel said, What have you done? Saul replied, When I saw that the people were slipping away from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines were mustering at Michmash, 12I said, Now the Philistines will come down upon me at Gilgal, and I have not entreated the favour of the Lord; so I forced myself, and offered the burnt-offering. 13Samuel said to Saul, You have done foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which he commanded you. The Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel for ever, 14but now your kingdom will not continue; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart; and the Lord has appointed him to be ruler over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you. 15And Samuel left and went on his way from Gilgal.* The rest of the people followed Saul to join the army; they went up from Gilgal towards Gibeah of Benjamin.*
Saul counted the people who were present with him, about six hundred men. 16Saul, his son Jonathan, and the people who were present with them stayed in Geba of Benjamin; but the Philistines encamped at Michmash. 17And raiders came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies; one company turned towards Ophrah, to the land of Shual, 18another company turned towards Beth-horon, and another company turned towards the mountain* that looks down upon the valley of Zeboim towards the wilderness.
19 Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel; for the Philistines said, The Hebrews must not make swords or spears for themselves; 20so all the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen their ploughshares, mattocks, axes, or sickles;* 21The charge was two-thirds of a shekel* for the ploughshares and for the mattocks, and one-third of a shekel for sharpening the axes and for setting the goads.* 22So on the day of the battle neither sword nor spear was to be found in the possession of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan; but Saul and his son Jonathan had them.
23 Now a garrison of the Philistines had gone out to the pass of Michmash. 141One day Jonathan son of Saul said to the young man who carried his armour, Come, let us go over to the Philistine garrison on the other side. But he did not tell his father. 2Saul was staying in the outskirts of Gibeah under the pomegranate tree that is at Migron; the troops that were with him were about six hundred men, 3along with Ahijah son of Ahitub, Ichabods brother, son of Phinehas son of Eli, the priest of the Lord in Shiloh, carrying an ephod. Now the people did not know that Jonathan had gone. 4In the pass,* by which Jonathan tried to go over to the Philistine garrison, there was a rocky crag on one side and a rocky crag on the other; the name of one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. 5One crag rose on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba.
6 Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armour, Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will act for us; for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few. 7His armour-bearer said to him, Do all that your mind inclines to.* I am with you; as your mind is, so is mine.* 8Then Jonathan said, Now we will cross over to those men and will show ourselves to them. 9If they say to us, Wait until we come to you, then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. 10But if they say, Come up to us, then we will go up; for the Lord has given them into our hand. That will be the sign for us. 11So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines; and the Philistines said, Look, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves. 12The men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armour-bearer, saying, Come up to us, and we will show you something. Jonathan said to his armour-bearer, Come up after me; for the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel. 13Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, with his armour-bearer following after him. The Philistines* fell before Jonathan, and his armour-bearer, coming after him, killed them. 14In that first slaughter Jonathan and his armour-bearer killed about twenty men within an area about half a furrow long in an acre* of land. 15There was a panic in the camp, in the field, and among all the people; the garrison and even the raiders trembled; the earth quaked; and it became a very great panic.
16 Sauls lookouts in Gibeah of Benjamin were watching as the multitude was surging back and forth.* 17Then Saul said to the troops that were with him, Call the roll and see who has gone from us. When they had called the roll, Jonathan and his armour-bearer were not there. 18Saul said to Ahijah, Bring the ark* of God here. For at that time the ark* of God went with the Israelites. 19While Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the camp of the Philistines increased more and more; and Saul said to the priest, Withdraw your hand. 20Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and went into the battle; and every sword was against the other, so that there was very great confusion. 21Now the Hebrews who previously had been with the Philistines and had gone up with them into the camp turned and joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22Likewise, when all the Israelites who had gone into hiding in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were fleeing, they too followed closely after them in the battle. 23So the Lord gave Israel the victory that day.
The battle passed beyond Beth-aven, and the troops with Saul numbered altogether about ten thousand men. The battle spread out over the hill country of Ephraim.
24 Now Saul committed a very rash act on that day.* He had laid an oath on the troops, saying, Cursed be anyone who eats food before it is evening and I have been avenged on my enemies. So none of the troops tasted food. 25All the troops* came upon a honeycomb; and there was honey on the ground. 26When the troops came upon the honeycomb, the honey was dripping out; but they did not put their hands to their mouths, for they feared the oath. 27But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the troops with the oath; so he extended the staff that was in his hand, and dipped the tip of it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes brightened. 28Then one of the soldiers said, Your father strictly charged the troops with an oath, saying, Cursed be anyone who eats food this day. And so the troops are faint. 29Then Jonathan said, My father has troubled the land; see how my eyes have brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. 30How much better if today the troops had eaten freely of the spoil taken from their enemies; for now the slaughter among the Philistines has not been great.
31 After they had struck down the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon, the troops were very faint; 32so the troops flew upon the spoil, and took sheep and oxen and calves, and slaughtered them on the ground; and the troops ate them with the blood. 33Then it was reported to Saul, Look, the troops are sinning against the Lord by eating with the blood. And he said, You have dealt treacherously; roll a large stone before me here.* 34Saul said, Disperse yourselves among the troops, and say to them, Let all bring their oxen or their sheep, and slaughter them here, and eat; and do not sin against the Lord by eating with the blood. So all of the troops brought their oxen with them that night, and slaughtered them there. 35And Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first altar that he built to the Lord.
36 Then Saul said, Let us go down after the Philistines by night and despoil them until the morning light; let us not leave one of them. They said, Do whatever seems good to you. But the priest said, Let us draw near to God here. 37So Saul inquired of God, Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into the hand of Israel? But he did not answer him that day. 38Saul said, Come here, all you leaders of the people; and let us find out how this sin has arisen today. 39For as the Lord lives who saves Israel, even if it is in my son Jonathan, he shall surely die! But there was no one among all the people who answered him. 40He said to all Israel, You shall be on one side, and I and my son Jonathan will be on the other side. The people said to Saul, Do what seems good to you. 41Then Saul said, O Lord God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant today? If this guilt is in me or in my son Jonathan, O Lord God of Israel, give Urim; but if this guilt is in your people Israel,* give Thummim. And Jonathan and Saul were indicated by the lot, but the people were cleared. 42Then Saul said, Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan. And Jonathan was taken.
43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, Tell me what you have done. Jonathan told him, I tasted a little honey with the tip of the staff that was in my hand; here I am, I will die. 44Saul said, God do so to me and more also; you shall surely die, Jonathan! 45Then the people said to Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who has accomplished this great victory in Israel? Perish the thought! As the Lord lives, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground; for he has worked with God today. So the people ransomed Jonathan, and he did not die. 46Then Saul withdrew from pursuing the Philistines; and the Philistines went to their own place.
47 When Saul had taken the kingship over Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every sideagainst Moab, against the Ammonites, against Edom, against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines; wherever he turned he routed them. 48He did valiantly, and struck down the Amalekites, and rescued Israel out of the hands of those who plundered them.
49 Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchishua; and the names of his two daughters were these: the name of the firstborn was Merab, and the name of the younger, Michal. 50The name of Sauls wife was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. And the name of the commander of his army was Abner son of Ner, Sauls uncle; 51Kish was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.
52 There was hard fighting against the Philistines all the days of Saul; and when Saul saw any strong or valiant warrior, he took him into his service.
15Samuel said to Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord. 2Thus says the Lord of hosts, I will punish the Amalekites for what they did in opposing the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt. 3Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.
4 So Saul summoned the people, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot-soldiers, and ten thousand soldiers of Judah. 5Saul came to the city of the Amalekites and lay in wait in the valley. 6Saul said to the Kenites, Go! Leave! Withdraw from among the Amalekites, or I will destroy you with them; for you showed kindness to all the people of Israel when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites withdrew from the Amalekites. 7Saul defeated the Amalekites, from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8He took King Agag of the Amalekites alive, but utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep and of the cattle and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was valuable, and would not utterly destroy them; all that was despised and worthless they utterly destroyed.
10 The word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me, and has not carried out my commands. Samuel was angry; and he cried out to the Lord all night. 12Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul, and Samuel was told, Saul went to Carmel, where he set up a monument for himself, and on returning he passed on down to Gilgal. 13When Samuel came to Saul, Saul said to him, May you be blessed by the Lord; I have carried out the command of the Lord. 14But Samuel said, What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears, and the lowing of cattle that I hear? 15Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the cattle, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; but the rest we have utterly destroyed. 16Then Samuel said to Saul, Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me last night. He replied, Speak.
17 Samuel said, Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel.
18And the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, Go, utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.
19Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?
20Saul said to Samuel, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
21But from the spoil the people took sheep and cattle, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.
22And Samuel said,
Has the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices,
as in obedience to the voice of the Lord?
Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is no less a sin than divination,
and stubbornness is like iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has also rejected you from being king.
24 Saul said to Samuel, I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25Now therefore, I pray, pardon my sin, and return with me, so that I may worship the Lord. 26Samuel said to Saul, I will not return with you; for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel. 27As Samuel turned to go away, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. 28And Samuel said to him, The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this very day, and has given it to a neighbour of yours, who is better than you. 29Moreover, the Glory of Israel will not recant* or change his mind; for he is not a mortal, that he should change his mind. 30Then Saul* said, I have sinned; yet honour me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God. 31So Samuel turned back after Saul; and Saul worshipped the Lord.
32 Then Samuel said, Bring Agag king of the Amalekites here to me. And Agag came to him haltingly.* Agag said, Surely this is the bitterness of death.*
33But Samuel said,
As your sword has made women childless,
so your mother shall be childless among women.
And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.
34 Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. 35Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord was sorry that he had made Saul king over Israel.
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011