Chapter 6

  1. Saul reigned one year. And when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose himself three thousand men of Israel, whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in Mount Beth-el, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. And the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent. And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear. And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal.
  2. And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel — thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the seashore in multitude. And they came up and pitched in Michmash, eastward from Bethaven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in a tight place — for the people were distressed — then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits. And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.
  3. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. And he remained seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed. But Samuel came not to Gilgal, and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring here a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.
  4. And it came to pass that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. And Samuel said, What have you done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you came not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash, therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord. I forced myself therefore and offered a burnt offering. And Samuel said to Saul, You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God which he commanded you. For now would the Lord have established your kingdom upon Israel for ever; but now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be captain over his people, because you have not kept that which the Lord commanded you. And Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal unto Gibeah of Benjamin.
  5. And Saul numbered the people that were present with him, about six hundred men. And Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people that were present with them stayed in Gibeah of Benjamin. But the Philistines encamped in Michmash, and the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned unto the way that leads to Ophrah, unto the land of Shual, and another company turned the way to Bethhoron, and another company turned to the way of the border that looks to the valley of Zeboim, toward the wilderness.
  6. Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel — for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears — but all the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock. Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads. So it came to pass in the day of battle that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan, but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found. And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the passage of Michmash.
  7. Now it came to pass, upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bore his armor, Come and let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison that is on the other side; but he told not his father.
  8. And Saul stayed in the outermost part of Gibeah, under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron. And the people that were with him were about six hundred men, and Ahijah 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.
  9. 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 situated northward opposite Michmash and the other southward opposite Gibeah.
  10. And Jonathan said to the young man that bore his armor, 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 armor-bearer said unto him, Do all that is in your heart. Turn, behold, I am with you according to your heart. Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these men and we will reveal ourselves unto them. If they say thus unto us: Wait until we come to you — then we will stand still in our place and will not go up unto them. But if they say thus: Come up unto us — then we will go up, for the Lord has delivered them into our hand; and this shall be a sign unto us.
  11. And both of them revealed themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hidden themselves. And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armor-bearer, and said, Come up to us and we will show you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armor-bearer, Come up after me, for the Lord has delivered them into the hand of Israel. And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armor-bearer after him. And they fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer slew after him. And that first slaughter which Jonathan and his armor-bearer made was about twenty men within about a half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow.
  12. 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. And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked. And behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another.
  13. 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 armor-bearer were not there. And Saul said unto Ahijah, Bring here the ark of God — for the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel. 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 your hand. And Saul and all the people that were with him assembled themselves, and they came to the battle.
  14. And behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great uproar. Moreover, the Hebrews that were with the Philistines before that time, who 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. Likewise, all the men of Israel who had hidden themselves in Mount Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, even they also followed hard after them in the battle. So the Lord saved Israel that day. And the battle passed over unto Bethaven.
  15. And the men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had adjured the people, saying, Cursed be the man that eats any food until evening, that I may be avenged on my enemies. So none of the people tasted any food. And all they of the land came to a wood, and there was honey upon the ground. And when the people had come into the wood, behold, the honey dropped. But no man put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath.
  16. 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 a honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth, and his eyes were enlightened. Then answered one of the people and said, Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, Cursed be the man that eats any food this day. And the people were faint.
  17. Then said Jonathan, My father has troubled the land. See, I pray you, how my eyes have been enlightened because I tasted a little of this honey. How much more if perhaps the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies which they found? For would there not have been now a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?
  18. And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon, and the people were very faint. 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. Then they told Saul, saying, Behold, the people sin against the Lord in that they eat with the blood. And he said, You have transgressed. Roll a great stone unto me this day. And Saul said, Disperse yourselves among the people and say unto them, Bring me here 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. And Saul built an altar unto the Lord. The same was the first altar that he built unto the Lord.
  19. 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 whatever seems good unto you. Then said the priest, Let us draw near here unto God. And Saul asked counsel of God, Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you deliver them into the hand of Israel? But he answered him not that day.
  20. And Saul said, Draw near here, all the chief of the people, and know, and see wherein this sin has been this day. For as the Lord lives, who saves 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. Then said he unto all Israel, You be on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side. And the people said unto Saul, Do what seems good unto you. Therefore, Saul said unto the Lord God of Israel, Give a perfect lot. And Saul and Jonathan were taken, but the people escaped. And Saul said, Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan was taken.
  21. Then Saul said to Jonathan, Tell me what you have done. And Jonathan told him and said, I did but taste a little honey with the end of the rod that was in my hand, and behold, I must die. And Saul answered, God do so and more also, for you shall surely die, Jonathan. And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die who has wrought this great salvation in Israel? God forbid. As the Lord lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day. So the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not. Then Saul went up from following the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.
  22. 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 wherever he turned himself, he vexed them. And he gathered a host, and smote the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them.