1 Samuel 13

Jonathan attacks the Philistines

1-2 It was now one year since Saul became king. Saul was 30 years old when he became king. He was the king of Israel for 42 years. And when he had ruled over Israel for two more years, he chose 3,000 men from Israel. Then 2,000 men stayed with him at Michmash. This place was in the mountains of Bethel. But 1,000 men stayed with his son Jonathan. They stayed in the town called Gibeah. Gibeah was in the land of Benjamin's tribe. Saul sent all the other men to their tents. 3 Some of the Philistine army were staying at Geba. Jonathan attacked them there. People told the other Philistines about it. Saul said, ‘Someone must tell all the Israelites about this.’ So Saul sent men out to every place in Israel. They had to make noise with trumpets. Then the Israelites would know that they must come to the fight. 4 They told all the people in Israel the news. They told them that Saul had attacked the Philistines. They told them that the Philistines were now even stronger enemies to the Israelites. So the people came to Saul at Gilgal.

Saul gives the burnt offering to God

5 The Philistines came together to fight the Israelites. The Philistines had 30,000 chariots. And there were 6,000 men who rode on horses. And they had many thousands of soldiers. There were so many soldiers that nobody could count them. The Philistines were staying at the town called Michmash which was east of Beth Aven. 6 The Israelites saw the Philistine army. The Israelites knew that they were in a difficult place. Some of them went and hid in the bushes. They also hid among the rocks, in holes in the ground and in wells. 7 Some of the Israelites even crossed to the other side of the river Jordan. They went into the land of Gad and Gilead.

Saul stayed at Gilgal. All the people with him were so afraid that their bodies shook. 8 Samuel had told Saul that he must wait for him. Saul waited for seven days as Samuel had said. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal. The men with Saul began to leave him. 9 So Saul said, ‘Bring the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings to me.’ Saul offered the burnt sacrifice to God. 10 Samuel arrived a very short time after he had finished. Saul went to speak to Samuel.

11 Samuel asked, ‘What have you done?’

Saul replied, ‘The soldiers were leaving me. You said that you would be here at a certain time. But you did not arrive at that time. The Philistines were meeting together at Michmash. 12 I thought that they would come. I thought that they would attack me at Gilgal. But I had not asked God to help me. So I thought that I ought to offer the burnt offering.’

13 Samuel said, ‘You have been a fool. You have not obeyed the word of the Lord your God. You should have obeyed the Lord. Then the Lord would have let you and your family rule over the Israelites for all time. 14 But that will not happen now because you did not obey the Lord. Instead, the Lord will find the kind of man that he wants. The Lord will make this man the ruler of his people, the Israelites.’

15 Samuel left Gilgal. He went to the town called Gibeah in the land of Benjamin. Saul counted the men who were with him. There were about 600 men.

16 Saul, his son Jonathan and the men who were with them were in the town called Geba. Geba is in the land of Benjamin. The Philistines' army was at Michmash. 17 The Philistines sent out three groups of men to attack Saul's men. One group went towards Ophrah in the land of Shual. 18 The second group went towards the town called Beth Horon. The third group went to another place. There they could see across the Valley of Zeboim towards the desert.

19 There were no blacksmiths in the country (Israel). The Philistines had said, ‘If the Israelites have blacksmiths they will learn to make swords and spears.’ 20 The Israelites used ploughs, hoes, axes and sickles on their farm land. These tools were not sharp when people had used them a lot. So they had to take them to the Philistines' blacksmiths who made them sharp again. 21 The Israelites had to pay 8 grams of silver for the Philistines to make each plough or hoe sharp again. They paid 4 grams of silver for each axe, sickle or ox-goad.

13:21An ox-goad is a stick with a point. They used it to cause their cows to walk faster.

22 When the fight started, only Saul and Jonathan each had a sword and spear. The other soldiers did not have any swords or spears.

13:22Swords and spears are long sharp metal things. Soldiers used them to fight and to kill people. Hoes and sickles are sharp metal things. People use them to plant or to bring in food plants.

Jonathan attacks the Philistines

23 A group of Philistine soldiers went to the narrow road in the mountains at Michmash.