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1 Samuel

Saul's war with the Philistines.  1Sm.13.1-23

1Saul was fifty years fifty years: prob. rdg, Heb a year old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel for twenty-two prob. rdg, Heb two years. 2He picked three thousand men from Israel, two thousand to be with him in Michmash and the hill-country of Bethel and a thousand to be with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin; and he sent the rest of the people home.

3Jonathan killed the Philistine governor Or garrison in Geba, and the news spread among the Philistines that the Hebrews were in revolt that ... revolt: prob. rdg, Heb has saying, Let the Hebrews hear after through the land. Saul sounded the trumpet all through the land; 4and when the Israelites all heard that Saul had killed a Philistine governor and that the name of Israel stank among the Philistines, they answered the call to arms and came to join Saul at Gilgal they answered ... Gilgal: or they were summoned to follow Saul to Gilgal. 5The Philistines mustered to attack Israel; they had thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horse, with infantry as countless as sand on the sea-shore. They went up and camped at Michmash, to the east of Beth-aven. 6The Israelites found themselves in sore straits, for the army was hard pressed, so they hid themselves in caves and holes and among the rocks, in pits and cisterns. 7Some of them crossed the Jordan into the district of Gad and Gilead, but Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the people at his back were in alarm but Saul ... in alarm: or but Saul was still at Gilgal, and all the army joined him there. 8He waited seven days for his meeting with Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal; so the people began to drift away from Saul. 9He said therefore, 'Bring me the whole-offering and the shared-offerings', and he offered up the whole-offering. 10Saul had just finished the sacrifice, when Samuel arrived, and he went out to greet him. 11Samuel said, 'What have you done?', and Saul answered, 'I saw that the people were drifting away from me, and you yourself had not come as you had promised, and the Philistines were assembling at Michmash; 12and I thought, "The Philistines will now move against me at Gilgal, and I have not placated the LORD"; so I felt compelled to make the whole-offering myself.' 13Samuel said to Saul, 'You have behaved foolishly. You have not kept the command laid on you by the LORD your God; if you had, he would have established your dynasty over Israel for all time. 14But now your line will not endure; the LORD will seek a man after his own heart, and will appoint him prince over his people, because you have not kept the LORD's command.'

15Samuel left Gilgal without more ado and went on his way. The rest of the people followed Saul, as he moved from Gilgal towards the enemy. At Gibeah of Benjamin he mustered the people who were with him; they were about six hundred men. 16Saul and his son Jonathan and the men they had with them took up their quarters in Gibeah of Benjamin, while the Philistines were encamped in Michmash. 17Raiding parties went out from the Philistine camp in three directions. One party turned towards Ophrah in the district of Shual, 18another towards Beth-horon, and the third towards the range of hills overlooking the valley of Zeboim and the wilderness beyond.

19No blacksmith was to be found in the whole of Israel, for the Philistines were determined to prevent the Hebrews from making swords and spears. 20The Israelites had to go down to the Philistines for their ploughshares, mattocks, axes, and sickles to be sharpened. 21The charge was two-thirds of a shekel for ploughshares and mattocks, and one-third of a shekel for sharpening the axes and setting the goads one-third ... the goads: prob. rdg, Heb obscure. 22So when war broke out none of the followers of Saul and Jonathan had either sword or spear; only Saul and Jonathan carried arms. 23Now the Philistines had posted a force to hold the pass of Michmash;


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