Bible: 1 Samuel 8-15

Israel Seeks a King

8:1 In his old age Samuel appointed his sons as judges over Israel. 8:2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second son was Abijah. They were judges in Beer Sheba. 8:3 But his sons did not follow 1  his ways. Instead, they made money dishonestly, accepted bribes, and perverted justice. 2 

8:4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and approached Samuel at Ramah. 8:5 They said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons don’t follow your ways. So now appoint over us a king to lead 3  us, just like all the other nations have.”

8:6 But this request displeased Samuel, for 4  they said, “Give us a king to lead us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. 8:7 The Lord said to Samuel, “Do everything the people request of you. 5  For it is not you that they have rejected, but it is me that they have rejected as their king. 8:8 Just as they have done 6  from the day that I brought them up from Egypt until this very day, they have rejected me and have served other gods. This is what they are also doing to you. 8:9 So now do as they say. 7  But seriously warn 8  them and make them aware of the policies of the king who will rule over them.” 9 

8:10 So Samuel spoke all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 8:11 He said, “Here are the policies of the king who will rule over you: He will conscript your sons and put them in his chariot forces and in his cavalry; they will run in front of his chariot. 8:12 He will appoint for himself leaders of thousands and leaders of fifties, 10  as well as those who plow his ground, reap his harvest, and make his weapons of war and his chariot equipment. 8:13 He will take your daughters to be ointment makers, cooks, and bakers. 8:14 He will take your best fields and vineyards and give them to his own servants. 8:15 He will demand a tenth of your seed and of the produce of your vineyards and give it to his administrators 11  and his servants. 8:16 He will take your male and female servants, as well as your best cattle and your donkeys, and assign them for his own use. 8:17 He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will be his servants. 8:18 In that day you will cry out because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord won’t answer you in that day.” 12 

8:19 But the people refused to heed Samuel’s warning. 13  Instead they said, “No! There will be a king over us! 8:20 We will be like all the other nations. Our king will judge us and lead us 14  and fight our battles.”

8:21 So Samuel listened to everything the people said and then reported it to the Lord. 15  8:22 The Lord said to Samuel, “Do as they say 16  and install a king over them.” Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Each of you go back to his own city.”

Samuel Meets with Saul

9:1 There was a Benjaminite man named Kish son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah of Benjamin. He was a prominent person. 9:2 He had a son named Saul, a handsome young man. There was no one among the Israelites more handsome than he was; he stood head and shoulders above all the people.

9:3 The donkeys of Saul’s father Kish wandered off, 17  so Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you and go 18  look for the donkeys.” 19  9:4 So Saul 20  crossed through the hill country of Ephraim, passing through the land of Shalisha, but they did not find them. So they crossed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he crossed through the land of Benjamin, and still they did not find them.

9:5 When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come on, let’s head back before my father quits worrying about the donkeys and becomes anxious about us! 9:6 But the servant said to him, “Look, there is a man of God in this town. He is highly respected. Everything that he says really happens. 21  Now let’s go there. Perhaps he will tell us where we should go from here.” 22  9:7 So Saul said to his servant, “All right, 23  we can go. But what can we bring the man, since the food in our bags is used up? We have no gift to take to the man of God. What do we have? 9:8 The servant went on to answer Saul, “Look, I happen to have in my hand a quarter shekel 24  of silver. I will give it to the man of God and he will tell us where we should go.” 25  9:9 (Now it used to be in Israel that whenever someone went to inquire of God he would say, “Come on, let’s go to the seer.” For today’s prophet used to be called a seer.) 9:10 So Saul said to his servant, “That’s a good idea! 26  Come on. Let’s go.” So they went to the town where the man of God was.

9:11 As they were going up the ascent to the town, they met some girls coming out to draw water. They said to them, “Is this where the seer is? 9:12 They replied, “Yes, straight ahead! But hurry now, for he came to the town today, and the people are making a sacrifice at the high place. 9:13 When you enter the town, you can find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. The people won’t eat until he arrives, for he must bless the sacrifice. Once that happens, those who have been invited will eat. Now go on up, for 27  this is the time when you can find him!

9:14 So they went up to the town. As they were heading for the middle of the town, Samuel was coming in their direction 28  to go up to the high place. 9:15 Now the day before Saul arrived, the Lord had told 29  Samuel: 9:16 At this time tomorrow I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin. You must consecrate 30  him as a leader over my people Israel. He will save my people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have looked with favor on my people. Their cry has reached me!

9:17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said, 31 Here is the man that I told you about! He will rule over my people.” 9:18 As Saul approached Samuel in the middle of the gate, he said, “Please tell me where the seer’s house is.”

9:19 Samuel replied to Saul, “I am the seer! Go up in front of me to the high place! Today you will eat with me and in the morning I will send you away. I will tell you everything that you are thinking. 32  9:20 Don’t be concerned 33  about the donkeys that you lost three days ago, for they have been found. Whom does all Israel desire? Is it not you, and all your father’s family? 34 

9:21 Saul replied, “Am I not a Benjaminite, from the smallest of Israel’s tribes, and is not my family clan the smallest of all the tribes of Benjamin? Why do you speak to me in this way?

9:22 Then Samuel brought 35  Saul and his servant into the room and gave them a place at the head of those who had been invited. There were about thirty people present. 9:23 Samuel said to the cook, “Give me the portion of meat that I gave to you – the one I asked you to keep with you.”

9:24 So the cook picked up the leg and brought it and set it in front of Saul. Samuel 36  said, “What was kept is now set before you! Eat, for it has been kept for you for this meeting time, from the time I said, ‘I have invited the people.’” So Saul ate with Samuel that day.

9:25 When they came down from the high place to the town, Samuel spoke with Saul on the roof. 9:26 They got up at dawn and Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Get up, so I can send you on your way.” So Saul got up and the two of them – he and Samuel – went outside. 9:27 While they were going down to the edge of town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us.” So he did. 37  Samuel then said, 38  “You remain here awhile, so I can inform you of God’s message.”

Samuel Anoints Saul

10:1 Then Samuel took a small container of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s 39  head. Samuel 40  kissed him and said, “The Lord has chosen you 41  to lead his people Israel! You will rule over the Lord’s people and you will deliver them from the power of the enemies who surround them. This will be your sign that the Lord has chosen 42  you as leader over his inheritance. 43  10:2 When you leave me today, you will find two men near Rachel’s tomb at Zelzah on Benjamin’s border. They will say to you, ‘The donkeys you have gone looking for have been found. Your father is no longer concerned about the donkeys but has become anxious about you two! 44  He is asking, “What should I do about my son?”’

10:3As you continue on from there, you will come to the tall tree of Tabor. At that point three men who are going up to God at Bethel 45  will meet you. One of them will be carrying three young goats, one of them will be carrying three round loaves of bread, and one of them will be carrying a container of wine. 10:4 They will ask you how you’re doing and will give you two loaves of bread. You will accept them. 10:5 Afterward you will go to Gibeah of God, where there are Philistine officials. 46  When you enter the town, you will meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place. They will have harps, tambourines, flutes, and lyres, and they will be prophesying. 10:6 Then the spirit of the Lord will rush upon you and you will prophesy with them. You will be changed into a different person.

10:7When these signs have taken place, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God will be with you. 47  10:8 You will go down to Gilgal before me. I am going to join you there to offer burnt offerings and to make peace offerings. You should wait for seven days, until I arrive and tell you what to do.”

Saul Becomes King

10:9 As Saul 48  turned 49  to leave Samuel, God changed his inmost person. 50  All these signs happened on that very day. 10:10 When Saul and his servant 51  arrived at Gibeah, a company of prophets was coming out to meet him. Then the spirit of God rushed upon Saul 52  and he prophesied among them. 10:11 When everyone who had known him previously saw him prophesying with the prophets, the people all asked one another, “What on earth has happened to the son of Kish? Does even Saul belong with the prophets?

10:12 A man who was from there replied, “And who is their father?” Therefore this became a proverb: “Is even Saul among the prophets? 10:13 When Saul 53  had finished prophesying, he went to the high place.

10:14 Saul’s uncle asked him and his servant, “Where did you go?” Saul 54  replied, “To look for the donkeys. But when we realized they were lost, 55  we went to Samuel.” 10:15 Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me what Samuel said to you.” 56  10:16 Saul said to his uncle, “He assured us that the donkeys had been found.” But Saul 57  did not tell him what Samuel had said about the matter of kingship.

10:17 Then Samuel called the people together before the Lord at Mizpah. 10:18 He said to the Israelites, “This is what the Lord God of Israel says, ‘I brought Israel up from Egypt and I delivered you from the power 58  of the Egyptians and from the power of all the kingdoms that oppressed you. 10:19 But today you have rejected your God who saves you from all your trouble and distress. You have said, “No! 59  Appoint a king over us.” Now take your positions before the Lord by your tribes and by your clans.’

10:20 Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was chosen by lot. 10:21 Then he brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its families, and the family of Matri was chosen by lot. At last Saul son of Kish was chosen by lot. But when they looked for him, he was nowhere to be found. 10:22 So they inquired again of the Lord, “Has the man arrived here yet?” The Lord said, “He has hidden himself among the equipment.” 60 

10:23 So they ran and brought him from there. When he took his position among the people, he stood head and shoulders above them all. 10:24 Then Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the one whom the Lord has chosen? Indeed, there is no one like him among all the people!” All the people shouted out, “Long live the king!

10:25 Then Samuel talked to the people about how the kingship would work. 61  He wrote it all down on a scroll and set it before the Lord. Then Samuel sent all the people away to their homes. 10:26 Even Saul went to his home in Gibeah. With him went some brave men whose hearts God had touched. 10:27 But some wicked men 62  said, “How can this man save us?” They despised him and did not even bring him a gift. But Saul said nothing about it. 63 

11:1

Saul Comes to the Aid of Jabesh

64 

Nahash 65  the Ammonite marched 66  against Jabesh Gilead. All the men of Jabesh Gilead said to Nahash, “Make a treaty with us and we will serve you.”

11:2 But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, “The only way I will make a treaty with you is if you let me gouge out the right eye of every one of you and in so doing humiliate all Israel!

11:3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Leave us alone for seven days so that we can send messengers throughout the territory of Israel. If there is no one who can deliver us, we will come out voluntarily to you.”

11:4 When the messengers went to Gibeah (where Saul lived) 67  and informed the people of these matters, all the people wept loudly. 68  11:5 Now Saul was walking behind the 69  oxen as he came from the field. Saul asked, “What has happened to the people? Why are they weeping?” So they told him about 70  the men of Jabesh.

11:6 The Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and he became very angry. 11:7 He took a pair 71  of oxen and cut them up. Then he sent the pieces throughout the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers, who said, “Whoever does not go out after Saul and after Samuel should expect this to be done to his oxen!” Then the terror of the Lord fell on the people, and they went out as one army. 72  11:8 When Saul counted them at Bezek, the Israelites were 300,000 73  strong and the men of Judah numbered 30,000. 74 

11:9 They said to the messengers who had come, “Here’s what you should say to the men of Jabesh Gilead: ‘Tomorrow deliverance will come to you when the sun is fully up.’” When the messengers went and told the men of Jabesh Gilead, they were happy. 11:10 The men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will come out to you 75  and you can do with us whatever you wish.” 76 

11:11 The next day Saul placed the people in three groups. They went to the Ammonite camp during the morning watch and struck them 77  down until the hottest part of the day. The survivors scattered; no two of them remained together.

Saul Is Established as King

11:12 Then the people said to Samuel, “Who were the ones asking, ‘Will Saul reign over us?’ Hand over those men so we may execute them! 11:13 But Saul said, “No one will be killed on this day. For today the Lord has given Israel a victory! 11:14 Samuel said to the people, “Come on! Let’s go to Gilgal and renew the kingship there.” 11:15 So all the people went to Gilgal, where 78  they established Saul as king in the Lord’s presence. They offered up peace offerings there in the Lord’s presence. Saul and all the Israelites were very happy.

12:1 Samuel said to all Israel, “I have done 79  everything you requested. 80  I have given you a king. 81  12:2 Now look! This king walks before you. As for me, I am old and gray, though my sons are here with you. I have walked before you from the time of my youth till the present day. 12:3 Here I am. Bring a charge against me before the Lord and before his chosen king. 82  Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I wronged? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I taken a bribe so that I would overlook something? Tell me, 83  and I will return it to you!

12:4 They replied, “You have not wronged us or oppressed us. You have not taken anything from the hand of anyone.” 12:5 He said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and his chosen king 84  is witness this day, that you have not found any reason to accuse me.” 85  They said, “He is witness!

12:6 Samuel said to the people, “The Lord is the one who chose Moses and Aaron and who brought your ancestors 86  up from the land of Egypt. 12:7 Now take your positions, so I may confront you 87  before the Lord regarding all the Lord’s just actions toward you and your ancestors. 88  12:8 When Jacob entered Egypt, your ancestors cried out to the Lord. The Lord sent Moses and Aaron, and they led your ancestors out of Egypt and settled them in this place.

12:9But they forgot the Lord their God, so he gave 89  them into the hand of Sisera, the general in command of Hazor’s 90  army, 91  and into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them. 12:10 Then they cried out to the Lord and admitted, 92 We have sinned, for we have forsaken the Lord and have served the Baals and the images of Ashtoreth. 93  Now deliver us from the hand of our enemies so that we may serve you.’ 94  12:11 So the Lord sent Jerub-Baal, 95  Barak, 96  Jephthah, and Samuel, 97  and he delivered you from the hand of the enemies all around you, and you were able to live securely.

12:12When you saw that King Nahash of the Ammonites was advancing against you, you said to me, ‘No! A king will rule over us’ – even though the Lord your God is your king! 12:13 Now look! Here is the king you have chosen – the one that you asked for! Look, the Lord has given you a king! 12:14 If you fear the Lord, serving him and obeying him 98  and not rebelling against what he says, 99  and if both you and the king who rules over you follow the Lord your God, all will be well. 100  12:15 But if you don’t obey 101  the Lord and rebel against what the Lord says, the hand of the Lord will be against both you and your king. 102 

12:16So now, take your positions and watch this great thing that the Lord is about to do in your sight. 12:17 Is this not the time of the wheat harvest? I will call on the Lord so that he makes it thunder and rain. Realize and see what a great sin you have committed before the Lord by asking for a king for yourselves.”

12:18 So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord made it thunder and rain that day. All the people were very afraid of both the Lord and Samuel. 12:19 All the people said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God on behalf of us – your servants – so we won’t die, for we have added to all our sins by asking for a king.” 103 

12:20 Then Samuel said to the people, “Don’t be afraid. You have indeed sinned. 104  However, don’t turn aside from the Lord. Serve the Lord with all your heart. 12:21 You should not turn aside after empty things that can’t profit and can’t deliver, since they are empty. 105  12:22 The Lord will not abandon his people because he wants to uphold his great reputation. 106  The Lord was pleased to make you his own people. 12:23 As far as I am concerned, far be it from me to sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you! I will instruct you in the way that is good and upright. 12:24 However, fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. Just look at the great things he has done for you! 12:25 But if you continue to do evil, both you and your king will be swept away.”

Saul Fails the Lord

13:1 Saul was [thirty] 107  years old when he began to reign; he ruled over Israel for [forty] 108  years. 13:2 Saul selected for himself three thousand men from Israel. Two thousand of these were with Saul at Micmash and in the hill country of Bethel; 109  the remaining thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin. 110  He sent all the rest of the people back home. 111 

13:3 Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost 112  that was at Geba and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul alerted 113  all the land saying, “Let the Hebrews pay attention! 13:4 All Israel heard this message, 114 Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel is repulsive 115  to the Philistines!” So the people were summoned to join 116  Saul at Gilgal.

13:5 For the battle with Israel the Philistines had amassed 3,000 117  chariots, 6,000 horsemen, and an army as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Micmash, east of Beth Aven. 13:6 The men of Israel realized they had a problem because their army was hard pressed. So the army hid in caves, thickets, cliffs, strongholds, 118  and cisterns. 13:7 Some of the Hebrews crossed over the Jordan River 119  to the land of Gad and Gilead. But Saul stayed at Gilgal; the entire army that was with him was terrified. 13:8 He waited for seven days, the time period indicated by Samuel. 120  But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the army began to abandon Saul. 121 

13:9 So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” Then he offered a burnt offering. 13:10 Just when he had finished offering the burnt offering, Samuel appeared on the scene. Saul went out to meet him and to greet him. 122 

13:11 But Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul replied, “When I saw that the army had started to abandon me 123  and that you didn’t come at the appointed time and that the Philistines had assembled at Micmash, 13:12 I thought, 124 Now the Philistines will come down on me at Gilgal and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt obligated 125  to offer the burnt offering.”

13:13 Then Samuel said to Saul, “You have made a foolish choice! You have not obeyed 126  the commandment that the Lord your God gave 127  you. Had you done that, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever! 13:14 But now your kingdom will not continue! The Lord has sought out 128  for himself a man who is loyal to him 129  and the Lord has appointed 130  him to be leader over his people, for you have not obeyed what the Lord commanded you.”

13:15 Then Samuel set out and went up from Gilgal 131  to Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin. 132  Saul mustered the army that remained with him; there were about six hundred men. 13:16 Saul, his son Jonathan, and the army that remained with them stayed in Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin, while the Philistines camped in Micmash. 133  13:17 Raiding bands went out from the camp of the Philistines in three groups. One band turned toward the road leading to Ophrah by the land of Shual; 13:18 another band turned toward the road leading to Beth Horon; and yet another band turned toward the road leading to the border that overlooks the valley of Zeboim in the direction of the desert.

13:19 A blacksmith could not be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines had said, “This will prevent the Hebrews from making swords and spears.” 13:20 So all Israel had to go down to the Philistines in order to get their plowshares, cutting instruments, axes, and sickles 134  sharpened. 13:21 They charged 135  two-thirds of a shekel 136  to sharpen plowshares and cutting instruments, and a third of a shekel 137  to sharpen picks and axes, and to set ox goads. 13:22 So on the day of the battle no sword or spear was to be found in the hand of anyone in the army that was with Saul and Jonathan. No one but Saul and his son Jonathan had them.

Jonathan Ignites a Battle

13:23 A garrison of the Philistines had gone out to the pass at Micmash. 14:1 Then one day Jonathan son of Saul said to his armor bearer, 138 Come on, let’s go over to the Philistine garrison that is opposite us.” But he did not let his father know.

14:2 Now Saul was sitting under a pomegranate tree in Migron, on the outskirts of Gibeah. The army that was with him numbered about six hundred men. 14:3 Now Ahijah was carrying 139  an ephod. He was the son of Ahitub, who was the brother of Ichabod and a son of Phineas, son of Eli, the priest of the Lord in Shiloh. The army was unaware that Jonathan had left.

14:4 Now there was a steep cliff on each side of the pass through which Jonathan intended to go to reach the Philistine garrison. One cliff was named Bozez, the other Seneh. 14:5 The cliff to the north was closer to Micmash, the one to the south closer to Geba.

14:6 Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come on, let’s go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will intervene 140  for us. Nothing can prevent the Lord from delivering, whether by many or by a few.” 14:7 His armor bearer said to him, “Do everything that is on your mind. 141  Do as you’re inclined. I’m with you all the way! 142 

14:8 Jonathan replied, “All right! 143  We’ll go over to these men and fight them. 14:9 If they say to us, ‘Stay put until we approach you,’ we will stay 144  right there and not go up to them. 14:10 But if they say, ‘Come up against us,’ we will go up. For in that case the Lord has given them into our hand – it will be a sign to us.”

14:11 When they 145  made themselves known to the Philistine garrison, the Philistines said, “Look! The Hebrews are coming out of the holes in which they hid themselves.” 14:12 Then the men of the garrison said to Jonathan and his armor bearer, “Come on up to us so we can teach you a thing or two!” 146  Then Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come up behind me, for the Lord has given 147  them into the hand of Israel!

14:13 Jonathan crawled up on his hands and feet, with his armor bearer following behind him. Jonathan struck down the Philistines, 148  while his armor bearer came along behind him and killed them. 149  14:14 In this initial skirmish Jonathan and his armor bearer struck down about twenty men in an area that measured half an acre.

14:15 Then fear overwhelmed 150  those who were in the camp, those who were in the field, all the army in the garrison, and the raiding bands. They trembled and the ground shook. This fear was caused by God. 151 

14:16 Saul’s watchmen at Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin 152  looked on 153  as the crowd of soldiers seemed to melt away first in one direction and then in another. 154  14:17 So Saul said to the army that was with him, “Muster the troops and see who is no longer with us.” When they mustered the troops, 155  Jonathan and his armor bearer were not there. 14:18 So Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring near the ephod,” 156  for he was at that time wearing the ephod. 157  14:19 While 158  Saul spoke to the priest, the panic in the Philistinescamp was becoming greater and greater. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand!

14:20 Saul and all the army that was with him assembled and marched into battle, where they found 159  the Philistines in total panic killing one another with their swords. 160  14:21 The Hebrews who had earlier gone over to the Philistine side 161  joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 14:22 When all the Israelites who had hidden themselves in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines had fled, they too pursued them in battle. 14:23 So the Lord delivered Israel that day, and the battle shifted over to Beth Aven. 162 

Jonathan Violates Saul’s Oath

14:24 Now the men of Israel were hard pressed that day, for Saul had made the army agree to this oath: “Cursed be the man who eats food before evening! I will get my vengeance on my enemies!” So no one in the army ate anything.

14:25 Now the whole army 163  entered the forest and there was honey on the ground. 164  14:26 When the army entered the forest, they saw 165  the honey flowing, but no one ate any of it, 166  for the army was afraid of the oath. 14:27 But Jonathan had not heard about the oath his father had made the army take. He extended the end of his staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb. When he ate it, 167  his eyes gleamed. 168  14:28 Then someone from the army informed him, “Your father put the army under a strict oath 169  saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food today!’ That is why the army is tired.” 14:29 Then Jonathan said, “My father has caused trouble for the land. See how my eyes gleamed 170  when I tasted just a little of this honey. 14:30 Certainly if the army had eaten some of the enemiesprovisions that they came across today, would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?

14:31 On that day the army struck down the Philistines from Micmash to Aijalon, and they became very tired. 14:32 So the army rushed greedily on 171  the 172  plunder, confiscating sheep, cattle, and calves. They slaughtered them right on the ground, and the army ate them blood and all.

14:33 Now it was reported to Saul, “Look, the army is sinning against the Lord by eating even the blood.” He said, “All of you have broken the covenant! 173  Roll a large stone over here to me.” 14:34 Then Saul said, “Scatter out among the army and say to them, ‘Each of you bring to me your ox and sheep and slaughter them in this spot and eat. But don’t sin against the Lord by eating the blood.” So that night each one brought his ox and slaughtered it there. 174  14:35 Then Saul built an altar for the Lord; it was the first time he had built an altar for the Lord.

14:36 Saul said, “Let’s go down after the Philistines at night; we will rout 175  them until the break of day. 176  We won’t leave any of them alive!” 177  They replied, “Do whatever seems best to you.” 178  But the priest said, “Let’s approach God here.” 14:37 So Saul asked God, “Should I go down after the Philistines? Will you deliver them into the hand of Israel?” But he did not answer him that day.

14:38 Then Saul said, “All you leaders of the army come here. Find out 179  how this sin occurred today. 14:39 For as surely as the Lord, the deliverer of Israel, lives, even if it turns out to be my own son Jonathan, he will certainly die!” But no one from the army said anything. 180 

14:40 Then he said to all Israel, “You will be on one side, and I and my son Jonathan will be on the other side.” The army replied to Saul, “Do whatever you think is best.”

14:41 Then Saul said, “O Lord God of Israel! If this sin has been committed by me or by my son Jonathan, then, O Lord God of Israel, respond with Urim. But if this sin has been committed by your people Israel, respond with Thummim.” 181  Then Jonathan and Saul were indicated by lot, while the army was exonerated. 182  14:42 Then Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan!” 183  Jonathan was indicated by lot.

14:43 So Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” Jonathan told him, “I used the end of the staff that was in my hand to taste a little honey. I must die! 184  14:44 Saul said, “God will punish me severely if Jonathan doesn’t die! 185 

14:45 But the army said to Saul, “Should Jonathan, who won this great victory in Israel, die? May it never be! As surely as the Lord lives, not a single hair of his head will fall to the ground! For it is with the help of God that he has acted today.” So the army rescued Jonathan from death. 186 

14:46 Then Saul stopped chasing the Philistines, and the Philistines went back home. 187  14:47 After Saul had secured his royal position over Israel, he fought against all their 188  enemies on all sides – the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. In every direction that he turned he was victorious. 189  14:48 He fought bravely, striking down the Amalekites and delivering Israel from the hand of its enemies. 190 

Members of Saul’s Family

14:49 The sons of Saul were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malki-Shua. 191  He had two daughters; the older one was named Merab and the younger Michal. 14:50 The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the general in command of his army was Abner son of Ner, Saul’s uncle. 192  14:51 Kish was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son 193  of Abiel.

14:52 There was fierce war with the Philistines all the days of Saul. So whenever Saul saw anyone who was a warrior or a brave individual, he would conscript him.

Saul Is Rejected as King

15:1 Then Samuel said to Saul, “I was the one the Lord sent to anoint you as king over his people Israel. Now listen to what the Lord says. 194  15:2 Here is what the Lord of hosts says: ‘I carefully observed how the Amalekites opposed 195  Israel along the way when Israel 196  came up from Egypt. 15:3 So go now and strike down the Amalekites. Destroy everything that they have. Don’t spare 197  them. Put them to death – man, woman, child, infant, ox, sheep, camel, and donkey alike.’

15:4 So Saul assembled 198  the army 199  and mustered them at Telaim. There were 200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 men of Judah. 15:5 Saul proceeded to the city 200  of Amalek, where he set an ambush 201  in the wadi. 202  15:6 Saul said to the Kenites, “Go on and leave! Go down from among the Amalekites! Otherwise I will sweep you away 203  with them! After all, you were kind to all the Israelites when they came up from Egypt.” So the Kenites withdrew from among the Amalekites.

15:7 Then Saul struck down the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to 204  Shur, which is next to Egypt. 15:8 He captured King Agag of the Amalekites alive, but he executed all Agag’s people 205  with the sword. 15:9 However, Saul and the army spared Agag, along with the best of the flock, the cattle, the fatlings, 206  and the lambs, as well as everything else that was of value. 207  They were not willing to slaughter them. But they did slaughter everything that was despised 208  and worthless.

15:10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: 15:11 I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned away from me and has not done what I told him to do.” Samuel became angry and he cried out to the Lord all that night.

15:12 Then Samuel got up early to meet Saul the next morning. But Samuel was informed, “Saul has gone to Carmel where 209  he is setting up a monument for himself. Then Samuel left 210  and went down to Gilgal.” 211  15:13 When Samuel came to him, 212  Saul said to him, “May the Lord bless you! I have done what the Lord said.”

15:14 Samuel replied, “If that is the case, 213  then what is this sound of sheep in my ears and the sound of cattle that I hear? 15:15 Saul said, “They were brought 214  from the Amalekites; the army spared the best of the flocks and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord our God. But everything else we slaughtered.”

15:16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Wait a minute! 215  Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” Saul 216  said to him, “Tell me.” 15:17 Samuel said, “Is it not true that when you were insignificant in your own eyes, you became head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord chose 217  you as king over Israel. 15:18 The Lord sent you on a campaign 218  saying, ‘Go and exterminate those sinful Amalekites! Fight against them until you 219  have destroyed them.’ 15:19 Why haven’t you obeyed 220  the Lord? Instead you have greedily rushed upon the plunder! You have done what is wrong in the Lord’s estimation.” 221 

15:20 Then Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed 222  the Lord! I went on the campaign 223  the Lord sent me on. I brought back King Agag of the Amalekites after exterminating the Amalekites. 15:21 But the army took from the plunder some of the sheep and cattle – the best of what was to be slaughtered – to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”

15:22 Then Samuel said,

Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices

as much as he does in obedience? 224 

Certainly, 225  obedience 226  is better than sacrifice;

paying attention is better than 227  the fat of rams.

15:23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,

and presumption is like the evil of idolatry.

Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,

he has rejected you as 228  king.”

15:24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have disobeyed what the Lord commanded 229  and what you said as well. 230  For I was afraid of the army, and I followed their wishes. 231  15:25 Now please forgive my sin! Go back with me so I can worship 232  the Lord.”

15:26 Samuel said to Saul, “I will not go back with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel!

15:27 When Samuel turned to leave, Saul 233  grabbed the edge of his robe and it tore. 15:28 Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to one of your colleagues who is better than you! 15:29 The Preeminent One 234  of Israel does not go back on his word 235  or change his mind, for he is not a human being who changes his mind.” 236  15:30 Saul 237  again replied, “I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel. Go back with me so I may worship the Lord your God.” 15:31 So Samuel followed Saul back, and Saul worshiped the Lord.

Samuel Puts Agag to Death

15:32 Then Samuel said, “Bring me King Agag of the Amalekites.” So Agag came to him trembling, 238  thinking to himself, 239 Surely death is bitter! 240  15:33 Samuel said, “Just as your sword left women childless, so your mother will be the most bereaved among women!” Then Samuel hacked Agag to pieces there in Gilgal before the Lord.

15:34 Then Samuel went to Ramah, while Saul went up to his home in Gibeah of Saul. 15:35 Until the day he 241  died Samuel did not see Saul again. Samuel did, however, mourn for Saul, but the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.

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