1 One day Jonathan son of Saul said to his armor-bearer, Come, let us go over to the Philistine garrison on the other side. But he did not tell his father. 2 Saul was remaining in the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron; and with him were about 600 men, 3 And Ahijah son of Ahitub, Ichabod's brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord's priest in Shiloh, was wearing the ephod. And the people did not know that Jonathan was gone. 4 Between the passes by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistine garrison there was a rocky crag on the one side and a rocky crag on the other side; one was named Bozez, and the other Seneh. 5 The one crag rose on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba.
6 And Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, Come, and let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For there is nothing to prevent the Lord from saving by many or by few. 7 And his armor-bearer said to him, Do all that is in your mind; I am with you in whatever you think [best]. 8 Jonathan said, We will pass over to these men and we will let them see us. 9 If they say to us, Wait until we come to you, then we will stand still in our place and will not go up to them. 10 But if they say, Come up to us, we will go up, for the Lord has delivered them into our hand, and this will be our sign. 11 So both of them let the Philistine garrison see them. And the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves. 12 The garrison men said to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, Come up to us and we will show you a thing. Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, Come up after me, for the Lord has given them into Israel's hand. 13 Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, his armor-bearer after him; and the enemy fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer killed them after him. 14 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]. 15 And there was trembling and panic in the [Philistine] camp, in the field, and among all the men; the garrison, and even the raiders trembled; the earth quaked, and it became a terror from God.
16 Saul's watchmen in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and behold, the multitude melted away and went hither and thither. 17 Then Saul said to the men with him, Number and see who is gone from us. When they numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armor-bearer were missing. 18 Saul said to Ahijah, Bring here the ark of God -- "for at that time the ark of God was with the children of Israel. 19 While Saul talked to the priest, the tumult in the Philistine camp kept increasing. Then Saul said to the priest, Withdraw your hand. 20 Then Saul and all the people with him rallied and went into the battle, and behold, every [Philistine's] sword was against his fellow in wild confusion. 21 Moreover, the Hebrews who 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 who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 Likewise, all the men of Israel who had hid themselves in the hill country of Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, they also went after them in hot pursuit in the battle. 23 So the Lord delivered Israel that day, and the battle passed beyond Beth-aven.
Saul’s Foolish Order
24 But the men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had caused them to take an oath, saying, Cursed be the man who eats any food before evening and until I have taken vengeance on my enemies. So none of the men tasted any food. 25 And all the people of the land came to a wood, and there was honey on the ground. 26 When the men entered the wood, behold, the honey was dripping, but no man tasted it, for the men feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard when his father charged the people with the oath. So he dipped the end of the rod in his hand into a honeycomb and put it to his mouth, and his [weary] eyes brightened. 28 Then one of the men told him, Your father strictly charged the men with an oath, saying, Cursed be the man who eats any food today. And the people were exhausted and faint. 29 Then Jonathan said, My father has troubled the land. See how my eyes have brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much better if the men had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies which they found! For now the slaughter of the Philistines has not been great.
31 They smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. And the people were very faint. 32 [When night came and the oath expired] the men flew upon the spoil. They took sheep, oxen, and calves, slew them on the ground, and ate them [raw] with the blood. 33 Then Saul was told, Behold, the men are sinning against the Lord by eating with the blood. And he said, You have transgressed; roll a great stone to me here. 34 Saul said, Disperse yourselves among the people and tell them, Bring me every man his ox or his sheep, and butcher them here and eat; and sin not against the Lord by eating the blood. So all the men brought each one his ox that night and butchered it there. 35 And Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first altar he built to the Lord.
36 Then Saul said, Let us go down after the Philistines by night and seize and plunder them until daylight, and let us not leave a man of them. They said, Do whatever seems good to you. Then the priest said, Let us draw near here to God. 37 And Saul asked counsel of God, Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will You deliver them into the hand of Israel? But He did not answer him that day. 38 Then Saul said, Draw near, all the chiefs of the people, and let us see how this sin [causing God's silence] arose today. 39 For as the Lord lives, Who delivers Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die. But not a man among all the people answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, You be on one side; and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side. The people said to Saul, Do what seems good to you. 41 Therefore Saul said to the Lord, the God of Israel, Give a perfect lot and show the right. And Saul and Jonathan were taken [by lot], but the other men went free. 42 Saul said, Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan was taken.
43 Saul said to Jonathan, Tell me what you have done. And Jonathan said, I tasted a little honey with the end of the rod that was in my hand. And behold, I must die. 44 Saul answered, May God do so, and more also, for you shall surely die, Jonathan. 45 But the people said to Saul, Shall Jonathan, who has wrought this great deliverance to Israel, die? God forbid! As the Lord lives, there shall not one hair of his head perish, for he has wrought this great deliverance with God this day. So the people rescued Jonathan, and he did not die. 46 Then Saul ceased pursuing the Philistines, and they went to their own place.
47 When Saul took over the kingdom of Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he made it worse for them. 48 He did valiantly and smote the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of those who plundered them.
49 Now Saul's sons were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchi-shua; and the names of his two daughters were, of the firstborn, Merab; and of the younger, Michal. 50 The name of Saul's wife was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The commander of his army was Abner son of Ner, Saul's uncle. 51 Kish the father of Saul and Ner the father of Abner were sons of Abiel.