1 Samuel 14:1-52, NLT
1 Samuel 14
Jonathan’s Daring Plan
1One day Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come on, let’s go over to where the Philistines have their outpost.” But Jonathan did not tell his father what he was doing.
2Meanwhile, Saul and his 600 men were camped on the outskirts of Gibeah, around the pomegranate tree*14:2 Or around the rock of Rimmon; compare Judg 20:45, 47; 21:13. at Migron.
No one realized that Jonathan had left the Israelite camp.
7“Do what you think is best,” the armor bearer replied. “I’m with you completely, whatever you decide.”
8“All right, then,” Jonathan told him. “We will cross over and let them see us.
11When the Philistines saw them coming, they shouted, “Look! The Hebrews are crawling out of their holes!”
“Come on, climb right behind me,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “for the Lord will help us defeat them!”
13So they climbed up using both hands and feet, and the Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor bearer killed those who came behind them.
15Suddenly, panic broke out in the Philistine army, both in the camp and in the field, including even the outposts and raiding parties. And just then an earthquake struck, and everyone was terrified.
Israel Defeats the Philistines
16Saul’s lookouts in Gibeah of Benjamin saw a strange sight—the vast army of Philistines began to melt away in every direction.*14:16 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads they went and there.
18Then Saul shouted to Ahijah, “Bring the ephod here!” For at that time Ahijah was wearing the ephod in front of the Israelites.*14:18 As in some Greek manuscripts; Hebrew reads “Bring the Ark of God.” For at that time the Ark of God was with the Israelites.
20Then Saul and all his men rushed out to the battle and found the Philistines killing each other. There was terrible confusion everywhere.
Saul’s Foolish Oath
24Now the men of Israel were pressed to exhaustion that day, because Saul had placed them under an oath, saying, “Let a curse fall on anyone who eats before evening—before I have full revenge on my enemies.” So no one ate anything all day,
27But Jonathan had not heard his father’s command, and he dipped the end of his stick into a piece of honeycomb and ate the honey. After he had eaten it, he felt refreshed.*14:27 Or his eyes brightened; similarly in 14:29.
29“My father has made trouble for us all!” Jonathan exclaimed. “A command like that only hurts us. See how refreshed I am now that I have eaten this little bit of honey.
31They chased and killed the Philistines all day from Micmash to Aijalon, growing more and more faint.
“That is very wrong,” Saul said. “Find a large stone and roll it over here.
So that night all the troops brought their animals and slaughtered them there.
36Then Saul said, “Let’s chase the Philistines all night and plunder them until sunrise. Let’s destroy every last one of them.”
His men replied, “We’ll do whatever you think is best.”
But the priest said, “Let’s ask God first.”
37So Saul asked God, “Should we go after the Philistines? Will you help us defeat them?” But God made no reply that day.
38Then Saul said to the leaders, “Something’s wrong! I want all my army commanders to come here. We must find out what sin was committed today.
40Then Saul said, “Jonathan and I will stand over here, and all of you stand over there.”
And the people responded to Saul, “Whatever you think is best.”
41Then Saul prayed, “O Lord, God of Israel, please show us who is guilty and who is innocent.*14:41 Greek version adds If the fault is with me or my son Jonathan, respond with Urim; but if the men of Israel are at fault, respond with Thummim.” Then they cast sacred lots, and Jonathan and Saul were chosen as the guilty ones, and the people were declared innocent.
42Then Saul said, “Now cast lots again and choose between me and Jonathan.” And Jonathan was shown to be the guilty one.
43“Tell me what you have done,” Saul demanded of Jonathan.
“I tasted a little honey,” Jonathan admitted. “It was only a little bit on the end of my stick. Does that deserve death?”
44“Yes, Jonathan,” Saul said, “you must die! May God strike me and even kill me if you do not die for this.”
45But the people broke in and said to Saul, “Jonathan has won this great victory for Israel. Should he die? Far from it! As surely as the Lord lives, not one hair on his head will be touched, for God helped him do a great deed today.” So the people rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death.
46Then Saul called back the army from chasing the Philistines, and the Philistines returned home.
Saul’s Military Successes
47Now when Saul had secured his grasp on Israel’s throne, he fought against his enemies in every direction—against Moab, Ammon, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. And wherever he turned, he was victorious.*14:47 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads he acted wickedly.
49Saul’s sons included Jonathan, Ishbosheth,*14:49 Hebrew Ishvi, a variant name for Ishbosheth; also known as Esh-baal. and Malkishua. He also had two daughters: Merab, who was older, and Michal.
52The Israelites fought constantly with the Philistines throughout Saul’s lifetime. So whenever Saul observed a young man who was brave and strong, he drafted him into his army.