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 <<  1 Samuel 13 >> 

Campaign against the Philistines

1SAUL was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel for twenty-two years.

2Saul 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; the rest of the army he dismissed to their homes.

3Jonathan defeated the Philistine garrison in Geba, and the news spread among the Philistines that the Hebrews were in revolt. Saul sounded the trumpet all through the land;

4and when the Israelites heard that Saul had defeated a Philistine garrison and that the very name of Israel was offensive among the Philistines, they answered the call to arms and rallied to Saul at Gilgal.

5The Philistines mustered to attack Israel; they had thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horse, with infantry as countless as sand on the seashore. 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 his followers were in a state of alarm.

8He waited seven days for his meeting with Samuel, but Samuel failed to appear, and when the people began to drift away,

9Saul said, “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?” Saul answered, “I saw that the people were drifting away from me, and you yourself had not come at the time fixed, and the Philistines were mustering at Michmash;

12and I thought, ‘The Philistines will now fall on me at Gilgal, and I have not ensured the LORD's favour’; so I felt compelled to make the whole-offering myself.”

13Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted 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 out a man after his own heart, and appoint him prince over his people, because you have not kept the LORD's command.”

15Without more ado Samuel left Gilgal 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 his followers; they were about six hundred men.

16Saul, his son Jonathan, and their men 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 headed 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 all 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 pointing the goads.

22So when war broke out the followers of Saul and Jonathan had neither sword nor spear; only Saul and Jonathan carried arms.

23The Philistines had posted a company of troops to hold the pass of Michmash,

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 <<  1 Samuel 13 >> 

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