1That same day Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, and let’s cross over to the Philistines’ garrison that is on the other side.” But he did not tell his father.
2And Saul was sitting under the pomegranate tree that was at the threshing floor on the outskirts of Gibeah, and the people who were with him were about 600 men,
3and Ahijah was wearing an ephod. He was the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas the son of Eli, the priest of Yahweh in Shiloh. And the people did not know that Jonathan was gone.
4Between the passes by which Jonathan intended to cross over to the Philistines’ garrison, there was a tooth-shaped cliff on the one side and a tooth-shaped cliff on the other side, and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh.
5The one tooth-shaped cliff rose up on the north in front of Michmash and the other on the south in front of Geba.
6And Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, and let’s cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that Yahweh will act on our behalf, for nothing can prevent Yahweh from delivering, whether by many or by few.”
8Then Jonathan said, “Behold, we will cross over to the men and we will reveal ourselves to them.
9If they say thus to us, ‘Wait until we come to you!’ then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them.
10But if they say this, ‘Come up to us!’ then we will go up, for Yahweh has given them into our hand. That will be the sign for us.”
11So the two of them revealed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines, and the Philistines said, “Look! The Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves!”
12And the men of the garrison called out to Jonathan and his armor-bearer and said, “Come up to us and we will teach you a lesson!” Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Come up after me, for Yahweh has given them into the hand of Israel.”
13So Jonathan climbed up on his hands and on his feet with his armor-bearer behind him. And they fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer killed after him.
14Now that first slaughter that Jonathan and his armor-bearer made was about 20 men, in, as it were, half a furrow length of a team of oxen plowing in a field.
15And there was a trembling in the camp, in the field and among all the people; the garrison and the raiders, they also trembled, and the earth quaked—it was a trembling from God.
16And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked and saw the multitude melt away, going back and forth.
17Then Saul said to the people who were with him, “Count now and see who has gone out from us.” And when they had counted, behold, Jonathan and his armor-bearer were not there.
18Then Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God here” (for the ark of God on that day was with the children of Israel).
19But it came to pass that as Saul was speaking to the priest that the uproar that was in the camp of the Philistines went on and increased, so Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand!”
20And Saul and all the people who were with him were assembled and went to the battle, and behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great confusion.
21Now the Hebrews who had been with the Philistines before that time, and who went up with them into the camp, they too turned around to be with the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan.
22And when all the men of Israel who had hidden themselves in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines fled, then they also pursued them in the battle.
23So Yahweh saved Israel that day.
The battle crossed beyond Beth-aven.
24But the men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had put the people under an oath-curse, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats any food until it is evening and I have avenged myself of my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food.
25Now when all the people of the land came into the forest, there was honey on the open ground.
26And when the people came into the forest, behold, the honey flowed, but no man put his hand to his mouth, for the people were afraid of the oath.
27But Jonathan did not hear when his father charged the people with the oath, so he put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb and put his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened.
28Then one of the people answered and said, “Your father had the people swear, yes, swear, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food this day.’” And the people grew weary.
29Then Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. Look how my eyes have been brightened because I tasted a little of this honey.
30How much better would it have been if the people had eaten, yes, eaten today of the spoil of their enemies that they found? For now the strike against the Philistines has not been great.”
31They struck down of the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. And the people grew exceedingly weary.
32So the people rushed upon the spoil and took sheep and cattle and calves and slaughtered them on the ground, and the people ate them with the blood.
33Then they told Saul, saying, “Behold, the people are sinning against Yahweh by eating with the blood.” He said, “You have been unfaithful. Roll a large stone to me at once!”
34And Saul said, “Spread out among the people and tell them, ‘Each man is to bring here to me his ox or his sheep and slaughter them here and eat. But do not sin against Yahweh by eating with the blood.’” So all the people—each man who had had one—brought his ox with him that night and they slaughtered them there.
35So Saul built an altar to Yahweh. This was the first time he built an altar to Yahweh.
36And Saul said, “Let’s go down after the Philistines by night and take plunder from them until the morning light, and let’s not leave a man of them.” And they said, “Do whatever seems good in your eyes.” But the priest said, “Let’s draw near to God here.”
38Then Saul said, “Draw near here, all you “cornerstones” of the people, and know and see what sin was committed this day.
39For as Yahweh lives who saves Israel, even if it be Jonathan my son, he will die, yes, die.” But there was not a man among all the people who answered him.
42Then Saul said, “Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was captured.
43Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done!” So Jonathan told him and said, “I tasted, yes, tasted a little honey with the end of the staff that was in my hand, and behold, here I am, must I now die?”
45But the people said to Saul, “Must Jonathan die, who has worked this great salvation in Israel? Far from it! As Yahweh lives, if one of his hairs falls to the ground...for he has acted with God this day!” So the people rescued Jonathan, so that he did not die.
46Then Saul went up from following the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.
47Now when Saul had taken the kingship over Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab and against the children of Ammon and against Edom and against the kings of Zobah and against the Philistines, and wherever he turned, he was victorious.
48He acted valiantly, and struck down the Amalekites and delivered Israel out of the hands of those who plundered them.
49Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan and Ishvi and Malchishua, and the names of his two daughters: the name of the firstborn was Merab and the name of the younger was Michal;
50and the name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the leader of his army was Abner the son of Ner, Saul’s uncle.
51Kish was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.