Amplified Bible

1 Samuel 13

War with the Philistines

1Saul was [a]thirty years old when he began to reign, and [b]he reigned [c]forty-two years over Israel.

Saul chose for himself 3,000 men of Israel; of whom 2,000 were with him in Michmash and in the hill country of Bethel, while 1,000 were with Jonathan at Gibeah of Benjamin. But he sent the rest of the people away, each one to his own tent. Jonathan attacked and defeated the Philistine garrison which was at Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul blew the trumpet throughout the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear.” All Israel heard that Saul had defeated the Philistine garrison, and also that Israel had become despicable to the Philistines. And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.

Now the Philistines gathered to fight against Israel, 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen, and troops in multitude, like sand on the seashore. They came up and camped at Michmash, east of Beth-aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in a tight situation (for their troops were hard-pressed), they hid in caves, in thickets, in cellars, and in [dry] cisterns (pits). Also some of the Hebrews had crossed the [river] Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him, trembling [in fear and anticipation].

Now Saul waited seven days, according to the appointed time which Samuel had set, but Samuel had not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering away from Saul. So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” And [d]he offered the burnt offering [which he was forbidden to do]. 10 As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, [e]Samuel finally came; Saul went out to meet and to [f]welcome him. 11 But Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul said, “Since I saw that the people were scattering away from me, and that you did not come within the appointed time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, 12 therefore, I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked for the Lord’s favor [by making supplication to Him].’ So I forced myself to offer the burnt offering.” 13 Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, for [if you had obeyed] the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man (David) after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as leader and ruler over His people, because you have not kept (obeyed) what the Lord commanded you.”

15 Then Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul assembled and counted the people who were still with him, [only] about six hundred [fighting] men. 16 Saul and his son Jonathan and the people with them were staying in Geba of Benjamin, while the Philistines camped at Michmash. 17 And the raiding party came from the Philistine camp in three companies: one company turned toward Ophrah, to the land of Shual, 18 another company turned toward Beth-horon, and another toward the border overlooking the Valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.

19 Now no [g]blacksmith (metal-worker) could be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears.” 20 So all [the men of] Israel went down to the Philistines, each to get his plowshare, pick, axe, or sickle sharpened. 21 The fee [for sharpening] was a pim (two-thirds of a shekel) for the plowshares, the picks, the pitchforks, and the axes, and to straighten the goads (cattle prods). 22 So it came about on the day of battle that [h]neither sword nor spear was found in the hands of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan; but Saul and Jonathan his son had them. 23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass at Michmash.

Notas al pie

  1. 1 Samuel 13:1 As in some mss of the LXX; Hebrew omits thirty. The original wording of this verse is uncertain.
  2. 1 Samuel 13:1 Or after he reigned two years over Israel Saul chose...
  3. 1 Samuel 13:1 See Acts 13:21; Hebrew omits forty.
  4. 1 Samuel 13:9 This was a direct violation of the instructions Samuel had given to Saul (10:8).
  5. 1 Samuel 13:10 Lit behold, Samuel came.
  6. 1 Samuel 13:10 Lit bless.
  7. 1 Samuel 13:19 Israel lacked the ability to produce iron until the time of Solomon.
  8. 1 Samuel 13:22 Because the Israelite did not yet know how to work iron, their weapons were limited to the bow and arrow, and the sling. The sling was a formidable projectile weapon that had a small cradle or pouch between two lengths of cord. It was used not only in combat by ancient people, but also for hunting game.

The Message

1 Samuel 13

“God Is Out Looking for Your Replacement”

1Saul was a young man when he began as king. He was king over Israel for many years.

Saul conscripted enough men for three companies of soldiers. He kept two companies under his command at Micmash and in the Bethel hills. The other company was under Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. He sent the rest of the men home.

3-4 Jonathan attacked and killed the Philistine governor stationed at Geba (Gibeah). When the Philistines heard the news, they raised the alarm: “The Hebrews are in revolt!” Saul ordered the reveille trumpets blown throughout the land. The word went out all over Israel, “Saul has killed the Philistine governor—drawn first blood! The Philistines are stirred up and mad as hornets!” Summoned, the army came to Saul at Gilgal.

The Philistines rallied their forces to fight Israel: three companies of chariots, six companies of cavalry, and so many infantry they looked like sand on the seashore. They went up into the hills and set up camp at Micmash, east of Beth Aven.

6-7 When the Israelites saw that they were way outnumbered and in deep trouble, they ran for cover, hiding in caves and pits, ravines and brambles and cisterns—wherever. They retreated across the Jordan River, refugees fleeing to the country of Gad and Gilead. But Saul held his ground in Gilgal, his soldiers still with him but scared to death.

He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel. Samuel failed to show up at Gilgal, and the soldiers were slipping away, right and left.

9-10 So Saul took charge: “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” He went ahead and sacrificed the burnt offering. No sooner had he done it than Samuel showed up! Saul greeted him.

11-12 Samuel said, “What on earth are you doing?”

Saul answered, “When I saw I was losing my army from under me, and that you hadn’t come when you said you would, and that the Philistines were poised at Micmash, I said, ‘The Philistines are about to come down on me in Gilgal, and I haven’t yet come before God asking for his help.’ So I took things into my own hands, and sacrificed the burnt offering.”

13-14 “That was a fool thing to do,” Samuel said to Saul. “If you had kept the appointment that your God commanded, by now God would have set a firm and lasting foundation under your kingly rule over Israel. As it is, your kingly rule is already falling to pieces. God is out looking for your replacement right now. This time he’ll do the choosing. When he finds him, he’ll appoint him leader of his people. And all because you didn’t keep your appointment with God!”

15 At that, Samuel got up and left Gilgal. What army there was left followed Saul into battle. They went into the hills from Gilgal toward Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul looked over and assessed the soldiers still with him—a mere six hundred!

Jonathan and His Armor Bearer

16-18 Saul, his son Jonathan, and the soldiers who had remained made camp at Geba (Gibeah) of Benjamin. The Philistines were camped at Micmash. Three squads of raiding parties were regularly sent out from the Philistine camp. One squadron was assigned to the Ophrah road going toward Shual country; another was assigned to the Beth Horon road; the third took the border road that rimmed the Valley of Hyenas.

19-22 There wasn’t a blacksmith to be found anywhere in Israel. The Philistines made sure of that—“Lest those Hebrews start making swords and spears.” That meant that the Israelites had to go down among the Philistines to keep their farm tools—plowshares and mattocks, axes and sickles—sharp and in good repair. They charged a silver coin for the plowshares and mattocks, and half that for the rest. So when the battle of Micmash was joined, there wasn’t a sword or spear to be found anywhere in Israel—except for Saul and his son Jonathan; they were both well-armed.

23 A patrol of Philistines took up a position at Micmash Pass.