1 Kingdoms 14:1-15:9
1 Now it happened one day that Jonathan, the son of Saul, said to the young servant carrying his armor, “Come here! Let us cross over to that other side, into the outpost of the Philistine garrison.” But he did not tell his father of this. 2 Now Saul sat on the top of the hill under a pomegranate tree on the hill in Migron. There were about six hundred men with him. 3 And Ahijah the son of Ahitub, brother of Ichabod son of Phinehas, son of Eli the priest of the Lord in Shiloh, was wearing the ephod. But the people did not know Jonathan had left.
4 In the midst of the passage by which Jonathan sought to travel over to the encampment of the Philistines, there was a sharp rock on one side and a sharp rock on the other. The name of one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. 5 The one faced northward opposite Michmash, and the other southward opposite Gibeah. 6 Then Jonathan said to his young servant carrying his armor, “Come, let us cross over into the outpost of these uncircumcised men, if by chance the Lord will do something for us; for the Lord is not constrained to deliver by the many or by the few.” 7 So his armor-bearer said to him, “Do everything toward which your heart inclines. Behold! I am with you as your heart is my heart.” 8 Then Jonathan said, “Very well, let us cross over to these men, and we will come down over them from the hill. 9 If they should say to us, ‘You there, withdraw until we send for you,’ then we will stand by ourselves and will not go up against them. 10 But if they say thus, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the Lord has delivered them into our hands. This will be a sign to us.”
11 When both of them went up to the Philistine garrison, the Philistines said, “Look, the Hebrews came out of the holes they dug, where they hid themselves.” 12 Then the men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armor-bearer and said, “Come against us and we will show you something.” Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Come up after I do, for the Lord has delivered them into the hands of Israel.” 13 Then Jonathan, with his armor-bearer after him, went up on his hands and knees. They looked upon the face of Jonathan, and he struck them. Even his armor-bearer killed them. 14 This was the first slaughter Jonathan and his armor-bearer made, taking twenty men with arrows and slings and pebbles of the field. 15 Bewilderment came over the army camp and in the field. All the troops in the garrison, and those being utterly destroyed, were in a state of shock and could not act. The land was astounded, and bewilderment came from the Lord.
16 Now the watchmen of Saul looked, and behold, from here it was seen that the opposing army was having trouble, and 17 Saul said to the people with him, “Number yourselves now and see who has gone out from us.” And they made a roll call, and Jonathan and his armor-bearer were not found. 18 And Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ephod here.” For on that day the ephod was raised up in the presence of Israel. 19 Now it happened as Saul spoke to the priest, that the noise in the camp of the Philistines became louder. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hands.” 20 Then Saul and all the people with him cried aloud, and they went into battle. Indeed, every man’s sword was against the enemy next to him. There was great confusion. 21 And the slaves who were with the Philistines before that time and went up with them to the camp changed loyalties and joined the Israelites, along with Saul and Jonathan. 22 Likewise all the men of Israel hidden in the mountains of Ephraim, when they heard the Philistines had fled, followed hard after them in battle. 23 On that day, the Lord saved Israel.
All the troops with Saul were about ten thousand men. The battle itself shifted to Beth Aven, and it extended to all the cities in the mountain of Ephraim. 24 In ignorance, Saul, unaware of the full extent of what had happened that day, placed the people under an oath, saying, “Cursed is the man who eats food until the evening, and those opposed to me, I will punish.” So none of the people tasted food. 25 Before this, all the troops had not eaten. And then they came to an oak tree with a beehive nearby on the ground. 26 As the men approached the beehive, they continued talking, and no one put his hand to his mouth, for they feared the oath to the Lord. 27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath. Therefore he stretched out the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in a honeycomb. He put his hand to his mouth and his countenance brightened. 28 Then one of the people answered and said, “Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed is the man who eats food this day.’ ” But the people were growing weary, 29 and Jonathan knew it, and said, “See indeed, my father has troubled the land, but look now, how my countenance has brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 Truly, if the people had freely eaten today from the spoils of their enemies, the slaughter among the Philistines would have been greater.”
31 Now on that day, Saul smote the Philistines in Michmash, but the people were extremely weary. 32 And the people turned to the spoils and took sheep, oxen, and calves. And they slaughtered them on the ground, and the people ate them with the blood. 33 This was told Saul, saying, “They have sinned against the Lord by eating with the blood!” So Saul said, “Roll a large stone to me here out of Gethem.” 34 And Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people and say to them, ‘Everyone bring his ox and his sheep here and slaughter them here on this stone. Then eat, but do not sin against the Lord by eating with the blood.’ ” So each of the people brought what was in his hand, and they slaughtered them there. 35 Then Saul built an altar to the Lord. This was the first altar he built to the Lord.
36 And Saul said, “Let us go down against the Philistines by night and plunder them until dawn. Let us not leave a man among them.” And they said, “Do whatever seems good to you. Then the priest said, “Come here; let us draw near to God.” 37 So Saul asked God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will You deliver them into the hands of Israel?” But He did not answer him on that day. 38 And Saul said, “Bring here all the chiefs of Israel, and know and see today by whom this sin came to be. 39 As the Lord lives who saved Israel, if the answer should be against Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” And from among all the people no answer was given by anyone. 40 Then Saul said to all Israel, “You may be bound, or I and my son Jonathan may be bound.” And the people said to Saul, “Do what seems good to you.”
41 Saul then said to the Lord God of Israel, “Why did you not answer your servant today? O Lord God of Israel, if there is wrongdoing in me or in Jonathan my son, give clarity. And if you say this, give mercy to your people Israel.” So Saul and Jonathan were designated by lot, and the people escaped. 42 Then Saul said, “Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son. Whoever the Lord designates by lot, let him die.” But the people said to Saul, “This is not the right thing to do.” But Saul prevailed over the people, and they cast lots between him and Jonathan his son. Jonathan was appointed by lot. 43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you did.” And Jonathan told him, saying, “I was tasting a little honey with the end of the rod that was in my hand. Behold! I must die!” 44 So Saul said to him, “May God do the same to me, and more also, for you shall die today.” 45 But the people said to Saul, “Should he who brought this great deliverance in Israel die? As the Lord lives, not one hair of his head should fall to the ground, for the people of God prevailed on that day.” In this way, the people interceded for Jonathan that day, and he did not die. 46 Then Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.
The Royal Family
47 Now Saul accepted his portion of the work for Israel, and waged war round about on all his enemies: against Moab, against the sons of Ammon, against the sons of Edom, against Betheor, against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he was victorious. 48 And he gathered an army and smote the Amalekites and delivered Israel from out of the hands of those despising him. 49 The sons of Saul were Jonathan, Jishui, and Malchishua. The name of his firstborn daughter was Merab, and the name of the younger was Michal. 50 The name of his wife was Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz. And the name of the commander of his army was Abner the son of Ner, of the house of Saul. 51 Kish was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Jamin, the son of Abiel. 52 Now there was fierce war with the Philistines all the days of Saul. And when Saul saw any mighty man or any valiant man, he gathered him for himself.
Defeat of the Amalekites
1 Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the Lord. 2 Thus says the Lord Sabaoth, ‘I will exact vengeance for what Amalek did to Israel when he met Israel on his journey coming out of Egypt. 3 Now go and strike down Amalek and Jerim and all of his things, and take nothing from him. You shall utterly destroy him. You shall curse him and everything that is his. You shall not spare anything of his. And you shall slay both man and woman, infant and nursing child, calf and sheep, and camel and donkey.’ ” 4 So Saul told the people and numbered them in Gilgal, four hundred thousand troops, and from Judah thirty thousand troops. 5 And Saul came to the cities of Amalek and set an ambush in the valley. 6 Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Go and depart from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed mercy to the sons of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from the midst of Amalek.
7 Saul attacked the Amalekites from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is before Egypt. 8 He took captive Agag king of the Amalekites, and he killed all the people of Jerim with the edge of the sword. 9 But Saul and all the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the vineyards, and everything good. They had no desire to utterly destroy them—only every despised and worthless thing; these they destroyed.
1 An ode of a psalm for Asaph.
2 O God, who can be likened to You?
Be not silent nor appeased, O God,
3 For behold, Your enemies made a noise,
And those who hate You raised up their heads.
4 They devised a wicked judgment against Your people,
And they plotted against Your saints.
5 They said, “Come, and let us destroy them from among the people,
And let the name Israel be remembered no more.”
6 For they plotted together in unity;
They established a covenant against You:
7 The tents of the Edomites and the Ishmaelites,
Moab and the Hagarenes,
8 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek,
And foreigners with the inhabitants of Tyre;
9 And even Assyria joined with them;
They came to the aid of the sons of Lot.
10 Deal with them as with Midian and Sisera,
As with Jabin at the Brook Kishon;
11 They were destroyed at Endor;
They became like dung on the earth.
12 Make their rulers like Oreb and Zeeb,
And all their rulers like Zebah and Zalmunna,
13 Who said, “Let us inherit the holy place of God for ourselves.”
14 O my God, turn them like a wheel,
Like straw before the face of the wind,
15 Like fire that burns through a thicket,
Like a flame that sets mountains on fire;
16 Thus You shall pursue them with Your storm,
And You shall trouble them in your wrath.
17 Fill their faces with disgrace,
And they shall seek Your name, O Lord.
18 Let them be disgraced and troubled unto ages of ages,
And let them be shamed and destroyed;
19 And let them know Your name is the Lord,
That You alone are Most High over all the earth.
16 He who judges the unrighteous as righteous, and the righteous as unrighteous,
He is unclean and abominable before God.
17 Why do goods belong to a man without discernment?
For a heartless man is unable to gain wisdom.
18 He who makes his own house lofty seeks destruction,
And the one who turns away from learning will fall into evils.
19 Let a friend be with you on every occasion,
And let brethren be useful in necessities,
For they are begotten for this reason.
20 A man without discernment applauds and rejoices over himself,
As also the one who gives himself as surety for his friend.
37 Now it happened on the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, that a great multitude met Him.
38 Suddenly a man from the multitude cried out, saying, “Teacher, I implore You, look on my son, for he is my only child.
39 “And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out; it convulses him so that he foams at the mouth; and it departs from him with great difficulty, bruising him.
40 “So I implored Your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.”
41 Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.”
42 And as he was still coming, the demon threw him down and convulsed him. Then Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the child, and gave him back to his father.
Jesus Again Predicts His Death
(Matt. 17:22, 23; Mark 9:30–32)
43 And they were all amazed at the majesty of God. But while everyone marveled at all the things which Jesus did, He said to His disciples,
44 “Let these words sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.”
45 But they did not understand this saying, and it was hidden from them so that they did not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this saying.
Who Is the Greatest?
(Matt. 18:1–5; Mark 9:33–37)
46 Then a dispute arose among them as to which of them would be greatest.
47 And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a little child and set him by Him,
48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.”
Jesus Forbids Sectarianism
49 Now John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.”
50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.”
A Samaritan Village Rejects the Savior
51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,
52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him.
53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.
54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”
55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.
56 “For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.
The Cost of Discipleship
57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”
58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”
62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”