1 Saul was thirty years old when he became king. He was king of Israel forty-two years.
2 Saul chose three thousand men from Israel. Two thousand of them were stationed with Saul at Michmash and in the mountains of Bethel. One thousand were stationed with Jonathan at Gibeah in Benjamin. He sent the rest of the people home.
3 Jonathan defeated the Philistine troops at Geba. The Philistines heard about it. With the sounding of the trumpet throughout the land, Saul announced: »Let the Hebrews listen!«
4 All Israel listened as Saul told that he had defeated the Philistine troops. Now Israel has gone on the offensive against the Philistines. All the troops rallied behind Saul at Gilgal.
5 The Philistines assembled to fight Israel. They had thirty thousand chariots, six thousand horsemen, and as many soldiers as the sand on the seashore. They camped at Michmash, east of Beth Aven.
6 The Israelite army realized that they were outnumbered and were going to lose the battle. Some of the Israelite men hid in caves, thickets and rocks. Others hid in tombs or in deep dry pits.
7 Some of them went to Gad and Gilead on the other side of the Jordan River. Saul stayed at Gilgal. His soldiers trembled with fear.
8 They were starting to run off and leave him. Saul waited there seven days, just as Samuel had ordered him to do. But Samuel did not come.
9 Saul commanded: »Bring me some animals so we can offer sacrifices to please Jehovah. Then we can ask for his help.« Saul slaughtered one of the animals,
10 and just as he was placing it on the altar, Samuel arrived. So Saul went out to welcome him.
11 Samuel asked: »What have you done?« Saul replied: »I saw the troops were scattering. You did not come when you said you would and the Philistines were assembling at Michmash.
12 »So I thought the Philistines will come against me at Gilgal. I have not sought Jehovahs favor. I felt pressured into sacrificing the burnt offering.«
13 »You did a foolish thing,« Samuel told Saul. »You did not follow the command of Jehovah your God. If you had, Jehovah would have established your kingdom over Israel from generation to generation for a very long time.
14 »Your kingdom will not last. Jehovah searched for a man after his own heart. Jehovah appointed him as ruler of his people. This is because you did not follow the command of Jehovah.«
15 Samuel left Gilgal. The rest of the people followed Saul to meet the soldiers. They went from Gilgal to Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul counted the troops who were still with him. There were about six hundred men.
16 Saul and his son Jonathan and the troops with them stayed at Geba Gebeah in Benjamin. The Philistines camped at Michmash.
17 Raiding parties left the Philistine camp in three companies. One company turned on the road to Ophrah to the region of Shual.
18 Another company turned to the road to Beth Horon. Another turned onto the road toward the region that overlooks the valley of Zeboim and the desert.
19 No blacksmith could be found in all of Israel. In this way the Philistines kept the Hebrews from making swords and spears.
20 Everyone in Israel had to go to the Philistines to sharpen the blade of his plow, his mattock, ax, or sickle.
21 The charge for sharpening plowshares and for the mattocks, and for the mattocks, and for the three-pronged forks, and for the axes was a pim.
22 So in the day of battle there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan. But with Saul and with his son Jonathan there was found sword and spear.
23 The garrison of the Philistines went out to the passage of Michmash.