1One day, Jonathan said to the young man who carried his weapons, “Come with me; we will go over to where the Philistia soldiers have put up their tents.” So they went, but Jonathan did not tell his father what they were going to do.
2On that day, Saul and the 600 soldiers who were with him were sitting around a pomegranate tree at a place where the people threshed grain, near Gibeah.
3Ahijah the priest was also there. He was wearing the sacred vest. Ahijah was the son of Ahitub, who was a brother of Ichabod. Ichabod and Ahitub were the sons of Phinehas, who was the son of Eli, who had been Yahweh's priest at Shiloh. No one knew that Jonathan had left the Israeli camp.
4Jonathan planned that he and the young man would go through a narrow ◄pass/place between two cliffs► to get to where the Philistia army was. The cliff on one side of the pass was named Bozez, and the other cliff was named Seneh.
5One cliff faced north toward Micmash, and the cliff on the other side faced south toward Geba town.
6Jonathan said to the young man who carried his weapons, “Come with me. We will go to where those ◄pagans/people who do not believe in Yahweh► MTY have set up their tents. Perhaps Yahweh will help us. It does not matter whether we are only two men or many people; nothing can hinder Yahweh from enabling us to defeat them.”
7The young man who was carrying Jonathan's weapons said, “Do what you think is the best thing for us to do. I will help you.”
8Then Jonathan said, “Okay, come with me. We will cross the valley to where the Philistia army is, and allow them to see us.
9If they then say to us, ‘You two stay there until we come down to you,’ we will stay there and not go up to them.
10But if they say to us, ‘Come up here and fight against us,’ that will show us that Yahweh will enable us to defeat them. Then we will go up and fight them.”
11When the two of them crossed the valley, the Philistia soldiers saw them coming. They said, “Look! The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes in which they have been hiding!”
12Then the Philistia soldiers who were closest to Jonathan and the young man who carried his weapons said, “Come up here, and we will teach you something about how to fight IDM!” Jonathan said to the young man who was with him, “Come behind me and climb up, because Yahweh is going to help us to defeat them!”
13So Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and his feet because it was very steep. The young man climbed up following him. As Jonathan climbed, he struck and killed many Philistia soldiers, and the young man who was with him killed many more as he followed behind Jonathan.
14In that first battle the two of them killed about twenty Philistia soldiers in an area that was about half an acre.
15Then all the other Philistia soldiers, the ones in the camp and the ones who had been attacking the Israeli towns, ones who were out in the field much closer, panicked. Then God caused the ground to shake, and they all became terrified/very afraid.
16Saul's ◄lookouts/men who were watching to see if enemies were coming► were in Gibeah town in the land of the tribe of Benjamin. They saw that the soldiers of the Philistia army were running away in all directions.
17Saul realized that some of his soldiers must have attacked the Philistia army. So he said to the soldiers who were with him, “Check to see if any of our men are not here.” So they checked, and they found out that Jonathan and the man who carried his weapons were gone.
18So Saul said to Ahijah the Supreme Priest, “Bring the sacred vest here and find out what we should do.” On that day Ahijah was wearing the sacred vest, going in front of the Israelis.
19But while Saul was talking to the priest, he saw that the Philistia soldiers were becoming more panicked/confused. So Saul said to Ahijah, “Take your hand down from the sacred vest. Do not waste any more time using the marked stones in the vest to find out what Yahweh wants us to do.”
20Then Saul gathered his men and they went toward the battle. They found that the Philistia soldiers were so confused that they were striking each other with their swords.
21Before that, some of the Hebrew men had deserted their army and gone to join with the Philistia army. But now those men revolted and joined with Saul and Jonathan and the other Israeli soldiers.
22Some of the Israeli soldiers had previously run away and hidden in the mountains where the tribe of Ephraim lived. But when they heard that the Philistia soldiers were running away, they came down and joined the other Israeli soldiers and pursued the Philistia soldiers.
23So Yahweh rescued the Israelis on that day. The Israeli soldiers continued to pursue their enemies beyond Beth-Aven town.
24Before Saul's soldiers went to the battle, Saul declared to them solemnly, “I do not want any of you to eat any food before this evening, before we have defeated all our enemies. If anyone eats anything, Yahweh will curse/punish him.” So none of the Israeli soldiers ate any food, and they became faint/weak because they were very hungry.
25The Israeli army went into the forest, and they found honeycombs on the ground, but they did not eat any honey.
26They were afraid to eat any, because they had solemnly promised that they would not eat any food.
27But Jonathan did not hear what his father commanded because he had left the camp very early in the morning. So when he saw a honeycomb, he dipped the end of his walking stick into it and ate some honey. After he ate the honey, he felt stronger.
28But one of the Israeli soldiers saw him and said to him, “Your father solemnly declared to us that Yahweh would curse/punish anyone who ate any food today. So now we are very tired and weak from being hungry because we obeyed him.”
29Jonathan exclaimed, “My father has caused trouble for all of us! See how refreshed/strong I am after eating a little honey!
30If he had permitted all of us to eat from the food we took from our enemies while we were pursuing them, we would have been able to kill many more of their soldiers!”
31The Israelis pursued and killed Philistia soldiers all that day, from Micmash town west to Aijalon. But they continued to become weaker from being hungry.
32They had taken many sheep and cattle that the Philistia soldiers had abandoned. Now, because they were extremely hungry, they butchered some of those animals and ate the meat without draining the blood from the animals.
33One of the soldiers told Saul, “Look! The men are sinning against Yahweh by eating meat that still has blood in it!” Saul replied to the men who were near him, “They have disobeyed Yahweh! Roll a large stone over here!”
34After they did that, he said to those men, “Go and tell all the soldiers that each of them must bring an ox or a sheep to me, and kill it here on this stone, and drain the blood before he eats any of the meat. They should not sin against Yahweh by eating meat from some animal without draining its blood.” So that night all the soldiers brought animals and slaughtered them there. Then Saul built an altar to worship Yahweh.
35That was the first time that he built an altar for Yahweh.
36Then Saul said to the Israeli soldiers, “Let's pursue the Philistia soldiers tonight. We can attack them all night. We will not allow any of them to escape alive.” The Israeli soldiers answered, “We will do whatever you think is the best thing for us to do.” But the priest said, “We should ask Yahweh what he thinks we should do.”
37So Saul asked God, “Should we pursue the Philistine soldiers? Will you enable us to defeat them?” But God did not answer Saul that day.
38Then Saul summoned all the leaders of his army. He said to them, “ I am sure that God has not answered me because someone has sinned. We must find out what sin someone has committed.
39Yahweh has rescued us from the Philistia army. Just as certain as Yahweh lives, whoever has sinned must be executed. Even if it is my son Jonathan who has sinned, he must be executed.” His men knew who was guilty, but none of them said anything to Saul.
40Then Saul said to all the Israeli soldiers, “You stand on one side. My son Jonathan and I will stand on the other side.” His men replied, “Do whatever you think is best.”
41Then Saul prayed to Yahweh, the Israelis' God, “Tell me who is guilty and who is not guilty.” Then the priest ◄cast lots/threw the stones that were marked►, and they indicated that it was either Jonathan or Saul who was the guilty one, and that the other men were not guilty.
42Then Saul said to the priest, “Throw the stones again to indicate which of us two is guilty.” So he did, and the stones indicated that Jonathan was the guilty one.
43Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done that was wrong.” Jonathan replied, “I ate a little bit of honey. It was only a little bit that was on the end of my stick. Do I deserve to be executed because of doing that?”
44Saul replied, “Yes, you must be executed! I hope/wish that God will strike me and kill me if you are not executed for having done that!”
45But the Israeli soldiers said to Saul, “Jonathan has won a great victory for all us Israelis. Should he be executed for eating some honey RHQ? Certainly not! Just as surely as Yahweh lives, we will not allow you to injure him in any manner IDM, because today God helped Jonathan to kill many soldiers of the Philistia army!” So by saying that the Israeli soldiers rescued Jonathan, and he was not executed.
46Then Saul ordered his soldiers to stop pursuing the Philistia army, so the Philistia soldiers returned to their homes.
47After Saul became the ruler/king of the Israeli people, his army fought against their enemies in many areas. They fought against armies of the Moab people-group, the Ammon people-group, the Edom people-group, the kings of Zobah city/area, and the Philistia people-group. Wherever the Israeli army fought, they defeated their enemies.
48Saul's army fought bravely and defeated the very tall descendants of Amalek. His army rescued the Israelis from those who had ◄plundered/forcefully taken things from► them.
49Saul's sons were Jonathan, Ishbosheth, and Malchishua. He also had two daughters, Merab and her younger sister Michal.
50Saul's wife was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz. The commander of Saul's army was Abner, who was the son of Saul's uncle Ner.
51Saul's father Kish and Abner's father Ner were both sons of Abiel.
52All the time that Saul was alive, his army fought against the Philistia army. And whenever Saul saw a young man who was ◄brave/not afraid to fight► and strong, he forced him to join his army.