1 Samuel 14

Jonathan’s Victory

14 Now the day came that Jonathan, the son of Saul, said to the young man who was carrying 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. Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under the pomegranate tree that is in Migron. And the people who were with him numbered about six hundred men; and Ahijah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the priest of the Lord at Shiloh, was [a]wearing an ephod. And the people did not know that Jonathan had gone. Now between the gorges by which Jonathan sought to cross over to the Philistines’ garrison there was a rocky crag on the one side, and a rocky crag on the other side; and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other, Seneh. The one crag rose on the north opposite Michmash, and the other on the south opposite Geba.

Then Jonathan said to the young man who was carrying his armor, “Come, and let’s cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men; perhaps the Lord will work for us, because the Lord is not limited to saving by many or by few!” His armor bearer said to him, “Do everything that is in your heart; turn yourself to it, and here I am with you, as your heart desires.” Then Jonathan said, “Behold, we are going to cross over to the men and reveal ourselves to them. If they [b]say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you’; then we will stand in our place and not go up to them. 10 But if they [c]say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the Lord has handed them over to us; and this shall be the sign to us.” 11 When the two of them revealed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines, the Philistines said, “Behold, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have kept themselves hidden.” 12 So the men of the garrison responded to Jonathan and his armor bearer and said, “Come up to us and we will inform you of something.” And Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Come up after me, for the Lord has handed them over to Israel.” 13 Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, with his armor bearer behind him; and the men fell before Jonathan, and his armor bearer put some to death after him. 14 Now that first slaughter which Jonathan and his armor bearer inflicted was about twenty men within about half a furrow in an acre of land. 15 And there was a trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. Even the garrison and the raiders trembled, and the earth quaked so that it became a [d]great trembling.

16 Now Saul’s watchmen in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and behold, the multitude dissolved; they went here and there. 17 So Saul said to the people who were with him, “Look carefully now and see who has left us.” And when they had looked, behold, Jonathan and his armor bearer were not there. 18 Then Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God here.” For at that time the ark of God was with the sons of Israel. 19 While Saul talked to the priest, the commotion in the camp of the Philistines continued and increased; so Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” 20 Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and came to the battle; and behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow Philistine, and there was very great confusion. 21 Now the Hebrews who were with the Philistines previously, who went up with them all around in the camp, even they also returned to be with the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the men of Israel who had kept themselves hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines had fled, they also closely pursued them in the battle. 23 So the Lord saved Israel that day, and the battle [e]spread beyond Beth-aven.

Saul’s Foolish Order

24 Now the men of Israel were hard-pressed on that day, for Saul had put the people under oath, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats food [f]before evening, and before I have avenged myself on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food. 25 All the people of the land entered the forest, and there was honey on the ground. 26 When the people entered the forest, behold, there was honey dripping; but no man put his hand to his mouth, because the people feared the oath. 27 However, Jonathan had not heard it when his father put the people under 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 [g]brightened. 28 Then one of the people responded and said, “Your father strictly put the people under oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food today.’” And the people were weary. 29 Then Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. See now that my eyes have brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much more, if only the people had freely eaten today of the spoils of their enemies which they found! For now the defeat among the Philistines has not been great.”

31 They attacked the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. But the people were very tired. 32 So the people loudly rushed upon the spoils, and took sheep, oxen, and calves, and slaughtered them on the ground; and the people ate them with the blood. 33 Then observers informed Saul, saying, “Look, the people are sinning against the Lord by eating meat with the blood.” And he said, “You have acted treacherously; roll a large rock to me today.” 34 Then Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people and say to them, ‘Each one of you bring me his ox or his sheep, and slaughter it here and eat; and do not sin against the Lord by eating it with the blood.’” So all the people brought them that night, each one his ox [h]with him, and they slaughtered them there. 35 And Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first altar that he built to the Lord.

36 Then Saul said, “Let’s go down after the Philistines by night and take plunder among them until the morning light, and let’s not leave a man among them alive.” And they said, “Do whatever seems good [i]to you.” So the priest said, “Let’s approach God here.” 37 So Saul inquired of God: “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will You hand them over to Israel?” But He did not answer him on that day. 38 Then Saul said, “[j]Come here, all you [k]leaders of the people, and investigate and see how this sin has happened today. 39 For as the Lord lives, who saves Israel, even if it is in my son Jonathan, he shall assuredly die!” But not one of all the people answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, “You shall be on one side, and I and my son Jonathan will be on the other side.” And the people said to Saul, “Do what seems good [l]to you.” 41 Therefore, Saul said to the Lord, the God of Israel, “Give a [m]perfect lot.” And Jonathan and Saul were selected by lot, but the people [n]were exonerated. 42 Then Saul said, “Cast lots between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan was selected by lot.

43 So Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” And Jonathan told him, and said, “I did indeed taste a little honey with the end of the staff that was in my hand. Here I am, I must die!” 44 And Saul said, “May God do the same to me and more also, for you shall certainly die, Jonathan!” 45 But the people said to Saul, “Must Jonathan die, he who has [o]brought about this great [p]victory in Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives, not even a hair of his head shall fall to the ground, because he has worked with God this day.” So the people [q]rescued Jonathan and he did not die. 46 Then Saul went up from [r]pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.

Constant Warfare

47 Now when Saul had taken control of the kingdom over Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, the sons of Ammon, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines; and wherever he turned, he [s]inflicted punishment. 48 And he acted valiantly and [t]defeated the Amalekites, and saved Israel from the hands of [u]those who plundered them.

49 Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchi-shua; and the names of his two daughters were these: the name of the firstborn was Merab, and the name of the younger, Michal. 50 And the name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz. And the name of the commander of his army was Abner the son of Ner, Saul’s uncle. 51 Kish was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.

52 Now the war against the Philistines was severe all the days of Saul; and when Saul saw any warrior or any valiant man, he [v]attached him to his staff.


  1. 1 Samuel 14:3 Lit carrying
  2. 1 Samuel 14:9 Lit say thus
  3. 1 Samuel 14:10 Lit say thus
  4. 1 Samuel 14:15 Lit trembling of God
  5. 1 Samuel 14:23 Lit passed over
  6. 1 Samuel 14:24 Lit until
  7. 1 Samuel 14:27 As in some mss and ancient versions; MT saw
  8. 1 Samuel 14:34 Lit with his hand
  9. 1 Samuel 14:36 Lit in your eyes
  10. 1 Samuel 14:38 Lit Approach here
  11. 1 Samuel 14:38 Lit cornerstones
  12. 1 Samuel 14:40 Lit in your eyes
  13. 1 Samuel 14:41 I.e., a clear answer
  14. 1 Samuel 14:41 Lit got out
  15. 1 Samuel 14:45 Lit worked
  16. 1 Samuel 14:45 Lit deliverance
  17. 1 Samuel 14:45 Lit ransomed
  18. 1 Samuel 14:46 Lit after
  19. 1 Samuel 14:47 Or condemned
  20. 1 Samuel 14:48 Lit struck
  21. 1 Samuel 14:48 Lit its plunderer
  22. 1 Samuel 14:52 Lit brought him in to himself