Through My Bible Yr 01 – July 07

1 Samuel 13

Through My Bible – July 07

1 Samuel 13 (EHV)

See series: Through My Bible

Saul’s Reign Gets Off to a Bad Start

1 Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty-two years. [1]

Saul chose for himself three thousand men of Israel. Two thousand were with Saul at Mikmash and in the hill country near Bethel, and one thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah [2] of Benjamin. He sent the rest of the people to their own tents.

Jonathan struck the Philistine garrison [3] that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Saul blew the ram’s horn throughout the land and said, “Let the Hebrews hear!” All Israel heard that Saul had struck the garrison of the Philistines and that Israel had become a stench to the Philistines. The people were summoned to meet Saul at Gilgal.

The Philistines assembled their forces to fight against Israel with three thousand [4] chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They came up and camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble because their army was under pressure, the people hid themselves in caves, in thickets, [5] among the rocks, in dugouts, [6] and in cisterns. Some of the Hebrews had gone across the Jordan River to the territory of Gad and Gilead, but Saul remained in Gilgal, and all the people who remained with him were shaking with fear. He waited there seven days, the time specified by Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were starting to scatter from Saul. So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offering.” He then presented the burnt offering.

10 No sooner had he finished presenting the burnt offering than Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet him and greet him with a blessing. 11 But Samuel said, “What have you done?”

Saul said, “I saw that the people were scattering from me, that you did not come within the set number of days, and that the Philistines had assembled their forces at Mikmash. 12 So I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself to offer the burnt offering.”

13 Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly. You have not kept the command which the Lord your God gave to you. The Lord would have established your kingship over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingship will not continue. The Lord has sought for himself a man after his own heart, and the Lord has appointed him to be ruler over his people, because you have not obeyed the command the Lord gave you.”

15 Then Samuel set out and went up from Gilgal. ⎣The rest of the people followed Saul to meet the army. They went up from Gilgal⎦ [7] to Gibeah of Benjamin. Saul counted the people who were present with him. There were about six hundred men. 16 Saul, and his son Jonathan, and the people who were present with them stayed in Geba [8] of Benjamin, but the Philistines camped at Mikmash.

17 Raiding parties set out from the camp of the Philistines in three groups. One group headed down the road toward Ophrah, toward the land of Shual. 18 Another group headed down the road to Beth Horon, and the third group headed toward the position on the border that looks down on the Valley of Zeboim, toward the wilderness.

19 At that time no blacksmith could be found throughout the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines said, “If we allow this, the Hebrews will make swords or spears for themselves.” 20 So all the Israelites had to go down to the Philistines to get their plowshares, mattocks, [9] axes, and sickles [10] sharpened. 21 The price was two thirds of a shekel [11] to sharpen plowshares and mattocks and one third of a shekel for pitchforks and axes and to repair ox goads.

22 The result was that when the day of battle came, no swords or spears were found in the hands of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan. Only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.

Jonathan’s Heroics

23 A garrison of the Philistines took up a position by the pass at Mikmash.


  1. 1 Samuel 13:1 The Hebrew text of verse 1 contains no number for Saul’s age and reads two years for the length of his reign. The numbers thirty and forty– are provided by a few manuscripts of the Greek Old Testament and by Acts 13:21.
  2. 1 Samuel 13:2 Gibeah is the reading of the Hebrew text. The Greek Old Testament reads Geba. If the reading Gibeah is correct, Jonathan launched his attack from the more distant Gibeah rather than already being at a forward position near Geba as the Greek says.
  3. 1 Samuel 13:3 Or post or outpost. The meaning of this Hebrew term is uncertain.
  4. 1 Samuel 13:5 Three thousand is the reading of some of the ancient versions. The Hebrew text reads thirty thousand. Three thousand chariots is a suitable number for six thousand charioteers, with a driver and archer in each chariot.
  5. 1 Samuel 13:6 The meaning of the term translated thickets is uncertain.
  6. 1 Samuel 13:6 The meaning of the term translated dugouts is uncertain.
  7. 1 Samuel 13:15 The words in half-brackets are the reading of the Greek Old Testament. They are not in the Hebrew text. These words clarify strategic movements that would not be clear without them. An accidental omission of these words from the Hebrew text may have been caused by the copyist’s eye jumping from the first occurrence of Gilgal to the second.
  8. 1 Samuel 13:16 The majority of Hebrew texts read Geba. A few read Gibeah. Geba is the best position for blocking the Philistines at Mikmash.
  9. 1 Samuel 13:20 Or hoes
  10. 1 Samuel 13:20 The translation sickles follows the Greek Old Testament. The Hebrew repeats plowshares here.
  11. 1 Samuel 13:21 Hebrew a pim. Ancient weights marked pim are equal to two thirds of a shekel.

The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version®, EHV®, © 2019 Wartburg Project, Inc. All rights reserved.