1Saul was…b The number is lacking in the Heb. text; also, the precise context of the “two years” is uncertain. The verse is lacking in the Septuagint. years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel two years. 2Saul picked 3,000 Israelites, of whom 2,000 were with Saul in Michmasc So in oldest mss.; other mss. and editions read “Michmash” throughout the chapter. and in the hill country of Bethel, and 1,000 with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin; the rest of the troops he sent back to their homes. 3Jonathan struck down the Philistine prefect in Geba;d Apparently identical with Gibeah in v. 2. and the Philistines heard about it. e- Meaning of Heb. uncertain.Saul had the ram’s horn sounded throughout the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear.”-e
4When all Israel heard that Saul had struck down the Philistine prefect, and that Israel had f- Lit. “became malodorous to.”incurred the wrath of-f the Philistines, all the people rallied to Saul at Gilgal. 5The Philistines, in turn, gathered to attack Israel: 30,000a Septuagint and other versions read “three thousand.” chariots and 6,000 horsemen, and troops as numerous as the sands of the seashore. They marched up and encamped at Michmas, east of Beth-aven.
6b- Meaning of Heb. uncertain.When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble—for the troops were hard pressed—the people hid in caves, among thorns, among rocks, in tunnels, and in cisterns. 7Some Hebrews crossed the Jordan, [to] the territory of Gad and Gilead. Saul was still at Gilgal, and the rest of the people rallied to him in alarm.-b
8He waited seven days, the time that Samuel [had set].c So some Heb. mss.; other mss., Septuagint, and Targum read “said.” Cf. 10.8. But when Samuel failed to come to Gilgal, and the people began to scatter, 9Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the sacrifice of well-being”; and he presented the burnt offering. 10He had just finished presenting the burnt offering when Samuel arrived; and Saul went out to meet him and welcome him. 11But Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul replied, “I saw the people leaving me and scattering; you had not come at the appointed time, and the Philistines had gathered at Michmas. 12I thought the Philistines would march down against me at Gilgal before I had entreated the LORD, so I b-forced myself-b to present the burnt offering.” 13Samuel answered Saul, d- Change of vocalization yields, “You acted foolishly. If you had kept the commandment the LORD your God laid upon you…”“You acted foolishly in not keeping the commandments that the LORD your God laid upon you! Otherwise-d the LORD would have established your dynasty over Israel forever. 14But now your dynasty will not endure. The LORD will seek out a man after His own heart, and the LORD will appoint him ruler over His people, because you did not abide by what the LORD had commanded you.”
15e- Septuagint reads here, “Samuel rose and left Gilgal and went his way. The rest of the people followed Saul to meet the soldiers, and they went from Gilgal.”Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal-e to Gibeahf Sometimes called Geba; cf. vv. 3, 16; 14.5. of Benjamin. Saul numbered the troops who remained with him—about 600 strong. 16Saul and his son Jonathan, and the troops who remained with them, stayed in Geba of Benjamin, while the Philistines were encamped at Michmas. 17The raiders came out of the Philistine camp in three columns: One column headed for the Ophrah road that leads to the district of Shual, 18another column headed for the Beth-horon road, and the third column headed for the borderg Septuagint reads “Geba.” road that overlooks the valley of Zeboim toward the desert.
19No smith was to be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines were afraid that the Hebrews would make swords or spears. 20So all the Israelites had to go down to the Philistines to have their plowshares, their mattocks, axes, and coltersa Meaning of Heb. uncertain. Septuagint reads “sickle.” sharpened. 21b Meaning of several terms in this verse uncertain.The charge for sharpening was a pimc I.e., two-thirds of a shekel. for plowshares, mattocks, three-pronged forks, and axes, and for setting the goads. 22Thus on the day of the battle, no sword or spear was to be found in the possession of any of the troops with Saul and Jonathan; only Saul and Jonathan had them.
23Now the Philistine garrison had marched out to the pass of Michmas.
b The number is lacking in the Heb. text; also, the precise context of the “two years” is uncertain. The verse is lacking in the Septuagint.
c So in oldest mss.; other mss. and editions read “Michmash” throughout the chapter.
e-e Meaning of Heb. uncertain.
f-f Lit. “became malodorous to.”
a Septuagint and other versions read “three thousand.”
b-b Meaning of Heb. uncertain.
d-d Change of vocalization yields, “You acted foolishly. If you had kept the commandment the LORD your God laid upon you…”
e-e Septuagint reads here, “Samuel rose and left Gilgal and went his way. The rest of the people followed Saul to meet the soldiers, and they went from Gilgal.”
g Septuagint reads “Geba.”
a Meaning of Heb. uncertain. Septuagint reads “sickle.”
b Meaning of several terms in this verse uncertain.
c I.e., two-thirds of a shekel.