King Saul commits a sacrilege. Samuel rebukes Saul. The people are not equipped for battle.
forty. The traditional Hebrew text omits “thirty” and “forty-”. The blanks are filled in here from a few manuscripts of the Septuagint.
VERSE 2. Saul chose for himself three thousand men of Israel, of which two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in the Mount of Bethel, and one thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. He sent the rest of the people to their own tents.
Jonathan. This is the first time the Bible mentions Jonathan. Later, he and David will become the closest of friends.
VERSE 3. Jonathan struck the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. Saul blew the shofar throughout all the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear!”
VERSE 4. All Israel heard that Saul had struck the garrison of the Philistines, and also that Israel was considered an abomination to the Philistines. The people were gathered together after Saul to Gilgal.
All Israel heard that Saul had struck. Actually, it was Jonathan who struck the Philistines.
VERSE 5. The Philistines assembled themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the seashore in multitude. They came up and encamped in Michmash, eastward of Beth Aven.
VERSE 6. When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble (for the people were distressed), then the people hid themselves in caves, in thickets, in rocks, in tombs, and in pits.
the people hid themselves. Why were they hiding? Perhaps it was because nobody had trained them to be courageous. Nobody was boldly teaching the faith to them.
Isaiah 7:9b. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all (NIV translation).
VERSE 7. Now some of the Hebrews had gone over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead; but as for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.
VERSE 8. He stayed seven days, according to the time set by Samuel; but Samuel didn’t come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him.
the people were scattering. For most leaders, this is their worst nightmare. Their followers stop following.
VERSE 9. Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering to me here, and the peace offerings.” He offered the burnt offering.
VERSE 10. It came to pass that as soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him.
VERSE 11. Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul said, “Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you didn’t come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines assembled themselves together at Michmash;
VERSE 12. therefore I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down on me to Gilgal, and I haven’t entreated the favor of the LORD.’ I forced myself therefore, and offered the burnt offering.”
VERSE 13. Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which he commanded you; for now the LORD would have established your kingdom on Israel forever.
VERSE 14. But now your kingdom will not continue. The LORD has sought for himself a man after his own heart, and the LORD has appointed him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept that which the LORD commanded you.”
now your kingdom will not continue. Saul paid a terrible price for one foolish act.
The LORD has sought for himself a man after his own heart. Do you seek after the LORD’s own heart?
In our lives, may we be people after God’s own heart!
VERSE 15. Samuel arose, and went from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin. Saul counted the people who were present with him, about six hundred men.
VERSE 16. Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people who were present with them, stayed in Geba of Benjamin; but the Philistines encamped in Michmash.
VERSE 17. The raiders came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned to the way that leads to Ophrah, to the land of Shual;
Ophrah. She is in the Bible?
VERSE 18. another company turned the way to Beth Horon; and another company turned the way of the border that looks down on the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.
VERSE 19. Now there was no blacksmith found throughout all Eretz-Israel; for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears”;
VERSE 20. but all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, each man to sharpen his own plowshare, mattock, ax, and sickle.
VERSE 21. The price was one payim each to sharpen mattocks, plowshares, pitchforks, axes, and goads.
one payim each. A payim (or pim) was 2/3 shekel of silver, or 0.26 ounces, or 7.6 grams
VERSE 22. So it came to pass in the day of battle, that neither sword nor spear was found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan; but Saul and Jonathan his son had them.
neither sword nor spear was found. The people were not ready for combat. They didn’t have their weapons.
In our day, many Christians are not equipped for the spiritual battle. They have not invested in reading the Bible.
VERSE 23. The garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.