1 Samuel

JB 1 SAMUEL Chapter 1



The pilgrimage to Shiloh

1:1 There was a man of Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the highlands of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.

1:2 He had two wives, one called Hannah, the other Peninnah; Peninnah had children but Hannah had none.

1:3 Every year this man used to go up from his town to worship and to sacrifice to Yahweh Sabaoth[*a] in Shiloh.[*b] The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there as priests of Yahweh.

1:4 One day Elkanah offered sacrifice. He used to give portions to Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters;

1:5 to Hannah, however, he would give only one portion, although he loved her more, since Yahweh had made her barren.

1:6 Her rival would taunt her to annoy her, because Yahweh had made her barren.

1:7 And this went on year after year; every time they went up to the temple of Yahweh she used to taunt her. And so Hannah wept and would not eat.

1:8 Then Elkanah her husband said to her, ‘Hannah, why are you crying and why are you not eating? Why so sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?’

The prayer of Hannah

1:9 Now after they had eaten in the hall, Hannah rose and took her stand before Yahweh, while Eli the priest was sitting on his seat by the doorpost of the temple of Yahweh.

1:10 In the bitterness of her soul she prayed to Yahweh with many tears

1:11 and made a vow, saying, ‘Yahweh Sabaoth! If you will take notice of the distress of your servant, and bear me in mind and not forget your servant and give her a manchild, I will give him to Yahweh for the whole of his life and no razor shall ever touch his head’.

1:12 While she prayed before Yahweh which she did for some time, Eli was watching her mouth,

1:13 for she was speaking under her breath; her lips were moving but her voice could not be heard. He therefore supposed that she was drunk

1:14 and said to her, ‘How long are you going to be in this drunken state? Rid yourself of your wine.’

1:15 ‘No, my lord,’ Hannah replied ‘I am a woman in great trouble; I have taken neither wine nor strong drink – I was pouring out my soul before Yahweh.

1:16 Do not take your maidservant for a worthless woman; all this time I have been speaking from the depth of my grief and my resentment.’

1:17 Then Eli answered her: ‘Go in peace,’ he said ‘and may the God of Israel grant what you have asked of him’. And she said,

1:18 ‘May your maidservant find favour in your sight’; and with that the woman went away; she returned to the hall and ate and was dejected no longer.

The birth and consecration of Samuel

1:19 They rose early in the morning and worshipped before Yahweh and then set out and returned to their home in Ramah. Elkanah had intercourse with Hannah his wife and Yahweh was mindful of her.

1:20 She conceived and gave birth to a son, and called him Samuel ‘since’ she said ‘I asked Yahweh for him.’ When a year had gone by,

1:21 the husband Elkanah went up again with all his family to offer the annual sacrifice to Yahweh and to fulfil his vow.

1:22 Hannah, however, did not go up, having said to her husband, ‘Not before the child is weaned. Then I will bring him and present him before Yahweh and he shall stay there for ever.’

1:23 Elkanah her husband then said to her, ‘Do what you think fit; wait until you have weaned him. May Yahweh bring about what you have said.’ So the woman stayed behind and nursed her child until his weaning.

1:24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her together with a three-year old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the temple of Yahweh at Shiloh; and the child was with them.

1:25 They slaughtered the bull and the child’s mother came to Eli.

1:26 She said, ‘If you please, my lord. As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to Yahweh.

1:27 This is the child I prayed for, and Yahweh granted me what I asked him.

1:28 Now I make him over to Yahweh for the whole of his life. He is made over to Yahweh.’

There she left him, for Yahweh.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 2

The song of Hannah

2:1 Then Hannah said this prayer: ‘My heart exults in Yahweh, my horn is exalted in my God, my mouth derides my foes, for I rejoice in your power of saving.

2:2 There is none as holy as Yahweh, (indeed, there is no one but you) no rock like our God.

2:3 Do not speak and speak with haughty words, let not arrogance come from your mouth. For Yahweh is an all-knowing God and his is the weighing of deeds.

2:4 The bow of the mighty is broken but the feeble have girded themselves with strength.

2:5 The sated hire themselves out for bread but the famished cease from labour; the barren woman bears sevenfold, but the mother of many is desolate.

2:6 Yahweh gives death and life, brings down to Sheol and draws up;

2:7 Yahweh makes poor and rich, he humbles and also exalts.

2:8 He raises the poor from the dust, he lifts the needy from the dunghill to give them a place with princes, and to assign them a seat of honour; for to Yahweh the props of the earth belong, on these he has poised the world.

2:9 He safeguards the steps of his faithful but the wicked vanish in darkness (for it is not by strength that man triumphs).

2:10 The enemies of Yahweh are shattered, the Most High thunders in the heavens. Yahweh judges the ends of the earth, he endows his king with power, he exalts the horn of his Anointed.’

2:11 Then she left for Ramah, but the boy stayed to minister to Yahweh in the presence of Eli the priest.

The sons of Eli

2:12 Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels; they cared nothing for Yahweh

2:13 nor for the rights of the priests as regards the people. Whenever a man offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand while the meat was being cooked;

2:14 he would thrust this into cauldron or pan, or dish or pot, and the priest claimed for his own whatever the fork brought up. That was how they behaved with all the Israelites who came there to Shiloh.

2:15 The priest’s servant would even come up before the fat had been burnt and say to the man who was making the sacrifice, ‘Give the priest meat for him to roast. He will not take boiled meat from you, but raw.’ Then if the man replied,

2:16 ‘Let them first burn the fat and then take for yourself whatever you wish’, he would retort, ‘No! You must give it to me now or I will take it by force’.

2:17 This sin of the young men was very great in the sight of Yahweh, because they treated the offering made to Yahweh with contempt.

Samuel at Shiloh

2:18 Samuel was in the service of Yahweh; the boy wore a linen loincloth round him.

2:19 His mother used to make him a little tunic which she brought him each year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

2:20 Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, ‘May Yahweh grant you an heir by this woman in place of the one she has made over to Yahweh.’ And then they would go home.

2:21 Yahweh visited Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of Yahweh.

More about the sons of Eli

2:22 Though now very old, Eli came to hear of everything that his sons were doing to all Israel.

2:23 And he said to them, ‘Why do you do these things I hear from all the people?

2:24 No, my sons! The reports I hear are not good. . .

2:25 If man sins against man, God will be the arbiter, but if he sins against Yahweh, who will intercede for him?’ But they did not listen to their father’s words, for Yahweh was determined to bring them to their deaths.

2:26 Meanwhile the boy Samuel went on growing in stature and in favour both with Yahweh and with men.

Future punishment is announced

2:27 A man of God came to Eli and said to him, ‘Yahweh says this, “Did I not reveal myself to your father’s[*a] House when they were in Egypt, slaves of the household of Pharaoh.

2:28 I chose them out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priests, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to carry the ephod;[*b] and to your father’s House I granted all the burnt offerings of the sons of Israel.

2:29 Why do you look with envious eyes on the sacrifice and the offering I have ordered, honouring your sons more than me, by letting them grow fat on the best part of all the offerings of my people Israel?

2:30 Whereas – it is Yahweh the God of Israel who speaks – I had said that your House and your father’s House would walk in my presence for ever, now, however, – it is Yahweh who speaks – far be this from me. For those who honour me I honour in my turn, and those who despise me are esteemed as nothing.

2:31 So, the days are coming when I will break your strength and the strength of your father’s House, till there is not one old man left in your House.

2:32 Like an envious enemy you will look on all the good that I shall do to Israel, but there shall be not one old man left in your House for ever.

2:33 One of you I will keep at my altar for his eyes to perish and his soul to wither, but the bulk of your House shall perish by the sword of men.

2:34 What happens to your two sons Hophni and Phinehas shall be a sign for you: on the one day both shall die.

2:35 I will raise up a faithful priest for myself; he shall do whatever I plan and whatever I desire. I will build him an enduring House and he will walk in the presence of my Anointed for ever.

2:36 And all that survive of your House will come and beg him on their knees for a silver piece or a loaf of bread and say: Please give me some priestly task, so that I can have a scrap of bread to eat.”‘

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 3

God calls Samuel

3:1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to Yahweh in the presence of Eli; it was rare for Yahweh to speak in those days; visions were uncommon.

3:2 One day, it happened that Eli was lying down in his room. His eyes were beginning to grow dim; he could no longer see.

3:3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying in the sanctuary of Yahweh where the ark of God was,

3:4 when Yahweh called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ He answered, ‘Here I am’.

3:5 Then he ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me’. Eli said, ‘I did not call. Go back and lie down.’ So he went and lay down.

3:6 Once again Yahweh called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me’. He replied, ‘I did not call you, my son; go back and lie down’.

3:7 Samuel had as yet no knowledge of Yahweh and the word of Yahweh had not yet been revealed to him.

3:8 Once again Yahweh called, the third time. He got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me’. Eli then understood that it was Yahweh who was calling the boy,

3:9 and he said to Samuel, ‘Go and lie down, and if someone calls say, “Speak, Yahweh, your servant is listening”‘. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

3:10 Yahweh then came and stood by, calling as he had done before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel answered, ‘Speak, Yahweh, your servant is listening’.

3:11 Then Yahweh said to Samuel, ‘I am about to do such a thing in Israel as will make the ears of all who hear it ring.

3:12 On that day, I will carry out against Eli everything I have spoken about his House, from beginning to end.

3:13 You are to tell him that I condemn his House for ever because he has known that his sons have been cursing God, yet he has not corrected them.

3:14 Therefore – I swear it to the House of Eli – neither sacrifice nor offering shall ever expiate the guilt of the House of Eli.’

3:15 Then Samuel lay still until the morning, when he opened the doors of Yahweh’s temple. He was afraid to tell the vision to Eli,

3:16 but Eli called him and said, ‘Samuel, my son’. ‘Here I am’ he answered.

3:17 ‘What message did he give you?’ Eli asked; ‘Do not hide it from me. May God do this to you, and more, if you keep back anything of what he said to you.’

3:18 Samuel then told him everything, keeping nothing back from him. Eli said, ‘He is Yahweh; let him do what he thinks good’.

3:19 Samuel grew up and Yahweh was with him and let no word of his fall to the ground.

3:20 All Israel from Dan to Beersheba came to know that Samuel was accredited as a prophet of Yahweh.

3:21 Yahweh continued to appear in Shiloh, for he revealed himself to Samuel,

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 4

4:1 and the word of Samuel went out to all Israel. By then, Eli was very old and his sons still persisted in their wicked behaviour towards Yahweh.


The defeat of the Israelites and capture of the ark

It happened at that time that the Philistines mustered to fight Israel and Israel went out to meet them in battle, encamping near Ebenezer while the Philistines were encamped at Aphek.

4:2 The Philistines drew up their battle line against Israel, the battle was hotly engaged, and Israel was defeated by the Philistines and about four thousand of their army were killed on the field.

4:3 The troops returned to the camp and the elders of Israel said, ‘Why has Yahweh allowed us to be defeated today by the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of our God from Shiloh so that it may come among us and rescue us from the power of our enemies.’

4:4 So the troops sent to Shiloh and brought away the ark of Yahweh Sabaoth, he who is seated on the cherubs; the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, came with the ark.

4:5 When the ark of Yahweh arrived in the camp, all Israel gave a great shout so that the earth resounded.

4:6 When the Philistines heard the noise of the shouting, they said, ‘What can this great shouting in the Hebrew camp mean?’ And they realised that the ark of Yahweh had come into the camp.

4:7 At this the Philistines were afraid; and they said, ‘God has come to the camp’. ‘Alas!’ they cried ‘This has never happened before.

4:8 Alas! Who will save us from the power of this mighty God? It was he who struck down Egypt with every kind of plague!

4:9 But take courage and be men, Philistines, or you will become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been slaves to you. Be men and fight.’

4:10 So the Philistines joined battle and Israel was defeated, each man fleeing to his tent. The slaughter was great indeed, and there fell of the Israelites thirty thousand foot soldiers.

4:11 The ark of God was captured too, and the two sons of Eli died, Hophni and Phinehas.

The death of Eli

4:12 A Benjaminite ran from the battle line, reaching Shiloh that same day, his clothes torn and dust on his head.

4:13 When he arrived, Eli was there, sitting on his seat beside the gate watching the road, for his heart trembled for the ark of God. This man, then, came to the town bringing the news, whereupon cries filled the town.

4:14 Eli heard the uproar and asked, ‘What does this great outcry mean?’ The man made haste and told Eli. –

4:15 Eli was ninety-eight years old; his gaze was fixed; he was blind. –

4:16 The man said to Eli, ‘I have come from the camp. I escaped from the ranks today’. ‘My son,’ said Eli ‘what has happened?’

4:17 The messenger replied, ‘Israel has fled before the Philistines; the army has been utterly routed. What is worse, your two sons are dead and the ark of God has been captured.’

4:18 When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his seat by the gate; his neck was broken and he died, for he was old and heavy. He had ruled Israel for forty years.

The death of the wife of Phinehas

4:19 Now his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was with child and near her time. When she heard the news that the ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and husband were dead she crouched down and gave birth, for her labour pains came on.

4:20 When she was at the point of death, the women standing round her said, ‘Do not be afraid; you have given birth to a son’. But she did not answer and took no notice.

4:21 She named the boy Ichabod,[*a] saying, ‘The glory has gone from Israel’, thinking of her father-in-law and husband and of the capture of the ark of God.

4:22 She said, ‘The glory has gone from Israel, because the ark of God has been captured’.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 5

The ark brings disaster to the Philistines

5:1 When the Philistines had captured the ark of God they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod.

5:2 Taking the ark of God, the Philistines put it in the temple of Dagon, setting it down beside Dagon.

5:3 Next morning the people of Ashdod went to the temple of Dagon and there lay Dagon face down on the ground before the ark of Yahweh. They picked Dagon up and put him back in his place.

5:4 But early next morning there lay Dagon face down again on the ground before the ark of Yahweh, and Dagon’s head and two hands were lying severed on the threshold; only the trunk of Dagon was left in its place.

5:5 This is why the priests of Dagon and indeed all who enter Dagon’s temple do not step on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to the present day.

5:6 The hand of Yahweh weighed heavily on the people of Ashdod and struck terror into them, afflicting them with tumours, in Ashdod and its territory.

5:7 When the men of Ashdod saw what was happening they said, ‘The ark of the God of Israel must not stay here with us, for his hand lies heavy on us and on Dagon our god.’

5:8 So they summoned all the Philistine chiefs to them, and said, ‘What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?’ They decided, ‘The ark of the God of Israel must go away to Gath’. So they took the ark of the God of Israel to Gath.

5:9 But after they had taken it there, the hand of Yahweh lay heavy on that town and a great panic broke out; the people of the town, from youngest to oldest, were struck with tumours that he brought out on them.

5:10 They then sent the ark of God to Ekron, but when it came to Ekron the Ekronites shouted, ‘They have brought us the ark of the God of Israel to bring death to us and our people’.

5:11 They summoned all the Philistine chiefs and said, ‘Send the ark of the God of Israel away; let it go back to where it belongs and not bring death to us and our people’ – for there was mortal panic throughout the town; the hand of God was very heavy there.

5:12 The people who did not die were struck with tumours and the wailing from the town went up to heaven.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 6

The return of the ark

6:1 The ark of Yahweh was in Philistine territory for seven months.

6:2 Then the Philistines called for their priests and diviners and asked, ‘What shall we do with the ark of Yahweh? Tell us how to send it back to where it belongs.’

6:3 They replied, ‘If you do send the ark of the God of Israel away, you must not send it away empty; you must pay him a guilt-offering. Then you will be healed and you will know why his hand would not turn away from you.’

6:4 They then asked, ‘What guilt-offering ought we to pay him?’ They answered, ‘In proportion to the number of the Philistine chiefs, five golden tumours and models of your rats, for the plague was the same for you all as for your chiefs.

6:5 So you must make models of your tumours and models of the rats that ravage your country, and you must pay honour to the God of Israel. Then perhaps he will lighten his hand on you and your gods and your country.

6:6 Why should you be as stubborn as Egypt and Pharaoh were? After he had brought evil on them, did they not let them leave?

6:7 Now, then, take and fit out a new cart, and two milch cows that have never borne the yoke. Then harness the cows to the cart and take their calves back to the byre.

6:8 Then take the ark of Yahweh, place it on the cart, and put the golden objects which you are paying him as guilt-offering in a box beside it; then let it go its own way.

6:9 Watch it; if it goes up the road to its own territory, to Beth-shemesh, then it was he who did us this great harm; but if not, then we will know it was not his hand that struck us, but that this happened to us by chance.’

6:10 The people did this. They took two milch cows and harnessed them to the cart and shut up their calves in the byre.

6:11 Then they placed the ark of Yahweh on the cart, with the box and the golden rats and the models of their tumours.

6:12 The cows made straight for Beth-shemesh keeping to the one road, lowing as they went and turning neither to right nor to left. The Philistine chiefs followed them as far as the boundaries of Beth-shemesh.

The ark at Beth-shemesh

6:13 The people of Beth-shemesh were reaping the wheat harvest in the plain when, raising their eyes, they saw the ark and went joyfully to meet it.

6:14 When the cart came to the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh it stopped. There was a large stone[*a] there, and they cut up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a holocaust to Yahweh.

6:15 The Levites had taken down the ark of Yahweh and the box containing the golden objects beside it, and placed all this upon the large stone. The men of Beth-shemesh offered holocausts that day and offered sacrifices to Yahweh.

6:16 When the five Philistine chiefs had seen this, they went back to Ekron the same day.

6:17 These were the golden tumours the Philistines paid as guilt-offering to Yahweh: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron;

6:18 as also the golden rats to the number of all the Philistine towns of the five chiefs, from fortified towns to open villages. The large stone on which they placed the ark of Yahweh is a witness to the present day in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh.

6:19 Of the people of Beth-shemesh the sons of Jeconiah had not rejoiced when they saw the ark of Yahweh, and he struck down seventy of them. The people mourned because Yahweh had struck them so fiercely.

The ark at Kiriath-jearim

6:20 The men of Beth-shemesh then said, ‘Who can stand his ground before Yahweh this holy God; to whom shall we let him go up, away from us?’

6:21 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim saying, ‘The Philistines have sent back the ark of Yahweh; come down and take it up to your town’.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 7

7:1 The men of Kiriath-jearim came and, taking up the ark of Yahweh, brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to guard the ark of Yahweh.

Samuel, judge and liberator

7:2 From the day the ark settled in Kiriath-jearim a long time passed, twenty years, and the whole House of Israel longed for Yahweh.

7:3 Then Samuel said to the whole House of Israel, ‘If you are returning to Yahweh with all your heart, put aside the foreign gods you now have, and the Astartes too, and set your heart on Yahweh and serve him alone; and he will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines’.

7:4 And the Israelites put aside the Baals and Astartes and served Yahweh alone.

7:5 Then Samuel said, ‘Muster all Israel at Mizpah and I will plead with Yahweh for you’.

7:6 So they mustered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before Yahweh. They fasted that day and declared, ‘We have sinned against Yahweh’. And it was at Mizpah that Samuel was judge over the Israelites.

7:7 The Philistines came to hear that the children of Israel had mustered at Mizpah and the Philistine chiefs marched against Israel. The Israelites heard of this and grew afraid of the Philistines.

7:8 They said to Samuel, ‘Do not cease calling on Yahweh our God to save us from the power of the Philistines’.

7:9 Then Samuel took a sucking lamb and offered it as a holocaust to Yahweh, and he called on Yahweh on behalf of Israel and Yahweh answered his prayer.

7:10 While Samuel was offering the holocaust the Philistines approached to give Israel battle, but Yahweh thundered with a great noise that day against the Philistines and threw them into a panic, and so they were routed before Israel.

7:11 The men of Israel then went out from Mizpah in pursuit of the Philistines and struck them down as far as below Beth-car.

7:12 Then Samuel took a stone and erected it between Mizpah and Jeshanah and gave it the name Ebenezer,[*a] saying, ‘Thus far has Yahweh aided us’.

7:13 So the Philistines were humbled and no longer came into Israelite territory; the hand of Yahweh lay on the Philistines all Samuel’s lifetime.

7:14 The towns the Philistines had taken from Israel were given back to them, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel freed their territory from the power of the Philistines. There was peace, too, between Israel and the Amorites.

7:15 Samuel was judge over Israel as long as he lived.

7:16 Each year he went on circuit through Bethel and Gilgal and Mizpah and judged Israel in all these places.

7:17 He would then return to Ramah, for his home was there; there too he judged Israel. And there he built an altar to Yahweh.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 8



The people ask for a king

8:1 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his two sons as judges over Israel.

8:2 The name of the first-born was Joel, that of the younger Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba.

8:3 But his sons did not follow his ways; they wanted money, taking bribes and perverting justice.

8:4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.

8:5 ‘Look,’ they said to him ‘you are old, and your sons do not follow your ways. So give us a king to rule over us, like the other nations.’

8:6 It displeased Samuel that they should say, ‘Let us have a king to rule us’, so he prayed to Yahweh.

8:7 But Yahweh said to Samuel, ‘Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for it is not you they have rejected; they have rejected me from ruling over them.

8:8 All they have done to me from the day I brought them out of Egypt until now – they deserted me and served other gods – they are doing now to you.

8:9 Well then, obey their voice; only, you must warn them solemnly and instruct them in the rights of the king who is to reign over them.’

The disadvantages of the monarchy

8:10 All that Yahweh had said Samuel repeated to the people who were asking him for a king

8:11 He said, ‘These will be the rights of the king who is to reign over you. He will take your sons and assign them to his chariotry and cavalry, and they will run in front of his chariot.

8:12 He will use them as leaders of a thousand and leaders of fifty; he will make them plough his ploughland and harvest his harvest and make his weapons of war and the gear for his chariots.

8:13 He will also take your daughters as perfumers, cooks and bakers.

8:14 He will take the best of your fields, of your vineyards and olive groves and give them to his officials.

8:15 He will tithe your crops and vineyards to provide for his eunuchs and his officials.

8:16 He will take the best of your manservants and maidservants, of your cattle and your donkeys, and make them work for him.

8:17 He will tithe your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.

8:18 When that day comes, you will cry out on account of the king you have chosen for yourselves, but on that day God will not answer you.’

8:19 The people refused to listen to the words of Samuel. They said, ‘No! We want a king,

8:20 so that we in our turn can be like the other nations; our king shall rule us and be our leader and fight our battles.’

8:21 Samuel listened to all that the people had to say and repeated it in the ears of Yahweh.

8:22 Yahweh then said to Samuel, ‘Obey their voice and give them a king’. Samuel then said to the men of Israel, ‘Go back, each to your own town’.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 9

Saul and his father’s she-donkeys

9:1 Among the men of Benjamin there was a man named Kish son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah; a Benjaminite and a man of rank.

9:2 He had a son named Saul, a handsome man in the prime of life. Of all the Israelites there was no one more handsome than he; he stood head and shoulders taller than the rest of the people.

9:3 Now some of the she-donkeys of Saul’s father Kish had strayed, so Kish said to Saul, ‘My son, take one of the servants with you and be off; go and look for the she-donkeys’.

9:4 They passed through the highlands of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but did not find them; they passed through the land of Shaalim, they were not there; they passed through the land of Benjamin, but did not find them.

9:5 When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to the servant who was with him, ‘Come, let us go back or my father will stop worrying over the she-donkeys and start being anxious about us’.

9:6 He answered, ‘Look, there is a man of God in this town, a man held in honour; everything he says comes true. Let us go there, then; perhaps he will be able to guide us on the journey we have undertaken.’

9:7 Saul replied to the servant, ‘But if we do go, what can we take to the man? The bread in our sacks has gone, and we have no present to offer the man of God. What can we give him?’

9:8 Again the servant answered Saul, ‘Look,’ he said ‘I have a quarter of a silver shekel here; I will give it to the man of God and he shall tell us our road.’

9:10 Then Saul said to his servant, ‘Well said! Come, let us go.’ And they went off to the town where the man of God was.

Saul meets Samuel

9:11 As they were going up the slope to the town they came on some girls going out to draw water, and said to them, ‘Is the seer there ?’ –

9:9 Formerly in Israel when a man used to go to consult God he would say, ‘Come, let us go to the seer’, for a man who is now called a ‘prophet’ was formerly called a ‘seer’ –

9:12 The girls replied, ‘Yes, the seer is ahead of you. He has just come into the town, for the people are having a sacrifice today on the high place.

9:13 You will meet him as soon as you enter the town before he goes up to the high place for the meal. The people will not eat until he comes, since he must bless the sacrifice; then the people invited eat afterwards. Go up now and you will soon find him.’

9:14 So they went up to the town, and as they were going through the gate Samuel came out in their direction on his way to the high place.

9:15 Now Yahweh had given Samuel a revelation the day before Saul came, saying,

9:16 ‘About this time tomorrow I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin; you are to anoint him as prince over my people Israel, and he will save my people from the power of the Philistines; for I have seen the distress of my people and their crying has come to me’.

9:17 When Samuel saw Saul, Yahweh told him, ‘That is the man of whom I told you; he shall rule my people’.

9:18 Saul accosted Samuel in the gateway and said, ‘Tell me, please, where the seer’s house is?’

9:19 Samuel replied to Saul, ‘I am the seer. Go up ahead of me to the high place. You are to eat with me today. In the morning I shall take leave of you and tell you all that is in your heart.

9:20 As regards the she-donkeys you lost three days ago, do not worry about them; they have been found already. Besides, for whom is all the wealth of Israel destined, if not for you and all your father’s House?’

9:21 Saul then replied, ‘Am I not a Benjaminite, from the smallest of Israel’s tribes? And is not my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such words to me?’

9:22 Samuel then took Saul and his servant and brought them into the hall and gave them a place at the head of those invited; there were about thirty of them.

9:23 Samuel said to the cook, ‘Serve the portion I gave you, which I told you to put on one side’.

9:24 The cook then took up the leg and the tail and set it in front of Saul, saying, ‘There! The part that has been kept is set before you. Eat!’. So, Saul ate that day with Samuel.

9:25 From the high place they came down to the town. On the housetop they spread out coverlets for Saul and he lay down.

The consecration of Saul

9:26 At the break of day Samuel called to Saul on the housetop, ‘Get up; I must take leave of you’. Saul got up, and the two of them, he and Samuel, went out into the street.

9:27 They had walked as far as the end of the town when Samuel said to Saul, ‘Tell the servant to go on ahead of us, but you stand still for a moment and I shall make known to you the word of God’.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 10

10:1 Samuel took a phial of oil and poured it on Saul’s head; then he kissed him, saying, ‘Has not Yahweh anointed you prince over his people Israel? You are the man who must rule Yahweh’s people, and who must save them from the power of the enemies surrounding them. This shall be the sign for you that Yahweh has appointed you prince of his heritage:

10:2 when you leave me now, you will meet two men near the tomb of Rachel, on the frontiers of Benjamin . . . and they will say to you, “The she-donkeys you went in search of have been found and your father has lost interest in the donkeys and is worrying about you, thinking, What am I to do about my son?”

10:3 Going further from there you will come to the Oak of Tabor where three men will meet you, going up to God at Bethel; one will be carrying three kids, one three loaves of bread and the third a skin of wine.

10:4 They will greet you and give you two loaves of bread which you must accept from them.

10:5 After this you will go to Gibeah of God (where the Philistine pillar is) and as you come to the town you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place, headed by harp, tambourine, flute and lyre; they will be in an ecstasy.

10:6 Then the spirit of Yahweh will seize on you, and you will go into an ecstasy with them, and be changed into another man.

10:7 When these signs are fulfilled for you, act as occasion serves, for God is with you.

10:8 You must go down before me to Gilgal; I will join you there to offer holocausts and communion sacrifices. You are to wait seven days for me to come to you, and then I will show you what you are to do.’

The return of Saul

10:9 As soon as Saul had turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart and all these signs were accomplished that same day.

10:10 From there they came to Gibeah, and there was a group of prophets coming to meet him; the spirit of God seized on him and he fell into ecstasy in their midst.

10:11 When all who knew him previously saw him prophesying with the prophets, the people said to each other, ‘What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul one of the prophets too?’

10:12 One of the group retorted, ‘And who is their father?’ And this is the origin of the proverb: Is Saul one of the prophets too?

10:13 When Saul’s ecstasy had passed he went back into the house

10:14 and his uncle asked him and his servant, ‘Where have you been?’ He replied, ‘In search of the she-donkeys; and when we saw we could not find them, we went to Samuel.’

10:15 Saul’s uncle then said, ‘Tell me, now, what did Samuel say to you?’

10:16 Saul said to his uncle, ‘He only told us that the donkeys were already found’, but he said nothing to him about the kingship of which Samuel had spoken.

Saul is chosen king by lot

10:17 Samuel called the people together to Yahweh at Mizpah

10:18 and said to the Israelites, ‘Yahweh the God of Israel has spoken and says, “I brought Israel out of Egypt and delivered you from the power of the Egyptians and of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you”.

10:19 But today you have rejected your God, he who saved you from all your calamities and desperate straits; and you have said, “No, you must set a king over us”. Well then, take your positions before Yahweh according to your tribes and clans.’

10:20 Samuel then made all the tribes of Israel come forward, and the lot fell to the tribe of Benjamin.

10:21 He then made the tribe of Benjamin come forward clan by clan, and the lot fell to the clan of Matri; he then made the clan of Matri come forward man by man, and the lot fell to Saul son of Kish. They looked for him but he was not to be found.

10:22 Once again they consulted Yahweh, ‘Has the man come here?’ ‘There he is,’ Yahweh answered ‘hidden among the baggage’.

10:23 So they ran and brought him out and, as he stood among the people, he was head and shoulders taller than them all.

10:24 Then Samuel said to all the people, ‘Have you seen the man Yahweh has chosen? Of all the people there is none to equal him.’ And all the people acclaimed him, shouting, ‘Long live the king!’

10:25 Samuel explained the royal constitution to the people and inscribed it in a book which he placed before Yahweh. He then dismissed all the people, each to his own home.

10:26 Saul too went home to Gibeah and with him went the mighty men whose hearts God has touched.

10:27 But there were some scoundrels who said, ‘How can this fellow save us?’ They despised him, and offered him no present.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 11

Victory over the Ammonites

About a month later,

11:1 Nahash the Ammonite marched up and laid siege to Jabesh-gilead. All the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, ‘Make a treaty with us and we will be your subjects’.

11:2 But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, ‘I will make a treaty with you on this condition, that I put out all your right eyes; I shall inflict this disgrace on the whole of Israel’.

11:3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, ‘Give us seven days’ grace while we send messengers throughout the territory of Israel, and if no one comes to our help, we will go over to you’.

11:4 The messengers came to Gibeah of Saul, and reported this to the people, and all the people began to lament and weep.

11:5 Now Saul was just then coming in from the fields behind his oxen, and he said, ‘What is wrong? Why are the people weeping?’ They explained to him what the men of Jabesh had said.

11:6 And the spirit of Yahweh seized on Saul when he heard these words, and his fury was stirred to fierce flame.

11:7 He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces which he sent by messengers throughout the territory of Israel with these words: ‘If anyone will not march with Saul, this shall be done with his oxen!’ At this, a dread of Yahweh fell on the people and they marched out as one man.

11:8 He inspected them at Bezek; there were three hundred thousand Israelites and thirty thousand of Judah.

11:9 He then said to the messengers who had come, ‘This is what you must say to the men of Jabesh-gilead, “Tomorrow by the time the sun is hot help will reach you”‘. The messengers went and reported this to the men of Jabesh who were overjoyed;

11:10 they said to Nahash, ‘Tomorrow we will go over to you and you can do what you like to us’.

11:11 The next day, Saul disposed the army in three companies; they burst into the middle of the camp in the last watch of the night and struck down the Ammonites until high noon. The survivors were so scattered that not two of them were left together.

Saul is proclaimed king

11:12 The people then said to Samuel, ‘Who said, “Is Saul to reign over us?” Hand the men over for us to put them to death.’

11:13 ‘No one is to be put to death today’ Saul replied ‘for today Yahweh has brought victory to Israel.’

11:14 Then Samuel said to the people, ‘Come, let us go to Gilgal and reaffirm the monarchy there’.

11:15 So all the people went to Gilgal and there they proclaimed Saul king before Yahweh at Gilgal. They offered communion sacrifices there before Yahweh; and Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 12

Samuel gives way to Saul

12:1 Samuel said to all Israel, ‘I have faithfully done all you asked of me, and I have appointed a king over you.

12:2 In future it is the king who will lead you. As for me, I am old and grey, and my sons are here among you. I have led you from my youth until today.

12:3 Here I am. Testify against me before Yahweh and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Have I ever wronged or oppressed anyone? Have I ever taken a bribe from anyone? If so I will here and now requite you.’

12:4 ‘You have neither wronged nor oppressed us’ they said ‘nor accepted a bribe from anyone.’ 5 He said to them, ‘Yahweh is witness against you and his anointed is witness today that you have found nothing in my hands?’ ‘He is witness’ they replied.

12:6 Samuel then said to the people, ‘Yahweh is witness, he who raised up Moses and Aaron and who brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt.

12:7 So now stand here while I argue with you before Yahweh and remind you of all the saving works he performed for you and for your ancestors.

12:8 When Jacob came to Egypt the Egyptians oppressed them, and your ancestors cried to Yahweh who sent Moses and Aaron; they brought your ancestors out of Egypt and gave them a settled home here.

12:9 Then they forgot Yahweh their God and he sold them into the power of Sisera, general of the army of Hazor, as also into the power of the Philistines and of the king of Moab who fought against them.

12:10 They cried to Yahweh, “We have sinned, for we have deserted Yahweh; we have served the Baals and the Astartes. Rescue us now from the power of our enemies, and we will serve you”.

12:11 Then Yahweh sent Jerubbaal, Barak, Jephthah, and Samuel. He rescued you from the power of the enemies surrounding you, and you lived in security.

12:12 ‘But when you saw Nahash, king of the Ammonites, come to attack you, you said to me, “No, a king must rule over us” – although Yahweh your God himself is your king.

12:13 Here then is the king you have chosen; Yahweh has set a king over you.

12:14 If you reverence and serve Yahweh and obey his voice and do not rebel against his order, and if both you and the king who rules over you follow Yahweh your God, all will be well.

12:15 But if you do not obey the voice of Yahweh, if you rebel against his order, his band will be against you and against your king.

12:16 Stand here, then, and watch the great wonder Yahweh will do before your eyes.

12:17 It is now wheat harvest, is it not?[*a] I will call on Yahweh and he shall send thunder and rain. Consider then and see what a very wicked thing you have done in the sight of Yahweh by asking to have a king.’

12:18 Samuel then called on Yahweh, and Yahweh sent thunder and rain the same day, and all the people held Yahweh and Samuel in great awe.

12:19 They all said to Samuel, ‘Plead for your servants with Yahweh your God that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil of asking to have a king’.

12:20 Samuel said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid; you have indeed done all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following Yahweh, but serve Yahweh with all your hearts.

12:21 Do not turn aside after empty idols which, being empty, are useless and cannot save,

12:22 since for the sake of his great name Yahweh will not desert his people, for it has pleased Yahweh to make you his people.

12:23 For my part, far be it from me that I should sin against Yahweh by ceasing to plead for you or to instruct you in the good and right way.

12:24 Only reverence and serve Yahweh faithfully with all your heart, for you see the great wonder he has done among you.

12:25 But if you persist in wickedness, you and your king will perish.’

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 13


Revolt against the Philistines

13:1 . . .

13:2 Saul chose three thousand men from Israel; there were two thousand with Saul at Michmash and in the highlands of Bethel, and a thousand with Jonathan at Geba of Benjamin; the rest of the people Saul sent home, each man to his own tent.

13:3 Jonathan smashed the Philistine pillar which was at Gibeah and the Philistines learned that the Hebrews had risen in revolt. Saul had the trumpet sounded throughout the country,

13:4 and the whole of Israel heard the news: Saul has smashed the Philistine pillar, and now Israel has incurred the enmity of the Philistines. So all the people rallied behind Saul at Gilgal.

13:5 The Philistines mustered to do battle with Israel, three thousand chariots, six thousand horse and a force as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They came up and pitched camp at Michmash, to the east of Beth-aven.[*a]

13:6 When the men of Israel saw that their situation was desperate, since they were hard pressed, they hid in caves, in holes, in crevices, in vaults, in wells.

13:7 Many too, crossed over the Jordan fords onto the territory of Gad and Gilead.

Samuel breaks with Saul

Saul was still at Gilgal and all the people who followed him were trembling.

13:8 He waited for seven days, the period Samuel had fixed, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal and the army, deserting Saul, was dispersed.

13:9 So Saul said, ‘Bring me the holocaust and the communion sacrifices’; and he offered the holocaust.

13:10 Just as he was completing the offering of the holocaust Samuel came, and Saul went out to meet him and greet him,

13:11 but Samuel said, ‘What have you done?’ Saul replied, ‘I saw the army deserting me and dispersing, and you had not come at the time fixed, while the Philistines were mustering at Michmash.

13:12 So I thought: Now the Philistines are going to fall on me at Gilgal and I have not implored the favour of Yahweh. So I felt obliged to act and I offered the holocaust myself.’

13:13 Samuel answered Saul, ‘You have acted like a fool. If you had carried out the order Yahweh your God commanded you, Yahweh would have confirmed your sovereignty over Israel for ever.

13:14 But now your sovereignty will not last; Yahweh has searched out a man for himself after his own heart[*b] and designated him leader of his people, since you have not carried out what Yahweh ordered you.’

13:15 Samuel then rose and left Gilgal to continue his journey. Those of the people who remained followed Saul as he went to join the warriors, and went from Gilgal to Geba of Benjamin. Saul inspected the force that was with him; there were about six hundred men.

Preparations for war

13:16 Saul, his son Jonathan, and the force that was with them took up their quarters in Geba of Benjamin while the Philistines camped at Michmash.

13:17 The raiding contingent came out from the Philistine camp in three companies: one made for Ophrah in the land of Shual;

13:18 another for Beth-horon; and the third for the height overhanging the Valley of the Hyenas, towards the wilderness.

13:19 There was not a single smith in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had reasoned: We must prevent the Hebrews from forging swords or spears.

13:20 Hence all the Israelites were in the habit of going down to the Philistines to sharpen every ploughshare, axe, mattock or goad.

13:21 The price was two-thirds of a shekel for ploughshares and axes, and one-third for sharpening mattocks and straightening goads.

13:22 So it was that on the day of the battle of Michmash no one in the whole army with Saul and Jonathan had either sword or spear in his hand, except, however, Saul and his son Jonathan.

13:23 A Philistine outpost left for the Pass of Michmash.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 14

Jonathan attacks the outpost

14:1 One day, Jonathan son of Saul said to his armour-bearer, ‘Come on, let us go across to the Philistine outpost in the pass’. But he did not warn his father.

14:2 Saul was on the outskirts of Geba, sitting under the pomegranate tree that stands near the threshing floor; the force with him numbered about six hundred men.

14:3 Ahijah son of Ahitub, brother of Ichabod son of Phineas, son of Eli, the priest of Yahweh at Shiloh, was wearing the ephod. The force did not know that Jonathan had left.

14:4 In the pass that Jonathan was trying to cross to reach the Philistine outpost there is a rocky spur on one side and a rocky spur on the other; one is called Bozez, the other Seneh.

14:5 The first spur stands to the North facing Michmash, the other to the South facing Geba.

14:6 Jonathan said to his armour bearer, ‘Come on , let us go across to the outpost of these uncircumcised men; perhaps Yahweh will do something for us, for nothing can prevent Yahweh from giving us victory, whether there are many or few of them’

14:7 His armour bearer said to him, ‘Do just as your heart tells you; as for me, my heart is with you’.

14:8 Jonathan then said, ‘Look, we will go across to these people and let ourselves be seen.

14:9 If they say “Do not move till we come to you” we shall stay where we are and not go up to them.

14:10 But if they say, “Come up to us” we will go up, for that will be the sign for us that Yahweh has given them into our power.’

14:11 When they both let themselves be seen by the Philistine post, the Philistines said, ‘Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have been hiding’.

14:12 The men of the post then hailed Jonathan and his armour-bearer. ‘Come up to us,’ they said ‘we have something to tell you.’ Jonathan then said to his armour-bearer, ‘Follow me up; Yahweh has given them into the power of Israel’.

14:13 Jonathan climbed up, hands and feet, with his armour-bearer behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armour-bearer, coming behind, finished them off.

14:14 This first blow that Jonathan and his armour-bearer struck accounted for about twenty men…

Battle is engaged

14:15 There was panic in the camp and in the countryside; all the men in the outpost, and the raiding contingent too, were terrified; the earth shook; it was a very panic of God.

14:16 Saul’s lookout men in Geba of Benjamin could see the camp scattering in all directions.

14:17 Saul then said to the force that was with him, ‘Call the roll and see who has left us’. So they called the roll, and Jonathan and his armour-bearer were missing.

14:18 Saul then said to Ahijah, ‘Bring the ephod’; for it was he who carried the ephod in the presence of Israel.[*a]

14:19 But while Saul was speaking to the priest, the turmoil in the Philistine camp grew worse and worse; and Saul said to the priest, ‘Withdraw your hand’.

14:20 Then Saul and the whole force with him formed up and advanced to where the fighting was, where men were all drawing their swords on each other in wild confusion.

14:21 The Hebrews who had earlier taken service with the Philistines and had accompanied them into camp, themselves defected to the Israelites with Saul and Jonathan.

14:22 All the Israelites in hiding in the highlands of Ephraim, hearing that the Philistines were on the run, chased after them and joined in the fight.

14:23 That day Yahweh gave Israel the victory, and the battle spread beyond Beth-boron.

Jonathan defies Saul’s orders

14:24 Saul had imposed a great fast that day, laying the people under an oath, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food before evening, before I have had my revenge on my enemies!’ So no one so much as tasted food.

14:25 Now there was a honeycomb lying on the ground;

14:26 but when the people came up to the honeycomb, though the swarm had gone no one put a hand to his mouth for fear of the oath.

14:27 But Jonathan, not having heard his father lay the oath on the people, put out the end of the stick he was holding, thrust it into the honeycomb and put his hand to his mouth; then his eyes brightened.

14:28 But one of the men spoke up. ‘Your father’ he said ‘has bound the people with a strict oath to the effect that anyone who eats food today will be accursed.’

14:29 Jonathan replied, ‘My father has done the nation a disservice. See how much brighter my eyes are now that I have eaten this mouthful of honey.

14:30 By the same token, if the people had eaten their fill of the booty they took from the enemy today, would not the defeat of the Philistines have been all the greater?’

The people commit a ritual fault

14:31 They struck at the Philistines that day from Michmash as far as Aijalon until the people were utterly weary.

14:32 They flung themselves on the booty and, taking sheep, oxen and calves, slaughtered them there on the ground and ate them with the blood.

14:33 News of this came to Saul. ‘Look,’ they said ‘the people are sinning against Yahweh, eating with the blood.’ At which he replied to those who brought the news, ‘Roll me a large stone here’.[*b]

14:34 Then he said, ‘Scatter through the people and say to them, “Let each man bring me his ox or his sheep; slaughter them here and eat, not sinning against Yahweh by eating with the blood”‘. All the people then brought what each one had that night, and they slaughtered them there.

14:35 Saul built an altar to Yahweh; it was the first altar he had built to Yahweh.

The guilt of Jonathan is discovered, but he is saved by the people

14:36 Saul said, ‘Let us go down under cover of darkness and pursue and plunder the Philistines until dawn; we shall not leave one of them alive’. ‘Do whatever you think right’ they replied. But the priest said, ‘Let us approach God here’.

14:37 Saul consulted God, ‘Shall I go down and pursue the Philistines? Will you give them into Israel’s power?’ But he gave him no reply that day.

14:38 Then Saul said, ‘Come forward, all you leaders of the people; consider carefully where today’s sin may lie;

14:39 for as Yahweh lives who gives victory to Israel, even if it be in Jonathan my son, he shall be put to death’. And not one of all the people answered him.

14:40 Then to all Israel he said, ‘Stand on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will stand on the other’. And the people replied to Saul, ‘Do as you think right’.

14:41 Then Saul said, ‘Yahweh, God of Israel, why did you not answer your servant to-day? If the fault lies on me or on my son Jonathan, O Yahweh, God of Israel, give Urim: if the fault lies on your people Israel, give Thummim.'[*c] Jonathan and Saul were indicated and the people went free.

14:42 Saul said, ‘Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan’; and Jonathan was indicated.

14:43 Saul then said to Jonathan, ‘Tell me what you have done’. Jonathan said, ‘I only ate a mouthful of honey off the end of the stick I was holding. Here I am. I am ready to die.’

14:44 Saul said, ‘May God do this to me and more if you do not die, Jonathan’.

14:45 But the people said to Saul, ‘Must Jonathan die after winning this great victory for Israel? Never let it be so! As Yahweh lives, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground, for his deeds today have been done with the help of God.’ And so the people ransomed Jonathan and he was not put to death.

14:46 Saul decided not to pursue the Philistines, and the Philistines returned to their own territory.

Summary of Saul’s reign

14:47 Saul consolidated his rule over Israel and fought against all his enemies everywhere: against Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, Beth-rehob, the king of Zobah, the Philistines; wherever he turned he was victorious.

14:48 He did great deeds of valour; he defeated the Amalekites and delivered Israel from the power of their plunderers.

14:49 The sons of Saul were: Jonathan, Ishvi[*d] and Malchishua. The names of his two daughters were: the elder, Merab, and the younger, Michal.

14:50 The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of his army commander was Abner son of Ner; he was Saul’s uncle.

14:51 Kish the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner were the sons of Abiel.

14:52 There was fierce war against the Philistines throughout Saul’s lifetime. Any strong man or man of valour that caught Saul’s eye he recruited into his service.[*e]

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 15

The holy war against the Amalekites

15:1 Samuel said to Saul, ‘I am the man whom Yahweh sent to anoint you king over his people, over Israel, so now listen to the words of Yahweh.

15:2 Thus speaks Yahweh Sabaoth, “I will repay what Amalek did to Israel when they opposed them on the road by which they came up out of Egypt.

15:3 Now, go and strike down Amalek; put him under the ban with all that he possesses. Do not spare him, but kill man and woman, babe and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and donkey”.’

15:4 Saul summoned the people and reviewed them at Telaim: two hundred thousand foot soldiers (and ten thousand men of Judah).

15:5 Saul went to the city of Amalek and lay in ambush in the river bed.

15:6 Saul said to the Kenites, ‘Go, leave your homes among the Amalekites or I may destroy you with them, for you were friendly to all the sons of Israel when they came up from Egypt’. So the Kenites moved away from the Amalekites.

15:7 Saul then defeated the Amalekites, starting from Havilah in the direction of Shur, which is to the east of Egypt.

15:8 He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive and, executing the ban, put all the people to the sword.

15:9 But Saul and the army spared Agag with the best of the sheep and cattle, the fatlings and lambs and all that was good. They did not want to put those under the ban; they only put under the ban what was poor and worthless.

Saul is rejected by Yahweh

15:10 The word of Yahweh came to Samuel,

15:11 ‘I regret having made Saul king, for he has turned away from me and has not carried out my orders’. Then Samuel was deeply moved, and all night long he cried out to Yahweh.

15:12 In the morning Samuel went to meet Saul; word was brought him that Saul had gone to Carmel to raise himself a monument, and had passed on again and gone down to Gilgal.

15:13 When Samuel reached Saul, Saul said to him, ‘Blessed may you be by Yahweh! I have carried out Yahweh’s orders’.

15:14 But Samuel replied, ‘Then what is the meaning of this bleating of sheep in my ears, and the lowing of oxen I hear?’

15:15 Saul said, ‘They have brought them from Amalek because the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen to sacrifice them to Yahweh, your God; the rest we put under the ban’.

15:16 Then Samuel said to Saul, ‘Stop! Let me tell you what Yahweh said to me last night.’ Saul said, ‘Tell me’.

15:17 Samuel continued, ‘Small as you may be in your own eyes, are you not head of the tribes of Israel? Yahweh has anointed you king over Israel.

15:18 Yahweh sent you on a mission and said to you, “Go, put these sinners, the Amalekites, under the ban and make war on them until they are exterminated”.

15:19 Why then did you not obey the voice of Yahweh? Why did you fall on the booty and do what is displeasing to Yahweh?’

15:20 Saul replied to Samuel, ‘But I did obey the voice of Yahweh. I went on the mission which Yahweh gave me; I brought back Agag king of the Amalekites; I put the Amalekites under the ban.

15:21 From the booty the people took the best sheep and oxen of what was under the ban to sacrifice them to Yahweh your God in Gilgal.’

15:22 But Samuel replied: ‘Is the pleasure of Yahweh in holocausts and sacrifices or in obedience to the voice of Yahweh? Yes, obedience is better than sacrifice, submissiveness better than the fat of rams.

15:23 Rebellion is a sin of sorcery, presumption a crime of teraphim.[*a] ‘Since you have rejected the word of Yahweh, he has rejected you as king.’

Saul vainly asks for pardon

15:24 Then Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have sinned, for I have transgressed the order of Yahweh and your directions, being afraid of the people and doing what they said.

15:25 Now, I pray you, forgive my sin; come back with me and I will worship Yahweh.

15:26 But Samuel answered Saul, ‘I will not come back with you, for you have rejected the word of Yahweh and he has rejected you as king of Israel’.

15:27 As Samuel turned to go away, Saul caught at the hem of his garment and it tore,

15:28 and Samuel said to him, ‘Today Yahweh has torn the kingdom of Israel from you and given it to a neighbour of yours who is better than you’.

15:29 (And yet the glory of Israel will not lie or go back on his word, for he is not a man to go back on his word.)

15:30 ‘I have sinned,’ Saul said ‘but please still show me respect in front of the elders of my people and in front of Israel, and come back with me, so that I can worship Yahweh your God.’

15:31 Samuel followed Saul back and Saul worshipped Yahweh.

Agag’s death and Samuel’s departure

15:32 Then Samuel said, ‘Bring me Agag the king of the Amalekites’, and Agag came to him reluctantly. ‘Truly, death is a bitter thing’ he said.

15:33 Samuel said: ‘As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be made childless among women.’ Then Samuel butchered Agag before Yahweh at Gilgal.

15:34 Samuel left for Ramah, and Saul went up home to Gibeah of Saul.

15:35 Samuel did not see Saul again to the day of his death;[*b] Samuel was very sorry for Saul, but Yahweh regretted having made Saul king of Israel.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 16



David is anointed

16:1 Yahweh said to Samuel, ‘How long will you go on mourning over Saul when I have rejected him as king of Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen myself a king among his sons.’

16:2 Samuel replied, ‘How can I go? When Saul hears of it he will kill me.’ Then Yahweh said, ‘Take a heifer with you and say, “I have come to sacrifice to Yahweh”.

16:3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and then I myself will tell you what you must do; you must anoint to me the one I point out to you.’

16:4 Samuel did what Yahweh ordered and went to Bethlehem. The elders of the town came trembling to meet him and asked, ‘Seer, have you come with good intentions towards us?’

16:5 ‘Yes,’ he replied ‘I have come to sacrifice to Yahweh. Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.’ He purified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

16:6 When they arrived, he caught sight of Eliab and thought, ‘Surely Yahweh’s anointed one stands there before him’,

16:7 but Yahweh said to Samuel, ‘Take no notice of his appearance or his height for I have rejected him; God does not see as man sees; man looks at appearances but Yahweh looks at the heart’.

16:8 Jesse then called Abinadab and presented him to Samuel, who said, ‘Yahweh has not chosen this one either’.

16:9 Jesse then presented Shammah, but Samuel said, ‘Yahweh has not chosen this one either’. 10 Jesse presented his seven sons to Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Yahweh has not chosen these’.

16:11 He then asked Jesse, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’ He answered, ‘There is still one left, the youngest; he is out looking after the sheep’. Then Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send for him; we will not sit down to eat until he comes’.

16:12 Jesse had him sent for, a boy of fresh complexion, with fine eyes and pleasant bearing. Yahweh said, ‘Come, anoint him, for this is the one’.

16:13 At this, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him where he stood with his brothers; and the spirit of Yahweh seized on David and stayed with him from that day on. As for Samuel, he rose and went to Ramah.

David takes service with Saul[*a]

16:14 Now the spirit of Yahweh had left Saul and an evil spirit from Yahweh filled him with terror.

16:15 Saul’s servants said to him, ‘Look, an evil spirit of God is the cause of your terror.

16:16 Let our lord give the order, and your servants who wait on you will look for a skilled harpist; when the evil spirit of God troubles you, the harpist will play and you will recover.’ 17 Saul said to his servants, ‘Find me a man who plays well and bring him to me’.

16:18 One of the soldiers then spoke up. ‘I have seen one of the sons of Jesse the Bethlehemite’ he said; ‘he is a skilled player, a brave man and a fighter, prudent in speech, a man of presence, and Yahweh is with him.’

16:19 At this, Saul sent messengers to Jesse, saying, ‘Send me David your son who is with the sheep’.

16:20 Jesse took five loaves, a skin of wine and a kid, and sent them to Saul by David his son. 21 And so David came to Saul and entered his service; Saul loved him greatly and David became his armour-bearer.

16:22 Then Saul sent to Jesse saying, ‘Let David enter my service; he has won my favour’.

16:23 And whenever the spirit from God troubled Saul, David took the harp and played; then Saul grew calm, and recovered, and the evil spirit left him.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 17

Goliath defies the Israelite army

17:1 The Philistines mustered their troops for war; they assembled at Socoh, which is a town of Judah, and pitched camp between Socob and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim.

17:2 Saul and the Israelites also mustered, pitching camp in the Valley of the Terebinth, and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines.

17:3 These took their stand on the hills one side and the Israelites on the hills the other side, with the valley between them.

17:4 One of their shock-troopers stepped out from the Philistine ranks; his name was Goliath, from Gath; he was six cubits and one span tall.

17:5 On his head was a bronze helmet and he wore a breastplate of scale-armour; the breastplate weighed five thousand shekels of bronze.

17:6 He had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin across his shoulders.

17:7 The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron. A shield-bearer walked in front of him.

17:8 He took his stand in front of the ranks of Israel and shouted, ‘Why come out and range yourselves for battle? Am I not a Philistine and are you not the slaves of Saul? Choose a man and let him come down to me.

17:9 If he wins in a fight with me and kills me, we will be your slaves; but if I beat him and kill him, you shall become our slaves and be servants to us.’

17:10 The Philistine then said, ‘I challenge the ranks of Israel today. Give me a man and we will fight in single combat.’

17:11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine they were dismayed and terrified.

David arrives in the camp

17:12 David was the son of an Ephrathite from Bethlehem of Judah whose name was Jesse; Jesse had eight sons and, by Saul’s time, he was old and well on in years.

17:13 The three eldest sons of Jesse followed Saul to the war. The names of the three sons who went to the war were: the first-born Eliab, the second Abinadab and the third Shammah.

17:14 David was the youngest; the three eldest followed Saul.

17:15 (David alternated between serving Saul and looking after his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.

17:16 Morning and evening for forty days the Philistine advanced and took his stand.)

17:17 Jesse said to David his son, ‘Take your brothers this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves, and hurry to your brothers’ camp.

17:18 And take these ten cheeses to their commanding officer; ask after your brothers’ health and bring some token from them;

17:19 they are with Saul and all the Israelites in the Valley of the Terebinth fighting the Philistines.’

17:20 David rose early in the morning and, leaving the sheep with someone to guard them, took up his load and went off as Jesse had ordered him; he came to the encampment just as the troops were leaving to take up battle stations, shouting the war cry.

17:21 Israel and the Philistines drew up their lines facing one another.

17:22 David left the bundle in charge of the baggage guard, ran to the battle line and went to ask his brothers how they were.

17:23 While he was talking to them, the shock-trooper (his name was Goliath, the Philistine from Gath) came up from the Philistine ranks and made his usual speech, and David heard it.

17:24 As soon as the Israelites saw this man, they all ran away from him and were terrified.

17:25 The Israelites said, ‘Have you seen this man coming up now? He is coming to challenge Israel. The king will lavish riches on the man who kills him and give him his daughter in marriage and grant his father’s House the freedom of Israel.’

17:26 Then David asked the men who were standing near him, ‘What reward will the man have who kills this Philistine and removes the disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine who dares insult the armies of the living God?’

17:27 The people replied as before, ‘That is how the man will be rewarded who kills him’.

17:28 Now Eliab his elder brother heard him talking to the men and his anger flared up against David. ‘Why have you come down here?’ he said. ‘Whom have you left in charge of those few sheep out there in the wilderness? I know your insolence and your wicked heart; you have come to watch the battle.’

17:29 David retorted, ‘What have I done? Must I not even speak?’

17:30 And he turned away from him to address another and asked the same question; and the people answered as before.

17:31 But David’s words were noted and reported to Saul, who sent for him.

David volunteers to accept the challenge

17:32 David said to Saul, ‘Let no one lose heart on his account; your servant will go and fight this Philistine’.

17:33 But Saul answered David, ‘You cannot go and fight the Philistine, you are only a boy and he has been a warrior from his youth’.

17:34 David said to Saul, ‘Your servant used to look after the sheep for his father and whenever a lion or a bear came out and took a sheep from the flock,

17:35 I used to follow him up and strike him down and rescue it from his mouth; if he turned on me I seized him by the hair at his jaw and struck him down and killed him.

17:36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has dared to insult the armies of the living God.

17:37 Yahweh who rescued me from the claws of lion and bear’ David said ‘will rescue me from the power of this Philistine.’ Then Saul said to David, ‘Go, and Yahweh be with you!’

17:38 Saul made David put on his own armour and put a bronze helmet on his head and gave him a breastplate to wear,

17:39 and over David’s armour he buckled his own sword; but not being used to these things David found he could not walk. ‘I cannot walk with these,’ he said to Saul ‘I am not used to them.’ So they took them off again.

David and Goliath

17:40 He took his staff in his hand, picked five smooth stones from the river bed, put them in his shepherd’s bag, in his pouch, and with his sling in his hand he went to meet the Philistine.

17:41 The Philistine, his shield-bearer in front of him, came nearer and nearer to David;

17:42 and the Philistine looked at David, and what he saw filled him with scorn, because David was only a youth, a boy of fresh complexion and pleasant bearing.

17:43 The Philistine said to him, ‘Am I a dog for you to come against me with sticks?’ And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

17:44 The Philistine said to David, ‘Come over here and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field’.

17:45 But David answered the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of the armies of Israel that you have dared to insult.

17:46 Today Yahweh will deliver you into my hand and I shall kill you; I will cut off your head, and this very day I will give your dead body and the bodies of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel,

17:47 and that all this assembly may know that it is not by sword or by spear that Yahweh gives the victory, for Yahweh is lord of the battle and he will deliver you into our power.’

17:48 No sooner had the Philistine started forward to confront David than David left the line of battle and ran to meet the Philistine.

17:49 Putting his hand in his bag, he took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead; the stone penetrated his forehead and he fell on his face to the ground.

17:50 Thus David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone and struck the Philistine down and killed him. David had no sword in his hand.

17:51 Then David ran and, standing over the Philistine, seized his sword and drew it from the scabbard, and with this he killed him, cutting off his head. The Philistines saw that their champion was dead and took to flight.

17:52 The men of Israel and of Judah started forward, shouting their war cry, and pursued the Philistines as far as the approaches of Gath and the gates of Ekron. The Philistine wounded lay all along the road from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron.

17:53 From their determined pursuit of the Philistines the Israelites returned and plundered their camp.

17:54 And David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem; the man’s armour he kept in his own tent.

David the conqueror of Goliath is presented to Saul

17:55 When Saul saw David going to engage the Philistine he said to Abner, his army commander, ‘Abner, whose son is that boy?’ ‘On your life, O king,’ Abner replied ‘I do not know.’

17:56 So the king said, ‘Find out whose son the lad is’.

17:57 When David came back after killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with the Philistine’s head in his hand.

17:58 Saul asked him, ‘Whose son are you, young man?’ David replied, ‘The son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem’.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 18

18:1 After David had finished talking to Saul, Jonathan’s soul became closely bound to David’s and Jonathan came to love him as his own soul.

18:2 Saul kept him by him from that day forward and would not let him go back to his father’s house.

18:3 Jonathan made a pact with David to love him as his own soul;

18:4 he took off the cloak he was wearing and gave it to David, and his armour too, even his sword, his bow and his belt.

18:5 Whenever David went out, on whatever mission Saul sent him, he was successful, and Saul put him in command of the fighting men; he stood well in the people’s eyes and in the eyes of Saul’s officers too.

The first stirrings of jealousy in Saul

18:6 On their way back, as David was returning after killing the Philistine, the women came out to meet King Saul from all the towns of Israel, singing and dancing to the sound of tambourine and lyre and cries of joy;

18:7 and as they danced the women sang: ‘Saul has killed his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.’

18:8 Saul was very angry; the incident was not to his liking. ‘They have given David the tens of thousands,’ he said ‘but me only the thousands; he has all but the kingship now.’

18:9 And Saul turned a jealous eye on David from that day forward.

18:10 On the following day an evil spirit from God seized on Saul and he fell into a fit of frenzy while he was in his house. David was playing the harp as on other days and Saul had his spear in his hand.

18:11 Saul brandished the spear; ‘I am going to pin David to the wall’ he said. But David twice evaded him.

18:12 Saul feared David, for Yahweh was with him but had turned away from Saul.

18:13 So Saul dismissed him from his presence, making him commander of a thousand; he marched at the head of the people.

18:14 In all his enterprises David was successful, and Yahweh was with him.

18:15 And seeing how well he succeeded, Saul was frightened of him.

18:16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he was their leader in all their exploits.

David’s marriage

18:17 Saul said to David, ‘Here is my elder daughter Merab; I will give her to you in marriage; but you must serve me bravely and fight the battles of Yahweh’ – for Saul had made up his mind, ‘Let it be not my hand that strikes him down, but the hand of the Philistines!’

18:18 David replied to Saul, ‘Who am I and what is my ancestry and my father’s family in Israel, that I should be the king’s son-in-law?’

18:19 But when the time came for Merab the daughter of Saul to be given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel of Meholah.

18:20 Now Michal the daughter of Saul fell in love with David. When Saul heard this he was pleased.

18:21 He thought, ‘Yes, I will give her to him, but she will prove a snare for him and the hand of the Philistines will strike him’. (Twice Saul said to David, ‘Now you shall be my son-in-law’.)

18:22 Saul then gave this command to his servants, ‘Talk secretly to David and say, “Look, the king is pleased with you and all his servants love you; it is time you became the king’s son-in-law”‘.

18:23 The king’s servants repeated these words in David’s ear, and David replied, ‘Does it strike you as an easy thing for me to become the king’s son-in-law, poor and of humble position as I am?’

18:24 Saul’s servants then reported back what David had said.

18:25 Saul replied, ‘Tell David this, “The king desires no settlement except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, for vengeance on the king’s enemies”‘. Saul was planning that David should fall by the hand of the Philistines.

18:26 His servants brought this message to David and he was delighted at the thought of becoming the king’s son-in-law. The time had not yet expired

18:27 when David rose and set off, he and his men, and killed two hundred of the Philistines. David brought back their foreskins and counted them out before the king so that he could be the king’s son-in-law. Saul then gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.

18:28 Saul now realised that Yahweh was with David, and that all the House of Israel loved him;

18:29 then Saul feared David all the more and became David’s lasting enemy.

18:30 The leaders of the Philistines went out to battle, but every time they went out to battle David was more successful than all Saul’s officers, and his name was held in great honour.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 19

Jonathan intervenes on behalf of David

19:1 Saul told Jonathan his son and all his servants of his intention to kill David. Now Jonathan, Saul’s son, held David in great affection;

19:2 and so Jonathan warned David; ‘My father Saul is looking for a way to kill you,’ he said ‘so be on your guard tomorrow morning; hide away in some secret place.

19:3 Then I will go out and keep my father company in the fields where you are hiding, and will talk to my father about you; I will find out what the situation is and let you know.’

19:4 So Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father; he said, ‘Let not the king sin against his servant David, for he has not sinned against you, and what he has done has been greatly to your advantage.

19:5 He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine, and Yahweh brought about a great victory for all Israel. You saw it yourself and rejoiced; why then sin against innocent blood in killing David without cause?’

19:6 Saul was impressed by Jonathan’s words and took an oath, ‘As Yahweh lives, I will not kill him’.

19:7 Jonathan called David and told him all these things. Then Jonathan brought him to Saul, and David attended on him as before.


Saul’s attempt on David’s life

19:8 War broke out again and David went out to fight against the Philistines; he inflicted a great defeat on them and they fled before him.

19:9 An evil spirit from Yahweh came on Saul while he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand; David was playing the harp.

19:10 Saul tried to pin David to the wall with his spear, but he avoided Saul’s thrust and the spear stuck in the wall. David fled and made good his escape.

David is saved by Michal

That same night

19:11 Saul sent agents to watch David’s house, intending to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, ‘If you do not escape tonight, you will be a dead man tomorrow’.

19:12 Then Michal let David down through the window, and he made off and took to flight and so escaped.

19:13 Michal then took the teraphim, laid it on the bed, put a tress of goats’ hair on its head and covered it with a garment.

19:14 When Saul sent the agents to arrest David, she said, ‘He is ill’.

19:15 Saul, however, sent the agents back to see David, saying, ‘Bring him to me on his bed for me to kill him’,

19:16 So they went in, and there on the bed was the teraphim with the tress of goats’ hair on its head!

19:17 Then Saul said to Michal, ‘Why have you deceived me like this and let my enemy go, and so make his escape?’ Michal answered Saul, ‘He said to me, “Let me go or I will kill you”‘.

Saul and David at Ramah with Samuel

19:18 So David fled and made his escape, and he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him; he and Samuel went and lived in the huts.

19:19 Word was brought to Saul, ‘David is in the huts at Ramah’.

19:20 Saul accordingly sent agents to capture David; when they saw the company of prophets prophesying, and Samuel there as their leader, the spirit of God came on Saul’s agents, and they too fell into an ecstasy.

19:21 Word of this was brought to Saul and he sent other agents, and they, too, fell into an ecstasy; Saul then sent a third group of agents, and they fell into an ecstasy too.

19:22 He then went to Ramah himself and, coming to the well of the threshing-floor on the bare hill, asked, ‘Where are Samuel and David?’ And someone answered, ‘Why, they are in the huts at Ramah’.

19:23 He went on from there to the huts at Ramah and the spirit of God came on him too, and he went on his way in an ecstasy until he came to the huts at Ramah.

19:24 He too stripped off his clothes and he too fell into an ecstasy in the presence of Samuel, and falling down lay there naked all that day and night. Hence the saying: Is Saul one of the prophets too?

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 20

Jonathan helps David to return

20:1 David then fled from the huts at Ramah. And he went and talked to Jonathan, ‘What have I done, what is my guilt and what is my sin against your father that he is seeking my life?’

20:2 He answered, ‘You must not think that. He will not kill you. Look, my father does nothing, important or unimportant, without confiding it to me; why should he hide this from me? It is not true.’

20:3 But David swore this solemn oath, ‘Your father knows very well that I enjoy your favour, and thinks, “Jonathan must not come to know of this or he will be grieved”. But as Yahweh lives and as you yourself live, there is only a step between me and death.’

20:4 Then Jonathan said to David, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’

20:5 David replied, ‘Look, tomorrow is New Moon and I should be sitting at table with the king, but you must let me go and hide in the fields till evening.’

20:6 If your father notices my absence, you must say, “David asked urgent leave of me to hurry off to Bethlehem, his own town, because they are holding the annual sacrifice there for all the clan”.

20:7 If he says, “Very well”, your servant is safe, but if he is angry, you may be sure he is set on evil.

20:8 Do this favour for your servant, since you have united yourself with him by a pact in Yahweh’s name. But if I am guilty, then kill me yourself – why take me to your father?’

20:9 Jonathan replied, ‘You must not think that. If I had certain knowledge that my father was set on bringing evil upon you, would I not tell you?’

20:10 David then said to Jonathan, ‘Who will let me know if your father gives you a harsh answer?’

20:11 ‘Come,’ Jonathan said to David ‘let us go out into the fields.’ So the pair of them went out into the fields.

20:12 Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Yahweh the God of Israel be witness! I will sound my father this time tomorrow; if all is well as concerns David and I do not then inform him,

20:13 then may Yahweh do this to Jonathan and more! If my father thinks fit to do you some harm, I will inform you and send you away, and you will go unharmed. And may Yahweh be with you as he used to be with my father.

20:14 If I am still alive, show me Yahweh’s own kindness; if I die,

20:15 never withdraw your own kindness from my House. When Yahweh cuts off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth,

20:16 let not the name of Jonathan be cut off with the House of Saul, or Yahweh will demand a reckoning of David.’

20:17 Once again Jonathan swore the solemn oath to David because he loved him as his own soul.

20:18 Jonathan said to him, ‘Tomorrow is New Moon; your absence will be noticed, for your place will be empty.

20:19 The day after tomorrow your absence will be very marked, and you must go to the place where you hid on the day of the deed, and you must stay beside the heap of stones there.

20:20 For my part, the day after tomorrow I shall be shooting arrows towards it as though at a target.

20:21 Then I shall send a servant to say, “Go and find the arrow”. If I say to the servant, “The arrow is this side of you, get it”, come by all means, because it will be safe for you and there will be nothing to fear as sure as Yahweh lives.

20:22 But if I say to the youth, “The arrow is ahead of you”, then be off, for Yahweh himself sends you away.

20:23 And as regards the agreement we made, you and I, why, Yahweh is witness between us for ever.’

20:24 So David hid in the fields; New Moon came and the king sat down to his meal.

20:25 He sat in his usual place, the place by the wall, with Jonathan seated facing him and Abner sitting next to Saul; but David’s place was empty.

20:26 Saul said nothing that day, thinking, ‘Something has happened; he is unclean’.

20:27 On the day after New Moon, the second day, David’s place was still empty.

20:28 Saul said to his son Jonathan, ‘Why did not the son of Jesse come to the meal either yesterday or today?’

20:29 Jonathan answered Saul, ‘David asked urgent leave of me to go to Bethlehem. “Please let me go,” he said “for we are holding the clan sacrifice in the town and my brothers have ordered me to attend. So now if you approve of this, let me take my leave and see my brothers.” That is why he has not come to the king’s table’.

20:30 Then Saul’s anger flared up against Jonathan and he said to him, ‘You son of a wanton! Do I not know that you are in league with the son of Jesse to your own disgrace and the disgrace of your mother’s nakedness?

20:31 As long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth neither your person nor your royal rights are secure. Now, send and bring him to me; he is condemned to death.’

20:32 Jonathan answered Saul his father and said, ‘Why should he die? What has he done?’

20:33 But Saul brandished his spear at him to strike him down, and Jonathan knew then that his father had already made up his mind that David should die.

20:34 Hot with anger Jonathan rose from the table and took no food that second day of the New Moon, being grieved on David’s account because his father had insulted him.

20:35 Next morning Jonathan went out into the fields for the agreed meeting with David, taking a young servant with him.

20:36 He said to his servant, ‘Run and find the arrows I am going to shoot’, and the servant ran while Jonathan shot an arrow ahead of him.

20:37 When the servant reached the place where Jonathan had shot the arrow, Jonathan shouted after him, ‘Is not the arrow ahead of you?’

20:38 Again Jonathan shouted after the servant, ‘Be quick, hurry, do not stand about’. Jonathan’s servant picked up the arrow and brought it back to his master.

20:39 The servant suspected nothing; only Jonathan and David knew what was meant.

20:40 Jonathan then gave his weapons to his servant and said, ‘Go and carry them to the town’.

20:41 When the servant went off, David rose from beside the hillock and fell with his face to the ground and bowed down three times. Then they kissed each other and both shed many tears.

20:42 Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace. And as regards the oath that both of us have sworn in the name of Yahweh, may Yahweh be witness between you and me, between your descendants and mine for ever.’

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 21

21:1 David then rose and left, and Jonathan went back to the town.

David and the priest at Nob

21:2 David went to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech came out trembling to meet David and said, ‘Why are you alone and no one with you?’

21:3 David replied to Ahimelech the priest, ‘The king has given me an order and said to me, “Let no one know anything of the mission I am sending you on, nor of the order I am giving you”. As regards my soldiers, I have arranged to meet them at such and such a place.

21:4 Meanwhile if you have five loaves of bread to hand, give them to me, or whatever there is.’

21:5 The priest replied to David, ‘I have no ordinary bread to hand; there is only consecrated bread – provided your soldiers have kept themselves from women?’

21:6 David replied to the priest, ‘Certainly, women are forbidden us, as always when I set off on a campaign. The soldiers’ things are pure. Though this is a profane journey, they are certainly pure today as far as their things are concerned.’

21:7 The priest then gave him what had been consecrated, for the only bread there was the bread of offering which is taken away from the presence of Yahweh to be replaced by warm bread when it is removed.

21:8 Now one of Saul’s servants happened to be there that day, detained in the presence of Yahweh; his name was Doeg the Edomite and he was the chief of Saul’s guardsmen.

21:9 David then said to Ahimelech, ‘Have you no spear or sword here to hand? I did not bring either my sword or my weapons with me, because the king’s business was pressing.’

21:10 The priest replied, ‘The sword of Goliath the Philistine whom you killed in the Valley of the Terebinth is over there wrapped up in a cloth behind the ephod; if you wish to take it, do so, for there is no other here’. David said, ‘There is none like it; give it to me’.

David with the Philistines

21:11 That day David left, fleeing from Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath.

21:12 But the servants of Achish said, ‘Is not this David, the king of the country? Was it not of him they sang in the dance: “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his tens of thousands?”‘

21:13 David pondered these words and became very frightened of Achish the king of Gath.

21:14 When their eyes were on him he played the madman and, when they held him, feigned lunacy. He would drum on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard.

21:15 Achish said to his servants, ‘You can see this man is mad. Why bring him to me?

21:16 Have I not enough madmen without your bringing me this one to weary me with his antics? Is he to join my household?’

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 22


David begins his wanderings

22:1 David left there and took refuge in the Cave of Adullam; his brothers and all his father’s family heard of it and joined him there.

22:2 All the oppressed, those in distress, all those in debt, anyone who had a grievance, gathered round him and he became their leader. There were about four hundred men with him.

22:3 David went from there to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, ‘Allow my father and mother to stay with you until I know what God intends to do for me’.

22:4 He left them with the king of Moab and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold.

22:5 But the prophet Gad said to David, ‘Do not stay in the stronghold; go and make your way into the land of Judah.’ So David went away and came to the forest of Hereth.

The massacre of the priests of Nob

22:6 Saul came to hear that David and the men with him had been discovered. Saul was at Gibeah, seated under the tamarisk on the high place, spear in hand, with his officers standing round him.

22:7 ‘Listen, men of Benjamin,’ Saul said to his officers standing round him, ‘is the son of Jesse ready to give you all fields and vineyards and to make all of you commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds

22:8 that you all conspire against me? No one told me when my son made a pact with the son of Jesse; none of you felt sorry for me or told me when my son incited my servant to become my enemy, as is now the case.’

22:9 Doeg the Edomite then spoke up – he was standing near Saul’s officers: ‘I saw the son of Jesse come to Nob,’ he said ‘to Ahimelech son of Ahitub.

22:10 This man consulted Yahweh for him, gave him provisions and also the sword of Goliath the Philistine.’

22:11 Then the king sent and summoned the priest Ahimelech son of Ahitub and his whole family, the priests of Nob; they all came to the king.

22:12 Saul said, ‘Now listen, son of Ahitub’. He answered, ‘I am here, my lord’.

22:13 ‘Why have you conspired against me,’ Saul said ‘you and the son of Jesse, giving him bread and a sword and consulting God on his behalf, for him to rebel against me as is now the case?’

22:14 Ahimelech answered the king, ‘Who among all your servants is as faithful as David, son-in-law to the king, captain of your bodyguard, honoured in your household?

22:15 Was today the first time I ever consulted God on his behalf? Far be it from me to do otherwise! Let not the king bring any charge against his servant or against his whole family, for your servant knew nothing whatever of the whole affair.’

22:16 But the king answered, ‘Most surely you shall die, Ahimelech, you and your whole family’.

22:17 The king said to the guardsmen who were standing beside him, ‘Step forward and put the priests of Yahweh to death, for they too have supported David, they knew he was making his escape yet did not tell me’. But the king’s servants would not lift a hand to strike the priests of Yahweh.

22:18 The king then said to Doeg, ‘You step forward and strike the priests’. Doeg the Edomite stepped forward and struck the priests himself, that day killing eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod.

22:19 As for Nob, the town of the priests, Saul put it to the sword, men and women, children and infants, cattle and donkeys and sheep.

22:20 One son only of Ahimelech son of Ahitub escaped. His name was Abiathar, and he fled away to join David

22:21 and told him that Saul had slaughtered the priests of Yahweh.

22:22 David said to Abiathar, ‘I knew that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, he would be sure to inform Saul. I am responsible for the death of all your kinsmen.

22:23 Stay with me, have no fear, for he who seeks your life seeks mine too; you will be safe with me.’

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 23

David at Keilah

23:1 They brought the news to David, ‘The Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are plundering the threshing-floors’.

23:2 David consulted Yahweh, ‘Shall I go and fight these Philistines?’ Yahweh answered David, ‘Go and fight the Philistines and save Keilah’.

23:3 But David’s men said to him, ‘We go in fear here in Judah; how much more, then, if we go to Keilah to fight against the Philistines?’

23:4 So David consulted Yahweh again and Yahweh replied, ‘Be on your way; go down to Keilah for I will give the Philistines into your power’.

23:5 So David and his men went to Keilah and fought the Philistines, and carried off their cattle and inflicted a great defeat on them. Thus David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

23:6 Now when Abiathar son of Ahimelech took refuge with David, he went down to Keilah with the ephod in his hand.

23:7 When word was brought to Saul that David had gone to Keilah he said, ‘God has delivered him into my power, for he has walked into a trap by going into a town with gates and bars’

23:8 Saul called all the people to arms, to go down to Keilah and besiege David and his men.

23:9 David, however, was aware that Saul was plotting evil against him and said to Abiathar the priest, ‘Bring the ephod’.

23:10 David said, ‘Yahweh, God of Israel, your servant has heard that Saul is preparing to come to Keilah and destroy the town because of me.

23:11 Will Saul come down as your servant has heard? Yahweh, God of Israel, I beg you, let your servant know.’ Yahweh replied, ‘He will come down’.

23:12 Then David asked, ‘Will the townsmen of Keilah hand me and my men over to Saul?’ Yahweh replied, ‘They will hand you over’.

23:13 At this, David made off with his men, about six hundred in number; they left Keilah and went where they could. When the news was brought to Saul that David had escaped from Keilah, he abandoned the expedition.

23:14 David stayed in the wilderness, in the strongholds; he stayed in the mountains, in the wilderness of Ziph; Saul searched for him continually, but God did not deliver him into his power.

David at Horesh. A visit from Jonathan

23:15 David was afraid because Saul had mounted an expedition to take his life. At that time he was at Horesh in the wilderness of Ziph.

23:16 Jonathan son of Saul set off and went to David at Horesh and encouraged him in the name of God.

23:17 ‘Have no fear,’ he told him ‘for the hand of my father Saul will not reach you; you are the one who is to reign over Israel, and I shall be second to you. Saul my father is himself aware of this.’

23:18 And the two made a pact in the presence of Yahweh. David stayed at Horesh and Jonathan went home.

David has a narrow escape from Saul

23:19 Now some men of Ziph went up to Saul at Gibeah. ‘Is not David in hiding among us’ they said ‘in the strongholds at Horesh, on the Hill of Hachilah to the south of the wastelands?

23:20 Now whenever you wish to go down, O king, do so; it will be our task to deliver him into the king’s power.’

23:21 Saul replied, ‘May you be blessed by Yahweh, for coming to help me.

23:22 Go now, make surer still. Find out and note the place his footsteps hurry to, for I have been told he is very cunning.

23:23 Take careful notice of all the hiding places where he lurks, and come back to me when you are certain. I will then come to you; and if he is in the country, I will track him down through all the clans of Judah.’

23:24 So they set off and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Meanwhile, David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the plain to the south of the wastelands.

23:25 When Saul and his men set out in search of him, David was informed of it and went down to the rock that is in the wilderness of Maon. Saul heard of this and pursued David into the wilderness of Maon.

23:26 Saul and his men proceeded along one side of the mountain, David and his men along the other. David was hurrying to get away from Saul, while Saul with his men was trying to outflank David and his men and so capture them,

23:27 when a messenger came to Saul and said, ‘Come at once, the Philistines have invaded the country’.

23:28 So Saul broke off his pursuit of David and went to fight the Philistines. This is why that place is called the Rock of Divisions.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 24

David spares Saul

24:1 David went away from there, and stayed in the strongholds of Engedi.

24:2 When Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, ‘David is now in the wilderness of Engedi’.

24:3 Saul thereupon took three thousand men chosen from the whole of Israel and went in search of David and his men east of the Rocks of the Wild Goats.

24:4 He came to the sheepfolds along the route where there was a cave, and went in to cover his feet.[*a] Now David and his men were sitting in the recesses of the cave;

24:5 David’s men said to him, ‘Today is the day of which Yahweh said to you, “I will deliver your enemy into your power, do what you like with him”‘. David stood up and, unobserved, cut off the border of Saul’s cloak.

24:6 Afterwards David reproached himself for having cut off the border of Saul’s cloak.

24:7 He said to his men, ‘Yahweh preserve me from doing such a thing to my lord and raising my hand against him, for he is the anointed of Yahweh’.

24:8 David gave his men strict instructions, forbidding them to attack Saul. Saul then left the cave and went on his way.

24:9 After this, David too left the cave and called after Saul, ‘My lord king!’ Saul looked behind him and David bowed to the ground and did homage.

24:10 Then David said to Saul, ‘Why do you listen to the men who say to you, “David means to harm you”?

24:11 Why, your own eyes have seen today how Yahweh put you in my power in the cave and how I refused to kill you, but spared you. “I will not raise my hand against my lord,” I said “for he is the anointed of Yahweh.”

24:12 O my father, see, look at the border of your cloak in my hand. Since I cut off the border of your cloak, yet did not kill you, you must acknowledge frankly that there is neither malice nor treason in my mind. I have not offended against you, yet you hunt me down to take my life.

24:13 May Yahweh be judge between me and you, and may Yahweh avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be laid on you.

24:14 (As the old proverb says: Wickedness goes out from the wicked, and my hand will not be laid on you.)

24:15 On whose trail has the king of Israel set out? On whose trail are you in hot pursuit? On the trail of a dead dog! On the trail of a single flea!

24:16 May Yahweh be the judge and decide between me and you; may he take up my cause and defend it and give judgement for me, freeing me from your power.’

24:17 When David had finished saying these words to Saul, Saul said, ‘Is that your voice, my son David?’ And Saul wept aloud.

24:18 ‘You are a more upright man than I,’ he said to David ‘for you have repaid me with good while I have repaid you with evil.

24:19 Today you have crowned your goodness toward me since Yahweh had put me in your power yet you did not kill me.

24:20 When a man comes on his enemy, does he let him go unmolested? May Yahweh reward you for the goodness you have shown me today.

24:21 Now I know you will indeed reign and that the sovereignty in Israel will be secure in your hands.

24:22 Now swear to me by Yahweh that you will not cut off my descendants after me nor blot out my name from my family.’

24:23 This David swore to Saul and Saul went home while David and his men with him went back to the stronghold.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 25

The death of Samuel

25:1 Samuel died and the whole of Israel assembled to mourn him. They buried him at his home in Ramah.

The story of Nabal and Abigail

David then set off and went down into the wilderness of Maon.

25:2 Now there was a man in Maon whose business was at Carmel, a man of means who owned three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. He was engaged in shearing his sheep at Carmel.

25:3 The man’s name was Nabal and his wife’s Abigail. She was a woman of intelligence and beauty, but the man was brutish and ill-mannered. He was a Calebite.

25:4 When David learned in the wilderness that Nabal was at his sheep shearing,

25:5 he sent ten soldiers, saying to them,[*a] ‘Go up to Carmel, visit Nabal and greet him in my name.

25:6 You are to say this to my brother, “Peace to you, peace to your House, peace to all that is yours!

25:7 I hear that you have the shearers; now your shepherds were with us and we did not molest them, nor did they find anything missing all the time they were at Carmel.

25:8 Ask your soldiers and they will tell you. May these soldiers win your favour, for we come on a day of feasting. Whatever you have to hand please give to your servants and to David your son.”‘

25:9 David’s soldiers came and said all this to Nabal in David’s name, and waited.

25:10 Then Nabal answered David’s soldiers, ‘Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants nowadays who run away from their masters.

25:11 Am I to take my bread and my wine and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers and give it to men who come from I do not know where?’

25:12 David’s soldiers turned away and went back the way they had come, and they told all this to David.

25:13 Then David said to his men, ‘Every man buckle on his sword!’ And they buckled on their swords, and David buckled on his too; about four hundred men followed David while two hundred remained with the baggage.

25:14 Now one of the servants had brought the news to Abigail, Nabal’s wife. He said, ‘David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, but he flared out at them.

25:15 Now these men were very good to us; they did not molest us and we did not find anything missing all the time we were out in the fields while we were in their neighbourhood.

25:16 They were a protection to us night and day, all the time we were in their neighbourhood minding the sheep.

25:17 Now bear this in mind and see what you can do, for the ruin of our master and of his whole House is decided on, and he is so ill-tempered no one can say a word to him.’

25:18 Abigail hastily took two hundred loaves, two skins of wine, five sheep ready prepared, five measures of roasted grain, a hundred bunches of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs and loaded them on donkeys.

25:19 She said to her servants, ‘Go on ahead of me, I will follow you’ – but she did not tell her husband.

25:20 As she was riding her donkey down behind a spur of the mountain, David and his men happened to be coming down in her direction; and she met them.

25:21 Now David had decided, ‘It was a waste of time guarding all this man’s property in the wilderness. Nothing was missing of all he had, and yet he returned evil for good.

25:22 May God do this to David and more if by morning I leave one male alive of all those who belong to him!’

25:23 As soon as Abigail saw David she quickly dismounted from the donkey and, falling on her face before David, bowed down to the ground.

25:24 She fell at his feet and said, ‘Let me take the blame, my lord. Let your servant speak in your ear; listen to the words of your servant.

25:25 Pay no attention to this ill-tempered man Nabal for his nature is like his name; “Brute” is his name and brutish his character. But I your servant did not see the soldiers my lord had sent.

25:26 And now, my lord, as Yahweh lives and as your soul lives, by Yahweh who kept you from the crime of bloodshed and from taking vengeance with your own hand, may your enemies, and all those who plan evil against my lord become like Nabal.

25:27 As for the present your servant brings my lord, let it be given to the soldiers of my lord’s own following.

25:28 I ask you to forgive your servant’s fault, for then Yahweh will grant my lord a lasting dynasty, for my lord is fighting the battles of Yahweh, and in all your life there is no wickedness to be found in you.

25:29 Should men set out to hunt you down and try to take your life, my lord’s life will be kept close in the satchel of life with Yahweh your God, while as for the lives of your enemies he will fling them away, as from a sling.

25:30 When Yahweh has done for my lord all the good he has promised you, when he has made you prince over Israel,

25:31 you do not want to have any reason to grieve or feel remorse at having shed blood needlessly and avenged yourself with your own hand. And when Yahweh has shown his goodness to my lord, then remember your servant.’

25:32 David said to Abigail, ‘Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today!

25:33 Blessed be your wisdom and blessed you yourself for restraining me today from the crime of bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand!

25:34 But as Yahweh the God of Israel lives, he who kept me from harming you, had you not hurried out to meet me, I swear that Nabal would not have had one male left alive by the morning.’

25:35 David then accepted from her what she had brought him and said, ‘Go home in peace; see, I have listened to you and have granted your request’.

25:36 Abigail returned to Nabal. He was holding a feast, a princely feast, in his house; Nabal was in high spirits, and as he was very drunk she told him nothing at all till it was daylight.

25:37 In the morning then, when the wine had left him, his wife told him all that had happened and his heart died inside him and he became like a stone.

25:38 About ten days later Yahweh struck Nabal, and he died.

25:39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, ‘Blessed be Yahweh who has avenged the insult I received at Nabal’s hands and has restrained his servant from doing evil; Yahweh has brought Nabal’s wickedness down on his own head.’ David then sent Abigail an offer of marriage.

25:40 When David’s servants came to Abigail at Carmel, they said, ‘David has sent us to you to take you to him as his wife.’

25:41 She rose and bowed down her face to the ground. ‘Consider your servant a slave’ she said ‘to wash the feet of my lord’s servants.’

25:42 Quickly Abigail stood up again and mounted a donkey; followed by five of her slave-girls she followed David’s messengers and became his wife.

25:43 David had also married Ahinoam of Jezreel and he kept them both as wives.

25:43 Saul had given Michal his daughter, the wife of David, to Palti son of Laish, from Gallim.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 26

David spares Saul

26:1 Now the men of Ziph came to Saul at Gibeah. ‘Is not David in hiding’ they said ‘on the Hill of Hachilah on the edge of the wastelands?’

26:2 So Saul set off and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, accompanied by three thousand men chosen from Israel to search for David in the wilderness of Ziph.

26:3 Saul pitched camp on the Hill of Hachilah, which is on the edge of the wastelands, by the roadside. David was then living in the wilderness and saw that Saul was coming after him there.

26:4 Accordingly, David sent out spies and learned that Saul had indeed arrived.

26:5 Setting off, David went to the place where Saul had pitched camp. He saw the place where Saul and Abner son of Ner commander of his army were lying. Saul was lying inside the camp with the troops bivouacking round him.

26:6 Speaking to Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah and brother of Joab, David said, ‘Who will come down with me into the camp of Saul?’ Abishai answered, ‘I will go down with you’.

26:7 So in the dark David and Abishai made their way towards the force, where they found Saul lying asleep inside the camp, his spear stuck in the ground beside his head, with Abner and the troops lying round him.

26:8 Then Abishai said to David, ‘Today God has put your enemy in your power; so now let me pin him to the ground with his own spear. Just one stroke! I will not need to strike him twice.’

26:9 David answered Abishai, ‘Do not kill him, for who can lift his hand against Yahweh’s anointed and be without guilt?

26:10 As Yahweh lives,’ David said ‘Yahweh himself will strike him down, whether his time to die comes, or he goes out to battle and perishes then.

26:11 Yahweh forbid that I should raise my hand against Yahweh’s anointed! But now take the spear beside his head and the pitcher of water and let us go away.’

26:12 David took the spear and the pitcher of water from beside Saul’s head, and they made off. No one saw, no one knew, no one woke up; they were all asleep, for a deep sleep from Yahweh had fallen on them.

26:13 David crossed to the other side and halted on the top of the mountain a long way off; there was a wide space between them.

26:14 David then called out to the troops and to Abner son of Ner, ‘Abner, will you not answer?’ Abner replied, ‘Who is that calling?’

26:15 David said to Abner, ‘Are you not a man? Who is your like in Israel? Why did you not guard your lord the king then? Some man of the people came to kill the king your lord.

26:16 What you did was not well done. As Yahweh lives, you all deserve to die since you did not guard your lord, Yahweh’s anointed. Look where the king’s spear is now, and the pitcher of water that was beside his head.’

26:17 Then Saul recognised David’s voice and said, ‘Is that your voice, my son David?’ David answered, ‘It is my voice, my lord king.

26:18 Why does my lord pursue his servant?’ he said. ‘What have I done? What evil am I guilty of ?

26:19 May my lord king now listen to the words of his servant: if Yahweh himself has incited you against me, let him accept an offering; but if men have done it, may they be accursed before Yahweh, for now they have driven me out so that I have no share in the heritage of Yahweh. They have said, “Go and serve other gods”.[*a]

26:20 So now, do not let my blood fall to the ground out of the presence of Yahweh; for the king of Israel has gone out in quest of my life as a man hunts a partridge on the mountains.’

26:21 Saul replied, ‘I have sinned. Come back, my son David; I will never harm you again since you have shown such respect for my life today. Yes, my course has been folly and my error grave.’

26:22 David answered, ‘Here is the king’s spear. Let one of the soldiers come across and take it.

26:23 Yahweh repays everyone for his uprightness and loyalty. Today Yahweh put you in my power, but I would not raise my hand against Yahweh’s anointed.

26:24 Just as today your life counted for much in my sight, so shall my life count for much in the sight of Yahweh and he will deliver me from all distress.’

26:25 Then Saul said to David, ‘May you be blessed, my son David! You will do great things and will succeed.’ Then David went on his way and Saul returned home.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 27


He takes refuge at Gath

27:1 ‘One of these days’ David thought ‘I shall perish at the hand of Saul. I can do no better than escape to the land of the Philistines; then Saul will give up tracking me through the length and breadth of Israel and I shall be safe from him.’

27:2 So David set off and went, he and the six hundred men who were with him, down to Achish son of Maoch the king of Gath.

27:3 He settled at Gath with Achish, he and his men, each with his family and David with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the wife of Nabal from Carmel.

27:4 When news reached Saul that David had fled to Gath, he stopped searching for him.

David as vassal of the Philistines

27:5 David said to Achish, ‘If you will grant me a favour, let me be given a place in one of the country towns for me to settle in. Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?’

27:6 So that day Achish gave him Ziklag, and for this reason Ziklag has been the property of the kings of Judah to the present day.

27:7 The length of time that David stayed in Philistine territory was a year and four months.

27:8 David and his men went out on raids against the Geshurites, Girzites and Amalekites, for these are the tribes inhabiting the region that goes from Telam in the direction of Shur and as far as the land of Egypt.

27:9 David laid the countryside waste and left neither man nor woman alive but took the sheep and oxen, donkeys, camels and garments and came back, bringing them to Achish.

27:10 Achish would ask, ‘Where did you go raiding today?’ David would reply, ‘Against the Negeb of Judah’, or ‘the Negeb of Jerahmeel’, or ‘the Negeb of the Kenites.'[*a]

27:11 But David never brought a man or woman back alive to Gath ‘in case’ as he thought ‘they inform against us and say, “David did such and such”‘. This was David’s practice all the time he stayed in Philistine territory.

27:12 Achish trusted David. ‘He has made himself hated by his own people Israel’ he thought ‘and so will be my servant for ever.’

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 28

The Philistines go to war against Israel

28:1 At that time the Philistines mustered their forces for war to fight Israel, and Achish said to David, ‘It is understood that you join forces with me, you and your men?’

28:2 David answered Achish, ‘In that case, you will soon see what your servant can do.’ Achish replied to David, ‘Right, I shall appoint you as my permanent bodyguard.’

Saul and the witch of En-dor

28:3 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned him and buried him at Ramah, his own town. Saul had expelled the necromancers and wizards from the country.

28:4 Meanwhile the Philistines had mustered and pitched camp at Shunem. Saul mustered all Israel and they encamped at Gilboa.

28:5 When Saul saw the Philistine camp he was afraid and there was a great trembling in his heart.

28:6 Saul consulted Yahweh, but Yahweh gave him no answer, either by dream or oracle or prophet.

28:7 Then Saul said to his servants, ‘Find a woman who is a necromancer for me to go and consult her’. His servants replied, ‘There is a necromancer at En-dor’.

28:8 And so Saul, disguising himself and changing his clothes, set out accompanied by two men; their visit to the woman took place at night. ‘Disclose the future to me’ he said ‘by means of a ghost. Conjure up the one I shall name to you.’

28:9 The woman answered, ‘Look, you know what Saul has done, how he has swept the necromancers and wizards out of the country; why are you setting a trap for my life, then, to have me killed?’

28:10 But Saul swore to her by Yahweh, ‘As Yahweh lives,’ he said ‘no blame shall attach to you for this business.’

28:11 Then the woman asked, ‘Whom shall I conjure up for you?’ He replied, ‘Conjure up Samuel’.

28:12 Then the woman saw Samuel and, giving a great cry, she said to Saul, ‘Why have you deceived me? You are Saul.’

28:13 The king said, ‘Do not be afraid! What do you see?’ The woman answered Saul, ‘I see a ghost rising up from the earth’.

28:14 ‘What is he like?’ he asked. She answered, ‘It is an old man coming up; he is wrapped in a cloak’. Then Saul knew it was Samuel and he bowed down his face to the ground and did homage.

28:15 Then Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why have you disturbed my rest, conjuring me up?’ Saul replied, ‘I am in great distress; the Philistines are waging war against me, and God has abandoned me and no longer answers me either by prophet or dream; and so I have summoned you to tell me what I must do’.

28:16 Samuel said, ‘And why do you consult me, when Yahweh has abandoned you and is with your neighbour?

28:17 Yahweh has done to you as he foretold through me; he has snatched the sovereignty from your hand and given it to your neighbour, David,

28:18 because you disobeyed the voice of Yahweh and did not execute his fierce anger against Amalek. That is why Yahweh treats you like this now.

28:19 What is more, Yahweh will deliver Israel and you, too, into the power of the Philistines. Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me; and Israel’s army, too, for Yahweh will deliver it into the power of the Philistines.’

28:20 Saul was overcome and fell full-length on the ground. He was terrified by what Samuel had said and, besides this, he was weakened by having eaten nothing at all that day and all that night.

28:21 The woman then came to Saul, and seeing his terror said, ‘Look, your servant has obeyed your voice; I have taken my life in my hands, and have obeyed the command you gave me.

28:22 So now you in your turn listen to what your servant says. Let me set a little food before you for you to eat and get some strength for your journey.’

28:23 But he refused. ‘I will not eat’ he said. His servants however pressed him, and so did the woman. Allowing himself to be persuaded by them, he rose from the ground and sat on the divan.

28:24 The woman owned a fattened calf which she quickly slaughtered, and she took some flour and kneaded it and with it baked cakes of unleavened bread;

28:25 she put these before Saul and his servants; and after they had eaten they set off and left the same night.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 29

David is sent away by the Philistine leaders

29:1 The Philistines mustered all their forces at Aphek while the Israelites were encamped near the spring which is in Jezreel.

29:2 The Philistine lords paraded in their groups of a hundred and a thousand, with David and his men bringing up the rear with Achish.

29:3 The Philistine leaders asked, ‘Who are these Hebrews?’ Achish replied to the Philistine leaders, ‘Why, this is David the servant of Saul, king of Israel, who has been with me for the last one or two years. I have had no fault to find with him from the day he gave himself up to me to the present time.’

29:4 But the Philistine leaders were angry with him. ‘Send the man back,’ they said ‘let him return to the place you assigned him. He must not go down with us to battle, in case he turns on us once battle is joined. Would there be a better way for the man to regain his master’s favour than with the heads of these men here?

29:5 Is not this the David of whom they sang in the dance: “Saul has killed his thousands, David his tens of thousands”?’

29:6 So Achish called David and said, ‘As Yahweh lives, you are loyal, and to me it seems only right you should accompany me in the campaign, for I have found nothing wrong in you from the day you came to me to the present time. But you are not acceptable to the leaders.

29:7 So go back, and go in peace, rather than antagonise the leaders of the Philistines.’

29:8 ‘But what have I done,’ David asked Achish ‘what fault have you had to find with your servant from the day I entered your service to the present time, for me not to be allowed to go and fight the enemies of my lord the king?’

29:9 Achish answered, ‘You know that in my sight you are as blameless as an angel of God; but the Philistine leaders have said, “He must not go out with us to battle”.

29:10 So now, get up early in the morning, you and your master’s servants who came with you, and go to the place I assigned you. Let there be no rancour in your heart, for to me you are blameless. You must get up early in the morning and when it is light enough you must be off.’

29:11 So David rose early, he and his men, and set off in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. The Philistines went up to Jezreel.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 30

The campaign against the Amalekites

30:1 Now by the time David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had raided the Negeb and Ziklag; they had stormed Ziklag and burnt it down.

30:2 They had taken the women captive with all those who were there, both small and great. They had not killed anyone, but taken the prisoners and gone on their way.

30:3 When David and his men arrived, they found the town burnt down and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive.

30:4 Then David and the people with him wept aloud till they were too weak to weep any more.

30:5 David’s two wives had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the wife of Nabal from Carmel.

30:6 David was in great trouble, for the people were talking of stoning him; all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David took courage from Yahweh his God.

30:7 To the priest Abiathar son of Ahimelech David said, ‘Bring me the ephod’. Abiathar brought the ephod to David.

30:8 Then David consulted Yahweh, ‘Am I to go in pursuit of these raiders? Shall I overtake them?’ The answer was, ‘Go in pursuit; you will certainly overtake them and rescue the captives’.

30:9 David accordingly set off with the six hundred men who were with him, and reached the wadi Besor.

30:10 David then continued the pursuit with four hundred men, two hundred staying behind who were too exhausted to cross the wadi Besor.

30:11 Out in the country they found an Egyptian and brought him to David. They gave him bread which he ate, and water to drink;

30:12 They also gave him a piece of fig cake and two bunches of raisins; he ate these and his spirits revived, for he had neither eaten bread nor drunk water for three days and three nights.

30:13 David then said to him, ‘Whose man are you and where do you come from?’ He answered, ‘I am a young Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite; my master abandoned me because I fell sick three days ago.

30:14 We raided the Negeb of the Cherethites, and the Negeb of Judah, and the Negeb of Caleb too, and we burnt Ziklag down.’

30:15 David said, ‘Will you lead me down to these raiders?’ He replied, ‘Swear to me by God not to kill me or hand me over to my master and I will lead you down to these raiders’.

30:16 And when he led him down there they were, scattered over the whole countryside, eating, drinking and rejoicing, because of the enormous booty they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.

30:17 David struck them down from dawn till evening, putting them under the ban. None escaped except for four hundred soldiers who mounted camels and fled.

30:18 David set free all whom the Amalekites had captured. David set his two wives free also.

30:19 Nothing was missing, whether small or great, booty or sons and daughters, everything that had been captured; David brought all back.

30:20 They captured the flocks and herds as well and drove them in front of him. ‘This is David’s booty’ they shouted.

30:21 Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow him, those he had left at the wadi Besor; they came out to meet David and the troops with him, and, approaching David and the troops, asked how they had fared.

30:22 But all the rogues and scoundrels among the men who had gone with David said, ‘They did not go with us so we will not give them any of the booty we have rescued, though each can take his wife and children away and go’.

30:23 But David said, ‘Do not act like this after what Yahweh has done for us; he has protected us, delivering into our hands the raiders who set on us.

30:24 Who would agree with you on this? No: ‘As the share is of him who goes down to the battle, so is the share of him who stays with the baggage. ‘They must share alike.’

30:25 And from that day forward he made this a statute and an ordinance for Israel which obtains to the present day.

30:26 When David came to Ziklag he sent parts of the booty to the elders of Judah, proportionate to their towns, with this message, ‘Here is a present for you from the booty taken from the enemies of Yahweh’:

30:27 for those in Bethel, for those in Ramoth of the Negeb,

30:28 for those in Jattir, for those in Aroer, for those in Siphmoth, for those in Eshtemoa,

30:29 for those in Carmel, for those in the towns of Jerahmeel, for those in the towns of the Kenites,

30:30 for those in Hormah, for those in Borashan, for those in Athach,

30:31 for those in Hebron and for all the places which David and his men had frequented.

JB 1 SAMEUL Chapter 31

The battle of Gilboa and the death of Saul

31:1 The Philistines made war on Israel and the men of Israel fled from the Philistines and were slaughtered on Mount Gilboa.

31:2 The Philistines pressed Saul and his sons hard and killed Jonathan, Abinadab and Malchishua, the sons of Saul.

31:3 The fighting grew heavy about Saul; the bowmen took him off his guard, so that he fell wounded by the bowmen.

31:4 Then Saul said to his armour-bearer, ‘Draw your sword and run me through with it; I do not want these uncircumcised men to come and gloat over me’. But his armour-bearer was afraid and would not do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it.

31:5 His armour-bearer, seeing that Saul was dead, fell on his sword too and died with him.

31:6 And so Saul and his three sons and his armour-bearer died together that day.

31:7 When the Israelites who were on the other side of the valley saw that the men of Israel had taken flight and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their towns and fled. The Philistines then came and occupied them.

31:8 When the Philistines came on the following day to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons lying on Mount Gilboa.

31:9 They cut off his head and, stripping him of his armour, had it carried round the land of the Philistines to proclaim the good news to their idols and their people.

31:10 They placed his armour in the temple of Astarte; they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan.

31:11 When the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead[*a] heard what the Philistines had done to Saul,

31:12 all the warriors set out, marching throughout the night, and took the bodies of Saul and his sons off the wall of Beth-shan, and bringing them to Jabesh they burned them there.

31:13 Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk of Jabesh, and fasted for seven days.

END OF 1 SAMEUL [31 Chapters].

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