First Samuel

Hannah rose after one such meal at Shiloh, and presented herself before Yahva; at the time Eli the priest was sitting on a chair near the doorpost of Yahva's temple. In her bitterness she prayed to Yahva, weeping freely and vowing; "O Lord of hosts, if you pity the depression of your servant, if you remember me and not forget me, if you give your handmaid a male child, I will give him to Yahva all the days of his life. No razor shall ever touch his head." As she continued praying, Eli watched her mouth for Hannah was praying silently; although her lips moved, her voice could not be heard. Eli, thinking she was drunk, said; "How long will you be a drunken spectacle? Sober up from your wine!" "No, my lord!" Hannah answered. "I am an unhappy woman. I have had neither wine nor liquor; I was only praying to Yahva. Do not think your servant a worthless woman. My prayer has been prompted by my deep sorrow and misery." Eli said; "Go in peace, and may Yahva grant what you request." She replied, "Let your servant find favor in your eyes," and left. She went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, no longer appearing depressed.

Early the next morning they worshiped to Yahva, then returned to their home in Ramah. When they returned Elkanah had intercourse with Hannah and Yahva remembered her. She conceived and, at the end of her pregnancy, bore a son whom she named Samuel. "Because I asked Yahva for him." The next time Elkanah was going with his household to offer the customary sacrifice to Yahva and fulfill his vows, Hannah did not go, explaining to her husband; "Once the child is weaned, I will take him to appear before Yahva and leave him there forever." Her husband Elkanah answered her; "Do what you wish; wait until you have weaned him. May Yahva fulfill his word!" And so she remained at home and nursed her son until she had weaned him.

Once he was weaned, she brought him, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and presented him to Yahva in Shiloh. After they slaughtered the bull, they brought the child to Eli. Then Hannah said; "Excuse me, my lord! I am the woman who stood here near you, praying to Yahva. I prayed for this child and Yahva granted my request. Now I give him to Yahva. As long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to Yahva." Then they worshiped before Yahva.

Hannah prayed:

My heart exults in Yahva,

My horn is exalted by my God.

I have swallowed up my enemies;

I rejoice in your victory.

There is no Holy One like Yahva;

There is no Rock like our God.

Speak boastfully no longer,

Do not let arrogance issue from your mouths.

For Yahva is an all-knowing God,

A God who weighs actions.

The bows of the mighty are broken,

While the tottering gird on strength.

The well-fed hire themselves out for bread,

While the hungry no longer have to toil.

The sterile wife bears seven sons,

While the mother of many languishes.

Yahva puts to death and gives life,

Casts down to Sheol and brings up again.

Yahva makes poor and makes rich,

Humbles, and also exalts.

He raises the needy from the dust;

From the ash heap lifts up the poor,

To seat them with nobles

And make a glorious throne their heritage.

For the pillars of the earth are Yahva's

And he has set the world upon them.

He guards the footsteps of his faithful ones,

But the wicked shall perish in the darkness;

For not by strength does one prevail.

Yahva's foes shall be shattered;

The Most High in heaven thunders;

Yahva judges the ends of the earth.

May he give strength to the king

And exalt the horn of his anointed!

When Elkanah returned home to Ramah, the child remained in the service of Yahva under the priest Eli.

The sons of Eli were wicked; they neither respected Yahva nor their priestly duties. When someone offered a sacrifice, the priest's servant would thrust a three-pronged fork into the meat boiling in the basin, kettle, caldron, or pot. Whatever the fork caught, the priest would take for himself. They abused all people who came to the sanctuary at Shiloh this way. Even before the fat was burned, the priest's servant would say to the one offering sacrifice; "Give me some meat to roast for the priest. He will not accept boiled meat from you, only raw meat." If one protested; "First, let the fat burn, then take what you wish," he would reply; "No, give it now or I will take it by force." The young men sinned grievously, treating the offerings with contempt.

Meanwhile the boy Samuel, wearing a linen ephod, was serving in the presence of Yahva. His mother made little garments for him, which she would bring each time she went with her husband for the customary sacrifice. Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife as they were leaving, saying; "May Yahva repay you with children for the gift this woman has made to Yahva!" Yahva favored Hannah; she gave birth to three more sons and two daughters. Young Samuel grew up in the service of Yahva.

When Eli was very old, he frequently heard how his sons were abusing Israel, as well as behaving promiscuously with the women serving at the entry of the meeting tent. He said to them; "Why are you doing such things? I hear of your depraved behavior from everyone. Stop this, my sons! The report that Yahva's people spread is not good. If someone sins against another, anyone can intercede for the sinner with Yahva; but if anyone sins against Yahva, who can intercede?" But they disregarded their father's warning, since Yahva wanted their death. Meanwhile, young Samuel was growing in stature and worth, well esteemed by Yahva and the people.

A messenger from Yahva came to Eli, saying; "I revealed myself to your father's house when they were slaves in Egypt. I chose them from the tribes of Israel to be my priests, to serve my altar, to burn incense, and to wear the ephod. I assigned all the food offerings of the Israelites to your father's house. Why do you stare greedily at the sacrifices and offerings I prescribed? Why do you honor your sons more than you honor me, fattening yourselves with the choicest part of every offering? I am the oracle of Yahva, God of Israel. I said in the past that your family and your father's house should serve me forever. But now, far be it from me! I will honor those who honor me, but curse those who despise me. The time is coming when I will break your strength and that of your father's house. You shall witness the benefits enjoyed by Israel, but no member of your household will grow old. I will leave one man at my altar to wear out his eyes and waste his strength, but the rest of your family shall die by the sword. The fate of Hophni and Phinehas will be a sign for you. Both will die on the same day. I will choose a faithful priest who shall do what I have deemed. I will establish an enduring house for him. He and his descendants shall serve forever in before my anointed. Any remnant your family will grovel before him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread, saying: Please assign me a priestly function for I have not even a crust of bread to eat."

During the time young Samuel served Yahva under Eli, the presence of Yahva was scarce and vision infrequent. One day Eli was asleep in his usual place. His eyes had grown so weak that he could not see. The lamp of God was not yet extinguished and Samuel was sleeping in temple where the ark resided. Yahva called to Samuel, who answered and ran to Eli. He said; "Here I am. You called me." "I did not call you," Eli answered. "Go back to sleep." So he went back to sleep. Again Yahva called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli. "Here I am," he said. "You called me." But he answered; "I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep."

Samuel did not yet recognize Yahva, since the essence of Yahva had not yet been revealed to him. Yahva called Samuel for the third time. He went to Eli as before. Then Eli understood that Yahva was calling the youth. He said to Samuel, "Go to sleep. If you are called, saying; 'Speak, O Lord, for your servant is listening.'" Samuel went to sleep and Yahva stood before him, calling out as before: Samuel, Samuel! Samuel answered; "Speak, for your servant is listening." Yahva said to Samuel; "I am going to do something in Israel that will alarm everyone who hears. I will inflict on Eli everything I deemed about the end of his house. I have announced to him that I am condemning his house completely for this crime. Although he knew his sons were blaspheming, he did not reprove them. I curse Eli's house: No sacrifice or offering will ever expiate its crime." Samuel slept until dawn, then got up early and opened the temple doors. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision until Eli called; "Samuel, my son!" He replied; "Here I am." Then Eli asked; "What did he say? Hide nothing from me! May God punish to you if you omit a single thing." Samuel told him his vision. Eli answered; "It is Yahva. What is pleasing in his sight, he will do."

Samuel matured while Yahva fulfilled his every word. All Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba learned that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet. Yahva continued to appear at Shiloh, manifesting himself to Samuel through his word. Samuel's word spread throughout Israel.

Then the Philistines mustered to attack Israel. Israel camped at Ebenezer to engage them, while the Philistines camped at Aphek. The Philistines then assumed battle formation. After a fierce struggle Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about 4,000 men. When the troops withdrew, the elders said; "Why has Yahva accepted our defeated today? Fetch the ark from Shiloh to go into battle among us and save us from our enemies."

So the people brought the ark from Shiloh. The two sons of Eli accompanied the ark. When the ark arrived in the camp, Israel shouted so loudly that the earth quaked. The Philistines, hearing the uproar, asked; "What does this mean?" Learning that the ark of Yahva had come into the camp, the Philistines were frightened, crying out; "Gods have come to their camp. This has never happened before. Woe to us! Who can deliver us from these gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with plagues in the desert. Take courage and be brave; otherwise you will become their slaves, as they were your slaves. Fight like soldiers!" The Philistines fought and Israel was defeated, losing 30,000 soldiers. The ark was captured and Hophni and Phinehas, were dead.

A Benjaminite escaped the battle and ran to Shiloh the same day. His clothes were torn and he was covered with dirt. When he arrived, Eli was watching from his chair beside the gate, for he was troubled about the ark. The man entered the city to give his news and the whole city moaned. When Eli heard the uproar, he wondered what caused such a commotion. Just then the man rushed to inform him. Eli was 98 years old and his eyes had failed so he could not see. The man said; "I have come from the battlefield. I fled from it today." Eli asked; "What happened, my child?" The messenger replied: "Israel fled from the Philistines while, our troops suffered heavy losses. Hophni and Phinehas, are dead and the ark was captured." As he mentioned the ark, Eli fell backward from his chair and he died of a broken neck. He was an old, heavy man. He had judged Israel for 40 years.

His daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and ready for delivery. When she heard the news about ark being captured and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband, she went into labor, and gave birth. As she was dying the women around her said; "Do not despair, you have borne a son." She did not respond. She named the child Ichabod, saying; "Glory is gone from Israel," referring to the capture of the ark and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband.

The Philistines, having captured the ark, transferred it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. They brought the ark into the temple of Dagon, placing it beside Dagon. When the people of Ashdod rose the next morning, Dagon was lying face down before the ark. They put Dagon back in his place. The next morning Dagon lay face down before the ark; his head and arms broken off and lying on the threshold; only his torso intact. For this reason, the worshiper of Dagon who enter the temple do not step on the threshold.

Yahva oppressed the people of Ashdod, ravaging the region and afflicting them with tumors. Understanding what was happening, the people of Ashdod decided; "The ark of the God of Israel must not stay with us, for he oppresses us and Dagon." They assembled the Philistine leaders and asked them; "What shall we do with the ark?" The replied; "Move this ark to Gath," which they did. But after it was brought there, Yahva oppressed the city with tumors on the young and old, causing terror to them. The ark was next sent to Ekron. As it entered that city, the people cried out; "They have brought the ark here to kill us and our kin?" They, again, sent a summons to the Philistine leaders, pleading; "Send away this ark. Send it back to Israel so it does not kill us." A deadly panic had seized the city since Yahva oppressed it. Those who survived were afflicted with tumors. The outcry of the city ascended to the skies.

The ark of Yahva had been with the Philistines for seven months. They assembled priests and diviners, asking; "What shall we do with the ark? Tell us what we should send back with it." They replied; "If you return the ark, do not send it without a gift. Atone with a guilt offering to their God. Then you will be healed, and will learn why God still afflicts you." When asked further; "What offering should be our atonement?" they replied; "Five gold tumors and five gold mice, for each Philistine lord, since the same plague struck everyone. Make images of the tumors and mice that are devastating you and your land; and by this glorify the God of Israel. Perhaps then he will lift this oppression. Why should you be stubborn, as the Egyptians did? Was it not after Israel's God dealt ruthlessly with them that the Israelites were released to depart?

Build a new cart and hitch to it two milk cows that have never been yoked. Pen their calves away from them. Then place ark on it on the cart, putting the gold guilt offering in a box beside it. Let it go on its way and. watch If it goes toward Beth-shemesh to Israel's territory, then it was their God who brought this calamity on us; else, we will know that it was not their God, but that it happened by chance.

They followed this advice. The cows went straight along the route to Beth-shemesh, mooing as they went. The Philistine leaders followed them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh. The people of Beth-shemesh were harvesting the wheat. They rejoiced when they saw the ark. The cart stopped at the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite. At a large stone in the field, the wood of the cart was chopped up and the cows prepared as a burnt offering to Yahva. The Levites, meanwhile, put the ark of Yahva and the box beside it, containing the gold offerings, on the great stone. The people of Beth-shemesh sacrificed other burnt offerings to Yahva. After seeing this, the five Philistine leaders returned to Ekron.

The gold tumors the Philistines sent as a guilt offering were one each for Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron. The gold mice represented all the cities of the Philistines, including fortified cities and open villages. The large stone on which the ark of Yahva was placed is still in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite.

Some descendants of Jeconiah did not join the celebration with the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh. When they saw the ark of Yahva, 70 (of 50,000) were killed. The people mourned this calamity which Yahva had inflicted. The people of Beth-shemesh asked; "Who can withstand the presence of Yahva? To whom can the ark go?"

They sent messengers Kiriath-jearim, saying; "The Philistines have returned the ark; take it to your city." The inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim came for the ark and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, appointing his son Eleazar as guardian of the ark of Yahva.

During the 20 years the ark rest in Kiriath-jearim, Israel returned to Yahva. Samuel addressed Israel; "If you would return to Yahva with your whole spirit, remove the foreign gods and Astartes. Honor only Yahva and serve him alone. Then he will deliver you from Philistine oppression." The Israelites removed the Baals and Astartes, serving Yahva alone. Samuel ordered; "Assemble Israel at Mizpah. I will pray to Yahva for you." When they assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it on the ground to Yahva. They fasted that day, saying; "We have sinned against Yahva." From then at Mizpah, Samuel judged the Israelites.

When the Philistines of the assembly at Mizpah, they attacked Israel. Hearing this, the Israelites feared the Philistines and appealed to Samuel, "Continue appealing to Yahva, so that we may be saved from the Philistines." Samuel sacrificed an unweaned lamb as a burnt offering to Yahva. He cried to Yahva for Israel, who answered him. While Samuel sacrificed the burnt offering, the Philistines approached for combat. But Yahva thundered against the Philistines, which threw them into panic so they were easily defeated. Rushing from Mizpah, the Israelites pursued the Philistines, killing them even beyond Beth-car. Samuel placed a stone between Mizpah and Jeshanah, calling it Ebenezer. He explained; "Yahva has help us thus far." The Philistines were subdued and ceased occupying Israelite land. Yahva oppressed them as long as Samuel lived. The cities from Ekron to Gath, which the Philistines had taken, were restored to Israel. Israel also freed the territory of these cities. Also there was accord between Israel and the Amorites.

Samuel judged Israel during his life. Each year he traveled a yearly circuit, through Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah, judging Israel at each place. He returned to his home in Ramah where he judged Israel before built an altar he had built.

In his old age Samuel appointed his sons, Joel and Abijah, to judge Israel. They judged at Beer-sheba. His sons did not follow his example, but accepted bribes and perverted justice to their own gain. The elders of Israel assembled and said to Samuel at Ramah; "You are old, and your sons do not follow your example. Appoint a king to lead us, as all nations do."

Samuel was displeased when they said; "Give us a king to lead us." He prayed to Yahva, who said; "Listen to the people. They are not rejecting you, but rejecting me as their king. They are doing to you just as they have done on every day since I rescued them from Egypt; deserting me to serve other gods. Now listen to them; but warn them of the privileges their king will claim as their right."

Samuel delivered the entire message of Yahva to those asking him for a king, saying; "The governance of the king who will rule you will be as follows;

On that day you will cry out for release from the king you chose, but Yahva will not answer."

The people, refused to listen to Samuel, saying; "No! We want a king like other nations, to rule us, lead us in warfare, and fight our battles." Samuel listened to the concerns of the people and repeated them to Yahva who said;" Listen to them! Appoint a king to rule over them." Samuel said to the people of Israel; "Return, each one of you, to your city."

There was a respected Benjaminite named Kish, son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah. He son, Saul, was a handsome young man. There was no other Israelite more handsome than Saul; he was a head taller than anyone else.

Now the donkeys of Saul's father had wandered off. Kish said to his son; "Take one of the servants and hunt the donkeys." They went through the hill country of Ephraim, the land of Shalishah, the land of Shaalim, and the land of Benjamin; but failed to find the animals. When they came to Zuph, Saul said to the servant; "We should return before my father forgets about the donkeys and become anxious about us." The servant replied; "There is a prophet of high esteem in this city. Everything he says comes true. Let's go there now. Perhaps he can tell us the trail to find our donkeys." Saul replied; "If we go, what can we give the man? Our bags have no food and we have no present for the prophet. What else do we have?" The servant answered; "I have a quarter shekel of silver to give. Perhaps he will advise us about the donkeys." (In former times in Israel, anyone who went to consult God would say; "Let's go to the seer." A prophet was called seer.) Saul said; "Good, let's go." They went toward the city where the prophet lived.

As they went up the hill to the city, they met some young women coming to draw water. Saul asked them; "Is the seer in town?" The young women answered; "Yes, he is ahead of us. Hurry now; he came to the city just today since there is a sacrifice today on the high altar. If you hurry into the city, you may reach him before he goes to the altar to eat. The people will not eat until he arrives. After he blesses the sacrifice, guests will be invited to eat. Hurry to find him now."

They went into the city. As they entered, Samuel was coming toward the high altar. The day before Saul's arrival, Yahva had revealed to him; "At this time tomorrow I will send you a Benjaminite whom you may anoint king of Israel. He will save my people from the Philistines. I have observed my people since their cry came to me."

When Samuel first saw Saul, Yahva reassured him; "This is the man who will govern my people." Saul met Samuel in the gate, saying; "Please tell me where the seer lives." Samuel answered; "I am the seer. Go ahead of me to the altar and eat with me today. In the morning, before you go, I will tell you everything concerning you. Do not worry about your donkeys that were lost three days ago, they have been found. Whom should Israel desire if not you and your father's lineage?" Saul replied; "Am I not a Benjaminite, from the smallest, and is not my clan the least among the tribe of Benjamin? Why say this to me?"

Samuel brought Saul and his servant into the room, seating them at the head of the guests (about 30). He told the cook; "Bring the portion I gave you to put aside." So the cook placed the leg with what went with it before Saul. Samuel said; "This portion is reserved for you. Eat, it was kept for you form the time I explained that I was inviting some guests." Saul dined with Samuel. When they came down into the city, Saul slept on a mattress spread on the roof.

At dawn Samuel called to Saul on the roof; "Arise and go on your way." Saul arose and went with Samuel outside the city. Approaching the town boundary, Samuel said to Saul; "Tell the servant to go ahead while you stay here for a moment. I will give you a message from God."

From his flask, Samuel poured oil on Saul's head and kissed him, saying; "Yahva anoints you king over Israel. You will govern Yahva's people and save them from their enemies.

"These will be the signs that Yahva has anointed you as ruler over his heritage:

When these signs are completed, do whatever is needful, because Yahva is with you. Now precede me to Gilgal; I will follow, to sacrifice burnt offerings and communion offerings. Wait seven days until I come to you; I will then tell you what you must do."

As Saul turned to leave Samuel, Yahva changed his essence. That day all these signs occurred. When they arrived at Gibeah, a band of prophets met Saul, and the essence descended on him; he joined them in prophesying. When those, who had known him previously, saw him among the prophets, they said to one another; "What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul now a prophet?" A man who lived there asked; "Who is his father?" Thus the saying arose, "Is Saul now a prophet s?" When the essence left him, he went home.

When he returned home, Saul's uncle asked him and his servant; "Where have you been?" Saul replied; "Looking for the donkeys. When we were not able find them, we went to Samuel." Saul's uncle said, "What did Samuel say;" Saul replied; "He assured us that the donkeys had been found." Saul did not tell him anything Samuel said about the kingship.

Samuel assembled people of Yahva at Mizpah and addressed the Israelites. Yahva says; "I saved Israel from Egypt and from the oppressive kingdoms. But today you reject me, who saves you from your disasters and calamities, by saying; 'No! You must appoint a king over us.' Now, present yourselves before Yahva by tribes and clans." From the assembled tribes Samuel chose Benjamin by lot. Next he assembled the clans Benjamin and chose the clan of Matri by lot. Finally Saul, son of Kish, was chosen. But when they looked for him, he was not found. They inquired of Yahva; "Has he arrived yet?" Yahva answered; "He is hiding among the baggage." They brought him to his place among the people, he was a head taller than anyone of the people. Then Samuel addressed Israel, "See the man chosen by Yahva! There is no one like him in Israel!" Then the people shouted; "May the king live long!"

Samuel explained the rights and duties of the king, wrote them on a scroll, and deposited it before the shrine of Yahva. Samuel then dismissed the people to return to their homes. Saul went home to Gibeah, accompanied by warriors touched by Yahva. But some rascals complained; "How can this fellow save us?" They despised him and brought him no tribute, but Saul did not protest.

Later, Nahash the Ammonite besieged Jabesh-gilead. The people of Jabesh begged Nahash to make a treaty, promising to serve him. Nahash declined, "My condition for a treaty is to gouge out the right eye of every man, thus shaming Israel." The elders of Jabesh said; "Give us seven days to send messengers through Israel. If no one comes to save us, we will surrender." When the messengers arrived at Gibeah with the news, they wept aloud. Saul came in from plowing field. "Why are you weeping?" he asked. They repeated the message from Jabesh. As he listened, the essence of Yahva descended on him. He became irate; Taking a yoke of oxen, he cut them into pieces and sent them throughout Israel by messengers saying; "If anyone fails to follow Saul and Samuel, this will be done to his oxen!" The fear of Yahva came to the people and they went as one. When Saul mustered them in Bezek, there were 300,000 Israelites and 70,000 Judahites.1

To the messengers from Jabesh he said; "Tell the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead that tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, they will be saved." The messengers reported this to the inhabitants of Jabesh, who rejoiced. The men of Jabesh said to Nahash; "Tomorrow we will surrender, and you may do whatever you wish." The next day, Saul arrayed his troops in three divisions and attacked the Ammonite camp just before dawn, slaughtering the Ammonites until midday. Any survivors were so scattered that no two were left together.

The people said to Samuel; "Who questioned that Saul should rule us? Give them to us to kill them." But Saul objected; "No one will be today, for Yahva has rescued Israel." Samuel said to the people; "Let's go to Gilgal to renew the kingship." So the people went to Gilgal, where they confirmed Saul as king in Yahva's presence. They also sacrificed communion offerings there before Yahva; Saul and Israel rejoiced greatly.

Samuel addressed Israel; "I have granted your request, setting a king over you. Now the king will lead you. I am old and gray, my sons are among you. I was your leader from my youth until today. Here I stand! Answer me in the presence of Yahva and his's anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I wronged? From whom have I accepted a bribe and shut my eyes because of it? I will make restitution." They replied; "You have neither cheated us, nor oppressed us, nor accepted anything from anyone." He said; "Yahva is witness against you, and also his's anointed. You have found nothing in my possession." "Yahva is witness," they said.

Samuel continued; "Yahva appointed Moses and Aaron, and rescued your ancestors from Egypt. Now stand here. I will confront you in the presence of Yahva according to all the gracious deeds that Yahva has done for you and your ancestors.

When Jacob and his sons went to Egypt and the Egyptians oppressed them, your ancestors cried to Yahva, who sent Moses and Aaron to bring them from Egypt to this place. But they forgot Yahva so he sold them to Sisera, captain of Hazor, the Philistines, and the king of Moab. They cried to Yahva saying; 'We sinned by abandoning Yahva, serving Baals and Astartes. Now deliver us from our enemies so we can serve you.' Yahva sent Jerubbaal, Barak, Jephthah, and Samuel to deliver you from your enemies so that you could live securely. Yet, when you saw Nahash, king of the Ammonites, advance against you, you said to me, 'No! A king must rule us,' even though Yahva is your king.

Yahva has given you a king. Here is the king you chose. If you fear and serve Yahva, if you listen to him and do not rebel against his's command, if both you and the king obey Yahva-good! But if you do not listen to Yahva and if you rebel against his command, then Yahva will oppress you and your king. Be ready to observe the great marvel Yahva is about to produce before you. Are we not in the harvest time for wheat? When I invoke Yahva, he will send thunder and rain. Thus you will see and understand how great an evil it is that you asked for a king." Samuel invoked Yahva, who sent thunder and rain."

Then the people feared Yahva and Samuel. They said to Samuel; "Pray to Yahva for us so that we do not die because we added the evil of asking for a king to all our other sins." "Do not fear," Samuel answered. "You have truly committed all this evil! Still do not abandon Yahva, but serve him with all your being. Do not turn to gods who are nothing, who cannot benefit or rescue you. They are worthless. For his own great name, Yahva will not abandon his people, since he has decided to make you his people. As for me, I will not sin by ceasing to pray for you. I will teach you the good and right way. But you must fear Yahva and serve him faithfully with all your being. You have seen the great things that Yahva has done. If instead you persist in evil, both you and your king shall be destroyed."

Saul was 30 years old when he became king and he ruled over Israel 42 years.

Saul chose 3,000 of Israel, of whom 2,000 remained with him in Michmash and the hill country of Bethel, and 1,000 were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. He sent the rest of them back to their homes. Jonathan attacked the Philistine garrison at Gibeah, and the Philistines learned of it. Then Saul had the horn blown throughout Israel and proclaimed; "Let the Hebrews hear!" And all Israel heard; "Saul has attacked the Philistines! Israel has become odious to the Philistines!" Then the army mustered to Saul in Gilgal.

The Philistines also assembled for battle with 30,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen, and foot soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They camped in Michmash, east of Beth-aven. When the Israelites saw they were in danger with the army hard pressed, they hid in caves, thickets, rocks, caverns, and wells. Other Hebrews crossed Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul remained in Gilgal with his army trembling in fear. He waited seven days, until the time set by Samuel, but Samuel did not come, so the army deserted Saul. He said; "Bring me the burnt offering and communion offerings!" Then he sacrificed the burnt offering.

As he finished the burnt offering, Samuel came! Saul went to greet him. Samuel asked him; "What have you done?" Saul explained; "When I saw that the army was deserting me and you did not come on the appointed day, while the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, I said to myself; 'Now the Philistines will attack me at Gilgal, while I have not asked Yahva's blessing.' So I thought I should sacrifice a burnt offering." Samuel replied; "You have acted foolishly! If you had kept Yahva's command, he would now establish your kingship in Israel forever; but now your kingship shall not endure. Yahva will seek a man after his own heart to appoint ruler over his people because you did not observe what Yahva commanded."

Then Samuel left to meet the soldiers, going from Gilgal to Gibeah. Saul counted the soldiers he had with him, about 600. Saul, his son Jonathan, and the soldiers with them occupied Geba in Benjamin, while the Philistines camped at Michmash. Philistines raiders left the camp in three bands. One took the Ophrah road toward Shual; another toward Beth-horon; while the third took the road to Geba that overlooks the Valley of the Hyenas and the desert. The Philistines had established an outpost at the pass of Michmash.

No smith could be found in Israel for the Philistines had said; "Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears." Israel had to go to the Philistines to sharpen their plowshares, mattocks, axes, and sickles. The price for sharpening plowshare or mattock was two thirds of a shekel and a third of a shekel for sharpening an axe or for setting an ox-goad. On the day of the battle the soldiers did not have a sword or spear. Only Saul and Jonathan had them.

One day Jonathan said to his armor-bearer; "Let's go to the Philistine outpost." He did not inform his father. Saul was sitting under a pomegranate tree in Migron Gibeah with about 600 men. Ahijah, son of Ahitub, brother of Ichabod, the son of Phinehas, son of Eli, the priest of Yahva at Shiloh, was wearing the ephod. The soldiers did not know that Jonathan had gone. Rocky crags (one named Bozez and the other Seneh) flanked the ravine through which Jonathan intended to cross to the Philistine outpost. One crag was to the north, toward Michmash; the other to the south, toward Geba. Jonathan said; "Let's go to the outpost of the uncircumcised. Perhaps Yahva will help us; it is no more difficult for Yahva to grant victory by a few than it is of many." His armor-bearer replied; "Do whatever you think best; I am with you." Jonathan continued; "When we cross to those men, we will be visible to them. If they say; 'Stay there until we can come to you,' we will stop where we are. But if they say, 'Come up to us,' we will go, because Yahva has delivered them to us. That will be our sign."

When the two of them came into the view of the Philistines, they remarked; "Look, some Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have been hiding." The men of the outpost called to Jonathan. "Come up here," they said; "and we will teach you a lesson." Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, "Climb after me, for Yahva has delivered them to Israel." Jonathan clambered up with his armor-bearer. As a Philistine fell before Jonathan, his armor-bearer, would kill him. In this first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed about 20 men within half an acre. Panic spread through the camp and outposts. The earth shook with an awesome convulsion.

Saul's sentinels in Gibeah saw that the enemy camp had scattered. Saul said; "Count the troops and find out if any of us are missing." When they had taken the count, they found Jonathan and his armor-bearer missing. Saul said to Ahijah; "Bring the ephod to me." (Ahijah was wearing it at that time.) While Saul was speaking to the priest, the uproar in the Philistine camp kept increasing. He said to the priest; "Release your hand."

Saul rallied his men and rushed into battle, while the Philistines were wholly confused; thrusting swords at each other. The Hebrews who had previously joined the Philistines, turned to join the Israelites. The Israelites who were hiding in Ephraim, hearing that the Philistines were fleeing, pursued them in the battle. Yahva again saved Israel.

The battle continued beyond Beth-aven. Even though the Israelites were exhausted, Saul forced a rash oath on them, saying; "Cursed be the one who takes food before evening; before I am able to avenge myself on my enemies." So none of the people ate. There was a honeycomb lying on the ground with flowing honey. When the soldiers passed the comb, not one tasted it, because they feared the oath.

Jonathan had not heard that his father had put the people under oath. He thrust the end of his staff into the honeycomb. Then he raised it to his mouth and his eyes brightened. At this, one of the soldiers said; "Your father put the people under oath, saying; 'Cursed be the one who takes food today!' As a result the people are fatigued." Jonathan replied; "My father brings trouble to us. Look how bright my eyes are because I had this taste of honey. If the army had eaten the enemy's plunder when they found it, surely the slaughter of the Philistines would have been the greater!"

After the Philistines were routed that day from Michmash to Aijalon, the warriors were completely exhausted. They pounced on the plunder and took sheep, oxen, and calves, slaughtering them on the ground and eating the raw meat with the blood still in it. Informed that the army was sinning by eating meat with blood, Saul said; "You have broken faith. Roll a large stone here." He continued; "Mingle with the people and tell each of them; 'Bring an ox or sheep to me. Slaughter them here and then eat. But you must not sin against Yahva by eating meat with blood in it.'" So that night they all brought whatever oxen they had seized, and they slaughtered them there; and Saul built an altar to Yahva-this was the first time he built an altar to Yahva.

Saul said, "Let us pursue the Philistines by night, plundering them until dawn. Leave no one alive!" They replied, "Do what you desire." But the priest said; "Let's consult Yahva." So Saul inquired; "Shall I pursue the Philistines? Will you deliver them to Israel?" He received no answer. "All officers of the army," Saul announced; "come forward. Find how this sin was committed today. As Yahva lives, even if my son Jonathan has committed, he will die!" No one answered him. So he said, "Stand on one side; my son and I will stand on the other." The people responded, "Do as you wish." Saul said to Yahva; "Why did you not answer your servant this time? If the blame for this resides in me or my son, respond with Urim; but if this guilt is in your people, respond with Thummim."

Jonathan and Saul were condemned, and the people went free. Saul then said; "Cast lots between me and Jonathan." Jonathan was condemned. Saul said to Jonathan; "Tell me what you have done." Jonathan replied; "I tasted a little honey from the end of my staff. Am I to die for this?" Saul declared; "May God kill me, if you do not die!"

The soldiers protested to Saul; "Is Jonathan to die, the man who won this great victory for Israel? This must not be! A single hair from his head shall not fall to the ground. Yahva was with him today!" The soldiers rescued Jonathan and he did not die. Saul quit pursuit of the Philistines, who returned to their territory.

After accepting kingship over Israel, Saul waged war on its enemies-Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he was successful. He defeated Amalek and delivered Israel from those who were plundering them.

The sons of Saul were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchishua; his firstborn daughter was Merob; the younger was Michal. Saul's wife was Ahinoam, daughter of Ahimaaz. His general was Abner, son of Ner, Saul's uncle; Kish, Saul's father, and Ner, were sons of Abiel.

There was bitter fighting with the Philistines during Saul's lifetime. When Saul saw any strong or brave man, he recruited him into his service.

Samuel said to Saul: "Yahva sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel. Listen to the message of Yahva, saying; 'I will punish Amalek for barring the Israelites on their way from Egypt. Now, attack Amalek, and kill everything he has. Do not spare anything; kill men, women, children, and infants, oxen, sheep, camels and donkeys." Saul alerted the army and, at Telaim, reviewed 200,000 foot soldiers plus 10,000 Judahites. Saul went to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the ravine. He warned the Kenites; "Leave Amalek so I will not destroy you with them. You were kind to Israel when they left Egypt." After the Kenites left, Saul routed Amalek from Havilah to Shur, on the border of Egypt. He took Agag, king of Amalek, alive, but the rest of the people he killed. He and his army spared Agag and the best of the fat sheep, oxen, and the lambs. They refused to destroy anything of value, destroying only the worthless.

The word of Yahva came to Samuel; "I regret having made Saul king, he has turned from me and has disobeyed my command. At this Samuel grew angry and pleaded to Yahva all night. Early in the morning he went to see Saul, but was informed that Saul had gone to Carmel, where he set up a monument in his own honor, and that on his return he had gone to Gilgal. When Samuel reached him, Saul greeted him; "Yahva bless you! I have obeyed Yahva's command." But Samuel asked, "What is this bleating of sheep and lowing of oxen that I hear?" Saul replied; "They were brought from Amalek. The people spared the best sheep and oxen to sacrifice to Yahva; but destroyed the rest." Samuel said; "Stop! Let me tell you what Yahva said to me." "Speak!" he replied." Samuel then said; "Though little in your own eyes, you are chief of the tribes of Israel? Yahva anointed you king of Israel and sent you to destroy the sinful Amalekites. Fight against them until you exterminated them. Why have you disobeyed Yahva? You pounced on the spoil, thus doing evil to Yahva." Saul explained; "I did indeed obey Yahva and fulfill on which he sent me. I brought back Agag, king of Amalek, and destroyed the Amalekites. But from the spoil the army took sheep and oxen, the best of what had been condemned, to sacrifice to Yahva in Gilgal." But Samuel said; "Does Yahva delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obedience? Obedience is better than sacrifice, better than the fat of rams. Divination is rebellion, and arrogance is idolatry. Because you rejected the word of Yahva, he has rejected you as king."

Saul admitted to Samuel; "I have sinned by transgressing the command of Yahva. I feared the people and obeyed them. Please forgive my sin and return with me to worship Yahva." But Samuel said; "I will not return with you; you rejected Yahva and he has rejected you as king." As Samuel turned to go, Saul seized an end of his garment and it tore off. Samuel said; "Yahva has torn the kingdom of Israel from you and has given it to a neighbor, who is better than you. The God of Israel neither deceives nor repents, for he is not mortal." Saul answered; "I have sinned, yet honor me before the elders of my people and Israel. Return with me that I may worship Yahva." So Samuel returned with him and Saul worshiped Yahva.

Afterward Samuel commanded, "Bring Agag, king of Amalek, to me." Agag came to him struggling and saying; "This is bitter death!" Samuel said; "As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women."

He cut Agag into pieces in Gilgal. Samuel departed for Ramah, while Saul went to his home in Gibeah. Samuel never again saw Saul. Still he grieved for Saul, because Yahva regretted making him king of Israel.

Yahva said to Samuel; "How long will you grieve for Saul whom I have rejected as king of Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go your way. I am sending you to Jesse in Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be a king." Samuel replied; "How can I go? When Saul hears, he will kill me." Yahva answered; "Take a heifer with you and say; 'I come to sacrifice to Yahva.' Invite Jesse to the sacrifice and I will tell you what to do; you are to anoint the one I indicate to you."

Samuel did as Yahva ordered. When he entered Bethlehem, the elders of the city trembled when they saw him, asking; "Is your visit peaceful?" He replied; "In peace! I have come to sacrifice to Yahva. Consecrate yourselves and join me in celebration." He also consecrated Jesse and his sons, and invited them to the sacrifice. As they came, he saw Eliab and thought; "Surely the anointed is here." But Yahva said; "Do not judge from his appearance or from his height, because I have rejected him. Yahva does not see as a mortal, who sees the appearance. Yahva looks into the inner being." Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him to Samuel, who said, "Yahva has not chosen him." Next Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said; "Yahva has not chosen this one either." In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel, but Samuel said; "Yahva has not chosen any one of these." Then Samuel asked Jesse; "Do you have other sons?" Jesse replied; "The youngest is tending the sheep." Samuel said; "Send for him; we will not eat until he arrives." Jesse had the young man brought to them. He had a healthy complexion, fine appearance, and handsome features. Yahva said; "Anoint him, he is the one!" Samuel, with the horn of oil, anointed him among his brothers. From that day, the essence of Yahva remained on David. Samuel returned to Ramah.

The essence of Yahva departed from Saul and he was tormented. The servants of Saul said; "A tormenting essence from Yahva is plaguing you. If you order it your servants will find a man skilled in playing the harp. When you are tormented, he will play to make you feel better." Saul said; "Find me a good harpist and bring him to me." One of the servants said; "I have seen that a son of Jesse is a skillful harpist. He is also a brave warrior, an able speaker, and a handsome young man. Yahva is with him."

Saul dispatched messengers to ask Jesse to send him his son. (David was with the flock). Jesse sent a donkey laden with bread, a skin of wine, and a young goat, to Saul with David. Thus David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul became very fond of him and made him his armor-bearer. Saul sent a message Jesse; "David meets with my approval. Let him remain in my service." Whenever Saul was tormented, David would play the harp to sooth Saul.

The Philistines rallied their forces at Socoh in Judah camping between Socoh and Azekah at Ephes-dammim. Saul and the Israelites mustered and camped in the valley of the Elah, arranging their battle line to meet the Philistines. The Philistines were on one hill and the Israelites on an opposite hill, with a valley between them.

A champion called Goliath of Gath came from the Philistine camp; he was six cubits and a span tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a bronze breastplate of scale armor weighing 5,000 shekels, bronze greaves, and had a bronze scimitar slung from his shoulders. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver's beam, and its iron head weighed 600 shekels. His shield-bearer went ahead of him. He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel; "Why come out in battle formation? I am a Philistine and you are Saul's servants. Choose one of your men and have him come down to me. If he defeats and kills me, we will be your vassals; but if I defeat and kill him, you shall be our vassals and serve us." The Philistine continued; "I defy Israel today. Send a man to fight me." When Saul and Israel heard this challenge, they were stunned and terrified.

David was the son of Jesse from Bethlehem who had eight sons. In the days of Saul Jesse was old. The three oldest sons of Jesse joined Saul in the war?Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah. David was the youngest. When the three oldest had joined Saul, David left Saul to tend his father's flocks.

Meanwhile the Philistine repeated his challenge morning and evening for forty days.

Jesse said to David; "Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves for your brothers in the camp. Also take these ten little cheeses for their officer. Visit your brothers to see if they are well and learn where they are stationed. They were with Saul and Israel, opposing the Philistines in a wooded valley."

Early the next morning, having left the flock with a shepherd, David took the food as Jesse had ordered him. He reached the edge of the camp just as the army, on their way to the battleground, were shouting their battle cry. The Israelites and the Philistines drew up in battle array opposite each other. David entrusted what he had brought to the baggage keeper and hastened to the battle line where he met his brothers. While they were talking, Goliath came from the Philistines and challenged as before while David listened. When the Israelites saw Goliath, they fled in terror.

The Israelites were saying; "See this man? He comes to insult Israel. The king will make whoever kills him very wealthy. He will give his daughter to him and declare his father's family exempt from taxes." David now said; "How will the man be rewarded who kills this Philistine and frees Israel from shame? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine to insult the armies of Yahva?" They repeated the reward to him." When Eliab, his oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he grew angry, saying; "Why did you come? With whom have you left the flocks? I know you came to enjoy the battle in your arrogance and pride." David protested; "What have I done? I was only talking." Eliab turned to another and asked the same question; everyone gave him the same answer. The words of David were reported to Saul who sent for him.

David said to Saul; "My lord should not despair. Let your servant fight this Philistine." But Saul answered; "You cannot overcome him; you are still young, while he is a seasoned warrior." David said; "Your servant has tended his father's flocks. When a lion or bear tried to carry off a sheep, I would chase it, attack it, and snatch its prey from its mouth. If it attacked me, I would seize it by the throat, strike it, and kill it. Your servant has killed both a lion and a bear. This uncircumcised Philistine is like them because he insulted the armies of Yahva." David continued: "The same God who delivered me from the lion and the bear will deliver me from this Philistine." Saul answered David; "Go! Yahva be with you."

Saul dressed David in his own tunic with a bronze helmet, body armor, and sword. He walked with difficulty since he had never worn armor. He said; "I cannot move freely in these because I have never used to them." He removed them. Taking his staff, David selected five smooth stones from the stream bed and put them in his shepherd's bag. With his sling in hand, he approached the Philistine's position.

With his shield-bearer walking before him, Goliath advanced near to David. When he observed that David was only a healthy youth, he derided him, saying; "Am I a dog that you oppose me with only a staff?" cursing David by his gods; "Come to me. I will feed your flesh to the birds and beasts." David answered; "You attack, but I come with Yahva, God of Israel. Today Yahva will give you to me. I will kill you and cut off your head. I will feed your body and the bodies of the Philistine army to the birds and beasts; so that everyone will know that Yahva is with Israel. All this multitude will understand that Yahva does not save us by sword or spear. The battle belongs to Yahva, who will give you to us."

Goliath then moved to attack David while David ran quickly to meet the Philistine. David took out a stone from his bag, hurled it with the sling, striking struck Goliath on the forehead. The stone embedded itself and he fell to the ground. David triumphed over the Philistine with sling and stone; he killed the Philistine without a sword. David cut off his head with Goliath's own sword.

When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they fled. Then the men of Israel and Judah pursued them to the border of Gath and to the gates of Ekron. Philistines fell wounded along the road from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron. When they returned from pursuing the Philistines, the Israelites looted their camp. David brought Goliath's head to Jerusalem, keeping his armor for himself.

As Saul watched David go to meet the Philistine, he asked his general Abner, "Whose son is that young man? " Abner replied, "O king, I do not know." The king said, "Find out whose son he is." When David returned from slaying the Philistine, Abner escorted him into Saul's presence. David was still holding the Philistine's head. Saul then asked him, "Whose son are you, young man?" David replied, "I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem."

By the time David finished speaking, Jonathan's life became entwined with David's; he loved him as himself. Saul retained David did not allow him return to his father's house. Jonathan and David made a pact, because Jonathan loved him. Jonathan gave his cloak to David along with his military dress, including his sword, bow, and belt. David successfully completed every mission which Saul assigned him. Saul gave him command of his soldiers with approval of the army, even Saul's officers.


As Saul and David returned from ravaging the Philistine, women came from the cities of Israel to meet Saul the king, singing and dancing, with tambourines, joyful songs, and stringed instruments. The women played and sang:

Saul has slain his thousands,

David his tens of thousands.

Saul angrily resented the song, thinking; "They credit David myriads, but only thousands to me. All that remains for him is the kingship." From that day. Saul kept close watch on David.

The next day torment from God came to Saul. He raged in his house. While David played the harp as previously. While Saul was holding his spear, he raised it, thinking; "I will pin David to the wall!" But David evaded him twice. Saul feared David because Yahva accepted him but rejected Saul. Saul sent him away appointing him commander of 1,000 men. David led the people on military expeditions and prospered, since Yahva was with him. Seeing how he prospered, Saul feared David. But all Israel and Judah loved David, since he led them on their expeditions.

Saul said to David; "I will give you my older daughter, Merob, in marriage if you become my warrior and fight the battles of Yahva." Saul thought; "I will not lay a hand on him. Let the hand of the Philistines strike him." But David answered Saul: "Who am I? Who are my kin or my father's clan in that I should become the king's son-in-law?" But when the time came Merob was given to Adriel, the Meholathite, instead of David.

Saul's daughter Michal loved David. When Saul learned this, he was pleased, thinking; "I will offer her as a trap, so that the Philistines may kill him." So for the second time Saul said; "You shall become my son-in-law today." Saul then ordered his servants, "Speak to David privately saying; 'The king favors you and his officers love you. You should become son-in-law to the king.'" But when Saul's servants mentioned this to David, he said: "Is becoming the king's son-in-law a trivial matter? I am poor and insignificant." When his servants reported David's answer to him, Saul ordered them; "Tell David; 'The king desires no other price for the bride except the foreskins of 100 Philistines as vengeance on his enemies.'" Saul expected David be killed by the Philistines. When the servants reported this offer to David, he was pleased with the prospect of becoming the king's son-in-law. Before the time was up, David with his men killed 200 Philistines. He brought the foreskins to the king and counted them to prove that he might become the king's son-in-law. Saul gave him Michal as wife. Saul realized that the essence of Yahva was with David and that his daughter loved David. Saul feared him more and was his enemy after then.

The Philistine chiefs continued to raid but each time David was more successful than any of Saul's other officers. His name was held in great esteem.

Saul discussed his intention to kill David with Jonathan and his servants. But Jonathan, who was fond of David, told him; "My father is trying to kill you. Be on guard tomorrow morning and remain in hiding. I will stand beside my father in the area where you are and will speak to him about you. If I learn anything, I will let you know."

Jonathan spoke well of David to his father, saying: "The king should not harm David. He has not harmed you but has helped you very much by his deeds. When he risked his life to kill the Philistine, Yahva won a great victory for Israel. You were happy to see that. Why should you become guilty by shedding innocent blood cause?" Saul heeded Jonathan's plea and swore, "By Yahva, I will not kill him." Jonathan repeated the whole conversation to David. He brought them together and David served Saul as before.

When war resumed, David fought the Philistines, inflicting such a great defeat that they fled from him. Then Saul was tormented as he was sitting in his house with a spear while David was playing the harp nearby. Saul tried to pin David to the wall but David evaded it and the spear struck the wall.

The night, Saul sent messengers to guard David, planning to kill him in the morning. David's wife told him; "Unless you flee tonight, you will be killed tomorrow." Michal lowered David through a window, so he escaped to safety. Michal laid a household idol in his bed, putting a tangle of goat's hair at the head and covering it with a blanket. When Saul sent officers to arrest David, she said; "He is sick." However, Saul sent the officers to bring him to Saul in bed so I may kill him." When the messengers entered, they found the idol in bed, with the tangle of goat's hair. Saul asked Michal; "Why did you lie to me? You have helped my enemy to escape!" Michal explained; "He threatened me, saying 'Let me go or I will kill you.'"

When David was safe, he went to Samuel in Ramah, telling him what Saul had done. Then they went to Naioth. When Saul learned that David was at Naioth, he sent officers to arrest him. When they saw a band of ecstatic prophets honoring Samuel, the essence of Yahva descended and they became ecstatic. Learning this, Saul sent more messengers, who became ecstatic. For a third time Saul sent messengers, but they also became ecstatic.

Finally, Saul went to Ramah himself. Arriving at the large cistern in Secu, he asked; "Where are Samuel and David?" Someone answered; "At Naioth in Ramah." As he walked to Naioth, the essence of Yahva descended on him, and he continued on, acting like a prophet until he reached Naioth. Then he stripped off his garments and remained ecstatic in the presence of Samuel. All day and night he lay naked, so they say; "Is Saul also among the prophets?"

David fled from Naioth and went to Jonathan. "What have I done?" he asked. "What crime or offense does your father hold against me so that he seeks my life?" Jonathan answered; "Heaven forbid that you should die! My father tells me everything thing, great or small. Why should he conceal this from me? It cannot be true!" David replied; "Your father is well aware that I have your friendship, so he has decided that you must not know for you would grieve. Nevertheless, there is only a step between me and death." Jonathan said; "I will do whatever you wish." David answered: "Tomorrow is the new moon, when I must dine with the king. I will hide in the open country until evening. If your father misses me, say; 'David urged me to let him go to Bethlehem since his clan is holding its seasonal sacrifice there.' If he says; 'Very well,' your servant is safe. But if he becomes angry, he planned t0 harm me. Do this kindness for your servant because of Yahva's covenant into which you brought us: if I am guilty, kill me yourself! Why should you give me to your father?" Jonathan answered; "Not I! If ever I find out that my father is determined to harm you, I will let you know." David asked; "Who will tell me if your father gives you a harsh answer?"

Jonathan replied; "Let's go to the pasture." When they were in the open country, Jonathan said; "By Yahva, I will question my father about this time tomorrow. I will inform you how he is disposed toward you. Should my father be planning to harm you, may Yahva punish me, if I do not inform you and send you away in peace. May Yahva bless you as he blessed my father. Only this; while I am still alive, please show me the kindness of Yahva. But if I die, keep your kindness to my family. When Yahva destroys David's enemies, the name of Jonathan must be allied the family of David." In his love for David, Jonathan renewed his oath.

Jonathan said; "Tomorrow is the new moon; you will be missed since your place will be vacant. The following day go to the spot where you hid when this discord began. Wait near the mound of rocks. I will shoot three arrows to its side, as though aiming at a target. I will then send my attendant to recover the arrows. If I say to him, 'The arrows are this side of you; you are safe. By Yahva, you have nothing to fear. But if I say; 'The arrows are beyond you,' flee, for Yahva sends you away. However, as we have discussed, Yahva is witness between us forever." David hid in the open country, as they planned.

On the day of the new moon feast when the king sat in sat usual place against the wall, with Jonathan sat facing him, and Abner at the king's side. David's place was empty. Saul said nothing that day, thinking; "something must have made him unclean by accident." On the next day, David's place was still empty so Saul asked Jonathan; "Why has the son of Jesse not come to table yesterday or today?" Jonathan explained; "David pleaded with me to let him go to Bethlehem for a clan sacrifice there. His brothers insist on his presence. That is why he is not at the king's table." Saul became angry with Jonathan, saying; "Son of a perverse woman, I know that, to your shame and the shame of your mother, you are the intimate consort of Jesse's son? As long as he lives, you cannot succeed the kingship! Send for him for he must die." Jonathan argued with Saul; "Why should he die? What has he done?" Saul brandished his spear as if to strike him, and thus Jonathan knew that his father was determined to kill David. Jonathan sprang up from the table and ate nothing that day, because he grieved for David, and because his father had humiliated him.

The next morning Jonathan, accompanied by a young boy, went to the pasture with David. He said to the boy; "Find the arrows." As the boy ran, he shot an arrow past him. As the boy ran toward the spot where Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called; "The arrow is farther on! Hurry, don't delay!" The boy picked up the arrow and returned it, suspecting nothing. Only Jonathan and David knew the meaning. Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy, saying; "Take them to the city." When the boy had gone, David rose from beside the mound and prostrated three times. They embraced and wept aloud together. At length Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, keeping the oath two of us have sworn." Then they departed.

David went to Nob where Ahimelech, the priest, who came trembling to meet him, asking; "Why are you alone? Is there no one with you?" David answered; "The king gave me a mission telling me; 'Do not let anyone know of your mission.' I have arranged a meeting place with my men. What do you have for us to eat? Give me five loaves, or whatever you find." The priest replied; "I have no ordinary bread, only consecrated bread. If the men have abstained from women, you may eat that." David replied; "We have abstained from women. In the past when I went out on a campaign, all the young men were consecrated. Even more they are consecrated with their weapons today!" The priest gave him the bread, for no other bread was available except the showbread which had been removed from the presence of Yahva. One of Saul's servants was there that day; his name was Doeg, the Edomite, chief of Saul's shepherds.

David asked Ahimelech; "Do you have a spear or a sword? I brought along no weapons, because the king's business was urgent." The priest replied; "The sword of Goliath whom you killed is here wrapped in a garment behind an ephod. Take it if you wish; there is no sword here." "There is none like it," David said; "give it to me!"

That day David fled Saul and went to Achish, king of Gath. But the servants of Achish said to him, "Is this not David, Israelite? Don't they sing for him during their dances,

Saul has slain his thousands,

David his tens of thousands?"

David took note of these remarks and became afraid of Achish, king of Gath. He feigned insanity acting like a madman in their custody, drumming on the doors of the gate and drooling into his beard. Finally Achish said; "You see the man is mad. Why did you bring him to me? I have enough madmen, why bring this one to rant in my presence?" David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and family heard, they came to him there. He was joined by others with difficulties, debt, or embittered. He became the leader of about four hundred men. From there David went to Mizpeh of Moab and said to the king of Moab, "Let my father and mother stay with you until I learn what Yahva will do for me." He left them with the king of Moab. They stayed with him as long as David remained in the fortress.

Gad, the prophet, said to David; "Do not remain in the stronghold! Go to Judah." So David went to the forest of Hereth.

Saul heard that David and his men had been discovered. He was sitting under a tamarisk tree in Gibeah, holding his spear while his officers stood by. He said; "Listen, men of Benjamin! Will the son of Jesse give you fields and vineyards? Will he appoint you officer over a thousand or a hundred men? Is that why you conspire against me? Why has no one told me that my son made a pact with David? None of you has shown compassion by revealing to me that my son has incited my servant to ambush me." Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing with Saul's officers, spoke up; "I saw the son of Jesse come to Ahimelech, son of Ahitub, in Nob. He consulted Yahva for him, furnished him with provisions, and gave him the sword of Goliath."

Saul summoned Ahimelech, and all his family, the priests in Nob. They all came to the king. "Listen, son of Ahitub!" Saul declared. "Yes, my lord," he replied. Saul questioned him; "Why have you conspired against me with the son of Jesse by giving him food, a sword, and by consulting Yahva for him, so that he might rebel against me?" Ahimelech answered; "Who among all your servants is as loyal as David, the king's son-in-law, captain of your bodyguard, and honored in your own house? Is this the first time I have consulted Yahva for him? No indeed! Let not the king accuse his servant or anyone in my family of such a thing. Your servant knows nothing, great or small, about the matter." The king said; "You will die, Ahimelech, with your family." The king ordered his guards; "Kill these priests, for they aided David. They knew he was a fugitive, yet failed to inform me." The king's officers refused to strike the priests of Yahva.

The king then ordered Doeg;"You! Kill the priests!" So Doeg, the Edomite, killed the priests-85 who wore the linen ephod. Saul also slaughtered the priestly city of Nob, including men, women, children, infants, oxen, donkeys and sheep.

One son of Ahimelech, named Abiathar, escaped and fled to David. When Abiathar told David that Saul had slain the priests, David said; "I knew then, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would tell Saul. I am responsible for the slaughter of your family. Stay with me. Do not be afraid; whoever seeks your life must seek my life also. You are under my protection."

David learned that the Philistines were attacking Keilah and plundering the threshing floors. He consulted Yahva, asking; "Shall I go and attack these Philistines?" Yahva answered; Go, attack them and free Keilah. But David's men said to him; "Even in Judah we have reason to fear. How much more so if we go to Keilah against the Philistines!" Again David consulted Yahva, who answered; Go to Keilah; I will deliver the Philistines to you. David went with his men to Keilah and severely defeated the Philistines, scattering their livestock and, and freeing the inhabitants of Keilah. Abiathar, son of Ahimelech, went with David to Keilah, taking the ephod with him.

When Saul learned that David had entered Keilah, he thought; "Yahva has put him in my hand, for he has entrapped himself by entering a city with gates and bars." Saul called the army besiege David and his men in Keilah. When David learned what Saul was planning him, he said to Abiathar, "Bring the ephod here." "Yahva, God of Israel;" David prayed; "your servant has heard that Saul comes to Keilah to destroy the city for my deeds. Will Saul come as your servant has heard? Please, tell your servant." Yahva answered; "He will come." David asked; "Will the citizens of Keilah give me and my men to Saul?" Yahva answered; "They will deliver you." So David and, about 600 men left Keilah and wandered from place to place. When Saul was informed that David had fled Keilah, he did not pursue.

David lived in the wilderness forts or in the barren hills near Ziph. Though Saul sought him continually, Yahva hid David from him. While David was at Horesh in the wilderness of Ziph he feared that Saul would come to seek his life. Jonathan came to David at Horesh and encouraged him. He said to him; "Do not fear, my father will not touch you. You will be king of Israel and I will be second to you. Even Saul knows this." The two of them made a covenant before Yahva in Horesh. David remained, while Jonathan returned to his home.

Some of the Ziphites went to Saul in Gibeah, saying; "David is hiding in the forts at Horesh on the hill of Hachilah, south of Jeshimon. When the king wishes to come, we will deliver him to you." Saul replied; "Yahva bless you for your compassion toward me. Go! Make sure once more! Take note of the where he sets foot for he is very cunning. Learn which of the various hiding places he is hiding. Then come to me with reliable information. Then I will go with you. If he is in the region, I will track him from Judah." So they went to Ziph ahead of Saul. David and his men were in the wilderness around Maon, in the Arabah desert When Saul and his men came looking for him, David learned it and went to the gorge in the wilderness below Maon. Saul heard of this and pursued David into the wilderness near Maon. As Saul moved along one side of the gorge, David and his men took to the other. David was anxious to escape Saul, while Saul and his men were trying to outflank David to capture them. Then a messenger came to Saul, saying; "Come quickly! The Philistines have invaded the land." Saul interrupted his pursuit of David and went to meet the Philistines. For this, the place came to be called the Rock of Divisions.

David went to the forts of Engedi. When Saul returned from the pursuit of the Philistines, he was told that David was in the desert near Engedi. So Saul took 3,000 of the best men and searched for David and his men among wild goat crags. When he came to the sheepfolds along the way, he found a cave, which he entered to relieve himself. David and his men were occupying the inmost recesses of the cave.

David's men said; "This is the day which Yahva promised to deliver your enemy to you." David stealthily cut off a piece of Saul's robe. Afterward, David regretted twhat he had done. He said; "Yahva forbid that I should shame my master, to touch him, for he is Yahva's anointed." David would not permit his men to attack Saul, who departed. David stepped out of the cave, calling to Saul; "My lord the king!" When Saul looked back, David bowed in homage, asking; "Why do you listen to those who say I am trying to harm you? See for yourself that Yahva just now delivered you to me in the cave. I was told to kill you, but I declined instead. I decided to not harm my master, for he is Yahva's anointed. Observe, my lord, the piece which I cut off your robe and did not kill you. Understand that I plan no harm or rebellion. I have done you no wrong, though you are hunting to kill me. May Yahva judge between us and exact justice. I will not harm you. As the old proverb says, 'From the wicked comes wickedness.' Thus I will not lay a hand on you. What is the king of Israel attacking? What are you pursuing? A dead dog! A single flea! Let Yahva see this and give me justice.

When David finished speaking, Saul answered; "Is that your voice, my son David?" He wept freely. Saul then admitted to David; "You are more in the right than I. You treated me graciously, while I treated you badly. You have declared this day how you treated me graciously: Yahva gave me to you but you did not kill me. If someone meets an enemy, do they send them graciously on their way? May Yahva reward you for what you have done today. I know that you will become king over Israel, swear to me by Yahva that you will not kill my descendants nor blot out my name from my father's house." David gave Saul his oath and Saul returned home while David and his men returned to the fort.

Samuel died, and all Israel gathered to mourn him. They buried him at his home in Ramah. Then David went to the wilderness of Paran.

Nabal, a man of Maon, had property in Carmel. He was very wealthy, owning 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats. His wife was Abigail. At the time, he was present for the shearing of his flock in Carmel. The woman was intelligent and attractive, but Nabal, a Calebite, was harsh and bad-mannered. While in the wilderness, David heard that Nabal was shearing his flock, so he sent ten young men, instructing them; "Go to Carmel. Pay Nabal a visit and greet him in my name. Say; 'Peace be with you, my brother, your family, and those who live with you. I have heard that shearers are with you. When your shepherds were with us, we did them no injury, neither did they miss anything while they were in Carmel. Ask your servants and they will tell you. Look kindly on these young men, since we come at a festival time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can.'"

When David's young men arrived, they delivered the entire message to Nabal in David's name. Nabal answered the servants of David; "Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants who run away from their masters. Must I give my bread, my wine, my meat that I have slaughtered for my own shearers, to men who come from who knows where?" David's young men returned and reported to him all that had been said. David said; "Let everyone strap on his sword." David put on his sword. About four hundred men went with David, while two hundred remained with the supplies.

Abigail, Nabal's wife, learned from one of the servants, who said; "From the wilderness David sent messengers to greet our master, but he screamed at them. Yet these men were very good to us. We were not harmed; neither did we miss anything all the while we were living among them during our stay in the open country. Day and night they were a wall of protection for us, the whole time we were pasturing the sheep near them. See what you can do, otherwise disaster is coming to our master and his house. He is such a scoundrel that no one can talk to him." Abigail quickly amassed 200 loaves, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, 100 cakes of pressed raisins, and 200 cakes of pressed figs. She loaded them on donkeys. She said to her servants; "Go ahead; I will follow." She said nothing to her husband Nabal.

Hidden by the mountain, she was riding a donkey, as David and his men cane from the opposite direction. When she met them, David had been saying; "It was in vain that I guarded all this man's possessions in the wilderness. Nothing of his was missing. He has repaid good with evil. May Yahva do thus to David, if I leave a single male alive among all those who belong to him." As soon as Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey and, falling down, bowed low to the ground in homage.

As she fell at his feet saying; "My lord, let the blame be mine. Please let your servant speak to you; listen to her words. My lord, do not heed that scoundrel Nabal for he is just like his name. His name means fool and he acts the fool. I did not see the young men whom my lord sent. My lord, by Yahva, and as you live, Yahva has kept you from shedding blood and from avenging yourself by your own hand. May your enemies and those who seek to harm my lord become as Nabal! Accept this gift which your servant has brought for my lord. Let it be given to the young men who follow my lord. Please forgive the offense of your servant, for Yahva will establish an enduring home for my lord, because he fights for Yahva. May no evil be found in you during your life. If any adversary seeks your life, let the life of my lord be bound of the care of Yahva. May Yahva hurl the lives of your enemies as from the hollow of a sling. When Yahva fulfills the promise of success that he has made concerning my lord, appointing you as ruler of Israel, may you have no regrets or burdens on your conscience for killing innocent. When Yahva bestows good on my lord, remember your servant.

David said to Abigail; "Blessed is Yahva, who sent you to meet me today. Blessed is your good judgment and blessed are you yourself. Today you have prevented me from killing innocent blood with my own hand. As Yahva has kept me from harming you, if you had not come so promptly, by dawn, Nabal would not have even one male left alive." David then accepted her gifts, saying to her; "Return to your home in peace! I have listened to your appeal and granted your request."

When Abigail returned to Nabal, he was hosting a banquet like that of a king. He was in a festive mood and very drunk. She said nothing to him until the next morning. When Nabal was sober, his wife told him what had happened. At this courage faltered and he became like a stone. About ten days later Yahva struck Nabal and he died. Hearing that Nabal was dead, David said; "Blessed be Yahva, who has defended me against Nabal, who restrained his servant from doing evil, but repaid Nabal for his evil deeds."

David then sent a marriage proposal to Abigail. When David's servants came to Abigail in Carmel, they said to her; "David has sent us to propose marriage to you." Rising and bowing, she answered; "I am your servant and am ready to serve you and wash the feet of my lord's servants." "She mounted a donkey and attended by five maids, followed them. She became his wife. David also married Ahinoam of Jezreel. But Saul gave David's first wife Michal, Saul's own daughter, to Palti, son of Laish, from Gallim.

Men from Ziph came to Saul in Gibeah, reporting that David was hiding on the hill of Hachilah at the border of Jeshimon. Saul went to the desert of Ziph with 3,000 of his best warriors, to search for David. Saul camped beside the road on Hachilah, at the border of Jeshimon. Living in the wilderness, David saw that Saul had come to the desert. He sent scouts to confirm Saul's arrival. David then went to Saul's camp and observed where Saul and his general, Abner son of Ner, had their sleeping quarters. Saul was lying within the camp with his soldiers dispersed around him. David asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai, son of Zeruiah and brother of Joab; "Who will go into the camp with me to Saul?" Abishai replied; "I will." David and Abishai reached Saul's soldiers by night, and Saul asleep in the camp with his spear thrust into the ground by his head with Abner and his troops sleeping around him.

Abishai whispered to David: "God has delivered your enemy to you. Let me nail him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I will not need to strike him twice!" David replied; "Do not harm him. Who can lay a hand on Yahva's anointed and remain innocent?" David declared; "only Yahva can strike him: either when the time comes for him to die or when he perishes in battle. Yahva forbid that I harm Yahva's anointed! Let's take his spear and the water jug, then leave." So David took the spear and water jug from Saul. They withdrew without anyone knowing. All remained asleep; a deep slumber from Yahva had fallen on them.

Crossing to an opposite slope, David stood on a distant hilltop. With a great distance between them, David called to the army and to Abner; "Will you not answer, Abner?" Then Abner shouted back; "Who is it that calls me?" David said to Abner; "Are you not a man? Who in Israel is your equal? Why were you not guarding your king when one of his subjects came to assassinate him? You have not done right. By Yahva, you people deserve death because you have not guarded the anointed of Yahva. Where are the king's spear and the water jug that were at his head?"

Saul recognized David's voice and asked; "Is that your voice, David my son?" David answered; "Yes, my lord the king. Why does my lord pursue his servant? What have I done? What evil am I planning? Please, my lord, listen to these words. If Yahva has incited you against me, may an offering please Yahva. But if people have done so, may they be cursed by Yahva. They have driven me away so that I have no share in Yahva's heritage. I am told; 'Go serve other gods!' Do not let my blood spill on the ground far from Yahva. The king of Israel has come to seek a single flea as if he were hunting partridge." Then Saul said: "I have done wrong. Come back, David, my son! I will not harm you again because you considered my life precious today even though I have been a fool." David answered; "Here is the king's spear. Let an attendant come to get it. Yahva repays everyone's righteousness and faithfulness. Although Yahva delivered you into my hands today, I could not harm Yahva's anointed. Just as I regarded your life as precious today, so may Yahva regard my life as precious and deliver me from all dangers." Then Saul said to David; "Blessed are you, my son David! You shall certainly succeed in whatever you undertake." David went his way and Saul returned to his place.

David said to himself; "I will perish some day at the hand of Saul. I have no choice but to escape to the land of the Philistines; then Saul will give up his continual search for me. There I will be beyond his reach." David departed with his 600 soldiers and went over to Achish, son of Maoch, king of Gath. David and his men lived in Gath. Each man had his family. David had his two wives, Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, widow of Nabal from Carmel. When Saul learned that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him.

David said to Achish; "If I meet with your approval, let me have a place to live in one of the towns. Why should your servant live with you in the royal city?" That day Achish gave him Ziklag, which has belonged to the kings of Judah to the present time. David lived a year and four months in Philistine territory.

David and his men raided the Geshurites, Girzites, and Amalekites-peoples living in the land between Telam, on the approach to Shur, and Egypt. In attacking David would not leave a man or woman alive, but would carry off sheep, oxen, donkeys, camels, and clothes. Then he would return to Achish, who would ask, "Against whom did you raid this time?" David would reply; "Negeb of Judah," "Negeb of Jerahmeel," or "Negeb of the Kenites." David never brought man or woman to Gath. He thought; "They will betray us, saying; 'David did this.'" This was his custom while he lived in Philistine territory. Achish trusted David, thinking; "His people in Israel must detest him. I shall have him as my vassal forever."

The Philistines mustered their military forces to invade Israel. Achish said to David; "You realize that you and your warriors must fight for me." David answered; "Good! Now you will learn what your servant can do." Achish said to David; "I will appoint you as my permanent bodyguard."

Now, Samuel was dead. All Israel had mourned him and buried him in his city, Ramah. Meanwhile Saul had driven mediums and diviners out of the land.

The Philistines rallied and camped in Shunem. Saul mustered Israel; they camped on Gilboa. When Saul saw the Philistine camp, he trembled in fear. He consulted Yahva; who gave no answer, neither in dreams, by Urim, nor through prophets. Then Saul said to his servants; "Find a medium to counsel me." His servants answered; "There is a medium in Endor."

Saul disguised himself in other clothes and went with two companions. They came to the woman at night. Saul said to her; "Divine for me; conjure up the spirit I tell you." But the woman answered; "You know what Saul has done, how he expelled the mediums and diviners from the land. Why are you trying to entrap me and get me killed?" But Saul swore to her by Yahva; "You will incur no blame for this." "Whom do you want me to conjure up?" the woman asked. "Conjure up Samuel for me," he replied.

When the woman saw Samuel, she shrieked, saying; "Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!" But the king said to her, "Do not be afraid. What do you see?" "I see a ghostly figure rising from the earth," she replied. "What does he look like?" asked Saul. "An old man wearing in a robe," she replied. Saul knew that it was Samuel, so he bowed prostrated himself in homage.

Samuel asked Saul; "Why do you disturb me by conjuring me up?" Saul replied; "I am in great distress, for the Philistines are waging war against me and Yahva has turned away from me. Since he no longer answers me through prophets or in dreams, I have called on you to tell me what I should do." Samuel said: "Why do you ask me if Yahva has abandoned you for your neighbor? Yahva has done what he declared. He has torn the kingdom from you has given it to your neighbor, David.

"Because you disobeyed Yahva's order and would not sate his fierce anger against Amalek, Yahva has done this to you. Yahva will deliver Israel and you to the Philistines. By tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. Yahva will have delivered Israel to the Philistines."

Saul fell on the ground, in terror because of Samuel's message. He had eaten nothing all that day and night. The woman came to Saul and, seeing that he was terror-stricken, said to him; "Remember, your servant obeyed you; I took my life in my hands and carried out the request you made of me. Now listen to your servant. Let me give you a bit of food so that you are strong enough to go your way." He refused, saying; "I will not eat." However, when his servants joined the woman in urging him, he listened to their pleas, got up, and sat on a bench. The woman had a stall-fed calf in the house, which she now quickly slaughtered. Then taking flour, she kneaded it and baked unleavened bread. She set the meal before Saul and his servants, and they ate. They left that night.

The Philistines had mustered their forces in Aphek, and the Israelites camped at the spring in Jezreel. As the Philistine lords marched their units of a hundred and a thousand, David and his warriors were marching in the rear guard with Achish. The Philistine commanders asked; "What are those Hebrews doing here?" Achish answered them; "That is David, an officer of Saul, king of Israel. He has been with me for a year or two. From the day he came to me, I have never found fault in him." The Philistine commanders were angry at this, saying; "Send that man back! Let him return to the place you gave him. He must not enter in battle with us. During the battle he might defect. How else can he win his master's favor, if not by the death of our soldiers? Is this not the David of whom they sing during their dance.

Saul has slain his thousands,

David his tens of thousands?"

Achish summoned David, and saying; "By the gods, you are honest, and I want you with me in my battles. I have found nothing wrong with you since you came to me. But the lords do not welcome you. Leave peacefully, do nothing to displease the Philistine lords." David asked Achish; "What have I done? What fault have you found in your servant, that I cannot fight against the enemies of my lord the king?" "I recognize," Achish answered David; "that you are trustworthy, like an angel of God. But the Philistine commanders are saying; 'He must not go with us into battle.' Tomorrow, you and your servants who came with you, go to the place I gave you. Do not resent their worthless remarks; you have been valuable in my service. But leave early tomorrow, at first light." David and his warriors left early in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines, while the Philistines went to Jezreel.

On the third day, before David and his men reached Ziklag, the Amalekites raided the Negeb and Ziklag. They stormed Ziklag and burnt it. They took captive everyone in the city, young and old, killing no one. They herded them ahead when they left. David and his men arrived at the city to find it burned with their wives, sons, and daughters taken captive. David and his men wept aloud until they could weep no more. David's two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel had also been taken. David found himself in danger. The soldiers were so bitter over the fate of their sons and daughters, that they spoke of stoning him. David took courage in Yahva and said to Abiathar, the priest, son of Ahimelech; "Bring me the ephod!" When Abiathar brought it to him, David asked Yahva; "Shall I pursue these raiders? Can I overtake them?" Yahva answered him; "Go in pursuit, for you will overtake them and rescue your families.

So David went off with his 600 as far as the Besor valley, where the rear guard halted. David continued the pursuit with 400, but 200 were too exhausted to cross the Besor valley and remained behind. An exhausted Egyptian was found in the open country and brought to David. They gave him food to eat and water to drink; they also offered a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of pressed raisins. When he had eaten, he revived, for he had not taken food nor drunk water for three days. Then David asked him; "To whom do you belong? Where did you come from?" "I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite," he replied. "My master abandoned me three days ago because I was sick. We raided the Negeb of the Cherethites, the territory of Judah, the Negeb of Caleb; and set Ziklag on fire." David then asked him; "Will you lead me to these raiders?" He answered; "Swear to me by your God that you will not kill me or give me to my master, then I will lead you to the raiders." So he led them, and the Amalekites lounging all over the ground, eating, drinking, and celebrating because of all the rich plunder they had taken from the Philistines and from Judah.

David attacked them from dawn to sundown of the next day, allowing no one to escape except four hundred young men, who mounted their camels and fled. David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, and he rescued his two wives. Nothing was missing, plunder, sons,or daughters, David brought back everything the Amalekites had taken. David also took all the livestock. As they drove these past him, the people shouted; "This is David's plunder!" When David came to the 200 men behind in the Besor behind at the Besor valley, who had been too exhausted to follow him, they came out to meet David and the men with him. As David approached, he greeted them. The greedy who had accompanied David said; "Since they did not accompany us, we will not give them any of the plunder, except for each man's wife and children." David said: "You must not do this, my brothers, after what Yahva has given us. Yahva has protected us and delivered all the raiders to us. Who could agree with this proposal of yours? Rather, the share of the one who goes to battle shall be the same as that of the one who remains with the supplies-they share alike." He made this a law and a custom in Israel, as it still is today.

When David came to Ziklag, he sent part of the plunder to his friends, the elders of Judah, saying; "This is a gift to you from the plunder of the enemies of Yahva," namely, to those in Bethel, Ramoth-negeb, Jattir, Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, Racal, Jerahmeelite cities and Kenite cities, Hormah, Borashan, Athach, Hebron, and to all the places that David and his men had frequented.

The Philistines attacked Israel and the Israelites fled, and were slain on Mount Gilboa. The Philistines chased Saul and his sons. When the Philistines had killed Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua, the fury of the battle came to Saul. Then the archers fatally wounded him, Saul said to his armor-bearer; "Draw your sword and kill; otherwise these uncircumcised will abuse me." But the armor-bearer refused from fright so Saul took his sword and fell upon it. When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell upon his sword and died with him. Thus Saul, his three sons, and his armor-bearer died together on that same day. When the Israelites on the slope of the valley and those along the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their cities and fled. Then the Philistines lived in those cities. On the following day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. They cut off Saul's head and stripped him of his armor; these they sent throughout the land of the Philistines to bring the good news to the temple of their idols and to the people. They put his armor in the temple of Astarte but impaled his body on the wall of Beth-shan.

When the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all their warriors set out and traveled through the night; they removed the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and, returning to Jabesh, burned them. Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh, and fasted for seven days.





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