1. One day, Jonathan son of Saul said to his armour-bearer, 'Come on, let us go across to the Philistine outpost over on the other side.' But he did not inform his father.
2. Saul was on the outskirts of Geba, sitting under the pomegranate tree that stands near the threshing-floor; the force with him numbered about six hundred men.
3. Ahijah son of Ahitub, brother of Ichabod, son of Phinehas, son of Eli, the priest of Yahweh at Shiloh, was carrying the ephod. The force did not know that Jonathan had left.
4. In the pass that Jonathan was trying to cross to reach the Philistine outpost, there is a rocky spur on one side and a rocky spur on the other; one is called Bozez, the other Seneh.
5. The first spur stands to the north facing Michmash, the other to the south facing Geba.
6. Jonathan said to his armour-bearer, 'Come on, let us go across to these uncircumcised people's outpost; perhaps Yahweh will do something for us, for Yahweh is free to grant deliverance through a few men, just as much as through many.'
7. His armour-bearer replied, 'Do exactly as you think. I am with you; our hearts are as one.'
8. Jonathan then said, 'Look, we will go across to these people and let ourselves be seen.
9. If they say, "Do not move until we come to you," we shall stay where we are and not go up to them.
10. But if they say, "Come up to us," we shall go up, for that will be the sign for us that Yahweh has given them into our power.'
11. When the two of them let themselves be seen by the Philistine outpost, the Philistines said, 'Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have been hiding.'
12. The men of the outpost then hailed Jonathan and his armour-bearer. 'Come up to us,' they said, 'we have something to tell you.' Jonathan then said to his armour-bearer, 'Follow me up; Yahweh has given them into the power of Israel.'
13. Jonathan clambered up on hands and feet, with his armour-bearer behind him; the Philistines fell at Jonathan's onslaught, and his armour-bearer, coming behind, finished them off.
14. This first killing made by Jonathan and his armour-bearer accounted for about twenty men . . .
15. There was panic in the camp, in the field and throughout the army; outpost and raiding company too were panic-stricken; the earth quaked: it was a panic from Yahweh.
16. Saul's look-out men in Geba of Benjamin could see the camp scattering in all directions.
17. Saul then said to the force that was with him, 'Call the roll and see who has left us.' So they called the roll, and Jonathan and his armour-bearer were missing.
18. Saul then said to Ahijah, 'Bring the ephod,' since he was the man who carried the ephod in Israel.
19. But while Saul was speaking to the priest, the turmoil in the Philistine camp grew worse and worse; and Saul said to the priest, 'Withdraw your hand.'
20. Saul and the whole force with him then formed up and advanced to where the fighting was going on: and there they all were, drawing their swords on one another in wild confusion.
21. Those Hebrews who had earlier taken service with the Philistines and had accompanied them into camp, now defected to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan.
22. Similarly, all those Israelites who had been hiding in the highlands of Ephraim, hearing that the Philistines were on the run, chased after them and joined in the fight.
23. That day Yahweh gave Israel the victory. The fighting reached the other side of Beth-Horon.
24. As the men of Israel were hard pressed that day, Saul pronounced this imprecation over the people, 'A curse on anyone who eats food before evening, before I have taken revenge on my enemies!' So none of the people so much as tasted food.
25. Now there was a honeycomb out in the open.
26. The people came to the honeycomb, the honey was dripping out, but no one put a hand to his mouth, the people being in awe of the oath.
27. Jonathan, however, not having heard his father bind the people with the oath, reached with the end of the stick which he was carrying, thrust it into the honeycomb and put it to his mouth; whereupon his eyes grew brighter.
28. One of the people then spoke up. 'Your father', he said, 'has bound the people with this oath: "A curse on anyone who eats anything today." '
29. 'My father has brought trouble on the country,' Jonathan replied. 'See how much brighter my eyes are for having eaten this mouthful of honey.
30. By the same token, if the people had been allowed to eat some of the booty which they had captured from the enemy today, would not the defeat of the Philistines have been all the greater?'
31. That day the Philistines were beaten from Michmash all the way to Aijalon, until the people were utterly exhausted.
32. The people flung themselves on the booty and, taking sheep, bullocks and calves, slaughtered them there on the ground and ate them with the blood.
33. Saul was informed, 'The people are sinning against Yahweh by eating with the blood!' He said, 'You have not kept faith! Roll me a large stone here!'
34. Saul then said, 'Scatter among the people and say, "Everyone is to bring his bullock or his sheep to me here." You will slaughter them here and eat, and not sin against Yahweh by eating with the blood.' Each individual brought what he happened to have that night, and they all slaughtered in the same place.
35. Saul built an altar to Yahweh; it was the first altar he had built to Yahweh.
36. Saul said, 'Let us go down under cover of dark and plunder the Philistines until dawn; we shall not leave one of them alive.' 'Do whatever you think right,' they replied. But the priest said, 'Let us approach God here.'
37. Saul consulted God, 'Shall I go down and pursue the Philistines? Will you hand them over to Israel?' But he gave him no reply that day.
38. Saul then said, 'Come forward, all you leaders of the people; consider carefully where today's sin may lie;
39. for as Yahweh lives who gives victory to Israel, even if the sin lies with Jonathan my son, he shall be put to death.' But not one out of all the people answered.
40. He then said to all Israel, 'Stand on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will stand on the other.' And the people replied to Saul, 'Do as you think right.'
41. Saul then said, 'Yahweh, God of Israel, why did you not answer your servant today? Yahweh, God of Israel, if the fault lies with me or with my son Jonathan, give urim: if the fault lies with your people Israel, give thummim.' Jonathan and Saul were indicated and the people went free.
42. Saul said, 'Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan,' and Jonathan was indicated.
43. 'I only tasted a mouthful of honey off the end of the stick which I was carrying. But I am ready to die.'
44. Saul said, 'May God bring unnameable ills on me, and worse ones too, if you do not die, Jonathan!'
45. But the people said to Saul, 'Must Jonathan die after winning this great victory for Israel? We will never allow that! As Yahweh lives, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground, for his deeds today have been done with the help of God.' And so the people ransomed Jonathan and he was not put to death.
46. Saul decided not to pursue the Philistines, and the Philistines retired to their own territory.
47. Saul consolidated his rule over Israel and made war on all his enemies on all fronts: on Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the king of Zobah and the Philistines; whichever way he turned, he was victorious.
48. He did great deeds of valour; he defeated the Amalekites and delivered Israel from those who used to pillage him.
49. Saul's sons were: Jonathan, Ishvi and Malchishua. The names of his two daughters were: the elder, Merab, and the younger, Michal.
50. The name of Saul's wife was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of his army commander was Abner son of Ner, Saul's uncle.
51. Kish father of Saul, and Ner father of Abner were the sons of Abiel.
52. There was fierce warfare with the Philistines throughout Saul's life. Any strong or valiant man who caught Saul's eye, he recruited into his service.