1 Samuel

From the Greek Septuagint text as was used by First Century Christians.
Written by SamuEl, starting with his birth (about 1175-BCE) and covering events leading up to
the death of King Saul and his son JoNathan (about 1077-BCE).

Chapter 1

1 There was a man from RamAh of Zophim in the Hills of Ephraim, whose name was ElKanah. He was the son of JerHam, grandson of EliHu, great-grandson of ToHu, and the great-great grandson of Zuph, all of whom were from the hills of Ephraim. 2 He had two women, the first was named HanNah and the second was PeninNah. Now, PeninNah had [given birth to] children, but HanNah had no children.

3 Well, each day [ElKanah] would leave his city and go up to ShiLoh to bow and offer sacrifices to Jehovah of armies, along with Eli and two of his sons, HophNi and PhineAs, who were Priests of Jehovah. 4 And one day, when ElKanah was there offering sacrifices, he gave his woman PeninNah and her sons and daughters their inheritances, 5 but he only gave HanNah a single portion, because she didn't have any children. However, ElKanah loved HanNah more than he loved PeninNah, even though Jehovah had kept her womb locked; 6 for He hadn't given her a child to love and to remove her sorrow. As the result, she became depressed and she believed that Jehovah wouldn't allow her to have a baby.

7 Well, each year she would go up to the House of Jehovah to cry and fast there. 8 Then [one day], her husband ElKanah asked her, 'HanNah, why are you always crying; why won't you eat and why is your heart [so sad]? For I [love you more] than ten children.'

9 Well, HanNah went to ShiLoh and stood before Eli, who was the High Priest at the time (after she had gone some time without eating or drinking); 10 and because her soul was in such great pain, she [just stood there] praying and crying before Jehovah. 11 Then she made a vow, saying: 'O Jehovah of Armies; if You'll just look at me, You'll see how Your slave woman has been disgraced. Please remember me and don't forget that I'm your servant… remember me and don't forget me! If You will give me a son, I will stand him before You and dedicate him to You throughout his entire life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.'

12 Well, as she was praying there before Jehovah, the Priest Eli was watching her mouth, 13 and he recognized that she was speaking from her heart. He could see her lips moving, but he couldn't hear her saying anything, so he figured that she was probably drunk. 14 And he said to her: 'How long have you been drinking? Why don't you get rid of your wine?'

15 But HanNah said: 'No, my lord; I'm just a woman who has had hard times. I haven't had any wine or liquor to drink, and I'm not drunk. Rather, I'm pouring out my soul before Jehovah. 16 Please don't consider your servant a delinquent daughter; for my worries and depression have grown into a mountain.'

17 And Eli told her: 'Go in peace, for the God of IsraEl will give you all that you've asked from Him!'

18 And she said: 'Then your servant has found favor in your eyes.' So she went back to her husband and she started eating and drinking again, and her face wasn't sad anymore. 19 Then they got up early the next morning, bowed before Jehovah, and they went back home. And after ElKanah got back home to RamAh, he [had sex] with his woman HanNah, and Jehovah remembered her and she got pregnant.

20 Well, when the time came, HanNah gave birth to a son whom she named SamuEl (God Heard), for she said: 'He's what I requested from the Almighty God.'

21 After that, whenever ElKanah left home to go up and offer the required sacrifices at ShiLoh and to pay his vows, 22 HanNah didn't go with him, for she said: 'I will wait until the boy is weaned to stand him before Jehovah. Then he can spend the rest of the age there.'

23 And ElKanah told her: 'You may do whatever you see is best. But after he's weaned, may [Jehovah hold you responsible] for this thing that you've vowed.'

So the woman nursed her son until the time he was weaned, 24 then they took him up to ShiLoh along with a three-year-old calf, a quart of fine flour, and a skin flask of wine. There they entered the house of Jehovah in ShiLoh, bringing the boy inside with them, 25 and they stood him before Jehovah. Then, after they slaughtered the calf, HanNah brought the child to Eli 26 and said: 'My Lord, may you live a long life. I'm the woman who stood before you while praying to Jehovah, and here's my son. 27 This is the boy that I prayed for, and Jehovah gave me what I asked of Him. So, may he now serve Jehovah all the days of his life, for [we are presenting him to you here] to be used by the Lord.'

Chapter 2

1 And HanNah prayed and sang [this song]:

'My [faith] is now firm, O my God,
And my heart [belongs to Jehovah],
Because my horn has been raised by my God,
And against my enemies, my mouth's opened wide.

'I thank You for my salvation;
For, this salvation has given me joy.
2 There are none as holy as Jehovah,
Or any as righteous as our God…
No, none are more holy than You.

3 'So, we should never be boasting,
Or allow haughty words to come from our mouths.
For Jehovah is a God of [great] knowledge,
And a God who accomplishes all that He plans.

4 'He weakens the bows of the mighty,
And gives strength to those who are weak.
5 Though those full of bread now have less,
And the hungry have been overlooked in our land;
The one who was sterile gave birth seven-fold,
As the one with many grew weaker.

6 'Both life and death come from Jehovah;
He takes them to the grave and leads them back out.
7 It's Jehovah who makes the poor and the rich;
He's the One who humbles and raises.

8 'From the ground, He raises the needy,
And He lifts the poor from the dirt,
To seat them among the mightiest of men,
Where a throne of glory, they inherit.

9 'He gives what is asked to those who make vows,
And He blesses the years of the righteous.
For, men can do nothing by their own strength…
10 Jehovah alone makes their enemies weak…
Yes, He is their [great] Holy Lord.

'May the smart not boast of their smartness,
And may the mighty not boast of their strength.
May the rich not boast of their wealth,
But, let them all boast about this:

'Let those who boast come to know,
That it all really comes from Jehovah;
So, may they observe His decisions,
And recognize His justice throughout the whole earth.

'For Jehovah descends from the heavens,
And from the skies, He sends thunder.
He [searches] and judges the wicked,
And to the ends of the earth, seeks the righteous.

'He's the One who gives kings all their power,
And He raises the trumpet of His anointed.'

11 So then she left [her son] there before Jehovah and returned home to her house in RamAh. And from that day on, the boy served Jehovah before Eli the Priest.

Now, Eli's Sons were very wicked, 12 because they didn't [really believe in Jehovah]. 13 As the result, these Priests felt that all the sacrifices the people brought, belonged to them. And whenever there was some boiled meat in the kettle, they would reach in with the three-pronged hook and take [the whole thing]… 14 they would drop the meat hook down into the large kettle and grab whatever they could. So, rather than allowing [the people to eat their portion of the sacrifices], the Priests would take whatever they wanted. And that's how they treated the people of IsraEl who came to ShiLoh to offer sacrifices to Jehovah.

15 Also, when the servants of the Priests were burning the [sacrificial] fat on the Altar, one of them would say to the other who was doing the sacrificing, 'Give the roasted meat to the Priests, because we don't want any of that boiled meat in the kettle.' 16 But if the one who was doing the sacrificing said, 'Allow me to burn the fat first, because that's what's required,' they would say, 'No! Give it to me or I'll take it myself!' 17 And that's how the young men were sinning before Jehovah in such a great way, for they viewed His sacrifices as worthless.'

18 Well, SamuEl served there in the presence of Jehovah as a boy, wearing a sacred chest piece of linen. 19 He wore a little doubled robe that his mother had made for him, which she carried to him when she returned with her husband to offer the sacrifices that were required back then.

20 Eli also praised ElKanah and his woman. For he said: 'The Lord has taken the seed of this woman as a loan, because of the way that she has acted toward Jehovah.'

Well thereafter, they went back home, 21 and Jehovah again visited HanNah, so she got pregnant and gave birth to three more sons and two daughters. However, it was the responsibility of the boy SamuEl to stay there and serve in the presence of Jehovah.

22 Now, Eli had gotten very old, and he knew all the things that his sons were doing to the people of IsraEl; for they were even sleeping with the women who stood around near the Tent of Proofs. 23 And he asked them: 'Why are you doing all these bad things that the people of Jehovah are talking about? 24 No, my sons, no! The things that I'm hearing aren't good! I don't want to hear any more of this, for you're here to serve the people of God! 25 If you're sinning against the people, they will go and pray to Jehovah about it… and if you're the ones who are sinning against Jehovah, who will there be to pray for you?'

But they wouldn't listen to their father, because Jehovah really wanted to destroy them. 26 Meanwhile, the boy SamuEl went on to become great, for he was in good standing before both God and men.

27 Well thereafter, a man of God came to Eli and told him, 'This is what Jehovah has said: I revealed Myself to the house of your fathers in the land of Egypt who were servants in the house of PharaOh, 28 and I chose the house of your father from all the tribes of IsraEl to serve Me as Priests who will approach My Altar, burn incense, and wear My sacred chest piece. I also gave the house of your father all the sacrifices that were burned on the fire as their food. 29 So, why have you looked at My incense and My sacrifices in disgust? And why have you treated your sons better than Me by allowing them to bless themselves with the first fruitage of all the sacrifices that IsraEl brings before Me?

30 'Now, because of this, says Jehovah, the God of IsraEl, your house and the house of your father will fall before Me through the ages. And from now on, only the one who is bringing glory to Me will be glorified, while those who treat Me with contempt will be disgraced.

31 'Look! The days are coming when I will destroy your seed… the sons of the house of your father. 32 Then you will see how well things will be done in IsraEl. But never again will there be a man who grows old in your house. 33 For I will destroy every man among you that serves at My Altar… I will make their eyes fail and cause their lives to flow out of them, then men will cut your family down with swords.

34 'This is the sign that I will give to your two sons, HophNi and PhineAs, in the day that they're both going to die: 35 I will appoint for Myself a [High] Priest who is trustworthy, and I will do for him whatever things are in My heart and soul. Then I'll build his house into one that I can trust, and he will be My anointed for the rest of his life. 36 So after that, anyone who is left in your house will have to come and bow before him bearing a silver coin and a loaf of bread and say, Allow me to be one of your Priests, so I may eat some of the food.'

Chapter 3

1 Well, the boy SamuEl served as an official of Jehovah under Eli the [High] Priest. And back then, the Word of Jehovah was prized, because the [Priests] weren't being given any visions of what they were supposed to do.

2 Then one day, Eli went to sleep inside [the Tent of God], and because his eyes had grown weak and he was [almost] blind, 3 the [sacred] lampstand of God had been left burning.

Well, SamuEl had also [slept] in the Holy Place of Jehovah, near the Chest of Proofs; 4 and there the Lord called SamuEl… He said, 'SamuEl!'

And SamuEl replied, 'Here I am.' 5 Then he ran to Eli and said, 'Here I am… you called me.'

And Eli replied, 'I didn't call you, go back to sleep!' So he went back to his bed.

6 But then the Lord called to him again, saying, 'SamuEl.'

So he went over to Eli again and said, 'Look, here I am, for you called me.'

And Eli said, 'I didn't call you child, go back to sleep!'

7 Well, SamuEl didn't realize that it was God speaking and that the words of Jehovah were about to be revealed to him. 8 So when the Lord called SamuEl a third time, he got up and went to Eli and said, 'Look, here I am. For you did call me!'

It was then that Eli realized it was the Lord who was calling the boy, 9 so he told SamuEl, 'Go back to bed, child; but if you hear Him calling again, you should say, Speak to me O Lord, because Your servant is listening.'

Well, SamuEl went back to his bed, 10 and the Lord came and called to him again, saying, 'SamuEl… SamuEl.'

And SamuEl replied, 'Speak, because Your servant is listening!'

11 And the Lord said to SamuEl: 'Look! People think that My words have been extinguished in IsraEl; but now, everyone will hear them in both ears. 12 For the day has come when I will bring about all the things that I said against the house of Eli, and I will finish them off. 13 I told him that I would punish him and his house through the ages for the unrighteousness of his sons, because he knows of the evil things they are doing against God and he hasn't punished them! 14 So I swore an oath against the house of Eli, that through the ages they will pay for the sins that they committed while they were offering up the incense and the sacrifices.'

15 Well thereafter, SamuEl went back to bed until the morning. And when he got up early in the day and opened the entrance to the House of Jehovah, he was afraid to tell Eli what he saw.

16 But Eli called to him: 'SamuEl… SamuEl… child!'

And he replied: 'Here I am!'

17 Then [Eli] said: 'Tell me every word that you were told… don't try to hide it from me! May God [punish you] if you don't tell me every word that was spoken into your ears!'

18 So SamuEl reported everything that was said to him… he didn't try to hide a single word. And Eli said: 'Jehovah is good, and He will do everything that He says He will do.'

19 Well, SamuEl became great, because Jehovah was with him, and there wasn't a word he was told that failed to come true in the land. 20 So all IsraEl from Dan to BeerSheba came to know that SamuEl was a faithful Prophet of Jehovah. 21 For Jehovah started showing Himself at ShiLoh again, revealing Himself to SamuEl and speaking to him there. Thus SamuEl became the trusted Prophet of Jehovah throughout all IsraEl, from one end of the land to the other.

However, Eli was very old, and his sons kept doing things that were wicked before Jehovah.

Chapter 4

1 Well, from then on, the things that SamuEl said [were spread] throughout IsraEl.

Then the Philistines got together to go to war against IsraEl, and IsraEl went out to meet them in battle. They camped at EbenEzer, while the Philistines had set up camp at Aphek. 2 And when the Philistines attacked, the battle went badly for IsraEl, for they lost four thousand men. 3 So when they returned to camp, the people asked: 'Why did Jehovah allow us to fall before the Philistines today? [Next time] we should take Jehovah's Chest of Proofs from ShiLoh and carry it in our midst, for it will save us from the hands of our enemies!'

4 So they sent people to ShiLoh to get the Chest of Jehovah's Sacred Agreement [to summon the power] of the cherubs [on its cover]; and both sons of Eli (HophNi and PhineAs) traveled with the [sacred] Chest of God. 5 Then, when the Chest was brought into the camp, the IsraElites let out a shout that resounded throughout the land. 6 And when the Philistines heard it, they started asking each other: 'Why are they shouting in the camp of the Hebrews?'

Well, they concluded that it was because the Chest of Jehovah had been brought into the camp, 7 and this frightened them; so they said: 'They've brought their gods into their camp. 8 Woe to us! Please save us today, O Lord, just as you've done for the past three days. O woe to us, for who will rescue us from the hands of their mighty gods? They're the same gods that brought the calamity upon Egypt and [to those] in the desert!

9 ' O Philistines; we must be strong and act like men so we won't have to serve the Hebrews. Since we want them to serve us, we'll have to act manly when we go to battle against them!'

10 So then the Philistines attacked, and the men of IsraEl started falling before them… they chased them all the way back to their tents. It was a huge defeat and thirty thousand of their soldiers were lost. 11 Also, the Chest of God was captured, and both of Eli's sons (HophNi and PhineAs) were killed.

12 Well, there was a man of the tribe of BenJamin who had returned from the battle; and when he got back to ShiLoh that day, his clothes were torn and it looked as though the earth had fallen on his head. 13 And when he got there, he saw Eli sitting on his chair [atop] the gate facing the road.

Because this man's heart was broken over the loss of the Chest of God; when he got there, he yelled out his report to the whole city. 14 And when Eli heard him yelling, he asked, 'Who's doing all that shouting?' Then the man went up and reported to Eli.

15 Well, since Eli was ninety-eight years old, his eyes were dim and he couldn't [hear well]. So he asked the Priests around him: 'What's he saying?'

And when the man came before him, 16 he said: 'I've just come here from our camp, and we all had to flee from the battle today!'

Then Eli asked: 'What about my [sons]?'

17 And [the man] replied: 'All the men of IsraEl turned and ran from the Philistines… it was a huge loss for our people! Both of your sons were killed and the Chest of God was captured as well.'

18 Well when Eli heard [the news] about the Chest of God, he fell backward out of his chair [from the top of] the gate and landed on the ground, breaking his back. So he died, because he was old and fat. But he had judged IsraEl for forty years.

19 And after that, when Eli's daughter-in-law (PhineAs' woman – who was pregnant) heard the message that the Chest of God had been captured and that her husband and her father-in-law had died, she started crying and went into labor… 20 and then she started to die.

Well, the women around her said: 'Don't be afraid, for you've given birth to a son.' However, she didn't answer, because she couldn't understand them.

21 But she named the boy IchaBod (Where's the Glory?) after the [Sacred] Chest of God, her father-in-law, and her husband. 22 For she said: 'The glory of IsraEl is gone, now that they've taken the Chest of God.'

Chapter 5

1 Thereafter, the Philistines took the Chest of God from EbenEzer and carried it to AshDod, 2 where they put it into the Temple of Dagon, next to his [image]. 3 But when the people of AshDod got up early the next morning and entered the Temple, {Look!} they found Dagon fallen with his face to the ground before the Chest of God. So they lifted Dagon up and set him back in his place.

Well, Jehovah's hand continued to be heavy against the people of AshDod and the surrounding country through the rest of that day; for He tormented them and struck them [with boils] on their backsides.

4 Then once again, when they got up the next morning, {Look!} they found that Dagon had fallen on his face before the Chest of Jehovah's Sacred Agreement; but this time, his head had fallen off and both of his hands had broken off at their wrists, which were lying by the [front] door. So, all that was left of him was his torso. 5 And this is the reason why the Priests of Dagon will no longer cross the threshold of Dagon's Temple in AshDod.

6 Well, Jehovah continued to oppress and torment the people of AshDod, and He struck [the people with boils] on their backsides throughout all its borders. 7 And when the men of AshDod realized what was happening, they said: 'Don't leave the Chest of the God of IsraEl with us, because that's [what's making Him angry] with us and with our God Dagon.' 8 So the Philistines sent officials throughout the land asking, 'What should we do with the Chest of the God of IsraEl?' And the people of Gath said, 'You can send it to us!'

Well, as the result, they sent the Chest of the God of IsraEl to Gath. 9 But as they were moving it there, Jehovah created a tremendous problem for them; for He struck all the people of the city (both the small and the great) [with boils] on their backsides… 10 so they sent the Chest of God on to EkRon. But when it got there, the people started shouting, 'Why are you bringing the Chest of the God of IsraEl to us? Are you trying to kill us all?' 11 Therefore, they called all the Philistine governors together, who decided that they should send the Chest of the God of IsraEl back to where it belongs, so it didn't destroy them and all of their people.

12 But thereafter, confusion set in; for throughout the city people started dying as the Chest of the God of IsraEl was being brought there, and both the living and the dying were struck [with boils] on their backsides. So cries from the city reached into the heavens!

Chapter 6

1 Well, the Chest of Jehovah just laid there in a Philistine field for seven months, and soon their land became overrun with mice. 2 So the Philistines called a meeting of their priests, clairvoyants, and witches, and they asked: 'What should we do with the Chest of Jehovah? Tell us how we can go about returning it to where it belongs!'

3 And they replied: 'If you return the Chest of the Sacred Agreement of Jehovah the God of IsraEl, return it empty. For by doing this, you will really upset them… but the thing will be settled. [Their God] will no longer [oppress you] and everyone will be healed [from the plague].'

4 Then [the leaders] asked: 'But, what should we do to make up for all the torment that it caused?'

And they replied: 5 'Each of the five Philistine governors should send along a gold [image of their] buttocks, since the fault was theirs… both the rulers and the people. Also, send along a representation of five gold mice, the type that are overrunning the land. However, [don't forget to] give glory to Jehovah if you want Him to [stop being angry] with you, your gods, and your land. 6 Don't allow Him to oppress your hearts the way that He oppressed the hearts of the Egyptians and their pharaoh. For it was only after He mocked them that [His people] were finally set free.

7 'So now, take a new wagon and two first-born oxen that have given birth to their first calves, and hook them to a yoke. Then hitch the oxen to the wagon and lock their calves inside the temple. 8 Next, take the Chest of Jehovah and put it on the wagon, then replace the things in the Chest with the gold representations of your torment. 9 After that, send it on; and if it travels across their border, continuing on to BethShemesh, we'll know that He's the One who brought all those evil things upon us. But if it doesn't, we'll know that it was just a coincidence.'

10 Well, that's what the Philistines did. They took two first-born oxen and hitched them to the wagon (after locking their calves inside their temple). 11 Then they put the Chest of Jehovah on the wagon and placed the gold mice and the images of their buttocks inside the chest 12 (after removing all the [sacred] things that were in there). Thereafter, they sent it along the road to BethShemesh… and [the oxen] didn't turn to the right or to the left. Meanwhile, all the Philistine governors followed behind it until it reached the borders of BethShemesh.

13 Well at the time, the people of BethShemesh were harvesting their wheat in the valley. And when they saw the Chest of Jehovah, they started cheering and ran to meet it.

14 Then they took the wagon into the field of JoShua (which was near BethShemesh) and they led it up to a huge rock, where they split the wood of the wagon and sacrificed the oxen as whole burnt offerings to Jehovah. 15 Thereafter, the Levites took the Chest of Jehovah and removed the items of gold that were in it, placing them all on that large rock. And there the men of BethShemesh sacrificed the whole burnt offerings (along with other sacrifices) to Jehovah.

16 Meanwhile, the five Philistine governors were watching this. Then they turned around and headed back to EkRon that day.

17 These are the gold buttocks that the Philistines sent to remove the torment of Jehovah:
One from AshDod,
One from Gaza,
One from AshKelon,
One from Gath,
One from EkRon.
18 Also, each of the well-fortified Philistine cities sent gold mice, one from each of the five governors. And that large rock where they placed the Chest of Jehovah can still be found in the field of JoShua near BethShemesh to this day.

19 But then Jehovah struck down the men of BethShemesh, because they had gotten too close to the Chest of Jehovah… He struck down seventy of their [leaders] and fifty thousand of their people. So they went into mourning, because Jehovah had struck so many people with such a great calamity. 20 And the people of BethShemesh asked: 'Who can stand in the presence of this holy God Jehovah, and whom can we send to carry this Chest? 21 So they sent messengers to the people of KiriAth JaiRim saying, The Philistines have returned the Chest of Jehovah, so please come here and take it!'

Chapter 7

1 Well thereafter, people from KiriAth JaiRim went to [BethShemesh] and took the Chest of Jehovah's Sacred Agreement, then they carried it to the House of AmiNadab, [who lived on] a hill. And EliEzer and his sons [purified] themselves there, so they could serve as guardians of the Chest. 2 But the 'day' that the Chest was to be kept in KiriAth JaiRim became many days… in fact, it stayed there for twenty years!

Meanwhile, the whole house of IsraEl had started [turning back to the worship of Jehovah]. 3 So SamuEl spoke to the house of IsraEl and said: 'If you wish to return to Jehovah with your whole hearts, you must remove the gods of the foreigners that live among you, as well as their sacred poles, then prepare your hearts to serve Jehovah alone. If you'll do this, He will rescue you from the hands of the Philistines!'

4 So the sons of IsraEl [got rid of their images of] the BaAls and their sacred poles of AstarOth, and they started serving just Jehovah.

5 Then SamuEl said: 'All IsraEl must now gather at MizPah, and I will pray to Jehovah for you there.'

6 So all the people went to MizPah. There they drew water and poured it out on the ground before Jehovah, and they fasted throughout the whole day; for they said, 'We have sinned against Jehovah.' Then SamuEl prayed on behalf of the sons of IsraEl there at MizPah.

7 Well when the Philistines heard that all the sons of IsraEl had gathered at MizPah, the Philistine governors assembled their armies to attack IsraEl. And when the IsraElites heard of this, they were frightened because of what the Philistines were doing. 8 So they went to SamuEl and said, 'Don't just remain silent! Call out to your God Jehovah and ask Him to rescue us from the hands of the Philistines!'

9 Then SamuEl took a newborn lamb and sacrificed it as a whole burnt offering to Jehovah before all the people, and he called to Jehovah on behalf of IsraEl, and Jehovah listened. 10 Meanwhile, just as SamuEl was offering up the sacrifice, the Philistines started their attack… and then the voice of the Lord spoke like thunder to the Philistines, which confused them, so they turned and retreated. 11 Well at that, the men of IsraEl swarmed out of MizPah and they pursued the Philistines, cutting them down all the way to the borders of BethCar.

12 And thereafter, SamuEl took a [block of] stone and erected it between MizPah and the old city, which he named EbenEzer, which means, 'The Rock of the Helper.' For he said, 'This is where Jehovah helped us.'

13 So Jehovah humbled the Philistines on that day, and they didn't enter the borders of IsraEl thereafter; for the hand of Jehovah was against the Philistines during the entire lifetime of SamuEl. 14 And the Philistines also had to give back all the cities between EkRon and Gath that they had taken from the sons of IsraEl. So the borders of IsraEl remained free of the Philistines, and there was also peace between IsraEl and the Amorites.

15 Well, SamuEl served as the mediator between IsraEl [and God] for the rest of his life. 16 And each year, he would make the circuit between BethEl, GilGal, and MizPah, where he would speak to God on behalf of IsraEl. 17 Thereafter, he would return to his home in RamAh, where he served as the mediator for IsraEl and where he built an Altar to Jehovah.

Chapter 8

1 Well, when SamuEl grew old, he appointed his sons as judges in IsraEl. 2 The firstborn was JoEl and the second was AbiJah. They each served as judges in BeerSheba. 3 But they weren't like [SamuEl], because they accepted contributions and took bribes, so they didn't [always] make righteous decisions. 4 As the result, the men of IsraEl got together and went to SamuEl at RamAh and said: 5 'Look, you're getting old and your sons aren't doing things the way that you've been doing. So, appoint a king to settle matters between us, the same as the rest of the nations have.'

6 However, SamuEl viewed this as something wicked when they said, 'Appoint a king to settle matters between us.' So he prayed to Jehovah. 7 And Jehovah replied: 'Listen to the voice of the people and do all that they're asking. For they aren't treating you with contempt, 8 they're just doing the same things they've been doing to Me since the day that I led them out of Egypt. And as they've abandoned Me to serve other gods is how they're treating you now. 9 So, do whatever they ask. However, explain what will happen when you appoint a king to rule over them.'

10 Well, SamuEl did tell them everything that Jehovah said about kings, saying: 11 'This is what you can expect from the kings who will rule over you: They will take your sons and mount them on chariots, or appoint them as cavalry to ride in front of their chariots. 12 Then they will appoint commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and [your sons] will have to plow and harvest their fields and pick their grapes, before they're sent to war on chariots.

13 'They will also take your daughters to serve as perfume makers, cooks, and bakers, 14 and they will take the best food from your fields, vineyards, and olive groves to feed their servants. 15 Then they will claim a tenth of your grain and grapes for their eunuchs and servants, 16 and they will take the best of your male and female slaves, as well as your burros… a tenth of everything you own! 17 They will take a tenth of your flocks, and you will then be their servants. 18 Also, the day will come when you'll call out to the king that you chose for yourselves, and he won't pay any attention to Jehovah.'

19 Well, the people didn't want to listen to what SamuEl was saying, so they told him: 'We want you to appoint a king over us 20 just like all the other nations have… someone who can settle matters between us, lead us, and wage our wars.'

21 Then after SamuEl heard what the people were saying, he spoke to them before Jehovah and said: 22 'Jehovah told me to listen to whatever you have to say and to appoint a king over you; so now, each of you should return to your cities.'

Chapter 9

1 Well, there was a man from the sons of BenJamin named Kish (the son of ZerOr, the grandson of BechOrath, and the great-grandson of AphiJAh, of BenJamin), and he was very strong. 2 He had a son named Saul, who was very tall and handsome… none among the sons of IsraEl were taller, for he stood head and shoulders above everyone else in the land.

3 Well, Saul's father Kish had lost two burros, so he said to Saul: 'Take one of the servants with you and go look for my burros.' 4 So Saul traveled throughout the hills of Ephraim and the land of ShaliSha [searching for them], but he couldn't find them.

5 Then when they got to Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was traveling with him: 'Come on, let's just go back to my father [and tell him that we couldn't find] the burros, because he's probably worried about us.'

6 But his servant said: 'Look, there's a man of God in this city. He's an honorable man, and whatever he says will happen, will happen. So, let's go to him and ask which way we should travel.'

7 And Saul replied: 'Okay, let's go there. However, what do we have with us that we can offer to this man of God, since even the loaves of bread that we were carrying are gone?'

8 And the servant said: 'I've been carrying a coin in my hand. We can give it to the man of God, and then he'll show us the way.'

9 Well in IsraEl back then, whenever people wanted to ask something of God, they would say, 'Let's go ask the Seer,' because the people used to call the Prophets Seers. 10 So Saul said to his servant: 'What you've suggested is a good idea. Come on, let's go there.' And they went to the city where the man of God lived.

11 Then as they were going up to the city, they noticed some young women who were coming out to draw water, and they asked if the Seer was there. 12 And they replied: 'Yes, he is. Look, he's just up ahead. But you'd better hurry, because he's going to the house of worship to offer sacrifices for the people. 13 As you enter the city you'll find him getting ready to go there for a meal, and the people won't start their meal until he blesses the sacrifice. After he does that, the people will [sit down to] eat. So go on, because this may be the only day you can find him!'

14 Well, they entered the city, and as they were traveling toward its center, they saw SamuEl coming to meet them, since he was on his way to the place of worship. 15 However, Jehovah had opened the ears of SamuEl [on the previous day] and told him: 16 'At this time tomorrow, I will send a man from the land of BenJamin to you. You must anoint him to be the ruler over My people IsraEl, and he will save My people from the hands of the Philistines… for I've watched their humiliation [long enough], and I've heard them calling out to Me.'

17 So when SamuEl noticed Saul, Jehovah said to him: 'Look, this is the man that I was talking to you about. He will rule My people.'

18 Meanwhile, Saul walked up to SamuEl there in the center of the city to ask where the Seer lives. 19 And SamuEl told him: 'That's me! Now, come with me to the place of worship and eat with us today. Then in the morning I'll show you everything that's in your heart… 20 and I'll also tell you where those burros are that you've been searching for over the past three days. Don't let your heart be concerned about them, because they've been found! And what could be more beautiful among the things of IsraEl than you and the house of your father?'

21 Well at that, Saul replied: 'I'm just a man of the sons of BenJamin, one of the smallest of the tribes of IsraEl, and my family is the least of all the families of BenJamin. So, why have you spoken to me that way?'

22 Thereafter, SamuEl took Saul and his servant along with him to the place where they would eat, and he called for them to sit at the head of the table before the thirty men who were there. 23 And he told the cook: 'Give him the portion [of the meat] that I gave to you and asked you to set aside.' 24 So the cook brought out a whole hindquarter and placed it before Saul. And SamuEl said: 'Look, we've set what is left over before you. Eat it! Since this is the proof that you've been placed over the people, you should pull off a piece!'

So Saul ate with SamuEl that day, 25 and when he returned to the city from the place of worship, the [people] spread some carpets on the roof for Saul, where he bedded down. 26 Then at dawn the following morning, SamuEl called up to the roof for Saul, and said, 'Get up, for I'm going to send you on now!' And at that, Saul got up and went outside to meet SamuEl. 27 Then, as they were walking from the city into the fields, SamuEl said to Saul: 'Tell the young man to walk on ahead of us, then you must stop here so you can hear the Word of The God!'

Chapter 10

1 At that, SamuEl took a flask of oil and poured it over [Saul's] head, and he kissed him and said: 'Jehovah is anointing you to be the ruler over His inheritance. 2 Now, just as soon as I leave you today, you're going to find two men near the tomb of RachEl on Mount BenJamin who will be jumping up and down, and they'll tell you that they've found the burros you're searching for. However, your father has already stopped worrying about the burros and now he's worried about you and asking, What should I do about my son?

3 'Nevertheless, before you go there, you must travel on until you reach the oak tree at Tabor, where you'll find three men who are going up to [worship] God at BethEl. One will be carrying three goat kids, the second will be carrying three containers of bread, and the third will have a skin flask of wine. 4 They will all wish you peace and offer you two loaves of their first-fruit bread… just go ahead and accept them. 5 Then travel on to the Mountain of God, where you'll find a Philistine fort. And when you enter the city, you'll meet a group of Prophets who will be dancing as they leave the place of worship to the music of a lute, a tambourine, pipes, and a harp, and they will all be prophesying. 6 Then the Breath of Jehovah will come over you and you should prophesy with them; for you will become another man. 7 And when you see these signs happening to you, do everything that you're moved to do, because God is with you. 8 After that, I want you to come and meet me at GilGal, where I'll give you [animals] to sacrifice as whole burnt offerings and peace offerings. Then you must stay with me for seven days as I teach you all that you must do.'

9 Well, just as he turned his shoulder to leave SamuEl, God changed [Saul's] heart, and then all the signs started coming true that day. 10 For when he finally reached the hill and saw the group of Prophets dancing directly opposite him, God's Breath came over him and he started prophesying in their midst.

11 So all the things that he was told would happen to him came true during those three days, and there he was in the midst of the Prophets prophesying, as all the people were asking each other: 'What has happened to the son of Kish? Has Saul become one of the Prophets?'

12 Then one of them asked: 'So, who is his father?' And because of this, the saying was created: 'Might Saul be one of the Prophets?'

13 Well, after he had finished prophesying, Saul went back down the hill.

14 [Then, upon their return], [Saul's] uncle asked Saul's servant: 'Where have you both been?' And he replied: 'We've been out looking for the burros, and when we couldn't find them we went to see SamuEl.'

15 So the uncle went to Saul and asked: 'Tell me, what did SamuEl say to you?' 16 And Saul said, 'He told me where to find the burros' (he didn't say anything about what SamuEl told him about being appointed the king).

17 Then SamuEl summoned all the people of Jehovah and told them to assemble at MizPah. 18 And there he told the sons of IsraEl, 'This is what Jehovah the God of IsraEl has said: I led IsraEl out of Egypt, where I first rescued them from the hands of its Pharaoh, and then from the hands of all the kingdoms that oppressed them. 19 Yet today you're treating the God who saved you from all of this badness and oppression with contempt, for you've all said that you want me to appoint a king over you. So, that's why you're all standing here before Jehovah today by your tribes and family lines.'

20 Then SamuEl led each of the tribes of IsraEl [past Jehovah], and the tribe of BenJamin was chosen. Then he led the tribe of BenJamin [past Jehovah] and the family of MatRi was chosen. 21 Then they drew lots, and Saul (the son of Kish) was chosen. However, when they went to look for him, he couldn't be found. 22 So SamuEl asked the Lord: 'Is the man still here?' And the Lord replied: 'Look, he's hiding in the tool shed.'

23 So [SamuEl] ran there and 24 brought him back, then he stood him in the midst of the people.

Well, [he was easy to see] because he stood head and shoulders above everyone else. 24 Then SamuEl said to the people: 'Do you see who Jehovah Himself has chosen? There isn't another man like him among you!'

And because all the people recognized this, they shouted, 'Long live the king!'

25 And after that, SamuEl explained all the rules of kingship to the people, then he wrote everything that he said in a scroll and set it before Jehovah. So he sent the people away, and they each returned to their homes.

26 Well, after Saul got back home to GibeAh, he found that many powerful men whose hearts had been touched by Jehovah were there to meet with him. 27 However, the worst among them were asking, 'Just who is [Saul] that he should be appointed as our savior?' And though these people said many bad things about him and they didn't bring him any gifts, Saul just stayed silent.

Chapter 11

1 Thereafter, NaHash the AmMonite [went to attack] JabIsh GileAd, and the people of the city said, 'Make peace with us and we'll become your servants.'

2 But NaHash replied: 'I'll make a treaty with you if I can gouge out all of your right eyes; for I detest IsraEl!'

3 And the men of JabIsh told him: 'Give us seven days and we'll send messengers throughout IsraEl. Then if no one comes to save us, we'll just surrender to you.'

4 So they sent messengers to Saul at GibeAh, who told the people there what NaHash had said. Then all the people started wailing and crying. 5 And when Saul returned from the fields behind the town with his oxen, he asked, 'Why are all the people crying?' Then they [told him about] him the message that had come from the people of JabIsh.

6 Well, the Breath of Jehovah came over Saul when he heard what they said, and he was outraged. 7 So he took his two oxen and cut them up, then he sent [the pieces] throughout all IsraEl via messengers who said, 'Whoever refuses to follow Saul and SamuEl will be treated like my oxen.'

Then Jehovah caused a change of heart to come over the people [of IsraEl], and they started shouting together as one person. 8 And when [Saul] counted his forces at the house of worship in AbiEzek, he found that there were three hundred thousand in the army of IsraEl, and thirty thousand more from the tribe of Judah. 9 So he said to the messengers who came there, 'Tell the men of JabIsh GileAd this: Tomorrow, by the time the sun warms [the ground], you will be saved.'

So the messengers returned to their city and reported what he said to the people of JabIsh, and they were jubilant. 10 Then the men of JabIsh told NaHash the AmMonite: 'We're going to come out of the city tomorrow, and you may treat us any way that you wish.'

11 Well, very early the next morning, Saul divided his army into three companies and they attacked the AmMonite camp… they kept slaughtering them until the day got hot and [the AmMonites] were all scattered, so not even two men were still together.

12 Then the people went to SamuEl and said: 'Which are then ones that said Saul shouldn't be our king? {Point them out] and we'll kill them!'

13 But Saul said: 'No, none of them are going to die today, because this is the day that Jehovah brought salvation to IsraEl!'

14 Thereafter, SamuEl spoke to the people and said, 'Come on! Let's go to GilGal, and we will establish [the ruling part of] our kingdom from there.'

15 So everyone went to GilGal, and SamuEl anointed Saul as king there before Jehovah. Then he offered sacrifices before Jehovah, and Saul and all the people of IsraEl were very happy.

Chapter 12

1 At that time, SamuEl spoke to all the people of IsraEl and said 'Look; I've listened to everything that you've asked and I've given you a king to rule over you… 2 so now you can see that you have a king who is leading you! And as for me; I've grown old and I'm ready to retire (although my sons are still among you), for I've been your leader since I was very young. 3 Yet look… here I am! So testify to this before Jehovah and His anointed one: Whose calf or burro have I taken? Whom have I tyrannized or pressured? And from whose hand have I taken a bribe or even a sandal? Tell me what I've taken and I'll return it to you!'

4 But they all replied to SamuEl: 'You haven't wronged us or tyrannized us, nor have you taken anything from us… not a single thing.'

5 Then SamuEl said to the people: 'So, Jehovah is my witness among you today, as is His anointed one, that you haven't found anything in my hands that I've taken from you.'

And they replied: 'It's a fact.'

6 So SamuEl said: 'Then Jehovah (the One who prepared Moses and Aaron and who led our ancestors out of Egypt) is my witness. 7 And now I'm going to judge you before Jehovah, and I'm going to remind you of all the righteous things that Jehovah has done for you and for your ancestors.

8 'After Jacob and his sons moved to Egypt, the Egyptians made them slaves. So our ancestors called to Jehovah and He sent Moses and Aaron. They led our ancestors out of Egypt and settled them here. 9 But [our ancestors soon] forgot Jehovah their God, so He gave them into the hands of SiSera (the commander-in-chief of JabIsh, the king of Hazor), then into the hands of the Philistines, and then into the hands of the Moabites… and they had to go to war with [each of] them. 10 But when they called to Jehovah and admitted that they had sinned by abandoning Him to serve the BaAls and the sacred poles, and they asked Him to rescue them, 11 Jehovah sent JeroBaAl, then Barak, then JephThah, and finally SamuEl. So He has continued to save you from the hands of the enemies that live all around you, and now you're finally starting to feel safe.

12 'But then, when you saw NaHash (the king of the sons of AmMon) coming against you, you said, We want a king to rule over us… although our God Jehovah is really your king!

13 'So now, look! Here is the king that I got for you and whom you chose. And because it was Jehovah who appointed him as your king, 14 you must serve Him and listen to His voice… don't argue with Jehovah! 7 But both you and the king who rules over you must continue to follow Jehovah your God! 15 For if you ever stop listening to the voice of Jehovah and you start arguing with Him, His hand will come against both you and your king.

16 'Now, stand here and behold the great thing that Jehovah is going to do before your eyes today! 17 Since this is the time of the wheat harvest, I'm going to call to Jehovah, and He will send thunder and rain. Then you will see and know the bad thing that you did before Jehovah when you asked for a king.'

18 So at that, SamuEl called to Jehovah and He sent thunder and rain that day, which caused the people to fear both SamuEl and Jehovah. 19 Then the people begged SamuEl to pray to his God Jehovah on their behalf so they wouldn't die for the great sin of asking for a king.

20 But SamuEl told them: 'Don't be afraid because of the bad things you've done; rather, be in fear of ever turning away from Jehovah! You must keep on serving Jehovah whole heartedly! 21 Never turn back to those things that amount to nothing, for they can get you nothing and they can rescue you from nothing, because they are nothing! 22 Never allow Jehovah to be pushed away from His people, because His Name is great, and He chose you as His people.

23 'Now as for me; may I not sin against Jehovah by ever ceasing in my prayers for you to live good and straight lives. 24 But you must fear Jehovah and truly serve Him with your whole hearts, because you've seen all that He has done among you! 25 And if you ever turn back to doing bad things and become evil and start sinning again, your king will be numbered among your dead!'

Chapter 13

1 Well, this all happened during the first year of Saul's reign. And after the second year, 2 Saul selected three thousand men from IsraEl, two thousand of whom stayed with him in MichMash (in the hills of BethEl), and the other thousand were with his son JoNathan in GibeAh of BenJamin. However, everyone else was sent back home.

3 Then JoNathan attacked [and killed] the Philistine [leader] Nasib (who lived nearby in the hills), and the rest of the Philistines came to hear of it. So Saul sent trumpeters throughout the land 4 who told all IsraEl about how they had killed Nasib the Philistine, and of how [the Philistines] were planning to get even with IsraEl. As the result, the people of IsraEl gathered to Saul at GilGal to go to war. 5 But then the Philistines arrived bringing thirty thousand chariots, six thousand mounted horsemen, and foot soldiers that were numbered as the sands of the seas, and they set up camp at BethAven, just south of MichMash.

6 Well when the IsraElites saw what they were facing, they were afraid to fight them; so they went and hid in caves, in animal dens, behind rocks, in quarries, and in sink holes. 7 Many also ran away and crossed the Jordan into the lands of Gad and GileAd, so they all just abandoned Saul at GilGal. 8 And after Saul's people had deserted him, Saul called for SamuEl. However, SamuEl didn't come to GilGal immediately. 9 So after seven days, Saul said: 'Bring us some [animals] and I'll sacrifice the whole burnt offerings and peace offerings myself.' And he [personally] offered the sacrifices.

10 Well, it was shortly after he did this that SamuEl finally arrived. And when Saul came to meet him and to ask for his blessing, 11 SamuEl said to him, 'What have you done?'

So Saul said: 'I did this because I saw that my men had left me… and then you didn't come when you said you would. For since the Philistines are camped [just outside] of MichMash, 12 I [thought to myself], Now the Philistines are going to attack me at GilGal, and I haven't been able to beg Jehovah for His help. So I took charge and sacrificed the whole burnt offerings myself!'

13 But SamuEl said to Saul: 'You've done a foolish thing by not obeying the instructions that I gave you from Jehovah, for He had meant for your kingdom to last through the ages. 14 However, the kingdom [of your family line] will not stand, and Jehovah will search for another man – someone who [pleases] His heart – and He will appoint him to be the ruler over His people, because you failed to do what Jehovah said.' 15 And at that, SamuEl got up and left GilGal, traveling into the hills of BenJamin.

Then Saul counted his troops to see how many he still had, and he only found about six hundred. 16 So he, along with his son JoNathan and his remaining army, sheltered themselves inside [the walls of] GibeAh of BenJamin, while the Philistines were camped in MichMash.

17 However, the Philistines planned to attack them there, and they stationed a division along the road that leads from Ophrah to the land of ShuAl, 18 a second division along the road to BethHoron, and a third division along the road from GibeAh to the City of Zeboim (which is in the desert).

19 Understand that back then there were no ironworks anywhere in the land of IsraEl; for the Philistines had kept the IsraElites from [learning this trade], since they didn't want them making broadswords or spear [tips]. 20 So until then the IsraElites had been going to the land of the Philistines to have them forge all their pruning hooks, tools, axes, and sickles. 21 And whenever such things were needed for the harvesting, the [Philistines] charged the same price, three small silver coins, for a pruning hook, axe, or sickle. 22 As the result, none of Saul's soldiers had any spears or broadswords. The only such things among them belonged to Saul and to his son JoNathan.

23 Well meanwhile, the Philistines stationed a contingent of guards just outside of MichMash.

Chapter 14

1 Then JoNathan (Saul's son) said to the servant who was carrying his weapons: 'Come with me! Let's go around to the other side of the Philistine camp' (and he didn't tell his father what he was doing).

2 At the time, Saul was sitting under a pomegranate tree on top of the hill at MagaDan. And this is where some of his [remaining] six hundred men came to meet with him. 3 Also, AhiJah (the son AhiTub, who was the brother of IchaBod, the son of PhiNehas and the grandson of Eli) the Priest of Jehovah in ShiLoh, arrived carrying the sacred chest piece of the Priest. But meanwhile, no one noticed that JoNathan had left the camp. 4 For JoNathan had forded the river on his way to the Philistine camp at a place where there were jagged rocks on both sides (on one side it was called BoZez, and on the other side it was called SeNeh), 5 along the road that leads from MichMash in the north and to Geba in the south.

6 Then JoNathan said to the servant who was carrying his weapons: 'Come on, let's go to the town of MesSab [and attack] the uncircumcised who are camped there; for perhaps Jehovah will give them [into our hands]. After all, doesn't [Jehovah give victory] over many to just a few?'

7 And the man who was carrying his weapons replied: 'You do whatever your heart moves you to do… look, I'm with you! Whatever is in your heart is in my heart also.'

8 So JoNathan said: 'We'll just go up there and confront them. 9 And if they say to us, Wait there, we'll just stay away and we won't get any closer. 10 But if they tell us to come forward, that will be our sign… we'll know that Jehovah has given them into our hands and we'll attack!'

11 Well, as they walked up to the Philistine camp at MesSab, a Philistine guard shouted out, 'Look! Here come some Hebrews who've crawled out of the burrows where they've been hiding!' 12 Then the men at MesSab called to JoNathan and the man who was carrying his weapons, and said: 'Come on up here to us and we'll show you a few things.'

So JoNathan said to the man who was carrying his weapons: 'Now, follow me; for Jehovah has given them into the hands of IsraEl!'

13 Then JoNathan crawled up the hill on his hands and feet, with the man carrying his weapons close behind. 14 And JoNathan and [his attendant] attacked them, killing twenty men using arrows, slings, and rocks that they'd found in the field… 15 which caused quite a change in attitude among the [Philistines] in and around MesSab. For they had caught the men that they destroyed off guard, and everyone was very disturbed over what [Jehovah had done among them].

16 Meanwhile, Saul's watchmen in GibeAh of BenJamin had noticed that there was a lot of confusion on both sides of the enemy camp. 17 And Saul said to the people who were meeting with him: 'Take a head count to see who has left us.'

So they took a head count and found that JoNathan and the man carrying his weapons were missing. 18 Then Saul said to AhiJah: 'Bring the sacred chest piece!' (It was inside the Chest of God that day, there before IsraEl). 19 And as Saul was speaking to the Priest, he noticed that the sound in the Philistine camp was getting louder and louder. So he said to the Priest: 'Let's gather all the hands!' 20 Then he gathered his troops, and they joined the battle.

Well, the confusion was so bad in the Philistine camp that their men started attacking each other with swords. 21 And at that, [Saul's] men (who had [been hiding] for the previous two days) got up and joined the battle with Saul and JoNathan. 22 Also, when the IsraElites who had run to the hills of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were retreating, they came and joined in the battle… and Jehovah gave the victory to IsraEl that day. 23 For the battle raged on through BethAven; and by then, about ten thousand men had joined Saul. The war also continued to be fought in many of the cities and in the hills of Ephraim.

24 But that's when Saul did something very foolish; he placed a curse on the people when he said, 'Any man who eats before sunset is cursed, because I want my enemies to be punished!' As the result, none of his men had anything to eat.

Well, his people had gathered in a grove of trees; 25 and nearby (at the edge of a field), there were some beehives. 26 And when some of his people went up to them, they found that they were full of honey. However, no one would taste any, because of the oath that [Saul] had spoken before Jehovah. 27 But JoNathan hadn't heard about the oath that his father had made in front of people, so he stuck his walking stick into a hive, snagged some honeycomb, and ate it. Then, when he looked up, 28 one of the men said: 'Your father swore an oath before the people that anyone who eats anything today is cursed.'

Meanwhile, the people were famished, 29 and JoNathan realized this, so he said: '{Look!} My father is still cleaning out the land… and I've already eaten a little of this honey. 30 If our people could have eaten what they took from their enemies today, they would have been able to kill even more Philistines!'

31 Well, after they had destroyed many Philistines at MichMash, the people were extremely tired. 32 Then [that evening], as they were dividing up [the Philistine's] flocks and herds; they slaughtered many calves and started eating the [raw] meat with its blood. 33 And when the report was brought to Saul that the people were sinning against Jehovah by eating the blood, Saul said: 'You have all sinned! Now roll a large rock over here.'

34 Then Saul gave orders for each of his men to bring a calf and a sheep to be slaughtered there on the rock and then eaten. For he said: 'You must not sin against Jehovah by eating blood!'

So everyone brought [the animals] that night and slaughtered them there. 35 Then Saul built an altar to Jehovah, and he said: 36 'Now, let's go after the Philistines tonight and let's keep on cutting them to pieces until the morning dawns… don't leave a single man alive!'

And they replied: 'We'll do whatever you say!'

Then [Saul] called for the Priest and told him: 'Bring [the Chest] of our God here.' 37 And Saul asked this before God: 'If I attack the Philistines, will you give them into the hands of IsraEl?' But [God] wouldn't answer him.

38 So Saul said: 'Bring [all the men of] IsraEl here and stand them in front of me, because I want to know if anyone has been [guilty of sin] today! 39 As Jehovah (the One who saves IsraEl) lives; if someone were to tell me that it was my son JoNathan, even he must die!' But nobody said a word.

40 Then he spoke before all the men of IsraEl, and said: 'You are all part of this, and my son JoNathan and I [are part] of it.'

And the people replied to Saul: 'Then, do whatever you must!'

41 And Saul said: 'O Jehovah, God of IsraEl, give us a sign!'

So lots were thrown, and Saul and JoNathan were chosen; and at that, the people were excused. 42 Then Saul said: 'Now, throw the lots between me and my son JoNathan, and whichever Jehovah chooses must die!'

Well, when they threw the lots between him and JoNathan, JoNathan was chosen. 43 So Saul asked JoNathan: 'What did you do?' And JoNathan replied: 'I took a little honey on the tip of my walking stick and tasted it. So look; I must die!'

44 Then Saul said: 'May God [kill] me again and again rather than allow JoNathan to die today.' 45 And Saul spoke to the people and said: 'Shall I now kill the one who brought deliverance to IsraEl? As Jehovah lives; not a hair of his head should fall to the ground over the mercy that God has performed for IsraEl today.'

So all the people then prayed on behalf of JoNathan, and he wasn't put to death.

46 Well because of this, Saul didn't chase after the Philistines that day… everyone just went back to their homes.

47 After Saul had been chosen by lottery to rule over IsraEl, he waged war with all his enemies throughout the land… the Moabites, the AmMonites, the Edomites, the king of Zobah, and the Philistines. And wherever he went, he was saved… 48 he acted decisively and struck down the AmaLechites and anyone else who tried to walk on IsraEl.

49 Saul's sons were JoNathan, IshVi, and MelchiShua. He also had two daughters, Merob and Michal. 50 Saul's woman's name was AhinoAm, and she was the daughter of AhiMaAz.

The commander-in-chief of Saul's army was AbNer (the son of Ner), who was related to Saul. 51 Kish was Saul's father, and AbNer's father Ner was the son of AbiEl. 52 He was a mighty fighter against the Philistines throughout the life of Saul.

And whenever Saul found a valiant or a very strong man, he was recruited to serve him.

Chapter 15

1 Thereafter, SamuEl said to Saul: 'It was the Lord who sent me to anoint you as king over His people IsraEl; so listen to what He has to say. 2 Jehovah of Armies told me to say this: Now I'm going to punish AmaLech for what they did to IsraEl when [IsraEl] was coming from Egypt. 3 So I want you to go and cut down the AmaLechites… destroy them and burn everything that belongs to them. Destroy their men, their women, their children, their babies, their cows, their sheep, their camels, and their burros!' 4 Therefore, this is what Saul told his people that they must do.

Then he counted his troops at GilGal (there were two hundred thousand, plus ten thousand from Judah), 5 and they marched toward the cities of the AmaLechites and set up camp next to a creek. 6 He also sent a warning to the Kainites (because they had shown mercy to the sons of IsraEl when they were coming from Egypt), telling them to get away from the AmaLechites or he might have to destroy them too.

So the Kainites separated themselves from the AmaLechites, 7 and then Saul attacked all the AmaLechites from HaviLah to Shur (which is just across from Egypt), 8 and he captured the AmaLechite king AgAg; then he had all the people cut down with swords. 9 However, Saul and his men [didn't destroy] their flocks, their herds, their food, their vineyards, or any of their valuable things… they only destroyed the things that had no value.

10 So Jehovah said to SamuEl: 'I have changed My mind about having Saul rule as king, because he has turned away from Me and he doesn't listen to what I say.' 11 Well, this saddened SamuEl, and he kept calling to Jehovah throughout that night.

12 Then when he got up the next morning and went to meet with IsraEl, he found that Saul had gone on to CarMel. So he raised his arm and wheeled his chariot, then he headed down to GilGal. 13 And when SamuEl reached Saul, he said to him: 'Saul, you were blest by Jehovah and I've told you everything that He told me. 14 So, why is it that I can hear the sounds of herds of sheep and cattle [in your camp]?'

15 And Saul replied: 'My men took them from the AmaLechites. We only took the best of the herds, and we're going to use them as sacrifices to your God Jehovah… we destroyed everything else.'

16 Then SamuEl said to Saul: 'Listen and I'll tell you what Jehovah told me last night!'

And [Saul] said, 'So, speak!'

17 And SamuEl said: 'Weren't you just a nobody before you became the chief of IsraEl? And wasn't it Jehovah who anointed you to be the king of IsraEl? 18 Well, when Jehovah sent you here, He told you to destroy the AmaLechites for sinning against Him… He told you to war against them until you destroyed them all. 19 But you paid no attention to what He said, for you took a lot of loot and you acted wickedly before Jehovah.'

20 Then Saul replied: 'I just did this because I was listening to what my people wanted. I [personally] followed all of Jehovah's instructions… though I took the AmaLechite king captive, I killed all of his people. 21 It was my men who took their flocks, herds, good things, and food… but they took it all so that they could sacrifice it before Jehovah our God at GilGal.'

22 So SamuEl asked him: 'Does Jehovah prefer whole burnt offerings and sacrifices, or does He want you to listen to what He says? Look! Obeying is better than sacrificing, and paying attention is better than the fat of rams!

23 'Now, this sin is an omen of the grief and misery that's going to come upon you. Because of the contempt that you've shown for the words of Jehovah, He is going to treat you with contempt, and you'll no longer be the king of IsraEl.'

24 Well at that, Saul said to SamuEl: 'I have sinned by violating the instructions that you gave me from Jehovah. But I did it because I was afraid of the people… I was just doing what they asked. 25 Now, if you will take away my sin and reinstate me [as king], I will bow [with my face] to the ground before your God Jehovah!'

26 But SamuEl replied: 'No, I won't reinstate you, because you've treated the words of Jehovah with contempt. And now Jehovah is going to treat you with contempt by removing you as king over IsraEl.'

27 Then as SamuEl turned to go, Saul grabbed [the fringe] on [the bottom of] his robe and ripped it off. 28 And SamuEl said to him: 'That's how Jehovah has ripped your kingship over IsraEl from your hands today. For now He's going to give it to your neighbor, someone who is better than you… 29 and IsraEl is also going to be ripped into two parts! The Holy One of IsraEl isn't going to change His mind about this or be dissuaded about doing this, because He isn't like a man who changes his mind.'

30 And once again Saul said: 'I have sinned! Please glorify me before the elders of my people and before IsraEl. Let me be restored and I'll bow with my face to the ground before your God Jehovah!'

31 But SamuEl just walked around Saul. Then he bowed low before Jehovah and said: 32 'Now, bring the king of AmaLech to me.'

Well, when they brought him in, he was trembling. Then AgAg asked, 'Is this how I'm going to meet my bitter end?' 33 And SamuEl replied: 'As you have used your sword to make orphans and widows, your mother is going to be childless.' Then SamuEl killed AgAg there in the presence of Jehovah in GilGal.

34 After that, SamuEl went back to RamAh, and Saul returned home to his house in GibeAh. 35 And until the day he died, SamuEl never again went to see Saul. Yet, [SamuEl] continued to mourn over Saul and over the fact that Jehovah became unhappy that He had appointed Saul to be the king over IsraEl.

Chapter 16

1 But then the Lord asked SamuEl: 'How much longer are you going to mourn for Saul? Don't I treat him with contempt, and didn't I remove his rulership from IsraEl? Now, fill your horn with oil and go, because I'm sending you to JesSe in BethLehem, since I have found My [new] king among his sons!'

2 And SamuEl asked: 'How can I go there… for if I do, won't Saul hear about it and kill me?'

And the Lord replied: 'Take along a brown heifer and say that you're going to offer it as a sacrifice to Jehovah. 3 Then call JesSe and his sons to [participate in] the sacrifice… I'll tell you what to do then. You must anoint whomever I indicate to you.'

4 So SamuEl did everything that Jehovah said and he went to BethLehem. However, the city elders were startled when they saw him, and they asked, 'Is your mission here peaceful?'

5 And he replied: 'Peace! I've come to sacrifice to Jehovah. So, make yourselves holy, then come and recline with me [to share in] the sacrifice!'

Therefore, JesSe and his sons also made themselves holy and they went to [participate in] the sacrificing. 6 And when they got there, [SamuEl] said concerning [JesSe's eldest son] EliAb: 'Is this one who is standing before [me] Jehovah's anointed?'

7 But the Lord said to SamuEl: 'Don't pay attention to what [a man] looks like [on the outside], nor should you treat his size with contempt, for God doesn't look at what a person appears to be on the surface. Rather, He sees what's in the heart.'

8 So JesSe next brought AmiNadab up to stand before SamuEl. And [SamuEl] said, 'He isn't the one that Jehovah has chosen either.'

9 Then JesSe brought ShamMah forward. But [SamuEl] said, 'Nor has Jehovah chosen this one.'

10 Well, JesSe sent seven of his sons to stand before SamuEl, but he told JesSe: 'Jehovah hasn't chosen any of these.'

11 So then SamuEl asked, 'Are these all the boys that you have?' And JesSe replied: 'Well, there's still the youngest… {Look!} he's out tending my flock.'

And SamuEl said to JesSe: 'Then send someone to get him, for we aren't going to rest [tonight] until he gets here!' 12 So they sent for [David] and brought him there.

[Now, David] had a ruddy complexion, beautiful eyes, and he was very handsome. And then the Lord told SamuEl: 'Arise and anoint him, for he's the one!'

13 So SamuEl took his horn full of oil and anointed him there in the midst of his brothers, and the Breath of Jehovah came upon [and remained on] David from that day forward.

Well after that, SamuEl got up and returned to RamAh. 14 And that's also when the Breath of Jehovah left Saul, for Jehovah sent a fearsome smothering spirit over him, 15 so that even Saul's servants were saying, 'Look! There is a fearsome spirit from Jehovah that is smothering you! 16 So please, O lord, allow your servants to speak before you, and allow us to search for a man who will play his harp before you. Then, whenever that fearsome spirit of God comes over you, he can play his harp and make you feel better.'

17 So Saul said to his servants: 'Go search for such a man who's a skilled musician and bring him to me!' 18 And that's when one of his servants said: 'Look, I've seen the son of the BethLehemite JesSe, who knows how to play. He's very alert, he's a warrior, he's good with words, he's handsome, and Jehovah is with him.'

19 So then Saul sent messengers to JesSe, who told him: 'I want you to send your son David to me… the one who shepherds your sheep.'

20 As the result, JesSe loaded his burro with a bushel of bread, a skin flask of wine and a kid goat, and he gave it to David to carry to Saul. 21 Then, after David reached Saul and stood before him, Saul came to love him, and he appointed David to be in charge of his weapons. 22 So he sent a message to JesSe that said: 'Please allow David to stay with me, because he has found my favor.'

23 Well thereafter, whenever the fearsome spirit of God came over Saul, David would take his harp and play it, which made Saul feel better… and the fearsome spirit of God would leave him.

Chapter 17

1 Thereafter, the Philistines once again gathered their army for war, and they set up camp near Socoh in Judea (between Socoh and AzeKah in EphesDamMin). 2 So Saul summoned the men of IsraEl and they set up their camp in the Valley of Pines, across from the Philistines. 3 The Philistines took up positions on one mountain, and IsraEl took up positions on the other, with the valley between them.

4 Then a mighty man came out from the Philistine camp who was known as GoliAth from Gath… he was more than seven feet tall! 5 He wore a bronze helmet, he had an iron and brass chain-link chest covering that weighed more than a hundred-and-fifty pounds, 6 he had brass leg coverings, he carried a large shield between his shoulders, 7 and the shaft of the spear that he carried looked like a weaving loom and its iron tip weighed eighteen pounds!

So, out he came in all his armor and weapons, 8 and he just stood there and yelled to the battle lines of IsraEl: 'Why have you come to fight against us? Am I not a Philistine, and aren't you the Hebrews of Saul? Choose [your best] man and have him come down here to fight me. 9 If he can beat me and kill me, we'll all be your servants. But if I beat and kill him, you'll be our servants and you'll serve us.'

10 Then the Philistine shouted: 'Look! Here I am mocking the battle lines of IsraEl today… send out a man and we will fight for both sides!'

11 Well, Saul and all IsraEl heard what the Philistine said, which startled and frightened them.

12 Now, JesSe (an Ephrathite from BethLehem, who was very old) had sent [his son] David to Saul, 13 because three of JesSe's oldest sons (EliAb, AmiNadab, and ShamMah) had joined Saul to fight in the war. 14 Since David was the youngest, these three older ones had been sent 15 (David had left Saul and gone back to tending his father's sheep in BethLehem).

16 Well, by the time he was ready to leave for the battle, the Philistine lines had already been facing IsraEl for some forty days.17 But JesSe had instructed his son David to carry a bushel of toasted grain and ten loaves of bread to his brothers who were in the camp [of Saul], 18 along with ten rounds of cheese for his brothers and for Saul's generals. He also wanted him to check to see how they were getting along and if they were all well.

19 It was early in the morning when David left, and by this time Saul and all the men of IsraEl were already down in the Valley of Pines ready to fight the Philistines 20 David had left his sheep [in a safe place], and following JesSe's instructions, he set out with the things he was carrying. But when he got to the battle lines, the war had already begun… 21 the war cries had gone up and both IsraEl and the Philistines were confronting each other.

22 Well, David handed over the things he'd brought to the provisions officer, and then he ran down toward the battle to see how his brothers were doing. 23 And as he was speaking to them, {Look!} a man walked out [between the lines]… it was GoliAth the Philistine from Gath. He stood there in front of the Philistine lines and shouted the words that David heard. 24 And at that, all the men of IsraEl moved back, because they were afraid of him.

25 Then one of the IsraElite soldiers said [to David]: 'Did you see that man who just stepped out? He just stepped forward to make fun of IsraEl. But if any man can beat him, the king promises to make him very rich, he'll give him his daughter, and the house of his father [will never be taxed] in IsraEl.'

26 So David said to the men who were standing near him: 'Who will cut down that Philistine and remove his scorn from IsraEl… just who is this uncircumcised Philistine that mocks the battle lines of the living God?'

27 And the men replied to him: 'Why don't you go over and strike him down?'

28 Well, David's older brother EliAb overheard him talking to those men, and he was furious with David. He shouted, 'Why did you come down here, and why did you leave the sheep alone in the desert? I know that it's your pride and the evil in your heart that made you come down here to the battle!'

29 But David asked: 'What have I done now? Did I say something wrong?' 30 Then he turned to the soldiers he had been speaking to and asked the same thing, and they repeated their challenge to him. 31 And when they heard David [accept the challenge], they went and told Saul. 32 So David went up to Saul and said, 'My lord; don't allow that man to upset you, for your servant will go out to fight this Philistine.'

33 And Saul said to David: 'There's no way you can fight that Philistine… you're just a boy, and he's been a mighty warrior since he was young!'

34 But David told Saul: 'Your servant was tending his father's flock when first a lion and then a bear came to grab sheep from the herd. 35 But I ran after each one and I pulled the sheep from their mouths. Then when they turned against me, I grabbed them by the throat and beat them to death! 36 So if a lion and a bear can't beat your servant, how can I be beaten by this uncircumcised Philistine who is mocking the battle lines of the living God?' 37 And David added: 'It was Jehovah who rescued me from [the mouths] of the lion and the bear, and He's the One who will rescue me from the hands of this uncircumcised Philistine!'

So at that, Saul said to David: 'Then go… and may Jehovah be with you!'

38 Thereafter, Saul put his armor on David… he put the brass helmet on his head and the breast-plate on his chest, 39 then David tied on his sword. However, he could hardly walk in the [armor], because he had never worn such things before. So David said to Saul: 'There's no way that I can use these, because I've never worn anything like this.' And at that, he took it all off.

40 So he picked up his walking stick, then he and went out and found five smooth rocks in the stream bed, which he put into his shepherd's pouch. And with just his sling in his hand, he went out to meet the Philistine man.

41 Well, the Philistine walked out to meet David carrying his shield in front of him and his spear in his hand. 42 And when GoliAth the Philistine saw David, he was disgusted, because David was just a boy with a ruddy complexion and pretty eyes. 43 So he shouted at David: 'Am I a dog that you're coming out to me with sticks and stones?' And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

44 Then the Philistine said to David: 'Come here, so I can feed your flesh to the flying creatures in the skies and the wild animals of the ground!'

45 And David said to the Philistine: 'You're coming against me with a broadsword, a spear, and a shield; but I'm coming to you in the Name of Jehovah, the God of armies… yes, the God of the army of IsraEl whom you're making fun of today. 46 May Jehovah give you into my hands and allow me to kill you, then cut off your head and leave your body in the Philistine camp [where it will be eaten by] the flying creatures in the sky and the wild animals of the ground, so that [your people] will come to know that the whole earth belongs to the God of IsraEl, 47 and these called ones will know that Jehovah doesn't need their swords or spears to save them; for He's a God of war, and He's the One that will save them from you!'

48 Well at that, the Philistine came forward to meet David, and David ran right up to the Philistine battle lines 49 and reached into his pouch and grabbed a rock and slung it, hitting the Philistine in his forehead, which penetrated his head… and he dropped with his face to the ground. 50 Then David went and stood over the Philistine with a sword… he struck him with it and he killed him… and it wasn't even David's sword. 51 For when David ran up and stood over him, he grabbed [GoliAth's] broadsword from its sheath and killed him with it by cutting off his head.

Well when the Philistines saw that their mighty one had been killed, they all turned and ran. 52 And at that, the men of IsraEl and Judah shouted and chased the Philistines all the way to the gates of Gath and EkRon, where they kept on killing the Philistines along the roads that led to the gates of [those cities]. 53 And after the men of IsraEl finally stopped chasing the Philistines, they went back and looted their camp.

54 So thereafter, David took the head of the Philistine and his weapons, and he brought them to JeruSalem and put them into his tent.

55 Now, when Saul first saw David going out to meet the Philistine, he had asked AbNer (his general): 'Whose son is this young man, AbNer?'

And AbNer replied: 'May you live a long life, my lord the king; but I don't know.'

56 So the king told him: 'Then, go find out who he is.'

57 Well, after David had returned from killing the Philistine, AbNer invited him in and took him before Saul (he was still carrying the head of the Philistine in his hand). 58 Then Saul asked him: 'Whose son are you, young man?'

And David replied: 'I'm the son of your servant JesSe from BethLehem.'

Chapter 18

1 Well, as Saul was speaking, [the heart of his son] JoNathan became bound to David… he loved him as he loved his own life.

2 Then Saul took him back that day, and he wouldn't allow him to return to the house of his father. 3 Also, because he loved David as he loved his own life, [Saul's son] JoNathan made a covenant with David, 4 and he took off the [royal] robes that he wore and put them on David… his uniform, his broadsword, his bow, and his belt.

5 Well after that, David went wherever Saul sent him, and Saul put him in charge of his entire army, so all the people were very pleased with David, as were Saul's servants.

6 Then one day, when David was returning to the city from a war with the Philistines, the people came from all the cities of IsraEl to meet Saul, joyfully singing and dancing with tambourines and cymbals; 7 and the women (who were out in front) were singing and playing:
'Saul has cut down his thousands,
And David cut down his ten thousands.'

8 Well, this made Saul very angry… in fact, he considered this [treasonous]. So he said, 'They gave David ten thousands and they only gave me thousands! Why, what's left for him now other than my kingdom?' 9 And as the result, Saul was suspicious of David from that day on.

10 Then the very next day, the fearsome Spirit of God came over Saul and he started prophesying there in his house. So David picked up [his harp] and played it for him throughout that whole day.

Well, it so happened that Saul's wooden spear was [nearby], 11 and he picked it up and shouted: 'I'm going to pin David to the wall!' As the result, David had to run from him twice! 12 For Saul had come to fear David, since he realized that Jehovah was with him… so David had to [leave Saul]. 13 And after he left, Saul demoted him from his position as the commander over a thousand men. However, he still [marched in victories] before the people; 14 for David was capable in everything that he did, because Jehovah was with him. 15 But since Saul recognized this, he was always very cautious when dealing with [David].

16 Meanwhile, all of IsraEl and Judah had come to love David, because he was always [marching in victory] before them. 17 Then Saul said to David: 'Look, I'll give you my eldest daughter Merab to be your woman, so you can become a powerful son to me, and then you can [be in charge of] the battles of Jehovah!' But Saul [was really thinking]: 'This way I won't have to kill him; I'll let the Philistines do it for me.'

18 However, David gave this reply to Saul: 'Who am I, and how important is the life of my father in IsraEl, that I should be an in-law of the king?'

19 Well thereafter, Saul gave his daughter MerAb (whom he had promised to David) to AdriEl the MehoLathite to be his woman. 20 However, Saul's daughter Michal was in love with David; and when this was reported to Saul, he was very pleased, 21 for he [thought]: 'Then I'll give her to him, because she'll always be a trap to him and she'll drive him into the hands of the Philistines.'

So Saul said to David: 'I want you to form a marriage alliance between you and me today.' 22 And Saul also gave orders to his servants, telling them to talk to David in private and say, 'Look, the king really wants you, and [he wants] all of his servants to love you; so, form a marriage alliance with the king!' 23 But when Saul's servants spoke to David about these things, David asked them: 'Do you really think it's right for me to form a marriage alliance with the king? I'm just a commoner and I'm unworthy of such an honor!'

24 Well, Saul's servants went back and reported everything that David said. 25 And Saul told them: 'Then tell David that the king is asking a dowry for her… what he wants is the foreskins of a hundred Philistines as vengeance against his enemies.' However, Saul's plan was to put David into the hands of the Philistines, 26 and that's why he told his servants to say these things to him.

But what they said to him sounded good to David, so he decided to form a marriage alliance with the king. And when the time came, 27 David gathered his men and went out to fight the Philistines… and he brought back the foreskins of two hundred of their men and carried them to the king.

28 Well when Saul saw this, he knew for sure that Jehovah was with David, and that his daughter Michal and all IsraEl loved him. 29 So throughout the rest of his life, Saul was afraid of David. 30 And the rulers of the Philistines also came to realize that David was the most important of Saul's servants and that he was highly regarded by the people.

Chapter 19

1 After that, Saul spoke to his son JoNathan and some of his servants about murdering David. 2 But because JoNathan was very fond of David, he went and told him about the plan. He said, 'Saul is looking to kill you, so you had best be on guard tomorrow morning… find someplace where you can hide, 3 then I'll walk out into the field with my father when he goes looking for you, and I'll stand there and talk to him about you. Then I'll report back to you whatever he says.'

4 So JoNathan did speak to his father about David, pointing out his good qualities. He said, 'The king shouldn't sin against his servant David, because he hasn't sinned against you, and he has always done the right thing. 5 He even put his life on the line for you when he struck down that Philistine… for Jehovah brought a great salvation on that day, and all of IsraEl saw this and rejoiced. So, why do you want to sin against the blood of an innocent man and kill David when he really hasn't been charged with anything?'

6 Well, Saul [was moved by] what JoNathan had to say, and he swore, 'As Jehovah lives, I'll let him [live]!'

7 And after that, JoNathan called for David and told him everything that was said. Then he brought David back to Saul, and everything was like it used to be.

8 However, another war came along, and David was put in charge of the battle against the Philistines. Then after he defeated them and they had to run from him, 9 the fearsome Breath of Jehovah came over Saul. So, as he was sitting in his palace (with a spear in his hand) and David was nearby playing his [harp], 10 Saul again threw the spear at David, which stuck into the wall this time. So David had to leave Saul, because he had barely escaped with his life that night.

11 And thereafter, Saul sent guards to David's house to keep an eye on him, because he planned to have him killed the next morning. But [David's] woman Michal warned him about this, saying: 'You have to do something tonight if you value your life, because they're planning to kill you in the morning!'

12 So Michal let David down through a window, and he ran away. 13 Then she took a statue and put it in his bed, put some goat hair over its head, and covered it with a nightgown. 14 And when Saul's guards came to take David, she told them that he was sick. 15 But the guards said: 'Well, he'll have to get out of bed, because we're taking him to be executed.' 16 And at that, the guards went into his [bedroom] and found the statue with the goat hair on its head.

17 So Saul then asked Michal: 'Why did you try to deceive me? Why did you protect my enemy and help him to get away?'

And Michal replied: 'He told me that if I didn't protect him, he'd kill me.'

18 Well, David got away safely and he went to see SamuEl at RamAh, where he reported everything that Saul had attempted to do to him. So SamuEl and David traveled to NaiOth and they stayed there. 19 But then the report was sent to Saul: 'Look, David is in NaiOth of RamAh.' 20 So Saul sent men to take David. However, when they saw a troop of Prophets who were prophesying, with SamuEl taking the lead, God's Breath came over them and they started prophesying also.

21 Well when Saul heard about this, he sent more men, and they too started prophesying. Saul also sent men a third time and they started prophesying. 22 So Saul was furious, and he went to RamAh himself. And when he got to the threshing floor there, he asked the Prophets: 'Where are SamuEl and David?'

And they replied: 'Look, they're in NaiOth.'

23 So [Saul] traveled on to NaiOth. But then the Breath of God came over him and he started prophesying just as he was entering the city… 24 he took off all his clothes and he started prophesying in front of SamuEl, going around naked all that day and the rest of that night. And [once again], the people were asking, 'Is Saul also one of the Prophets?'

Chapter 20

1 As the result, David had to flee the city of NaiOth. So he went to see JoNathan, and he asked him: 'What have I done? What's my offense? How have I sinned against your father to make him so vigorously be seeking my life?'

2 And JoNathan replied: 'That isn't really what's happening… he isn't looking to kill you. There's no way that my father would do anything, whether great or small, without telling me. So, why would my father hide such a thing from me? It just isn't so!

3 But David told JoNathan: 'Your father knows that I've found favor in your eyes, so he told the others, 'Don't say anything to JoNathan, because he cares for him. But as Jehovah lives and as you live; the only thing that is certain between your father and me is death.'

4 And JoNathan said to David: 'Then, do whatever you wish… how can I help you?'

5 And David told him: 'Look, tomorrow is the New Moon [Festival] and I'm supposed to come here to eat with the king. However, I want you to send me away. And thereafter, I'll go out into the fields and hide there sometime after noon. 6 And when your father notices that I'm missing, I want you to say this to him: David asked me to excuse him, because he had to return to his city of BethLehem to offer a sacrifice for the Festival on behalf of his whole tribe. 7 And if he says, Fine; then your servant is at peace with him. But if he gives you a harsh reply; it will indicate that he has evil plans for me.

8 'Now, you've shown great mercy to your servant, for you've made a covenant with me in front of Jehovah. However, if you think your servant has really done anything wrong, then condemn me to death and take me to your father.'

9 But JoNathan replied: 'That won't happen. Do you think that if I find that my father has evil plans for you, I won't tell you?

10 And David said to JoNathan: 'Then, who will you send to tell me if your father answers harshly?'

11 And JoNathan replied: 'Come, let's walk out into the fields.' And they both walked outside [of the city].

12 Then JoNathan said to David: 'Jehovah the God of IsraEl knows that I'll question my father at least two or three times. And if things look good for you, I'm not going to send you to [live in] the fields. 13 May God [curse] me and add to it if I'll allow anything bad to happen to you. [However, if the message is bad], I'll tell you and send you away in peace. Then Jehovah will have to watch over you as He once did my father.

14 'However, throughout the rest of my life you must agree to deal with me in the mercy of Jehovah. And after I die, 15 you must be merciful to my house through the age, so that when Jehovah destroys the enemies of David from the face of the earth, 16 the name of JoNathan will always remain in the house of David, even if Jehovah should allow me to die at the hands of your enemies!'

17 And thereafter, JoNathan swore an oath to David because of his love for him… for he loved him as much as his own life. 18 He said: 'Tomorrow is the New Moon, and they will be watching your chair. 19 But after three days, keep an eye out, then come back here and sit behind this boulder. 20 For I'll come here and I'll shoot three arrows at a target. 21 And when I send my servant to look for them; if I say to him, They're in front of you, so go pick them up,' you'll know that you can return safely, because everything is peaceful. As Jehovah lives, let's do it this way, so there's no miscommunication. 22 But if I tell the young man, The arrows are way beyond you, you'll know that I am sending you away to Jehovah!

23 'Now, when it comes to these things that you and I have agreed to; may Jehovah serve as the witness between you and me through the age.'

24 Then David went off into the fields and hid out. And when the New Moon [Festival] started, the king arrived to eat at his table as usual (as always, he sat in his chair by the wall), 25 and JoNathan and AbNer were seated there next to him. Then everyone looked over to where David usually sat, 26 and Saul didn't say anything that day, for he thought it was just a coincidence (he thought that David had likely become unclean and had gone to cleanse himself). 27 But on the next day (the second day of the month), Saul looked at the place where David sat, and he asked his son JoNathan: 'Why isn't the son of JesSe here? This is the second day that he hasn't come to the table!'

28 And JoNathan replied: 'He asked to be excused so he could go to his city of BethLehem. 29 He asked me to send him there so he could offer a sacrifice an behalf of his whole tribe. But, since you've put me in charge of my brothers, and if it pleases you; let me go to check on my brother and find out why he hasn't come to the table of the king.'

30 Well at that, Saul became furious with JoNathan and said to him: 'You son of a divorced woman; don't you know that when you call the son of JesSe [your brother], it shames you and it shames the nakedness of your mother? 31 For, as long as the son of JesSe is alive on this earth, my kingdom will never be yours. Now, go and catch that young man, for he's the son of death!'

32 But JoNathan asked his father Saul, 'Why must he die? What did he do?'

33 Then Saul grabbed his spear and shoved it toward JoNathan in an attempt to kill him; and that's when JoNathan finally realized that his father was planning to kill David. 34 As the result, he jumped up from the table in a rage, and he wouldn't eat anything for the rest of that day, because he was devastated by the fact that his father wanted to do away with David.

35 So the next morning, JoNathan went out into the field with his servant to meet with David as he'd told him that he would, 36 and he instructed his servant to run and search for the arrows after he shot them. 37 Well, he shot way over [the target], and when his servant got to the place where he shot them, JoNathan yelled: 'They're way out beyond that.' 38 And he added, 'Hurry, don't just stand there!'

Well, JoNathan's servant finally retrieved all the arrows that his master had shot, 39 and he wasn't aware of what was actually happening. But JoNathan and David both understood the meaning of this. 40 Then JoNathan handed his weapons to his servant and told him to take them back to the city. 41 And after he left, David stood up from [inside] a [boxed area] and fell with his face to the ground, bowing before [JoNathan] three times. Then he kissed his friend and they both cried over this ending of David's important position. 42 And JoNathan said to David: 'Now, go in peace! As we both swore oaths to each other in the Name of the Lord; Jehovah is the witness between you and me, and between your seed and my seed through the ages.'

Then David got up and left, and JoNathan returned to the city.

Chapter 21

1 From there, David went to AhiMelech the Priest at Nob. He was surprised to see David, so he asked him: 'Why did you come alone… why didn't [your entourage] come with you?'

2 And David replied: 'The king sent me today, and he told me not to tell anyone why I came. [I also sent] my servants ahead to the place called PhalanNi AlomNi. 3 'Now, if you can find five loaves of bread, please give them to me.'

4 But the Priest told him: 'I don't have any regular bread, just the holy loaves that the servants have set aside for their women to eat.

5 And David said: 'Yes, those that have been set aside for the women will have to do; for we've been traveling for three days, and my servants and I are clean. Although the reason for my journey is secular, it will be made pure by my weapons.'

6 So the Priest removed the loaves from the presence of Jehovah and gave them to him, because there was no other bread around (so [David] took them).

7 Now on that day, there was a certain servant of Saul [who had come to bow] before Jehovah. He was called Doeg the Edomite. And at the time, he was out feeding Saul's mules.

8 Then David said to AhiMelech: 'See if you can find a spear or a broadsword, because I don't have my weapons. Hurry, for this is a matter of the king!'

9 And the Priest said: 'Look, here's the broadsword of the Philistine GoliAth whom you cut down in the Ela Valley. I have it wrapped in a cape behind his chest plate. Take it, because there isn't anything else like it here.'

And David said: 'No, there's nothing else like it. [Please] give it to me!'

10 So he went and got it and gave it to David… and David continued to run from Saul.

From there he went to see AchIsh (the king of Gath), and AchIsh's servants asked, 'Isn't this David, the king of the land? 11 Isn't he the one about whom the dancing women sang, Saul cut down his thousands and David his ten thousands?

12 Well, David took those words to heart and he was afraid to appear before AchIsh. 13 So he started [putting on an act] in front of them. He crawled around on his hands [and knees], laid on the ground at the [city] gate, and let spit to run down his beard.

14 So AchIsh said to his servants: 'Look, you can see that the man is having convulsions! Why have you brought him to me? 15 Do you want to bring someone who is possessed to me, and should I invite him into my house?'

Chapter 22

1 Therefore, David got away safely, and he went to the cave of OdolLam. Then when his brothers and the rest of his family heard about it, they went to him there.

2 Well thereafter, men who were poor, the debtors, and those with a lot of problems starting coming to him, and he became their leader. 7 Altogether, there were about four hundred men.

3 Then David moved from there to MizPah in Moab, and he said to the king of Moab: 'Please allow my mother and father to stay with you until I know what my God has planned for me.' 4 So, since he had appealed to the king of Moab personally, the king allowed them to live with him in his citadel.

5 Then the Prophet Gad told David: 6 'Don't settle down there in the citadel; you must return to the land of Judah.' So David went and settled in the city of Hareth. 6 And when Saul heard where David and his men were staying, he went and stood on the hill (the one by the plowed fields at RamAh) with his spear in his hand and with all of his servants around him, 7 and he said to his servants: 'Listen, you sons of BenJamin! Should I really give fields and vineyards to the son of JesSe? For then he would appoint all of you to be his lieutenants and generals, 8 since you're all against me! Why, which of you bothered to tell me that my own son had made an agreement with the son of JesSe, and which of you told me that my son has turned my servants into my enemies today?'

9 It was then that Doeg the Edomite (the one who was in charge of Saul's mules) said: 'I saw the son of JesSe going to Nob to visit the Priest AhiMelech (the son of AhiTub). 10 He went there to inquire of God, and the Priest gave him some food and the broadsword of the Philistine GoliAth.'

11 So the king sent for the Priest AhiMelech (the son of AhiTub) and his brothers (who were also Priests that were living in Nob). And they all came to the king. 12 Then Saul said: 'Listen up, O son of AhiTub! For it's me, your lord, who is speaking!'

13 Then Saul asked him: 'Why did you go against me and agree to give the son of JesSe bread and a broadsword, and why did you speak to God on his behalf… this man who has been my enemy down to this day?'

14 And AhiMelech replied: 'Who of all your servants is as trustworthy as David? He's the son-in-law of the king, he's in charge of your army, and he's a man of honor in your house! 15 So, why are you asking me the reason for my going before God on his behalf? Please don't blame your servant and the entire house of my father about these things that you're saying, for your servant wasn't aware of any of these matters, whether small or great.'

16 And King Saul said: 'You're going to die, AhiMelech… you and the entire house of your father!' 17 Then he told his guards who were standing there: 'Take them out and kill the Priests of Jehovah, because they've sided with David… they knew where he had run and they didn't tell me!' However, the [guards] weren't willing to lift a hand against the Priests of Jehovah. 18 So he said to Doeg: 'Then you [kill] the Priests.'

Well, Doeg the Edomite slaughtered the Priests of Jehovah on that day… eighty-five men who wore the sacred vests. 19 Then [Saul] attacked the city of the Priests (Nob) and slaughtered all the men, women, children, babies, oxen, sheep, and burros with broadswords. 20 However, one of AhiMelech's sons (AbiAthar) survived, and he ran to find David. 21 And when AbiAthar told David that Saul had executed all the Priests of Jehovah, David said: 'I knew that this would happen when I saw Doeg the Edomite… 22 I knew that he would report [seeing me] to Saul, so I'm to blame for the deaths of the house and family of your father. 23 Now, you stay here with me! Don't be afraid, because, while I'm watching out for my own life, I'll also be watching out for yours… I'm going to be your protector.'

Chapter 23

1 Then this report came to David: '{Look!} The Philistines have attacked KeiLah and they're destroying all the barns there!'

2 So David asked Jehovah: 'Shall I go and fight these Philistines?'

And Jehovah replied: 'Go fight the Philistines, and you'll save KeiLah!'

3 Then the men who were there with David said: 'Look, we're already afraid and we're still here in Judea; so, how can we be of any [help to those in] KeiLah? Do we want to add ourselves to the Philistine's spoils of war?'

4 So, David went and asked Jehovah once again, and Jehovah replied: 'Go down to KeiLah, for I'm giving the Philistines into your hands!'

5 As the result, David went to KeiLah with his men, and they fought the Philistines and routed them. It was a great victory, and they took the Philistine's cattle and saved the people in KeiLah. 6 Then after the [Philistines] retreated, AbiAthar (the son of AhiMelech) went to David at KeiLah, carrying his sacred vest in his hands.

7 Meanwhile, when Saul heard that David had gone to KeiLah, he said: 'God has sold him into my hands, for now he's locked inside a city of gates and bars.' 8 So Saul told his people to go and attack David and his band of men there at KeiLah.

9 Well, David realized that Saul would soon hear [that he was in KeiLah], and that he would plan to do something evil. So David said to AbiAthar the Priest: 'Bring the sacred vest!' 10 Then David prayed: 'O Jehovah, God of IsraEl; please hear Your servant. For Saul is planning to attack me in KeiLah, and he'll destroy the whole city because of me. 11 So, should we lock it up? For Saul will surely come here, now that he has heard your servant is in this place. O Lord God of IsraEl; Please tell your servant what to do!'

And Jehovah replied: 'Lock it up!'

12 Then David asked: 'But, won't the people of KeiLah hand me and my men over to Saul?'

And Jehovah replied: 'Yes they will, so as to save themselves.'

13 Therefore, David took his men (about eight hundred of them) and left KeiLah. And when Saul heard that David had gone, he spared that city.

14 Well from there, David traveled into the desert where he lived in narrow passes in the Ziph Desert. And though Saul kept searching for him for quite some time, Jehovah kept him out of Saul's hands.

15 Now, David knew that Saul would keep on looking for him, so he stayed in New City in the Ziph Desert. 16 And then Saul's son JoNathan came to David in New City, which strengthened his trust in Jehovah. 17 For [JoNathan] told him: 'Don't be afraid, because my father Saul will never find you. [Soon] you will become the ruler over IsraEl, with me as your second in command… and my father knows that.'

18 Then they [once again] made a treaty there in the presence of Jehovah.

Well, David stayed in New City, and JoNathan went back home. 19 But thereafter, people from the Ziph Desert went to Saul [in GibeAh] and said: 'Look, David is hiding among us in New City, down in the narrows next to the hill of HachiLah, just to the right of JeshiMon. 20 Therefore, every desire of the life of the king is here among us. And now that everything has been revealed to the king, you should come down to us.'

21 And Saul replied: 'May Jehovah bless you for coming to me. 22 Quickly go back and see if he's still there and that he hasn't tricked you. 23 Search all the places where he can hide and come back and tell me… then I'll be ready to go there with you. For if he's somewhere in that land, I'll send thousands of soldiers from Judah to search for him!'

24 And at that, the Ziphites left the presence of Saul.

Well, David and his men were in the MaOn Desert at the time, which is to the west and the right of JeshiMon. 25 And when Saul sent his men to search for David, David heard about this, so he retreated to the [mountain called] 'The Rock,' in the MaOn Desert. But Saul heard where he had gone and he followed David into the desert.

26 Well, Saul had camped his men on one side of the mountain and David had camped his men on the other side. But although David was trying to hide from Saul, Saul had camped his men close to David so he could catch him.

27 Then a messenger came to Saul saying, 'Hurry and come, because the Philistines are attacking our land.'

28 So Saul had to break off his chase of David and go back to fight the Philistines. And that's why that mountain is now called, 'Slippery Rock.'

29 Well from there, David went and settled in the EnGedi Narrows.

Chapter 24

1 Then, after Saul returned from driving away the Philistines, he heard that David was in the EnGedi Desert. 2 So he selected three thousand of the best soldiers in all IsraEl and went to look for David along the edge of the Trap of the Wild Goats. 3 Then when their march was blocked by herds and flocks along the road, Saul stopped and entered a cave to review his plans… and it so happened that this was the same cave in which David and his men happened to be hiding.

4 Well at that, David's men said to him: 'Look! This is the day that Jehovah spoke to you about when He said, I will give your enemy into your hands and you may deal with him in any way that you wish.'

So then, David crept up to Saul [while he was sleeping] and quietly cut the fringe off his robe. 5 But afterward, David's heart was bothered by the fact that he had done this. 6 And he said to his men: 'Jehovah certainly didn't mean for me to do such a thing to my lord. I should never have raised a hand against him, because he truly is the anointed of Jehovah.' 7 And after David said this, he persuaded his men not to kill Saul.

Well, after Saul awoke and left the cave, 8 David got up and followed him outside. And David shouted after Saul, saying: 'O my Lord! O king!'

8 And when Saul looked back, David bowed to him with his face to the ground, 9 saying to Saul: 'Why do you believe people when they tell you that David wants to kill you? 10 Look! Today you can see with your own eyes how Jehovah gave you into my hands, and I didn't want to kill you… I spared you! For I said, I won't lift a hand against my lord, because he's the anointed of Jehovah!

11 'Look here, my father; I'm holding the fringe of your robe in my hand… [I got so close] that I could remove it, and yet I didn't kill you. So you should know that I don't wish you any evil, nor am I disrespectful or rebellious. I haven't sinned against you… yet you're still determined to take my life! 12 So may Jehovah judge between you and me, and may He find me righteous when it comes to you, because He knows that I wouldn't lift a hand against you. 13 As the [song] goes:
There is sin in the elder's lawless ways,
For against you, I've not raised a hand.

14 'So, who are you chasing, O king of IsraEl? Are you pursuing the dead or chasing a flea? 15 May Jehovah be the judge… may He serve as the judge between me and you! Yes, may Jehovah look down and judge my case, and save me from your hands.'

16 Well, after David said this to Saul, Saul asked: 'Is that the voice of my child David?' Then he broke into tears, 17 and he said to David: 'You're a better man than I, because you repaid the bad things I've done to you with good things. 18 Then you [took the time to] tell me about these good things, and of how Jehovah gave me into your hands, but you didn't kill me. 19 For what other man, if he were to find his enemy vulnerable, would be good enough to send him away? So, may Jehovah repay the goodness that you've shown today. 20 And now I know that you're going to become the king and that you'll rule over the kingdom of IsraEl. 21 So, [please] swear an oath to me by Jehovah, that you won't destroy me or my seed, and that you'll never remove my name from the house of my father.'

22 So David swore by an oath to Saul, and then Saul went back home, while David and his men went up into the narrows of MesSara.

Chapter 25

1 Well shortly thereafter, SamuEl died, and all IsraEl went to mourn him. Then they entombed him inside his house in RamAh.

In the meantime, David had traveled to the MaOn Desert. 2 And a great man was there who had helped to build CarMel. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats; and at the time, he was shearing his flock at CarMel. 3 This man's name was NaBal, and his woman's name was AbiGail. Now, the woman was not only smart, she was also very pretty; however, her husband [had the reputation for being] hardheaded and dishonest.

4 Well, while David was there in the desert, he heard that NaBal the CarMelite was out shearing his flock. 5 So David sent ten of his servants to NaBal at CarMel, and he told them to say: 'May you have peace, 6 and may you and yours live a long and healthy life. Look, I've heard that your shepherds are shearing your sheep. 7 And when we saw them out in the desert, we didn't bother them or take [any of your sheep] as you were leading them to CarMel… 8 just ask your servants and they'll tell you. So now, if we (your servants) have found favor in your eyes (and we hope that we've come on a good day), we're asking you to give whatever you can to your servants and to your son David.'

9 So David's servants went to NaBal and said all of that in the name of David. 10 But NaBal jumped to his feet and asked, 'And just who is David? Who does this son of JesSe think he is? Today, many of his servants are those who have run away from their masters. 11 So shall I take my bread, my wine, and my sacrifices with which I must pay those who are shearing my sheep and give them to others, when I don't know who they are or where they've come from?'

12 And with that, he sent the servants of David on their way… and when they got back, they told David what he said.

13 Well as the result, David told his men to tie on their swords, and David tied on his sword. Then four hundred of them followed David, while the other two hundred stayed behind to keep an eye on their things.

14 Meanwhile, one of NaBal's servants brought a message about this to [NaBal's] woman AbiGail, saying: 'Look, David sent messengers from [his camp] in the desert to bless our master, but he sent them away. 15 However, [David's] men were very good to us; for they didn't get in our way, and they didn't mistreat us when we were out in the fields. 16 In fact, they protected us both day and night while we were watching over the flocks. 17 So, think about what you should do, because our master has brought evil down upon his house… he's being unreasonable, and there's no way we can talk him out of it!'

18 And at that, AbiGail ran and prepared two hundred loaves of bread and two large jugs of wine, then she roasted five sheep and toasted five bushels of grain, and she gathered ten bushels of raisins and two hundred clusters of dried figs, after which she loaded it all on burros. 19 Then she said to her servants: 'Take these on ahead… I'll follow behind' (but she didn't say anything to her husband).

20 After that, she mounted her burro and traveled alongside the mountain until she reached David and his men… and they came to greet her. 21 Well at the time, David was saying, 'Perhaps I was foolish when I guarded all of NaBal's things in the desert and I didn't try to take anything. For now he has repaid my good deeds with evil. 22 So, may God [curse] David and add to it if I leave anyone who belongs to NaBal [alive] that can urinate against a wall by [tomorrow] morning!'

23 Well, when AbiGail saw David, she got down off her burro and fell to her face before him, bowing low. And she said: 24 'O my lord, hold me to blame! Please allow your female servant to speak to you, and please listen to what I have to say. 25 Please, my master; don't set your heart against this despicable man NaBal. His name means foolishness, and he truly is foolish!

'I didn't see the servants that you sent to my master. 26 But, O my lord; as Jehovah lives and as you live, may God keep you from shedding the blood of the innocent. For in doing so, you may save your own life… and then may your enemies who are trying to do bad things to you become as NaBal.

27 'Now, please accept these blessings that I've brought to my lord and distribute them among your servants. 28 Also, please forgive your female servant, and may Jehovah make the house of my [husband] one that can be trusted. [I pray that] Jehovah will fight your wars and that He will never find you guilty of anything that is evil. 29 And if any man chases you and tries to kill you, may Jehovah God save the life of my master… may the lives of your enemies be thrown down as with a sling! 30 Yes, may Jehovah do all the good things for you that He said He would do, and make you the leader over IsraEl.

31 'So, please don't offend your heart by doing this terrible thing to my [husband], and don't shed innocent blood without a good reason. Please save [him] from himself, and then Jehovah will do good things for you… and don't overlook your female servant or fail to treat her kindly.'

32 Well at that, David said to AbiGail: 'Praise Jehovah the God of IsraEl who sent you to me today. 33 And may the way that you've handled this matter today be praised, for you've kept me from shedding blood and you've saved me from myself. 34 As Jehovah the God of IsraEl lives; you've kept me from doing something bad to you. For if you hadn't hurried and come to meet me here, none in the house of NaBal who can urinate against a wall would have lived to see the light of dawn.'

35 Then David accepted all the things that she brought, and he said her: 'Now, return to your home in peace, for I've listened to what you've said and I have deep respect for the person that you are.'

36 Well, when AbiGail got back home to NaBal, he happened to be holding a banquet in his house that was fit for a king. He was also quite happy, because he had too much to drink. So AbiGail didn't tell him what she'd done until the next morning.

37 Then in the morning (after NaBal had sobered up from the wine), she told him everything that had happened. And at that, his heart just died inside him… it became [as heavy as] a rock. 38 And after ten days, Jehovah struck NaBal and he died.

39 Well, when David heard that NaBal had died, he said: 'May Jehovah be praised, for He judged the case of my being scorned by NaBal, and He brought NaBal's evil down upon his own head, keeping me from doing anything bad.'

Then David sent for AbiGail, because he was talking about taking her as his own. 40 So his servants went to AbiGail at CarMel and spoke to her, saying, 'David sent us, because he would like to take you as his woman.'

41 And at that, she bowed with her face to the ground and said, 'Look, your female servant… a girl to wash the feet of my master's servants.'

42 Thereafter, AbiGail quickly mounted her burro (bringing along five of her young women who followed behind), and she went with David's servants and became his woman.

43 Now, David was also married to AhiNoam of JezreEl, 44 as well as to Michal (Saul's daughter), whom Saul had given to Phalti (the son of LaIsh) from GalLim.

Chapter 26

1 Well thereafter, the Ziphites went up to see Saul again, and they told him: 'Look, David is hiding among us on HachiLah Hill, in front of JeshSemon.'

2 So Saul traveled into the Ziph Desert once more with three thousand of IsraEl's best men to look for David. 3 Then Saul set up camp along the road to HachiLah Hill, in front of JeshSemon, as David was camped in the desert. And when David saw that Saul had come to the desert looking for him again, 4 he sent spies to find out where he was and how prepared he was. 5 Then David personally went to the place where Saul was and found him sleeping near his Commander-in-chief AbNer (the son of Ner). Saul was there asleep in his royal chariot, with his men camped all around him.

6 David had asked AhiMelech the Hittite and AbiShai (the son of ZeruJah and the brother of JoAb), 'Who will come with me into the camp of Saul?'

And AbiShai said, 'I'll go with you.' 7 So David and AbiShai went down into the camp that night, and they walked among [Saul's] Men.

Well, {Look!} there was Saul sound asleep in his royal chariot with his spear stuck into the ground next to his head, and AbNer and his men were asleep all around him. 8 So AbiShai said to David: 'Jehovah has given your enemy into your hands today, so I'm going to run him through with his spear… I'll only do it once, I won't have to do it twice.'

9 But David said: 'No, don't kill him; for, who can lift a hand against the anointed of Jehovah and not be found guilty?' 10 And he added: 'As Jehovah lives; It is up to Jehovah to strike him and kill him, or for him to die in battle and to be [buried] with his ancestors. 11 Since Jehovah hasn't instructed me to raise a hand against His anointed, we'll just take the spear that's next to his head and his canteen of water, and leave.' 12 So David picked up [Saul's] spear and canteen, and they left… no one saw them or knew that they'd been there, for no one woke up. All were sleeping tightly, because Jehovah had put them to sleep.

13 David actually walked through their camp and then up the mountain. And when he was some distance away, 14 David called to [Saul's] men and to AbNer (the son of Ner) saying, 'AbNer… will you answer?'

And AbNer asked: 'Who's calling me?'

15 Then David said: 'Aren't you a man? Who else is there like you in IsraEl? But, why weren't you guarding your lord the king? Since a man came there to destroy your lord the king this very night, 16 what you've done isn't a good thing! As Jehovah lives; you're all sons of death, because you weren't guarding your lord the king… the anointed of Jehovah. For look! Where is the king's spear, and where is his canteen of water… these things that he kept by his head?'

17 Well, Saul recognized the voice of David and said, 'Is that the voice of my child David?'

And David replied: 'It's my voice O lord… your servant, O king!' 18 And he asked, 'So, why is my lord chasing his servant? How have I sinned and what is the charge against me?

19 'Now listen, O my lord the king, to the words of his servant: If it's God who's sending you against me, then may you smell your sacrifice. But if it's the sons of men, may they be cursed before Jehovah, because they've driven me away from the inheritance that I received from Jehovah, telling me to go and serve other gods! 20 May my blood not be spilled on the ground away from the face of Jehovah; for the king of IsraEl is searching for this flea as though he were hunting for long-eared owls in the mountains.'

21 And Saul said: 'I have sinned. Come back to me, my child David… I won't do anything bad to you anymore, now that you've shown me how much you value my life. I've acted foolishly and ignorantly!'

22 And David replied: 'Look! Here's the king's spear; send one of your servants to take it. 23 The Lord will repay each one for his righteousness and faithfulness, just as Jehovah has saved you from my hands today, since I didn't wish to raise a hand against the anointed of Jehovah. 24 And look… as I have valued your life today, may my life be considered more valuable before my lord. May he shelter me and rescue me from all my problems.'

25 Then Saul said to David: 'You are blest, my child David; for whatever you do will succeed, and you can accomplish whatever you wish.'

So David went his way, and Saul returned home.

Chapter 27

1 But David said in his heart: 'I'd best run to the land of the Philistines where I'll be safe, because things don't look too good for me here. Saul will keep searching for me in IsraEl, and by tomorrow I could be handed over to him.' 2 So David got up and left, taking his six hundred men with him, and he went to see AchIsh (the son of MaOch), the king of Gath. 3 Then David, his men, and both of his women (AhiNoam the JezreElite, and AbiGail the woman of NaBal the CarMelite) sat down to meet with AchIsh there at his house in Gath. 4 And when Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he stopped searching for him.

5 Well when David went to AchIsh, he said this: 'If your servant has found favor in your eyes, please give me a place in one of your rural cities, and I'll settle there; for, why should you settle your servant in a city to rule right next to you?' 6 And AchIsh gave him ZikLag, which still belongs to the Judean kings to this day.

7 Then (after David had stayed there in the land of the Philistines for four months) 8 he and his men attacked the Geshurites, the Gezrites, and the AmaLechites… these are the people who inhabited the land all the way from Shurand to the land of Egypt. 9 He attacked the entire land and he didn't leave a man or woman alive. However, he took their flocks, herds, burros, camels, and clothing, and thereafter, he returned to AchIsh.

10 So then AchIsh asked David: 'Whom did you attack today?' And David replied: 'The [land] south of Judea, from JerahMeEl south to the [land of the] Kenezites… 11 and I didn't bring anyone back alive to Gath, so no one can say, Look at what David did!'

Well, that's the way David handled matters for as long as he stayed in the land of the Philistines. 12 And AchIsh trusted David, for he said: 'It's a shame that he's being treated [so badly] by his people in IsraEl. However, he's welcome to serve me here through the age.'

Chapter 28

1 After that, the Philistines gathered their troops to go to war with IsraEl, and AchIsh said to David: 'I'm sure that you and your men who are staying with me will join us in this war.'

2 And David replied: 'May this prove your servant's faithfulness.'

So AchIsh said to David: 'Then I'll appoint you as the chief of my royal guards during this period.'

3 Well, SamuEl had already died (after which IsraEl had mourned for him at his tomb in his city of RamAh), and Saul had also [killed off] all those who searched for omens and those who called out to [the dead] in his land.

4 Then the Philistines went and set up camp at ShuNem, and Saul gathered the army of IsraEl and set up camp in GilBoa. 5 But when Saul looked at the camp of the Philistines, it frightened him and he became weak at heart. 6 So he asked for [direction from Jehovah], but the Lord wouldn't answer him in his dreams, give him any signs, or answer him through the Prophets. 7 So he said to his servants: 'Then search for a woman who can tell the future, and I'll go ask her!'

And his servants told him: 'Look, there's a woman who can tell the future in EnDor.'

8 So Saul disguised himself [by wearing] different clothes, and he covered his face; then he took two men with him and they went to see the woman at night. And he said to her: 'Use your powers for me and lead me to the one to whom I wish to speak!'

9 And the woman replied: 'Look! Now you know as much as Saul did… the one who killed off all in the land who ask of the [dead] and who look for omens. So, are you coming here to trap and kill me?'

10 But Saul swore an oath to her by God, saying: 'As Jehovah lives; I won't treat you unjustly in this matter.'

11 So the woman asked Saul: 'Then, who is it that you want me to bring up for you?'

And Saul replied: 'Bring up SamuEl for me!'

12 Well, when the woman saw SamuEl, she screamed and she said to Saul: 'Why have you misled me, for you are Saul!'

13 And the king said to her: 'Don't be afraid! Whom did you see?'

And she said: 'I see Judges rising from the ground.'

14 Then he asked her: 'What else did you see?'

And she replied: 'A very old man coming up [from the ground] wearing a doubled robe.'

Well, Saul recognized this as SamuEl; so he fell with his face to the ground and bowed low before him. 15 And SamuEl said: 'Why are you bothering me and why did you bring me up?'

And Saul said: 'I'm in a lot of trouble; for the Philistines have come to war against me, and God has left me. He doesn't listen to me anymore, nor does He answer the Prophets or reply to me in my dreams… all I want to know is what I should do!'

16 Then SamuEl replied: 'If Jehovah has left you and taken up with your neighbor, why are you asking me? 17 For all that Jehovah is doing to you is what I told you that He would do. He's going to rip your kingdom from your hands and give it to your neighbor David, 18 because you didn't listen to His voice when He was showing His rage on the AmaLechites. 19 Therefore, Jehovah is going to give IsraEl into the hands of the Philistines… by tomorrow, you and your sons will be with me, while the camp of IsraEl will be handed over to the Philistines.'

20 Well at that, Saul dropped to the ground shaking, because he was so afraid of what SamuEl had said. He was already weak in the knees, because he hadn't eaten anything all that day or night.

21 Then the woman went up to Saul, and when she saw that he was shaking, she said: 'Now, look at me and listen to your female servant, for I've put my life into your hands, and I'm trusting in what you said. 22 Do what I tell you… I'm going to give you a little food to eat so you can regain your strength, and then you should leave.'

23 However he wouldn't listen to her, because he didn't want anything to eat. Yet his aids and the woman kept insisting; so he got up off of the ground and sat in a chair, 24 then the woman went out and butchered a calf that was by her house. After that, she took some flour and made some fermentation-free bread, 25 and she brought it all to Saul and his servants, and they ate… then they returned [to their camp] that night.

Chapter 29

1 Well, the Philistines had marched all their troops to Aphek, and IsraEl had set up camp at EnDor in JezreEl. 2 Meanwhile, the Philistine governors were coming by the hundreds and thousands… then David and his men showed up last with Achish.

3 Well [on seeing him], the Philistine governors asked AchIsh, 'Who is [this person] that's with you?'

And AchIsh replied: 'That's David, the servant of Saul the king of IsraEl. This is the second year he's been with me, and I've found no fault in him.'

4 However, the Philistine governors were outraged, and they said to him: 'Return this man to the people over whom you've assigned him… don't allow him to come with us to the battle, because he could be a traitor in our camp. After all, how do we know that he won't reconcile with his lord? And if he does, our men will pay with their heads! 5 For isn't this the same David of whom the dancers sang, Saul killed his thousands and David his ten thousands?'

6 So AchIsh then called David and said to him: 'As Jehovah lives; I know that you're a good and honest man, and that's why I invited you to come with me into the camp. But though I haven't found anything evil in you since you came to me, the governors don't trust you. 7 So, return to [your city] in peace, and don't allow yourself to be seen doing anything wrong in the eyes of the Philistine governors.'

8 But David asked: 'What have I done… what have you found wrong with your servant? Let me fight against the enemies of my lord the king!'

9 And AchIsh told him: 'I know that you're a good man… like a messenger from God. But the Philistine governors are saying, He shouldn't come with us to this battle. 10 So when you and your men get up early in the morning, you should return to the city that I gave to you!'

11 As the result, when David and his men got up early the next morning, they went back and guarded the land of the Philistines, as the Philistines started their war against IsraEl.

Chapter 30

1 Well, while David and his men were returning to ZikLag (it was a three-day journey), the AmaLechites had come from the south and attacked ZikLag… they captured it and burned it. 2 However, they didn't kill any of the young men or any of the women, they just led them away as captives. 3 So when David and his men got back to the city and found it burned, and that their women, sons, and daughters had been carried away as captives, 4 David and his men sat down and cried… they wailed until they were just too weak to cry anymore.

5 Well, both of David's women (AhiNoam the JezreElite, and AbiGail, the woman of NaBal the CarMelite) had been captured, 6 which hurt David so much that his men said that they should stone him, because he was so grieved over the people and for each of his sons and daughters. However, his God Jehovah then gave him strength, 7 and he said to the Priest AbiAthar (the son of AhiMelech), 'Bring the sacred vest to me.'

So AbiAthar came to David carrying the vest, 8 and David asked Jehovah: 'Should I chase after them?'

And Jehovah replied: 'Chase after them; for if you chase them, you'll catch up with them and rescue [your people].'

9 So David went after them with all of his six hundred-men; and when they reached the Bosor Wadi, he left two hundred of them behind [to guard their things]… 10 so he only had about four hundred men. However, he traveled on with the four hundred men (after leaving two hundred on the other side of the Bosor Wadi).

11 Well on the way, [his men] found an Egyptian man [lying] in a field, and they took him to David, who gave him some food and water. 12 They also gave him part of a dried cluster of figs and two portions of raisins, which revived him… for he had gone without anything to eat or drink for more that three days. 13 Then David asked him: 'What are you doing here, and where did you come from?'

And the Egyptian man replied: 'I'm the servant of an AmaLechite man. My master left me here because I was sick… and I've been lying here for three days. 14 We had just attacked parts of Judah that are south of the Cherethites and south of Caleb, and we burned the city of ZikLag.'

15 Then David asked him: 'Can you lead me to his troops?'

And he said, 'Yes… if you'll swear by God that you won't kill me or return me to my master, I'll lead you to them.'

16 So he led them, and by the time they caught up with them, everyone was scattered throughout the land and they were eating, drinking, and celebrating over the great quantity of loot that they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.

17 Well, David started slaughtering them from morning to evening and into the next day… he left no survivors other than four hundred boys were able to escape by fleeing on camels. 18 Then David took back everything that the AmaLechites had captured, and he rescued both of his women. 19 Yet, none [of his men] (from the small to the great) had been killed, and all the sons, daughters, and loot that had been taken was returned. 20 Meanwhile, David also took all their flocks and herds, and he looted everything (which was thereafter referred to as 'the spoils of David').

21 Well, when they got back to the two hundred men that David had left behind at the Bosor Wadi, everyone came to greet David and the men who returned with him. So, David went up to them and wished them peace. 22 However, all the wicked men and troublemakers among the warriors who went with David said, 'They didn't go with us, so why should we divide any of the loot we recovered with them? Let them just take back their own women and children, and [be satisfied with that]!'

23 However, David said: 'You must not mistreat the brothers of this confederation. For, it was Jehovah who guarded us and gave the enemy to us, and He's the One who protected the troops that came with us. 24 So watch your words, because these men are in no way less than you, and they'll receive their share of the battle for staying here and watching our equipment… yes, they'll be given the same share as everyone else!'

25 Well from that day on, this became the rule in IsraEl.

26 And when David got back to ZikLag, he sent [a portion of] the spoils to the elders of Judah, as well as to some of his neighbors, saying: 'Look, here is a blessing from the spoils of the enemies of Jehovah.'

27 [He also sent some of the spoils to the people in] BethEl, Southern RamOth, JatTir, 28 AroEr, SiphMoth, EshTemoa, 29 RachAl, and to those in the JerahMeElite cities, the Kenite cities, 30 the people in HorMah, BeerAshan, and AthAch, 31 and to those in Hebron… David and his men carried it to each of those places.

Chapter 31

1 Meanwhile, in the war between the Philistines and IsraEl, the IsraElites were routed by the Philistines, who slaughtered them all the way to Mount GilBoa. 2 The Philistines also caught up with Saul and his sons, and they were able to cut down Saul's sons JoNathan, AbiNadab, and MelchiShua. 3 However, the battle got bogged down as they were fighting Saul… but then a bowman shot at Saul and wounded him in the spleen. 4 And Saul said to his weapons bearer: 'Unsheathe your broadsword and run me through with it, so that one of these uncircumcised men doesn't make fun of me before he kills me!'

Well, the man who was carrying his weapons was afraid and he didn't want to do it; so Saul took his broadsword and fell on it. 5 And when the man carrying his weapons saw that Saul was dead, he fell on his sword and died also.

6 So Saul, all three of his sons, his weapons bearer, and all of his men died that same day. 7 And when the men of IsraEl who were on the other side of the JorDan Valley saw that Saul and his sons were dead, they all ran away… they just left their cities and ran; and then the Philistines took [their cities] and lived there.

8 Well, it was when the Philistines came to strip the dead that they found Saul and his three sons dead on Mount GilBoa. 9 So they cut off [Saul's] head and took his weapons, and they sent them all around the land of the Philistines to announce the good news to their idols and to their people. 10 Thereafter, they presented his weapons [to the goddess] Astarte, and they nailed [Saul's] body to a wall in BethSham.

11 However, when the people in JabIsh GileAd heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their mighty men went that night and recovered the bodies of Saul and his son JoNathan from the wall in BethSham, and brought them back to JabIsh, where they were burned [in a funeral pyre]. 13 Then they took their bones and placed them in a tomb in the plowed field of JabIsh, and they fasted for seven days.

Home Page