Samuel Rebukes Saul
Saul was thirty years old when he became king,
and he reigned over Israel forty-two years.
Saul chose three thousand men from Israel;
two thousand were with him at Micmash and in the hill country of Bethel,
and a thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeau in Benjamin.
The rest of the men he sent back to their homes.
Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost at Beba,
and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet blown
throughout the land and said, "Let the Hebrews hear!"
So all Israel heard the news:
"Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel has become a stench
to the Philistines." And the people were summoned to join Saul t Gilgal.
The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand chariots,
six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerious as the sand on the seashore.
They went up and camped at Micmash, east of Beth Aven.
When the men of Israel saw that their situation was critical and that their army was
hard pressed, they hid in the caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits
Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.
Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear.
He waited seven days the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal,
and Saul's men began to scatter.
So he said, "Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings."
And Saul offered up the burnt offering.
Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived,
and Saul went out to greet him.
"What have you done?" asked Samuel. Saul replied, "When I saw that the men
were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time,
and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash,
I thought, 'Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal,
and I have not sought the LORD's favor.' So I felt compelled to offer
the burnt offering."
"You acted follishey," Samuel said.
"You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you;
if you had, he would have established your kngdom over Israel for all time.
But now your kingdome will not endure; the LORD has sought out
a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people,
because you have not kept the LORD's command."
Then Samuel left Gilgal and went up to Gibeah in Benjamin,
and Saul counted the men who were with him.
They numbered about six hundred.
Israel Without Weapons
Saul and his son Jonathan and the men with them were staying in Gibeah
in Benjamin, while the Philistines camped at Micmash.
Raiding parties went out from the Phlistine camp in three detachments.
One turned toward Ophrah in the vicinity of Shual,
another toward Beth Horon, and the third toward the borderland overlooking
the Valley of Zeboim facing the desert.
Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel,
because the Philistines had said,
"Otherwise the Hebrews will make sword or spears!"
So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plowshares, mattocks,
axes and sickles sharpened.
The price was two thirds of a shekel for sharpening plowshares and mattocks,
and a third of a shekel of sharpening fords and axes can for repointing goads.
So on the day of the battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword
or spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.