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Jonathans Brave Deed





Saul picked out three thousand men from the Israelites. Two thousand
were with Saul in Michmash and on the highland of Bethel, and a thousand
were with his son Jonathan in Gibeah. But Saul had sent the rest of the
people each to his home.

Then Jonathan attacked the company of the Philistines in Gibeah; and the
Philistines heard of it. But Saul sounded a call to arms throughout all
the land, saying, "Let the Hebrews hear!" So all Israel heard the report
that Saul had attacked the Philistines, and also that Israel was hated
by them.

Then the Philistines were gathered together to fight with Israel: three
thousand chariots, six thousand horsemen, and foot soldiers as many as
the sand of the seashore. They came up and camped in Michmash. When the
men of Israel saw that they were in a tight place (for the people were
hard pressed), the people hid themselves in caves, in holes, in the
rocks, in tombs, and in pits. Also many people crossed over the Jordan
to the land of Gad and Gilead.

Then Saul counted the people who were with him and found that there
were about six hundred men. And Saul and his son Jonathan, together with
the people who were with them, remained in Gibeah, while the Philistines
camped in Michmash. Then the Philistines came out of the camp in three
divisions to steal whatever they could find: one division turned toward
Ophrah, in the land of Shual, another toward Bethhoron, and another
toward the hill that looks down over the valley of Zeboim. But the
garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.

Now on that day Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who
carried his armor, "Come, let us go over against the Philistines'
garrison that is on the other side." But he did not tell his father.

Meantime Saul was sitting just outside of Gibeah under the
pomegranate-tree which is near the threshing-floor, and there were with
him about six hundred men. But the people did not know that Jonathan had
gone.

Along the ravine by which Jonathan tried to go over against the
Philistines there was a steep rock on one side, and a steep rock on the
other; one was named The Shining, and the other The Thorny. One rock
rose up north of Michmash, and the other south of Geba.

So Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, "Come, let us
go over to the camp of these heathen Philistines. Perhaps Jehovah will
act for us, for there is nothing that can keep Jehovah from delivering
his people either by many or by few." His armor-bearer replied, "Do
whatever you wish, I will do my best to help you." Then Jonathan said,
"See, we will cross over to the men and show ourselves to them. If they
say to us, 'Stand still until we can reach you,' then we will stand
still in our place, and will not go up to them. But if they say, 'Come
up to us,' then we will go up; for this shall be the proof that Jehovah
has given them into our power."

When both of them showed themselves to the Philistines, the Philistines
said, "There are Hebrews coming out of the holes where they have
hidden." So they called to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, "Come up to
us, and we will show you something!" Then Jonathan said to his
armor-bearer, "Come up after me, for Jehovah has given them into the
power of Israel."

So Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet and his armor-bearer after
him. And the Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer
followed and put them to death. In the first attack Jonathan and his
armor-bearer killed about twenty men with spears and rocks from the
field. Then there was a great panic in the camp, in the open field, and
among all the Philistines. Even those who were out robbing were
panic-stricken, and the earth quaked, so that it produced a God-sent
panic.

The watchmen of Saul in Gibeah looked and saw the great company of
Philistines melting away and rushing here and there. Then Saul said to
the people who were with him, "Look now and see who is gone from us."
When they searched they found that Jonathan and his armor-bearer were
not there. So Saul said to Ahijah, "Bring the ark of God here," for at
that time it was with the Israelites. While Saul was still speaking to
the priest, the noise and disorder among the Philistines kept on
increasing. Therefore, Saul said to the priest, "Do not wait to consult
Jehovah!"

Then Saul and all the people that were with him gathered together and
went into battle. And every Philistine's sword was turned upon his
fellow, so that there was a very great confusion among them. The Hebrews
who once were on the side of the Philistines and who had joined their
army also went over to the side of the Israelites who were with Saul and
Jonathan. Likewise all the men of Israel who were hiding in the
highlands of Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines had fled,
closely followed them in the battle. So Jehovah delivered Israel that
day, and the battle passed over beyond Bethhoron. But Saul made a great
mistake that day, for he strictly commanded the people, saying, "The man
who shall eat any food until evening and until I take vengeance on my
enemies shall be punished." So none of the people tasted food.

Now there was honey on the surface of the ground; and when the people
came to the forest, they saw a stream of honey, but no one put his hand
to his mouth, for the people feared the punishment. But Jonathan had not
heard when his father commanded the people. Therefore he reached out the
end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb and
put his hand to his mouth, and he felt refreshed. Then one of the people
spoke up and said, "Your father strictly commanded the people, saying,
'The man who eats food this day shall be punished.'" But Jonathan
replied, "My father has brought great trouble on the land. See how I
have been refreshed because I tasted a little of this honey. If only the
people had eaten freely to-day of the spoil of their enemies, many more
of the Philistines would have been slain."

Then Saul said, "Let us go down after the Philistines by night and take
spoil until daybreak, and let us not leave one of them." They said, "Do
whatever you think best." But the priest said, "Let us ask of God." So
Saul asked of God, "Shall I go down after the Philistines? Wilt thou
deliver them over to Israel?" But he did not answer him that day.
Therefore Saul said, "Come here, all you leaders of the people, and find
out who has done wrong to-day. For as surely as Jehovah the deliverer of
Israel lives, even though it be Jonathan my son, he shall die." But not
one of the people answered him.

Then he said to all Israel, "You be on one side, and I and Jonathan my
son will be on the other." The people said to Saul, "Do what you think
best." Therefore Saul said, "Jehovah, God of Israel, why hast thou not
answered thy servant this day? If the sin be mine or that of Jonathan my
son, Jehovah, God of Israel, show it by the lot marked Urim; but if the
sin lies with thy people Israel, show it by the lot marked Thummim."
Then the lot fell on Jonathan and Saul and not on the people. So Saul
said, "Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son. He whom Jehovah
selects must die." The people said to Saul, "It shall not be so!" But
Saul made the people do as he said, and they cast the lot between him
and Jonathan his son; and it fell on Jonathan.

Then Saul said to Jonathan, "Tell me what you have done." So Jonathan
told him, "I did indeed taste a little honey with the end of the staff
that was in my hand. Here I am! I am ready to die." Saul said, "God do
so to me and more too; Jonathan, you shall surely die!" But all the
people said to Saul, "Shall Jonathan die who has brought this great
deliverance to Israel? Far from it! As surely as Jehovah lives, not one
hair of his head shall fall to the ground, for he has done this day what
God wished." So the people saved Jonathan from death.





Next: Davids Victory Over The Giant

Previous: How Samuel Found A Leader



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