Sha'ul was - years old when he began his reign, and he had ruled Isra'el for two years,
when he chose three thousand of Isra'el's men. Two thousand of them were with Sha'ul in Mikhmas and in the hills of Beit-El, and a thousand were with Y'honatan in Giv'at-Binyamin. The rest of the people he sent back to their respective tents.
Y'honatan assassinated the governor of the P'lishtim in Geva. The P'lishtim heard of it; so Sha'ul had the shofar sounded throughout the land, saying, "Let the Hebrews hear!"
All Isra'el heard that Sha'ul had assassinated the governor of the P'lishtim and thus made Isra'el a stench in the nostrils of the P'lishtim. So the people rallied behind Sha'ul in Gilgal;
while the P'lishtim assembled themselves together to make war on Isra'el - 30,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen and an army as large as the number of sand grains on the seashore. They came up and pitched camp at Mikhmas, east of Beit-Aven.
The men of Isra'el saw that their options were limited and that the people felt so hard pressed that they were hiding themselves in caves, thickets, crevices, watchtowers and cisterns;
while some of the Hebrews crossed the Yarden to the territory of Gad and Gil'ad. But Sha'ul was still in Gilgal, where all the people were eager to follow him.
He waited seven days, as Sh'mu'el had instructed; but Sh'mu'el didn't come to Gilgal; so the army began to drift away from him.
Sha'ul said, "Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings," and he offered the burnt offering.
As soon as he had finished sacrificing the burnt offering, there was Sh'mu'el -he had come, and Sha'ul went out to meet and greet him.
Sh'mu'el said, "What have you done?" Sha'ul answered, "I saw that the army was drifting away from me, that you hadn't come during the time appointed The Hebrew text lacks the number. and that the P'lishtim had assembled at Mikhmas.
I said, 'Now the P'lishtim will fall on me at Gilgal, and I haven't asked the favor of ADONAI,' so I forced myself and offered the burnt offering."
Sh'mu'el said to Sha'ul, "You did a foolish thing. You didn't observe the mitzvah of ADONAI, which he gave you. If you had, ADONAI would have set up your kingship over Isra'el forever.
But as it is, your kingship will not be established. ADONAI has sought for himself a man after his own heart, and ADONAI has appointed him to be prince over his people, because you did not observe what ADONAI ordered you to do."
Then Sh'mu'el left Gilgal and went up to Giv'at-Binyamin. Sha'ul counted how many were still there with him, about 600 men.
Sha'ul, Y'honatan his son and the men with him took up quarters at Giv'at-Binyamin, while the P'lishtim remained in camp at Mikhmas.
Then raiding parties began coming out from the camp of the P'lishtim, three of them: one group turned toward the road leading to 'Ofrah in the territory of Shu'al;
another group took the road toward Beit-Horon; and another company took the road toward the desert through the territory overlooking Vadi Tzvo'im.
Now there was no metalsmith to be found anywhere in all the land of Isra'el, because the P'lishtim had said, "We don't want the Hebrews making themselves swords or spears."
So whenever any of the people of Isra'el wanted to sharpen his hoe, plowshare, axe or pick, he had to go down to the P'lishtim,
where the exorbitant prices were two-thirds of a shekel for filing a pick or plowshare and one-third of a shekel for filing an axe or setting an oxgoad in its handle.
Thus when the time came to fight, no one in the army of Sha'ul and Y'honatan was equipped with either sword or spear; although Sha'ul and Y'honatan his son did have them.
A garrison of the P'lishtim had gone out to the pass of Mikhmas.