On each side of the pass1 that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez, and the other Seneh.
One cliff stood to the north toward Micmash, the other to the south toward Geba.26
Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, "Come, let's go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised3 fellows. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing4 can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many5 or by few.6"
"Do all that you have in mind," his armor-bearer said. "Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul."
Jonathan said, "Come, then; we will cross over toward the men and let them see us.
If they say to us, 'Wait there until we come to you,' we will stay where we are and not go up to them.
But if they say, 'Come up to us,' we will climb up, because that will be our sign7 that the LORD has given them into our hands.8"
So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. "Look!" said the Philistines. "The Hebrews9 are crawling out of the holes they were hiding10 in."
The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, "Come up to us and we'll teach you a lesson.11" So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, "Climb up after me; the LORD has given them into the hand12 of Israel."
Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him.
In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.a
Then panic13 struck the whole army--those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding14 parties--and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.b16
Saul's lookouts15 at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the army melting away in all directions.
Then Saul said to the men who were with him, "Muster the forces and see who has left us." When they did, it was Jonathan and his armor-bearer who were not there.
Saul said to Ahijah, "Bring16 the ark17 of God." (At that time it was with the Israelites.)c19
While Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the Philistine camp increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest,18 "Withdraw your hand."
Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking19 each other with their swords.
Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went20 over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan.
When all the Israelites who had hidden21 in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit.
So the LORD rescued22 Israel that day, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.23
Now the men of Israel were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath,24 saying, "Cursed be any man who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!" So none of the troops tasted food.
The entire armyd entered the woods, and there was honey on the ground.
When they went into the woods, they saw the honey oozing out, yet no one put his hand to his mouth, because they feared the oath.
But Jonathan had not heard that his father had bound the people with the oath, so he reached out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb.25 He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened.e28
Then one of the soldiers told him, "Your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying, 'Cursed be any man who eats food today!' That is why the men are faint."
Jonathan said, "My father has made trouble26 for the country. See how my eyes brightenedf when I tasted a little of this honey.
How much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?"
That day, after the Israelites had struck down the Philistines from Micmash27 to Aijalon,28 they were exhausted.
They pounced on the plunder29 and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood.3033
Then someone said to Saul, "Look, the men are sinning against the LORD by eating meat that has blood31 in it." "You have broken faith," he said. "Roll a large stone over here at once."
Then he said, "Go out among the men and tell them, 'Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep, and slaughter them here and eat them. Do not sin against the LORD by eating meat with blood still32 in it.' " So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there.
Then Saul built an altar33 to the LORD; it was the first time he had done this.
Saul said, "Let us go down after the Philistines by night and plunder them till dawn, and let us not leave one of them alive." "Do whatever seems best to you," they replied. But the priest said, "Let us inquire34 of God here."
So Saul asked God, "Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into Israel's hand?" But God did not answer35 him that day.
Saul therefore said, "Come here, all you who are leaders of the army, and let us find out what sin has been committed36 today.
As surely as the LORD who rescues Israel lives,37 even if it lies with my son Jonathan,38 he must die."39 But not one of the men said a word.
Saul then said to all the Israelites, "You stand over there; I and Jonathan my son will stand over here." "Do what seems best to you," the men replied.