Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance, character; and character, hope.
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!
For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned--
for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.
Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,
so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
One day Jonathan son of Saul said to the young man bearing his armor, "Come, let's go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side." But he did not tell his father.
Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men,
among whom was Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod. He was a son of Ichabod's brother Ahitub son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD's priest in Shiloh. No one was aware that Jonathan had left.
On each side of the pass 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.
Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, "Come, let's go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few."
"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 sign that the LORD has given them into our hands."
So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. "Look!" said the Philistines. "The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in."
The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, "Come up to us and we'll teach you a lesson." So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, "Climb up after me; the LORD has given them into the hand 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.
Then panic struck the whole army--those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties--and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.
Saul's lookouts 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, "Bring the ark of God." (At that time it was with the Israelites.)
While Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the Philistine camp increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest, "Withdraw your hand."
Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords.
Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan.
When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit.
So the LORD rescued Israel that day, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.
Now the men of Israel were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, 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 army 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. He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened.
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 trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened 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 Micmash to Aijalon, they were exhausted.
They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood.
Then someone said to Saul, "Look, the men are sinning against the LORD by eating meat that has blood 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 still in it.' " So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there.
Then Saul built an altar 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 inquire 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 answer 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 committed today.
As surely as the LORD who rescues Israel lives, even if it lies with my son Jonathan, he must die." 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.
Then Saul prayed to the LORD, the God of Israel, "Give me the right answer." And Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared.
Saul said, "Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son." And Jonathan was taken.
Then Saul said to Jonathan, "Tell me what you have done." So Jonathan told him, "I merely tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now must I die?"
Saul said, "May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan."
But the men said to Saul, "Should Jonathan die--he who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Never! As surely as the LORD lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God's help." So the men rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death.
Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they withdrew to their own land.
After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them.
He fought valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them.
Saul's sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua. The name of his older daughter was Merab, and that of the younger was Michal.
His wife's name was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of Saul's army was Abner son of Ner, and Ner was Saul's uncle.
Saul's father Kish and Abner's father Ner were sons of Abiel.
All the days of Saul there was bitter war with the Philistines, and whenever Saul saw a mighty or brave man, he took him into his service.
Deliver me from my enemies, O God; protect me from those who rise up against me.
Deliver me from evildoers and save me from bloodthirsty men.
See how they lie in wait for me! Fierce men conspire against me for no offense or sin of mine, O LORD.
I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me. Arise to help me; look on my plight!
O LORD God Almighty, the God of Israel, rouse yourself to punish all the nations; show no mercy to wicked traitors. "Selah"
They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city.
See what they spew from their mouths-- they spew out swords from their lips, and they say, "Who can hear us?"
But you, O LORD, laugh at them; you scoff at all those nations.
O my Strength, I watch for you; you, O God, are my fortress,
my loving God. God will go before me and will let me gloat over those who slander me.
But do not kill them, O Lord our shield, or my people will forget. In your might make them wander about, and bring them down.
For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride. For the curses and lies they utter,
consume them in wrath, consume them till they are no more. Then it will be known to the ends of the earth that God rules over Jacob. "Selah"
They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city.
They wander about for food and howl if not satisfied.
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.