Saul was thirtya years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty-b two years.
Saul chose three thousand men from Israel; two thousand1 were with him at Mikmash2 and in the hill country of Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan at Gibeah3 in Benjamin. The rest he sent back to their homes.
Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost4 at Geba,5 and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul had the trumpet6 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 obnoxious7 to the Philistines." And the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.
The Philistines assembled8 to fight Israel, with three thousandc chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand9 on the seashore. They went up and camped at Mikmash,10 east of Beth Aven.116
When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid12 in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns.137
Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad14 and Gilead. Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking15 with fear.
He waited seven16 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 offered17 up the burnt offering.
Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel18 arrived, and Saul went out to greet19 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 Mikmash,2012
I thought, 'Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal,21 and I have not sought the LORD's favor.22' So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering."
"You have done a foolish thing,23" Samuel said. "You have not kept24 the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.2514
But now your kingdom26 will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart27 and appointed28 him ruler29 of his people, because you have not kept30 the LORD's command."
Then Samuel left Gilgald and went up to Gibeah31 in Benjamin, and Saul counted the men who were with him. They numbered about six hundred.32
Saul and his son Jonathan and the men with them were staying in Gibeahe33 in Benjamin, while the Philistines camped at Mikmash.
Raiding34 parties went out from the Philistine camp in three detachments. One turned toward Ophrah35 in the vicinity of Shual,
another toward Beth Horon,36 and the third toward the borderland overlooking the Valley of Zeboyim37 facing the wilderness.
Not a blacksmith38 could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, "Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!39"
So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plowpoints, mattocks, axes and sicklesf sharpened.
The price was two-thirds of a shekelg for sharpening plowpoints and mattocks, and a third of a shekelh for sharpening forks and axes and for repointing goads.
So on the day of the battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan40 had a sword or spear41 in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.