1 Samuel 13:1-14

Saul's Failure

1 Saul was 30 years[a] old when he became king, and he reigned 42 years[b] over Israel.[c]
2 He chose 3,000 men from Israel for himself: 2,000 were with Saul at Michmash and in Bethel's hill country, and 1,000 were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. He sent the rest of the troops away, each to his own tent.
3 Jonathan attacked the Philistine garrison[d] that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. So Saul blew the ram's horn throughout the land saying, "Let the Hebrews hear!"[e][f]
4 And all Israel heard the news, "Saul has attacked the Philistine garrison,[g] and Israel is now repulsive[h] to the Philistines." Then the troops were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.
5 The Philistines also gathered to fight against Israel: 3,000[i] chariots, 6,000 horsemen, and troops as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Michmash, east of Beth-aven.[j]
6 The men of Israel saw that they were in trouble because the troops were in a difficult situation. They hid in caves, thickets, among rocks, and in holes and cisterns.[k]
7 Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul, however, was still at Gilgal, and all his troops were gripped with fear.
8 He waited seven days for the appointed time that Samuel had set, but Samuel didn't come to Gilgal, and the troops were deserting him.
9 So Saul said, "Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings." Then he offered the burnt offering.
10 Just as he finished offering the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. So Saul went out to greet him,
11 and Samuel asked, "What have you done?" Saul answered, "When I saw that the troops were deserting me and you didn't come within the appointed days and the Philistines were gathering at Michmash,
12 I thought: The Philistines will now descend on me at Gilgal, and I haven't sought the Lord's favor. So I forced myself to offer the burnt offering."
13 Samuel said to Saul, "You have been foolish. You have not kept the command which the Lord your God gave you. It was at this time that the Lord would have permanently established your reign over Israel,
14 but now your reign will not endure. The Lord has found a man loyal to Him,[l][m]and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not done what the Lord commanded."

1 Samuel 13:1-14 Meaning and Commentary


This chapter relates how Saul disposed of his army, 1Sa 13:1,2 that Jonathan his son smote a garrison of Philistines, which provoked them to come out with a large army against them, to the great terror of the Israelites, many of whom fled to secret places, and to distant parts, 1Sa 13:3-7, that Saul tarried at Gilgal waiting for Samuel, but he not coming so soon as expected, offered sacrifice himself, 1Sa 13:8-10 for which Samuel, when he came, reproved him, and told him the kingdom should not continue with him, but be given to another man, 1Sa 13:11-14 on which Saul departed to Gibeah, where he continued, the Philistines being encamped at Michmash, 1Sa 13:15,16 from whence went out spoilers, in three companies, into the land of Israel, where they met with no opposition; for there were no weapons in the hands of any but Saul and Jonathan, the Philistines having taken care that there should be no smith in the land of Israel to make them any, so that they were defenceless, 1Sa 13:17-23.

Footnotes 13

  • [a]. Some LXX mss; MT reads was one year
  • [b]. Text emended to 42; MT reads two years
  • [c]. Some LXX mss omit v. 1
  • [d]. Or governor
  • [e]. LXX reads The slaves have revolted
  • [f]. Nm 10:9; Jdg 3:27; 6:34
  • [g]. Or governor
  • [h]. Gn 34:25-30; 2 Sm 10:6
  • [i]. One LXX ms, Syr; MT reads 30,000
  • [j]. LXX reads Michmash, opposite Beth-horon to the south
  • [k]. Jdg 6:2
  • [l]. Lit man according to His heart
  • [m]. 1 Sm 16:7; Ac 13:22
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