בֶּן־שָׁנָה שָׁאוּל בְּמָלְכוֹ וּשְׁתֵּי שָׁנִים מָלַךְ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל׃ 13:1
1Sam. 13:1 Saul was a year into his reign and the second of the years he was king over Israel,
וַיִּבְחַר־לוֹ שָׁאוּל שְׁלֹשֶׁת אֲלָפִים מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּהְיוּ עִם־שָׁאוּל אַלְפַּיִם בְּמִכְמָשׂ וּבְהַר בֵּית־אֵל וְאֶלֶףּ 13:2
הָיו עִם־יוֹנָתָן בְּגִבְעַת בִּנְיָמִין וְיֶתֶר הָעָם שִׁלַּח אִישׁ לְאֹהָלָיו׃
1Sam. 13:2 when Saul chose for himself three thousand of Israel. And two thousand were with Saul in Michmas and on Mount Beth-el, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. And he sent the rest of the people each to his tent.
וַיַּךְ יוֹנָתָן אֵת נְצִיב פְּלִשְׁתִּים אֲשֶׁר בְּגֶבַע וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ פְּלִשְׁתִּים וְשָׁאוּל תָּקַע בַּשּׁוֹפָר בְּכָל־הָאָרֶץ לֵאמֹר 13:3 יִשְׁמְעוּ הָעִבְרִים׃
1Sam. 13:3 And Jonathan smote the garrison of Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard. And Saul blew on the horn throughout the land saying, “Let the Hebrews hear!”
[Return to 1Sam. 14:14]
וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל שָׁמְעוּ לֵאמֹר הִכָּה שָׁאוּל אֶת־נְצִיב פְּלִשְׁתִּים וְגַם־נִבְאַשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּפְּלִשְׁתִּים וַיִּצָּעֲקוּ 13:4 הָעָם אַחֲרֵי שָׁאוּל הַגִּלְגָּל׃
1Sam. 13:4 And they heard all Israel saying, “Saul has smitten a garrison of Philistines, and also Israel is odious with the Philistines.” And the people gathered together after Saul to Gilgal.
וּפְלִשְׁתִּים נֶאֶסְפוּ לְהִלָּחֵם עִם־יִשְׂרָאֵל שְׁלֹשִׁים אֶלֶף רֶכֶב וְשֵׁשֶׁת אֲלָפִים פָּרָשִׁים וְעָם כַּחוֹל אֲשֶׁר 13:5 עַל־שְׂפַת־הַיָּם לָרֹב וַיַּעֲלוּ וַיַּחֲנוּ בְמִכְמָשׂ קִדְמַת בֵּית אָוֶן׃
1Sam. 13:5 And the Philistines were assembled to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen, and people like the sand that is on the shore of the sea for great numbers. And they came up and camped in Michmas, east of Beth-aven.
וְאִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל רָאוּ כִּי צַר־לוֹ כִּי נִגַּשׂ הָעָם וַיִּתְחַבְּאוּ הָעָם בַּמְּעָרוֹת וּבַחֲוָחִים וּבַסְּלָעִים וּבַצְּרִחִים 13:6 וּבַבֹּרוֹת׃
1Sam. 13:6 And the men of Israel saw what a trap it was, for the people were hard pressed, and the people had hidden themselves in caves and in thickets and in the rocks and in holds and in pits.
וְעִבְרִים עָבְרוּ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּן אֶרֶץ גָּד וְגִלְעָד וְשָׁאוּל עוֹדֶנּוּ בַגִּלְגָּל וְכָל־הָעָם חָרְדוּ אַחֲרָיו׃ 13:7
1Sam. 13:7 Now the Hebrews had crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead, but Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people trembled after him.
וַיִּיחֶל שִׁבְעַת יָמִים לַמּוֹעֵד אֲשֶׁר שְׁמוּאֵל וְלֹא־בָא שְׁמוּאֵל הַגִּלְגָּל וַיָּפֶץ הָעָם מֵעָלָיו׃ 13:8
1Sam. 13:8 But he waited seven days, for the time was that set by Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people scattered from him.
וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל הַגִּשׁוּ אֵלַי הָעֹלָה וְהַשְּׁלָמִים וַיַּעַל הָעֹלָה׃ 13:9
1Sam. 13:9 And Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering and the peace offerings to me.” And he offered the burnt offering.
וַיְהִי כְּכַלֹּתוֹ לְהַעֲלוֹת הָעֹלָה וְהִנֵּה שְׁמוּאֵל בָּא וַיֵּצֵא שָׁאוּל לִקְרָאתוֹ לְבָרֲכוֹ׃ 13:10
1Sam. 13:10 And it was at his end of offering the burnt offering that behold, Samuel came, and Saul went out to meet him to greet him.
וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל מֶה עָשִׂיתָ וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל כִּי־רָאִיתִי כִי־נָפַץ הָעָם מֵעָלַי וְאַתָּה לֹא־בָאתָ לְמוֹעֵד 13:11 הַיָּמִים וּפְלִשְׁתִּים נֶאֱסָפִים מִכְמָש׃ׂ
1Sam. 13:11 And Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people was scattered from me and you had not come for the set days, and the Philistines were gathered at Michmas,
וָאֹמַר עַתָּה יֵרְדוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים אֵלַי הַגִּלְגָּל וּפְנֵי יְהוָה לֹא חִלִּיתִי וָאֶתְאַפַּק וָאַעֲלֶה הָעֹלָה׃ 13:12
1Sam. 13:12 then I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down to me at Gilgal,’ and I had not begged the presence of the Lord. ‘So I will be strong and offer the burnt offering.’”
The third and second words from the end of this verse are first-person imperfect verbs with vav prefixes, and therefore, the vav prefixes are non-inverting.
וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל־שָׁאוּל נִסְכָּלְתָּ לֹא שָׁמַרְתָּ אֶת־מִצְוַת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר צִוָּךְ כִּי עַתָּה הֵכִין 13:13 יְהוָה אֶת־מַמְלַכְתְּךָ אֶל־יִשְׂרָאֵל עַד־עוֹלָם׃
1Sam. 13:13 Then Samuel said to Saul, “You have been foolish; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord, your God, which He commanded you, for henceforth the Lord would have fixed your kingdom to Israel for ever.”
For some discussion of this verse, see the remarks at the end of this chapter.
וְעַתָּה מַמְלַכְתְּךָ לֹא־תָקוּם בִּקֵּשׁ יְהוָה לוֹ אִישׁ כִּלְבָבוֹ וַיְצַוֵּהוּ יְהוָה לְנָגִיד עַל־עַמּוֹ כִּי לֹא שָׁמַרְתָּ 13:14 אֵת אֲשֶׁר־צִוְּךָ יְהוָה׃
1Sam. 13:14 “But now your kingdom will not succeed; the Lord desired for Himself a man after His own heart and the Lord would have appointed him to be a prince over His people, but you did not keep that which the Lord commanded you.”
וַיָּקָם שְׁמוּאֵל וַיַּעַל מִן־הַגִּלְגָּל גִּבְעַת בִּנְיָמִן וַיִּפְקֹד שָׁאוּל אֶת־הָעָם הַנִּמְצְאִים עִמּוֹ כְּשֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת 13:15 אִישׁ׃
1Sam. 13:15 And Samuel rose and went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin. Then Saul counted the people who were left with him, about six hundred men.
וְשָׁאוּל וְיוֹנָתָן בְּנוֹ וְהָעָם הַנִּמְצָא עִמָּם יֹשְׁבִים בְּגֶבַע בִּנְיָמִן וּפְלִשְׁתִּים חָנוּ בְמִכְמָשׂ׃ 13:16
1Sam. 13:16 And Saul, with Jonathan, his son, and the people who stayed with them, were abiding in Gibeah of Benjamin, while the Philistines camped in Michmas.
וַיֵּצֵא הַמַּשְׁחִית מִמַּחֲנֵה פְלִשְׁתִּים שְׁלֹשָׁה רָאשִׁים הָרֹאשׁ אֶחָד יִפְנֶה אֶל־דֶּרֶךְ עָפְרָה אֶל־אֶרֶץ 13:17 שׁוּעָל׃
1Sam. 13:17 And the spoiler could come forth from the camp, three companies of Philistines. One company would turn toward the way of Ophrah to the land of Shual.
וְהָרֹאשׁ אֶחָד יִפְנֶה דֶּרֶךְ בֵּית חֹרוֹן וְהָרֹאשׁ אֶחָד יִפְנֶה דֶּרֶךְ הַגְּבוּל הַנִּשְׁקָף עַל־גֵּי הַצְּבֹעִים 13:18 הַמִּדְבָּרָה׃
1Sam. 13:18 And one company would turn the way of Beth-choron. And one company would turn the way of the border that looked down upon the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.
וְחָרָשׁ לֹא יִמָּצֵא בְּכֹל אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי־ (אָמַר) [אָמְרוּ] פְלִשְׁתִּים פֶּן יַעֲשׂוּ הָעִבְרִים חֶרֶב אוֹ 13:19
1Sam. 13:19 Now a smith could not be found in all the land of Israel because the Philistines had said, “Lest the Hebrews would make a sword or a spear.”
The word in parentheses, translated as said, contains an error. It is singular in form, but should be plural. The correction is in the brackets.
וַיֵּרְדוּ כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל הַפְּלִשְׁתִּים לִלְטוֹשׁ אִישׁ אֶת־מַחֲרַשְׁתּוֹ וְאֶת־אֵתוֹ וְאֶת־קַרְדֻּמּוֹ וְאֵת מַחֲרֵשָׁתוֹ׃ 13:20
1Sam. 13:20 So all Israel had to come down to the Philistines to sharpen each his plow and his hoe and his axe and his mattock.
וְהָיְתָה הַפְּצִירָה פִים לַמַּחֲרֵשֹׁת וְלָאֵתִים וְלִשְׁלֹשׁ קִלְּשׁוֹן וּלְהַקַּרְדֻּמִּים וּלְהַצִּיב הַדָּרְבָן׃ 13:21
1Sam. 13:21 And the price of a pim was for mattocks and for hoes and for three-pronged forks and for the axes and for setting of the goad.
וְהָיָה בְּיוֹם מִלְחֶמֶת וְלֹא נִמְצָא חֶרֶב וַחֲנִית בְּיַד כָּל־הָעָם אֲשֶׁר אֶת־שָׁאוּל וְאֶת־יוֹנָתָן וַתִּמָּצֵא 13:22 לְשָׁאוּל וּלְיוֹנָתָן בְּנוֹ׃
1Sam. 13:22 So on the day of battle it had to be that a sword or a spear was not to be found in the hand of all the people who were with Saul and with Jonathan, but there was enough for Saul and for Jonathan, his son.
וַיֵּצֵא מַצַּב פְּלִשְׁתִּים אֶל־מַעֲבַר מִכְמָשׂ׃ 13:23
1Sam. 13:23 And a garrison of Philistines went out to the pass of Michmas.
Some of the Hebrew narrative in this chapter is strange indeed, starting with the very first verse. The Hebrew in v. 13:1 cannot be translated literally in a way that makes sense. Many different translations have attempted to make sense of it, but none have been more than reasonably successful. I believe that my translation comes as close as any and is more true to the Hebrew than most.
Secondly, vss. 13:6 and 13:7 seem to contradict one another. In v. 13:6 the scribe says the people, presumably the Hebrews, had hidden themselves. In v. 13:7 he says the Hebrews were on the other side of the Jordan. Is it where they were hidden? Not likely! Yet it must be. There seems to be no other explanation.
Then in v. 13:13, we find something strange. Neither Saul nor we are told why Saul’s kingdom will not last. What is the commandment that Saul did not keep? What did Saul do that he did not keep the commandment? The scholars have offered and favored different suggestions, but none is certain. There is no mention of any commandments specific to Saul, and the only commandments that the Lord provided for kings of Israel are found in Deut. 17:14 to 17:20. Did Saul not write a Torah scroll for himself and study it? We are not to know. The strange nature of this verse extends beyond these questions. We do not find out the reason for Saul’s condemnation until Chapter 28. But that still does not solve the mystery we are presented with here. For the solution, we must assume that either Samuel was divinely informed of the reason in advance, or one of these chapters, 13 or 28 (and/or perhaps Chapter 15), is not in chronological order. This chapter is apparently fixed in the second year of Saul’s reign according to my translation of v. 13:1. We will see if Chapters 15 or 28 offer any clues as to the time of their events. [Return to 1Sam. 15:35] [Return to 1Sam. 28:18]
Next in v. 13:20 we are told that the Hebrews had no swords or spears. Then how had Jonathan defeated the garrison of Philistines (in v. 13:3)?
Finally, in v. 13:20 the same Hebrew word is used for plow and mattock. The mattock is a hand-held tool, similar to a pickaxe, that is used for loosening soil, hence could be considered a small plow. However, there are two other Hebrew words that would have been a better choice. Odd that the scribe preferred to use the identical word for both the plow and the mattock. A clue that a mattock was truly intended there is found in the next verse, 13:21: The tools that had to be taken to the Philistines to be sharpened most likely had to be hand tools. How would a plow have been transported? All the other tools mentioned in v. 13:21 are hand tools. Furthermore, even if a plow could be transported, the price for sharpening it would probably have been much more than for a hand tool.
[Return to 1Samuel Chapters] [Prev.: 1Sam. 12] [Next: 1Sam. 14]