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Jonathan and the Philistines

During all the time that Saul was king there was war with the Philistines. Saul had need of soldiers, so that when he saw any strong man, or valiant man, he made a soldier or servant of him and took him into his service. Oftentimes Saul overcame the Philistines but then, again, the Philistine army bore hard upon the people of Israel.

One time the Philistines gathered together to fight with Israel. There were thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen, and as for the soldiers of the Philistines, they were in multitudes like the sand on the seashore.

When the men of Israel saw this great host coming up against them they were so frightened that they hid themselves in caves, and in thickets, and among the rocks, and in pits. And some even ran away over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.

Saul was in Gilgal, and some of the people came to him trembling. Saul was waiting for Samuel, but Samuel came not, though Saul waited seven days. Then Saul said: "Bring a burnt offering and a peace offering to me." And he himself offered the sacrifice unto the Lord.

As soon as he had made an end of the offering, Samuel came and Saul went out to meet him and to salute him. Samuel said: "What hove you done?" And Saul answered: "Because I saw the people scattered, and you came not, and the Philistines were gathered to destroy the people of Israel, I hastened to make the offering unto the Lord myself."

"You have done foolishly," was the reply of the old prophet. "You have not kept the commandment of the Lord, and now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord will seek another man after His own heart." And Samuel rose and left Saul and went into the land of Benjamin.

It came to pass upon a certain day that Jonathan the son of Saul, said to the young man that bore his armor: "Come, let us go over to the Philistines' garrison that is on the other side." But he did not tell his father, nor did the people know that he was going.

In order to get to the garrison of the Philistines, Jonathan and the armor bearer had to go between two sharp rocks, one on either side of a passage. Jonathan said to the armor bearer: "It may be that the Lord will work for us, for it does not matter to Him whether we be few or many, He can give us the victory."

"Do all that is in your heart, I am with you," replied the young man. And so they came along the passage between the sharp rocks, and the Philistines did not know they were coming.

Then the two men discovered themselves to the garrison of the Philistines and made a great noise as if an army were behind them. The Philistines cried out in alarm: "Behold, the Hebrews have come out of the holes where they had hidden themselves, and are upon us!"

Then Jonathan and the armor bearer fell upon the Philistines with their swords, and the Lord was with them. At the first onset they slew twenty men, within, as it were, a half acre of land. Then all the

Philistines began to tremble for fear of the Israelites, and the earth also trembled, and the mighty host of the Philistines began to beat upon one another, and went away in their fear, until there was a great slaughter.

"Number the people and see who has gone out from us to do battle with the Philistines." commanded Saul. And when the number was taken it was found that Jonathan and the armor bearer were not there. Then Saul and all the people pursued after the Philistines and slew many more as they fled before them.