1 Samuel
Chapter 13

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1 Saul reigned one yeere, and when he had reigned two yeeres ouer Israel,

2 Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel: whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash, and in mount Bethel, and a thousand were with Ionathan in Gibeah of Beniamin: and the rest of the people he sent euery man to his tent.

3 And Ionathan smote the garison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it: and Saul blew the trumpet thorowout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrewes heare.

4 And all Israel heard say, that Saul had smitten a garison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines: and the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal.

5 And the Philistines gathered themselues together, to fight with Israel, thirtie thousand charets, and sixe thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude, and they came vp, and pitched in Michmash, Eastward from Bethauen.

6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait: (for the people were distressed:) then the people did hide themselues in caues, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits.

7 And some of the Hebrewes went ouer Iordane, to the land of Gad and Gilead; as for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.

8 And he taried seuen dayes, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal, and the people were scattered from him.

9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offring to me, and peace offrings. And he offered the burnt offering.

10 And it came to passe that assoone as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came, and Saul went out to meete him, that he might salute him.

11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I sawe that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the dayes appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselues together to Michmash:

12 Therfore said I, The Philistines will come downe now vpon me to Gilgal, and I haue not made supplication vnto the Lord: I forced my selfe therefore, and offered a burnt offering.

13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandement of the Lord thy God, which hee commanded thee: for now would the Lord haue established thy kingdome vpon Israel for euer.

14 But now thy kingdome shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his owne heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to bee captaine ouer his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.

15 And Samuel arose, and gate him vp from Gilgal, vnto Gibeah of Beniamin, and Saul numbred the people that were present with him, about sixe hundred men.

16 And Saul and Ionathan his sonne, and the people that were present with them, abode in Gibeah of Beniamin: but the Philistines encamped in Michmash.

17 And the spoilers came out of the campe of the Philistines, in three companies: one company turned vnto the way that leadeth to Ophrah, vnto the land of Shual.

18 And another company turned the way to Bethoron: and another companie turned to the way of the border, that looketh to the valley of Zeboim toward the wildernesse.

19 Now there was no smith found thorowout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrewes make them swords or speares.

20 But all the Israelites went downe to the Philistines, to sharpen euery man his share and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattocke.

21 Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forkes, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads.

22 So it came to passe in the day of battell, that there was neither sword nor speare found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Ionathan: but with Saul & with Ionathan his sonne was there found.

23 And the garison of the Philistines went out to the passage of Michmash.

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Commentary for 1 Samuel 13

The invasion of the Philistines. (1-7) Saul sacrifices, He is reproved by Samuel. (8-14) The policy of the Philistines. (15-23)1-7 Saul reigned one year, and nothing particular happened; but in his second year the events recorded in this chapter took place. For above a year he gave the Philistine time to prepare for war, and to weaken and to disarm the Israelites. When men are lifted up in self-sufficiency, they are often led into folly. The chief advantages of the enemies of the church are derived from the misconduct of its professed friends. When Saul at length sounded an alarm, the people, dissatisfied with his management, or terrified by the power of the enemy, did not come to him, or speedily deserted him.

8-14 Saul broke the order expressly given by Samuel, see ch. 1Sa 10:8|, as to what should be done in cases of extremity. Saul offered sacrifice without Samuel, and did it himself, though he was neither priest nor prophet. When charged with disobedience, he justified himself in what he had done, and gave no sign of repentance for it. He would have this act of disobedience pass for an instance of his prudence, and as a proof of his piety. Men destitute of inward piety, often lay great stress on the outward performances of religion. Samuel charges Saul with being an enemy to himself. Those that disobey the commandments of God, do foolishly for themselves. Sin is folly, and the greatest sinners are the greatest fools. Our disposition to obey or disobey God, will often be proved by our behaviour in things which appear small. Men see nothing but Saul's outward act, which seems small; but God saw that he did this with unbelief and distrust of his providence, with contempt of his authority and justice, and with rebellion against the light of his own conscience. Blessed Saviour, may we never, like Saul, bring our poor offerings, or fancied peace-offerings, without looking to thy precious, thy all-sufficient sacrifice! Thou only, O Lord, canst make, or hast made, our peace in the blood of the cross.

15-23 See how politic the Philistines were when they had power; they not only prevented the people of Israel from making weapons of war, but obliged them to depend upon their enemies, even for instruments of husbandry. How impolitic Saul was, who did not, in the beginning of his reign, set himself to redress this. Want of true sense always accompanies want of grace. Sins which appear to us very little, have dangerous consequences. Miserable is a guilty, defenceless nation; much more those who are destitute of the whole armour of God.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for 1 Samuel 13

  • Anne
    'To obey is better than sacrifice and to harken than to the fat of rams' (1 Sam. 15:22). A lesson here is that we must first learn to obey and follow orders before we can lead others.
  • Dorothy goff
    1 Samuel 13-1 I have read this over and over. I can not find the age of Saul when he became king. please explain
  • Christ Magnified Glorifying Jesus
    Bible in a Year Reading Day 77. Saul fails very quickly. In his diligence and duty he fails to understand that it is God and not himself that orders everything. By offering a sacrifice he stepped away from what God intentions were for him. Saul is a tragic figure in Israel's history. He seemed to have many good intentions, but he did what was right in his own eyes, but it wasn't God's way.
  • Jude
    verses 19-20 are relevant to the gun grabbing gun/weapon control plan of people in power, and those who would not let us defend ourselves, our families, and others
  • BSP
    Verse 14: Jehovah God expected obedience from the Saul. Saul was not authorized to offer up the burnt offering. Due to his disobedience, he would lose the kingship.
  • Richard
    1 Sam 13.1: I wonder if this verse is saying that two years after defeating the Ammonites (11:11ff) Saul now turns to deal with the Philistines. His son Jonathan heads a company of 1000 warriors and defeats the Philistine garrison at Gibeah (near Michmash v4). The meaning of Jonathan's name is 'Yahweh's gift' and this he proves to be especially as David's closest friend.

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