The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 13

Saul's select band, 1, 2. He calls the Hebrews to Gilgal against the Philistines, whose garrison Jonathan had smitten, 3, 4. The Philistines' great host, 5. The distress of the Israelites, 6, 7. Saul, weary of waiting for Samuel, sacrifices, 8-10. Samuel reproves him, 11-16. The three raiding bands of the Philistines, 17, 18. The stratagem of the Philistines to allow no smith in Israel, 19-23.

1 Saul reigned one year. And when he had reigned two years over Israel, 2 Saul chose for himself three thousand men of Israel, of which two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in the mountains of Beth-el and one thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. And the rest of the people he sent each to his tent. 3 And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, "Let the Hebrews hear." 4 And all Israel heard it said that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were summoned to Saul at Gilgal.

5 And the Philistines assembled to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude. And they came up and encamped in Michmash, eastward from Beth-aven. 6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble (for the people were distressed), the people hid themselves in caves, in thickets, in rocks, in high places, and in pits. 7 And some of the Hebrews went over the Jordan 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 waited seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattered from him. 9 And Saul said, "Bring here to me a burnt-offering and peace-offerings." And he offered the burnt-offering. 10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt-offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him so that he might salute him. 11 And Samuel said, "What have you done?" And Saul said, "Because I saw that the people were scattered from me and that you did not come within the days appointed and that the Philistines assembled at Michmash, 12 Therefore I said, 'The Philistines will now come down upon me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the LORD.' I felt compelled therefore and offered a burnt-offering." 13 And Samuel said to Saul, "You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God which he commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom upon Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for himself a man after his own heart and the LORD has commanded him to be captain over his people because you have not kept that which the LORD commanded you."

15 And Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul numbered the people who were present with him, about six hundred men. 16 And Saul, Jonathan his son, and the people who were present with them stayed in Gibeah of Benjamin, but the Philistines encamped in Michmash. 17 And the raiders came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned to the way that leads to Ophrah to the land of Shual, 18 Another company turned the way to Beth-horon, and another company turned to the way of the border that looks to the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.

19 Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, "Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears." 20 But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, each to sharpen his share, his colter, his ax, and his mattock. 21 Yet they had a file for the mattocks, for the colters, for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads. 22 So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan, but they were found with Saul and with Jonathan his son. 23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the passage of Michmash.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 1st Samuel, Chapter 13[➚]


[v.13] - "the commandment of the LORD your God" - Saul was to wait for Samuel to come and make the offerings and sacrifices. Saul was not supposed to make the offering. Reference, 1st Samuel 10:8.

[v.14a] - Quoted in Acts 13:22.

[v.14b] - Reference, 1st Samuel 16:12-13; 2nd Samuel 5:2-5. See also 1st Kings 11:36; 2nd Chronicles 21:7; Psalm 89:20.