Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus

Part 6 out of 26

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 3.1 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

themselves esteemed this as a punishment for the same.

5. Now Abimelech, when he had aftrighted the Israelites with the
miseries he had brought upon the Shechemites, seemed openly to
affect greater authority than he now had, and appeared to set no
bounds to his violence, unless it were with the destruction of
all. Accordingly he marched to Thebes, and took the city on the
sudden; and there being a great tower therein, whereunto the
whole multitude fled, he made preparation to besiege it. Now as
he was rushing with violence near the gates, a woman threw a
piece of a millstone upon his head, upon which Abimelech fell
down, and desired his armor-bearer to kill him lest his death
should be thought to be the work of a woman: - who did what he
was bid to do. So he underwent this death as a punishment for the
wickedness he had perpetrated against his brethren, and his
insolent barbarity to the Shechemites. Now the calamity that
happened to those Shechemites was according to the prediction of
Jotham, However, the army that was with Abimelech, upon his fall,
was scattered abroad, and went to their own homes.

6. Now it was that Jair the Gileadite, (16) of the tribe of
Manasseh, took the government. He was a man happy in other
respects also, but particularly in his children, who were of a
good character. They were thirty in number, and very skillful in
riding on horses, and were intrusted with the government of the
cities of Gilead. He kept the government twenty-two years, and
died an old man; and he was buried in Camon, a city of Gilead.

7. And now all the affairs of the Hebrews were managed
uncertainly, and tended to disorder, and to the contempt of God
and of the laws. So the Ammonites and Philistines had them in
contempt, and laid waste the country with a great army; and when
they had taken all Perea, they were so insolent as to attempt to
gain the possession of all the rest. But the Hebrews, being now
amended by the calamities they had undergone, betook themselves
to supplications to God; and brought sacrifices to him,
beseeching him not to be too severe upon them, but to be moved by
their prayers to leave off his anger against them. So God became
more merciful to them, and was ready to assist them.

8. When the Ammonites had made an expedition into the land of
Gilead, the inhabitants of the country met them at a certain
mountain, but wanted a commander. Now there was one whose name
was Jephtha, who, both on account of his father's virtue, and on
account of that army which he maintained at his own expenses, was
a potent man: the Israelites therefore sent to him, and entreated
him to come to their assistance, and promised him the dominion
over them all his lifetime. But he did not admit of their
entreaty; and accused them, that they did not come to his
assistance when he was unjustly treated, and this in an open
manner by his brethren; for they cast him off, as not having the
same mother with the rest, but born of a strange mother, that was
introduced among them by his father's fondness; and this they did
out of a contempt of his inability [to vindicate himself]. So he
dwelt in the country of Gilead, as it is called, and received all
that came to him, let them come from what place soever, and paid
them wages. However, when they pressed him to accept the
dominion, and sware they would grant him the government over them
all his life, he led them to the war.

9. And when Jephtha had taken immediate care of their affairs, he
placed his army at the city Mizpeh, and sent a message to the
Ammonite [king], complaining of his unjust possession of their
land. But that king sent a contrary message; and complained of
the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt, and desired him to go
out of the land of the Amorites, and yield it up to him, as at
first his paternal inheritance. But Jephtha returned this answer:
That he did not justly complain of his ancestors about the land
of the Amorites, and ought rather to thank them that they left
the land of the Ammonites to them, since Moses could have taken
it also; and that neither would he recede from that land of their
own, which God had obtained for them, and they had now inhabited
[above] three hundred years, but would fight with them about it.

10. And when he had given them this answer, he sent the
ambassadors away. And when he had prayed for victory, and had
vowed to perform sacred offices, and if he came home in safety,
to offer in sacrifice what living creature soever should first
meet him, (17) he joined battle with the enemy, and gained a
great victory, and in his pursuit slew the enemies all along as
far as the city of Minnith. He then passed over to the land of
the Ammonites, and overthrew many of their cities, and took their
prey, and freed his own people from that slavery which they had
undergone for eighteen years. But as he came back, he fell into a
calamity no way correspondent to the great actions he had done;
for it was his daughter that came to meet him; she was also an
only child and a virgin: upon this Jephtha heavily lamented the
greatness of his affliction, and blamed his daughter for being so
forward in meeting him, for he had vowed to sacrifice her to God.
However, this action that was to befall her was not ungrateful to
her, since she should die upon occasion of her father's victory,
and the liberty of her fellow citizens: she only desired her
father to give her leave, for two months, to bewail her youth
with her fellow citizens; and then she agreed, that at the
forementioned thee he might do with her according to his vow.
Accordingly, when that time was over, he sacrificed his daughter
as a burnt-offering, offering such an oblation as was neither
conformable to the law nor acceptable to God, not weighing with
himself what opinion the hearers would have of such a practice.

11. Now the tribe of Ephraim fought against him, because he did
not take them along with him in his expedition against the
Ammonites, but because he alone had the prey, and the glory of
what was done to himself. As to which he said, first, that they
were not ignorant how his kindred had fought against him, and
that when they were invited, they did not come to his assistance,
whereas they ought to have come quickly, even before they were
invited. And in the next place, that they were going to act
unjustly; for while they had not courage enough to fight their
enemies, they came hastily against their own kindred: and he
threatened them that, with God's assistance, he would inflict a
punishment upon them, unless they would grow wiser. But when he
could not persuade them, he fought with them with those forces
which he sent for out of Gilead, and he made a great slaughter
among them; and when they were beaten, he pursued them, and
seized on the passages of Jordan by a part of his army which he
had sent before, and slew about forty-two thousand of them.

12. So when Jephtha had ruled six years, he died, and was buried
in his own country, Sebee, which is a place in the land of

13. Now when Jephtha was dead, Ibzan took the government, being
of the tribe of Judah, and of the city of Bethlehem. He had sixty
children, thirty of them sons, and the rest daughters; all whom
he left alive behind him, giving the daughters in marriage to
husbands, and taking wives for his sons. He did nothing in the
seven years of his administration that was worth recording, or
deserved a memorial. So he died an old man, and was buried in his
own country.

14. When Ibzan was dead after this manner, neither did Helon, who
succeeded him in the government, and kept it ten years, do any
thing remarkable: he was of the tribe of Zebulon.

15. Abdon also, the son of Hilel, of the tribe of Ephraim, and
born at the city Pyrathon, was ordained their supreme governor
after Helon. He is only recorded to have been happy in his
children; for the public affairs were then so peaceable, and in
such security, that neither did he perform any glorious action.
He had forty sons, and by them left thirty grandchildren; and he
marched in state with these seventy, who were all very skillful
in riding horses; and he left them all alive after him. He died
an old man, and obtained a magnificent burial in Pyrathon.


Concerning The Fortitude Of Samson, And What Mischiefs He Brought
Upon The Philistines.

1. After Abdon was dead, the Philistines overcame the Israelites,
and received tribute of them for forty years; from which distress
they were delivered after this manner: -

2. There was one Manoah, a person of such great virtue, that he
had few men his equals, and without dispute the principal person
of his country. He had a wife celebrated for her beauty, and
excelling her contemporaries. He had no children; and, being
uneasy at his want of posterity, he entreated God to give them
seed of their own bodies to succeed them; and with that intent he
came constantly into the suburbs (18) together with his wife;
which suburbs were in the Great Plain. Now he was fond of his
wife to a degree of madness, and on that account was unmeasurably
jealous of her. Now, when his wife was once alone, an apparition
was seen by her: it was an angel of God, and resembled a young
man beautiful and tall, and brought her the good news that she
should have a son, born by God's providence, that should be a
goodly child, of great strength; by whom, when he was grown up to
man's estate, the Philistines should be afflicted. He exhorted
her also not to poll his hair, and that he should avoid all other
kinds of drink, (for so had God commanded,) and be entirely
contented with water. So the angel, when he had delivered that
message, went his way, his coming having been by the will of God.

3. Now the wife informed her husband when he came home of what
the angel had said, who showed so great an admiration of the
beauty and tallness of the young man that had appeared to her,
that her husband was astonished, and out of himself for jealousy,
and such suspicions as are excited by that passion: but she was
desirous of having her husband's unreasonable sorrow taken away;
accordingly she entreated God to send the angel again, that he
might be seen by her husband. So the angel came again by the
favor of God, while they were in the suburbs, and appeared to her
when she was alone without her husband. She desired the angel to
stay so long till she might bring her husband; and that request
being granted, she goes to call Manoah. When he saw the angel he
was not yet free from suspicion, and he desired him to inform him
of all that he had told his wife; but when he said it was
sufficient that she alone knew what he had said, he then
requested of him to tell who he was, that when the child was born
they might return him thanks, and give him a present. He replied
that he did not want any present, for that he did not bring them
the good news of the birth of a son out of the want of any thing.
And when Manoah had entreated him to stay, and partake of his
hospitality, he did not give his consent. However he was
persuaded, at the earnest request of Manoah to stay so long as
while he brought him one mark of his hospitality; so he slew a
kid of the goats, and bid his wife boil it. When all was ready,
the angel enjoined him to set the loaves and the flesh, but
without the vessels, upon the rock; which when they had done, he
touched the flesh with the rod which he had in his hand, which,
upon the breaking out of a flame, was consumed, together with the
loaves; and the angel ascended openly, in their sight, up to
heaven, by means of the smoke, as by a vehicle. Now Manoah was
afraid that some danger would come to them from this sight of
God; but his wife bade him be of good courage, for that God
appeared to them for their benefit.

4. So the woman proved with child, and was careful to observe the
injunctions that were given her; and they called the child, when
he was born, Samson, which name signifies one that is strong. So
the child grew apace; and it appeared evidently that he would be
a prophet, (19) both by the moderation of his diet, and the
permission of his hair to grow.

5. Now when he once came with his parents to Timhath, a city of
the Philistines, when there was a great festival, he fell in love
with a maid of that country, and he desired of his parents that
they would procure him the damsel for his wife: but they refused
so to do, because she was not of the stock of Israel; yet because
this marriage was of God, who intended to convert it to the
benefit of the Hebrews, he over-persuaded them to procure her to
be espoused to him. And as he was continually coming to her
parents, he met a lion, and though he was naked, he received his
onset, and strangled him with his hands, and cast the wild beast
into a woody piece of ground on the inside of the road.

6. And when he was going another time to the damsel, he lit upon
a swarm of bees making their combs in the breast of that lion;
and taking three honey-combs away, he gave them, together with
the rest of his presents, to the damsel. Now the people of
Timhath, out of a dread of the young man's strength, gave him
during the time of the wedding-feast (for he then feasted them
all) thirty of the most stout of their youth, in pretense to be
his companions, but in reality to be a guard upon him, that he
might not attempt to give them any disturbance. Now as they were
drinking merrily and playing, Samson said, as was usual at such
times, Come, if I propose you a riddle, and you can expound it in
these seven days' thee, I will give you every one a linen shirt
and a garment, as the reward of your wisdom." So they being very
ambitious to obtain the glory of wisdom, together with the gains,
desired him to propose his riddle. He, "That a devourer produced
sweet food out of itself, though itself were very disagreeable."
And when they were not able, in three days' time, to find out the
meaning of the riddle, they desired the damsel to discover it by
the means of her husband, and tell it them; and they threatened
to burn her if she did not tell it them. So when the damsel
entreated Samson to tell it her, he at first refused to do it;
but when she lay hard at him, and fell into tears, and made his
refusal to tell it a sign of his unkindness to her, he informed
her of his slaughter of a lion, and how he found bees in his
breast, and carried away three honey-combs, and brought them to
her. Thus he, suspecting nothing of deceit, informed her of all,
and she revealed it to those that desired to know it. Then on the
seventh day, whereon they were to expound the riddle proposed to
them, they met together before sun-setting, and said, "Nothing is
more disagreeable than a lion to those that light on it, and
nothing is sweeter than honey to those that make use of it." To
which Samson made this rejoinder: "Nothing is more deceitful than
a woman for such was the person that discovered my interpretation
to you." Accordingly he gave them the presents he had promised
them, making such Askelonites as met him upon the road his prey,
who were themselves Philistines also. But he divorced this his
wife; and the girl despised his anger, and was married to his
companion, who made the former match between them.

7. At this injurious treatment Samson was so provoked, that he
resolved to punish all the Philistines, as well as her: so it
being then summer-time, and the fruits of the land being almost
ripe enough for reaping, he caught three hundred foxes, and
joining lighted torches to their tails, he sent them into the
fields of the Philistines, by which means the fruits of the
fields perished. Now when the Philistines knew that this was
Samson's doing, and knew also for what cause he did it, they sent
their rulers to Timhath, and burnt his former wife, and her
relations, who had been the occasion of their misfortunes.

8. Now when Samson had slain many of the Philistines in the plain
country, he dwelt at Etam, which is a strong rock of the tribe of
Judah; for the Philistines at that time made an expedition
against that tribe: but the people of Judah said that they did
not act justly with them, in inflicting punishments upon them
while they paid their tribute, and this only on account of
Samson's offenses. They answered, that in case they would not be
blamed themselves, they must deliver up Samson, and put him into
their power. So they being desirous not to be blamed themselves,
came to the rock with three thousand armed men, and complained to
Samson of the bold insults he had made upon the Philistines, who
were men able to bring calamity upon the whole nation of the
Hebrews; and they told him they were come to take him, and to
deliver him up to them, and put him into their power; so they
desired him to bear this willingly. Accordingly, when he had
received assurance from them upon oath, that they would do him no
other harm than only to deliver him into his enemies' hands, he
came down from the rock, and put himself into the power of his
countrymen. Then did they bind him with two cords, and lead him
on, in order to deliver him to the Philistines; and when they
came to a certain place, which is now called the Jaw-bone, on
account of the great action there performed by Samson, though of
old it had no particular name at all, the Philistines, who had
pitched their camp not far off, came to meet them with joy and
shouting, as having done a great thing, and gained what they
desired; but Samson broke his bonds asunder, and catching up the
jaw-bone of an ass that lay down at his feet, fell upon his
enemies, and smiting them with his jaw-bone, slew a thousand of
them, and put the rest to flight and into great disorder.

9. Upon this slaughter Samson was too proud of what he had
performed, and said that this did not come to pass by the
assistance of God, but that his success was to be ascribed to his
own courage; and vaunted himself, that it was out of a dread of
him that some of his enemies fell and the rest ran away upon his
use of the jaw-bone; but when a great thirst came upon him, he
considered that human courage is nothing, and bare his testimony
that all is to be ascribed to God, and besought him that he would
not be angry at any thing he had said, nor give him up into the
hands of his enemies, but afford him help under his affliction,
and deliver him from the misfortune he was under. Accordingly God
was moved with his entreaties, and raised him up a plentiful
fountain of sweet water at a certain rock whence it was that
Samson called the place the Jaw-bone, (20) and so it is called to
this day.

10. After this fight Samson held the Philistines in contempt, and
came to Gaza, and took up his lodgings in a certain inn. When the
rulers of Gaza were informed of his coming thither, they seized
upon the gates, and placed men in ambush about them, that he
might not escape without being perceived; but Samson, who was
acquainted with their contrivances against him, arose about
midnight, and ran by force upon the gates, with their posts and
beams, and the rest of their wooden furniture, and carried them
away on his shoulders, and bare them to the mountain that is over
Hebron, and there laid them down.

11. However, he at length (21) transgressed the laws of his
country, and altered his own regular way of living, and imitated
the strange customs of foreigners, which thing was the beginning
of his miseries; for he fell in love with a woman that was a
harlot among the Philistines: her name was Delilah, and he lived
with her. So those that administered the public affairs of the
Philistines came to her, and, with promises, induced her to get
out of Samson what was the cause of that his strength, by which
he became unconquerable to his enemies. Accordingly, when they
were drinking, and had the like conversation together, she
pretended to admire the actions he had done, and contrived to get
out of him by subtlety, by what means he so much excelled others
in strength. Samson, in order to delude Delilah, for he had not
yet lost his senses, replied, that if he were bound with seven
such green withs of a vine as might still be wreathed, he should
be weaker than any other man. The woman said no more then, but
told this to the rulers of the Philistines, and hid certain of
the soldiers in ambush within the house; and when he was
disordered in drink and asleep, she bound him as fast as possible
with the withs; and then upon her awakening him, she told him
some of the people were upon him; but he broke the withs, and
endeavored to defend himself, as though some of the people were
upon him. Now this woman, in the constant conversation Samson had
with her, pretended that she took it very ill that he had such
little confidence in her affections to him, that he would not
tell her what she desired, as if she would not conceal what she
knew it was for his interest to have concealed. However, he
deluded her again, and told her, that if they bound him with
seven cords, he should lose his strength. And when, upon doing
this, she gained nothing, he told her the third thee, that his
hair should be woven into a web; but when, upon doing this, the
truth was not yet discovered, at length Samson, upon Delilah's
prayer, (for he was doomed to fall into some affliction,) was
desirous to please her, and told her that God took care of him,
and that he was born by his providence, and that "thence it is
that I suffer my hair to grow, God having charged me never to
poll my head, and thence my strength is according to the increase
and continuance of my hair." When she had learned thus much, and
had deprived him of his hair, she delivered him up to his
enemies, when he was not strong enough to defend himself from
their attempts upon him; so they put out his eyes, and bound him,
and had him led about among them.

12. But in process of time Samson's hair grew again. And there
was a public festival among the Philistines, when the rulers, and
those of the most eminent character, were feasting together; (now
the room wherein they were had its roof supported by two pillars
;) so they sent for Samson, and he was brought to their feast,
that they might insult him in their cups. Hereupon he, thinking
it one of the greatest misfortunes, if he should not be able to
revenge himself when he was thus insulted, persuaded the boy that
led him by the hand, that he was weary and wanted to rest
himself, and desired he would bring him near the pillars; and as
soon as he came to them, he rushed with force against them, and
overthrew the house, by overthrowing its pillars, with three
thousand men in it, who were all slain, and Samson with them. And
such was the end of this man, when he had ruled over the
Israelites twenty years. And indeed this man deserves to be
admired for his courage and strength, and magnanimity at his
death, and that his wrath against his enemies went so far as to
die himself with them. But as for his being ensnared by a woman,
that is to be ascribed to human nature, which is too weak to
resist the temptations to that sin; but we ought to bear him
witness, that in all other respects he was one of extraordinary
virtue. But his kindred took away his body, and buried it in
Sarasat his own country, with the rest of his family.


How Under Eli's Government Of The Israelites Booz Married Ruth,
From Whom Came Obed The Grandfather Of David.

1. Now after the death of Samson, Eli the high priest was
governor of the Israelites. Under him, when the country was
afflicted with a famine, Elimelech of Bethlehem, which is a city
of the tribe of Judah, being not able to support his family under
so sore a distress, took with him Naomi his wife, and the
children that were born to him by her, Chillon and Mahlon, and
removed his habitation into the land of Moab; and upon the happy
prosperity of his affairs there, he took for his sons wives of
the Moabites, Orpah for Chillon, and Ruth for Mahlon. But in the
compass of ten years, both Elimelech, and a little while after
him, the sons, died; and Naomi being very uneasy at these
accidents, and not being able to bear her lonesome condition, now
those that were dearest to her were dead, on whose account it was
that she had gone away from her own country, she returned to it
again, for she had been informed it was now in a flourishing
condition. However, her daughters-in-law were not able to think
of parting with her; and when they had a mind to go out of the
country with her, she could not dissuade them from it; but when
they insisted upon it, she wished them a more happy wedlock than
they had with her sons, and that they might have prosperity in
other respects also; and seeing her own affairs were so low, she
exhorted them to stay where they were, and not to think of
leaving their own country, and partaking with her of that
uncertainty under which she must return. Accordingly Orpah staid
behind; but she took Ruth along with her, as not to be persuaded
to stay behind her, but would take her fortune with her,
whatsoever it should prove.

2. When Ruth was come with her mother-in-law to Bethlehem, Booz,
who was near of kin to Elimelech, entertained her; and when Naomi
was so called by her fellow citizens, according to her true name,
she said, "You might more truly call me Mara." Now Naomi
signifies in the Hebrew tongue happiness, and Mara, sorrow. It
was now reaping thee; and Ruth, by the leave of her
mother-in-law, went out to glean, that they might get a stock of
corn for their food. Now it happened that she came into Booz's
field; and after some thee Booz came thither, and when he saw the
damsel, he inquired of his servant that was set over the reapers
concerning the girl. The servant had a little before inquired
about all her circumstances, and told them to his master, who
kindly embraced her, both on account of her affection to her
mother-in-law, and her remembrance of that son of hers to whom
she had been married, and wished that she might experience a
prosperous condition; so he desired her not to glean, but to reap
what she was able, and gave her leave to carry it home. He also
gave it in charge to that servant who was over the reapers, not
to hinder her when she took it away, and bade him give her her
dinner, and make her drink when he did the like to the reapers.
Now what corn Ruth received of him she kept for her
mother-in-law, and came to her in the evening, and brought the
ears of corn with her; and Naomi had kept for her a part of such
food as her neighbors had plentifully bestowed upon her. Ruth
also told her mother-in-law what Booz had said to her; and when
the other had informed her that he was near of kin to them, and
perhaps was so pious a man as to make some provision for them,
she went out again on the days following, to gather the gleanings
with Booz's maidservants.

3. It was not many days before Booz, after the barley was
winnowed, slept in his thrashing-floor. When Naomi was informed
of this circumstance she contrived it so that Ruth should lie
down by him, for she thought it might be for their advantage that
he should discourse with the girl. Accordingly she sent the
damsel to sleep at his feet; who went as she bade her, for she
did not think it consistent with her duty to contradict any
command of her mother-in-law. And at first she lay concealed from
Booz, as he was fast asleep; but when he awaked about midnight,
and perceived a woman lying by him, he asked who she was; - and
when she told him her name, and desired that he whom she owned
for her lord would excuse her, he then said no more; but in the
morning, before the servants began to set about their work, he
awaked her, and bid her take as much barley as she was able to
carry, and go to her mother-in-law before any body there should
see that she had lain down by him, because it was but prudent to
avoid any reproach that might arise on that account, especially
when there had been nothing done that was ill. But as to the main
point she aimed at, the matter should rest here, - "He that is
nearer of kin than I am, shall be asked whether he wants to take
thee to wife: if he says he does, thou shalt follow him; but if
he refuse it, I will marry thee, according to the law."

4. When she had informed her mother-in-law of this, they were
very glad of it, out of the hope they had that Booz would make
provision for them. Now about noon Booz went down into the city,
and gathered the senate together, and when he had sent for Ruth,
he called for her kinsman also; and when he was come, he said,
"Dost not thou retain the inheritance of Elimelech and his sons?"
He confessed that he did retain it, and that he did as he was
permitted to do by the laws, because he was their nearest
kinsman. Then said Booz, "Thou must not remember the laws by
halves, but do every thing according to them; for the wife of
Mahlon is come hither, whom thou must marry, according to the
law, in case thou wilt retain their fields." So the man yielded
up both the field and the wife to Booz, who was himself of kin to
those that were dead, as alleging that he had a wife already, and
children also; so Booz called the senate to witness, and bid the
woman to loose his shoe, and spit in his face, according to the
law; and when this was done, Booz married Ruth, and they had a
son within a year's time. Naomi was herself a nurse to this
child; and by the advice of the women, called him Obed, as being
to be brought up in order to be subservient to her in her old
age, for Obed in the Hebrew dialect signifies a servant. The son
of Obed was Jesse, and David was his son, who was king, and left
his dominions to his sons for one and twenty generations. I was
therefore obliged to relate this history of Ruth, because I had a
mind to demonstrate the power of God, who, without difficulty,
can raise those that are of ordinary parentage to dignity and
splendor, to which he advanced David, though he were born of such
mean parents.


Concerning The Birth Of Samuel; And How He Foretold The Calamity
That Befell The Sons Of Eli.

1. And now upon the ill state of the affairs of the Hebrews, they
made war again upon the Philistines. The occasion was this: Eli,
the high priest, had two sons, Hophni and Phineas. These sons of
Eli were guilty of injustice towards men, and of impiety towards
God, and abstained from no sort of wickedness. Some of their
gifts they carried off, as belonging to the honorable employment
they had; others of them they took away by violence. They also
were guilty of impurity with the women that came to worship God
at the tabernacle, obliging some to submit to their lust by
force, and enticing others by bribes; nay, the whole course of
their lives was no better than tyranny. Their father therefore
was angry at them for such their wickedness, and expected that
God would suddenly inflict his punishments upon them for what
they had done. The multitude took it heinously also. And as soon
as God had foretold what calamity would befall Eli's sons, which
he did both to Eli himself and to Samuel the prophet, who was yet
but a child, he openly showed his sorrow for his sons'

2. I will first despatch what I have to say about the prophet
Samuel, and after that will proceed to speak of the sons of Eli,
and the miseries they brought on the whole people of the Hebrews.
Elcanah, a Levite, one of a middle condition among his fellow
citizens, and one that dwelt at Ramathaim, a city of the tribe of
Ephraim, married two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. He had children
by the latter; but he loved the other best, although she was
barren. Now Elcanah came with his wives to the city Shiloh to
sacrifice, for there it was that the tabernacle of God was fixed,
as we have formerly said. Now when, after he had sacrificed, he
distributed at that festival portions of the flesh to his wives
and children, and when Hannah saw the other wife's children
sitting round about their mother, she fell into tears, and
lamented herself on account of her barrenness and lonesomeness;
and suffering her grief to prevail over her husband's
consolations to her, she went to the tabernacle to beseech God to
give her seed, and to make her a mother; and to vow to consecrate
the first son she should bear to the service of God, and this in
such a way, that his manner of living should not be like that of
ordinary men. And as she continued at her prayers a long time,
Eli, the high priest, for he sat there before the tabernacle, bid
her go away, thinking she had been disordered with wine; but when
she said she had drank water, but was in sorrow for want of
children, and was beseeching God for them, he bid her be of good
cheer, and told her that God would send her children.

3. So she came to her husband full of hope, and ate her meal with
gladness. And when they had returned to their own country she
found herself with child, and they had a son born to them, to
whom they gave the name of Samuel, which may be styled one that
was asked of God. They therefore came to the tabernacle to offer
sacrifice for the birth of the child, and brought their tithes
with them; but the woman remembered the vows she had made
concerning her son, and delivered him to Eli, dedicating him to
God, that he might become a prophet. Accordingly his hair was
suffered to grow long, and his drink was water. So Samuel dwelt
and was brought up in the temple. But Elcanah had other sons by
Hannah, and three daughters.

4. Now when Samuel was twelve years old, he began to prophesy:
and once when he was asleep, God called to him by his name; and
he, supposing he had been called by the high priest, came to him:
but when the high priest said he did not call him, God did so
thrice. Eli was then so far illuminated, that he said to him,
"Indeed, Samuel, I was silent now as well as before: it is God
that calls thee; do thou therefore signify it to him, and say, I
am here ready." So when he heard God speak again, he desired him
to speak, and to deliver what oracles he pleased to him, for he
would not fail to perform any ministration whatsoever he should
make use of him in; - to which God replied, "Since thou art here
ready, learn what miseries are coming upon the Israelites, - such
indeed as words cannot declare, nor faith believe; for the sons
of Eli shall die on one day, and the priesthood shall be
transferred into the family of Eleazar; for Eli hath loved his
sons more than he hath loved my worship, and to such a degree as
is not for their advantage." Which message Eli obliged the
prophet by oath to tell him, for otherwise he had no inclination
to afflict him by telling it. And now Eli had a far more sure
expectation of the perdition of his sons; but the glory of Samuel
increased more and more, it being found by experience that
whatsoever he prophesied came to pass accordingly. (22)

Herein Is Declared What Befell The Sons Of Eli, The Ark, And The
People And How Eli Himself Died Miserably.

1. About this time it was that the Philistines made war against
the Israelites, and pitched their camp at the city Aphek. Now
when the Israelites had expected them a little while, the very
next day they joined battle, and the Philistines were conquerors,
and slew above four thousand of the Hebrews, and pursued the rest
of their multitude to their camp.

2. So the Hebrews being afraid of the worst, sent to the senate,
and to the high priest, and desired that they would bring the ark
of God, that by putting themselves in array, when it was present
with them, they might be too hard for their enemies, as not
reflecting that he who had condemned them to endure these
calamities was greater than the ark, and for whose sake it was
that this ark came to be honored. So the ark came, and the sons
of the high priest with it, having received a charge from their
father, that if they pretended to survive the taking of the ark,
they should come no more into his presence, for Phineas
officiated already as high priest, his father having resigned his
office to him, by reason of his great age. So the Hebrews were
full of courage, as supposing that, by the coming of the ark,
they should be too hard for their enemies: their enemies also
were greatly concerned, and were afraid of the ark's coming to
the Israelites: however, the upshot did not prove agreeable to
the expectation of both sides, but when the battle was joined,
that victory which the Hebrews expected was gained by the
Philistines, and that defeat the Philistines were afraid of fell
to the lot of the Israelites, and thereby they found that they
had put their trust in the ark in vain, for they were presently
beaten as soon as they came to a close fight with their enemies,
and lost about thirty thousand men, among whom were the sons of
the high priest; but the ark was carried away by the enemies.

3. When the news of this defeat came to Shiloh, with that of the
captivity of the ark, (for a certain young man, a Benjamite, who
was in the action, came as a messenger thither,) the whole city
was full of lamentations. And Eli, the high priest, who sat upon
a high throne at one of the gates, heard their mournful cries,
and supposed that some strange thing had befallen his family. So
he sent for the young man; and when he understood what had
happened in the battle, he was not much uneasy as to his sons, or
what was told him withal about the army, as having beforehand
known by Divine revelation that those things would happen, and
having himself declared them beforehand, - for what sad things
come unexpectedly they distress men the most; but as soon as [he
heard] the ark was carried captive by their enemies, he was very
much grieved at it, because it fell out quite differently from
what he expected; so he fell down from his throne and died,
having in all lived ninety-eight years, and of them retained the
government forty.

4. On the same day his son Phineas's wife died also, as not able
to survive the misfortune of her husband; for they told her of
her husband's death as she was in labor. However, she bare a son
at seven months, who lived, and to whom they gave the name of
Icabod, which name signifies disgrace, - and this because the
army received a disgrace at this thee.

5. Now Eli was the first of the family of Ithamar, the other son
of Aaron, that had the government; for the family of Eleazar
officiated as high priest at first, the son still receiving that
honor from the father which Eleazar bequeathed to his son
Phineas; after whom Abiezer his son took the honor, and delivered
it to his son, whose name was Bukki, from whom his son Ozi
received it; after whom Eli, of whom we have been speaking, had
the priesthood, and so he and his posterity until the thee of
Solomon's reign; but then the posterity of Eleazar reassumed it.


Containing The Interval Of Thirty-Two Years.

From The Death Of Eli To The Death Of Saul.


The Destruction That Came Upon The Philistines, And Upon Their
Land, By The Wrath Of Go On Account Of Their Having Carried The
Ark Away Captive; And After What Manner They Sent It Back To The

1. When the Philistines had taken the ark of the Hebrews captive,
as I said a little before, they carried it to the city of Ashdod,
and put it by their own god, who was called Dagon, (1) as one of
their spoils; but when they went into his temple the next morning
to worship their god, they found him paying the same worship to
the ark, for he lay along, as having fallen down from the basis
whereon he had stood: so they took him up, and set him on his
basis again, and were much troubled at what had happened; and as
they frequently came to Dagon and found him still lying along, in
a posture of adoration to the ark, they were in very great
distress and confusion. At length God sent a very destructive
disease upon the city and country of Ashdod, for they died of the
dysentery or flux, a sore distemper, that brought death upon them
very suddenly; for before the soul could, as usual in easy
deaths, be well loosed from the body, they brought up their
entrails, and vomited up what they had eaten, and what was
entirely corrupted by the disease. And as to the fruits of their
country, a great multitude of mice arose out of the earth and
hurt them, and spared neither the plants nor the fruits. Now
while the people of Ashdod were under these misfortunes, and were
not able to support themselves under their calamities, they
perceived that they suffered thus because of the ark, and that
the victory they had gotten, and their having taken the ark
captive, had not happened for their good; they therefore sent to
the people of Askelon, and desired that they would receive the
ark among them. This desire of the people of Ashdod was not
disagreeable to those of Askelon, so they granted them that
favor. But when they had gotten the ark, they were in the same
miserable condition; for the ark carried along with it the
disasters that the people of Ashdod had suffered, to those who
received it from them. Those of Askelon also sent it away from
themselves to others: nor did it stay among those others neither;
for since they were pursued by the same disasters, they still
sent it to the neighboring cities; so that the ark went round,
after this manner, to the five cities of the Philistines, as
though it exacted these disasters as a tribute to be paid it for
its coming among them.

2. When those that had experienced these miseries were tired out
with them, and when those that heard of them were taught thereby
not to admit the ark among them, since they paid so dear a
tribute for it, at length they sought for some contrivance and
method how they might get free from it: so the governors of the
five cities, Gath, and Ekron, and Askelon, as also of Gaza, and
Ashclod, met together, and considered what was fit to be done;
and at first they thought proper to send the ark back to its own
people, as allowing that God had avenged its cause; that the
miseries they had undergone came along with it, and that these
were sent on their cities upon its account, and together with it.
However, there were those that said they should not do so, nor
suffer themselves to be deluded, as ascribing the cause of their
miseries to it, because it could not have such power and force
upon them; for, had God had such a regard to it, it would not
have been delivered into the hands of men. So they exhorted them
to be quiet, and to take patiently what had befallen them, and to
suppose there was no other cause of it but nature, which, at
certain revolutions of time, produces such mutations in the
bodies of men, in the earth, in plants, and in all things that
grow out of the earth. But the counsel that prevailed over those
already described, was that of certain men, who were believed to
have distinguished themselves in former times for their
understanding and prudence, and who, in their present
circumstances, seemed above all the rest to speak properly. These
men said it was not right either to send the ark away, or to
retain it, but to dedicate five golden images, one for every
city, as a thank-offering to God, on account of his having taken
care of their preservation, and having kept them alive when their
lives were likely to be taken away by such distempers as they
were not able to bear up against. They also would have them make
five golden mice like to those that devoured and destroyed their
country (2) to put them in a bag, and lay them upon the ark; to
make them a new cart also for it, and to yoke milch kine to it
(3) but to shut up their calves, and keep them from them, lest,
by following after them, they should prove a hinderance to their
dams, and that the dams might return the faster out of a desire
of those calves; then to drive these milch kine that carried the
ark, and leave it at a place where three ways met, and So leave
it to the kine to go along which of those ways they pleased; that
in case they went the way to the Hebrews, and ascended to their
country, they should suppose that the ark was the cause of their
misfortunes; but if they turned into another road, they said, "We
will pursue after it, and conclude that it has no such force in

3. So they determined that these men spake well; and they
immediately confirmed their opinion by doing accordingly. And
when they had done as has been already described, they brought
the cart to a place where three ways met, and left it there and
went their ways; but the kine went the right way, and as if some
persons had driven them, while the rulers of the Philistines
followed after them, as desirous to know where they would stand
still, and to whom they would go. Now there was a certain village
of the tribe of Judah, the name of which was Bethshemesh, and to
that village did the kine go; and though there was a great and
good plain before them to proceed in, they went no farther, but
stopped the cart there. This was a sight to those of that
village, and they were very glad; for it being then summer-time,
and all the inhabitants being then in the fields gathering in
their fruits, they left off the labors of their hands for joy, as
soon as they saw the ark, and ran to the cart, and taking the ark
down, and the vessel that had the images in it, and the mice,
they set them upon a certain rock which was in the plain; and
when they had offered a splendid sacrifice to God, and feasted,
they offered the cart and the kine as a burnt-offering: and when
the lords of the Philistines saw this, they returned back.

4. But now it was that the wrath of God overtook them, and struck
seventy persons of the village of Bethshemesh dead, who, not
being priests, and so not worthy to touch the ark, had approached
to it. Those of that village wept for these that had thus
suffered, and made such a lamentation as was naturally to be
expected on so great a misfortune that was sent from God; and
every one mourned for his own relation. And since they
acknowledged themselves unworthy of the ark's abode with them,
they sent to the public senate of the Israelites, and informed
them that the ark was restored by the Philistines; which when
they knew, they brought it away to Kirjathjearim, a city in the
neighborhood of Bethshemesh. In this city lived one Abinadab, by
birth a Levite, and who was greatly commended for his righteous
and religious course of life; so they brought the ark to his
house, as to a place fit for God himself to abide in, since
therein did inhabit a righteous man. His sons also ministered to
the Divine service at the ark, and were the principal curators of
it for twenty years; for so many years it continued in
Kirjathjearim, having been but four months with the Philistines.


The Expedition Of The Philistines Against The Hebrews And The
Hebrews' Victory Under The Conduct Of Samuel The Prophet, Who Was
Their General.

1. Now while the city of Kirjathjearim had the ark with them, the
whole body of the people betook themselves all that time to offer
prayers and sacrifices to God, and appeared greatly concerned and
zealous about his worship. So Samuel the prophet, seeing how
ready they were to do their duty, thought this a proper time to
speak to them, while they were in this good disposition, about
the recovery of their liberty, and of the blessings that
accompanied the same. Accordingly he used such words to them as
he thought were most likely to excite that inclination, and to
persuade them to attempt it: "O you Israelites," said he, "to
whom the Philistines are still grievous enemies, but to whom God
begins to be gracious, it behooves you not only to be desirous of
liberty, but to take the proper methods to obtain it. Nor are you
to be contented with an inclination to get clear of your lords
and masters, while you still do what will procure your
continuance under them. Be righteous then, and cast wickedness
out of your souls, and by your worship supplicate the Divine
Majesty with all your hearts, and persevere in the honor you pay
to him; for if you act thus, you will enjoy prosperity; you will
be freed from your slavery, and will get the victory over your
enemies: which blessings it is not possible you should attain,
either by weapons of war, or by the strength of your bodies, or
by the multitude of your assistants; for God has not promised to
grant these blessings by those means, but by being good and
righteous men; and if you will be such, I will be security to you
for the performance of God's promises." When Samuel had said
thus, the multitude applauded his discourse, and were pleased
with his exhortation to them, and gave their consent to resign
themselves up to do what was pleasing to God. So Samuel gathered
them together to a certain city called Mizpeh, which, in the
Hebrew tongue, signifies a watch-tower; there they drew water,
and poured it out to God, and fasted all day, and betook
themselves to their prayers.

2. This their assembly did not escape the notice of the
Philistines: so when they had learned that so large a company had
met together, they fell upon the Hebrews with a great army and
mighty forces, as hoping to assault them when they did not expect
it, nor were prepared for it. This thing affrighted the Hebrews,
and put them into disorder and terror; so they came running to
Samuel, and said that their souls were sunk by their fears, and
by the former defeat they had received, and "that thence it was
that we lay still, lest we should excite the power of our enemies
against us. Now while thou hast brought us hither to offer up our
prayers and sacrifices, and take oaths [to be obedient], our
enemies are making an expedition against us, while we are naked
and unarmed; wherefore we have no other hope of deliverance but
that by thy means, and by the assistance God shall afford us upon
thy prayers to him, we shall obtain deliverance from the
Philistines." Hereupon Samuel bade them be of good cheer, and
promised them that God would assist them; and taking a sucking
lamb, he sacrificed it for the multitude, and besought God to
hold his protecting hand over them when they should fight with
the Philistines, and not to overlook them, nor suffer them to
come under a second misfortune. Accordingly God hearkened to his
prayers, and accepting their sacrifice with a gracious intention,
and such as was disposed to assist them, he granted them victory
and power over their enemies. Now while the altar had the
sacrifice of God upon it, and had not yet consumed it wholly by
its sacred fire, the enemy's army marched out of their camp, and
was put in order of battle, and this in hope that they should be
conquerors, since the Jews (5) were caught in distressed
circumstances, as neither having their weapons with them, nor
being assembled there in order to fight. But things so fell out,
that they would hardly have been credited though they had been
foretold by anybody: for, in the first place, God disturbed their
enemies with an earthquake, and moved the ground under them to
such a degree, that he caused it to tremble, and made them to
shake, insomuch that by its trembling, he made some unable to
keep their feet, and made them fall down, and by opening its
chasms, he caused that others should be hurried down into them;
after which he caused such a noise of thunder to come among them,
and made fiery lightning shine so terribly round about them, that
it was ready to burn their faces; and he so suddenly shook their
weapons out of their hands, that he made them fly and return home
naked. So Samuel with the multitude pursued them to Bethcar, a
place so called; and there he set up a stone as a boundary of
their victory and their enemies' flight, and called it the Stone
of Power, as a signal of that power God had given them against
their enemies.

3. So the Philistines, after this stroke, made no more
expeditions against the Israelites, but lay still out of fear,
and out of remembrance of what had befallen them; and what
courage the Philistines had formerly against the Hebrews, that,
after this victory, was transferred to the Hebrews. Samuel also
made an expedition against the Philistines, and slew many of
them, and entirely humbled their proud hearts, and took from them
that country, which, when they were formerly conquerors in
battle, they had cut off from the Jews, which was the country
that extended from the borders of Gath to the city of Ekron: but
the remains of the Canaanites were at this time in friendship
with the Israelites.


How Samuel When He Was So Infirm With Old Age That He Could Not
Take Care Of The Public Affairs Intrusted Them To His Sons; And
How Upon The Evil Administration Of The Government By Them The
Multitude Were So Angry, That They Required To Have A King To
Govern Them, Although Samuel Was Much Displeased Thereat.

1. But Samuel the prophet, when he had ordered the affairs of the
people after a convenient manner, and had appointed a city for
every district of them, he commanded them to come to such cities,
to have the controversies that they had one with another
determined in them, he himself going over those cities twice in a
year, and doing them justice; and by that means he kept them in
very good order for a long time.

2. But afterwards he found himself oppressed with old age, and
not able to do what he used to do, so he committed the government
and the care of the multitude to his sons, - the elder of whom
was called Joel, and the name of the younger was Abiah. He also
enjoined them to reside and judge the people, the one at the city
of Bethel, and the other at Beersheba, and divided the people
into districts that should be under the jurisdiction of each of
them. Now these men afford us an evident example and
demonstration how some children are not of the like dispositions
with their parents; but sometimes perhaps good and moderate,
though born of wicked parents; and sometimes showing themselves
to be wicked, though born of good parents: for these men turning
aside from their father's good courses, and taking a course that
was contrary to them, perverted justice for the 'filthy lucre of
gifts and bribes, and made their determinations not according to
truth, but according to bribery, and turned aside to luxury, and
a costly way of living; so that as, in the first place, they
practiced what was contrary to the will of God, so did they, in
the second place, what was contrary to the will of the prophet
their father, who had taken a great deal of care, and made a very
careful provision that the multitude should be righteous.

3. But the people, upon these injuries offered to their former
constitution and government by the prophet's sons, were very
uneasy at their actions, and came running to the prophet, who
then lived at the city Ramah, and informed him of the
transgressions of his sons; and said, That as he was himself old
already, and too infirm by that age of his to oversee their
affairs in the manner he used to do, so they begged of him, and
entreated him, to appoint some person to be king over them, who
might rule over the nation, and avenge them of the Philistines,
who ought to be punished for their former oppressions. These
words greatly afflicted Samuel, on account of his innate love of
justice, and his hatred to kingly government, for he was very
fond of an aristocracy, as what made the men that used it of a
divine and happy disposition; nor could he either think of eating
or sleeping, out of his concern and torment of mind at what they
had said, but all the night long did he continue awake and
revolved these notions in his mind.

4. While he was thus disposed, God appeared to him, and comforted
him, saying, That he ought not to be uneasy at what the multitude
desired, because it was not he, but Himself whom they so
insolently despised, and would not have to be alone their king;
that they had been contriving these things from the very day that
they came out of Egypt; that however. in no long time they would
sorely repent of what they did, which repentance yet could not
undo what was thus done for futurity; that they would be
sufficiently rebuked for their contempt, and the ungrateful
conduct they have used towards me, and towards thy prophetic
office. "So I command thee to ordain them such a one as I shall
name beforehand to be their king, when thou hast first described
what mischiefs kingly government will bring upon them, and openly
testified before them into what a great change of affairs they
are hasting."

5. When Samuel had heard this, he called the Jews early in the
morning, and confessed to them that he was to ordain them a king;
but he said that he was first to describe to them what would
follow, what treatment they would receive from their kings, and
with how many mischiefs they must struggle. "For know ye," said
he, "that, in the first place, they will take your sons away from
you, and they will command some of them to be drivers of their
chariots, and some to be their horsemen, and the guards of their
body, and others of them to be runners before them, and captains
of thousands, and captains of hundreds; they will also make them
their artificers, makers of armor, and of chariots, and of
instruments; they will make them their husbandmen also, and the
curators of their own fields, and the diggers of their own
vineyards; nor will there be any thing which they will not do at
their commands, as if they were slaves bought with money. They
will also appoint your daughters to be confectioners, and cooks,
and bakers; and these will be obliged to do all sorts of work
which women slaves, that are in fear of stripes and torments,
submit to. They will, besides this, take away your possessions,
and bestow them upon their eunuchs, and the guards of their
bodies, and will give the herds of your cattle to their own
servants: and to say briefly all at once, you, and all that is
yours, will be servants to your king, and will become no way
superior to his slaves; and when you suffer thus, you will
thereby be put in mind of what I now say. And when you repent of
what you have done, you will beseech God to have mercy upon you,
and to grant you a quick deliverance from your kings; but he will
not accept your prayers, but will neglect you, and permit you to
suffer the punishment your evil conduct has deserved."

6. But the multitude was still so foolish as to be deaf to these
predictions of what would befall them; and too peevish to suffer
a determination which they had injudiciously once made, to be
taken out of their mind; for they could not be turned from their
purpose, nor did they regard the words of Samuel, but
peremptorily insisted on their resolution, and desired him to
ordain them a king immediately, and not trouble himself with
fears of what would happen hereafter, for that it was necessary
they should have with them one to fight their battles, and to
avenge them of their enemies, and that it was no way absurd, when
their neighbors were under kingly government, that they should
have the same form of government also. So when Samuel saw that
what he had said had not diverted them from their purpose, but
that they continued resolute, he said, "Go you every one home for
the present; when it is fit I will send for you, as soon as I
shall have learned from God who it is that he will give you for
your king."


The Appointment Of A King Over The Israelites, Whose Name Was
Saul; And This By The Command Of God.

1. Ther was one of the tribe of Benjamin, a man of a good family,
and of a virtuous disposition; his name was Kish. He had a son, a
young man of a comely countenance, and of a tall body, but his
understanding and his mind were preferable to what was visible in
him: they called him Saul. Now this Kish had some fine she-asses
that were wandered out of the pasture wherein they fed, for he
was more delighted with these than with any other cattle he had;
so he sent out his son, and one servant with him, to search for
the beasts; but when he had gone over his own tribe in search
after the asses, he went to other tribes, and when he found them
not there neither, he determined to go his way home, lest he
should occasion any concern to his father about himself. But when
his servant that followed him told him as they were near the city
of Ramah, that there was a true prophet in that city, and advised
him to go to him, for that by him they should know the upshot of
the affair of their asses, he replied, That if they should go to
him, they had nothing to give him as a reward for his prophecy,
for their subsistence money was spent. The servant answered, that
he had still the fourth part of a shekel, and he would present
him with that; for they were mistaken out of ignorance, as not
knowing that the prophet received no such reward (6) So they went
to him; and when they were before the gates, they lit upon
certain maidens that were going to fetch water, and they asked
them which was the prophet's house. They showed them which it
was; and bid them make haste before he sat down to supper, for he
had invited many guests to a feast, and that he used to sit down
before those that were invited. Now Samuel had then gathered many
together to feast with him on this very account; for while he
every day prayed to God to tell him beforehand whom he would make
king, he had informed him of this man the day before, for that he
would send him a certain young man out of the tribe of Benjamin
about this hour of the day; and he sat on the top of the house in
expectation of that time's being come. And when the time was
completed, he came down and went to supper; so he met with Saul,
and God discovered to him that this was he who should rule over
them. Then Saul went up to Samuel and saluted him, and desired
him to inform him which was the prophet's house; for he said he
was a stranger and did not know it. When Samuel had told him that
he himself was the person, he led him in to supper, and assured
him that the asses were found which he had been to seek, and that
the greatest of good things were assured to him: he replied, "I
am too inconsiderable to hope for any such thing, and of a tribe
to small to have kings made out of it, and of a family smaller
than several other families; but thou tellest me this in jest,
and makest me an object of laughter, when thou discoursest with
me of greater matters than what I stand in need of." However, the
prophet led him in to the feast, and made him sit down, him and
his servant that followed him, above the other guests that were
invited, which were seventy in number (7) and he gave orders to
the servants to set the royal portion before Saul. And when the
time of going to bed was come, the rest rose up, and every one of
them went home; but Saul staid with the prophet, he and his
servant, and slept with him.

2. Now as soon as it was day, Samuel raised up Saul out of his
bed, and conducted him homeward; and when he was out of the city,
he desired him to cause his servant to go before, but to stay
behind himself, for that he had somewhat to say to him when
nobody else was present. Accordingly, Saul sent away his servant
that followed him; then did the prophet take a vessel of oil, and
poured it upon the head of the young man, and kissed him, and
said, "Be thou a king, by the ordination of God, against the
Philistines, and for avenging the Hebrews for what they have
suffered by them; of this thou shalt have a sign, which I would
have thee take notice of: - As soon as thou art departed hence,
thou will find three men upon the road, going to worship God at
Bethel; the first of whom thou wilt see carrying three loaves of
bread, the second carrying a kid of the goats, and the third will
follow them carrying a bottle of wine. These three men will
salute thee, and speak kindly to thee, and will give thee two of
their loaves, which thou shalt accept of. And thence thou shalt
come to a place called Rachel's Monument, where thou shalt meet
with those that will tell thee thy asses are found; after this,
when thou comest to Gabatha, thou shalt overtake a company of
prophets, and thou shalt be seized with the Divine Spirit, (8)
and prophesy along with them, till every one that sees thee shall
be astonished, and wonder, and say, Whence is it that the son of
Kish has arrived at this degree of happiness? And when these
signs have happened to thee, know that God is with thee; then do
thou salute thy father and thy kindred. Thou shalt also come when
I send for thee to Gilgal, that we may offer thank-offerings to
God for these blessings." When Samuel had said this, and foretold
these things, he sent the young man away. Now all things fell out
to Saul according to the prophecy of Samuel.

3. But as soon as Saul came into the house of his kinsman Abner,
whom indeed he loved better than the rest of his relations, he
was asked by him concerning his journey, and what accidents
happened to him therein; and he concealed none of the other
things from him, no, not his coming to Samuel the prophet, nor
how he told him the asses were found; but he said nothing to him
about the kingdom, and what belonged thereto, which he thought
would procure him envy, and when such things are heard, they are
not easily believed; nor did he think it prudent to tell those
things to him, although he appeared very friendly to him, and one
whom he loved above the rest of his relations, considering, I
suppose, what human nature really is, that no one is a firm
friend, neither among our intimates, nor of our kindred; nor do
they preserve that kind disposition when God advances men to
great prosperity, but they are still ill-natured and envious at
those that are in eminent stations.

4. Then Samuel called the people together to the city Mizpeh, and
spake to them in the words following, which he said he was to
speak by the command of God: - That when he had granted them a
state of liberty, and brought their enemies into subjection, they
were become unmindful of his benefits, and rejected God that he
should not be their King, as not considering that it would be
most for their advantage to be presided over by the best of
beings, for God is the best of beings, and they chose to have a
man for their king; while kings will use their subjects as
beasts, according to the violence of their own wills and
inclinations, and other passions, as wholly carried away with the
lust of power, but will not endeavor so to preserve the race of
mankind as his own workmanship and creation, which, for that very
reason, God would take cake of. "But since you have come to a
fixed resolution, and this injurious treatment of God has quite
prevailed over you, dispose yourselves by your tribes and
scepters, and cast lots."

5. When the Hebrews had so done, the lot fell upon the tribe of
Benjamin; and when the lot was cast for the families of this
tribe, that which was called Matri was taken; and when the lot
was cast for the single persons of that family, Saul, the son of
Kish, was taken for their king. When the young man knew this, he
prevented [their sending for him], and immediately went away and
hid himself. I suppose that it was because he would not have it
thought that he willingly took the government upon him; nay, he
showed such a degree of command over himself, and of modesty,
that while the greatest part are not able to contain their joy,
even in the gaining of small advantages, but presently show
themselves publicly to all men, this man did not only show
nothing of that nature, when he was appointed to be the lord of
so many and so great tribes, but crept away and concealed himself
out of the sight of those he was to reign over, and made them
seek him, and that with a good deal of trouble. So when the
people were at a loss, and solicitous, because Saul disappeared,
the prophet besought God to show where the young man was, and to
produce him before them. So when they had learned of God the
place where Saul was hidden, they sent men to bring him; and when
he was come, they set him in the midst of the multitude. Now he
was taller than any of them, and his stature was very majestic.

6. Then said the prophet, God gives you this man to be your king:
see how he is higher than any of the people, and worthy of this
dominion." So as soon as the people had made acclamation, God
save the king, the prophet wrote down what would come to pass in
a book, and read it in the hearing of the king, and laid up the
book in the tabernacle of God, to be a witness to future
generations of what he had foretold. So when Samuel had finished
this matter, he dismissed the multitude, and came himself to the
city Rainah, for it was his own country. Saul also went away to
Gibeah, where he was born; and many good men there were who paid
him the respect that was due to him; but the greater part were
ill men, who despised him and derided the others, who neither did
bring him presents, nor did they in affection, or even in words,
regard to please him.


Saul's Expedition Against The Nation Of The Ammonites And Victory
Over Them And The Spoils He Took From Them.

1. After one month, the war which Saul had with Nahash, the king
of the Ammonites, obtained him respect from all the people; for
this Nahash had done a great deal of mischief to the Jews that
lived beyond Jordan by the expedition he had made against them
with a great and warlike army. He also reduced their cities into
slavery, and that not only by subduing them for the present,
which he did by force and violence, but by weakening them by
subtlety and cunning, that they might not be able afterward to
get clear of the slavery they were under to him; for he put out
the right eyes (9) of those that either delivered themselves to
him upon terms, or were taken by him in war; and this he did,
that when their left eyes were covered by their shields, they
might be wholly useless in war. Now when the king of the
Ammonites had served those beyond Jordan in this manner, he led
his army against those that were called Gileadites, and having
pitched his camp at the metropolis of his enemies, which was the
city of Jabesh, he sent ambassadors to them, commanding them
either to deliver themselves up, on condition to have their right
eyes plucked out, or to undergo a siege, and to have their cities
overthrown. He gave them their choice, whether they would cut off
a small member of their body, or universally perish. However, the
Gileadites were so affrighted at these offers, that they had not
courage to say any thing to either of them, neither that they
would deliver themselves up, nor that they would fight him. But
they desired that he would give them seven days' respite, that
they might send ambassadors to their countrymen, and entreat
their assistance; and if they came to assist them, they would
fight; but if that assistance were impossible to be obtained from
them, they said they would deliver themselves up to suffer
whatever he pleased to inflict upon them.

2. So Nabash, contemning the multitude of the Gileadites and the
answer they gave, allowed them a respite, and gave them leave to
send to whomsoever they pleased for assistance. So they
immediately sent to the Israelites, city by city, and informed
them what Nabash had threatened to do to them, and what great
distress they were in. Now the people fell into tears and grief
at the hearing of what the ambassadors from Jabesh said; and the
terror they were in permitted them to do nothing more. But when
the messengers were come to the city of king Saul, and declared
the dangers in which the inhabitants of Jabesh were, the people
were in the same affliction as those in the other cities, for
they lamented the calamity of those related to them. And when
Saul was returned from his husbandry into the city, he found his
fellow citizens weeping; and when, upon inquiry, he had learned
the cause of the confusion and sadness they were in, he was
seized with a divine fury, and sent away the ambassadors from the
inhabitants of Jabesh, and promised them to come to their
assistance on the third day, and to beat their enemies before
sun-rising, that the sun upon its rising might see that they had
already conquered, and were freed from the fears they were under:
but he bid some of them stay to conduct them the right way to

3. So being desirous to turn the people to this war against the
Ammonites by fear of the losses they should otherwise undergo,
and that they might the more suddenly be gathered together, he
cut the sinews of his oxen, and threatened to do the same to all
such as did not come with their armor to Jordan the next day, and
follow him and Samuel the prophet whithersoever they should lead
them. So they came together, out of fear of the losses they were
threatened with, at the appointed time. And the multitude were
numbered at the city Bezek. And he found the number of those that
were gathered together, besides that of the tribe of Judah, to be
seven hundred thousand, while those of that tribe were seventy
thousand. So he passed over Jordan, and proceeded in marching all
that night, thirty furlongs, and came to Jabesh before
sun-rising. So he divided the army into three companies; and fell
upon their enemies on every side on the sudden, and when they
expected no such thing; and joining battle with them, they slew a
great many of the Ammonites, as also their king Nabash. This
glorious action was done by Saul, and was related with great
commendation of him to all the Hebrews; and he thence gained a
wonderful reputation for his valor: for although there were some
of them that contemned him before, they now changed their minds,
and honored him, and esteemed him as the best of men: for he did
not content himself with having saved the inhabitants of Jabesh
only, but he made an expedition into the country of the
Ammonites, and laid it all waste, and took a large prey, and so
returned to his own country most gloriously. So the people were
greatly pleased at these excellent performances of Saul, and
rejoiced that they had constituted him their king. They also made
a clamor against those that pretended he would be of no advantage
to their affairs; and they said, Where now are these men? - let
them be brought to punishment, with all the like things that
multitudes usually say when they are elevated with prosperity,
against those that lately had despised the authors of it. But
Saul, although he took the good-will and the affection of these
men very kindly, yet did he swear that he would not see any of
his countrymen slain that day, since it was absurd to mix this
victory, which God had given them, with the blood and slaughter
of those that were of the same lineage with themselves; and that
it was more agreeable to be men of a friendly disposition, and so
to betake themselves to feasting.

4. And when Samuel had told them that he ought to confirm the
kingdom to Saul by a second ordination of him, they all came
together to the city of Gilgal, for thither did he command them
to come. So the prophet anointed Saul with the holy oil in the
sight of the multitude, and declared him to be king the second
time. And so the government of the Hebrews was changed into a
regal government; for in the days of Moses, and his disciple
Joshua, who was their general, they continued under an
aristocracy; but after the death of Joshua, for eighteen years in
all, the multitude had no settled form of government, but were in
an anarchy; after which they returned to their former government,
they then permitting themselves to be judged by him who appeared
to be the best warrior and most courageous, whence it was that
they called this interval of their government the Judges.

5. Then did Samuel the prophet call another assembly also, and
said to them," I solemnly adjure you by God Almighty, who brought
those excellent brethren, I mean Moses and Aaron, into the world,
and delivered our fathers from the Egyptians, and from the
slavery. they endured under them, that you will not speak what
you say to gratify me, nor suppress any thing out of fear of me,
nor be overborne by any other passion, but say, What have I ever
done that was cruel or unjust? or what have I done out of lucre
or covetousness, or to gratify others? Bear witness against me,
if I have taken an ox or a sheep, or any such thing, which yet
when they are taken to support men, it is esteemed blameless; or
have I taken an ass for mine own use of any one to his grief? -
lay some one such crime to my charge, now we are in your king's
presence." But they cried out, that no such thing had been done
by him, but that he had presided over the nation after a holy and
righteous manner.

6. Hereupon Samuel, when such a testimony had been given him by
them all, said, "Since you grant that you are not able to lay any
ill thing to my charge hitherto, come on now, and do you hearken
while I speak with great freedom to you. You have been guilty of
great impiety against God, in asking you a king. It behoves you
to remember that our grandfather Jacob came down into Egypt, by
reason of a famine, with seventy souls only of our family, and
that their posterity multiplied there to many ten thousands, whom
the Egyptians brought into slavery and hard oppression; that God
himself, upon the prayers of our fathers, sent Moses and Aaron,
who were brethren, and gave them power to deliver the multitude
out of their distress, and this without a king. These brought us
into this very land which you now possess: and when you enjoyed
these advantages from God, you betrayed his worship and religion;
nay, moreover, when you were brought under the hands of your
enemies, he delivered you, first by rendering you superior to the
Assyrians and their forces, he then made you to overcome the
Ammonites and the Moabites, and last of all the Philistines; and
these things have been achieved under the conduct of Jephtha and
Gideon. What madness therefore possessed you to fly from God, and
to desire to be under a king? - yet have I ordained him for king
whom he chose for you. However, that I may make it plain to you
that God is angry and displeased at your choice of kingly
government, I will so dispose him that he shall declare this very
plainly to you by strange signals; for what none of you ever saw
here before, I mean a winter storm in the midst of harvest, (10)
I will entreat of God, and will make it visible to you." Now, as
soon as he had said this, God gave such great signals by thunder
and lightning, and the descent of hail, as attested the truth of
all that the prophet had said, insomuch that they were amazed and
terrified, and confessed they had sinned, and had fallen into
that sin through ignorance; and besought the prophet, as one that
was a tender and gentle father to them, to render God so merciful
as to forgive this their sin, which they had added to those other
offenses whereby they had affronted him and transgressed against
him. So he promised them that he would beseech God, and persuade
him to forgive them these their sins. However, he advised them to
be righteous, and to be good, and ever to remember the miseries
that had befallen them on account of their departure from virtue:
as also to remember the strange signs God had shown them, and the
body of laws that Moses had given them, if they had any desire of
being preserved and made happy with their king. But he said, that
if they should grow careless of these things, great judgments
would come from God upon them, and upon their king. And when
Samuel had thus prophesied to the Hebrews, he dismissed them to
their own homes, having confirmed the kingdom to Saul the second


How The Philistines Made Another Expedition Against The Hebrews
And Were Beaten.

1. Now Saul chose out of the multitude about three thousand men,
and he took two thousand of them to be the guards of his own
body, and abode in the city Bethel, but he gave the rest of them
to Jonathan his son, to be the guards of his body; and sent him
to Gibeah, where he besieged and took a certain garrison of the
Philistines, not far from Gilgal; for the Philistines of Gibeah
had beaten the Jews, and taken their weapons away, and had put
garrisons into the strongest places of the country, and had
forbidden them to carry any instrument of iron, or at all to make
use of any iron in any case whatsoever. And on account of this
prohibition it was that the husbandmen, if they had occasion to
sharpen any of their tools, whether it were the coulter or the
spade, or any instrument of husbandry, they came to the
Philistines to do it. Now as soon as the Philistines heard of
this slaughter of their garrison, they were in a rage about it,
and, looking on this contempt as a terrible affront offered them,
they made war against the Jews, with three hundred thousand
footmen, and thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horses;
and they pitched their camp at the city Michmash. When Saul, the
king of the Hebrews, was informed of this, he went down to the
city Gilgal, and made proclamation over all the country, that
they should try to regain their liberty; and called them to the
war against the Philistines, diminishing their forces, and
despising them as not very considerable, and as not so great but
they might hazard a battle with them. But when the people about
Saul observed how numerous the Philistines were, they were under
a great consternation; and some of them hid themselves in caves
and in dens under ground, but the greater part fled into the land
beyond Jordan, which belonged to Gad and Reuben.

2. But Saul sent to the prophet, and called him to consult with
him about the war and the public affairs; so he commanded him to
stay there for him, and to prepare sacrifices, for he would come
to him within seven days, that they might offer sacrifices on the
seventh day, and might then join battle with their enemies. So he
waited (11) as the prophet sent to him to do; yet did not he,
however, observe the command that was given him, but when he saw
that the prophet tarried longer than he expected, and that he was
deserted by the soldiers, he took the sacrifices and offered
them; and when he heard that Samuel was come, he went out to meet
him. But the prophet said he had not done well in disobeying the
injunctions he had sent to him, and had not staid till his
coming, which being appointed according to the will of God, he
had prevented him in offering up those prayers and those
sacrifices that he should have made for the multitude, and that
he therefore had performed Divine offices in an ill manner, and
had been rash in performing them. Hereupon Saul made an apology
for himself, and said that he had waited as many days as Samuel
had appointed him; that he had been so quick in offering his
sacrifices, upon account of the necessity he was in, and because
his soldiers were departing from him, out of their fear of the
enemy's camp at Michmash, the report being gone abroad that they
were coming down upon him of Gilgal. To which Samuel replied,
"Nay, certainly, if thou hadst been a righteous man, (12) and
hadst not disobeyed me, nor slighted the commands which God
suggested to me concerning the present state of affairs, and
hadst not acted more hastily than the present circumstances
required, thou wouldst have been permitted to reign a long time,
and thy posterity after thee." So Samuel, being grieved at what
happened, returned home; but Saul came to the city Gibeah, with
his son Jonathan, having only six hundred men with him; and of
these the greater part had no weapons, because of the scarcity of
iron in that country, as well as of those that could make such
weapons; for, as we showed a little before, the Philistines had
not suffered them to have such iron or such workmen. Now the
Philistines divided their army into three companies, and took as
many roads, and laid waste the country of the Hebrews, while king
Saul and his son Jonathan saw what was done, but were not able to
defend the land, having no more than six hundred men with them.
But as he, and his son, and Abiah the high priest, who was of the
posterity of Eli the high priest, were sitting upon a pretty high
hill, and seeing the land laid waste, they were mightily
disturbed at it. Now Saul's son agreed with his armor-bearer,
that they would go privately to the enemy's camp, and make a
tumult and a disturbance among them. And when the armor-bearer
had readily promised to follow him whithersoever he should lead
him, though he should be obliged to die in the attempt, Jonathan
made use of the young man's assistance, and descended from the
hill, and went to their enemies. Now the enemy's camp was upon a
precipice which had three tops, that ended in a small but sharp
and long extremity, while there was a rock that surrounded them,
like lines made to prevent the attacks of an enemy. There it so
happened, that the out-guards of the camp were neglected, because
of the security that here arose from the situation of the place,
and because they thought it altogether impossible, not only to
ascend up to the camp on that quarter, but so much as to come
near it. As soon, therefore, as they came to the camp, Jonathan
encouraged his armor-bearer, and said to him, "Let us attack our
enemies; and if, when they see us, they bid us come up to them,
take that for a signal of victory; but if they say nothing, as
not intending to invite us to come up, let us return back again."
So when they were approaching to the enemy's camp, just after
break of day, and the Philistines saw them, they said one to
another, "The Hebrews come out of their dens and caves:" and they
said to Jonathan and to his armor-bearer, "Come on, ascend up to
us, that we may inflict a just punishment upon you, for your rash
attempt upon us." So Saul's son accepted of that invitation, as
what signified to him victory, and he immediately came out of the
place whence they were seen by their enemies: so he changed his
place, and came to the rock, which had none to guard it, because
of its own strength; from thence they crept up with great labor
and difficulty, and so far overcame by force the nature of the
place, till they were able to fight with their enemies. So they
fell upon them as they were asleep, and slew about twenty of
them, and thereby filled them with disorder and surprise,
insomuch that some of them threw away their entire armor and
fled; but the greatest part, not knowing one another, because
they were of different nations, suspected one another to be
enemies, (for they did not imagine there were only two of the
Hebrews that came up,) and so they fought one against another;
and some of them died in the battle, and some, as they were
flying away, were thrown down from the rock headlong.

3. Now Saul's watchmen told the king that the camp of the
Philistines was in confusion; then he inquired whether any body
was gone away from the army; and when he heard that his son, and
with him his armor-bearer, were absent, he bade the high priest
take the garments of his high priesthood, and prophesy to him
what success they should have; who said that they should get the
victory, and prevail against their enemies. So he went out after
the Philistines, and set upon them as they were slaying one
another. Those also who had fled to dens and caves, upon hearing
that Saul was gaining a victory, came running to him. When,
therefore, the number of the Hebrews that came to Saul amounted
to about ten thousand, he pursued the enemy, who were scattered
all over the country; but then he fell into an action, which was
a very unhappy one, and liable to be very much blamed; for,
whether out of ignorance or whether out of joy for a victory
gained so strangely, (for it frequently happens that persons so
fortunate are not then able to use their reason consistently,) as
he was desirous to avenge himself, and to exact a due punishment
of the Philistines, he denounced a curse (13) upon the Hebrews:
That if any one put a stop to his slaughter of the enemy, and
fell on eating, and left off the slaughter or the pursuit before
the night came on, and obliged them so to do, he should be
accursed. Now after Saul had denounced this curse, since they
were now in a wood belonging to the tribe of Ephraim, which was
thick and full of bees, Saul's son, who did not hear his father
denounce that curse, nor hear of the approbation the multitude
gave to it, broke off a piece of a honey-comb, and ate part of
it. But, in the mean time, he was informed with what a curse his
father had forbidden them to taste any thing before sun-setting:
so he left off eating, and said his father had not done well in
this prohibition, because, had they taken some food, they had
pursued the enemy with greater rigor and alacrity, and had both
taken and slain many more of their enemies.

4. When, therefore, they had slain many ten thousands of the
Philistines, they fell upon spoiling the camp of the Philistines,
but not till late in the evening. They also took a great deal of
prey and cattle, and killed them, and ate them with their blood.
This was told to the king by the scribes, that the multitude were
sinning against God as they sacrificed, and were eating before
the blood was well washed away, and the flesh was made clean.
Then did Saul give order that a great stone should be rolled into
the midst of them, and he made proclamation that they should kill
their sacrifices upon it, and not feed upon the flesh with the
blood, for that was not acceptable to God. And when all the
people did as the king commanded them, Saul erected an altar
there, and offered burnt-offerings upon it to God (14) This was
the first altar that Saul built.

5. So when Saul was desirous of leading his men to the enemy's
camp before it was day, in order to plunder it, and when the
soldiers were not unwilling to follow him, but indeed showed
great readiness to do as he commanded them, the king called
Ahitub the high priest, and enjoined him to know of God whether
he would grant them the favor and permission to go against the
enemy's camp, in order to destroy those that were in it. And when
the priest said that God did not give any answer, Saul replied,
"And not without some cause does God refuse to answer what we
inquire of him, while yet a little while ago he declared to us
all that we desired beforehand, and even prevented us in his
answer. To be sure there is some sin against him that is
concealed from us, which is the occasion of his silence. Now I
swear by him himself, that though he that hath committed this sin
should prove to be my own son Jonathan, I will slay him, and by
that means will appease the anger of God against us, and that in
the very same manner as if I were to punish a stranger, and one
not at all related to me, for the same offense." So when the
multitude cried out to him so to do, he presently set all the
rest on one side, and he and his son stood on the other side, and
he sought to discover the offender by lot. Now the lot appeared
to fall upon Jonathan himself. So when he was asked by his father
what sin he had been guilty of, and what he was conscious of in
the course of his life that might be esteemed instances of guilt
or profaneness, his answer was this, "O father, I have done
nothing more than that yesterday, without knowing of the curse
and oath thou hadst denounced, while I was in pursuit of the
enemy, I tasted of a honey-comb." But Saul sware that he would
slay him, and prefer the observation of his oath before all the
ties of birth and of nature. And Jonathan was not dismayed at
this threatening of death, but, offering himself to it generously
and undauntedly, he said, "Nor do I desire you, father, to spare
me: death will be to me very acceptable, when it proceeds from
thy piety, and after a glorious victory; for it is the greatest
consolation to me that I leave the Hebrews victorious over the
Philistines." Hereupon all the people were very sorry, and
greatly afflicted for Jonathan; and they sware that they would
not overlook Jonathan, and see him die, who was the author of
their victory. By which means they snatched him out of the danger
he was in from his father's curse, while they made their prayers
to God also for the young man, that he would remit his sin.

6. So Saul, having slain about sixty thousand of the enemy,
returned home to his own city, and reigned happily: and he also
fought against the neighboring nations, and subdued the
Ammonites, and Moabites, and Philistines, and Edomites, and
Amalekites, as also the king of Zobah. He had three male
children, Jonathan, and Isui, and Melchishua; with Merab and
Michal his daughters. He had also Abner, his uncle's son, for the
captain of his host: that uncle's name was Ner. Now Ner, and Kish
the father of Saul, were brothers. Saul had also a great many
chariots and horsemen, and against whomsoever he made war he
returned conqueror, and advanced the affairs of the Hebrews to a
great degree of success and prosperity, and made them superior to
other nations; and he made such of the young men as were
remarkable for tallness and comeliness the guards of his body.


Saul's War With The Amalekites, And Conquest Of Them.

1. Now Samuel came unto Saul, and said to him, that he was sent
by God to put him in mind that God had preferred him before all
others, and ordained him king; that he therefore ought to be
obedient to him, and to submit to his authority, as considering,
that though he had the dominion over the other tribes, yet that
God had the dominion over him, and over all things. That
accordingly God said to him, that "because the Amalekites did the
Hebrews a great deal of mischief while they were in the
wilderness, and when, upon their coming out of Egypt, they were
making their way to that country which is now their own, I enjoin
thee to punish the Amalekites, by making war upon them; and when
thou hast subdued them, to leave none of them alive, but to
pursue them through every age, and to slay them, beginning with
the women and the infants, and to require this as a punishment to
be inflicted upon them for the mischief they did to our
forefathers; to spare nothing, neither asses nor other beasts,
nor to reserve any of them for your own advantage and possession,
but to devote them universally to God, and, in obedience to the
commands of Moses, to blot out the name of Amalek entirely." (15)

2. So Saul promised to do what he was commanded; and supposing
that his obedience to God would be shown, not only in making war
against the Amalekites, but more fully in the readiness and
quickness of his proceedings, he made no delay, but immediately
gathered together all his forces; and when he had numbered them
in Gilgal, he found them to be about four hundred thousand of the
Israelites, besides the tribe of Judah, for that tribe contained
by itself thirty thousand. Accordingly, Saul made an irruption
into the country of the Amalekites, and set many men in several
parties in ambush at the river, that so he might not only do them
a mischief by open fighting, but might fall upon them
unexpectedly in the ways, and might thereby compass them round
about, and kill them. And when he had joined battle with the
enemy, he beat them; and pursuing them as they fled, he destroyed
them all. And when that undertaking had succeeded, according as
God had foretold, he set upon the cities of the Amalekites; he
besieged them, and took them by force, partly by warlike
machines, partly by mines dug under ground, and partly by
building walls on the outsides. Some they starved out with
famine, and some they gained by other methods; and after all, he
betook himself to slay the women and the children, and thought he
did not act therein either barbarously or inhumanly; first,
because they were enemies whom he thus treated, and, in the next
place, because it was done by the command of God, whom it was
dangerous not to obey. He also took Agag, the enemies' king,
captive, - the beauty and tallness of whose body he admired so
much, that he thought him worthy of preservation. Yet was not
this done however according to the will of God, but by giving way
to human passions, and suffering himself to be moved with an
unseasonable commiseration, in a point where it was not safe for
him to indulge it; for God hated the nation of the Amalekites to
such a degree, that he commanded Saul to have no pity on even
those infants which we by nature chiefly compassionate; but Saul
preserved their king and governor from the miseries which the
Hebrews brought on the people, as if he preferred the fine
appearance of the enemy to the memory of what God had sent him
about. The multitude were also guilty, together with Saul; for
they spared the herds and the flocks, and took them for a prey,
when God had commanded they should not spare them. They also
carried off with them the rest of their wealth and riches; but if
there were any thing that was not worthy of regard, that they

3. But when Saul had conquered all these Amalekites that reached
from Pelusium of Egypt to the Red Sea, he laid waste all the rest
of the enemy's country: but for the nation of the Shechemites, he
did not touch them, although they dwelt in the very middle of the
country of Midian; for before the battle, Saul had sent to them,
and charged them to depart thence, lest they should be partakers
of the miseries of the Amalekites; for he had a just occasion for
saving them, since they were of the kindred of Raguel, Moses's

4. Hereupon Saul returned home with joy, for the glorious things
he had done, and for the conquest of his enemies, as though he
had not neglected any thing which the prophet had enjoined him to
do when he was going to make war with the Amalekites, and as
though he had exactly observed all that he ought to have done.
But God was grieved that the king of the Amalekites was preserved
alive, and that the multitude had seized on the cattle for a
prey, because these things were done without his permission; for
he thought it an intolerable thing that they should conquer and
overcome their enemies by that power which he gave them, and then
that he himself should be so grossly despised and disobeyed by
them, that a mere man that was a king would not bear it. He
therefore told Samuel the prophet, that he repented that he had
made Saul king, while he did nothing that he had commanded him,
but indulged his own inclinations. When Samuel heard that, he was
in confusion, and began to beseech God all that night to be
reconciled to Saul, and not to be angry with him; but he did not
grant that forgiveness to Saul which the prophet asked for, as
not deeming it a fit thing to grant forgiveness of [such] sins at
his entreaties, since injuries do not otherwise grow so great as
by the easy tempers of those that are injured; or while they hunt
after the glory of being thought gentle and good-natured, before
they are aware they produce other sins. As soon therefore as God
had rejected the intercession of the prophet, and it plainly
appeared he would not change his mind, at break of day Samuel
came to Saul at Gilgal. When the king saw him, he ran to him, and
embraced him, and said, "I return thanks to God, who hath given
me the victory, for I have performed every thing that he hath
commanded me." To which Samuel replied, "How is it then that I
hear the bleating of the sheep and the lowing of the greater
cattle in the camp?" Saul made answer, That the people had
reserved them for sacrifices; but that, as to the nation of the
Amalekites, it was entirely destroyed, as he had received it in
command to see done, and that no one man was left; but that he
had saved alive the king alone, and brought him to him,
concerning whom, he said, they would advise together what should
be done with him." But the prophet said, "God is not delighted
with sacrifices, but with good and with righteous men, who are
such as follow his will and his laws, and never think that any
thing is well done by them but when they do it as God had
commanded them; that he then looks upon himself as affronted, not
when any one does not sacrifice, but when any one appears to be
disobedient to him. But that from those who do not obey him, nor
pay him that duty which is the alone true and acceptable worship,
he will not kindly accept their oblations, be those they offer
ever so many and so fat, and be the presents they make him ever
so ornamental, nay, though they were made of gold and silver
themselves, but he will reject them, and esteem them instances of
wickedness, and not of piety. And that he is delighted with those
that still bear in mind this one thing, and this only, how to do
that, whatsoever it be, which God pronounces or commands for them
to do, and to choose rather to die than to transgress any of
those commands; nor does he require so much as a sacrifice from
them. And when these do sacrifice, though it be a mean oblation,
he better accepts of it as the honor of poverty, than such
oblations as come from the richest men that offer them to him.
Wherefore take notice, that thou art under the wrath of God, for
thou hast despised and neglected what he commanded thee. How dost
thou then suppose that he will respect a sacrifice out of such
things as he hath doomed to destruction? unless perhaps thou dost
imagine that it is almost all one to offer it in sacrifice to God
as to destroy it. Do thou therefore expect that thy kingdom will
be taken from thee, and that authority which thou hast abused by
such insolent behavior, as to neglect that God who bestowed it
upon thee." Then did Saul confess that he had acted unjustly, and
did not deny that he had sinned, because he had transgressed the
injunctions of the prophet; but he said that it was out of a
dread and fear of the soldiers, that he did not prohibit and
restrain them when they seized on the prey. "But forgive me,"
said he, "and be merciful to me, for I will be cautious how I
offend for the time to come." He also entreated the prophet to go
back with him, that he might offer his thank-offerings to God;
but Samuel went home, because he saw that God would not be
reconciled to him.

5. But then Saul was so desirous to retain Samuel, that he took
hold of his cloak, and because the vehemence of Samuel's
departure made the motion to be violent, the cloak was rent. Upon
which the prophet said, that after the same manner should the
kingdom be rent from him, and that a good and a just man should
take it; that God persevered in what he had decreed about him;
that to be mutable and changeable in what is determined, is
agreeable to human passions only, but is not agreeable to the
Divine Power. Hereupon Saul said that he had been wicked, but
that what was done could not be undone: he therefore desired him
to honor him so far, that the multitude might see that he would
accompany him in worshipping God. So Samuel granted him that
favor, and went with him and worshipped God. Agag also, the king
of the Amalekites, was brought to him; and when the king asked,
How bitter death was? Samuel said, "As thou hast made many of the
Hebrew mothers to lament and bewail the loss of their children,
so shalt thou, by thy death, cause thy mother to lament thee
also." Accordingly, he gave order to slay him immediately at
Gilgal, and then went away to the city Ramah.


How, Upon Saul's Transgression Of The Prophet's Commands, Samuel
Ordained Another Person To Be King Privately, Whose Name Was
David, As God Commanded Him.

1. Now Saul being sensible of the miserable condition he had
brought himself into, and that he had made God to be his enemy,
he went up to his royal palace at Gibeah, which name denotes a
hill, and after that day he came no more into the presence of the
prophet. And when Samuel mourned for him, God bid him leave off
his concern for him, and to take the holy oil, and go to
Bethlehem, to Jesse the son of Obed, and to anoint such of his
sons as he should show him for their future king. But Samuel
said, he was afraid lest Saul, when he came to know of it, should
kill him, either by some private method or even openly. But upon
God's suggesting to him a safe way of going thither, he came to
the forementioned city; and when they all saluted him, and asked
what was the occasion of his coming, he told them he came to
sacrifice to God. When, therefore, he had gotten the sacrifice
ready, he called Jesse and his sons to partake of those
sacrifices; and when he saw his eldest son to be a tall and
handsome man, he guessed by his comeliness that he was the person
who was to be their future king. But he was mistaken in judging
about God's providence; for when Samuel inquired of God whether
he should anoint this youth, whom he so admired, and esteemed
worthy of the kingdom, God said, "Men do not see as God seeth.
Thou indeed hast respect to the fine appearance of this youth,
and thence esteemest him worthy of the kingdom, while I propose
the kingdom as a reward, not of the beauty of bodies, but of the
virtue of souls, and I inquire after one that is perfectly comely
in that respect; I mean one who is beautiful in piety, and
righteousness, and fortitude, and obedience, for in them consists
the comeliness of the soul." When God had said this, Samuel bade
Jesse to show him all his sons. So he made five others of his
sons to come to him; of all of whom Eliab was the eldest,
Aminadab the second, Shammall the third, Nathaniel the fourth,
Rael the fifth, and Asam the sixth. And when the prophet saw that
these were no way inferior to the eldest in their countenances,
he inquired of God which of them it was whom he chose for their
king. And when God said it was none of them, he asked Jesse
whether he had not some other sons besides these; and when he
said that he had one more, named David, but that he was a
shepherd, and took care of the flocks, Samuel bade them call him
immediately, for that till he was come they could not possibly
sit down to the feast. Now, as soon as his father had sent for
David, and he was come, he appeared to be of a yellow complexion,
of a sharp sight, and a comely person in other respects also.
This is he, said Samuel privately to himself, whom it pleases God
to make our king. So he sat down to the feast, and placed the
youth under him, and Jesse also, with his other sons; after which
he took oil in the presence of David, and anointed him, and
whispered him in the ear, and acquainted him that God chose him
to be their king; and exhorted him to be righteous, and obedient
to his commands, for that by this means his kingdom would
continue for a long time, and that his house should be of great
splendor, and celebrated in the world; that he should overthrow
the Philistines; and that against what nations soever he should
make war, he should be the conqueror, and survive the fight; and
that while he lived he should enjoy a glorious name, and leave
such a name to his posterity also.

2. So Samuel, when he had given him these admonitions, went away.
But the Divine Power departed from Saul, and removed to David;
who, upon this removal of the Divine Spirit to him, began to
prophesy. But as for Saul, some strange and demoniacal disorders
came upon him, and brought upon him such suffocations as were
ready to choke him; for which the physicians could find no other
remedy but this, That if any person could charm those passions by
singing, and playing upon the harp, they advised them to inquire
for such a one, and to observe when these demons came upon him
and disturbed him, and to take care that such a person might
stand over him, and play upon the harp, and recite hymns to him.
(16) Accordingly Saul did not delay, but commanded them to seek
out such a man. And when a certain stander-by said that he had
seen in the city of Bethlehem a son of Jesse, who was yet no more
than a child in age, but comely and beautiful, and in other
respects one that was deserving of great regard, who was skillful
in playing on the harp, and in singing of hymns, [and an
excellent soldier in war,] he sent to Jesse, and desired him to
take David away from the flocks, and send him to him, for he had
a mind to see him, as having heard an advantageous character of
his comeliness and his valor. So Jesse sent his son, and gave him
presents to carry to Saul. And when he was come, Saul was pleased
with him, and made him his armor-bearer, and had him in very
great esteem; for he charmed his passion, and was the only
physician against the trouble he had from the demons, whensoever
it was that it came upon him, and this by reciting of hymns, and
playing upon the harp, and bringing Saul to his right mind again.
However, he sent to Jesse, the father of the child, and desired
him to permit David to stay with him, for that he was delighted
with his sight and company; which stay, that he might not
contradict Saul, he granted.


How The Philistines Made Another Expedition Against The Hebrews
Under The Reign Of Saul; And How They Were Overcome By David's
Slaying Goliath In Single Combat.

1. Now the Philistines gathered themselves together again no very
long time afterward; and having gotten together a great army,
they made war against the Israelites; and having seized a place
between Shochoh and Azekah, they there pitched their camp. Saul
also drew out his army to oppose them; and by pitching his own
camp on a certain hill, he forced the Philistines to leave their
former camp, and to encamp themselves upon such another hill,
over-against that on which Saul's army lay, so that a valley,
which was between the two hills on which they lay, divided their
camps asunder. Now there came down a man out of the camp of the
Philistines, whose name was Goliath, of the city of Gath, a man
of vast bulk, for he was of four cubits and a span in tallness,
and had about him weapons suitable to the largeness of his body,
for he had a breastplate on that weighed five thousand shekels:
he had also a helmet and greaves of brass, as large as you would
naturally suppose might cover the limbs of so vast a body. His
spear was also such as was not carried like a light thing in his
right hand, but he carried it as lying on his shoulders. He had
also a lance of six hundred shekels; and many followed him to
carry his armor. Wherefore this Goliath stood between the two
armies, as they were in battle array, and sent out aloud voice,
and said to Saul and the Hebrews, "I will free you from fighting
and from dangers; for what necessity is there that your army
should fall and be afflicted? Give me a man of you that will
fight with me, and he that conquers shall have the reward of the
conqueror and determine the war; for these shall serve those
others to whom the conqueror shall belong; and certainly it is
much better, and more prudent, to gain what you desire by the
hazard of one man than of all." When he had said this, he retired
to his own camp; but the next day he came again, and used the
same words, and did not leave off for forty days together, to
challenge the enemy in the same words, till Saul and his army
were therewith terrified, while they put themselves in array as
if they would fight, but did not come to a close battle.

2. Now while this war between the Hebrews and the Philistines was
going on, Saul sent away David to his father Jesse, and contented
himself with those three sons of his whom he had sent to his
assistance, and to be partners in the dangers of the war: and at
first David returned to feed his sheep and his flocks; but after
no long time he came to the camp of the Hebrews, as sent by his
father, to carry provisions to his brethren, and to know what
they were doing. While Goliath came again, and challenged them,
and reproached them, that they had no man of valor among them
that durst come down to fight him; and as David was talking with
his brethren about the business for which his father had sent
him, he heard the Philistine reproaching and abusing the army,
and had indignation at it, and said to his brethren, "I am ready
to fight a single combat with this adversary." Whereupon Eliab,
his eldest brother, reproved him, and said that he spoke too
rashly and improperly for one of his age, and bid him go to his
flocks, and to his father. So he was abashed at his brother's
words, and went away, but still he spake to some of the soldiers
that he was willing to fight with him that challenged them. And
when they had informed Saul what was the resolution of the young
man, the king sent for him to come to him: and when the king
asked what he had to say, he replied, "O king, be not cast down,
nor afraid, for I will depress the insolence of this adversary,
and will go down and fight with him, and will bring him under me,
as tall and as great as he is, till he shall be sufficiently
laughed at, and thy army shall get great glory, when he shall be
slain by one that is not yet of man's estate, neither fit for
fighting, nor capable of being intrusted with the marshalling an
army, or ordering a battle, but by one that looks like a child,
and is really no elder in age than a child."

3. Now Saul wondered at the boldness and alacrity of David, but
durst not presume on his ability, by reason of his age; but said
he must on that account be too weak to fight with one that was
skilled in the art of war. "I undertake this enterprise," said
David, "in dependence on God's being with me, for I have had
experience already of his assistance; for I once pursued after
and caught a lion that assaulted my flocks, and took away a lamb
from them; and I snatched the lamb out of the wild beast's mouth,
and when he leaped upon me with violence, I took him by the tail,
and dashed him against the ground. In the same manner did I
avenge myself on a bear also; and let this adversary of ours be
esteemed like one of these wild beasts, since he has a long while
reproached our army, and blasphemed our God, who yet will reduce
him under my power."

4. However, Saul prayed that the end might be, by God's
assistance, not disagreeable to the alacrity and boldness of the
child; and said, "Go thy way to the fight." So he put about him
his breastplate, and girded on his sword, and fitted the helmet
to his head, and sent him away. But David was burdened with his
armor, for he had not been exercised to it, nor had he learned to
walk with it; so he said, "Let this armor be thine, O king, who
art able to bear it; but give me leave to fight as thy servant,
and as I myself desire." Accordingly he laid by the armor, and
taking his staff with him, and putting five stones out of the
brook into a shepherd's bag, and having a sling in his right
hand, he went towards Goliath. But the adversary seeing him come
in such a manner, disdained him, and jested upon him, as if he
had not such weapons with him as are usual when one man fights
against another, but such as are used in driving away and
avoiding of dogs; and said, "Dost thou take me not for a man, but
a dog?" To which he replied, "No, not for a dog, but for a
creature worse than a dog." This provoked Goliath to anger, who
thereupon cursed him by the name of God, and threatened to give
his flesh to the beasts of the earth, and to the fowls of the
air, to be torn in pieces by them. To whom David answered, Thou
comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a
breastplate; but I have God for my armor in coming against thee,
who will destroy thee and all thy army by my hands for I will
this day cut off thy head, and cast the other parts of thy body
to the dogs, and all men shall learn that God is the protector of
the Hebrews, and that our armor and our strength is in his
providence; and that without God's assistance, all other warlike
preparations and power are useless." So the Philistine being
retarded by the weight of his armor, when he attempted to meet
David in haste, came on but slowly, as despising him, and
depending upon it that he should slay him, who was both unarmed
and a child also, without any trouble at all.

5. But the youth met his antagonist, being accompanied with an
invisible assistant, who was no other than God himself. And
taking one of the stones that he had out of the brook, and had
put into his shepherd's bag, and fitting it to his sling, he
slang it against the Philistine. This stone fell upon his
forehead, and sank into his brain, insomuch that Goliath was
stunned, and fell upon his face. So David ran, and stood upon his
adversary as he lay down, and cut off his head with his own
sword; for he had no sword himself. And upon the fall of Goliath
the Philistines were beaten, and fled; for when they saw their
champion prostrate on the ground, they were afraid of the entire
issue of their affairs, and resolved not to stay any longer, but
committed themselves to an ignominious and indecent flight, and
thereby endeavored to save themselves from the dangers they were

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest