13 Saul was [thirty] years old when he began to reign; he ruled over Israel for [forty] years. 2 Saul selected for himself 3,000 men from Israel. Of these 2,000 were with Saul at Micmash and in the hill country of Bethel; the remaining 1,000 were with Jonathan at Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin. He sent all the rest of the people back home.
3 Jonathan attacked the Philistine outpost that was at Geba and the Philistines heard about it. Then Saul alerted all the land saying, “Let the Hebrews pay attention!” 4 All Israel heard this message, “Saul has attacked the Philistine outpost, and now Israel is repulsive to the Philistines!” So the people were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.
5 Meanwhile the Philistines gathered to battle with Israel. Then they went up against Israel with 3,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen, and an army as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Micmash, east of Beth Aven. 6 The men of Israel realized they had a problem because their army was hard pressed. So the army hid in caves, thickets, cliffs, strongholds, and cisterns. 7 Some of the Hebrews crossed over the Jordan River to the land of Gad and Gilead. But Saul stayed at Gilgal; the entire army that was with him was terrified. 8 He waited for seven days, the time period indicated by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the army began to abandon Saul.
9 So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” Then he offered a burnt offering. 10 Just when he had finished offering the burnt offering, Samuel appeared on the scene. Saul went out to meet him and to greet him.
11 But Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul replied, “When I saw that the army had started to abandon me, and that you didn’t come at the appointed time, and that the Philistines had assembled at Micmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down on me at Gilgal and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt obligated to offer the burnt offering.”
13 Then Samuel said to Saul, “You have made a foolish choice! You have not obeyed the commandment that the Lord your God gave you. Had you done that, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom will not continue. The Lord has sought out for himself a man who is loyal to him, and the Lord has appointed him to be leader over his people, for you have not obeyed what the Lord commanded you.”
15 Then Samuel set out and went up from Gilgal to Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin. Saul mustered the army that remained with him; there were about 600 men. 16 Saul, his son Jonathan, and the army that remained with them stayed in Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin, while the Philistines camped in Micmash. 17 Raiding bands went out from the camp of the Philistines in three groups. One band turned toward the road leading to Ophrah by the land of Shual; 18 another band turned toward the road leading to Beth Horon; and yet another band turned toward the road leading to the border that overlooks the valley of Zeboyim in the direction of the desert.
19 A blacksmith could not be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines had said, “This will prevent the Hebrews from making swords and spears.” 20 So all Israel had to go down to the Philistines in order to get their plowshares, cutting instruments, axes, and sickles sharpened. 21 They charged two-thirds of a shekel to sharpen plowshares and cutting instruments, and one-third of a shekel to sharpen picks and axes, and to set ox goads. 22 So on the day of the battle no sword or spear was to be found in the hand of anyone in the army that was with Saul and Jonathan. No one but Saul and his son Jonathan had them.
23 A garrison of the Philistines had gone out to the pass at Micmash.
11 So I ask, God has not rejected his people, has he? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew! Do you not know what the scripture says about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars; I alone am left and they are seeking my life!” 4 But what was the divine response to him? “I have kept for myself 7,000 people who have not bent the knee to Baal.”
5 So in the same way at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if it is by grace, it is no longer by works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace. 7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was diligently seeking, but the elect obtained it. The rest were hardened, 8 as it is written,
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear,
to this very day.”
9 And David says,
“Let their table become a snare and trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
10 let their eyes be darkened so that they may not see,
and make their backs bend continually.”
11 I ask then, they did not stumble into an irrevocable fall, did they? Absolutely not! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their transgression means riches for the world and their defeat means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full restoration bring?
13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Seeing that I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if somehow I could provoke my people to jealousy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the first portion of the dough offered is holy, then the whole batch is holy, and if the root is holy, so too are the branches.
17 Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them and participated in the richness of the olive root, 18 do not boast over the branches. But if you boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 Then you will say, “The branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted! They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but fear! 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you. 22 Notice therefore the kindness and harshness of God—harshness toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And even they—if they do not continue in their unbelief—will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree?
25 For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion;
he will remove ungodliness from Jacob.
27 And this is my covenant with them,
when I take away their sins.”
28 In regard to the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but in regard to election they are dearly loved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. 30 Just as you were formerly disobedient to God, but have now received mercy due to their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all people to disobedience so that he may show mercy to them all.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how unfathomable his ways!
34 For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?
35 Or who has first given to God,
that God needs to repay him?
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever! Amen.
50 The Lord spoke concerning Babylon and the land of Babylonia through the prophet Jeremiah.
2 “Announce the news among the nations! Proclaim it!
Signal for people to pay attention.
Declare the news! Do not hide it! Say:
‘Babylon will be captured.
Bel will be put to shame.
Marduk will be dismayed.
Babylon’s idols will be put to shame;
her disgusting images will be dismayed.
3 For a nation from the north will attack Babylon;
it will lay her land waste.
People and animals will flee out of it.
No one will inhabit it.’
4 “When that time comes,” says the Lord,
“the people of Israel and Judah will return to the land together.
They will come back with tears of repentance
as they seek the Lord their God.
5 They will ask the way to Zion;
they will turn their faces toward it.
They will come and bind themselves to the Lord
in a lasting covenant that will never be forgotten.
6 “My people have been lost sheep.
Their shepherds have allowed them to go astray.
They have wandered around in the mountains.
They have roamed from one mountain and hill to another.
They have forgotten their resting place.
7 All who encountered them devoured them.
Their enemies who did this said, ‘We are not liable for punishment!
For those people have sinned against the Lord, their true pasture.
They have sinned against the Lord in whom their ancestors trusted.’
8 “People of Judah, get out of Babylon quickly!
Leave the land of Babylonia!
Be the first to depart.
Be like the male goats that lead the herd.
9 For I will rouse into action and bring against Babylon
a host of mighty nations from the land of the north.
They will set up their battle lines against her.
They will come from the north and capture her.
Their arrows will be like a skilled soldier
who does not return from the battle empty-handed.
10 Babylonia will be plundered.
Those who plunder it will take all they want,”
says the Lord.
11 “People of Babylonia, you plundered my people.
That made you happy and glad.
You frolic about like calves in a pasture.
Your joyous sounds are like the neighs of a stallion.
12 But Babylonia will be put to great shame.
The land where you were born will be disgraced.
Indeed, Babylonia will become the least important of all nations.
It will become a dry and barren desert.
13 After I vent my wrath on it, Babylon will be uninhabited.
It will be totally desolate.
All who pass by will be filled with horror and will hiss out their scorn
because of all the disasters that have happened to it.
14 “Take up your battle positions all around Babylon,
all you soldiers who are armed with bows.
Shoot all your arrows at her! Do not hold any back!
For she has sinned against the Lord.
15 Shout the battle cry from all around the city.
She will throw up her hands in surrender;
her towers will fall.
Her walls will be torn down.
Because I, the Lord, am wreaking revenge,
take out your vengeance on her!
Do to her as she has done!
16 Kill all the farmers who sow the seed in the land of Babylon;
kill all those who wield the sickle at harvest time.
Let all the foreigners return to their own people.
Let them hurry back to their own lands
to escape destruction by that enemy army.
17 “The people of Israel are like scattered sheep
that lions have chased away.
First the king of Assyria devoured them.
Now, last of all, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has gnawed their bones.
18 So I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, say:
‘I will punish the king of Babylon and his land
just as I punished the king of Assyria.
19 But I will restore the flock of Israel to their own pasture.
They will graze on Mount Carmel and the land of Bashan.
They will eat until they are full
on the hills of Ephraim and the land of Gilead.
20 When that time comes,
no guilt will be found in Israel.
No sin will be found in Judah.
For I will forgive those of them I have allowed to survive.
I, the Lord, affirm it!’”
21 The Lord says,
“Attack the land of Merathaim
and the people who live in Pekod.
Pursue, kill, and completely destroy them!
Do just as I have commanded you!
22 The noise of battle can be heard in the land of Babylonia.
There is the sound of great destruction.
23 Babylon hammered the whole world to pieces.
But see how that ‘hammer’ has been broken and shattered!
See what an object of horror
Babylon has become among the nations!
24 I set a trap for you, Babylon;
you were caught before you knew it.
You fought against me;
so you were found and captured.
25 I have opened up the place where my weapons are stored.
I have brought out the weapons for carrying out my wrath.
For I, the Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
have work to carry out in the land of Babylonia.
26 Come from far away and attack Babylonia!
Open up the places where she stores her grain.
Pile her up in ruins. Destroy her completely!
Do not leave anyone alive!
27 Kill all her soldiers.
Let them be slaughtered.
They are doomed, for their day of reckoning has come,
the time for them to be punished.”
28 Listen! Fugitives and refugees are coming from the land of Babylon.
They are coming to Zion to declare there
how the Lord our God is getting revenge,
getting revenge for what they have done to his temple.
29 “Call for archers to come against Babylon!
Summon against her all who draw the bow.
Set up camp all around the city.
Do not allow anyone to escape!
Pay her back for what she has done.
Do to her what she has done to others.
For she has proudly defied me,
the Holy One of Israel.
30 So her young men will fall in her city squares.
All her soldiers will be destroyed at that time,”
says the Lord.
31 “Listen! I am opposed to you, you proud city,”
says the Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
“Indeed, your day of reckoning has come,
the time when I will punish you.
32 You will stumble and fall, you proud city;
no one will help you get up.
I will set fire to your towns;
it will burn up everything that surrounds you.”
33 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says,
“The people of Israel are oppressed.
So too are the people of Judah.
All those who took them captive are holding them prisoners.
They refuse to set them free.
34 But the one who will rescue them is strong.
His name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
He will strongly champion their cause.
As a result he will bring peace and rest to the earth,
but trouble and turmoil to the people who inhabit Babylonia.
35 “Destructive forces will come against the Babylonians,” says the Lord.
“They will come against the people who inhabit Babylonia,
against her leaders and her men of wisdom.
36 Destructive forces will come against her false prophets;
they will be shown to be fools!
Destructive forces will come against her soldiers;
they will be filled with terror!
37 Destructive forces will come against her horses and her chariots.
Destructive forces will come against all the foreign troops within her;
they will be as frightened as women!
Destructive forces will come against her treasures;
they will be taken away as plunder!
38 A drought will come upon her land;
her rivers and canals will be dried up.
All this will happen because her land is filled with idols.
Her people act like madmen because of those idols they fear.
39 Therefore desert creatures and jackals will live there;
ostriches too will dwell in it.
But no people will ever live there again;
no one will dwell there for all time to come.
40 I will destroy Babylonia just as I did
Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring towns.
No one will live there;
no human being will settle in it,”
says the Lord.
41 “Look! An army is about to come from the north.
A mighty nation and many kings are stirring into action
in faraway parts of the earth.
42 Its soldiers are armed with bows and spears.
They are cruel and show no mercy.
They sound like the roaring sea
as they ride forth on their horses.
Lined up in formation like men going into battle,
they are coming against you, fair Babylon.
43 The king of Babylon will become paralyzed with fear
when he hears news of their coming.
Anguish will grip him,
agony like that of a woman giving birth to a baby.
44 “A lion coming up from the thick undergrowth along the Jordan
scatters the sheep in the pastureland around it.
So too I will chase the Babylonians off their land;
then I will appoint over it whomever I choose.
For there is no one like me.
There is no one who can call me to account.
There is no ruler that can stand up against me.
45 So listen to what I, the Lord, have planned against Babylon,
what I intend to do to the people who inhabit the land of Babylonia.
Their little ones will be dragged off like sheep.
I will completely destroy their land because of what they have done.
46 The people of the earth will quake when they hear Babylon has been captured.
Her cries of anguish will be heard by the other nations.”
28 To you, O Lord, I cry out!
My Protector, do not ignore me.
If you do not respond to me,
I will join those who are descending into the grave.
2 Hear my plea for mercy when I cry out to you for help,
when I lift my hands toward your holy temple.
3 Do not drag me away with evil men,
with those who behave wickedly,
who talk so friendly to their neighbors,
while they plan to harm them.
4 Pay them back for their evil deeds.
Pay them back for what they do.
5 For they do not understand the Lord’s actions,
or the way he carries out justice.
The Lord will permanently demolish them.
6 The Lord deserves praise,
for he has heard my plea for mercy.
7 The Lord strengthens and protects me;
I trust in him with all my heart.
I am rescued and my heart is full of joy;
I will sing to him in gratitude.
8 The Lord strengthens his people;
he protects and delivers his chosen king.
9 Deliver your people.
Empower the nation that belongs to you.
Care for them like a shepherd and carry them in your arms at all times!
29 Acknowledge the Lord, you heavenly beings,
acknowledge the Lord’s majesty and power.
2 Acknowledge the majesty of the Lord’s reputation.
Worship the Lord in holy attire.
3 The Lord’s shout is heard over the water;
the majestic God thunders,
the Lord appears over the surging water.
4 The Lord’s shout is powerful,
the Lord’s shout is majestic.
5 The Lord’s shout breaks the cedars,
the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes them skip like a calf,
Lebanon and Sirion like a young ox.
7 The Lord’s shout strikes with flaming fire.
8 The Lord’s shout shakes the wilderness,
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The Lord’s shout bends the large trees
and strips the leaves from the forests.
Everyone in his temple says, “Majestic!”
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the engulfing waters,
the Lord sits enthroned as the eternal king.
11 The Lord gives his people strength;
the Lord grants his people security.