14 Then one day Jonathan son of Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Come on, let’s go over to the Philistine garrison that is opposite us.” But he did not let his father know.
2 Now Saul was sitting under a pomegranate tree in Migron, on the outskirts of Gibeah. The army that was with him numbered about 600 men. 3 Now Ahijah was carrying an ephod. He was the son of Ahitub, who was the brother of Ichabod and a son of Phinehas, son of Eli, the priest of the Lord in Shiloh. The army was unaware that Jonathan had left.
4 Now there was a steep cliff on each side of the pass through which Jonathan intended to go to reach the Philistine garrison. One cliff was named Bozez, the other Seneh. 5 The cliff to the north was closer to Micmash, the one to the south closer to Geba.
6 Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Come on, let’s go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will intervene for us. Nothing can prevent the Lord from delivering, whether by many or by a few.” 7 His armor-bearer said to him, “Do everything that is on your mind. Do as you’re inclined. I’m with you all the way!”
8 Jonathan replied, “All right. We’ll go over to these men and fight them. 9 If they say to us, ‘Stay put until we approach you,’ we will stay right there and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up against us,’ we will go up. For in that case the Lord has given them into our hand—it will be a sign to us.”
11 When they made themselves known to the Philistine garrison, the Philistines said, “Look! The Hebrews are coming out of the holes in which they hid themselves.” 12 Then the men of the garrison said to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come on up to us so we can teach you a thing or two!” Then Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Come up behind me, for the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel!”
13 Jonathan crawled up on his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer following behind him. Jonathan struck down the Philistines, while his armor-bearer came along behind him and killed them. 14 In this initial skirmish Jonathan and his armor-bearer struck down about twenty men in an area that measured half an acre.
15 Then fear overwhelmed those who were in the camp, those who were in the field, all the army in the garrison, and the raiding bands. They trembled and the ground shook. This fear was caused by God.
16 Saul’s watchmen at Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin looked on as the crowd of soldiers seemed to melt away first in one direction and then in another. 17 So Saul said to the army that was with him, “Muster the troops and see who is no longer with us.” When they mustered the troops, Jonathan and his armor-bearer were not there. 18 So Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring near the ephod,” for he was at that time wearing the ephod in front of the Israelites. 19 While Saul spoke to the priest, the panic in the Philistines’ camp was becoming greater and greater. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.”
20 Saul and all the army assembled and marched into battle, where they found the Philistines in total panic killing one another with their swords. 21 The Hebrews who had earlier gone over to the Philistine side joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the Israelites who had hidden themselves in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines had fled, they too pursued them in battle. 23 So the Lord delivered Israel that day, and the battle shifted over to Beth Aven.
24 Now the men of Israel were hard pressed that day, for Saul had made the army agree to this oath: “Cursed be the man who eats food before evening. I will get my vengeance on my enemies!” So no one in the army ate anything.
25 Now the whole army entered the forest, and there was honey on the ground. 26 When the army entered the forest, they saw the honey flowing, but no one ate any of it, for the army was afraid of the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard about the oath his father had made the army take. He extended the end of his staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb. When he ate it, his eyes gleamed. 28 Then someone from the army informed him, “Your father put the army under a strict oath saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food today.’ That is why the army is tired.” 29 Then Jonathan said, “My father has caused trouble for the land. See how my eyes gleamed when I tasted just a little of this honey. 30 Certainly if the army had eaten some of the enemies’ provisions that they came across today, would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?”
31 On that day the army struck down the Philistines from Micmash to Aijalon, and they became very tired. 32 So the army rushed greedily on the plunder, confiscating sheep, cattle, and calves. They slaughtered them right on the ground, and the army ate them, blood and all.
33 Now it was reported to Saul, “Look, the army is sinning against the Lord by eating even the blood.” He said, “All of you have broken the covenant! Roll a large stone over here to me.” 34 Then Saul said, “Scatter out among the army and say to them, ‘Each of you bring to me your ox and sheep and slaughter them in this spot and eat. But don’t sin against the Lord by eating the blood.” So that night each one brought his ox and slaughtered it there. 35 Then Saul built an altar for the Lord; it was the first time he had built an altar for the Lord.
36 Saul said, “Let’s go down after the Philistines at night; we will rout them until the break of day. We won’t leave any of them alive!” They replied, “Do whatever seems best to you.” But the priest said, “Let’s approach God here.” 37 So Saul asked God, “Should I go down after the Philistines? Will you deliver them into the hand of Israel?” But he did not answer him that day.
38 Then Saul said, “All you leaders of the army come here. Find out how this sin occurred today. 39 For as surely as the Lord, the deliverer of Israel, lives, even if it turns out to be my own son Jonathan, he will certainly die!” But no one from the army said anything.
40 Then he said to all Israel, “You will be on one side, and I and my son Jonathan will be on the other side.” The army replied to Saul, “Do whatever you think is best.”
41 Then Saul said, “O Lord God of Israel! If this sin has been committed by me or by my son Jonathan, then, O Lord God of Israel, respond with Urim. But if this sin has been committed by your people Israel, respond with Thummim.” Then Jonathan and Saul were indicated by lot, while the army was exonerated. 42 Then Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan!” Jonathan was indicated by lot.
43 So Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” Jonathan told him, “I used the end of the staff that was in my hand to taste a little honey. I must die!” 44 Saul said, “God will punish me severely if Jonathan doesn’t die!”
45 But the army said to Saul, “Should Jonathan, who won this great victory in Israel, die? May it never be! As surely as the Lord lives, not a single hair of his head will fall to the ground, for it is with the help of God that he has acted today.” So the army rescued Jonathan from death.
46 Then Saul stopped chasing the Philistines, and the Philistines went back home. 47 After Saul had secured his royal position over Israel, he fought against all their enemies on all sides—the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. In every direction that he turned, he was victorious. 48 He fought bravely, striking down the Amalekites and delivering Israel from the hand of its enemies.
49 The sons of Saul were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malki-Shua. He had two daughters; the older one was named Merab and the younger Michal. 50 The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the general in command of his army was Abner son of Ner, Saul’s uncle. 51 Kish was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.
52 There was fierce war with the Philistines all the days of Saul. So whenever Saul saw anyone who was a warrior or a brave individual, he would conscript him.
12 Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice—alive, holy, and pleasing to God—which is your reasonable service. 2 Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God—what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.
3 For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith. 4 For just as in one body we have many members, and not all the members serve the same function, 5 so we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually we are members who belong to one another. 6 And we have different gifts according to the grace given to us. If the gift is prophecy, that individual must use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is service, he must serve; if it is teaching, he must teach; 8 if it is exhortation, he must exhort; if it is contributing, he must do so with sincerity; if it is leadership, he must do so with diligence; if it is showing mercy, he must do so with cheerfulness.
9 Love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another with mutual love, showing eagerness in honoring one another. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints, pursue hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil; consider what is good before all people. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people. 19 Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Rather, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this you will be heaping burning coals on his head. 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
51 The Lord says:
“I will cause a destructive wind to blow
against Babylon and the people who inhabit Babylonia.
2 I will send people to winnow Babylonia like a wind blowing away chaff.
They will winnow her and strip her land bare.
This will happen when they come against her from every direction,
when it is time to destroy her.
3 Do not give her archers time to string their bows
or to put on their coats of armor.
Do not spare any of her young men.
Completely destroy her whole army.
4 Let them fall slain in the land of Babylonia,
mortally wounded in the streets of her cities.
5 “For Israel and Judah will not be forsaken
by their God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
For the land of Babylonia is full of guilt
against the Holy One of Israel.
6 Get out of Babylonia quickly, you foreign people.
Flee to save your lives.
Do not let yourselves be killed because of her sins,
for it is time for the Lord to wreak his revenge.
He will pay Babylonia back for what she has done.
7 Babylonia had been a gold cup in the Lord’s hand;
she had made the whole world drunk.
The nations had drunk from the wine of her wrath,
so they have all gone mad.
8 But suddenly Babylonia will fall and be destroyed.
Cry out in mourning over it!
Get medicine for her wounds;
perhaps she can be healed!
9 Foreigners living there will say,
‘We tried to heal her, but she could not be healed.
Let’s leave Babylonia and each go back to his own country.
For judgment on her will be vast in its proportions.
It will be like it is piled up to heaven, stacked up into the clouds.’
10 The exiles from Judah will say,
‘The Lord has brought about a great deliverance for us!
Come on, let’s go and proclaim in Zion
what the Lord our God has done!’
11 “Sharpen your arrows!
Fill your quivers!
The Lord will arouse a spirit of hostility in the kings of Media,
for he intends to destroy Babylonia.
For that is how the Lord will get his revenge—
how he will get his revenge for the Babylonians’ destruction of his temple.
12 Give the signal to attack Babylon’s wall!
Bring more guards;
post them all around the city.
Put men in ambush,
for the Lord will do what he has planned.
He will do what he said he would do to the people of Babylon.
13 “You who live along the rivers of Babylon,
the time of your end has come.
You who are rich in plundered treasure,
it is time for your lives to be cut off.
14 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has solemnly sworn,
‘I will fill your land with enemy soldiers.
They will swarm over it like locusts.
They will raise up shouts of victory over it.’
15 He is the one who by his power made the earth.
He is the one who by his wisdom fixed the world in place,
by his understanding he spread out the heavens.
16 When his voice thunders, the waters in the heavens roar.
He makes the clouds rise from the far-off horizons;
he makes the lightning flash out in the midst of the rain.
He unleashes the wind from the places where he stores it;
17 all idolaters will prove to be stupid and ignorant.
Every goldsmith will be disgraced by the idol he made.
For the image he forges is merely a sham;
there is no breath in any of those idols.
18 They are worthless, objects to be ridiculed.
When the time comes to punish them, they will be destroyed.
19 The Lord, who is the portion of the descendants of Jacob, is not like them.
For he is the one who created everything,
including the people of Israel whom he claims as his own.
His name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
20 “Babylon, you are my war club,
my weapon for battle.
I used you to smash nations.
I used you to destroy kingdoms.
21 I used you to smash horses and their riders.
I used you to smash chariots and their drivers.
22 I used you to smash men and women.
I used you to smash old men and young men.
I used you to smash young men and young women.
23 I used you to smash shepherds and their flocks.
I used you to smash farmers and their teams of oxen.
I used you to smash governors and leaders.”
24 “But I will repay Babylon
and all who live in Babylonia
for all the wicked things they did in Zion
right before the eyes of you Judeans,”
says the Lord.
25 The Lord says, “Beware! I am opposed to you, Babylon!
You are like a destructive mountain that destroys all the earth.
I will unleash my power against you;
I will roll you off the cliffs and make you like a burned-out mountain.
26 No one will use any of your stones as a cornerstone;
no one will use any of them in the foundation of his house.
For you will lie desolate forever,”
says the Lord.
27 “Raise up battle flags throughout the lands.
Sound the trumpets calling the nations to do battle.
Prepare the nations to do battle against Babylonia.
Call for these kingdoms to attack her:
Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz.
Appoint a commander to lead the attack.
Send horses against her like a swarm of locusts.
28 Prepare the nations to do battle against her.
Prepare the kings of the Medes.
Prepare their governors and all their leaders.
Prepare all the countries they rule to do battle against her.
29 The earth will tremble and writhe in agony;
for the Lord will carry out his plan.
He plans to make the land of Babylonia
a wasteland where no one lives.
30 The soldiers of Babylonia will stop fighting.
They will remain in their fortified cities.
They will lose their strength to do battle.
They will be as frightened as women.
The houses in her cities will be set on fire.
The gates of her cities will be broken down.
31 One runner after another will come to the king of Babylon;
one messenger after another will come bringing news.
They will bring news to the king of Babylon
that his whole city has been captured.
32 They will report that the fords have been captured,
the reed marshes have been burned,
the soldiers are terrified.
33 For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says,
‘Fair Babylon will be like a threshing floor
that has been trampled flat for harvest.
The time for her to be cut down and harvested
will come very soon.’
34 “King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon
devoured me and drove my people out.
Like a monster from the deep he swallowed me.
He filled his belly with my riches;
he made me an empty dish.
He completely cleaned me out.”
35 The person who lives in Zion says,
“May Babylon pay for the violence done to me and to my relatives.”
“May those living in Babylonia pay for the bloodshed of my people.”
36 Therefore the Lord says,
“I will stand up for your cause.
I will pay the Babylonians back for what they have done to you.
I will dry up their sea;
I will make their springs run dry.
37 Babylon will become a heap of ruins.
Jackals will make their home there.
It will become an object of horror and of hissing scorn,
a place where no one lives.
38 The Babylonians are all like lions roaring for prey;
they are like lion cubs growling for something to eat.
39 When their appetites are all stirred up,
I will set out a banquet for them.
I will make them drunk
so that they will pass out,
they will fall asleep forever,
they will never wake up,”
says the Lord.
40 “I will lead them off to be slaughtered
like lambs, rams, and male goats.
41 “See how Babylon has been captured!
See how the pride of the whole earth has been taken!
See what an object of horror
Babylon has become among the nations!
42 The sea has swept over Babylon.
She has been covered by a multitude of its waves.
43 The towns of Babylonia have become heaps of ruins.
She has become a dry and barren desert.
No one lives in those towns any more;
no one even passes through them.
44 I will punish the god Bel in Babylon.
I will make him spit out what he has swallowed.
The nations will not come streaming to him any longer.
Indeed, the walls of Babylon will fall.
45 “Get out of Babylon, my people!
Flee to save your lives
from the fierce anger of the Lord!
46 Do not lose your courage or become afraid
because of the reports that are heard in the land.
For a report will come in one year.
Another report will follow it in the next.
There will be violence in the land
with ruler fighting against ruler.
47 “So the time will certainly come
when I will punish the idols of Babylon.
Her whole land will be put to shame.
All her mortally wounded will collapse in her midst.
48 Then heaven and earth and all that is in them
will sing for joy over Babylon.
For destroyers from the north will attack it,”
says the Lord.
49 “Babylon must fall
because of the Israelites she has killed,
just as the earth’s mortally wounded fell
because of Babylon.
50 You who have escaped the sword,
go, do not delay.
Remember the Lord in a faraway land.
Think about Jerusalem.
51 ‘We are ashamed because we have been insulted.
Our faces show our disgrace.
For foreigners have invaded
the holy rooms in the Lord’s temple.’
52 Yes, but the time will certainly come,” says the Lord,
“when I will punish her idols.
Throughout her land the mortally wounded will groan.
53 Even if Babylon climbs high into the sky
and fortifies her elevated stronghold,
I will send destroyers against her,”
says the Lord.
54 Cries of anguish will come from Babylon,
the sound of great destruction from the land of the Babylonians.
55 For the Lord is ready to destroy Babylon,
and put an end to her loud noise.
Their waves will roar like turbulent waters.
They will make a deafening noise.
56 For a destroyer is attacking Babylon.
Her warriors will be captured;
their bows will be broken.
For the Lord is a God who punishes;
he pays back in full.
57 “I will make her officials and wise men drunk,
along with her governors, leaders, and warriors.
They will fall asleep forever and never wake up,”
says the King whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
58 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says,
“Babylon’s thick wall will be completely demolished.
Her high gates will be set on fire.
The peoples strive for what does not satisfy.
The nations grow weary trying to get what will be destroyed.”
59 This is the order Jeremiah the prophet gave to Seraiah son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, when he went to King Zedekiah of Judah in Babylon during the fourth year of his reign. (Seraiah was a quartermaster.) 60 Jeremiah recorded on one scroll all the judgments that would come upon Babylon—all these prophecies written about Babylon. 61 Then Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “When you arrive in Babylon, make sure you read aloud all these prophecies. 62 Then say, ‘O Lord, you have announced that you will destroy this place so that no people or animals live in it any longer. Certainly it will lie desolate forever!’ 63 When you finish reading this scroll aloud, tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates River. 64 Then say, ‘In the same way Babylon will sink and never rise again because of the disaster I am ready to bring upon her; they will grow faint.’”
The prophecies of Jeremiah end here.
30 I will praise you, O Lord, for you lifted me up,
and did not allow my enemies to gloat over me.
2 O Lord my God,
I cried out to you and you healed me.
3 O Lord, you pulled me up from Sheol;
you rescued me from among those descending into the grave.
4 Sing to the Lord, you faithful followers of his;
give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a brief moment,
and his good favor restores one’s life.
One may experience sorrow during the night,
but joy arrives in the morning.
6 In my self-confidence I said,
“I will never be shaken.”
7 O Lord, in your good favor you made me secure.
Then you rejected me and I was terrified.
8 To you, O Lord, I cried out;
I begged the Lord for mercy:
9 “What profit is there in taking my life,
in my descending into the Pit?
Can the dust of the grave praise you?
Can it declare your loyalty?
10 Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me.
O Lord, deliver me.”
11 Then you turned my lament into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and covered me with joy.
12 So now my heart will sing to you and not be silent;
O Lord my God, I will always give thanks to you.