24 And the men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had t placed the people under oath, saying, "Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies." So none of the people tasted food. 25 u Now all the people of the land came to a forest; and there was v honey on the ground. 26 And when the people had come into the woods, there was the honey, dripping; but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath; therefore he stretched out the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in a honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his 1 countenance brightened. 28 Then one of the people said, "Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, 'Cursed is the man who eats food this day.' " And the people were faint. 29 But Jonathan said, "My father has troubled the land. Look now, how my countenance has brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 "How much better if the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies which they found! For now would there not have been a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?"
31 Now they had 2 driven back the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. So the people were very faint. 32 And the people rushed on the 3 spoil, and took sheep, oxen, and calves, and slaughtered them on the ground; and the people ate them w with the blood. 33 Then they told Saul, saying, "Look, the people are sinning against the LORD by eating with the blood!" So he said, "You have dealt treacherously; roll a large stone to me this day." 34 Then Saul said, "Disperse yourselves among the people, and say to them, 'Bring me here every man's ox and every man's sheep, slaughter them here, and eat; and do not sin against the LORD by eating with the blood.' " So every one of the people brought his ox with him that night, and slaughtered it there. 35 Then Saul x built an altar to the LORD. This was the first altar that he built to the LORD.
36 Now Saul said, "Let us go down after the Philistines by night, and plunder them until the morning light; and let us not leave a man of them." And they said, "Do whatever seems good to you." Then the priest said, "Let us draw near to God here." 37 So Saul y asked counsel of God, "Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will You deliver them into the hand of Israel?" But z He did not answer him that day. 38 And Saul said, a "Come over here, all you chiefs of the people, and know and see what this sin was today. 39 "For b as the LORD lives, who saves Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die." But not a man among all the people answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, "You be on one side, and my son Jonathan and I will be on the other side." And the people said to Saul, "Do what seems good to you." 41 Therefore Saul said to the LORD God of Israel, c "Give 4 a perfect lot." d So Saul and Jonathan were taken, but the people escaped. 42 And Saul said, "Cast lots between my son Jonathan and me." So Jonathan was taken.
43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, e "Tell me what you have done." And Jonathan told him, and said, f "I only tasted a little honey with the end of the rod that was in my hand. So now I must die!" 44 Saul answered, g "God do so and more also; h for you shall surely die, Jonathan." 45 But the people said to Saul, "Shall Jonathan die, who has accomplished this great deliverance in Israel? Certainly not! i As the LORD lives, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground, for he has worked j with God this day." So the people rescued Jonathan, and he did not die. 46 Then Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.