PRIMUS LIBER REGUM.
[ELKANAH AND HIS FAMILY (1:1–8)]
God that goverans all thynges
and myght fully made more and lese,
In whom our helpe all holy hynges,
He graunt us grace of His gudnese
Forto begyne the Boke of Kynges
and further yt furth in fayr processe,
Als Holy Chyrch heyre says and synges,
and as the Bybyll proves expresse
How prophetes fyrst begane
Goddes banere furth to beyre,
How kynges wrschepe wane
be dyverse dedes of were.
Ther wuned a man in Ramatha,
a gentyll cety of the Jury,
And his name was cald Elcana;
amang all other most myghty.
He had two wyfes. On heyght Anna;
scho was barand of hyr body.
Hys secund wyfe heyght Fenenna,
bot scho had barns hyr husband by.
The costome then was thore,
that sythyn hath bene untoyght:
No wemen wrschept wore
bot thoo that frutt furth broyght.
Helcana, that was full wyse,
lufed Anna well, for scho was fayre.
Bot all way was scho lesse in prese,
bycawse scho broyght hym furth non ayre.
Thei used then ylke yere ons or twyse
unto the Tempyll all folke to care
And ther forto make sacrafyce
to God, that goverans erth and ayre.
And fell that Helcana
with wyfes and chylder wentt
Thar sacrafyce to make
to God with gud entent.
Thei broyght with them both bred and wyne,
aftur ther folke ware fele or fone.
And thor thei sett them down at dyne
when thei ther sacrafyce had done.
He parted then Anna to pyne,
for unto hyr he gaf bot one,
And to Fenenna fele and fyne,
for scho had chylder and that other none.
When scho saw Fenenna
for hyre chylder well fayre,
Scho weped and was full wo,
for scho no barns bare.
[whose] power; (i.e., everything)
[may] He grant; goodness
set it forth in fair terms
banner; bear; (t-note)
diverse deeds of war
[thought] most strong
One was called Hannah; (t-note)
custom; at that time
which since has been out of use (unthought)
women were honored
those who children (fruit) brought forth
Elkanah; very wise
[in] all [other] ways; honor
each year once or twice
bread and wine; (see note); (t-note)
many or few
distributed; pain; (see note)
many and fine [offerings]
wept; very sad
[HANNAH MOURNS AT THE TEMPLE (1:9–19)]
Scho rose and went withoutyn rest
to the Tempyll wher the Arke of God stud.
And thor scho fell in prayers prest
and prayd to God, that gyfes all gud,
Hys grace in hyre forto fest
and send a sun to mend hyr mode.
So carefull cowntenance furth scho cast
that Ely wened scho had bene wode.
And unto hyr sayd he,
“Dame, thou takes no kepe
All yf thou dronkyn be.
Greve not God. Go slepe!”
“A mercy, ser,” scho sayd. “Do way!
My sorow sall thou understand.
To God is that I cry and pray
to have a sun with my husband.
And sertes, ser, yf I so may,
to God here sall he be servand.”
When Hely herd hyr so say,
he prayd for hyr with hert and hand.
Then sone toke Helcana
his chylder and wyfes two
And went into Ramatha,
that town that thei come fro.
(see note); (t-note)
Such a lamenting look
Eli believed; made mad; (t-note)
are not watchful; (see note)
If you are drunk; (t-note)
Aggrieve; Take rest; (see note)
[it] is; (see note)
heard her say this; (t-note)
[SAMUEL’S BIRTH AND CHILDHOOD (1:20–2:11)]
Sone aftur this so yt befell:
Anna consaved, os God vowchesayve,
And bare a sun heyght Samuell,
as scho full oft cane aftur crave.
Grett myrth was made then them amell
for comforth of that lytyll knave.
In the Tempyll was he dyght to dwell,
ose sone os he hymself can save.
Hys moyder made offerand
of hym, os scho had heyght,
Forto be Goddes servand
dewly both day and nyght.
In Goddes servyce so con he lend,
a full fayre chyld of hyd and hew.
And by twelfe yeres was past tyll end,
he cowth enogh of nurtur new:
The gast of God in hym dyscend,
wherby he cowth tell talys trew.
How thynges suld both begyn and end,
be prophecy full well he knew.
So aftur yeres twelfe
Ely, the prophett wyse,
Held Samuel nex hisself
in all sufferand servyce.
bore; named; (see note)
because she did ask [for him] so often
gladness in; boy
as soon as he could take care of himself
would he live
in all ways
by [the time] twelve years were ended; (see note)
he was mature enough
spirit; descended; (t-note)
make true prophecies
Considered; nearest to himself
sovereignty of service
[ELI’S WICKED SONS (2:12–17, 22–36)]
Two suns with his wyfe had Ely,
for samyn wuned, both scho and hee:
On Fynyes, that other Ofny,
two semly chylder forto se.
Bot both thei lyved in lechery
and dred not God in no degré.
Ther fader them faverd, and forthi
to fowll endyng thei fell all thre.
The sacrafyce thei stall
to fynd ther barns brede;
Therfor themself had bayle
and other of ther kynred.
[they] lived together, she and he; (t-note)
One [named] Phinehas; Hophni
fair children in appearance
Their father favored them; therefore
others of their family
[ON THE NEED FOR PRIESTS TO BE WORTHY]
Forthi ys goyde thei tent to skyll
that haluyd thyng has forto geme,
Be ther defawt that nothyng spyll;
ne in beyryng be not to breme,
Ne take nothyng themself untyll
that unto Goddes servyce suld seme;
And be ever ware with werkes yll
for dowt of Hym that all sall deme.
And chastys ther chylder well
allway when thei do omysse
That thei no fawtes fele,
as Ely feled for hys.
Therefore [it] is well [that] they take every care; (see note); (t-note)
who hallowed things must protect (observe)
So that by their failures nothing is soiled; (t-note)
neither in bearing to be too rough; (t-note)
Nor to take anything unto themselves
should be suited
always be cautious to avoid ill works
fear; judge; (see note); (t-note)
chastise their; (t-note)
[GOD SPEAKS TO SAMUEL (3:1–21)]
Now wyll we rede and reherse ryght
how God to Samuell can apeyre.
As he lay slepand on a nyght
in the Tempyll, hys mayster nere,
He herd a voyce call hym on heyght,
“Samuell, Samuell!” sithes Ser.
He rayse hym up and wentt full wyght
unto his mayster with myre chere
And sayd, “Ser, wyll ye oght,
I com yow forto kepe;
Ye cald me als me toyght.”
He sayd, “Nay, sun, go slepe!”
He wentt and layd hym down agayn
and hastely on slepe he fell.
And sone he herd the same stevyn certayn
cald on hym and sayd, “Samuell!”
He royse and wentt with pase full playn,
and to his maystur so can he tell.
Then Ely wyst and was full fayn
that God apered thore them amell,
“Go slepe, my son so dere,
and yf on speke thee tyll,
Say thus: ‘Lord, I am here;
tell me what is Thi wyll.’”
He sleped in his howse at hame,
and sone when he to bed was broyght,
A voyce come and cald hym by name;
and he sayd, “Lord, Thi servaunt unsoyght
Wyll werke Thi wyll of wyld and tame.”
Then answerd God, as Hym gud toyght:
“All Jacob suns sall suffer schame
for wekyd dedes that thei have wroyght.
Ely that thou wyt wunes
sall sone dye sodanly,
For he suffers hys suns
use theft and lechery.”
Thus sayd God unto Samuel
of fell defawtes that folke suld fele.
Unto his maystur con he tell
how God had demed ylka dele.
And when Ely had herd his spell,
that God was greved then wyst he wele,
And in prayers full fast he fell
to save hys suns fro the unsele.
Bot no poyntt myght be feld:
that Samuel sayd suld sew.
From thenfurth folke hym held
for prophett, trest and trew.
read and recount properly; (see note); (t-note)
sleeping one night
many times; (t-note)
woke; at once; (t-note)
whatever you desire; (see note)
so I thought
at once; voice; (t-note)
knew; very glad
there among them
one speaks to you
(i.e., All Israel); (see note)
[to] partake [in]
terrible calamities; people should experience
judged each thing
detail might be altered
[WAR WITH THE PHILISTINES (4:1–2)]
Sone aftur fell that Phylysteyns
mad grett semblyng on ylka syde
Of pepyll that were all paynyms,
for both tho names thei bare that tyde.
On Jacob suns, that heyght Ebrews,
come thei to were with mekyll pride
And says thei sall, whatso yt mevys,
be bet or bun all that wyll abyd.
Cetyes and towns thei breynt
over all in Ebrews land.
Both cornys and wyns thei schent
and stroyd all that suld stand.
Sone Ebrews herd and saw this syght
that forto byde thei had no beld;
Trowghowt ther reme thei raysed ryght
all wyght men that myght wepyns weld
Agayns Phylysteyns forto fyght.
Thei sped them fast with spere and scheld.
Bot smertly ware thei putt to flygh,
and fals Phylysteyns had the feld.
That day was dede and takyn
ten thowssand, says the Boke.
So God had them forsakyn,
for thei His law forsoke.
[it] happened; (t-note)
assembling on every side [of them]
pagans (i.e., non-Jews)
held at that time
[were] called Hebrews
[make] war; much
whoever it upsets
beaten or bound; would abide
grains and wines they spoiled
battlefield (i.e., victory)
Bible; (see note)
[THE LOSS OF THE ARK; DEATH OF ELI AND HIS SONS (4:3–18)]
The Ebrews toyght both scath and scorne
that thei suld fro Phylysteyns flee.
Thei sembled folk fast on the morne
and sayd thei suld ther solace see.
The Arke of God furth have thei borne;
therwith thei wene to wyne degré.
Bot for thei had ther laws lorne,
God wold no werke ne with them be.
Of Ebrews sone was slayne
moe then thrytty thowssand;
The Arke of God was tone
and led to hethyn land.
Thus Ebrews that was putt in prese
war all umcast with cares cold.
Felesteyns ther can full fast encresse,
for thei had Godes Arke in wold.
Bot both Ofny and Fynyes,
Ely suns that I ayre of told,
Thor leved ther lyves, withowtyn lesse.
And ther fader, for he was old,
When he herd tythynges tell
that his two suns was slayn,
Down fro his sege he fell
bakward and brast his brayn.
injurious and scornworthy
hope to win well
at once were
were put into difficulty
I told of before
left their lives, no lie
[this] news told
[THE ARK AMONG THE PHILISTINES: DAGON BROKEN, A PLAGUE OF MICE (5:1–12)]
Thus Ely and his suns was sloyn,
and Ebrews all was schent for syn.
The Arke of God from them was gone
with fellows folk Fylystyen.
Thei sett yt be ther god Dagon,
for thei to hym wold wrschepe wyne.
Bot vengance sone on them was tone:
he fell and brake both bone and skyne.
And more harme sone at hand
fell over all that cetye:
Grett myse groyved owt of sand,
an ugly syght to se.
Thei ette tho folke, both flesch and blod;
thei had no fors them to dyffend.
Ther bowels royted wher thei stod;
ther was no medcyn them to mend:
Mony thowssand for woo were wod.
This vengiance God apon them send,
For the Arke of God, that was so gud,
was haldyn then in hethyn hend.
Thei toke consell that tyde
and send yt fro Assoton
To a cyté ther besyde,
nbsp; that named was Askalon.
soon; taken; (t-note)
mice appeared; (see note)
woe went mad
held; heathen hands
council at that time
[THE DECISION TO RETURN THE ARK (6:1–11)]
Bot als sone ose thei toke entent
to mayntein yt thor them amell,
All the same harme sone had hent:
thei royted and ranked flesch and fell.
To fyve cetys so was yt sent,
and in ylka place os yt can dwell,
Sone all the folke ware schamly schent,
so grett nowmer that non myght tell.
Then thei toyght and sayd,
when thei sufferd so sore,
That God was noyght well payd
his Arke was holdyn thore,
For yt gart all that grevance groyve
of sorows that ware to them soyght.
And yett thei toyght that poynt to prove
whedder yt was therfor or noyght.
A sotell case thei can controve:
A ryall chare sone have thei wroyght
And coverd yt clenely above;
the Arke of God thorein thei broyght.
Fyfe myse then gart thei make
and fyfe rynges of gold fyne
For the fyfe cytes sake,
wher folke ware putt to pyne.
Two oxin that myght yt well weld
sone have thei schosyn that chare to draw
And led them fere furth into the feld,
the wyll of God for thei wold knaw.
Thei lete them be withowtyn beld:
none forto lede them, heygh ne law.
Thei stode of ferrom and beheld,
and thus then sayd thei in ther saw:
“Yf the bestes bryng yt nere,
then wyll God with us lend;
And yf the flytt yt ferre,
He ys not fully our frend.”
there among them
no one might count them all
thought [about it]
not well pleased
held there; (t-note)
Because it caused all the terrible calamities
placed upon them
that way or not
royal carrier soon
Five mice then caused they to be made
manage; (see note)
far out; field
to lead them, high or low (i.e., anyone)
in their way
they (the cows) take it far away
[RETURN OF THE ARK (6:12–7:2)]
Thoo oxin went with pace full playn
and led the Arke to Ebrews land.
Phylysteyns, for thei past fro payn,
was glad that yt was ferre from hand.
Bot Bethsamys was ferly fayn
when thei the Arke in ther feld fand.
Procession went thei thore agayn
and gafe to yt full grett offerand:
The oxin and the chare thei bryntt
before the Tabernakyll.
To the jewells toke thei tent
in mynd of this merakyll.
Then wrschept yt was worthyly
bot for that thei unworthy were.
Moyses ordand in all the Jewry
that non suld negh Goddes Arke so nere
Bot only the lynage of Levy,
pristes or dekyns knawn for clere.
Thies folke was not so, and forthi
ther boldnes sone thei boyght full dere:
Vengiance com sone unsoyght
apon sexty thowssand.
Sythyn Levy barn yt broyght
and sett yt where yt suld stand.
Amynadab, a nobyll Jew,
when that he saw thies folke mysfayre,
He ordand offycers all new,
swylke os he wyst worthy ware,
Of the most cunnand that he knew;
and his awn sun Eleazare
Ordand he byschop forto be trew
and tech the folke for all swylke chare.
Then lyfed Ebrews at es
and forsoke synfull dede.
Ay whyls thei wold God plese,
of nothyng had thei nede.
were relieved of their pains
[the people of] Beth-shemesh were joyous
they made note; (t-note)
except for [the fact] that; (t-note)
priests or deacons known to be pure
rewarded them quite poorly
Then children of Levi
these people fared ill
such as he knew were worthy
abandoned sinful ways
Always when they
[SAMUEL JUDGES ISRAEL; WICKEDNESS OF HIS SONS (7:15–8:3)]
Samuel was sufferan cald
and leyrer of ther laws full lang.
Two suns he had, wyght men and bold,
that melled them of the law amang.
Bot ther jugementes oft sythys thei sold
and turned the ryght oft unto the wrang.
And ther fader, for he was old,
myght noyght them mare of myse to gang.
Fro pure men held thei fode
and fold them monyfold,
And rych men for ther gud
myght werke whatever thei wold.
considered [their] judge
teacher; for a long time
stop them from doing misdeeds; (t-note)
[THE CALL FOR A MONARCHY (8:4–22)]
All gude men had full grett dedyne
that ryght suld be so mysarayd.
And comyn pepyll can them pleyn
to Samuell, and thus thei sayd:
“Syr, thee semys sone to passe hene,
for eld thi face is all afrayd.
To forther us thou suld not feyne,
our governance of mysse is grayd.
Therfor, ser, of this thyng
we pray thee evere ylkon:
Ordand over us a kyng
to gyd us when thou art gone.
“Ever ylka nacion bot we
hath kynges chosyn at ther awn chose.
And, ser, thi suns, soth we see,
thei wyll not leve our laws to losse.
Therfor a kyng in this cuntré
grawnt us to have withowtyn glose.”
He wyst full well God wold not be
plessed nor payd of this purpasse,
For prophettes, pristes, and clerkes
governd allway before,
And God ordand ther werkes.
Forthi thus sayd he thore:
“Syrs, ye wott what God hath wroyght
for yow and all your ofspryng:
Your elders owt of bondeyg He broyght
fro Pharo, that cursed kyng.
He send them fode enogh of noyght
in wyldernes — that was a wonder thyng!
And to yourselfe He sendes unsoyght
to lyfe heyre at your awn lykyng:
He sayves yow lyth and lym.
Therfor now forto have
Oyder thyng then Hym,
I consell noyght ye crave.
“I sall yow say encheson why,
and ose I say, so fynd ye sall.
Ye have now non bot God Allmighty,
that wele may govern both grete and small.
Fro a kyng have of you maistry,
now are ye fre, then ware ye thrale.
Your corne, your catell, ox and kye,
bus redy come unto his call.
As hym thynke yt wyll seme,
so bus yow ryde and gang
And do os he wyll deme,
wheder yt be ryght or wrang.”
Thus preched he them by processe playn
qwat care suld come in all swylke case.
Bot all his wordes was in vayn:
thei answerd spytfully in that space,
“Ser, we wyll have a kyng certayn,
as the pepyll hath in other place,
To mayntein us with myght and mayn
Agayns Phylysteyns, our face.”
He heyght them forto have
a kyng in tyme comyng.
Thei keped noyght els to crave;
then hom went old and yyng.
seem soon to die; (t-note)
further [lead] us; avoid
is all out of place
always as one
cease to destroy our laws
pleased or satisfied with
governed their works
food enough from nothing
joint and limb (i.e., in whole)
counsel you not to ask for
tell the reason
But if; mastery
you would be in thralldom
grain; livestock, oxen; cows
must be ready to come
it would be best
you must ride and go
however he desires
what ills should come; such cases
were in vain
have in other places
strength and stoutness
the times to come
would be satisfied with nothing else
[SAUL ENCOUNTERS SAMUEL (9:1–27)]
In Masphat sojournd Samuel
and mad gret mornyng for ther mysse.
And in that same cyté can dwell
A nobyll man, was named Cys.
He had a sun, Saul to tell,
a cumly chyld to clype and kyse.
And in that same tym so befell
that asses was with-rachyd of hys.
He bad with wordes meke
Saul, his sun certayn,
Wend furth his bestes to seke
and bryng them home agayn.
Saul was both meke and myld
to fyll his fader commawndment.
He toke with hym another chyld
for feleschepe, and furth thei went.
Thei soyght be ways and wastes wyld
the assys that thei to seke ware sent.
Thei fand none that cowde be ther byld
to tell in what land thei ware lent.
Saul sayd, “We wyll gang
unto my fader agayn;
Hym thynke we dwell full lang,
and our gatt ys in vayne.”
Hys servand sayd, “Nay, ser, lett us byde
sum bettur bodword home to bryng.
Samuel wunes heyr besyde,
a wyse prophett that wott all thyng.
He sall us tell in full schort tyde
of our bestes sum trew tythyng.
Sen we have wasted ways wyde,
our help now in his hand may hyng.”
Saul full sone assent;
this way he wold not lett.
To the cyté thei wentt,
and Samuel sone thei mett.
Thei prayd hym wysch them, yf he myght,
to ther assys that went ware wrang.
He sayd, “Suns, dwels with me all nyght;
then sall ye wytt, or ye gang.”
He saw Saul semly to syght
and of fayr stature to be strang,
And werned he was from Hevyn on heyght
that he suld be kyng Ebrews amang.
Folke dyde servyce that day,
full grett ose custom kend,
And to God can thei pray
sum gud kyng them to send.
And when that wrschepe was all done
and tyme was for the folke to twen,
The prophett at the howre of noyne
toke thoo two chylder to his yne,
And wheder folke ware felle or fone,
he dyde Saule the deyse begyne
And made hym to be served sone,
als he ware comyn of kynges kyne.
Ebrews had all ferly
why that this werke was wroyght.
Samuel wold not say why;
he wyst that thei wyst noyght.
That he suld be kyng well he kend;
therfor he rewled in swylke aray.
In his awn loge that nyght thei lend.
And on the morn when yt was day,
With them he ordand hym to wende
and toke Saul besyd the way
And sayd, “Thus God hath me send
all his entent to thee at say.
To I have told my toyght,
byd thi felow furth goo,
For what God wyll be wroyght
sall non wytt bot we two.”
He dyde hys servant hym withdraw,
and then he sayd, “Saul, take hede!
God hath so ordand that thee aw
His folke in land to lere and lede.
And for ther kyng thei sall thee knaw
and sewt and servyce to thee bede.
Ay whyls thou lufes God and His law,
He wyll be nere in all thi nede.
And yf thou wyll ga wrang
and werke agayns His wyll,
Thi lordschep lastes not lang.
Therfor take tent thertyll!”
Mizpah; (see note)
comely; embrace and kiss
his donkeys had gone astray; (t-note)
To go forth to seek his beasts
they had gone
journey is in vain
in a very quick way
about where their donkeys went
know, before you go
notified he (Samuel) was; on high
he (Saul) should
People performed services
as custom called
hour of nine (i.e., noon); (t-note)
whether [or not]; many or few
made Saul sit at the head of the table
as if he were come from royalty
were all curious
knew that they knew not
conducted [himself] in such
own house; spent
beside [him along] the way
Until I have revealed my thought
no one know
teach and lead
As long as you love
take heed to this
[SAUL ANOINTED BY SAMUEL (10:1–16)]
He toke oyle, os God had hym kend,
that blessed was of God before,
And anoynt hym both hed and hend
and cald hym “kyng” and kyssed hym thore.
And sythyn to God he hym be kend
and told hym wher his assys wore
And the ryght way how he suld wend,
and yett that tym he told hym more.
“Full semly chylder III,
sun,” he sayd, “sall thou mette.
Thre loyvys sall thei gyf thee
with wordes wyse and swete.
“And forthermer then thee avyse:
in Gabatha thor sall be seyne
Prophettes that ar provyd in price
and cunnand clerkes in clergy clene.
Thou sall speke with them profecyes
and tell what maters may be mene.
Thei sall wounder on ther wyse
and say thus, ‘Wher hath Saul bene?’
Sun, yf thou se in certayn
this fulfyll in all thyng,
Trow then withowtyn trayn
that God wyll have thee kyng.
“Grete well thi fader as faythfull frend,
thi moyder and other meneye mo.
And when the terme is comyn to end,
that we have tane betwyx us two,
To Masphat sall we same wend.”
So ylkon cayred wher thei come fro.
The maters that the prophet mened,
evyn in ther fayre thei fand them so.
Saul sone told full evyn
his fader of all his fare,
Bot nothyng wold he nevyn
of kyndom forto declare.
head and hand
made him known
loaves [of bread]; (see note)
furthermore for your consideration
what portents may mean
wonder in their way
your other companions
each one traveled
[SAUL CROWNED KING (10:17–27)]
When the seson come that thei had sett,
to Masphat geydderd full gret wone.
Ther Samuel and Saul mete
with myghty Ebrews mony one,
For in that place he had them hett
to have a kyng whore thei had none.
And lottes thei layd withoutyn lett
of what kynred kyng suld be tone.
For so assent thei all,
and sone when thei begyne,
The lott con lyght and fall
on the lyne of Benjamyn.
Then sone thei layd ther lottes agayn
to wit which man shuld amend theire mys,
And soone it light, is noght at layne,
apon Saul, the sun of Cys.
Then Samuel sayd, “Sers, certayn
be cowrse of kynd your kyng he ys.”
The Ebrews answerd and ware fayn.
Kyng myght he be with mekyll blyse.
He was cumly to ken,
of breyd and heyghnes als
Abowe all other men
both be the hede and the hals.
Thei rayssed hym up into a stall
on heyght that all men myght hym see.
Thei kneled on knesse and kyng hym call,
as costom was in that cuntré.
Then Samuel sayd unto them all,
“Sers, all your yernyng now have ye.
What fayre to yow ferther fall,
sett no defawt to God ne me.
Sen ye have God forsakyn,
and His doyng ylka dele,
And to a kyng yow takyn,
loke that ye luf hym wele.
“And kepe the lawes that Moyses kend,
leese that ye yeld yourself to spyll.”
Then lyst them thore no langer lend,
bot ylk man went at ther awn wyll.
Wyse Ebrews with ther kyng con wend
redy hys bedyng to fulfyll.
Sum other foyles can yt dyffend
and sayd thei assent not thertyll.
Bot sythyn when thei saw
his gudly governance,
Then to hym can thei draw
for dowt of aftur chaunce.
gathered a great many people
from which family the king should be taken
know; their distress; (t-note)
it is no lie
by course of nature
fair to see
breadth and height
by the head; neck
Whatever should further befall you
guilt [for it] upon God nor
you are given over
love him well
Moses made known
lest you yield; death; (t-note)
desired; there; to remain
ready to fulfill his bidding
fools did oppose it
[NAHASH THE AMMONITE BESIEGES JABESH-GILEAD (11:1–4)]
Saul was ordand on this wyse
kyng of the Ebrews, all and sum.
He sett his reme in gud assyce
and wroyght by Samuel wysdum.
Sythyn Naas, kyng of Amanys,
that wund full ferre beyond the flome,
Ordand hym redely forto ryse
with cuntreys that to hym wold come.
Ebrews he con dystroy,
ever als he myght them geyte,
And none myght to hym noye,
so was hys power grete.
He byrns ther towns and ther cetyes
and stroys ther catell, corn, and wyne.
The febyll folke that hym not flees
to fell also he wyll not fyne.
All that he sees sone sall chese
on of tho twa to take or tyne:
Auder the ryght eye forto lese,
or suffer ded with dewlfull pyne.
Thus mekyll folke was slayn,
that wold them fend with fyght,
And mony was put to payn
thrugh losyng of ther syght.
So wendes he furth and never fynys,
bot ever his cumpany encrese
Unto he come to Galadyns
in a cyté, that heyt Jabese.
Ther settes he gybcrokes and engyns;
of that sawt he wyll not sese
Tyll all within be put to pyns.
and at the last ther cheftans chese
At yeld them to Naas,
ther cyté so to have
And weld all that thor was,
ther lyfes alone to save.
When Naas herd ther resons ryfe,
he sayd thei suld chese on of two:
“He that wyll yeld hym sall have lyfe,
bot hys ryght eye sall he forgo;
And all tho that wyll stand with stryfe
we sall not sese, or we them slo.”
Then weped sore both man and wyfe.
Thei cowd not wele the werse of tho,
Bot of pece thei hym prayd
to sevyn days ware past,
“For sertes, ser,” thei sayd,
“no langer may we last.”
The kyng kest hym noyght to remove
bot styll to abyd in that same stede.
And comforth to them non he knew
bot the sevynt day to suffer dede.
Therfor that tyme hee grawntt trew,
and thei sent furth full fast on hede
To Saul that was kyng of new
and told how thei ware wyll of rede.
“Our carfull end we kene
bot thou us sone releve.
Sen we ar made thi men,
helpe to mend our myschefe!”
realm in good assize
dwelled very far; river; (t-note)
Prepared himself quickly to rise up
all of them that he might get a hold of
kill; cease; (t-note)
give or lose; (t-note)
death with terrible pain; (t-note)
many people were slain
would defend themselves
armies increased; (t-note)
siege hooks and engines; (see note)
Until; to pains
their leaders chose
To yield everything to Nahash
rule; there was; (t-note)
until we slay them
determine the worse of those [choices]; (t-note)
decided not to move away; (t-note)
forth with headlong speed
devoid of options
sorrowful end we perceive
Since we are
[SAUL DEFEATS NAHASH (11:5–15)]
When Saul herd tell this trayn,
amang his men he made grett mone
And sayd he wold dyffend tham fayn;
so sayd his Ebrews ylk one.
He bad the messyngers wend agayn
and hald the trew that thei had tone.
For socour sall thei have certayn
or thre days next be comyn and gone.
Thei wentt, as he them bad,
full tyte unto Jabes.
Then Gabonyse was glad
when thei happyn to have pese.
The kyng Saule in his mynd hath ment
how he myght semyll his pepyll sone.
Ane ox he dyd bryng in present
and bad he suld to ded be done.
Thareof to sere cetys he sent
and sayd, whedder thei had fele or fone,
Thar bestes suld have the same jugment
bot yf thei hastyd withoutyn hoyne
To wend with hym in ware
ther enmys owt to dryfe.
All that myght armys beyr
was bown to go be lyfe.
The kyng gart nowmer them and tell,
them that suld come in company.
Thei fand of folke of Israel
sex hunderth thowsand men myghty,
And of Juda als fell ther fell,
the nowmers ar not forto dyscrye.
Unto them all sayd Samuel:
“Wendes furth, ye sall have the vyctory.
Forto dyffend your ryght
that enmys hath outrayd
God wyll enforc your fyght.
Therfor be noyght afrayd!”
Kyng Saull with his host is wun
to Jabes, wher the Phylysteyns dwell.
The fellows folke sone hath he fone,
that sorely sojornd in ther sell.
In a mornyng befor the sun
with all host on them he fell
And bett them down os bestes bun.
Thor was no more tale to tell.
Or thei myght wepyns weld
to were themself fro wo,
Ware thei feld in the feld
that none myght flytt therfro.
Naas, that wold no rawnson take
bot eyne of all that he myght hent,
Now myght no man his sorow slake
tyll eyne and eyrs and all ware schent.
The Ebrews now may myrthys make,
that late befor of mornyng ment,
And fals Phylysteyns for ther sake
owt of this werld with wo ar went.
Kyng Saul slogh that day
a hunderth with his handes,
And wan wrschepe for ay
to hym and all his landes.
This was fyrst chaunce of chevalry
that Kyng Saul fell in this case.
Grett boldnes hath his folke therby
and grett ferdnes to all his face.
Folke that before was not frendly,
now ware thei fayn at fall to grace.
And he had myght then and maystry
on all Ebrews in ylka place.
Thei gat, both grett and small,
that myght full gretly gayn,
And home thei went with all;
than ware the folke unslayn.
Thei thanked Samuel of this thyng,
for by his wytt thei wroyght allway.
And lowd thei kest up a cryyng,
and to the kyng thus can thei pray:
“Yf any Ebrews, old or yyng,
that ow to lyfe be Moyses Lay,
And wyll not knaw thee for ther kyng,”
that “thei be done to ded this day,
All for thei suld be flayd
that fyrst was turned hym fro.”
Bot he answerd and sayd,
“God wold not we dyd so.
“Sen God hath gyfyn us vyctory
and our enmys on kares cast,
He wyll that we forgyf gladly
all tho that to us have trespast.
All that wyll mekly aske mercy
sall have our frendschep full and fast.”
The pepyll prayssed hym fast forthi
and sayd his lordschep lang suld last.
So was all folk his frend,
and none groched hym agayn,
For hys wordes fayr and hend
all ware to his bod bayn.
Samuel says, “Sers, yow avyse
qwat lordschepe God hath yow sent:
Loves Hym with all your sacrafyce
of all His grace with gud entent!”
So dyd thei ylkon on ther wyse,
and unto Saul sone thei went
And raysed hym kyng. Then was yt thryse
with the fyrst tyme that he toke untment.
So was he kyng hymselfe,
lordschep to have and hald
Over all the kynredes twelve
that Jacob suns was cald.
hold the truce; taken
before; were come and gone
the Gibeonites were
assemble his people quickly; (t-note)
he should be slaughtered
many or few
unless; without hesitation
to drive out their enemies
managed to count
as many as there appeared
to be determined
wicked people soon he has found
as bound beasts; (t-note)
killed on the battlefield
except the eyes; seize; (t-note)
ears; cut off
slew; (see note)
won worship forever
fierceness took over his face
glad to fall
in sorrows thrown
desires; (see note); (t-note)
have done trespass
complained against him
commands obedient; (t-note)
took ointment (was anointed)
[ON ISRAEL AND THE NAMES OF THE JEWS]
Now for ther names so oft tyms news,
to what entent now wyll I tell:
Of Abraham ware thei cald Ebrews;
with forme faders so yt befell.
And of Juda thei ware cald Jews
and with sum chylder of Israel.
Of Canan ware thei cald Cananews.
So in sere cuntres os thei dwell,
Be sere names ware thei kend,
als clerkes well declare,
And God can with them lend
ay whyls thei luf His lare.
Thus in various countries where
were they known
did with them remain
as long as they loved His doctrine
[SAMUEL SPEAKS TO THE PEOPLE (12:1–25)]
Then Samuel sayd, “Sers, I yow pray
that ye wyll tell heyr to your kyng
Yf I dyd ever by nyght or day
trespase to yow, old or yyng,
Or toke your catell, corn, or hay,
ox or asse or other thyng.”
Thei sayd, “Ser, forsoth, nay!
Ye greved us never in governyng.”
“Then have ye now mystakyn
and served to suffer pyne,
Sen ye hath both forsakyn
Goddes governance and myne.
“And yf God with yow greved be,
for ye have groched Hym agayn,
Pray we Hym, both I and ye,
that He send us sum seyn certayn
Of His grevance in this degré.”
And soyn He sent a proyfe full playn:
Swylke wedder that wonder was to se
of thonour, levynyng, hayle, and rayne
And frost, full fell and kene,
that before was full clere.
Swylke wedders was never seyne
in that tyme of the yere.
For then thei had ther harvest grayd
to geydder home, both wyn and corne.
Then wyst thei well God was not payd,
and that thei had on myse them born.
Unto the prophett fast thei prayd:
“Have mercy, els we be lorne.”
“I sall pray for yow, sers,” he sayd,
“bot haves mynd mydday and morn
What grace God hath yow sent,
als all your kynredes knaw.
Kepes well His commawndment
and lelly lufes Hys law.
“For what tyme ye breke His bedyng,
your blyse mun with bale be blend;
And bees curtase unto your kyng
with all your myght his myrth to mend;
And honers hym over all erthly thyng,
and wendes, ylk man, wher he wyll wend.”
And thus thei parted, old and yyng,
wher thei ware levest forto lend.
Kyng Saul had a sun,
that named was Jonata,
Qwylk aftur furth was fun
gentyll with mony ma.
complained against Him
proof plainly seen
thunder, lightning, hail, and rain
foul and sharp
where before [the weather]
weather patterns were never seen
they themselves had done amiss
bliss might with sadness be mixed
they were most desirous to go
afterwards was found [to be]
noble; more [qualities]; (t-note)
[THE PHILISTINES INVADE ISRAEL (13:1–7, 19–22)]
In this meyntyme the kyng herd tell
of new tythandes that was nere at hand:
Phylysteyns that ware fers and fell
war enturd into Ebrews land.
In Gabatha thore con thei dwell
and stroyd all that thei before them fand
And hasted to have them omell
all that to armys war ordand.
And smithes smertly thei slogh
and of iren ylk thyng,
Both fro wayn and ployght,
and gart yt to them bryng.
The Ebrews then yll angerd er:
away was born that them suld beld.
Thei had no wepyns them with to were,
all myght thei never so well them weld.
Phylysteyns myght thei do no dere,
all yf thei fele say in the feld.
Kyng Saul wold fayn them to fere;
he hastyd hym fast with spere and scheld.
He toke thre thowsand men:
to hymself tha twa
That he cowd kenest kene,
and on to Jonata.
And fast thei went furth on ther way
with other folke foloand in fere.
Sone when Phylysteyns herd say
that Kyng Saul suld com so nere,
Thei governd them in grett aray
and sembled folke on sydes sere
That sexty thowsand sone had thei
of knyghtes kene in armys clere
And thrytty thowsand els,
that well myght wepyns beyre,
And mo that no man tels
on futte full wyght in were.
Yt was full semly syght to see
of charyottes and of chyvalry.
Had thei lufed God in gud degré,
then ware yt daynty to dyscrye.
When Kyng Saul come in cuntré
in space, wher he myght them aspy,
Dred sum dele in his hert had hee
becawse of so grett cumpany,
And for dedes thei had done
to dyverse man and wyfe;
And his folke ware bot fone
with swylke a strengh forto stryfe.
Bot his kenes full well he kyd
with all hys myght them forto mare.
And when his folke herd how thei dyd,
then howped thei well forto have ware.
Sum fled, and sum in hoyles them hyd;
for ferd then wold thei found no fare.
Ther ware bot few with hym abyd
or that wold negh the pepyll nere.
When he saw thei ware gone,
his teyne myght no man tell.
He wyst no bettur wone
bot sent unto Samuel.
tidings; near; (t-note)
fierce and cruel
were assigned; (t-note)
wagon and plow
caused it all to be brought to them
very angered were
taken what they should use
to make war
desire to make them afraid
[of] those [he took the] two
following in company
gathered themselves; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
gleaming armor; (t-note)
more; can count
foot full strong in war
chivalrous [knights]; (t-note)
then it would be a pleasure to describe
hoped; war; (t-note)
fear; get no farther
[SAUL MAKES THE OFFERING WITHOUT SAMUEL (13:8–12)]
Hys moyn be messege can he ma
that he was ferd and faylyd myght,
How he and his sun Jonata
ware ordand with ther foys to fyght,
And how his folke ware fled hym fra
when thei of enmys had a syght;
And prayd hym come to Gabatha,
for thore thei suld abyd hym ryght.
When Samuel herd certayn
how stratly he was sted,
He send sone word agayn
and bad, “Be noyght adred!
“For within sevyn days aftur this,”
says hymself, “I sall be thore,
And tyll that tyme, be gud avyce,
that he gett bestes abowt ay whore,
So that we may make sacrafyce
unto our God tho folke before.”
The kyng hath ordand on all wyse,
als he send word and sum dele more.
Bycawse the prophett dwellyd
over the terme that was sett,
The kyng more furth hym melled
then he suld do be dett.
When the tym come that was ordand,
and no man come hys sytte to slake,
And hys men wold not with hym stand
(for wo unwynly con thei wake),
Foleherdenes he toke on hand
hymselfe thore sacrafyce to make.
Then the prophett come and foyles fand;
he was full ferd for dred of wrake,
For he had messege sent
with wordes on this wyse,
Or he com in present
to make no sacrafyce.
entreaty by message he did make
fearful and failed in strength
how he was placed in such circumstances
beasts from whatever places are around; (t-note)
ordered all these things; (t-note)
[But] because; delayed
past the time; (t-note)
because; troubles to relieve
joyless did they live
very fearful for dread of [God’s] wrath
[SAMUEL TAKES THE KINGSHIP AWAY FROM SAUL’S FAMILY (13:13–15)]
Therfor he sentt hym sone his wage
and sayd, “Had thou not done this dede,
Thi suns suld have born heritage;
now sall no frutt be of thi sede
Bycawse thou hath done this owtrage,
that suld not passe bot be presthed.
God hath ordand a lytyll page
aftur thi days this land to lede.”
Thus told he his entent
to the kyng and Jonata,
And wroth his way he went
agayne to Ramatha.
immediately his reward; (t-note)
been endowed with
occur except through the priesthood
page (youth); (see note)
[SAUL FIGHTS ON; JONATHAN’S NIGHT RAID (13:15–16, 23–14:23)]
Then was the kyng in mekyll dred,
for hertyng of helpe he ne has.
He toke apon hym hegh manhed,
and furth full playnly con he pase.
And thre hunderth then with hym yode
of thre thowsand that with hym was.
That was full lytyll folke to lede
to hym and hys sun Jonatas.
Jonatas persayved that thei
myght not eschew that chaunce
To wyn wrschepe away
bot be Goddes governance.
The panyms was so grett plenté;
on a hegh hyll loged thei lay.
To stroy ther strengh fast stud he
and mare ther myght yf he may.
He toke on of his awn meneye,
qwylke he treyst wold not hym betray,
And sayd, “Felow, com furth with me!”
So prevely thei went ther way
That none wyst bot thei two;
and evyn abowt mydnyght
To that hyll con thei go,
and thus then sayd he ryght:
“What I do loke thou do the same,
and this sall be our segne certayn:
Yf any of them nevyn me be name,
then sall we have our purpase playn.
And yf thei boldly wyll us blame
and none answer gyf us agayn,
Then is gud that we hast us hame,
or els our traveyll turnes in vayne.”
Thor was no way to wend
bot a strayt sty of stone.
Clamerand on knese and hende
by that gatt ar thei gone.
With mekyll payn so can thei pase
and come into that evyn entré.
On of them wyst well who yt wase,
and to his felow thus sayd he,
“Yonder ys comyn the Jew Jonatas
with mony mo of his meneye.”
Thei loked on them, thei cryd alas;
soyne ware thei feld that myght not flee.
Thei ware kylled all uncled;
none myght helpe other harmes.
Down fro that hyll thei fled
and brake both leges and armes.
the encouragement (heartening); does not have
pagans were so very plenteous
they lay in their tents
mar their strength; (t-note)
one of this own company
whom he trusted
knew [of their going]
Whatever; see that you do the same
sign of assurance
have our way with them
haste ourselves home; (t-note)
Clambering on knees and hands
knew; (see note)
more [men] of his company
soon those were killed who
[SAUL FOLLOWS UP THE ATTACK; JONATHAN EATS FORBIDDEN FOOD (14:16–35)]
Kyng Saul sadly spyrd and spyed
ther cowntenance forto kene,
And when he herd how hegh thei cryed,
unto the hyll he hasted then.
Hys folke full fast to hym relyed
that before dared os dere in den,
So that he had be undertyde
mo then ten thowsand feghyng men.
He saw Phylysteyns fled
and full radly remowed,
His folke he fast arayd
and then prestely persewed.
Fayn wold he venge the velany
that thei had stroyd both wyn and whett.
On payn of cursyng dyde he crye
that non that day suld tent to mette,
And whoso dyd, he sayd, suld dy,
and therto swere he othes full grett,
So that thei myght have the vyctory
or evyn, and then suld all men ete.
Bot hys sun Jonatas
with his felow furth went;
He wyst not, thore he was,
of the kynges commawndment.
Agayns his strake myght no man stand,
he feld Phylysteyns, grett plenté.
So be a forest syd he fand
honycamys in a holoo tree.
Sone hent he owt on with his hand,
to hold his hert therof ete he.
He dyd not ose the kyng commawnd,
so greved he God in that degré.
By the sune was went west,
thei had wun wrschepes grett.
Then bad the kyng them rest
and boldly drynke and ete.
sought and looked for
(i.e., to find Jonathan and his armor-bearer)
were as brave as deer in their dens
readily driven away
Gladly would he revenge; (t-note)
stop to eat food
he swore oaths; (t-note)
before evening; eat
did not know, where; (t-note)
Against his attacks
honeycombs; hollow; (t-note)
At once he took it out
support his strength he ate of it
grieved; by that means
By [the time] the sun
[JONATHAN’S GUILT DISCOVERED (14:36–46)]
Full sewrly that nyght sojournd thei,
for of enmys had thei no dred.
And on the morn, when yt was day,
the kyng his folke wold ferther lede.
Unto a prophett can he pray,
Achyas heyght he, os we rede,
That he to God suld sumwhat say
and wytt yf that thei suld well spede.
He prayd, os the kyng hym bade,
and fraynd how thei suld fare,
Bot non answer he had.
then was the kyng in care.
Then trowd he sum had done trespase.
Therfor he fraynd his folke full fast,
And forto wytt how that yt was,
lotes he cummand them to cast.
Sone the lott fell on Jonatas.
Then was the kyng gretly agast
And sayd, “My sun, forfeytt thou has;
thi lyf may now no langer last.”
Then all tho folke in fere,
when thei the wordes herd,
Mornyd and made yll chere,
and Jonatas answerd.
He sayd, “Sers, ye sall understand
I forfeyt noyght, that is my treyst.
I herd not how the kyng commawnd,
ne of his wyll nothyng I wyst.
An honycombe forsoth I fand
and ete therof to slake my threyst.
Yf I therfor be law of land
sall lose my lyf, do os yow lyst!”
Thei sayd all schortly, “Nay,
that was never Goddes wyll.
Or thou suld dy this day,
fele folke suld fare full yll.”
Unto ther kyng all are thei gone
and sayd, “For thi sun we wyll us mell,
Sen he hath sayved us ever ylkon
fro the Phylysteyns fals and fell.
So sewr a soverand have we none
sayve thiself, the soth to tell.
Therfor we say, and he be slayn,
we wyll no lenger with thee dwell.”
The kyng herd and toke hede
how hertly thei hym crayved.
For luf and als for dred
he sayd he suld be saved.
Then ware thei glad, no wonder was;
full mekyll mon for hym was ment.
Thei prayd the prophet Achias
that he and thei be hole assent
Suld pray God forgyfe that trespase,
and so He grawnted with gud entent.
Then the kyng and Jonatas
with mekyll gold agayn ar wentt
Unto ther places playne,
wher thei before had bene.
Sexty thowsand ware slayn
of fals Phylystyene.
Ahijah he was called, as we read; (see note)
he believed somewhat
you have forfeited yourself
I truly found
ease my thirst [for sustenance]
by the law of the land
Since he has always saved us all
stalwart a leader; (t-note)
very great moans; were made; (t-note)
by one assent; (t-note)
[SAUL AS KING; HIS FAMILY (14:47–52)]
When thei had thus Phylysteyns feld
and had over hand of all ther foys,
The kyng of Ebrews with hym held
of the most hertyng that he has.
Then was no man agayn hym meld
bot playn pece in ylka place:
Thei sett and sew and boyght and sold
and lyfed in lykyng full long space.
He lede them be ther law
and governd them be Goddes bydyng.
All Ebrews, als thei ow,
honerd hym as ther kyng.
Kyng Saul had suns thre
all dedes to do at hys devyce.
Jonatas the fyrst was he,
that in all place wan grett price;
The secund, semly forto se,
heyght Jesus and the thryd Melcheys.
All ware thei fayr of face full free
and ther warkes full wayre and wyse.
And he had doyghturs two,
at home wonnand with wyn.
The ryght names was of thoo
Mycoll and Merobyn.
had the upper hand on all their foes
simple peace in every part of the land; (t-note)
ought [to do]
won great renown; (t-note)
works [were] very prudent
dwelling with joy
Michal and Merab; (t-note)
[WAR AGAINST THE AMALEKITES (15:1–8)]
Thus in delyce os he can dwell,
all folke attendand hym untyll
God sentt His prophett Samuel
at warn hym forto werke His wyll.
On Goddes behalf he con hym tell
how that ther elders war angerd yll
with Malachys, a folke full fell,
that spetuusly ther sped con spyll.
When thei past fyrst the flome,
that folke, full of the feynd,
Letted them forto come
be ways wher thei sull wende.
Therfor he bad Saul suld passe
and putt tho paynyms all to pyn,
Wyfe and chyld, all that thore was,
cytes, castels, corn, and wyn,
And leve on lyve nawder ox ne asse,
cow ne calf, schepe ne swyne:
“Tyll all be lorne that lyf has,
for nokyns fayntnes loke thou fyne.
Take no parte of ther pelfe
to part thi pepyll omang!
Ne sayve noyght to thiselfe;
wast all els dose thou wrang!”
Kyng Saule to his saws assent,
and therto hertly hath he heyght
Forto fulfyll Goddes commawndment
of Malachys with all his myght.
Hee sembled folke, and furth thei wentt
with sexty thowsand at a syght.
Thei stroyd cytes and burghys brentt;
Phylysteyns fast thei feld with fyght.
Fro thei come in cuntree
that Malachys wund in,
Thei feld both folke and fee
and wasted all that wold bryn.
Agag was kyng of Malachys
and led the lordschepe of that land.
Soyne when he wyst on what kyn wyse
Kyng Saul styrd with strang hand,
Hee redyd all his reme to ryse
ther enmys styfly to gayn stand.
Of knyghtes kene and princes of price
full fell Phylysteyns furth he fand.
Ther way thei wold not lett
bot putt them furth in prese.
When thei and Ebrews mett,
thor was no poynt of pese.
To se yt was a semly syght,
whoso hegh stud and beheld,
Of penons and of baners bryght
with schaftes and mony a schynyng scheld.
Kyng Saul kyd that he was wyght;
his Ebrews boldly can he beld.
Phylysteyns so the feld with fyght
that sum for ferd forsoke the feld.
Men myght see stedes stray
that thore allon was leued,
And ther lordes how thei lay
in ways withowtyn heuyd.
Phylysteyns myght no langer last;
all went to bale that wold abyd.
With Ebrews ware thei all umcast;
the fand no socur in no syde.
When thei ware all with payns past
that in the feld was fun that tyde,
Ebrews then fowled furth full fast
to stroy ther landes, lang and wyde.
Thei leved nothyng on lyfe
that ne to ded war dyghtt:
Both man, chyld, and wyfe,
bestes and fowls of flyght.
the Amalekites; cruel
spitefully their fortunes
Prevented them from going
desired to go
those pagans; pain; (t-note)
no kind of weakness; cease; (t-note)
their property; (t-note)
[put to] waste everything or you do wrong; (t-note)
quickly they killed
knew in what kind of way; (t-note)
stirred [against him]
prepared all his realm
brave; worth; (see note)
no bit of peace
there were left alone
into custody who would remain
they found no relief
with pain killed
were found at that time
found nothing alive
they did not cause to be dead; (t-note)
[AGAG AND SOME RICHES ARE SPARED; SAMUEL’S CONDEMNATION (15:9–26)]
When thei had wasted on this wyse
ryche and pure, both old and yyng,
Saul was sett on covetyce,
and sone forgatt he Goddes bedyng.
For Agag was a prince of price;
he heyght hym help, that hethyn kyng,
And fayrest bestes for sacrafyce
he bad men suld furth with them bryng.
His folke saw he forfeytt,
and lett so lyghtly therby.
Thei toke what thei myght gett
to beyre with them boldly.
So went thei home and wold not dwell;
of ther werkyng well them toygt.
And sone the prophett Samuel
come furth to wytt how thei had wroyght.
And when he herd the bestes bell
and saw Kyng Agag with them broyght,
He made grett manace them omell
and sayd that dede suld dere be boyght
For thei toke no reward
to werke agayns Goddes wyll,
That bad none suld be spayrd,
nother gud ne yll.
Full sore he syght for ther sake
and sayd thus to Saul, the kyng:
“How durst thou werke this werke for wrake:
other man or best from theyn to bryng?”
He sayd, “Ser, sacrafyce to make
and gyfe them unto Goddes lovyng.”
Then Samuel sayd, “God wyll not take
offerand of yll-gottyn thyng.
Bot tho that lely lyfes
and kepes Hys cummawndment,
What gyft so thei to Hym gyfes,
therto wyll He take tent.
“How suld He take offerand to gre?
All thyng Hymself sayd suld be lorne.
Both man and best He bad suld be
fordown, wher thou them fand beforne.
Heyr is the kyng of that cuntré,
and best I here yow hath for borne.
I warne thee: God is wrath with thee,
for thou hath wayt Hym with this scorne.
Thy werke thus wyll He yeld:
thi lordschep sall not last,
And other thi welth sall weld
that in fayth wyll be fast.”
When Kyng Saul herd Samuel
so spytfully speke in that space,
Unto his fette oft sythys he fell
and prayd of God to geyte hym grace
And to amend yt them omell,
als he wold consell in that case.
Bot for his wordes he wold not dwell;
he saw no plessance in that place.
Sone fro that pepyll he past
ryght way to Ramatha,
Bot the kyng folowd fast;
in hert he was full wa.
they thought they had done well
sorrowfully he sighed
who live loyally
beasts I hear
knees many times
despite his (Saul’s) words he (Samuel)
At once; he [started] to pass; (see note)
followed close behind
[SAUL RIPS SAMUEL’S CLOAK; SAMUEL KILLS AGAG (15:26–34)]
Full well he wyst he suld be schentt;
that made hym hertly forto hast.
The prophett by the mantyll he hentt
so that yt rayve and worthed to wast.
Then sayd the prophett, “Ser, take tent!
This sall thou trow and trewly trayst:
Ryght os thou has the mantyll rentt,
so sall thi reme fro thee be rast.”
Then had the kyng grett care,
and oft he askyd mercy:
“And thou thus fro me fare,
my folke wyll have ferly,
“And traw that I have done sum trayn
and with sum grett thyng greved thee.
And therfor, gud ser, turn agayn
with glad sembland that thei may see
And schew to me sum seyn certayn
of lastand luf and of lewté.”
He grawnted, and then the kyng was fayn
sen that myght no bettur be.
The prophett come and plessed
and alowd ylka dede.
Then the kyng was well esed,
bot in hert had he drede.
When thei herd tell of this tythyng,
the pepyll was payd well enogh.
The prophett bad thei suld furth bryng
Agag that ever on dregh hym drogh.
When he was broyght at hys bydyng,
he sayd, “Thou hath wroyght mekyll wogh.
That sall thou fynd befor our kyng.”
Ther with his awn hende he hym slogh.
Then ryght to Ramatha
the prophett wentt in hy.
The kyng to Galgala
went with his cumpany.
quickly to haste; (t-note)
cloak he grabbed
ripped; lost its value; (t-note)
believe and truly trust
Just as; garment ripped
realm; be taken away
came and made an offering
acknowledged each deed
heard word; news
who had withdrawn himself
wrought much woe
[SAMUEL ANOINTS DAVID AS KING (15:35–16:14)]
Samuel of soroyng myght not sesse,
for Kyng Saul so wrang had wentt,
Bycause when God to kyng hym chese
then he anoynt hym with an oyntment.
He prayd to God forto relesch
that grett grevance with gud entent,
Bot he had answer to hald hym pece;
all that was sayd behoved be sentt.
Thei ware fast frendes before
and of on consell kend;
His mornyng was the more
when he myght not amend.
God sayd he suld swylk lufyng lett,
for new gam us bus begyne.
“Take thou thi boyst with the oyle benett
and wend to Bedlem or thou blyne.
Thore sall thou fynd, fayr on his flett,
a Jew, Jesse, of Jacob kyn.
Gayre hys suns befor the sette,
for on of them sall wrschep wyn.
Enoynt hym to be kyng,
Saul stede to restore,
And have the same blessyng
that Saul had before.”
He wentt and wold no langer stand
or he the wyll of God hath wroyght.
Jesse, that gentyll Jew, he fand
in Bethlem cyté sone unsoyght.
Fyrst he made them make offerand
and honer God, so hym gud toyght.
Sythyn he told hym new tythand
and bad hys suns suld furth be broyght.
Sex suns ware sett on raw
be lyve at his bedyng.
Then prayd he God to schaw
qwylke of them suld be kyng.
All ware thei semly unto syght;
full wyght men ware the eldyst two.
He asked whedder of them suld be dyght.
God answerd and sayd, “Non of tho.”
Then unto Jesse wentt he full ryght
and asked yf he had any mo.
“Ya, ser, a yong, that David heyght
is in the feld full fere us fro
Our catell forto geyte.”
Then Samuel with gud chere
Sayd, “Sertes, I sall nott ete,
or that hyrdman be here.”
David sone was aftur sentt,
and fro he wyst, he wold not byde.
He saw the prophett in present
and heylsyd hym hendly, noyght to hyde.
The prophett hym in armys hentt
and told hym all what suld betyde.
Unto ther dyner then thei wentt:
he sett the chyld hymself besyde,
On that other syde Jesse
and sythyn his breyther all,
Ylk on in ther degree,
aftur ther eld suld fall.
Hee honerd hym on deyse that day.
his fader merveld what yt mentt.
Sythyn to a prevay place went thei,
and thore he told all his ententt.
“My sun,” he sayd, “I sall thee say,
fro God of Hevyn thus am I sentt
To warn thee of His wyll allway:
grett lordschep sal be thee lentt.”
He wyst withowtyn fayle
God assent to that same
And bad hym kepe consell
and anoynt hym be name.
When he hym so anoynt hath
with holy oyle both hed and hende,
The gud gast, that in Saul was,
in David soyne con descende,
And into that place soyne con passe
An evyll sprett of curssed kynd
That dyd Saul oft say, “Alas!”
when hys blyse was with bale blend.
Oft sythys hys solace sessed
with syte and sorow sere.
And David ever encressed
in wytt, als we sall here.
hold his peace
was said was necessary to be said
known to be of one counsel
such emotions cease; (t-note)
a new business was needed to start
your box; blessed oil
go to Bethlehem before you stop (right away)
in his home
Gather his sons
one; honor win
asked [that] his sons
in a row; (see note)
impressive by sight
very strong; (see note)
young [one]; (t-note)
field very far from us; (t-note)
For certain; not eat
once he (David) knew; tarry
welcomed him properly, hiding nothing
then his brothers
Each one; their
on the dais
notify; (see note); (t-note)
good spirit; (see note)
at once did
anguish; sorrows great
[SAMUEL’S ADVICE TO DAVID ON GOOD GOVERNANCE]
Samuel sayd, “Sun, whyle thou is yyng,
lok that thou gyfe thee to gud thewes,
For God hath sayd thou sall be kyng
and keper of all Hys gud Ebrews.
And therfor, sun, lufe lele lyfyng
and flee fro feleschep of schrews,
And honere God over all thyng,
that swylke gud grace unto thee schews.
For whyls thou lufes Hys lare
and kepes Hys cummawndment
All whyle sall thou well fare
and never be schamed ne schent.”
When this was sayd, then Samuel
wentt to lend wher hym levyst wore.
And David styll at home con dwell
in feld with his fader store.
And in that meyntym he con hym mell
of mynstralcy ay more and more
Tyll he cowd herpe, os we here tell,
als well as ever was kend before.
Now David leve we here
with hys herpe and hys slyng
And tell how sorows sere
come to Saul the kyng.
young; (see note)
yourself [over] to good manners
son, appreciate loyal
reside where he was living; (t-note)
field; father’s herds
minstrelsy ever; (t-note)
[SAUL PLAGUED BY AN EVIL SPIRIT (16:15–16)]
The sprett, that I spake of are,
that loged was with hym to lende,
Assayd hym oft with sorows sare
and wroyght hym wo when he lest wened.
He sentt for feysyke full wyd whare,
and clerkes that in swylke craftes was kend.
Amang them all thei cowd no mare,
bot mynstralsy, thei sayd, myght mend.
The harpe when he myght here,
the sprett that was within
Suld have no grett powere
to dere hym for that dyne.
spirit; earlier; (see note); (t-note)
assailed; dreadful sorrows; (t-note)
least desired it
physicians from all over; (t-note)
such; were knowledgeable; (t-note)
could do nothing to stop [his ills]
music; alleviate [it]; (t-note)
hurt; because of the music
[DAVID WINS A POSITION AT SAUL’S COURT (16:17–23)]
Then for ther tythyng in that tyde
he bad men gang to gette that glee.
And so sayd on, that satt besyd,
“In Bethlem, ser, wuns on Jesse;
Lett on go loke, no langer abyd,
for a yyng sun at home has hee,
That herpes well, ys not at hyde,
and at your bydyng wyll he bee.”
Messyngers sone was sentt
to Jesse for hys sun.
So yyng David is went
with the kyng in cowrt to wun.
And soyne when Saul saw that chyld,
he made grett solace for hys sake,
Bycawse he saw hym meke and myld
and mynstralcy that he cowd make.
For when the fend was woyd and wyld
and with sere turmentes wold hym take,
Then was the harpe his boyt and byld,
and song myght sone his sorow slake.
Therfor was David dere
and in wrschep all way.
None was the kyng so nere,
nother by nyght ne day.
Thus with the kyng wonnand he was,
full well belufed withowtyn wene.
Of prowes in all poyntes con he passe
over all that on his eld hath beyne.
Bot the kynges sun, heygh Jonatas,
he lufed hym best of all be deyne.
Hys hert all holly to hym he has,
and that was oft sythis aftur seyne.
None wyst he was anoynt
bot the prophett and hee
Tyll yt come to the poynt
that God sayd yt suld bee.
their duty at that time
ordered the men gathered
Let one [of us] go search him; [to] await
fiend was mad
relief and comfort
quickly slake his sorrows
honor at all times
kept so close to the king
without doubt; (t-note)
prowess in all things did he surpass
who were of his age
often times seen afterward
knew he was anointed
[ANOTHER PHILISTINE ATTACK (17:1–3; 12–15)]
Soyne messyngers musters them omell,
of harms hard thei hard at hand:
How that Phylysteyns, fers and fell,
dystroyd all that thei before fand,
And how thei dyght them forto dwell
tyll thei had wasted all Ebrews land.
Kyng Saul herd this tythyng tell,
hys ost full sone he had ordand.
The chyld David he sentt
to soyjourne forsoth in lye.
To Bethlem is he went
and keped his faders fye.
Kyng Saul wold not rest to ryde,
ne sesse to he of them had syght
Under a banke, wher thei abyde,
with baners spred of brad full bryght;
Kyng Saul on the other syde,
the hyll betwen, was on a grett heght.
So nother towched other that tyd.
Phylysteyns ware the mo of myght.
Kyng Saul wyst full well
God was not fully his frend.
Therfor he drede sum dele
agayns enmys to wend.
Soon; mustered among them; (t-note)
heard close by
fierce and cruel
army (host) very quickly
in safety; (t-note)
wait to ride [forth]; (t-note)
nor cease [riding] until
Beneath a hillside; waited; (see note)
one of great height
neither engaged; at that place
to go fight
[GOLIATH TAUNTS ISRAEL (17:4–11; 16)]
Phylysteyns ware the feller then
for a grett freke that thei furth fand.
On Golyas ylk day began
upon that hegh hyll forto stand.
He bad Ebrews send furth a man
to fyght with hym, hand for hand,
And wheder of them so maystry wan
suld have the lordschep of that land.
He was both grettur and grym
then any man myght suppose.
Ther durst non dele with hym
for dred that land to lose.
Hys armour was passand to prays,
and fyve hunderth on his hed he has.
Hys heyberke held of hevy pas
sex hunderth to wey with brase.
In hys ax hede that he suld rayse
well sexty hunderth weght ther was;
And all of stele, the story says,
and brygh glyterand as any glas.
He was a gremly geyst
in feld to fynd before.
Allway this cowrse he kest
full faurty days and more.
giant man; sent forth
The one [named] Goliath each
which; thus mastery won
larger and [more] grim
dared no one to fight
remarkable to valuate; (see note)
500 [measures of metal]
hauberk; heavy weight
600 [measures] to weigh with brass
the head of his axe
6,000 [measures of] weight
a grim guest (fellow)
behavior he did
[DAVID COMES TO THE FIELD (17:17–30)]
In that seson was David sent
to the sege at see his breyther hende.
He asked of men what he be ment
that on the hyll alon can lend.
And when thei told hym ther entent,
and how none durst fyght with that fend,
He sayd, “All grace fro God is lent;
unto yond warlaw wyll I wend.”
Hys breyther can hym blame,
and fro care hym to kepe
Thei bad he suld hast hame
and fede ther fader schepe.
battlefield; brothers [who were] fair
he (Goliath) intended
against that infidel I will fight; (see note)
go homeward in haste
feed their father’s sheep
[DAVID WILL FIGHT GOLIATH (17:31–37)]
The kyng herd tell of this tythand,
he gart foche David hym before.
“Sone,” he sayd, “to leve this land
and lose thi lyf full lothe me ware.
Thou hath no strengh with hym to stand.”
And thus the chyld answerd hym thore:
“My helpe ys holy in Goddes hand,
I wot His myght is mekyll more.
All yf yond man be strang,
he lyvys not lafully.
In Goddes name I sall gang
and fell hym sone forthi.”
caused David to be brought before him
Young man; leave
completely in God’s hands; (t-note)
know; much more [than Goliath’s]
Even if that man is strong; (t-note)
at once therefore
[DAVID’S ARMAMENTS (17:38–40)]
When Kyng Saul saw for certayn
that he wold found that fend to fere,
He armyd hym at all peyssys playn
and ordand hym scheld and spere.
Bot the chyld had no myght ne mayn
swylke weght on his body to bere.
He sayd, “Takes all this geyre agayn;
I am not wunt swylke wed to were.
My slyng is nemyll enogh
and best dyffence for me.
Wyld bestes therwith I slogh,
that flayd my fader fee.”
attempt to defeat that fiend
armed him with all the requisite pieces
Take off; gear
do not want to wear such armor
flayed my father’s cattle
[DAVID AND GOLIATH EXCHANGE WORDS (17:41–47)]
He toke his slyng and furth can found
that mawment yf he myght to marre.
He geydderd stones apon the ground,
swylk that for his craft accordand were.
Golias steyted in that stound
and cald hym fole when he was fere.
“Boy, hopys thou I be a hound?”
David sayd, “Sertes, I hold thee werre.”
Golyas says, “Go hom,
thou barn, and leve thi berre!
Tho folke that thou fro come
sall by this dede full dere.”
came out at that time; (see note)
called him a fool; far away
do you hope
I consider you worse
child; abandon your boast
deed [pay] full dearly
[DAVID KILLS GOLIATH (17:48–51)]
David fast toke furth his slyng
and a ston that therfor was fytte.
Abowt his hed he can yt bryng,
to tyme he saw wher yt suld sytt.
He wated the warlaw with a wryng
and made hym wode owt of hys wytt:
For armour or for other thyng,
into the harns he has hym hytt.
For all the lakes he lerd
the lyve thor he leved.
David with his awn sword
swythly swapped of hys hed.
struck the idolater; throw
Despite; any other
boasts he pronounced; (t-note)
this life there he left
his (Goliath’s) own; (t-note)
quickly lopped off
[PHILISTINES ROUTED (17:51–54)]
Phylysteyns herd this note new;
yf thei had noy ys not to hyde.
Full rasydly thei can remew
and reydyd them to ryn and ryde.
Kyng Saul prestly can persew
and foled fast to fell ther pryde.
That day was joy to mony Jew
to here the hethyn how thei cryde:
Thryty milia war slayn
of folke that myght not flee.
Thei turned then home agayn
into ther awn cuntré.
heard of this matter at once; (t-note)
pressingly did pursue [them]
30,000 were slain; (see note)
[SAUL GROWS JEALOUS OF DAVID (18:1–9, 13–16)]
With Kyng Saul was David dere,
for he had done this doyghtynes.
And all the folke, both ferre and nere,
gaf hym the price of that prowesse.
So ose thei com by cyteys sere,
all welcomd them, os worthy es,
With mynstralsy and mere chere
of wyfes and maydyns, more and lesse.
Tho wyfes sang how Saul slogh
a thowssand with his hand;
The madyns sang and loghe,
“David slogh ten thowssand.”
When Saul herd, he was sory.
Wyfes sayd he sloght a thowsan playn,
And maydyns made ther melody
that David had ten thowsand slayn.
Of this began full grett envy
and lasted lang, ys not to layn.
For in hys hert he thynkes holy
how Samuel prophett sayd certayn
He suld his lordschepe lose,
for he brake Goddes bydyng.
This sang made hym suppose
that David suld be kyng.
Bot he wold mare hym, yf he myght,
that he suld never that fare fulfyll.
He saw, for this werke he had wroyght,
that all men lufed hym lowd and styll.
Sere sutelteys oft sythys he soyght
how he myght sped hym forto spyll.
Bot to hymself he wold say noyght;
ne David toke no tent thertyll.
He provyd passand his eld
of gud maners and myght.
For he cowde wepyns weld,
to were was non so wyght.
Kyng Saul fayged hym with fayrhede
and wayted ever to werke hym wo.
He wyst well for hys doyghty dede
that Phylysteyns ware hys foo.
He ordand hym his ost to lede
all way when thei to were suld goo.
That was nother for lufe ne dred,
bot that Phylysteyns suld hym slo.
Bot God was ever hys gyde
his werke forto warrand.
Wher he suld gang or ryde,
gud hape was in his hand.
Then went David with scheld and spere
and styfly stud in mony a stowre.
Phylysteyns was he fayn to fere,
in ylka feld he bare the flour.
All welthys that he wan with were
he sent to Saul for socour.
And that he dyd David to dere
God turned yt to his grett honour.
The kyng ay waytand was
how he myght werke hym wo,
Bot the kynges sun, Jonatas,
fendyd hym ay therfro.
act of martial bravery; (t-note)
through many cities
as is proper
Those; killed; (see note)
it is not to be hidden; (t-note)
defied God’s instruction
would harm; (t-note)
(i.e., the killing of Goliath)
publicly and privately
Many tricks he often times sought
quickly kill him (i.e., David)
nor did David take any heed thereto
proved himself surpassing of his age
to make war; capable
flattered; speciousness; (t-note)
knew; brave deeds
war would go
neither for honor nor fear; (t-note)
good fortune; (t-note)
stalwartly stood in many an engagement
glad to frighten
on each battlefield; bore the flower (achieved victory); (see note)
goods; won with battle; (t-note)
always defended him from that
[MICHAL’S LOVE FOR DAVID; THE BRIDE-PRICE AND THEIR MARRIAGE (18:20–29)]
As brether ware thei fast in fere
ather to beld os other bad.
All folke them lufed, both fere and nere,
in ylka sted wher thei ware sted.
And Mycoll, the kynges doyghtur dere,
David hyr hert all holy hade.
When he was moved to make yll chere,
no myrth on mold myght make hyr glad.
And when the pepyll hym plessed,
and scho hys conforth kend,
Yf other had hyr dysplessyd,
that medcyn moght amend.
In luf thus lang was scho led,
scho had no lykyng of hire lyfe.
When he in any stoure was sted,
then was hyr mynd in mekyll stryfe.
Scho swere that no wyght suld hyr wede,
bot scho myght ever be his wyfe.
Scho had no beld at bowre ne bed;
hyr care was kene as any knyfe.
Scho changed hyde and hew,
hyr fayrnes fast can fale.
At the last the kyng yt knew
and asked of his consaylle
If them toyght yt ware well to do
to gyf his doyghhtur to David.
And thei gafe consell all therto:
“Non is so kumly in this kyth.
A semly copyll is of them two,
for both ar large of lym and lyth.”
The kyng assented it shuld be so,
bot this forward he fest therwyth:
Heydes of Phylesteyns
two hunderth suld he bryng.
With this ylk wyle he wenys
David suld make endyng.
Full well he trawd by this yll trayn
David to lose in lytyll stound,
And or he had two hunderth slayn
forto have mony a wekyd wound.
Bot David of that fayr was fayn;
he gatt felows with hym to found,
For Mycoll luf hym lyst not layn.
Philysteyns fast he fell to the ground.
Two hunderth hedes certan
ware nevynd to hym be name,
Bot when he come agayn,
fyfe hunderth broyght he hame.
Then was he praysed with man and page
with sere solace that to hym soyght.
Thei sayd he was well worthy his wage
for this ylke warke that he had wroyght,
That so had sterd hym in that stage.
Fyve hunderth hedes with hym he broyght.
The kyng then made the mayreg,
bot evyll ay was in hys toyght:
Sere cawtels oft he cast
David to schame and schend.
All turned to the best,
for God was ever his frend.
Like brothers; dedicated in company
either to do as the other needed
far and near
Michal; (see note)
her heart completely had
on earth; happy; (t-note)
knew of his comfort
medicine might amend it
battle was engaged
much anxiety; (t-note)
swore; man; wed her
comfort in bower or bed
sorrow was as sharp
color and complexion
thought it was the right thing to do; (t-note)
fitting in this country
beautiful couple would be made
prodigious in limb and joint
contract he made
Skins (hides); (see note)
he (i.e., David) bring
same stratagem he believes
thought; wicked guile
in no time at all
many terrible wounds
business was glad; (t-note)
Michal’s love he did not deny
called; by name
Who thus had conducted himself; (t-note)
evil ever; thought; (t-note)
many cunning tricks
[DAVID’S CONTINUED SUCCESS (18:30, 19:8)]
Soyne aftur this so yt fell:
Phylysteyns, full of envy,
Dyght them and wold no langer dwell
to be venged of ther velany.
When Kyng Saul herd tythyng tell
that enmys com in opynly,
He demyd David with them to mell,
and als he heyght, he dyde in hye.
Felows that wold not fayle
ar gladly with hym gone.
Thai vencusyd the batele
and gat gud full grett wone.
Readied themselves; wait
[their] enemies came against [them]
ordered; in haste; (t-note)
[SAUL AND THE EVIL SPIRIT; HIS ATTEMPT ON DAVID’S LIFE (19:9–10)]
Then with all folk was David dred
and hownerd for his dughty dede.
When Saul herd he had well sped,
then in his hert he had more drede.
Down he fell seke in his bede,
for ferd David that land suld lede.
Hys yll sprett soyn hym spred;
no speciall spech myght hym spede.
David was aftur sent
by hym to harpe and syng
And all to evyll entent:
in bale hym forto bryng.
David hym dyght to do his dett:
the kyng fro wo yf he myght were.
As he with harpe to syng was sett
the fend fers so forto fere,
The kyng hath cast his lake to lett:
withowtyn spech he spens a spere.
To David evyn he toke his mett
thrugh the body hym to bere.
Then Mycol kest a cry,
and David turned hym soyne.
Fast home he can hym hye.
God wold noyghth yt were doyne.
fear; would lead; (t-note)
wicked spirit quickly struck him down
prepared himself; duty
might protect [him]
fierce fiend (wicked spirit) thus to drive away
tried to stop his (David’s) playing
grasps a spear
bear [the point]
cried out; (see note)
turned around immediately
did not want it done
[SAUL AGAIN ATTEMPTS DAVID’S LIFE; MICHAL HELPS HIM ESCAPE (19:11–17)]
The kyng was then all wode for wo;
that he so scaped, hym toyght scorne.
He bad wyght men be lyve suld go
and lyg in wayt untyll morn,
And that he suld not scape them fro,
for forfetur myght fall therforn.
He suld not lett for frend ne foo
no langer tyll his lyf ware lorn.
When Mycol hath this herd
how hyr fader can say,
Full ferdly furth scho ferd
to marre yt, yf scho may.
“David,” scho sayd, “my husband hende,
my fader hath full hertly hyght
He sall not fyne for fo ne frend
to morn or he hath marde thi myght.
Thi way wyghthly behoves thee wende
and leve me here a wylsom wyght.
For bettur is thou lyfe and lende
then that we both to dede be dyght.”
He assented certayn
syghand with sympyll chere.
Yf thei parteyd with payn,
no question is to inquere.
Swylke wemen were worthy to wed
to helpe ther husbandes in a nede.
For hyr ded was scho not adred,
bot yit scho dyd another dede:
Scho layd a dry stoke in his bed
and covert yt with worthy wede.
When knyghtes come hym to have dede,
scho sayd, “Sers, sen he fro cowrt yede,
He toke so hertly care
his lyf days ar nere done.”
Thei wened well yt so ware;
agayn thei went full sone.
And evyn os thei in syght com see,
unto the kyng so con thei say.
He bad be lyve, “Bryng hym to me;
he sall dee with dole this day!”
Thei saw yt myght no bettur be;
unto his hows agayn go thei.
In his bed thei fand a mekyll tree
hyld, and he was went away.
When the kyng saw he was hale,
hys hert had sorow enogh.
[ . . . ]
[ . . . ]
ordered strong men at once
forfeiture [of their lives]; (i.e., if that happened)
Very frightened; went
mar it (Saul’s plan)
mourn before; marred
log; (see note)
since he left the court
[that] his life’s days
they returned [to court] at once; (t-note)
die with grief
found a big tree; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
[DAVID ESCAPES TO RAMAH AND SAMUEL (19:17–18)]
He sware his doyghtur suld be schent;
full he leved to lose his land.
To Ramatha is David went,
wher Samuel is sojorand.
He told to hym all his entent,
how that the kyng so fellows fand,
Bot that he so the lyfe was lent.
Both loved thei God with hert and hand.
He sayd, “Sun, for this thyng
in hert have thou no toyght.
God will that thou be kyng
when all his whylys ar wroyght.”
such fellowship found; (t-note)
desires; you [should] be
his (Saul’s) wiles
[SAUL’S FAILURES TO GET DAVID; HE AND JONATHAN MEET (19:19–23)]
Aftur this ware long to tell
how ever the kyng hys kindes kyd.
For messeg made he mony amell;
to be his bayne ay can he byd.
When Jonatas herd how that yt fell,
grett hevenes in hert he hyde.
For dowt of dede that con hym quell
he wold bot wytt how David dyde.
Ryght unto Ramatha
he went the gaynest gatte.
The trew lufe betwen them two
myght no bale gare abate.
When David herd say for certayn
that Jonatas wold com hym tyll,
Ful gladly went he hym agayn
and thanked hym oft of all gud wyll.
Of his frenschepe he was full fayn,
for he lufed lely lowd and styll.
He told hym all the procese playn
how the kyng aspyd hym to spyll.
To fotte can David fall
for his God wyll all way.
Jonatas says he sall
helpe all that he may:
“To the kyng, my fader, wyll I fare
and faynd his frenschepe forto geyte.
For thee to speke I sall not spare,
all thof he wold me bynd or bete.
At erst that I her answer
of lastand luf or like to thrett,
That thou may kepe thiself fro care,
thou sall be wernd, or ever I ette.”
David says, “For mercy,
thou mendes all my myschefe.”
Thei kyssed full curtasly,
and so thei toke ther leve.
made known his nature; (t-note)
bane always did he work
fear of death; (t-note)
would nevertheless know; (t-note)
[by] the straightest road
for no sadness could be weakened; (t-note)
he went to meet him
loyally publicly and privately (i.e., in all arenas)
worked to kill him
To foot (i.e., kneeling) did
God’s will in all ways; (t-note)
attempt; to get [for you]
even if; beat
As soon as I hear
warned, before ever I eat [anything]; (see note)
mends all my sadness
their leave [from one another]
[JONATHAN SOUNDS OUT SAUL (20:24–34)]
Jonatas went with sympyll chere,
unto the cowrt he come in hye.
When grett fest was of folke in fere,
unto his fader he sayd sothly:
“Ser, David that is to yow so dere
and in his dedes ys ay doghty,
How ys yt so he is not here?
He myght menske all this mangery.
He is your sun by law
and my brother also.
Be oght that ever I knaw,
he trespast never yow to.
“He is ay redy in your ryght
agayn your rebels forto ryse;
Phylysteyns hath he feld with fyght
and owtrayd all our enmyse.
In cowrt is non so cumly knyght,
ne non so wyse, yf he us avyse.”
The kyng then loked on hym full lyght
and sayd, “Lossell fowle, thou lyse.
That sall ye both abye,
als sone os I hym see.
Thou maynteyns with maystry
the most enmy to me.”
Jonatas answerd with word hende:
“Ser, yt hath not so bene sene;
Ye have fun your faythfull frend;
to your bedyng bown hath he bene.”
Then wex the kyng full of the Fend;
he wared fast with word kene.
Hys sun he schope forto schend,
yf wyght men had not gone betwene.
Jonatas wyst well enogh
then how the game wold go.
Of dregh he hym withdrogh
and fled his fader fro.
truthfully; (see note)
deeds is always brave; (t-note)
honor everyone at this feast
no one so fair a
thinks of us
Scoundrel foul, you lie
as soon as
the greatest enemy
cursed; sharp words
son he attempted to destroy
Aside he withdrew himself; (t-note)
[JONATHAN SPEAKS WITH DAVID (20:35–42)]
To David wyghtly is he went,
wher he was in grett stody sted,
And sayd how he suld have bene schent
befor his fader, had he not fled,
And how no mercy myght be ment,
ne specialty may none be sped.
“Ther is no other tale to tent
bot wend or wage thi hede in wed.”
To his fette then David fell
and thanked hym of all thyng.
Luf that was them omell
made payn at ther partyng.
David sayd, “Ser, sen yt is so,
for soverayn God thus he be soght!
All yf thi fader wyll be my foo,
be thou my frend and fayle me noyght!”
Jonatas sayd, “For well or wo,
what warke in ward with me be wroyght,
The cunnand made betwyx us two,
that sall I hald with hert and toyght.”
Thei durst no langer dwell,
for folke ware not ther frend.
Thei kyssed and morned omell,
and so ther way thei wend.
depart or place your head at stake
good or bad
heart and mind
[DAVID MEETS WITH AHIMELECH (21:1–9)]
Jonatas went with sympyll chere
agayn unto that same cety,
And David soyght with sorow sere
untyll a town, was named Nobbé.
Thor wuned a byschope of grett power,
Abymalec at home hegh he.
He welcumd David os his dere
and asked hym aftur his meneye.
He sayd, “Ser, I am sent
in messege fro the kyng.
My meneye furth ar wentt
for other nedfull thyng.
“Myn armour gart thei me forgete.
Yf thou have any, helpe me!” he says.
“And als yf thou have oght at ette:
for sene I ette ar gone thre days.
And ser, I have meystur of mette,
for I have to wend wylsom ways.”
The byschope says, “I have of whette
blessyd bred that is to prays.
Bot armour none I bere,
ne wapyns with to fyght
Bot a gud sword of were;
that sall be thin be ryght.”
He cald hym kyndly, as he can,
with mette and drynke and myrthis more.
Golias sword he gaf hym then
qwylke hymselfe wan in feld before.
In this meyn tyme com in a man,
Odeth, that keped the kynges store.
He wyst not how debate began,
ne of the kyng how wroth thei ware;
Bot that he thore can see,
and talken them betwen,
In hert well haldes hee,
for so was aftur sene.
they caused me [to] forget; (see note)
also; anything to eat
since I ate have passed
need of food
to follow a winding road
except a worthy; war
Doeg; king’s herds; (t-note)
[DAVID AS OUTLAW LEADER (21:10–22:5)]
Then David furth his frendes soght;
he fand bot few in to affy.
In certayn sojorne wold he noyght:
that folke by spech myght hym aspy.
Full mony wonder werke he wroyght,
als he com in sere cumpany.
And how all was to endyng broyght,
the Bybyll bers wyttenese therby.
Yt ware long tyme to tell
how he hys cowrse kest
And what ferlys be fell
or he was broyght to rest.
Bot poyntes that falys to our procese,
sum of this werke we wyll begyne:
How that he wund in wyldernese,
in a forest that heygh Sephyn.
Thore come men to hym, more and lesse,
of cosyns and of other kyn.
And thos that owtlayd or exyld ys,
thos went to hym, all that myght wyne.
Thei bede hym forto be
his men in all manere.
So in schort tyme had he
fawre hunderth folke in fere.
safety he could not travel
took his course; (t-note)
called Ziph; (see note)
those who were outlawed or exiled
manage [to do so]
promised; (see note)
four hundred men together
[PHILISTINES ATTACK KEILAH; DAVID SAVES THE CITY (23:1–13)]
Now in this meyn tyme herd thei tell
with folke that ferd thore to and fray
How the Phylysteyns, fers and fell,
inseged a cyté that heght Ceilay,
And how thei made maystrays omell
and sayd that thei suld bryn and slay
Ebrews that in that ceté dwell
and all ther thresour to them ta.
Thei brynt and wold not blyn
abowt both lengh and brede.
Then thei that ware within
lyfed in grett dole and drede.
Qwen David wyst thei suld be slayn
he wrscheped God with wyll and toyght.
Then unto God fast can he frayn
whedder he suld helpe them and he moght.
And sone he had answer agayn
and sayd, “Go furth and drede thee noyght!”
To geydder his folke he was full fayn,
and unto Cyala sene thei soyght.
Thor was no tale of trewse;
Phylysteyns fast thei feld.
And thei resaved the Ebrews
that in that cyté dwelled.
The soverance of that same cyté
honerd David with hert and hende
And bed at his bedyng to be
and at his wyll to wun and wende.
In that cyté then sojornde he,
and in grett lykyng thor thei lend
So that hymself and his meneye
with mette and drynke ware mekyll amend.
Thore gatt thei gold gud wone,
armurs and other wedys.
Sum that before had none
hose now all that them nedes.
Word of this werke full wyd can spryng
with lernd and lewd in all that land.
And sone was told to Saull the kyng
how David was so sojornand.
He was full fayn of that tythyng,
for ther he hopyd to have hym at hand
And into a bale hym forto bryng,
for his strengh myght no man stand.
He sayd, “Sone sall we see
hys bost proved full prest,
When he haldes that ceté
and levys the fayre forest.”
He purpassed hym full prevely
David to schame and to schend
And ordand with clene cumpany
to Ceila sodanly to wend.
He sent sere men to spyre and spye
how David tytest myght be tened.
Bot he had hertyng hastely
fro God, that ever was his frend.
God werned hym fast to flee
with his men, old and yyng,
And in the forest to be
for the kynges comyng,
For yf the kyng that ceté crafe
or any sawt to yt sett,
The cyteners themself to sayve
sall sone delyver yt ose dew dett.
Then suld David no helpyng have
bot be tane os a fysch in a nett.
And sone went both knyght and knave
to forest, where none wold them lett,
And when the kyng yt knew,
that thei ware past fro playn,
No ferther wold he persew
bot tytt turned hom agayn.
went to and from there (Ziph)
fierce and cruel
besieged; that [was] called Keilah
tyrannies among [them]; (t-note)
set fire; cease
woe and fear
honored; thought; (t-note)
if he can
Keilah then they journeyed; (t-note)
talk of truce
speedily they killed
to do all things; (t-note)
pleasure there they remained
food; much strengthened
in good amount
had now; needed
among the learned and the unlearned
pleased; news; (t-note)
boast; very quickly
holds [himself within]
ordered with a whole company
most quickly might be harmed
he (David) had advice
before any assault was set to it
as due debt (i.e., a sign of loyalty)
had passed from the area [of the city]
[DAVID AND JONATHAN MEET IN ZIPH (23:14–18)]
Thei toke to a wod that heyght Gedyn,
bot thore thei sojornd bot lytyll whyle;
Then to a forest that heyght Cephyn;
thore hoped he non suld hym begyle.
Thor Jonatas fro all his kyn
to see David soyght mony a myle.
He was wel glad his wrschepe to wyn,
all yf his fader wold fayn hym fyle.
Yt was myrth, when thei mett,
to wytt how all yt was.
Thei kyssed and for joy grett,
and sone sayd Jonatas:
“David,” he says, “drede thee no dele,
all yf the kyng threpe again thee,
For aftur wo all sall be well:
thou sall governd in grett degree.
I am thin freynd; that sall thou fele:
ther sall not fawt be fun in me.
To sayve thiself seke thi sele;
yt is the fayrest forto flee.
Thou sal be kyng be kynd
and full grett lordschepe lede.
Make me then in mynd
and thynke on ayre don dede.
“Yt is wysdom, os wysmen says,
at suffer welth forto wyn.
And in no poynt he is to prays
that cannot byde his bale to blyn.
All yf the kyng thee wayte all ways,
he sall not dere for all his dyn.
Thou sall endure aftur his days
and stand in state that he standes in.”
Thus bad he hym to beld
and sayd he suld be kyng.
David curtasly kneled
and thanked hym of all thyng.
Then parted thei, yf yt ware payn,
for full trew luf was them betwen.
And Jonatas went home agayn
so that non wyst whore he had bene.
And David held his peyse full playn
in wodes, for he suld noyght be sene.
And ever he has in uncertayn
whore he myght dwell withowtyn tene.
He durst not dwell for dyn
in town, ne in cyté.
In the forest of Cephyn
ay toyght hym best to be.
love to achieve; (t-note)
even if; be glad to dishonor him
fear you in no way
even if; inveighs against you; (t-note)
never fault be found
seek your safety
our accomplished deeds
in no way; praise
wait for his sadness to cease
harm [you]; noise [about it]
even though it were painful
he always thought it was best to be
[DOEG’S BETRAYAL OF AHIMELECH (22:9–19)]
All in desert so con thei dwell;
of ryall ryches noyght thei reke.
Thei dranke no wyn bot of the well,
ne beyre bot of the reynnand beke.
In this meyn tym is so to tell
how the kyng in yre was ever freke,
And of falshed that then befell
thrugh Odeth to Abymaleke.
The kyng for David spyred
forto bryng hym in bale.
Odeth his mayster herd,
stert up, and told this tale.
“Syr kyng,” he sayd, “I mervell me
that thou for David hath any drede.
I saw hym in thin awn ceté,
wher thi frendes fayre con hym fede.
Abymalec, byschope of Nobbé,
full mekyll beld con to hym bede.
Golias sword to hym toke he
and kyssed hym kyndly when he yede.
I wened noyght ye ware wroth,
and sertes, ser, had I wyst,
I suld have bun them both
and led them to your lyst.
And, ser, to prove this that I say,
sendes for that popelard prevely.”
The kyng therin made no delay;
full herdy men he sentt in hy.
The byschop broyght thei the same day
with his kynred in cumpany.
The kyng hym asked in rude aray
why he mayntened his most enmy.
Abymalec hym excused
be wytty wordes all ways.
Hys resons ware refused,
bot softly thus he says:
“Syr kyng, thou may full wynly wake
whyll luf lastes betwyx yow two.
Me toyght full well sett for thi sake
all the eys that I myght to hym do.
He sayd he suld thi messege make,
And for he suld more sewrly go,
Golias sword I cowd hym take,
qwylke hymself wan in feld in wo.
He standes in mony a stowre
and ys ever bown to wende
Forto sayve thin honowre.
Therfor, ser, he is thi frend.”
Then was the kyng wode, I warrand,
when he of all this werkyng wyst.
Hys kenyst knyghtes then he cummand
to kyll hym that hys enmys kyst.
Bot non on hym wold lay ther hand
because he was Goddes byschop blyst
Owtakyn Odeth, that fawtt fyrst fand;
to werke wo that was hys lyst.
Hys sword full swyth he droghe
with other of his assent.
The byschope thor he sloygh
with all his clene covent.
He wold noyght stynt so forto stryfe
with all that come that close within,
So that thei slogh fowr score and fyve
of the byschop clerkes, or ever thei blyn.
Then bad he them wend be lyve
the burgh of Nobbe forto bryn,
And that thei suld stroye chyld and wyve
to the otterest end of all his kyn.
Thei wasted all that thore wore
that non away was wun,
Abymalec eldyst sun.
wine except from
beer except; running brook
Doeg against Ahimelech; (t-note)
much comfort; provide; (t-note)
to [deal with at] your pleasure
traitor at once; (see note)
at that; (t-note)
a rude manner
maintained his greatest enemy
thought; to set forth
bound [by oath] to venture
enraged, I’ll wager
Except Doeg, who the fault first discovered; (t-note)
quickly he drew
before ever they ceased
ordered; go quickly
uttermost; family; (t-note)
killed; were there
[ABIATHAR ESCAPES SAUL’S WRATH, GOES TO DAVID (22:20–23)]
Yt schope so that he was not schent;
God ordand hym to flee before.
To David wyghyly is he went
and sayd to hym with syghyng sore
How all was tan with turnament,
his fader and his clerkes, faur score,
And how Noabbe with bale was brent
and non on lyfe left, lesse ne more.
David says oft, “Alas,
that folke for me ar dede!”
Abyathar then byschop was
furth in his fader stede.
dread was burned
[DAVID ELUDES SAUL (23:19–29)]
Kyng Saul ever by consell cast
how that he myght best do David dere.
And full oft sythyes he fowled fast
with all his fors hym forto fere.
Bot David ever fro perels past,
als was Goddes wyll hym forto were.
And so befell yt at the last
that David myght have done hym dere.
And how that tym be tyd,
we wyll take time to tell,
Both of dedes that thei dyd
and what wordes wore them omell.
The kyng full raythely can ryd
David to wast for werldes wele.
And David durst not well abyd;
so ware the kynges folke ferly fele.
Under a hyll he con hym hyde
in a depe hole to hald his hele
So that the kyng suld passe be syd,
and nother suld with other dele.
Bot or thei past that pase,
evyn bot them two betwen
Befell a ferly case,
os then the soth was sene.
very many times
cave to maintain his health
passed that pass; (t-note)
[DAVID DOES NOT KILL SAUL IN EN-GEDI (24:1–22)]
The kyng sone of the hole had a syght
that yt was merke and owt of mynd.
Down of his palfray con he lyght
to eyse his womb be way of kynd.
And als he in his ded was dyght,
David folke soyn con hym fynd.
Thei sayd, “Ser, go ryve throwgh hym ryght;
oft hath he thee persewed and pynd.”
David says, “God forbede!
He is a kyng enoynt.”
Bot or ever thei yede,
he playd a perlus poyntt.
Full prevely his space he spyde;
of the kynges cloyght a peyse he kytt.
The kyng then reded hym to ryde,
and als he was bown furth to flytt
David curtasly thus cryed:
“Ser kyng, to wend thus ys no wytt.
I myght have made thee here to byde.
Behald thi mantyll and yt ys slytt!
When I this fro thee reved
away, and thou not wyst,
I myght have hade thi hede
als lyghtly, yf me lyst.
“And therfor, ser, persew me noyght;
I am not glad thee forto greve,
Bot bown in all that ever I moght
thee and thi reme forto releve.”
The kyng then herd and hym be toyght
how he was thore in grett myscheve,
And how wysly thore David wroyght;
no more in malyce wold he meve.
He trowd be this tokenyng
within hymselfe alsone
That David suld be kyng
when he had his dedes done.
He saw David was well arayd
with feyghyng folke full fayre in fere
And toyght, yf he to batell brayde,
whoso suld wyn wrschepe wore in were.
Therfor all sothly thus he sayd,
“David, this ded thou hath done here
And thi grett meknese made me payde;
I grawntt thee peyse be my powere.
Sen thou so sufferand ys,
thi lordschep lang wyll last.
I grawnnt thee forgyfnes
of all poyntes that ar past,
“So that thou faythfully sall fulfyll
the forward fest betwyx us two,
And that thou do gode and non yll
to my folke when I found them fro.”
David sayd, “Ser, with gud wyll,
als thou wyll say, so wyll I do.”
The kyng then cald hys folk hym tyll;
to Galgala agayn can thei go.
And David wentt then hyne
with his men ever ychon
To the forest of Cephyn;
he wyst no bettur wone.
from his palfrey did he alight; (t-note)
relieve his bladder; nature
deed was engaged
David’s men thereupon did
slice him through at once
pursued and pained; (t-note)
before they left
cloak a piece he cut
ready to fly forth
prepared; (see note)
win honor (victory) was in doubt
knew no better hope
[SAMUEL DIES; NABAL’S WEALTH (25:1–4)]
In this meyn tyme that I of tell
dyverse farles con befall.
The nobyll prophett Samuell
then dyed, as erthly men bus all.
Then David men meved them omell,
for fude in forest fand thei small.
And thore besyde Cephyn con dwell
a full ryche man, his name Noball.
He had ryches by raw
of rent and ryalté,
Bot he lyfed not by the law
of Moyses and Josue.
No man cowd rekyn hys ryches ryfe;
he was ryall in his aray.
Bot ever he was with sturt and stryfe
that no man myght hym do his pay.
A gud woman hade he to wyfe,
and hyr name was cald Abygay.
Scho wrschept God in all hyr lyfe
and at hyr myght mayntened His lay.
Scho was full trest and trew
and lufed with more and lesse
And fayr of hyd and hew,
als the Boke beyrs wytnese.
His catell was in sesyn sett
als over all in that cuntré.
David oft with hyrdes mett
and mayntend them als his meneye.
Wyld wulfes and lyons oft he lett
to do dysese to Naball fee.
All yf his fod was ferre to fett,
nothyng unto rewll take wold hee.
So ose the yere con slype,
the seson fell therfor
That men ther schepe suld clype,
and this was costom thore.
And so be tyde yt in that tyd
that Naball hath his fest ordand.
In all the cuntré was yt cryd,
os costom was in that land;
[ . . . ]
[ . . . ]
Fast under that ylke forest syde,
swylke solace suld be so nere hand.
He made wyght men to wende
at muster ther myschefe
And pray Naball to send
sum fude for ther releve.
happenings that did occur
grumbled among themselves
skin and complexion
as [they were]; (t-note)
Unless; far to fetch
nothing would he take unlawfully
year did pass; (t-note)
sheep should clip
it happened; place
[NABAL DENIES FOOD FOR DAVID’S MEN (25:5–11)]
Then of the wyghest furth ar wentt
to Naball, whore play was plenté.
When thei had told all ther entent,
dyspytusly answerd then hee:
“Who is he that thus yow hath sent?”
Thei sayd, “David, the sun of Jesse.”
He sayd thei suld be schamed and schent
as felons that ar fayn to flee:
“He is the kynges enmy
and hath full wekydly wroyght.
All hys fors I dyfye;
here sall he have ryght noyght.”
[DAVID SWEARS VENGEANCE (25:12–13)]
The messyngers agayn thei goo
and told David evere ylk a dele.
When he yt wyst, he was full wo
and sayd yt suld be venged well.
Hee sware grett othes that he suld slo
Naball for all his hertly sele.
And aftur hym all other mo
that to hym fell suld angers fele:
Both man and wyfe and chyld,
he sayd thei suld be lorn.
And bestes, tame and wyld,
no thyng suld be forborn,
every point of it
[ABIGAIL’S WISDOM (25:14–23)]
That thei ne suld passe by sword or knyfe
in what syd so that thei myght be sene.
Sone aftur raked ther resons ryfe
amang the hyrdmen all be dene.
Thei went and told to Naball wyfe,
that wytty was withowtyn wene,
How that hyr lord suld lose his lyfe,
for he had carped wordes kene
And myssayd David men
that folke ware fayn to plese.
Fro scho his cawse cowd kene,
hyr hert was not at esse.
Scho menys to mend yt, yf scho may,
that thei suld not be putt to pyne.
In gud garmentes scho made hyr gay
with pelure and with pyrre fyne.
And grett presentes scho con purvay
of bred, flesch, and nobyll wyne
And wentt to mete hym on the way
towerd the forest of Cephyn.
So leved scho forto lett
the harmes he can them hette.
And sone when scho hym mett,
scho fell down to his fette.
whatever place they might be found
went their many reasons; (t-note)
clever was without doubt
said bold words; (t-note)
were desirous to please
herself fair; (see note)
fur and precious stones; (t-note)
meet him (David)
intended she to alleviate
against them promised
[ABIGAIL’S PLEA TO DAVID (25:24–35)]
“A, gentyll knyght of Jesse kynd,
that sal be kyng be reson ryght,
Gayre not the pure pepyll be pyned
in dyverse place for a man plyght.
My lord is maysed and owt of mynd;
anentes hymself hath he no myght.
God forbed that the folke suld fynd
thi felnes with a foyle to fyght!
I wyst not thi men wore
to aske us oght of our gude.
Sertes, ser, had I bene thore,
thei suld have faled no fud.
“And therfor, ser knight, no ferrer kare
bot take of me this pure present.”
Then David saw scho was full fayre;
grett favour in hyr face he fand.
He sayd, “Dame, be not in dyspayre.
I graunt thee, he to thi husband.
Non of thi pepyll sall we payre.”
Scho thanked hym with hert and hand.
Thei toke mett and drynke;
therof the folke ware fayn.
He thankes hyr, als hym thynke,
and so he turnys agayn.
Jesse’s family; (t-note)
Cause; [to] be pained
one man’s sin
Certainly; been there
lacked no food; (t-note)
sorrow no more; (t-note)
as he thought
[ABIGAIL TELLS NABAL, WHO DIES (25:36–38)]
Abygay told hyr husband hale
what sorows he suld full sone have sene
And sufferd dede in his awn sale,
had not hyr witt and werkyng bene.
And when he herd hyr tell this tale,
unto his hert he toke slyke teyne,
Within ten days he dyed with bale.
Few of his meneye can hym meyne.
To David sone was sayd
that Naball endyd so.
Then was he ryght well payd
that he helped not therto.
very quickly have known
death; own hall
heart; such grief
[DAVID MARRIES ABIGAIL (25:39–44)]
When Naball thus with wo was went
and dede withoutyn darte or knyfe,
For Abygay hath David sent
and weded hyr unto his wyfe.
This woman thus turned evyll entent
and helped to stynt full mekyll stryfe.
And therfor God slyke grace hath sent
in lykyng forto lede hyr lyfe.
Another he wan also
thrugh dughty dedes he dyde.
Thore had he wyfys two,
and Micoll was the thryd.
wedded; (see note)
Another [wife] he (David) gained; (see note)
In these he had
[SAUL AGAIN PURSUES DAVID (26:1–5)]
Then folke of Cephyn had grett envy,
for David sojornd thor so lang.
To Saull sent thei prevely
and bad that he suld make hym strang,
For David that was his enmy
suld not be mayntened them amang.
Thei hete he sall have hym in hy,
for with hym gudly wyll thei gang.
When Saul herd this tale
folke ware not David frendes,
His ost he ordand hale,
and wyghtly ydder he wendes.
When David herd muster omell
Kyng Saul in that reme can ryde,
He sent his folke by fyrth and fell
whore he wold buske to abyd.
And sone con thei to hym tythynges tell
he sojornde by a cyté syde,
And that thei dyght them thore to dwell
and telled ther tentes apon that tyde.
David hymself hath soyght
tyll he of them had syght,
For in his hert he toyght
to be nere them that nyght.
strong [in presence]
thither he went
heard it said among [the people that]
through forest and field
were making themselves there
pitched their; place
[DAVID SPARES SAUL’S LIFE (26:6–25)]
Two felows that he trew had fun
chesed he furth for sych a chare:
On Abysay, his systur sun,
and a bold man Abyathar.
Thoo three ther gatte so hath begun,
and any wyght of them was warre
That to the kynges tent ar thei wun,
wher he lay and the duke Abnare.
All folke war fast on slepe
aftur the mydnyght tyde.
Thor was no cowrs to kepe;
thei ware sure on ylka syd.
David that ever was myld of mode
sees how sadly thei slepand are.
All yf thei aspyde to spyll his blud,
unto them wold he do no dere.
Bot a grett coupe of gold full gud
and als the kynges chefe chasyng spere
Thei toke, and evyn agayn thei yode,
and over a burn thei con them bere.
And on that other syd,
whore thei no harme myght take,
David full kenly cryd,
“Wake, Ser Abnere, wake!
“Ye werke os ye ware chylder yeng,
that kepes a kyng and slepis so sade
Qwyls men beyre away his thyng.”
The duke of hym the heryng hade
And answerd hym os in hethyng,
“Why cryes thou so, unknawn lade,
And makes swylke noyse thus nere the kyng?”
Then Saul wakynd and was rad.
He trowed sum ware untrew
of tho that wuned hym wyth,
For the voyce well he knew
that yt was of David.
And to wytt how yt was begun,
he cryde to hym and cald be name:
“Is thou not David, Jesse sun?”
“Yis sertes,” he sayd, “I am the same.
This ylke nyght myght thou me have fun
in thi tent, wher thou haldes thi hame.
Yow both I myght have bett and bun
and went my way withowtyn blame.
I toke thi coupe of gold
and bare thi spere thee fro
And myght well, yf I wold,
have tane thiself also.
“Therfor, ser, it were fayr to sesse
of swylk dedes os thou uses at do,
And suffer me to passe in pese
that tryspase noyght thee unto.
Thou lefes the lessons that ar lese
and waytys ever to werke me wo.
Now have I mett thee twyse at mese;
thou wot thiself that yt is so.”
The kyng sayd, “Wele I knaw,
and here the soth I se.
Thou dose all that thou aw
in meknes unto me.
“And also I se well for certayn
thou sal be kyng; this is no nay.
Therfor I graunt thee pardon playn
never forto dere thee aftur this day.”
Then David of his fare was fayn,
bott ferrer he fled for more affray.
The cowpe and the spere he sent agayn.
Ylkon at wyll then went ther way.
The kyng abatyd his breth
and toyght his werke not wyse;
And David went to Geth,
unto the kyng Achyse.
had found loyal
One [named] Abishai; (t-note)
Ahimelech; (see note)
Those; their way; (see note); (t-note)
and no man; aware
secure in sleep; (t-note)
There; man to watch
secure on every side; (t-note)
cup; (see note)
also; hunting spear
work as [if] you were young children
guard; sleep so sound
same; found; (t-note)
maintain your home
beat and struck
believe; false; (t-note)
twice in good range [for killing]
there is no denying it
Each one willingly; (t-note)
[ACHISH OF THE PHILISTINES GIVES DAVID LAND (27:1–11)]
The kyng Achyse that I of meyne
was wyght enoght and wyse of were,
Bott he was full a Phylysteyn
and his men in the same manere.
He hard well how David had bene
before abowt to do them dere.
Bot now he wott withoutyn wene
Kyng Saul and he enmys ere.
All yf he ware Ebrew,
sen thei his enmys wore,
He trowde he suld be trew
to Phylysteyns therfore.
He gaf hym landes a lytill fra
to loge hym and his pepyll in,
A grett ceté, Cissylla,
to hym and to hayrys of his kene.
Ydder went he and his wyfes two,
and ther thei wuned with mekyll wyn,
Sex hunderth men withoutyn wo
owt of the forest of Cephyn.
Semly thore sojournde thei:
David and his Ebrews.
He honerd God allway
and fayged the Cananews:
To brew them bale bown wold he be.
Over mownt he went to Malachis,
And thore he stroyd up that cuntré.
And sythyn he wentt unto Serrys.
Ther gatte thei gold full grett plenté,
pellour and pyrry of grett pryse.
And grett presandes oft sythyes sent he
unto the kyng of Geth, Achys.
Achys noyght understud
what Phylesteyns can fele:
David sayd he gatt that gud
of Ebrews ylka dele.
without doubt; (t-note)
he (David) were enemies
since they (David and Achish) were his (Saul’s) enemies; (t-note)
heirs of his family; (t-note)
dwelled with much joy
beguiled the Canaanites (i.e., pagans); (t-note)
He would always be ready to cause them sadness
then; [the city of] Shur
furs and stones of great worth
tributes often times
won those goods
entirely from Jews
[PHILISTINES ATTACK ISRAEL (27:12–28:4)]
Then was Kyng Achis ferly fayn
that he and Ebrews enmys ware.
He trowd he wold never turne agayn
so frenly als he was before.
He sembyld men with all his mayn
of all his landes, both lesse and more,
And sayd the Ebrews suld be slayn,
and on lyfe suld he leve no store.
He prayd David als frend
that he and his meneye
With hym in were wold wend,
and gladly grawnthed he.
Then was full grett myrth them omell;
thei styrd and wold no langer stand,
Bot furth thei fare over fyrth and fell
and fullyd all that thei before fand.
When Kyng Saul herd tythynges tell
that Phylysteyns enturd his land,
He sayd thei suld not soundly dwell.
A full grett ost sone he ordand.
And with them all went he
with mekyll prese and pryde
To the mount of Gylboy,
and thore he busked hym to byd.
as friendly [to the Jews] as; (t-note)
war would go
he (David) granted [him that]
mirth among them
stirred; be still
went over forest and field; (t-note)
killed; before [them] found
heard the news told
army at once; (t-note)
prepared himself to wait; (t-note)
[SAUL CONSULTS THE WITCH AT ENDOR (28:5–25)]
He myght se on that hyll on heyght
in the low land what lyfe thei led:
Towns of fyre byrnand full bryght
and all over was with enmys spred.
He saw them mony and mekyll of myght.
Sum dele in hert he was adred
And prayd to God to schew sum syght
how that he suld in that stowre be sted,
Whedder his folke suld be flayd
or ellys ther enmys slayn.
Bot howsoever he prayd,
he had no tokyn agayn.
His prophettes also for hym prays;
of helpe unto hym herd thei noyght.
Then wyst he well that God not pays
sum werkyng that he has wroght.
He bad his men go dyverse ways
that sum wyche sone to hym ware soyght,
That by hyr craft cowd ded men rays
that sum body be lyve ware broyght
To tell how he suld chefe,
awder lyfe or ellys be sloyne.
One sayd, “Lord, with your lefe,
in Endor dwels swylke one.
“Scho con by craft of socery
tell all that ever in erthe sal be.”
The kyng went to hyr prevely
and bed hyr gold, full grett plenté,
To rayse hym up sum ded body,
to say whedder he suld fyght or fle.
Scho asked in whom he wold affy.
“In Samuel, forsoth,” says hee.
Sone thrugh hyr soceris
and thrugh the Fendes rede
Samuel scho gart up ryse,
that lang whyle had bene dede.
Als Samuel stud them beforne,
the kyng sayd, “Tell us, or we twyn,
Whedder syd sal be up born
in this batell that we begyne,
And who sall have ther lyvys lorn!”
Then answerd he with dedly dyne:
“Thou and thi suns sall wun to morn
in the same wyse that I wun in.”
Then was he hent in hy
away, thei wyst not whore.
Kyng Saul then was sory.
Hym rewed that he come thore.
gathering they made
on fire burning
their numbers and great strength
Some bit; afeared
battle be placed
sign in return
knew; was not pleased by; (t-note)
witch at once; (see note); (t-note)
raise dead men
should end [the fight]
by your leave; (see note); (t-note)
En-dor lives such a person
At once; witchcrafts
caused to rise up
before we part
Which side shall be raised up
deadly noise (speech)
expect to mourn
taken away in haste; (t-note)
knew not where
[DAVID IN THE PHILISTINE ARMY (29:1–11)]
He teldyd hym within his tent
on Gylboy batell forto abyde.
Now leve we hym wher he is lent
and tell how David con be tyde.
Kyng Aches boldly borows brent
and stroyd cytes on ylka syde.
David ay wyghtly with hym went;
non was so well arayd that tyde.
The Phylysteyns ware not payd
that he suld with them wun.
Ylke on tyll other sayd,
“Ys noyght this Gesse sun?
“With Kyng Saul he ys at hame
and of his howshold hath bene lang.”
Sum other says, “This is the same
that maydyns made of in ther sang.”
“Syr kyng,” thei say, “we ar to blame,
and he with us to batell gang.
His awn kyng wyll he kepe from schame
and turn to mell hym us amang.
The more that he us shendes,
the more thanke sall he have.
So sall thei bee full frendes.
Therfor se us to save!”
Kyng Aches saw his folke afrayd;
of David fare thei ware not fayn.
Therfor thus to hym he sayd,
“I thanke thee, ser, with all my mayn
That thou thus prestly is purved,
bot now I pray thee turn agayn
And see my reme be ryght arayd.
I grawnnt thee heyre my power playn.”
Then David home can fare,
all ware yt not his wyll.
Bot lang or he com thore,
new tythynges com hym tyll.
burned towns; (t-note)
always quickly; (t-note)
Each one to the
speak [to] him about us
David’s accompaniment; glad
are so eagerly prepared
realm properly governed
make you heir [to]
long before; there
[AMALEKITES ATTACK ZIKLAG (30:1–10)]
Amalachys we ment of ayre,
that David angerd oft before,
Thei wyst full well how that thei ware
went to were, both lesse and mare.
Therfor full fersly con thei fayre
to Cesilla, whore his wyfes ware.
Thor forto spoyle wold thei not spare;
thei brent and stroyde up all ther store.
Thei toke his wyfes two
and home with them thei lede.
And of his meneye moo
wore thor full stratly sted.
David was never ayre so wo;
no wounder yf he wex nere wode
When that he wyst his wyfes two
war led away with all ther gud.
Hys meneye made mornyng also,
becawse ther wyfes with them yode.
Thei sayd thei suld never hamwerd go
or thei had schamly sched ther blode.
David prayd God to send
sum comforth in that case.
He had wernyng to wend
and well overcom his fayse.
The Amalekites we spoke of earlier
gone to war
fiercely did they come
Ziklag, where his (David’s)
burned; their goods
were there placed in straits
grew near to insanity
company; mourning; (t-note)
advice [from God] to go
[DAVID ATTACKS THE AMALEKITES (30:11–31)]
To fell them down full fast thei thrett,
and furth thei cayred to that cuntré.
On of tho Malachys thei mett
that for mete myght no ferreur flee.
To have his hele David hym hett
to tell hym how the best myght bee.
He sayd, “Ser, I sall thee sett
whor thou the Malachys may see.”
Hee wysched them redy way
tyll thei had knawyng clere
Whore all ther enmys lay,
makand full mery chere.
Thei made then myrth with all ther mayn
and trowed that no man myght them marre.
Then David and his folke was fayn
and toyght that thei suld fownd no ferre.
Thei pressed to them in that playn
and so with skelppis thei con them scarre
That sodanly thore ware thei slayn.
Full joyfull all the Ebrews arre.
Ther wyfes then thei ta
and gold full grett plenté.
And went to Cecilla;
that was ther awn cyté.
hunger might no further; (t-note)
Where all their enemies
go no farther
blows they did
[SAUL AND JONATHAN DEFEATED BY THE PHILISTINES (31:1–4)]
Now at ther lyst we leve them so
with David that of were was wyse,
And telle we of the hostes two
on Gylboy, whore Kyng Saul lyse.
Full gretly thei togeydder go
to se what syde suld wyn the price.
The Phylysteyns ware mony moo
that wer comyn with Kyng Achys.
Full boldly thei abyde
and bett on with brandes bryght.
And Ebrews on ther syde
full fersly fandyd to fyght.
To tell how all that werkyng was,
lyne be lyne, full lang yt were.
The Ebrews all the overhand hays
fro morn to mydday and more;
Bot at the last thei sayd, “Alas!”
for lordes that leved ther lyfes thore,
And most for gentyll Jonatas,
that David fand his frend before.
He had stroyd in that sted
Phylysteyns full gud woyne,
And sythyn he was ded
and his breyther ylkon.
When Saul saw that his sun was gone
and chefe of all his chevalry,
And how he thore was leved alon
and had no beld to byde hym by,
Well lever he had forto have bene sloyn
then lyfe in lawles cumpany.
Therfor of his men bad he on
putt hym to ded thor prevely
So that he past no ferre
with folke of fals lyvyng.
That man wold noyght hym marre
bycause he was his kyng.
win the prize (victory)
it would take a long time
had the upperhand
found [to be]
in great numbers
brothers each one
knights; (see note)
protection to remain by him
He much preferred; been slain
lawless; (see note)
ordered he one
to put him to death there privately
went no further; (t-note)
[SAUL’S DEATH (2 KINGS [2 SAMUEL] 1:6–10)]
With his awn sword he con begyn
to styke hymself in that stound.
So com a knave of Kaym kyn;
the kyng sayd, “Felow, or thou found,
Beyr me thrugh, for nothyng blyn,
and take my crown and my be rownde!”
The knave was glad that gold to wyn
and gaf the kyng his dedes wounde.
Thus ended the fyrst kyng
that ever was of Ebrew,
For he brake Goddes bedyng
and was not to Hym trew.
did; (see note)
before you depart
my round armlet; (t-note)
broke God’s bidding
[THE SPOILS OF GILBOA (31:7–13)]
Swylke cayre behoved cum hym tyll
for marterdoms that he dyd make —
Byschopes and prestes both he gart spyll
and dekyns als for David sake —
And for he wroyght not Goddes wyll
that cumaund hym he suld take wrake
Of Kyng Agag that greved Hym yll,
and to trews he con hym take.
That day ware Ebrews slayn,
als Samuel sayd before.
Phylysteyns ware full fayn:
mawmentes thei wrschept the more.
Sone on the morn thei sessyd not yett
or dede bodes spoled bee.
Kyng Saul hed thei have of cutt
and the same of his suns all thre.
On ther ceté thei have sett yt
that folke on ylka syd suld see,
And for thei wold all the werld suld wyt
of ther jornay in Gylboy.
To sere cytes thei sentt
qwerters of lordes be lade
To mak yt be on ment
the maystrys that thei thore made.
Bycawse Kyng Saul thus was slayn,
Phylysteyns made grett sacrafyce.
His armurs offerd thei ylkon
to Astrott, ther god of price.
Sythyn Ebrews with grett hand ar gone
to tho cytes be certan spyse.
Both hedes and bodes have thei ton
and bered them in ther best wyse,
With grett wrschep allways,
for thei so worthy wore,
And made sorowyng sevyn days,
als costom then was thore.
When Kyng Saul was went his way,
twenty yeres then regnyd had hee.
And whyls he lufed God and His lay,
he had lykyng by land and see.
Ther lyfed non ayre aftur his day;
the prophett sayd yt suld so be.
The Fyrst Boke endes in this aray
that tels how kynges come in cuntree.
Forther who lykes to loke
how was with David done,
Seke in the Secund Boke;
ther thei sall see full soyne.
It was fitting for such sorrow to come to him; (t-note)
truce he did
idols; worshiped all the more
Soon in the morning
before dead bodies were spoiled
head they have cut off
their city; (t-note)
quarters of the [bodies of the] lords [to] be laid; (t-note)
masteries; there won
Then; courage went
heads and bodies; taken; (t-note)
lived no heir
came into the country; (t-note)
see it all at once