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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 14

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-52

Chapter 14

Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man that bear his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines' garrison on the other side. But he did not tell his father. And Saul tarried in the uttermost parts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron: and the people that were with him were about six hundred men; And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod's brother, the son of Phinehas ( 1 Samuel 14:1-3 ),

And so forth, it gives these guys in background. You don't remember them anyhow, let me just tell you the story.

Jonathan the son of Saul woke up early one morning. He got to thinking, no one else was awake yet. He got to thinking "You know, there's a whole army of the Philistines over there. Maybe God wants to give Israel the victory over that army of the Philistines today. Now if the Lord wants to give the victory to Israel over those Philistines, He doesn't need a whole army. He can give the victory to one man as well as six hundred or to two. It really doesn't make any difference to God whether we have a huge army, or whether we just have a few if God wants to give the victory to Israel."

He was just lying there thinking about these kinds of wild thoughts. "After all God is great, and the greatness and the power of God, He doesn't need a whole army, He can give the victory to just two men."

So he woke up his armorbearer. He said, "I've been thinking about something really weird and wild, I want to pass it by you. I've been thinking if God wants to give the victory to Israel today over the Philistines, He doesn't need the whole army. He can give the victory to just a couple guys. Why don't we go over there and see if God wants to give the victory to Israel today." Talk about a venture in faith. I love 'em.

So he and the armourbearer dressed quietly and they slipped out of camp while everybody else was still sleeping. Jonathan on the way towards the Philistines said, "Now we want to make sure God's in this thing."

"So when we get near the garrison of the Philistines, when the centurions spot us, if they say, 'Hey you fellas come up here we'll show you a thing or two.' Then we'll know that God wants to give the victory to Israel, and we'll go at them. But if they say, 'Wait you guys, we're gonna come down and show you a thing or two.' Then we'll know that God doesn't want to give the victory to Israel and we'll get out of here as fast as we can."

So as they got over near the garrison of the Philistines, and the centurion spotted these two guys coming, they said, "Look at those stupid fools coming right up here to the camp. Hey you guys come up here, we'll show you a thing or two."

John said, "All right man let's go."

It said, "They started climbing with their hands and feet," really just scrambling up that hill to get into the camp of the Philistines. Man, they jumped right in the middle of the garrison. Jonathan started knocking the guys over, and his armourbearer was running them through. About a half acre of ground, they wiped out twenty of the Philistines and the rest of the guys began waking up, they were all discomfited. They began to swing at each other. They began to run and flee, and over on the other side of the valley old Saul finally woke up, and he rubbed his eyes, and he looked across, and he saw the Philistines all running. He saw the battles going on. He saw two guys in the middle just really wiping them out.

He said, "Number off quick who's missing?" They numbered off, and they said, "It's Jonathan and his armourbearer."

Now Saul at this point makes a foolish statement. Saul said, "Let the man be cursed who eats anything today before God has avenged Saul of all of his enemies." Now the man, who was so humble to begin with, is now beginning to manifest some real pride. "Saul of all of his enemies, God curse any man who eats anything today before Saul is avenged of all of his enemies." A foolish curse and vow.

So the men with Saul began to pursue the Philistines. All day long the Philistines were in disarray and retreating. As they were running through the woods, there was a honeycomb, and it was dripping honey down to the ground. Old Jonathan running through took his spear and put out the end of it and began to eat the honey, and he was revived, he was refreshed. Actually he'd been chasing Philistines all day and he was just about shot physically, and honey is such a quick energy source. Just it zings right into your system. He was refreshed, and took off again chasing the Philistines. God gave a great victory to Israel that day over the Philistines.

But I like the philosophy of Jonathan. I like the daring. I like the venture in faith. "Who knows what God wants to do today. If God wants to do something, He doesn't need a whole army. He can do it with one as well as a thousand. Let's see what God wants to do. Let's venture out and find out what God might want to do today." I love those kinds of days when you just sort of venture out to see what God might want to do.

Now as the troops gathered together, and sort of surveying the victory. Saul said, "Let's chase them tonight. We've got them on the run, let's go after them tonight and wipe them out completely." So they called the priests there and they said, "Inquire of the Lord shall we chase them". There was no answers from God.

So Saul said, "All right who ate today?" Figured that someone had broken his vow because God wasn't answering by the priests. So none of the men would say anything. He said, "If it is even Jonathan my son, surely he shall be put to death."

So he said, "You guys all stand over there. Jonathan and I will stand here. And God give us a perfect lot." They cast lots, and it fell on Jonathan and Saul. So they cast lots again and it fell on Jonathan.

Saul said, "What did you do?"

He said, "Well, dad I really didn't know that you had made that curse and I was running through the woods, and I saw this honeycomb dripping honey. I was famished and I was about wiped out, so I took and ate some of the honey."

He said, "My soul was revived."

He said, "Dad, it wasn't very smart for you not to let these guys eat. Had you let them eat of the spoils today, they would've had enough strength, we would've continued to pursue and totally wiped out the Philistines. Wasn't so smart, dad, the thing that you said."

Saul said, "Put him to death."

At this point the men stepped in and said, "Oh no way. For he has wrought, or fought with God today. No man's gonna touch him, no man will lay his hand upon him." I like the statement, "For he hath wrought with God this day." So the people rescued Jonathan and he wasn't killed by his father.

So we see now there's a bit of madness beginning to enter this man. Started out such a beautiful way. Started out with such tremendous potential and possibilities. But pride entered in. We see now the pride developing. This man again who had such a marvelous potential is gradually deteriorating before our very eyes, as he begins to exalt himself and turn from God. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 14". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/1-samuel-14.html. 2014.
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