Here we have a picture of Saul, with a part of the army about him, remaining idle in Gibeah. His son Jonathan moved to action by his sense of the degradation of his people, and his conviction of the strength of Jehovah, made a remarkable attack on the foe, which issued first in the slaughter of twenty men. This sudden onrush on the Philistines in so unexpected a way produced panic throughout all their hosts. As a result of this, Saul and the rest of the people who had been in hiding went forth to the rout of the Philistines.
It was in the midst of all this that again Saul's weakness manifested itself in taking a rash oath that no man should stay to take food. This oath resulted in weakening the people, so that they were unable to accomplish so great a victory as they might have done.
The more terrible effect was that it imperiled the life of Jonathan, and caused the people themselves to sin in their hunger.
Perhaps one of the most interesting facts in connection with this story is the action of the people whereby Jonathan was rescued from the peril that threatened him in consequence of his father's rash oath. It would seem as though, in the general consciousness of the true meaning and value of the vow, they had made considerable advance since the days of Jephthah.
the Third Week after Epiphany