Thursday, April 24, 2008

Saul and Jonathan I Samuel 14

I Samuel 14:1 "Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines' garrison, that is on the other side. But he told not his father."

Chapter 14 is somewhat of a long chapter having 52 verses. It tells of the emergence of Jonathan and the further decline of Saul.

Saul's forces have dwindled to about 600. He sits under a pomegranate tree. v2. Jonathan left the encampment with his armourbearer to go over to face the Philistines. There was a rock cliff he had to climb to get to them.

v6 "And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few."

Jonathan made a great statement in that verse. I have highlighted it. Jonathan had learned a lesson his father had forgotten. Jonathan knew that it was the LORD who won the battles and it was not by might or numbers.

Saul is still in camp, counting.

v17 "Then said Saul unto the people that were with him, Number now and see who is gone from us. And when they had numbered, behold Jonathan and his armourbearer were not there."

Jonathan made himself known to the Philistines and they told him to come on up while they made fun of him. It was a sign for Jonathan. He had told his faithful armourbearer: if they tell us to come to them, then God has delivered them into their hands.v9-10.

v13 "And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him; and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him"

I can almost see Jonathan walking into the crowd of 20 with is sword swinging left and right. Behind him his armourbearer catches those who slipped past Jonathan or try to flank him. Then they come to the main body of Philistines. The Philistines had captured some of Israel and seeing Jonathan's success, they turned on the Philistines. The people who had hid came out and attacked.

Saul is finally aroused by the noise and joins in the battle.

v20 "And Saul and all the people that were with him assembled themselves, and they came to the battle: and behold, every man's sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great discomfiture."

The Philistines fought with themselves as well as being attacked. Verse 15 tells what it was like for the Philistines:

"And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling."

There is a story within this story. Saul ordered the people not to eat that day by a curse if they did. The people fought but were faint. Jonathan did not know of the order and so when he came to a woods where honey fell to the ground, he ate some. He was warned by the people of Saul's words but Jonathan stated that Saul 'troubled the land'. He said we could have done much better against the Philistines if the people had eaten. v30.

v32 "And the people flew upon the spoil, and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, and slew them on the ground: and the people did eat them with the blood."

It was a very great sin for Israel to eat flesh with the blood still in it.

Leviticus 3:17 "It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all our dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood."

So as the sons of Eli ate the fat and sinned, so the people ate the blood and sinned. Saul is told and he constructed an altar to cook the meat telling the people to bring their food.

Saul demands to know who ate when he had told them not to. The lot fell on Jonathan. Saul was about to kill his son when the people stepped in to defend him.

v45 "And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? God forbid: as the LORD liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground: for he hath wrought with God this day. So the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not."

You can see Saul slipping away into despair. Israel has overruled him and placed Jonathan's victory above his accomplishments. Saul seems unaware of what is stated in the next verse. Jonathan has already confirmed it as did the people in the last verse. It was God.

v23 "So the LORD saved Israel that day; and the battle passed over unto Bethaven."

Intense war continued with the Philistines. v52

Psalm 121:3 "The LORD is thy keeper; the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand."

keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Israel, Samuel, Saul, Jonathan, Philistines, Milton Southerland, Old Old Story

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