I Samuel Chapter 14

"Jonathan's Second Aggression Against the Philistines [1-19]."
"Saul's Success [20-23]. "
Jonathan's Sin, and the People's Sin [24-36]."
"The Levies of Saul on the People [47-52]."

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription is provided with written permission by http://www.theseason.org

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."

Jonathan was a fighter, and in later chapters we will see that Jonathan and David were the best of friends. Jonathan and his armor bearer were all that was necessary to start a battle.

I Samuel 14:2 "And Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron: and the People that were with him were about six hundred men;"

The size of Saul's army has shrunk to some six hundred men. In the Hebrew text it has pointed out that this pomegranate tree that Saul sat under was well known in that day.

I Samuel 14:3 "And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, I-chabod's brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord's priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod, And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone."

Remember from I Samuel 4:18-22 the loss that came because of Eli's two sons' actions of taking the Ark of the Covenant from the tabernacle, and parading it down the street. They carried it into the battle before all Israel and the Philistines, and the ark of God was captured by the Philistines. God punished Eli for His allowing this to happen, for when he had heard that his two sons were killed in that battle, he fell over backwards off his chair, and died.

Phinehas' wife was about to bear a child when her husband was killed, and she knew that God had departed from both Israel and her family. This is why she named the child that was born at that time "I-chabod", which in the Hebrew means "The glory is departed from Israel". This "Ahiah" was the brother of Ichabod serving as the priest here in Shiloh.

When Johathan and his armor bearer slipped out of town nobody knew that they had gone. In a short period of time Jonathan will start to bargain with God, and test God as to whether the things he was doing is right, or should be stopped. Jonathan wanted to know exactly that God was with him in this thing that he was about to do.

I Samuel 14:4 "And between the passages, by which Jonathan sought to go over unto the Philistines' garrison, there was a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side: and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh."

"Bozez" means "shining", named after it's sharpness, while "Seneh" means "thorn" named because of its sharp point.

I Samuel 14:5 "The forefront of the one was situate northward over against Michmash, and the other southward over against Gibeah."

These hill points marked the entrance to the area where the Philistines were garrisoned.

I Samuel 14:6 "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 would not go if the Lord was not working for him. There is a point made by Jonathan that we should never forget; "There is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few." When you have God on your side, you have the majority and the victory. It just doesn't make any difference to God how many there are against you, if God is with you, you are going to win and Jonathan knew this in his heart and mind.

I Samuel 14:7 "And his armourbearer said unto him, "Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart,"

Jonathan's armor bearer told Jonathan that he would back him up every inch of the way. God ahead and in the battle with you, if you think we should go. The armor bearer loved and trusted Jonathan, and also had faith in God.

I Samuel 14:8 "Then said Jonathan, "Behold, we will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them."

Jonathan is starting to test God out as to whether He is with them or not. Jonathan's plan was to allow the Philistines to see them, and walk right up to them and present themselves to the guards. They are going to walk right up to the enemy to see what they shall do.

I Samuel 14:9 "If they say thus unto us, `Tarry until we come to you;' then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them."

Jonathan is putting a condition to test God as to whether He will be with them and their activity, or not. If the guards tell Jonathan to stand still, that is exactly what Jonathan and his armor bearer would do, stand still in their place.

I Samuel 14:10 "But if they say thus, `Come up unto us;' then we will go up: for the Lord hath delivered them into our hand: and this shall be a sign unto us."

The sign from God to Jonathan to enter into the battle was the words "Come up unto us". By those words Jonathan knew that God had given him the victory. God must put those words into the mouths of the guards exactly as stated. In military strategy, the person holding the high ground has the advantage, and when these guards gave them the chance to go to the high ground, they were giving their advantage away. Jonathan's army is comprised of him, his armor bearer and God. Add the high ground to those odds and you have victory in sight.

I Samual 14:11 "And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, "Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves."

This is the opposite of what wimps do, for Jonathan and this armor bearer called up to the guards, and asked for the permission to come up to where they were. They presented themselves as Hebrews, so there was no doubt that Jonathan was their enemy. The Philistines knew that when they brought their army into the lands of the Israelites in large numbers, the Israelites fled into the hills. Now when these guards saw Jonathan and his armor bearer, they thought that these two were part of those cowards that ran from the battle.

I Samuel 14:12 "And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, "Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing." And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, "Come up after me: for the Lord hath delivered them into the hand of Israel."

Jonathan had to go up the hill and take it before he could take the battle to the enemy. These guards said the words that let Jonathan know that God was going to give them the hill and the Philistines into his hand. Remember that this armor bearer had no sword, for only Saul and Jonathan were allowed to have a weapon, amongst all the Israelites.

I Samuel 14:13 "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."

Jonathan is having to use both hands and feet just to climb up the steep slope of the hill. His weapon was still in the holder. Once they reached the crest of the hill, the battle began.

I Samuel 14:14 "And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow."

What this is saying in the Hebrew text is that it looked like an yoke of oxen had plowed where Jonathan and his armor bearer had fought their battle and killed those twenty men.

I Samuel 14:15 "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."

When the word got back to the garrison, the people trembled with fear. The soldiers and the spoilers, those raiders that went off into the night doing their evil acts were all there in the garrison. The battle comprised Jonathan swinging his sword, with his armor bearer by his side, and God shaking the earth with an earthquake. God is shaking the earth and the noise of the quake spooked the Philistines out of their minds.

I Samuel 14:16 "And the watchment of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another,"

Saul and the Israelites stood across from the battle scene and watched as the Philistines started to kill one another, until the all fled in many directions. That must have been a sight to behold. It is important to understand what took place there on that hill top, where God gave the Philistines into hands of Jonathan. When God is with you, no one can stand against you. God can take care of those those that would harm you, or seek to do wrong against you. Keep this in mind that Jonathan was a very brave soul, but he did not go into battle until he knew that God answered the sign through the bargain that he had made with God. Jonathan set a condition, and God answered that condition.

Use common sense in bargaining with God, if you need a sign from God as to whether you will try something out of the ordinary, then pray for wisdom for a better way to do something.

I Samuel 14:17 "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."

Saul knew that there was something going on over on that far hill, and he wanted to know who it was that was over there stirring up the Philistines. Saul didn't tell anyone to go over on that hill. When the accounting of those present was completed, only Jonathan and his armor bearer were missing from the camp.

I Samuel 14:18 "And Saul said unto Ahiah, "Bring hither the ark of God." For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel."

Remember that the Ark of God was with the Philistines for a while, and they sent the ark back when God gave the men hemorrhoids, and a flood of mice to eat all their food.

I Samuel 14:19 "And it came to pass, while Saul talked unto the priest, that the noise that was in the host of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said unto the priest, "Withdraw thine hand."

As Saul was talking to the priest to arrange for the ark of the Covenant to be brought into battle, the noise up on the hill where Jonathan and the armor bearer were making war with the Philistine increased. God and the boys were shaking up the enemy.

I Samuel 14:20 "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."

As Saul and his ragtag army approached the top of the hill, they saw that the Philistines were fighting amongst and killing each other. This is the way that God will supply Saul's army with arms. When the battle was over there were many swords and spears laying around. Saul's army armed themselves with the weapons of the Philistines.

I Samuel 14:21 "Moreover the Hebrews that were with the Philistines before that time, which went up with them into the camp from the country round about, even they also turned to be with the Israelites that were with Saul and Jonathan."

Once the wimps and cowards saw who was winning the battle they came out to fight on the winning side. There were many Philistines also that turned against their people to join with the Israelites against their own people. Everybody loves a winner, and when Saul started to be on the winning side, even those that ran to the caves came back home to enjoy the spoils of war.

Though this happened three thousand years ago, the nature of man, and the faithfulness of God has not change at all. Those that run from battle will still run from battle as cowards, and those that seek God's strength will still come to God for their help and strength. You can still count of God in your troubled times, and He will come to your side. God never changes from age to age.

I Samuel 14:22 "Likewise all the men of Israel which had hid themselves in mount Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, even they also followed hard after them in the battle."

These men that hid themselves in Mount Ephraim are the draft dodgers, and now that the Philistines are running for their lives, even these draft dodgers are out there chasing after the Philistines to do battle. This is the time when the spoils of the war are going to be given out. This type of person you just cannot trust for they are in the battle for their own personal gain from the spoils of war. This type comes along after every war.

I Samuel 14:23 "So the Lord saved Israel that day; and the battle passed over unto Beth-aven."

It wasn't Jonathan or the armor bearer that saved Israel, but the Lord saved Israel. Don't look at God as some force off in space, for we are made in God's image. God loves His children and He will protect His children when they live within the commandments that He has laid down in His written Word.

I Samuel 14:24 "And the men of Israel were distressed that day: for Saul had adjured the People, saying, "Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies." So none of the People tasted any food."

This was a very stupid command that any king would make, however Saul was the man that lost his asses and wandered for day not knowing where he was. This is the type of man Saul was. If you troops are fighting and in battle to tell them that they could not eat is to do more damage than the enemy could do to them. It takes strength to fight hand to hand and basically that is all Saul's troops had.

I Samuel 14:25 "And all they of the land came to a wood; and there was honey upon the ground."

I Samuel 14:26 "And when the People were come into the wood, behold, the honey dropped; but no man put his hand to his mouth: for the People feared the oath."

I Samuel 14:27 "But Jonathan heard not when his father charged the People with the oath: wherefore he put for forth the end of the rod that was in his hand, and dipped it in an honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened."

Jonathan never heard the oath, because he was the one on the hill doing the fighting.

The critics like to take this verse and point to the fact that it was not honey spoken of here, nor a honeycomb. They have twisted the Hebrew to use the Hebrew word "ya'ar" which never means honeycomb, but instead "a wood". This wood is a wood that this grown in the dense thicket of woods, and is called "cannabis indica", a hemp plant that is an Eastern form of "hashish". It is an intoxicant that dulls the senses. They are saying that this is what enlightened Jonathan's eyes.

The critics are wrong, for this was an honeycomb and the bees caused the honeycombs to be there in the wood. There can be no mistake between a honeycomb and the substance that comes from a tree. When Jonathan took the honey from that honeycomb, God gave him that strength. The type of mind that most critics have are seen in those that try to disgrace and tare down the true champions of God. Rather than give God any credit, they choose to give some drug the credit for any gain. Higher critic are those that make their money from tarring down true and righteous things of God.

Think tanks of our generation today are nothing more than Satan's idol workshops. Those people claim to be scholars of God's Word, and the whole time they exist to mouth the evil words straight from the Devil and his evil spirits. Ignore them for they are of Satan. Learn to think for yourself and accept God's Word as His Spirit brings knowledge to your mind. Learn to use the tools of the Bible to seek out the truth, and then use them.

I Samuel 14:28 "Then answered one of the People, and said, "Thy father straitly charged the People with an oath, saying, `Cursed be the an that eateth any food this day.' and the People were faint."

Naturally they were for they hadn't eaten for quite some time.

I Samuel 14:29 "Then said Jonathan, "My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey."

Jonathan is telling the people that Saul's statement was a bad decision. Jonathan said that with just a little of this honey, it sharpened him up and he is now ready for battle again.

I Samuel 14:30 "How much more, if haply the People had eaten freely to day of the spoil of the enemies which they found? For had there not been now  a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?"

Jonathan is telling the people that had you taken something to eat, you would have caused greater slaughter amongst the Philistines than he. Though Saul was anointed by God, he was still a man, and yet not to bright of a man. Yet with a man as king, you can expect bad commands, and bad decisions at times. .

I Samuel 14:31 "And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon: and the People were very faint."

I Samuel 14:32 "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."

I Samuel 14:33 "Then they told Saul, saying, "Behold, The People sin against the Lord, in that they eat with the blood." And he said, "Ye have transgressed: roll a great stone unto me this day."

When the day was over and the battle was finished, the people were starved. The people were so hungry that when they killed the sheep and animals to eat, they did not bleed the animals and prepare it for food, but ate the animals raw, blood and all. This is absolutely not to be done under God's laws. The sheep were not slaughtered properly. The reason for this process is that an animal begins to putrefy at the point of death. It is part of the health laws that are given to protect us and keep us in health.

I Samuel 14:34 "And Saul said, "Disperse yourselves among the people, and say unto them, `Bring me hither every man his ox, and every man his sheep, and slay them here, and eat; and sin not against the Lord in eating with the blood.' " And all the People brought every man his ox with him that night, and slew them there."

"Roll a great stone" is a figure of speech which means "shame on the people". Some religious groups use this verse to say that you are not to have a blood transfusion, and that is not what this verse is about. This "eating with the blood", is using the health laws, and the killing and bleeding of an animal to prepare it properly for dinner.

Though Saul was trying to be king, it seems that every order or oath that he makes is either wrong or against God's laws. Saul tried to use everything that he said to dignify his words and make it part of God's purpose.

I Samuel 14:35 "And Saul built an altar unto the Lord: the same was the first altar that he built unto the Lord."

I Samuel 14:36 "And Saul said, "Let us go down after the Philistines by night, and spoil them until the morning light, and let us not leave a man of them." And they said, "Do whatsoever seemeth good unto thee."

I Samuel 14:37 "And Saul asked counsel of God, "Shall I go down after the Philistines? wilt Thou deliver them into the hand of Israel?" But He answered him not that day."

After such a victory Saul wanted to take the battle right into the Philistine lands and take them captive for Israel, however when he sought counsel of the priests they said let us ask of for counsel for what God would have us do. The People on the other hand were willing to do what ever Saul wanted to do, and they were ready to go into battle.

Saul sought counsel of God, but he then took that counsel and in his breaking from it was not right. God knew that Saul was going to do what he wanted to do, so God just did not answer Saul. Saul would have been better off not asking in the first place. God never answered Saul because he and the people had just sinned, and were not right with Him.

I Samuel 14:38 "And Saul said, "Draw ye near hither, all the chief of the People: and know and see wherein this sin hath been this day."

Because God had not answered him, he knew that somebody had sinned. Saul had not known that Jonathan had eaten the honey in ignorance to his oath.

I Samuel 14:39 "For, as the Lord liveth, Which saveth Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die." But there was not a man among all the People that answered him."

Saul again is making a statement in ignorance that he will not keep. He is stating Jonathan's name in that act, not knowing that it was his son that had sinned. Though the people knew that Jonathan was the one, not one person would tell Saul that it was Jonathan.

I Samuel 14:40 "Then said he unto all Israel, "Be ye on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side." And the People said unto Saul, "Do what seemeth good unto thee."

The People were trying not to take sides between Jonathan and Saul.

I Samuel 14:41 "Therefore Saul said unto the Lord God of Israel, "Give a perfect lot, And Saul and Jonathan were taken: but the People escaped."

Saul is asking God to show him the perfect truth. This perfect truth is given through the priest, and the use of the Thummim, the casting of the lots that were in the little pouch stored in the high priests breastplate.

I Samuel 14:42 "And Saul answered, "Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son." And Jonathan was taken."

When the lot was cast, it came down on Jonathan and Saul, and did not come down on any of the people. Naturally it was Jonathan that had eaten of the honey, when the command or oath by God's anointed was to keep from eating any food.

Stop and think for a moment; it was not God's law that was broken, for Jonathan did not take the oath. Jonathan was up on the hillside killing the Philistines when the oath was given. He was ignorant of the oath by Saul his father. This was Saul's commandment, not God's. It is bad to disobey any of God's law, but the king also should be obeyed. When one breaks a commandment in ignorance there is no sin.

I Samuel 14:43 "Then Saul said to Jonathan, "Tell me what thou hast done." And Jonathan told him, and said, I did but taste a little honey with the end of the rod that was in mine hand, and, lo I must die."

Jonathan told Saul that all he had done was to taste of a little honey that was on his rod, and if that deserves death than so be it. Let it happen.

I Samuel 14:44 "And Saul answered, "God do so and more also: for thou shalt surely die, Jonathan."

Saul made the statement, and now he refuses to carry out the oath of his own office. Instead he states, let it in God's hands.

I Samuel 14:45 "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."

The people reminded Saul that it was Jonathan and his armor bearer that went up on the hill and killed the Philistines to give Israel the victory. It was the people that rescued Jonathan from Saul's oath to kill him that day.

I Samuel 14:46 "Then Saul went up from following the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place."

The victory came to Israel, and the Philistines went back to their own lands. God has slipped something in this verse that relates back to Luke 21:18, where in the last days when the elect are delivered up to give account of why they will not bow to Satan and his system; "But there shall not an hair of your head perish. "

Jonathan was delivered up into battle and in the end, not one hair of his head fell to the ground. In the end times, those that will be delivered up to do spiritual battle will give an account of themselves, and they will be protected by God also. Just as Jonathan was innocent, yet accused, so shall God's elect be innocent and accused. God will be there defending you in your innocence.

I Samuel 14:47 "So Saul took the kingdom over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines: and whithersoever he turned himself he vexed them."

This scripture proves that the reign of Saul could not have been just two or three years, for there is no way that Saul could have fought that many battle and wars in just three years. This is why we have the confidence of knowing it was more like a forty year reign.

I Samuel 14:48 "And he gathered an host, and smote the Amalikites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them."

Saul was doing good to this point, but in the next chapter Saul will meet his downfall. Saul always sought to do the right thing, however in his office as a man, he wasn't perfect.

I Samuel 14:49 "Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, and Ishui, and Melchishua: and the names of his two daughters were thess; the name of firstborn Merab, and the name of the younger Michal:"

In as much as the daughters are named, they will play a great role in the kingship of Israel.

I Samuel 14:50 "And the name of Saul's wife was Ahinoam, and the daughter of Ahimaaz: and the name of the captain of his host was Abner, the son of Ner, Saul's uncle."

I Samuel 14:51 "And Kish was the father of Saul; and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel."

This then is the genealogy of the royal line through Saul.

I Samuel 14:52 "And there was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul: and when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he took him unto him."

Remember a few chapters back, Samuel told the people that a time would come when Saul, as king, would take all their able-bodied men into his army, and in the service of His kingdom. Saul is now taking both the sons and the daughters into government service to be his servants. Saul took the strongest of all the families to be his warriors, and the best to be his bakers, servants and records keepers.


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