Contact: David Parham 940-322-4343

Website: Internet Bible Studies

I Samuel Menu

















Ball23A0.gif (3556 bytes)


I Samuel Chapter 14


Memory verses for this week: Prov 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Prov 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Introduction: We continue our study on Samuel this week. In last week’s lesson, we studied about the Saul losing his patience with Samuel, and going in and doing the sacrifices of the priest’s office on his own. The Philistines were bearing down on them, and many of his troops were fleeing the country. Saul was wrong in not having patience in waiting for Samuel to come and do the sacrifice. We closed the chapter with Saul counting his troops at Gibeah and only having 600 people without swords or spears to face an innumerable group of Philistines.

  1. Jonathan’s Bravery

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 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;

1 Sam 14:3 And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod'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.

It appears that Jonathan got tired of Saul refusing to attack the Philistines. This was probably due to the large number of troops they had and the low number of Israelites who were not properly equipped for battle. Jonathan was a brave man, and called on his armour-bearer to follow him up to the Philistines. He did not tell his father of his plans. Saul had tarried there in Gibeah under a pomegranate tree. With him was Ahiah, who was the great grandson of Eli who was wearing the ephod of the priest. If you remember, God had cut off the priestly line of Eli, and the sacrifices were now made by Samuel. So we can see that Saul was using a priest whom the Lord had rejected and would not recognize. Saul was making a lot of mistakes without getting help and guidance from the Lord. Doing things our way, versus God’s way, is a sure plan for failure. Jonathan and his armor-bearer leave the group without telling anyone.

1 Sam 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.

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

The terrain over which the two men advanced toward the Philistine garrison was very rough and rocky. There were two prominent rocks that stood on either side of a narrow pass. One faced toward Gibeah and the other toward Michmash where the largest group of Philistines were gathered. One rock was called Bozez which means ‘shining’ while the other Seneh, meant a “crag or thorn.”

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 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 showed great bravery as he proposed to the armour-bearer that the two attack the Philistine garrison alone. The man with him agrees and tells him to do all that was according to thy heart. We certainly have records of people going up against great odds and God giving them the victory such as David fighting Goliath and Gideon in his battle with the Midianites. If we are in God’s will, and seeking His honor and glory, there is truly not much we can not accomplish by coming in the name of God. Jonathan recognized that there is no restraint with the Lord… he can save by the hand of many or of a few.

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

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 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.

Jonathan informs his armour bearer that hey would approach the Philistines. The response of the Philistines to their appearance would give them a sign as to what they were to do. If they called for them to come up, they would go. If not, they would turn back.

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 14:12 And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will show you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the LORD hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.

1 Sam 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.

When the Philistines observed them, they said mockingly to one another “Look, the Israelites are crawling out of the holes where they hid themselves.” They then say to Jonathan “Come up to us, and we will show you a thing.” This was the signal to the men that the Lord had delivered them into the hands of Jonathan and his armour-bearer.

1 Sam 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.

Jonathan and his helper go forth against unbelievable odds and slaughter 20 men over a half acre of land. Never doubt that God can win your battles when you look to him for strength.

Psa 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Psa 18:3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

II. God Gives the Victory

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 14:16 And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another.

At this point, the Lord rewarded the faith of Jonathan and his armour-bearer by intervening to give Israel a mighty victory. This sudden assault on the Philistines by these 2 men sent a great trembling in the host. An earthquake came and there was an even greater trembling which caused them to fear and tremble even more. God controls all the forces of nature, and he can cause a storm or bring a sudden calm, whatever is His desire. The watchman of Saul back in the camp noticed what was happening, and looked toward the garrison of the Philistines as they saw men falling back and melting away. The Philistines were not only running away, but they were falling over one another and killing their own soldiers. God can put fear in your heart really quick if he desires.

Remember the time that the great storm came up when Jesus was sleeping in the ship. He came forth and stopped the storm, and the disciples marveled at His powers. We serve a Great and powerful God.

Mark 4:35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.

Mark 4:36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.

Mark 4:37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

Mark 4:38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

Mark 4:39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

Mark 4:40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

Mark 4:41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 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.

Saul is wondering what has happened and who has attacked the Philistines. They number the people and find that his son Jonathan was missing along with his armour-bearer. Saul decides it is time to inquire of the Lord as to whether he should go into battle with the Philistines. He had Ahiah bring the ark, which was still in possession of Abinadab. They seek to find the will of God concerning this matter. As we mentioned earlier, Ahiah was not a valid priest, and God would not answer Saul with him coming to God the wrong way. Lots of people think if they are sincere, how they approach God makes no difference. If you mean well, you can come to God worshipping Baal or Allah or some other god as long as you are serious and mean well. The only thing wrong about that is that it isn’t true. We must come to God HIS WAY, and today, that is through the Lord Jesus Christ. Back in Saul’s day, he needed to come via God’s priest.

Sam 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.

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 14:23 So the LORD saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over unto Bethaven.

While Saul was talking to the priest, the noise of the battle grew louder. When he heard this, Saul told Ahiah to withdraw his hand and make no more attempts t reach the Lord. Saul takes his men out and engages them in battle. As they arrive, they find the Philistines with the swords attacking one another, slaying their own men. The vast majority of the army was destroyed by their own soldiers as God brought great confusion and fear upon them. Many of the Israelites who had fled earlier and hid themselves come back and return to the battle to claim a part in the victory. Funny how people want to share in the spoils of victory, but have little desire to be in the fight when the odds look against them. Some had even left their own army and became part of the Philistine army, and they too come back and get on the winning side. Think about what caused all of this great victory… Two men with faith willing to put themselves in harm’s way and trust the Lord. Not many great things are accomplished in big numbers. God does His work with a select few. How we need men like Jonathan and his helper in God’s work today. God saved Israel that day and the battle passed over unto Bethaven.

III. Saul’s Foolish Curse

1 Sam 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.

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

It seemed like an opportunity to permanently put an end of the threat of the Philistines against Israel at this time. Perhaps Saul thought he might gain some honor at this time if he could totally wipe out the Philistines. To gain the victory, he forbids any of his men to eat any food, lest the delay would let the Philistines escape. Apparently this did more damage than good as the men became very hungry and distressed by his unreasonable demand.

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 14:27 But Jonathan heard not when his father charged the people with the oath: wherefore he put 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.

1 Sam 14:28 Then answered one of the people, and said, Thy father straitly charged the people with an oath, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food this day. And the people were faint.

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 14:30 How much more, if haply the people had eaten freely to day of the spoil of their enemies which they found? for had there not been now a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?

Saul enforced his command by putting a curse on anyone who violated his demand that they eat nothing at this time. As they pursued the enemy through the woods, they found honey on the ground. But the men did not eat it due to Saul’s command. Jonathan had not heard his father’s command and took the honey and ate it. Immediately, this gave Jonathan more energy. Most likely, God had put the honey there to strengthen the troops. One of the others told Jonathan of Saul’s order, and Jonathan said that Saul had troubled Israel. He went on to say that the victory might have been greater if the men of Israel had taken food that day.

1 Sam 14:31 And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon: and the people were very faint.

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 14:35 And Saul built an altar unto the LORD: the same was the first altar that he built unto the LORD.

The news of victory of the Israelites over the Philistines followed them all the way from Michmash and over the mountains of the western slope. The people began to grow faint, and they were so hungry that they slaughtered the animals taken in the spoil and ate them without bleeding the animals and cooking the flesh. This was a violation of the law of Moses which required that the Israelites refrain from eating blood, because the life of the flesh is in the blood. When Saul learned of this, he told them to bring all the animals to him that they might be slaughtered and prepared properly. This is one of the few things Saul had done recently that was right. He then built an altar unto the Lord. This is the first record of him building an altar.

  1. Jonathan Found Out

1 Sam 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. Then said the priest, Let us draw near hither unto God.

1 Sam 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.

Saul proposed renewal of the pursuit of the Philistines through the night. If they did this, they would cut them off by morning and none of them would escape to his own country. The men readily agreed to abide by his decision. Ahiah the priest suggested that they inquire of the Lord before doing anything. The Lord did not answer them, and when God did not answer, Saul senses something is wrong. We have discussed this earlier, but there were multiple reasons why the Lord did not answer.

1. Ahiah was of the cursed line of Eli, and the Lord had no dealings with him.

2. Saul had little regard for the Lord and was making up his own mind on most things.

3. The Lord had already shown his willingness to give Israel the victory.

4. Samuel was not there to intercede for him, who was the proper method that they should have used to make the inquiry.

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 14:42 And Saul said, Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan was taken.

1 Sam 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.

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

1 Sam 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.

Saul was certain that something was wrong and determined that the guilty party must die. To determine who was guilty, Saul said they could cast lots between the army as a whole on one side and Jonathan on the other. The people agreed to this. When the lot fell, it was on Jonathan. Saul was set on putting his son to death, but Jonathan was the hero of the day, and the people would not allow it. Saul seemed to be making error after error in this day. To make a vow to kill Jonathan for simply eating some honey was absolutely wrong. We need to think things out before we make vows. Even though Saul made so many errors, God still allowed Saul to vanquish many of the Israelite’s enemies.

V. Saul’s Wars with Enemies

1 Sam 14:46 Then Saul went up from following the Philistines: and the Philistines went to their own place.


1 Sam 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.

1 Sam 14:48 And he gathered an host, and smote the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them.

1 Sam 14:49 Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, and Ishui, and Melchishua: and the names of his two daughters were these; the name of the firstborn Merab, and the name of the younger Michal:

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

1 Sam 14:51 And Kish was the father of Saul; and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.

1 Sam 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.

By making war, Saul was able to contain the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, the Syrians of Zobah, and the Philistines. He also smote the desert dwelling Amalekites who were known for making raids against Israel. The family of Saul consisted of his three sons: Jonathan, Ishui, and Melchishua. Another son Saul had was Ishbosheth, but he is not named. He had two daughters, Merab and Michal, and his wife Ahinoam. The captain of Saul’s host was Abner, who was the son of Saul’s uncle. There was constant war with the Philistines throughout Saul’s reign.

Internet Bible Studies are prepared and distributed free of charge. The lessons may not be sold without consent. If you have questions or wish to discuss the lessons, or possibly need help in finding Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, contact David Parham at 940-322-4343.

Prov 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

e-mail at:



Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Each act spreads, and many will be blessed.