I Samuel Chapter
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
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
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.
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;
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.
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.
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.
14:5 The forefront of the one was situate northward over against
Michmash, and the other southward over against Gibeah.
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.”
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.
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.
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
14:8 Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these men,
and we will discover ourselves unto them.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I
be saved from mine enemies.
Gives the Victory
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.
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
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.
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.
And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us
pass over unto the other side.
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.
And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the
ship, so that it was now full.
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
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.
And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have
And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of
man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
14:23 So the LORD saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over
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.
Saul’s Foolish Curse
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.
14:25 And all they of the land came to a wood; and there was honey
upon the ground.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
14:31 And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to
Aijalon: and the people were very faint.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jonathan Found Out
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
14:41 Therefore Saul said unto the LORD God of Israel, Give a
perfect lot. And Saul and Jonathan were taken: but the people
14:42 And Saul said, Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son. And
Jonathan was taken.
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.
14:44 And Saul answered, God do so and more also: for thou shalt
surely die, Jonathan.
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
V. Saul’s Wars with
14:46 Then Saul went up from following the Philistines: and the
Philistines went to their own place.
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.
14:48 And he gathered an host, and smote the Amalekites, and
delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them.
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:
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.
14:51 And Kish was the father of Saul; and Ner the father of Abner
was the son of Abiel.
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.
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and more unto the perfect day.
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