Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went1 over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan.
When all the Israelites who had hidden2 in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit.
So the LORD rescued3 Israel that day, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.4
Now the men of Israel were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath,5 saying, "Cursed be any man who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!" So none of the troops tasted food.
The entire armya entered the woods, and there was honey on the ground.
When they went into the woods, they saw the honey oozing out, yet no one put his hand to his mouth, because they feared the oath.
But Jonathan had not heard that his father had bound the people with the oath, so he reached out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb.6 He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened.b28
Then one of the soldiers told him, "Your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying, 'Cursed be any man who eats food today!' That is why the men are faint."
Jonathan said, "My father has made trouble7 for the country. See how my eyes brightenedc when I tasted a little of this honey.
How much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?"
That day, after the Israelites had struck down the Philistines from Micmash8 to Aijalon,9 they were exhausted.