And the men of Israel were distressed that day
By reason of the following order Saul gave with an oath, forbidding any to taste meat till evening, when the people were faint and weary, which is the common sense of interpreters; but Jarchi interprets it, the men of Israel were ready, forward, and hasty, and drew nigh to fight with the Philistines, and so refers it to the persons before mentioned, who came out of their lurking places; and this sense is approved of by Abarbinel: "for", or "and Saul had adjured", or "did adjure the people"; or willed them, signified to them his will and pleasure, which would not have been so much amiss, had he not annexed a curse to it, as follows:
saying, cursed be the man that eateth any food until the
or "bread", which comprehends all food, and among the rest honey; the design of which was, that no time might be lost, and that he might make the victory over the Philistines, and their destruction, as complete as possible; though it may seem a little too hard and severe upon the people, and too imperious in him, as well as imprudent; since a little refreshment would have animated and enabled them to have pursued their enemies with more ardour and rigour; and yet by the lot afterwards made, it seems to have been countenanced by the Lord:
that I may be avenged on mine enemies;
who long tyrannised over the people of Israel, more or less for many years, and lately had sadly spoiled and plundered them:
so none of the people tasted any food;
so observant were they of, and so obedient to the order of their king, and so much awed by the oath or imprecation annexed to it; though they were faint and hungry, and had an opportunity of refreshing themselves as follows, which was no small temptation to disobedience.