1 Samuel 14:36-52

36 Saul said, “Let us go down and pursue the Philistines by night and plunder them till dawn, and let us not leave one of them alive.” “Do whatever seems best to you,” they replied. But the priest said, “Let us inquire of God here.”
37 So Saul asked God, “Shall I go down and pursue the Philistines? Will you give them into Israel’s hand?” But God did not answer him that day.
38 Saul therefore said, “Come here, all you who are leaders of the army, and let us find out what sin has been committed today.
39 As surely as the LORD who rescues Israel lives, even if the guilt lies with my son Jonathan, he must die.” But not one of them said a word.
40 Saul then said to all the Israelites, “You stand over there; I and Jonathan my son will stand over here.” “Do what seems best to you,” they replied.
41 Then Saul prayed to the LORD, the God of Israel, “Why have you not answered your servant today? If the fault is in me or my son Jonathan, respond with Urim, but if the men of Israel are at fault,[a] respond with Thummim.” Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared.
42 Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken.
43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” So Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now I must die!”
44 Saul said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan.”
45 But the men said to Saul, “Should Jonathan die—he who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Never! As surely as the LORD lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God’s help.” So the men rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death.
46 Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they withdrew to their own land.
47 After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings[b] of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them.[c]
48 He fought valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them.

Saul’s Family

49 Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua. The name of his older daughter was Merab, and that of the younger was Michal.
50 His wife’s name was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of Saul’s army was Abner son of Ner, and Ner was Saul’s uncle.
51 Saul’s father Kish and Abner’s father Ner were sons of Abiel.
52 All the days of Saul there was bitter war with the Philistines, and whenever Saul saw a mighty or brave man, he took him into his service.

1 Samuel 14:36-52 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO FIRST SAMUEL 14

This chapter gives an account of an adventure of Jonathan and his armourbearer smiting a garrison of the Philistines, 1Sa 14:1-14, which with other circumstances struck terror into the whole army; which being observed by Saul's spies, he and his men went out against them, and being joined by others, pursued them, and obtained a complete victory, 1Sa 14:15-23, but what sullied the glory of the day was a rash oath of Saul's, adjuring the people not to eat any food till evening which Jonathan not hearing of ignorantly broke, 1Sa 14:24-31 and which long fasting made the people so ravenous, that they slew their cattle, and ate them with the blood, contrary to the law of God, for which they were reproved by Saul, 1Sa 14:32-34, upon which he built an altar, and inquired of the Lord whether he should pursue the Philistines all that night till morning, but had no answer; which made him conclude sin was committed, and which he inquired after, declaring that if it was his own son Jonathan that had committed it he should surely die, 1Sa 14:35-39, the people being silent, he cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonathan; who had it not been for the resolution of the people that rescued him out of his hands, because of the great salvation he had wrought, must have died, 1Sa 14:40-46 and the chapter is cited with an account of Saul's battles with the neighbouring nations in general, and of his family, 1Sa 14:47-52.

1 Samuel 14:36-52 In-Context

34 Then he said, “Go out among the men and tell them, ‘Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep, and slaughter them here and eat them. Do not sin against the LORD by eating meat with blood still in it.’ ” So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there.
35 Then Saul built an altar to the LORD; it was the first time he had done this.
36 Saul said, “Let us go down and pursue the Philistines by night and plunder them till dawn, and let us not leave one of them alive.” “Do whatever seems best to you,” they replied. But the priest said, “Let us inquire of God here.”
37 So Saul asked God, “Shall I go down and pursue the Philistines? Will you give them into Israel’s hand?” But God did not answer him that day.
38 Saul therefore said, “Come here, all you who are leaders of the army, and let us find out what sin has been committed today.
39 As surely as the LORD who rescues Israel lives, even if the guilt lies with my son Jonathan, he must die.” But not one of them said a word.
40 Saul then said to all the Israelites, “You stand over there; I and Jonathan my son will stand over here.” “Do what seems best to you,” they replied.
41 Then Saul prayed to the LORD, the God of Israel, “Why have you not answered your servant today? If the fault is in me or my son Jonathan, respond with Urim, but if the men of Israel are at fault, respond with Thummim.” Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared.
42 Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken.
43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” So Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now I must die!”
44 Saul said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan.”
45 But the men said to Saul, “Should Jonathan die—he who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Never! As surely as the LORD lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God’s help.” So the men rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death.
46 Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they withdrew to their own land.
47 After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them.
48 He fought valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them.
49 Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua. The name of his older daughter was Merab, and that of the younger was Michal.
50 His wife’s name was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of Saul’s army was Abner son of Ner, and Ner was Saul’s uncle.
51 Saul’s father Kish and Abner’s father Ner were sons of Abiel.
52 All the days of Saul there was bitter war with the Philistines, and whenever Saul saw a mighty or brave man, he took him into his service.

Cross References 26

  • 1. S Genesis 25:22; S Judges 18:5
  • 2. 1 Samuel 10:22; 1 Samuel 28:6,15; 2 Samuel 22:42; Psalms 18:41
  • 3. Joshua 7:11; 1 Samuel 10:19
  • 4. S Numbers 14:21; 2 Samuel 12:5; Job 19:25; Psalms 18:46; Psalms 42:2
  • 5. ver 44
  • 6. Joshua 7:15
  • 7. Acts 1:24
  • 8. Proverbs 16:33
  • 9. John 1:7
  • 10. S Joshua 7:19
  • 11. S ver 27
  • 12. S Ruth 1:17
  • 13. ver 39
  • 14. 1 Kings 1:52; S Matthew 10:30; Luke 21:18; Acts 27:34
  • 15. 2 Samuel 14:11
  • 16. S Genesis 19:37
  • 17. S Genesis 19:38; 2 Samuel 12:31; 1 Samuel 11:1-13
  • 18. 1 Samuel 21:7
  • 19. ver 52; 2 Samuel 8:3; 2 Samuel 10:6; 2 Samuel 23:36
  • 20. S Genesis 36:12; Numbers 13:29; Judges 3:13; 1 Samuel 15:2,7; 1 Samuel 27:8; 1 Samuel 28:18; 1 Samuel 30:13; 2 Samuel 1:13; 1 Chronicles 4:43
  • 21. 1 Samuel 31:2; 1 Chronicles 8:33
  • 22. S Genesis 29:26; 1 Samuel 18:17-20
  • 23. 2 Samuel 2:8; 2 Samuel 3:6; 1 Kings 2:5
  • 24. 1 Samuel 10:14
  • 25. S 1 Samuel 9:1
  • 26. 1 Samuel 8:11

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Septuagint; Hebrew does not have "“Why … at fault."
  • [b]. Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint "king"
  • [c]. Hebrew; Septuagint "he was victorious"
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