Now the Israelites were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, saying, “Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!” So none of the troops tasted food.
The entire army 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. He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened.
Then one of the soldiers told him, “Your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying, ‘Cursed be anyone who eats food today!’ That is why the men are faint.”
Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened 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 Mikmash to Aijalon, they were exhausted.
They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood.
Then someone said to Saul, “Look, the men are sinning against the LORD by eating meat that has blood in it.” “You have broken faith,” he said. “Roll a large stone over here at once.”
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.
Then Saul built an altar to the LORD; it was the first time he had done this.