The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 14

Jonathan goes and miraculously smites the Philistines' garrison, 1-14. A divine terror makes them beat themselves, 15, 16. Saul and his company, seeing the confusion in the Philistine host, come out against them, 17-20. The captivated Hebrews and the hidden Israelites join against them, 21-23. Saul's unadvised adjuration hinders the victory, 24-30. He restrains the people from eating blood, 31-34. He builds an altar, 35, 36. Jonathan, taken by lot, is saved by the people, 37-46. Saul's victories, strength, and family, 47-52.

1 Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan, the son of Saul, said to the young man who bore his armor, "Come, and let us go over to the garrison of the Philistines that is on the other side." But he did not tell his father. 2 And Saul stayed in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron. And the people who were with him were about six hundred men, 3 Along with 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 did not know that Jonathan was gone. 4 And between the passages by which Jonathan sought to go over to the garrison of the Philistines, there was a sharp rock on one side and a sharp rock on the other side. And the name of one was Bozez and the name of the other Seneh. 5 The front of one was situated northward over against Michmash and the other southward over against Gibeah.

6 And Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, "Come, and let us go over to 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." 7 And his armor-bearer said to him, "Do all that is in your heart. Turn yourself. Behold, I am with you according to your heart." 8 Then Jonathan said, "Behold, we will pass over to these men and reveal ourselves to them. 9 If they say to us, 'Wait until we come to you,' then we will stand still in our place and will not go up to them. 10 But if they say, 'Come up to us,' then we will go up, for the LORD has delivered them into our hand. And this shall be a sign to us." 11 And both of them revealed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, "Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves." 12 And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armor-bearer and said, "Come up to us, and we will show you something." And Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, "Come up after me, for the LORD has delivered them into the hand of Israel." 13 And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armor-bearer after him. And they fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer slew after him. 14 And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armor-bearer made, was about twenty men, within about a half-acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow. 15 And there was a trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and the raiders also trembled, and the earth quaked, and it was a very great trembling.

16 And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and behold, the multitude melted away and they went on beating down one another. 17 Then Saul said to the people who were with him, "Number now, and see who has gone from us." And when they had numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armor-bearer were not there. 18 And Saul said to Ahiah, "Bring here the ark of God"—for the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel. 19 And it came to pass while Saul talked to the priest, that the noise that was in the host of the Philistines went on and increased. And Saul said to the priest, "Withdraw your hand." 20 And Saul and all the people who were with him assembled themselves and came to the battle. And behold, every man's sword was against his fellow and there was a very great confusion. 21 Moreover, the Hebrews who were with the Philistines before that time, who went up with them into the camp from the country around, even they also turned to be with the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 Likewise, all the men of Israel who had hid themselves in the mountains of Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, even they also followed hard after them in the battle. 23 So the LORD saved Israel that day. And the battle passed over to Beth-aven.

24 And the men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had adjured the people, saying, "Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening and until I am avenged of my enemies." So none of the people tasted any food. 25 And all the people of the land came to a forest and there was honey upon the ground. 26 And when the people had come into the forest, behold, the honey dropped, but no man put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan did not hear when his father charged the people with the oath; therefore, he put forth the end of the rod that was in his hand, dipped it in a honey-comb, and put his hand to his mouth and his eyes were enlightened. 28 Then one of the people answered and said, "Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, 'Cursed is the man who eats any food this day.'" And the people were faint. 29 Then Jonathan said, "My father has troubled the land. See, I pray you, how my eyes have been enlightened because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much more, if perhaps the people had eaten freely today of the plunder of their enemies which they found? For had there not been now a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?"

31 And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Ajalon. And the people were very faint. 32 And the people flew upon the plunder and took sheep, oxen, and calves and slew them on the ground. And the people ate them with the blood. 33 Then they told Saul, saying, "Behold, the people sin against the LORD in that they eat with the blood." And he said, "You have transgressed. Roll a great stone to me this day." 34 And Saul said, "Disperse yourselves among the people and say to them, 'Every man bring me here his ox and every man his sheep, and slay them here and eat, and do not sin against the LORD in eating with the blood.'" And all the people each brought his ox with him that night and slew them there. 35 And Saul built an altar to the LORD. The same was the first altar that he built to the LORD.

36 And Saul said, "Let us go down after the Philistines by night and plunder them until the morning light, and do not let us leave a man of them." And they said, "Do whatever seems good to you." Then the priest said, "Let us draw near to God here." 37 And Saul asked counsel of God, "Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you deliver them into the hand of Israel?" But he did not answer him that day. 38 And Saul said, "Draw near here all the chief of the people, and know and see wherein this sin has been this day. 39 For as the LORD lives, who saves Israel, though it is in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die." But there was not a man among all the people who answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, "You be on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side." And the people said to Saul, "Do what seems good to you." 41 Therefore, Saul said to the LORD God of Israel, "Give a perfect lot." And Saul and Jonathan were taken, but the people escaped. 42 And Saul said, "Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son." And Jonathan was taken.

43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, "Tell me what you have done." And Jonathan told him and said, "I tasted but a little honey with the end of the rod that was in my hand, and behold, I must die." 44 And Saul answered, "May God do so and more also, for you shall surely die, Jonathan." 45 And the people said to Saul, "Shall Jonathan die who has wrought this great salvation in Israel? By no means. As the LORD lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground, for he has wrought with God this day." So the people rescued Jonathan so that he did not die. 46 Then Saul went up from following the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.

47 So Saul took the kingdom over Israel and fought against all his enemies on every side: against Moab, against the children of Ammon, against Edom, against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines. And wherever he turned himself, he harassed them. 48 And he gathered a host and smote the Amalekites and delivered Israel from the hands of those who plundered them.

49 Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, Ishui, and Melchi-shua. And the names of his two daughters were these: the name of the first-born Merab and the name of the younger Michal. 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. 51 And Kish was the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.

52 And there was violent war against the Philistines all the days of Saul. And when Saul saw any strong man or any valiant man, he took him into his service.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 1st Samuel, Chapter 14[➚]


[v.27] - "enlightened" - From John Wesley's Notes: "He was refreshed, and recovered his lost spirits. This cleared his sight, which was grown dim by hunger and faintness."

[v.33] - "they eat with the blood" - It was forbidden to eat meat with blood. Leviticus 17:11 clearly explains why the blood is not to be eaten with the meat: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar, to make an atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul." Reference, Leviticus 7:26-27, 17:10-13; Deuteronomy 12:16, 23.

[v.43] - Reference, verse 27.

[v.52] - "he took him to himself" - Reference, 1st Samuel 8:11.