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Jonathan proposes to his armour - bearer the attacking of the
Philistine's army, ver. 1 - 10.
They make the attack; the Philistines are terrified, ver. 11 - 15.
They slay one another, and are pursued by the Israelites, ver. 16 - 23.
Saul adjures the people to eat nothing 'till night; Jonathan eats
honey, ver. 24 - 30.
The people smite the Philistines, and eat the spoil with the blood,
ver. 31, 32.
Saul remedies this, ver. 33 - 35.
Dooms Jonathan to death, who is rescued by the people, ver. 36 - 46.
A general account of Saul's exploits and family, ver. 47 - 52.
2: Tarried - In the outworks of the city where he had entrenched
himself to observe the motion of the Philistines.
In - Or, towards Migron, which was near Gibeah.
3: Ahiah - The same who is called Abimelech,(1Sa 22:9,11,20), the high - priest, who was here to attend upon
the ark which was brought thither, ver.(18).
Ephod - The high - priest's ephod, wherein the Urim and Thummim was.
4: Passages - Two passages, both which Jonathan must cross, to go
to the Philistines, between which the following rocks lay, but the words
may be rendered, in the middle of the passage, the plural number being
put for the singular. Rock - Which is not to be understood, as if in this
passage one rock was on the right hand, and the other on the left; for so he
might have gone between both: and there was no need of climbing up to them.
But the meaning is, that the tooth (or prominency) of one rock,
(as it is in the Hebrew) was on the side; that is northward, looking
towards Michmash (the garrison of the Philistines) and the tooth
of the other rock was on the other side; that is, southward, looking
towards Gibeah, (where Saul's camp lay): and Jonathan was forced
to climb over these two rocks, because the common ways from one town to the
other were obstructed.
6: Uncircumcised - So he calls them, to strengthen his faith by this
consideration, that his enemies were enemies to God; whereas he was
circumcised, and therefore in covenant with God, who was both able, and
engaged to assist his people. It way be - He speaks doubtfully: for tho'
he felt himself stirred up by God to this exploit, and was assured that God
would deliver his people; yet he was not certain that he would do it at
this time, and in this way. Work - Great and wonderful things.
10: A sign - Jonathan not being assured of the success of this
exploit, desires a sign; and by the instinct of God's Spirit, pitches upon
this. Divers such motions and extraordinary impulses there were among great
and good men in ancient times. Observe; God has the governing of the hearts
and tongues of all men, even of those that know him not, and serves his own
purposes by them, tho' they mean not so, neither does their hearts think
12: Come up, &c. - A speech of contempt and derision.
The Lord - He piously and modestly ascribes the success which he now
foresees, to God only. And he does not say, into our hand, but into
the hand of Israel; for he fought not his own glory, but the public good.
His faith being thus strengthened, nothing can stand against him: he climbs
the rock upon all four, though he had nothing to cover him, none to second
him, but his servant, nor any probability of any thing but death before him.
13: They fell - For being endowed with extraordinary strength and
courage, and having with incredible boldness killed the first they met
with, it is not strange if the Philistines were both astonished and
intimidated; God also struck them with a panic; and withal, infatuated their
minds, and possibly, put an evil spirit among them, which in this universal
confusion made them conceive that there was treachery among themselves, and
therefore caused them to sheathe their swords in one anothers bowels.
15: Field - That is, in the whole host which was in the field.
All - That is, among all the rest of their forces, as well as those in the
garrison at Michmash, as the spoilers, mentioned (1Sa 13:17), the
report of this prodigy, and with it the terror of God speedily passing from
one to another. Trembling - The Hebrew is, a trembling of God,
signifying not only a very great trembling, but such as was supernatural,
and came immediately from the hand of God. He that made the heart knows how
to make it tremble. To complete their confusion, even the earth quaked;
it shook under them, and made them fear it was just going to swallow them
up. Those who will not fear the eternal God, he can make afraid of a
19: Withdraw - Trouble not thyself to enquire; for I now plainly
discern the matter.
21: Which went - Either by constraint, as servants; or in policy,
to gain their favour and protection.
23: The battle - That is, the warriors who were engaged in the battle,
and were pursuing the Philistines. Yet it is said, the Lord saved
Israel that day: he did it by them: for without him they could do
nothing. Salvation is of the Lord.
24: Distressed - With hunger, and weakness, and faintness, and all by
reason of the following oath. Avenged - As Saul's intention was good,
so the matter of the obligation was not simply unlawful, if it had not been
so rigorous in excluding all food, and in obliging the people to it under
pain of an accursed death, which was a punishment far exceeding the fault.
26: Honey - Bees often make their hives in the trunks of trees, or
clefts of rocks, or holes of the earth; and this in divers countries, but
eminently in Canaan.
27: Enlightened - He was refreshed, and recovered his lost spirits.
This cleared his sight, which was grown dim by hunger and faintness.
28: People - They that came with Saul, whose forces were now
united with Jonathan's.
32: Slew - At evening, when the time prefixed by Saul was expired.
With blood - Not having patience to tarry 'till the blood was perfectly
gone out of them, as they should have done. So they who made conscience
of the king's commandment for fear of the curse, make no scruple of
transgressing God's command.
33: Transgressed - He sees their fault, but not his own, in giving
the occasion of it.
36: Draw near - To the ark, in order to enquire of God.
39: Answered - None of those who saw Jonathan eating, informed
against him; because they were satisfied that his ignorance excused him;
and from their great love to Jonathan, whom they would not expose to
death for so small an offence.
41: Perfect lot - Or, declare the perfect, or guiltless
person. That is, O Lord, so guide the lot, that it may discover who is
guilty in his matter, and who innocent. Escaped - They were pronounced
42: Jonathan - God so ordered the lot; not that he approved Saul's
execration, ver.(24), or his oath that the transgressor should die,
ver.(39), nor that he would expose
Jonathan to death; but that Saul's folly might be chastised, when he
saw what danger it had brought upon his eldest and excellent son; and that
Jonathan's innocency might be cleared.
44: For thou, &c - We have no proof, that Saul did not act in
this whole affair from a real fear of God.
45: With God - In concurrence with God, he hath wrought this
salvation. God is so far from being offended with Jonathan, that he
hath graciously owned him in the great service of this day.
47: Took the kingdom - That is, resumed the administration of it,
after he had in a manner lost it by the Philistines, who had almost
turned him out of it.
49: Ishui - Called also Abinadab. (1Sa 31:2).
Ishbosheth, Saul's other son is here omitted, because he intended to
mention only those of his sons who went with him into the battles here
mentioned, and who were afterwards slain with him.