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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Samuel 14

 

 

Verse 1

1 Samuel 14:1 Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison, that [is] on the other side. But he told not his father.

Ver. 1. Jonathan the son of Saul said.] By an extraordinary instinct of the Spirit, and by the force of his faith, founded upon God’s promise, [Deuteronomy 28:7; Deuteronomy 32:10] the ground of all true valour and magnanimity.

Said unto the young man that bare his armour.] His squire; such as was Joannes de Temporibus to Charles the Great, in the year of grace 1139.

But he told not his father.] Lest Saul should have counted him as temerarious as himself was timorous; and have said unto him as afterwards Archidamus did to his son, rashly conflicting with the Athenians whom he was not able to deal with, Aut viribus adde, ant animis adime; Either add to thy strength, or abate of thy courage.


Verse 2

1 Samuel 14:2 And Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which [is] in Migron: and the people that [were] with him [were] about six hundred men;

Ver. 2. And Saul tarried.] In his fastness; observing the enemies’ motions, but unable to encounter them.

Under a pomegranate tree.] Or, Under Rimmon, a place so called from the store of pomegranates there growing: as Granata, a chief city in Spain, is to this day, a malogranatorum copia vel figura.


Verse 3

1 Samuel 14:3 And 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 knew not that Jonathan was gone.

Ver. 3. And Ahiah.] Called also Ahimelech, [1 Samuel 22:11-12] and basely butchered by the command of Saul, who here had sent for him, and served himself upon him.

And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone.] Or, For what purpose. The engine that doth all in great works, is oft inward, hidden, unobserved.


Verse 4

1 Samuel 14:4 And between the passages, by which Jonathan sought to go over unto the Philistines’ garrison, [there was] a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side: and the name of the one [was] Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh.

Ver. 4. There was a sharp rock.] Heb., The tooth of a rock: (a) these were two promontories which hung over and ran out, after the manner of dogs’ teeth, or boars’ tusks, and so rendered the passage to the enemy’s camp hard, and as might be thought impossible. But what may not be done by daring? Alexander the Great got a strong fort, set on a high steep rock from his enemies, - who asked him in derision, Whether he could fly? - by the help of three hundred gallant soldier, and then used these words, En, ostendi me posse volare, (b) Lo, I have showed you that I can fly: but Jonathan, with one only, made a harder and higher attempt, and achieved a far greater victory by the force of his faith, whereunto nothing is impossible. See Hebrews 11:33-34.


Verse 5

1 Samuel 14:5 The forefront of the one [was] situate northward over against Michmash, and the other southward over against Gibeah.

Ver. 5. The fore front.] Heb., The tooth. See 1 Samuel 14:4.

Northward over against Michmash.] So that these rocks were placed on either end of the inlet or passage; and he that would pass must climb over both. Sic petitur caelum.


Verse 6

1 Samuel 14:6 And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto 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.

Ver. 6. Unto the garrison of these uncircumcised.] Strangers to the covenant, and therefore we shall the sooner prevail against them. By the consideration of the sacraments we should strengthen our faith against all adverse power; this being one special use of them.

It may be that the Lord will work for us.] A promise God had made, that Saul should save them out of the hand of the Philistines; [1 Samuel 9:16] but whether at this time, and by this means, he submitteth to God’s holy will, saying, "It may be that the Lord," &c., which is not spoken by way of doubting, saith Pellican, but of praying and exciting himself and his armour bearer to trust in God all-sufficient. (a)

for there is no restraint to the Lord.] He is magnus in magnis, nec parvus in minimis, (b) and hath promised to help his people "with a little help," [Daniel 11:34] that through weaker means they may see his greater strength.


Verse 7

1 Samuel 14:7 And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that [is] in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I [am] with thee according to thy heart.

Ver. 7. Turn thee; behold, I am with thee.] Here we have an example of a faithful servant, who would thus stick to his master, and adventure with him. Doubtless he would have done as much for his master, if there had been occasion, as the Earl of Huntly’s servant did at Musselburgh field in Scotland, who, when the Earl, assaulted by the English, had lost his helmet, took off his own headpiece, and put it on the Earl’s head. The Earl was therewith taken prisoner, but the other, for want thereof, was presently struck down. (a)


Verse 8

1 Samuel 14:8 Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto [these] men, and we will discover ourselves unto them.

Ver. 8. Behold, we will pass over.] Though on all fours, and with much ado. Difficulty doth but whet on heroic spirits. Alexander never held anything to be unfeasible.


Verse 9

1 Samuel 14:9 If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them.

Ver. 9. If they say thus unto us.] This sign was Nec superstitiosum nec Dei tentativum, sed religiosum aeque ac animosum: it was given him in answer to his earnest prayer, saith Josephus, as was also that of Abraham’s servant. [Genesis 24:13-14] So was not that of the Pazones in Herodotus, who warring upon the Perinthians, had this answer from the oracle, If the Perinthians call you by your name, and challenge you, then set upon them: as if otherwise, not: They did accordingly, and had the better. (a) Satan is God’s ape, as they say.


Verse 10

1 Samuel 14:10 But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the LORD hath delivered them into our hand: and this [shall be] a sign unto us.

Ver. 10. But if they say thus, Come up unto us.] Come up if ye can; for they were confident upon the defence of the place: wherefore Jonathan doubted not but God would confute them, saith Josephus. See the like, Isaiah 22:16; Isaiah 22:18.


Verse 11

1 Samuel 14:11 And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves.

Ver. 11. Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes,] i.e., Out of their lurking places, [1 Samuel 14:22] or trenches.


Verse 12

1 Samuel 14:12 And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the LORD hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.

Ver. 12. Come up to us, and we will show you a thing.] The thing that ye seem to seek, by climbing up these steep rocks, and to be ambitious of - viz., your bane, your passport.


Verse 13

1 Samuel 14:13 And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him.

Ver. 13. And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet.] See 1 Samuel 14:4. Faith in God’s power and promises will eat its way over all Alps of opposition. Magna facinora, magnis periculis emuntur, saith the historian. (a) Great acts are bought with great hazards.

And they fell before Jonathan.] Who cut his way through a wood of men: as did afterwards the thrice noble Scanderbeg.

And his armour bearer slew after him.] With the weapons of the slain Philistines he slew more of them.


Verse 14

1 Samuel 14:14 And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, [which] a yoke [of oxen might plow].

Ver. 14. Was about twenty men.] Twenty men, plus minus. So John 4:6, "It was about the sixth hour." In things whereof there is no necessity of speaking on a certainty, we must deliver ourselves accordingly.

Within as it were an half acre.] Brevissimo spatio: (a) in a small compass of ground these two slew twenty; so well they bequit them.


Verse 15

1 Samuel 14:15 And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling.

Ver. 15. And there was trembling in the host.] The Lord smote them with a panic terror; and hence they fell so fast before Jonathan and his armour bearer: hence also they fell so foul one upon another, and fled so fast before the host of Israel. The like befell the Germans in their war against the Hussites of Bohemia: and the Spaniards at Zutphen in the low countries, A.D. 1586, when and where the Earl of Leicester, General of the English forces, took the fort by the valour of Edward Stanley; who catching hold on a Spaniard’s pike, wherewith he charged him, held it so fast, that by the same he was drawn up into the sconce: wherewith the Spaniards being terrified, as the Philistines were here at the sight of Jonathan, fearfully withdrew themselves, &c. (a)

And the earth quaked.] This added much to their amazement.

So it was a very great trembling.] Heb., A trembling of God: that is, of God’s own sending. Himself was a terror to them; an evil that Jeremiah so much deprecated, [Jeremiah 17:17] as the greatest of all other.


Verse 16

1 Samuel 14:16 And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down [one another].

Ver. 16. And they went on beating down one another.] As any one was in their way, they knocked him down: being smitten with such a scotama or acridis, a giddiness of brain, or blindness of judgment, that they knew not their friends from their foes in that distemper and hurrycomb. Josephus saith, that when Jonathan first showed himself, a cloud suddenly arose, which so darkened the air, that they knew neither him, nor one another. But God, where he pleaseth, can easily trouble the fantasy, and make men to mistake; as we see daily in melancholy persons, who looking through a black cloud, as it were, see all things black, dark, cross and harmful.


Verse 17

1 Samuel 14:17 Then said Saul unto the people that [were] with him, Number now, and see who is gone from us. And when they had numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armourbearer [were] not [there].

Ver. 17. See who is gone from us,] viz., To make this trouble in the army of the Philistines.


Verse 18

1 Samuel 14:18 And Saul said unto Ahiah, Bring hither the ark of God. For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel.

Ver. 18. And Saul said unto Ahiah.] See 1 Samuel 14:3. Hypocrites in a strait repair to God, not so much to serve him, as to serve themselves upon him: for at another time they think themselves men good enough; and act as if they were petty gods within themselves.


Verse 19

1 Samuel 14:19 And it came to pass, while Saul talked unto the priest, that the noise that [was] in the host of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said unto the priest, Withdraw thine hand.

Ver. 19. Withdraw thine hand.] Words of profane impiety: q.d., it is now no time to consult with God, for we know well enough what we have to do, and will take our opportunity.


Verse 20

1 Samuel 14:20 And Saul and all the people that [were] with him assembled themselves, and they came to the battle: and, behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow, [and there was] a very great discomfiture.

Ver. 20. Every man’s sword was against his fellow.] See on 1 Samuel 14:16. So 7:22, 2 Chronicles 20:23.

And there was a very great discomfiture.] Notwithstanding Saul’s sin, Samuel’s departure, and the people’s diffidence, God wrought for his own name’s sake: and lest the enemy should vaunt and say, "Our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all this." [Deuteronomy 32:27] Josephus saith that there were threescore thousand Philistines slain at this bout. (a)


Verse 21

1 Samuel 14:21 Moreover the Hebrews [that] were with the Philistines before that time, which went up with them into the camp [from the country] round about, even they also [turned] to be with the Israelites that [were] with Saul and Jonathan.

Ver. 21. Moreover the Hebrews that were with the Philistines.] Either as their slaves or fugitives; these now took part with their countrymen. It is bard trusting of such in battle whose hearts are with the enemy.


Verse 22

1 Samuel 14:22 Likewise all the men of Israel which had hid themselves in mount Ephraim, [when] they heard that the Philistines fled, even they also followed hard after them in the battle.

Ver. 22. Even they also followed hard after them.] The Greeks have a proverb, When a tree is falling, every passenger will be pulling at it. (a) Leoni mortuo vel mus insultat.


Verse 23

1 Samuel 14:23 So the LORD saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over unto Bethaven.

Ver. 23. So the Lord saved Israel.] Immediately, and for no merit of theirs. See 1 Samuel 14:20.


Verse 24

1 Samuel 14:24 And the men of Israel were distressed that day: for Saul had adjured the people, saying, Cursed [be] the man that eateth [any] food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies. So none of the people tasted [any] food.

Ver. 24. And the men of Israel were distressed that day.] Saved they were that day, and yet distressed: usque adeo nihil est ex omni porte beatum. Men must ever have somewhat to complain of, for an allay of their enjoyments. Miscentur tristia laetis.

For Saul had adjured the people.] Some Popish commentators do highly commend Saul for this fast enjoined the people. But Josephus and others better say, that Saul used this victory too insolently and immodestly, to fill bimself with the slaughter of his enemies, without any regard had to the weak and faint bodies of his subjects that pursued them: whereas a good magistrate more regardeth the life of one good citizen, than the death of many enemies. Comestor, to salve the matter, saith that in war they used not to eat till the time of the evening sacrifice: but in Homer, Nestor and his soldiers went forth to battle, δορπον ελοντες, taking their breakfast first.


Verse 25

1 Samuel 14:25 And all [they of] the land came to a wood; and there was honey upon the ground.

Ver. 25. And there was honey upon the ground.] Wild honey (such as John Baptist fed on) dropping from the trees, where wild bees left it, and frequently fought with wild bears that there sought and sucked it.


Verse 26

1 Samuel 14:26 And when the people were come into the wood, behold, the honey dropped; but no man put his hand to his mouth: for the people feared the oath.

Ver. 26. Behold, the honey dropped.] Hence Canaan is so oft called "a land flowing with milk and honey."

But no man put his hand to his mouth.] It argued there was much power in that oath, when no man dared to touch one drop of this honey: so, to resist a strong temptation, argueth strong grace. Pliny mentioneth a certain country where the honey is poisonous, because sucked out of poisonous herbs. Such is the pleasure of sin; sweet, but deadly.


Verse 27

1 Samuel 14:27 But Jonathan heard not when his father charged the people with the oath: wherefore he put forth the end of the rod that [was] in his hand, and dipped it in an honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened.

Ver. 27. But Jonathan heard not.] He was absent, and therefore innocent. "Where is no law, is no transgression."

Wherefore he put forth the end of the rod, &c.] He followed the chase, till he found the honey. A dog followeth his master till he meeteth with carrion; and goeth along with the company till it comes to a parting: so do hypocrites follow Christ till it come to a critical point, or till drawn away by ungodliness and worldly lusts. Lucian maketh mention of a fellow that would show King Ptolomy a strange sight. He had taught apes to act comedies, and show other tricks. Another being willing to put a trick upon this sport maker, cast nuts before those apes as they were acting. The apes left all, and picked up the nuts. So do hypocrites show themselves in a temptation; making good the proverb, an ape remaineth an ape, though clothed in purple.

And his eyes were enlightened.] Which through fasting and faintness were grown dim, the optic spirits failing.


Verse 28

1 Samuel 14:28 Then answered one of the people, and said, Thy father straitly charged the people with an oath, saying, Cursed [be] the man that eateth [any] food this day. And the people were faint.

Ver. 28. Then answered one of the people.] To Jonathan, who haply had exhorted them to refresh themselves, as he had done, or to follow hard after the enemies.

And the people were faint.] Weak and weary with hunger and hard labour. Animantis cuiusque vita in fuga est. Were it not for the repair of nutrition, life would soon be extinct.


Verse 29

1 Samuel 14:29 Then said Jonathan, My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey.

Ver. 29. My father hath troubled the land.] Iuveniliter hoc dixit Ionathas, saith one. (a) If Saul had done unadvisedly, yet Jonathan should not have reprehended his father’s act so publicly, for fear of a rebellion.

See, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened.] So Hunniades was much refreshed, when, after a fight with the Turks, he supped with a shepherd, who brought him faint and almost famished to his poor cottage, and set before him bread and water, with a few onions. (b)


Verse 30

1 Samuel 14:30 How much more, if haply the people had eaten freely to day of the spoil of their enemies which they found? for had there not been now a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?

Ver. 30. How much more, if haply the people had eaten.] Here are his reasons wherefore he disliked his father’s act in restraining the people from eating till evening; which yet is much commended, but not so well, by Tertullian, Ambrose, Jerome, and Cajetan.


Verse 31

1 Samuel 14:31 And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon: and the people were very faint.

Ver. 31. From Michmash to Aijalon.] A city in the tribe of Dan, [Joshua 19:42] twelve miles distant from Michmash, say some.


Verse 32

1 Samuel 14:32 And the people flew upon the spoil, and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, and slew [them] on the ground: and the people did eat [them] with the blood.

Ver. 32. And the people flew upon the spoil.] Hard hunger, which driveth the wolf out of the wood and breaketh through stone walls, as we say, made them impatient, (a) when once the evening was come, that they might do it with safety of their lives.

And the people did eat them with the blood.] And so with the hazard of their souls, because they did it against an express law of God. [Leviticus 17:14 Deuteronomy 12:16; Deuteronomy 15:23] Pain of death prevailed more with them than fear of hell.


Verse 33

1 Samuel 14:33 Then they told Saul, saying, Behold, the people sin against the LORD, in that they eat with the blood. And he said, Ye have transgressed: roll a great stone unto me this day.

Ver. 33. Ye have transgressed.] But whose fault was it that they thus transgressed? Was not his rash edict or ordinance the occasion of the people’s trasgressing God’s ordinance? This was never thought on by him.

Roll a great stone unto me this day.] That I may see the blood clean drained out of the flesh before it be eaten. But he that maketh so much ado about eating with the blood, makes nothing of spilling the blood of innocent Jonathan, and of swearing bloody oaths at the same time.


Verse 34

1 Samuel 14:34 And Saul said, Disperse yourselves among the people, and say unto them, Bring me hither every man his ox, and every man his sheep, and slay [them] here, and eat; and sin not against the LORD in eating with the blood. And all the people brought every man his ox with him that night, and slew [them] there.

Ver. 34. And sin not against the Lord.] When himself cared not to sin in going about to pursue the Philistines without asking counsel of God, if the high priest had not interposed. [1 Samuel 14:36]

And all the people brought every man his ox.] Or, What other cattle soever they had. But this was a good while a-doing, if they were to bring all to that one great stone; which would be very troublesome to such as were so hasty and hungry.


Verse 35

1 Samuel 14:35 And Saul built an altar unto the LORD: the same was the first altar that he built unto the LORD.

Ver. 35. And Saul built an altar unto the Lord.] That they that would might thereon offer peaceofferings, as Vatablus here noteth.

The same was the first altar that he built,] sc., In obedience, saith Jerome: other altars he had built before, but in hypocrisy. Some think that he is here taxed with profaneness and impiety, in that he could never till now find in his heart to testify his thankfulness for any former victory, by building an altar unto the Lord.


Verse 36

1 Samuel 14:36 And Saul said, Let us go down after the Philistines by night, and spoil them until the morning light, and let us not leave a man of them. And they said, Do whatsoever seemeth good unto thee. Then said the priest, Let us draw near hither unto God.

Ver. 36. Let us not leave a man of them.] Here he expresseth, say some, his excessive desire of revenge, his arrogancy, and his cruelty. He had an express command not to leave a man of the Amalekites, and yet he could spare many of them. [1 Samuel 15:7-8]


Verse 37

1 Samuel 14:37 And Saul asked counsel of God, Shall I go down after the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into the hand of Israel? But he answered him not that day.

Ver. 37. And Saul asked counsel of God.] Since the high priest would needs have it so. See 1 Samuel 14:34.

But he answered him not that day.] A sure sign of his displeasure, as 1 Samuel 28:6. God either answereth not wicked men at all, [Ezekiel 20:2-3] or else he answereth them according to the idols of their hearts, with bitter answers: [Ezekiel 14:20] sending them to the gods whom they had chosen, as 10:13-14.


Verse 38

1 Samuel 14:38 And Saul said, Draw ye near hither, all the chief of the people: and know and see wherein this sin hath been this day.

Ver. 38. Draw ye near hither, all the chief of the people.] Heb., The corners: for what the cornerstones are to the building, that the princes are to the people. See 20:2. The Switzers at this day call their chief towns Cantons, that is, corners; and the Greeks of old called their town governors Pagites; the Hebrews, Corners.

And know and see wherein this sin hath been this day.] He knew it was for some sin that God was so silent, - "we know that God heareth not sinners," said that blind man in John 9:31, - and he doubted not but that it was the breach of that oath imposed by himself, but rashly and without reason; which yet he never regretteth.


Verse 39

1 Samuel 14:39 For, [as] the LORD liveth, which saveth Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die. But [there was] not a man among all the people [that] answered him.

Ver. 39. For, as the Lord liveth.] Saul seemeth to have been a very great swearer, rapping out oath upon oath, which belike he thought he might do by authority. Chrysostom (a) rightly condemneth this oath of his, how specious soever, Ut temerarium et parricidale, ideoque a Diabolo suggestum, as rash and bloody, suggested by the very devil, for a public mischief.

He shall surely die.] This law was like those of Draco, that punished every peccadillo almost with death; and was therefore said to be written not with black, but with blood.


Verse 40

1 Samuel 14:40 Then said he unto all Israel, Be ye on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side. And the people said unto Saul, Do what seemeth good unto thee.

Ver. 40. Do what seemeth good unto thee.] So they had said once before. [1 Samuel 14:36] Silken words must be given to princes as she in the story said. (a) But when Saul spake of putting Jonathan to death, there was first altum silentium [1 Samuel 14:39] and then an absolute opposition, [1 Samuel 14:45] and a forcible rescue.


Verse 41

1 Samuel 14:41 Therefore Saul said unto the LORD God of Israel, Give a perfect [lot]. And Saul and Jonathan were taken: but the people escaped.

Ver. 41. Give a perfect lot.] Or, Show the innocent, as Tremelius rendereth it. Saul was so scrupulous, that he would not so much as name a guilty man, or sinner, but in casting of lots, instead of saying, Show the innocent or guilty, he said, Show the upright or innocent person. Wherein, saith Piscator, God overruled his tongue, Et ita per sortem Ionathan innocens declaratas est a Deo.


Verse 42

1 Samuel 14:42 And Saul said, Cast [lots] between me and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan was taken.

Ver. 42. And Jonathan was taken.] Not in answer to Saul’s prayers, which God valued not. But, (1.) To show that he is the disposer of lots; (2.) To humble Jonathan, who was in danger of being puffed up too much with the joy of his victory; (3.) To discover Saul’s hypocrisy. (a)


Verse 43

1 Samuel 14:43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, Tell me what thou hast done. And Jonathan told him, and said, I did but taste a little honey with the end of the rod that [was] in mine hand, [and], lo, I must die.

Ver. 43. And, lo, I must die.] This he speaketh, saith Josephus, out of his constancy and contempt of death. Others in this speech note his candour, ingenuousness, and honest simplicity; neither accusing his father, nor excusing himself, nor appealing to the army, whose darling he was.


Verse 44

1 Samuel 14:44 And Saul answered, God do so and more also: for thou shalt surely die, Jonathan.

Ver. 44. And Saul answered, God do so and more also.] It appeareth that Saul was a great swearer. Et rationem maiorem habebat iurameuti quam iuris, &c. (a)

Thou shalt surely die, Jonathan.] This was sharp law; as was afterwards that of Manlius the Roman, who condemned his own son to death for slaying an enemy without his command: whereupon sharp and severe commands were usually called Manliana, saith Gellius. (b) But what an abhorred cruelty was that of Philip, king of Spain, who delivered up his eldest son Charles to be murdered by the cruel Inquisition, because he seemed to favour the reformed religion!


Verse 45

1 Samuel 14:45 And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? God forbid: [as] the LORD liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he hath wrought with God this day. So the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not.

Ver. 45. Shall Jonathan die?] By whose means we are yet alive: this were such an ill requital, as heaven and earth would be ashamed of.

As the Lord liveth, there shall not one hair of his head.] Here was oath against oath, and so sinning on both sides, as Chrysostom, a great inveigher against rash swearing, well observeth: like as boys pulling at a rope, some against others, do on both parts fall to the ground, if the rope breaketh.

For he hath wrought with God this day.] The Chaldee hath it, For it is manifest before the Lord, that he hath done it in ignorance this day. And this indeed was the best reason that could be given wherefore Jonathan hath not deserved to die. (a) A good soldier, and one that hath been very successful, may yet afterwards commit something that is worthy of death; as did Joab, and Marshal Biron lately in France.

So the people rescued Jonathan.] Which they should have done, not by force, but by humble supplication, as Chrysostom well observeth; since hereby might have followed civil dissensions and rebellion against the king.


Verse 46

1 Samuel 14:46 Then Saul went up from following the Philistines: and the Philistines went to their own place.

Ver. 46. Then Saul went up.] Seeing that God was displeased, and the people discontented, and the time now past.


Verse 47

1 Samuel 14:47 So Saul took the kingdom over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines: and whithersoever he turned himself, he vexed [them].

Ver. 47. So Saul took the kingdom.] Out of which he had been well nigh ousted by the Philistines; he took it, that is, he undertook the managing administration of it. Or, he took it, though God had said he should lose it, as it were in opposition to God; and therefore gathered a host and beat his enemies round about. Like as wicked Ahab, to cross the oracle concerning the rooting out of his posterity, so followed the work of generation, that he left seventy sons behind him. [2 Kings 10:1]

And against the kings of Zobah.] The inhabitants of which country - lying between Batanea and Euphrates - are corruptly called by Pliny, (a) Nubei.

He vexed them.] Heb., He worsted them; and very much infested them; but the honour of vanquishing them was reserved for David.


Verse 48

1 Samuel 14:48 And he gathered an host, and smote the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them.

Ver. 48. And he gathered a host,] See on 1 Samuel 14:47.

And delivered Israel out of the hands.] God may make use of wicked men as instruments to defend his people: "the earth helped the woman"; [Revelation 12:16] yet the vials of God’s wrath were poured out "upon the earth." [Revelation 16:1]


Verse 49

1 Samuel 14:49 Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, and Ishui, and Melchishua: and the names of his two daughters [were these]; the name of the firstborn Merab, and the name of the younger Michal:

Ver. 49. Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, &c.] Ishbosheth is not once named, because he was an ουτιδανος, not fit for war, and so of no account amongst them: yet he came to be a king, and the youngest daughter Michal a queen. Let no man despise the day of small things.


Verse 50

1 Samuel 14:50 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.

Ver. 50. And the name of Saul’s wife.] We read but of this one wife that Saul had: and this some: (a) do number among his virtues, that he multiplied not wives, according to Deuteronomy 17:17. Howbeit, he had a concubine, Rizpah, and children by her, which for their father’s fault were hanged in David’s days.


Verse 51

1 Samuel 14:51 And Kish [was] the father of Saul; and Ner the father of Abner [was] the son of Abiel.

Ver. 51. And Kish was the father of Saul.] Hence Saul is called Cush the Benjamite, {Psalms 7:1, title} as the Chaldee there paraphraseth it.

And Ner the father of Abner.] In 1 Chronicles 8:33, Ner is said to be the father of Kish, that is, his foster-father, saith Comestor.


Verse 52

1 Samuel 14:52 And there was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul: and when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he took him unto him.

Ver. 52. And when Saul saw any strong man.] Robustum et pugnacem. This was not amiss, had he not placed too much confidence in them, as indeed he did.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 14:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-samuel-14.html. 1865-1868.

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