1 Samuel 14 – “A Battle with the Philistines”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Jonathan leaves the camp and kills twenty Philistine soldiers. The Philistines panic and are defeated by the Israelites. Saul, who forbids eating on the day of battle, almost kills his son for tasting some honey.

II. Photo
Jonathan eats some forbidden food: “He put out the stick he had with him, dipped it into the beehive of honey, and brought his hand back to his mouth…” (v. 27b)

III. Important Verses
8-10:  Jonathan said, “We’ll cross over to those men and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Wait until we get to you,’ then we’ll stay where we are, and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the LORD is delivering them into our hands. That shall be our sign.”
20-23: Saul and the troops with him assembled and rushed into battle; they found [the Philistines] in very great confusion, every man’s sword turned against his fellow. And the Hebrews who had previously sided with the Philistines, who had come up with them in the army [from] round about — they too joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. When all the men of Israel who were hiding in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were fleeing, they too pursued them in battle. Thus the LORD brought victory to Israel that day. The fighting passed beyond Beth-aven.
29-30: Jonathan answered, “My father has brought trouble on the people. See for yourselves how my eyes lit up when I tasted that bit of honey. If only the troops had eaten today of spoil captured from the enemy, the defeat of the Philistines would have been greater still!”
32-35: The troops pounced on the spoil; they took the sheep and cows and calves and slaughtered them on the ground, and the troops ate with the blood. When it was reported to Saul that the troops were sinning against the LORD, eating with the blood, he said, “You have acted faithlessly. Roll a large stone over to me today.” And Saul ordered, “Spread out among the troops and tell them that everyone must bring me his ox or his sheep and slaughter it here, and then eat. You must not sin against the LORD and eat with the blood.” Every one of the troops brought his own ox with him that night and slaughtered it there. Thus Saul set up an altar to the LORD; it was the first altar he erected to the LORD.
43-45:  Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me, what have you done?” And Jonathan told him, “I only tasted a bit of honey with the tip of the stick in my hand. I am ready to die.” Saul said, “Thus and more may God do: You shall be put to death, Jonathan!” But the troops said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, after bringing this great victory to Israel? Never! As the LORD lives, not a hair of his head shall fall to the ground! For he brought this day to pass with the help of God.” Thus the troops saved Jonathan and he did not die.
52: There was bitter war against the Philistines all the days of Saul; and whenever Saul noticed any stalwart man or warrior, he would take him into his service.

IV. Outline
1-5. Jonathan decides to covertly infiltrate the Philistine camp
6-10. Jonathan determines a plan of action
11-14. Jonathan and his servant kill twenty Philistines
15. God brings terror to the Philistine camp
16-17. Jonathan and his servant are discovered to be missing
18-23. Saul leads the Israelites to victory
24-27. Jonathan unknowingly breaks his father’s oath
28-30. Jonathan’s counterclaim
31-33. The troops eat meat “with the blood”
34-35. Saul gathers the troops to eat lawfully
36-37. Saul realizes that someone has sinned
38-44. Jonathan is condemned
45. The troops defend Jonathan
46. The Philistines return home
47-48. Saul’s military exploits
49-51. Saul’s family
52. Sauls ongoing battle with the Philistines

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Klein, Ralph W. “1 Samuel” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 10 (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1983).
McCarter, P. Kyle, Jr. “1 Samuel,” Anchor Bible vol. 8 (New York: Doubleday, 1980).
Photo taken from http://www.thenibble.com/home/contents/images/honey-bowl-230.jpg