1 Samuel 13
Saul established a core standing army of three thousand
1 Samuel 13:1 Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, 13:2 Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent.
Saul’s son Jonathan a valiant godly man, attacks and destroys a garrison of the Philistines, provoking war. After which Saul called all Israel to gather for the impending war.
13:3 And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear. 13:4 And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal.
The Philistines massed a huge army against Israel in response to the attack by Jonathan.
13:5 And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up, and pitched in Michmash, eastward from Bethaven.
Israel feared and fled from the army of the Philistines.
13:6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits. 13:7 And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.
It had been appointed that Samuel would join Saul in seven days as the representative of God, to go with the army because the battle was the Lord’s; but Samuel was delayed and many people left Saul, God desiring to TEST Saul.
13:8 And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.
Then Saul fearing that the people would leave him and that he would be overwhelmed by the Philistines offered sacrifices contrary to the Word of God. Saul sought to worship God by his own way instead of doing what God had said and waiting on God.
13:9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.
Then Samuel arrived and corrected Saul
13:10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.
13:11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; 13:12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.
13:13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.
Saul failed the test of zeal to keep the Word of God; and his kingdom was given to another.
If they also depart from the Word of God to do as they think is right, instead of doing what the Eternal says is right: The same thing will happen to today’s Spiritual Ekklesia who have been promised kingdoms for their faithful uncompromising obedience to God.
13:14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.
Saul was left with only 600 out of all his thousands
Spiritually many are called but very few will remain steadfast in uncompromising faithful loyalty and zeal to the Eternal King and his Word.
Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
Many are called but only a few will overcome and be chosen for a part in the resurrection to spirit as kings and priests in the Kingdom of God the Father and the Priesthood of Jesus Christ.
1 Samuel 13:15 And Samuel arose, and gat him up from Gilgal unto Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul numbered the people that were present with him, about six hundred men.
13:16 And Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people that were present with them, abode in Gibeah of Benjamin: but the Philistines encamped in Michmash.
Then the Philistines came to the attack in three parts.
13:17 And the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned unto the way that leadeth to Ophrah, unto the land of Shual: 13:18 And another company turned the way to Bethhoron: and another company turned to the way of the border that looketh to the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.
God was about to deliver Israel by the hand of Saul.
13:19 Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears: 13:20 But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock. 13:21 Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads.
Israel went out to fight with only 600 lightly armed men against a huge army of men and chariots with weapons of war. Yet Israel would be invincible as long as they followed the Eternal!
God may allow trials and sufferings in this physical life to build our character and make us into what he wants us to become; but we will be spiritually invincible, as long as we are zealously faithful to live by every Word of God and to follow our espoused Husband wherever he goes.
13:22 So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found.
13:23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the passage of Michmash.
1 Samuel 14
Jonathan launches an independent raid on the Philistines
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.
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; 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.
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.
14:5 The forefront of the one was situate northward over against Michmash, and the other southward over against Gibeah.
Jonathan is very bold and full of faith in God; and it is a true thing that God saves by either many or by few. Very often God accomplishes his purpose by the weak and small, so that all will know that the deliverance was from God and not from any man, so that no flesh may glory. Today many wrongly look to men and not to God.
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. 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.
Jonathan decides to reveal their presence to a group of Philistines. Jonathan then seeks a sign from God through the words of the Philistines.
14:8 Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them. 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. 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.
God inspires the Philistines to challenge Jonathan and his bearer to come up to fight, fulfilling the sign that Jonathan sought, revealing that God had given him the victory.
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. 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 [in modern parlance: “we will teach you a lesson”]. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the LORD hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.
Jonathan and his bearer went up in absolute faith in God and slew many Philistines, filling the men of Israel with fear concerning a Philistine response. When we trust in God there is no reason to fear any man.
Daniel 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful [not afraid to answer or to stand up to kings and rulers of men] to answer thee in this matter.
Our mighty God is able to deliver his faithful even in this physical life, but if he chooses not to do so in order to prove our loyalty to him to the death; then the truly faithful will still assuredly serve the God of Jacob and Moses and not any other.
3:17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
Oh, how far today’s Spiritual Ekklesia has fallen away from the Word of God and the example of his faithful; exalting and serving men and their corporate entities above the Word of God!
3:18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image [Representing all idolatry, including following ANY man, contrary to the whole word of God.] which thou hast set up.
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. 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.
The remaining army of Saul melted away for fear, not having the faith of Jonathan who went to battle with his armourbearer and faith in God.
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 [seemed to quake for their fears] quaked: so it was a very great trembling. 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.
Saul numbers the people to see how many have fled and who remains, but Jonathan was missing, being out fighting the Philistines.
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.
Saul asked for the Ark of God and the high priest, to consult with God.
14:18 And Saul said unto Ahiah [the high priest], Bring hither the ark of God. For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel.
Then the Philistines attacked in response to the slaughter by Jonathan; and Saul tells the priest to remove the Ark for safe keeping.
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.
Saul then assembled what was left of his army and a great victory was won over the Philistines; even the collaborators with the Philistines changed sides and fought for Israel.
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. 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.
When those of the army of Israel who had fled heard of the victory, they turned back and joined Saul to finish off the Philistine army.
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.
14:23 So the LORD saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over unto Bethaven.
Saul had made a foolish vow to God that distressed Israel greatly, for Saul had vowed to kill any person that did not fast that day and Israel had to fight fasting.
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.
Thus was Saul, great in war and very weak and foolish spiritually.
14:25 And all they of the land came to a wood; and there was honey upon the ground. 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.
Jonathan mistakenly breaks his father’s vow, out of ignorance
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 [he was strengthened].
Then the people warned Jonathan, but the deed was done
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.
Jonathan then rebuked his father’s vow, pointing out how much greater a victory they might have had had every man been strong.
God’s Word is sweeter than honey to those that truly love the Eternal; let us never leave off from true zeal for the whole Word of God to learn and to internalize the Word of God and to keep it; for therein is our spiritual strength!
Psalm 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
It is through following and living by every Word of God that spiritual victory will be won and sin can be overcome; resulting in entry into the Promised Land of eternal life!
Psalm 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 19:8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
19:9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
19:11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned [to depart from evil]: and in keeping of them there is great reward. 19:12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
19:13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
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. 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? 14:31 And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon: and the people were very faint.
At the setting sun, the people made haste to eat without properly bleeding and preparing the flesh for consumption.
Physically blood is the life of all higher creatures, and the shedding of blood carries with it the thought of death which is the wages of sin.
Spiritually, blood is to be shed for sin; [The wages of sin being death, Romans 6:23] and therefore eating blood carries with it the thought of partaking of sin and death.
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.
Saul sought to correct the people for this sin, and made a place for them to properly kill for food. This is one of the few times that Saul stood up for godliness against the people.
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. 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.
Saul quickly built an altar and corrected the people, lest they be struck down for their sins.
14:35 And Saul built an altar unto the LORD: the same was the first altar that he built unto the LORD.
Then Saul asked God if he should go to fight the Philistines and God would not answer him that day.
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. 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.
Then Saul thought that God did not answer because someone had broken his vow.
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. 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.
Saul then cast lots by the high priest between himself and the people to find the guilty persons.
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.
The lot fell on the guilty one, Jonathan the son of Saul.
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. 14:42 And Saul said, Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan was taken. 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. 14:44 And Saul answered, God do so and more also: for thou shalt surely die, Jonathan.
The people rose up and saved Jonathan, and the army of Israel was stopped from pursuing the Philistines.
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. 14:46 Then Saul went up from following the Philistines: and the Philistines went to their own place.
Saul was then fully established as king of Israel and he became a great warrior king; destroying many enemies of Israel, which helped to prepare the kingdom for his successor David.
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. 14:48 And he gathered an host, and smote the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them.
Saul’s family and his army captain Abner.
After the death of Saul, Abner later joined David.
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 [Me-Khal pronunciation link]: 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.
Abner (Hebrew רנבא “Avner” meaning “father of [or is a] light”), was first cousin to Saul and commander-in-chief of his army (1 Samuel 14:50, 20:25). He is often referred to as the son of Ner.
14:51 And Kish was the father of Saul; and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.
Saul fought continually throughout the days of his kingship to destroy the enemies of Israel and to establish his dynasty.
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.