I Samuel 14:24-52

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Text: I Samuel 14:24-52



From time to time you may hear people talk about decisions they have made which, later on, they wish they had never made.

How many young men have joined the Marine Corps in order to get away from their parents because they were tired of their parents always ordering them around? Five minutes after meeting up with their first drill instructor, how many of them wished they were back home with mom and dad?

How many young men have joined the Navy to see the world and have ended up in a submarine which stays under water for about 6 months at a time? What they see is the inside of the submarine until they get where they are going.

We need to force ourselves to think through things carefully rather than to do rash things without thinking. God gave us brains which He expects us to use.

Proverbs 29:20 - Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

Not only do we need to learn to think before we speak, but we also need to learn listen before we speak. We should remember that God gave each of us two ears but only one mouth. The person who is hasty in his words may blurt out thoughtless and insensitive remarks, which he might not make if he were to think about them. He may make commitments which he lives to regret.

James 1:19 - Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

Do you remember the story of Joshua and the Gibeonites? Before we turn to it, let's consider God's instructions to Israel found in Exodus 34:10-16 .

Exodus 34:10-16 - 10 And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee. 11 Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: 13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves [i.e. their Asherah poles or their (wooden) images]: 14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: 15 Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice (this would involve the Israelites in the worship of idols); 16 And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.

Joshua 9:3-18 - 3 And when the inhabitants of Gibeon [they were Hivites whom the Israelites were supposed to drive out of the land - when they] heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, 4 They did work wilily [i.e. craftily], and went and made as if they had been ambassadors [i.e. they pretended to be ambassadors or envoys], and took old sacks upon their asses [i.e. upon their donkeys], and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up [i.e. torn and mended winebottles]; 5 And old shoes and clouted upon their feet [i.e. old and patched sandals upon their feet], and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy. 6 And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league [i.e. covenant or treaty] with us. 7 And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure [i.e. perhaps] ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league [i.e. covenant or treaty] with you? 8 And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye? 9 And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt, 10 And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth. 11 Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals [i.e. take provisions] with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us. 12 This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy: 13 And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent [i.e. torn]: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey. 14 And the men took of their victuals [i.e. some of their provisions], and [Oh, no!] asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD. 15 And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league [i.e. a covenant or treaty] with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them. 16 And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league [i.e. a covenant or treaty] with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them. 17 And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kirjathjearim. 18 And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the princes.

Had they consulted the Lord, they would not have made this treaty with the Gibeonites.

Do you remember the incident of Jephthah making a rash vow?

Judges 11:30-35 - 30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, 31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. 32 So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands. 33 And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel. 34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances [Oh, no!]: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent [i.e. tore] his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.

In I Samuel 14:24-52 we also see a rash order issued by Saul and the consequences it brought.


I Samuel 14:24-26 - (24) And the men of Israel were distressed [i.e. hard pressed] that day: for Saul had adjured the people [i.e. Saul had put the people under an oath], 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. (25) And all they of the land came to a wood; and there was honey upon the ground. (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.

Saul's rash order did not consult God or God's word.

James 1:5 - If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Saul's rash order did not consult God's man, i.e. Samuel.

Saul's rash order did not consult God's wise men.

Proverbs 11:14 - Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

People who do not think things through before acting may find that decisions they make have many unintended consequences. Similarly, legislators who pass laws without reading them may find that they have brought about many unintended consequences.

Saul's rash order did not think. God gave people brains. He expects us to use the brains He has given us. Saul did not anticipate the consequences his rash order produced.


I Samuel 14:27-28 - (27) But Jonathan heard not when his father charged the people with the oath: wherefore he put forth the end of the rod [or staff] that was in his hand, and dipped it in an honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened. (28) Then answered one of the people, and said, Thy father straitly [i.e. strictly] charged the people with an oath, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food this day. And the people were faint.


I Samuel 14:29-30 - (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. (30) How much more, if haply [i.e. if only] the people had eaten freely to day of the spoil [i.e. of the plunder] of their enemies which they found? for had there not been now a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?


I Samuel 14:31-32 - (31) And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon [i.e. Aijalon was located fifteen miles to the west of Michmash toward the Mediterranean Sea.]: and the people were very faint. (32) And the people flew upon the spoil [i.e. plunder], and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, and slew them on the ground: and the people did eat them with the blood.

Eating the flesh of animals without draining the blood was forbidden.

Genesis 9:4 - But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

Inasmuch as Genesis 9:4 was given before the Mosaic law, this also applies to believers today.

Leviticus 17:10-14 - 10 And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. 11 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 maketh an atonement for the soul. 12 Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. 13 And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. 14 For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.


I Samuel 14:33-46 - (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 [i.e. Roll a large stone over here at once.]. (34) And Saul said, Disperse yourselves among the people, and say unto them, Bring me hither [i.e. here] 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. (35) And Saul built an altar unto the Lord: the same was the first altar that he built unto the Lord. (36) And Saul said, Let us go down after the Philistines by night, and spoil [i.e. plunder] 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 [i.e. Let us draw near to God here]. (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. (38) And Saul said, Draw ye near hither [i.e. here], all the chief of the people: and know and see wherein this sin hath been this day [Saul assumed that there had been sin in not heeding his rash order, but no answer from the Lord might have been for some other reason.]. (39) For, as the Lord liveth, which saveth Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die [Saul would almost be forced to eat these words in a little while]. But there was not a man among all the people that answered him. (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. (41) Therefore Saul said unto 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 thou hast done. And Jonathan told him, and said, I did but taste a little honey with the end of the rod [or staff] that was in mine hand, and, lo, I must die. (44) And Saul answered, God do so and more also: for thou shalt surely die, Jonathan [Saul was ready to execute Jonathan, his own son, in order to save face with the people]. (45) And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought [i.e. brought about or accomplished] 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 [i.e. worked] with God this day. So the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not. (46) Then Saul went up from following the Philistines: and the Philistines went to their own place.

While Saul spent time unnecessarily trying to find out who had disobeyed his rash order, what do you suppose the Philistines were doing? They were escaping. Because of his rash order, the victory was not as great as it might otherwise have been.

A summary of some of Saul's military victories

I Samuel 14:47-48 - (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 [i.e. he inflicted punishment on them or harassed them]. (48) And he gathered an host [i.e. an army], and smote [i.e. attacked] the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them [i.e. plundered them].

Details concerning Saul's family

I Samuel 14:49-51 - (49) Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, and Ishui, and Melchi-shua: and the names of his two daughters were these; the name of the firstborn 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 [i.e. of his army] was Abner, the son of Ner, Saul's uncle [Ner was Saul's uncle; Abner was Saul's cousin.]. (51) And Kish was the father of Saul; and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.

A fulfillment of Samuel's prediction that the king would draft Israel's valiant sons into military service.

I Samuel 14:52 - (52) And there was sore [i.e. fierce] 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.

This was consistent with I Samuel 8:11

I Samuel 8:11 - And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.


Be careful about doing things rashly without praying about them, without thinking them through, and without getting good advice from a number of people. The unintended consequences may be disastrous.