1 Samuel 13-14
The First King: Saul (man’s choice), cont’d. 1 Samuel 9-15
1 Samuel 13:1-23-Saul was 40-years-old when he became king. He reigned for 32 years (until he was 72 years-old).
1 Samuel 13:2-7-Saul attacks the Philistines and they attack back with a much larger army (see vv. 5 and 15 for comparison). Most of Israel leaves and hides...only a few stay with Saul to fight.
1 Samuel 13:8-Samuel had told Saul to do nothing until he got there (10:8). But Saul panicked and offered a sacrifice on his own. Samuel told Saul that because of this act of disobedience God would not give the kingdom to his family, but to another. He said, "The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart" (:14). Because the Philistines would not allow a blacksmith to live in Israel they had no swords or spears with which to fight.
1 Samuel 14:1-23-Jonathan took his armor bearer and snuck into the enemy camp. They attack and kill some of the guards...causing a panic among the enemy. Back in the Israelite camp…some guards noticed that panic was spreading in the Philistine camp. Saul told the priest to consult God through the Ark (:18). But then he decided that there was not time (:19)…and ordered an attack. The Israelites who had previously deserted to the Philistine camp now joined in the battle. As word spread, those Israelites who had begun to go back to their villages came back and also joined the battle.
1 Samuel 14:24-46-Because the battle was so intense and Saul didn’t want anyone to stop fighting before it was over…he made a rash vow that anyone who eats before the battle is over would be cursed. Jonathan was not aware of this and ate some wild honey. When the battle was finally over...because the people had not eaten anything because of Saul's vow...they killed the animals that the Philistines had left behind and ate the meat "with the blood", they ate it raw. Saul built an altar to the LORD (:35-the first he would build). God did not answer. Saul then made another rash vow (:39) that whoever he found guilty of eating food and leading the people to sin would die...even if it was Jonathan. Saul was ready to kill Jonathan for breaking his command...but the people kept him from doing so...attributing their victory to Jonathan (:45).
1 Samuel 14:47-52-The war against the Philistines continued throughout all of Saul’s life. Anytime Saul saw a man who was mighty in battle he made him a part of his military staff. Abner was his captain.
Prayer: Lord, I love the words of Jonathon when he said, “…the LORD is not restrained to save by many or by few” (14:6). Please give me that kind of faith. Help me to be always be mindful that it is not the size of the army that is in Your hand, that matters. But what matters is the strength of Your hand that holds the army.