I Samuel 14 Notes

Chapter 14


v. 1:  With this and every other account of Jonathan, the author illustrates what a good and faithful king Jonathan would have been, in contrast to his father.


v. 9:  Jonathan is assuming that it is the LORD’s will that they fight the Philistines.  The only thing in question here is the best place to fight them; therefore, Jonathan devises this method of inquiring of the LORD through the mouths of his enemies.


v. 35:  Why mention this?  The writer seems to be pointing out Saul’s mistakes and faults throughout this section, so perhaps it is a negative comment.


v. 39:  This vow has an arrogant nature to it, and the fact that it was foolish can be seen in at least three ways:

1) its weakening effect on the people as they pursued their enemy

2) the pendulum effect which its severity had on the people once they did start eating

3) the fact that its curse wound up falling on Saul’s own son, the hero of the day.

As to whether or not Jonathan sinned by breaking it, I’m unsure.  I do not think that the lot fell on him by chance, so he probably did sin, technically, but the fact that the vow was foolish, and not his own, and (initially) broken in ignorance seems to have exonerated him of personal responsibility.  Neither the narrative voice nor God as a character in the story requires that he be personally punished for the transgression (in contrast to Achan, for instance – See Joshua 7:10-26).  A close (but not exact) parallel would be Jephthah’s dilemma in Judges 11:29-40 (See notes).  David breaks an oath in chapter twenty-five because he comes to realize that the oath itself was evil, and he is praised for the decision to break it.



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