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+ Heb. Be still.
c1 Mac. 4. 30.
A divine terror seizeth the Philistines. I. SAMUEL.
Sauls unadvised adjuration 9 If they say thus unto us, + Tarry 17 Then said Saul unto the
peoabout 1087, until we come to you; then we will ple that were with him, Number now, about 1087.
stand still in our place, and will not and see who is gone from us. And
when they had numbered, behold,
the ark of God was at that time with
and Saul said unto the priest, With12 And the men of the garrison draw thine hand. answered Jonathan and his armour 20 And Saul and all the people bearer, and said, Come up to us, and that were with him f assembled them- + Heb. were we will shew you a thing. And selves, and they came to the battle : cogether. Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, and, behold, every man's sword was a Jude. 22.2. Come up after me: for the LORD against his fellow, and there was a 23. hath delivered them into the hand of very great discomfiture. Israel.
21 Moreover the Hebrews that
with the Israelites that were with Saul
was about twenty men, within as it which had hid themselves in mount || Or, half a were || an half acre of land, which a Ephraim, when they heard that the yoke of oxen might plow.
Philistines fled, even they also fol-
distressed that day : for Saul had ad-
furrow of an acre of land.
+ Heb. a
trembling of trembling:
10. — this shall be a sign unto us.] This shall be a to mean the ark of the covenant which contained the watchword to us, presaging our certain victory. Bp. tables of the Decalogue, but another ark or chest, which Hall. Hence it appears, that the undertaking of Jona- was made for the conveniency of carrying about the than proceeded wholly from a Divine instinct, which sacred ephod with the Urim and Thummim, that they had suggested to him what is contained in this and the might be able to consult God on any sudden emergency. foregoing verse, as a sign of what they were to do. Dr. Dr. Berriman. Wells.
23. — the battle passed over unto Beth-aven.] These 15. - and the earth quaked :] Some think there was words seem to imply that the fight continued till they a real earthquake, which increased their fear; but it came to this place, which lay westward from Michmash, may be no more than a metaphorical expression for the chap. xiii. 5; and there the Philistines threw down their great tumult into which they were thrown. Bp. Pa- arms, and fled as fast as they could to their own country. trick.
Bp. Patrick. 16. — the multitude melted away,] The multitude of 24.--for Saul had adjured] As Saul's intention in the Philistines grew less and less, from the confusion making this adjuration was good, namely, to execute into which they were thrown. Dr. Wells.
vengeance on the enemies of God and his people; so 18.
Bring hither the ark of God.] The ark men- the matter of the obligation was not in itself unlawful, tioned here, as also at 2 Sam. xi. 11, is understood not if he had not been so rigorous in the exclusion of food,
altar he began to build unto the LORD.
hindereth the victory.
CHAP. XIV. The people restrained from eating blood. 25 And all they of the land came
33 Then they told Saul, saying, chekerst about 1087, to a wood; and there was honey upon Behold, the people sin against the about 1087, the ground.
Lord, in that they eat with the 26 And when the people were blood. And he said, Ye have || trans- ! Or, dealt come into the wood, behold, the gressed : 'roll a great stone unto me ousty. honey dropped; but no man put his this day. hand to his mouth : for the people
34 Ånd Saul said, Disperse yourfeared the oath.
selves among the people, and say 27 But Jonathan heard not when unto them, Bring me hither every his father charged the people with man his ox, and every man his sheep, the oath : wherefore he put forth the and slay them here, and eat; and sin end of the rod that was in his hand, not against the Lord in eating with and dipped it in an honeycomb, and the blood. And all the people brought put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes every man his ox + with him that + Heb. in his were enlightened.
night, and slew them there. 28 Then answered one of the 35 And Saul built an altar unto people, and said, Thy father straitly the Lord: † the same was the first + Heb. that charged the people with an oath, altar that he built unto the LORD. saying, Cursed be the man that eat 36 9 And Saul said, Let us go
eth any food this day. And the down after the Philistines by night, | Or, weary, people were || faint.
and spoil them until the morning, 29 Then said Jonathan, My fa- light, and let us not leave a man of ther hath troubled the land: see, I them. And they said, Do whatsopray you, how mine eyes have been ever seemeth good unto thee.
hither unto God.
38 And Saul said, Draw ye near
hath been this day.
calves, and slew them on the ground: than my son, he shall surely die. e Lev. 7. 26. and the people did eat them with But there was not a man among all the blood.
the people that answered him.
& 19. 26. Deut. 12. 16.
without any exception for cases of necessity, and in began eating the animals while there was some natural obliging the people to it under pain of an accursed warmth in them, and the possibility of life remaining. death, which was a punishment far exceeding the fault. Dr. J. Clarke. Poole.
33. — roll a great stone unto me this day.] He desires 25.-- there was honey upon the ground.] Which them to roll a great stone unto him, for the purpose of dropped from the hollow trees or the clefts of rocks, building an altar, as is related at ver. 35, in order that where bees make their combs in that country, as they they might slaughter their animals on it before God, do sometimes on the ground. Wild honey was so and under his own view; or else that the blood of the copious there, and flowed so plentifully, that it gave animal slaughtered might sooner run off, by its head occasion to the hyperbolical expression in the book of hanging from the stone ; for, before, they had been Job, chap. xx. 17, of brooks or torrents of honey and slaughtering their animals on the level ground, by butter. Bp. Patrick.
which means the blood was so long in running off, that, 27.- and his eyes were enlightened.] He received in the impatience of their hunger, they could not wait new strength, by which all his senses were cheered and for it.—"This day,” means “ now,"
" at this time." revived. Bp. Hall.
Poole's Syn. Critic. 32. — did eat them with the blood.] For want of 35. — built an altar unto the Lord :] To offer sacripatience to dress their provisions in due form, they ate fices of peace offerings, and to give thanks to God for their flesh, half boiled and half roasted, with the blood this great victory; though others think it was a monunot duly drained from it, contrary to the express in- ment in the form of an altar, in remembrance of the junction of their law, Lev. vii. 26; xix. 26; Deut. xv. Divine mercy in the late deliverance. Bp. Patrick. 23; xii. 16. Pyle. It seems probable, that on this oc 38. — wherein this sin hath been] From God's not casion the people, in their haste to satisfy their hunger, regarding his supplication, he concluded that some
Before CHRIST about 1087.
Jonathan taken by lot.
Saul's strength and family. 40 Then said he unto all Israel, Israel out of the hands of them that about 1087, Be ye on one side, and I and Jona- spoiled them.
than my son will be on the other side. 49 Now the sons of Saul were
41 Therefore Saul said unto the daughters were these ; the name of || Or, Shew LORD God of Israel, || Give a the firstborn Merab, and the name
perfect lot. And Saul and Jonathan of the younger Michal : Heb. went were taken : but the people t es 50 And the name of Saul's wife
was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahi-
Ner, Saul's uncle.
and when Saul saw any strong man,
Saul favoureth the Kenites. 8 He spareth
Agag and the best of the spoil. 10 Samuel
denounceth unto Saul, commending and exshall not one hair of his head fall to cusing himself, God's rejection of him for the ground; for he hath wrought with
his disobedience, 24 Saul's humiliation.
32 Samuel killeth Agag. 34 Samuel and
AMUEL also said unto Saul, about 1079. Philistines : Phi · The LORD sent me to anoint a Chap. 9. 16. listines went to their own place. thee to be king over his people, over
47 q So Saul took the kingdom Israel : now therefore hearken thou over Israel, and fought against all his unto the voice of the words of the enemies on every side, against Moab, LORD. and against the children of Ammon, 2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, and against Edom, and against the I remember that which Amalek did kings of Zobah, and against the Phi- to Israel, ”how he laid wait for him Exod. 17. listines: and whithersoever he turned in the way, when he came up from himself, he vexed them.
Egypt | Or,
48 And he ll gathered an host, and 3 Now go and smite Amalek, and wrought mighlily.
smote the Amalekites, and delivered utterly destroy all that they have,
8. Numb, 24.
sin had been committed, which had provoked his dis- for inadvertently incurring the curse, had not the people pleasure. Bp. Patrick.
interfered in his favour. Dr. Hales. 41. - Give a perfect lot.] The word “lot” is not in 52. — he took him unto him.] That is, he chose the the original: but the Hebrew words signify give perfect, best men for strength and courage to be his guards, and that is, declare who is innocent. Bp. Patrick.
to be preferred in the army. Pyle. 45. So the people rescued Jonathan,] By their petition to Saul, and also by earnest prayers to God, who Chap. XV. ver. 3. — go and smite Amalek, &c.] This perhaps signified to the high priest that He approved heavy sentence was pronounced against the Amalekites the people's desire, and annulled Saul's oath as rash long ago, Exod. xvii. 14; and renewed at the entrance and inconsiderate. Dr. Wells.
of the Israelites into Canaan, with a charge not to forget Saul's conduct on this memorable day was rash and it, Deut. xxv. 19: the order is now given to put it in impolitick in the extreme. Instead of trusting in the execution. Bp. Patrick. It may justly be esteemed a Lord to avenge him of his enemies, like his pious son question of some difficulty, whence it might come to Jonathan, he cursed any of the people who would eat pass that God should give so very severe a command. food until the evening, that nothing might interrupt There certainly cannot happen any case, wherein it the slaughter : but he "troubled the land” thereby, for would be justifiable for any mortal power, upon his own the people, growing faint with hunger, were forced to authority, to take upon to deal in such a manner with transgress; and Jonathan would have suffered death any enemy whatever. But God, who is the supreme
Before CHRIST about 1079.
He destroyeth the Amalekites.
Agag is spared.
of the sword. 4 And Saul gathered the people 9 But Saul and the people spared together, and numbered them in | Agag, and the best of the sheep, and Telaim, two hundred thousand foot of the oxen, and || of the fatlings, and I or, of the men, and ten thousand men of the lambs, and all that was good, and Judah.
would not utterly destroy them: but
10 | Then came the word of the
8 And he took Agag the king of Carmel, and, behold, he set him up
Author and Lord of all, and who has an unquestioned 7.- from Havilah &c.] That is, the whole extent of right to take away that life which He Himself at first the country of Arabia, of which Havilah was the bounfreely gave, and who alone can without errour judge dary on the north-east, and Shur on the south-west. Bp. when a nation has filled up the measure of their ini- Patrick. quity, and who in the life to come can without respect 9. - spared Agag, &c.] In this Saul disobeyed the of persons distinguish equitably the case of every indi-commandment of God, and followed his own fancy and vidual person, which in the exemplary severity of a affection, being either struck with admiration of the national judgment was not proper to be distinguished personal appearance of Agag, or else intending to lead here; He may, very consistently with justice and equity, him in triumph. Bp. Patrick. Here Saul was guilty command such universal judgments to be inflicted, when of two very great faults : 1st, of covetousness, in preand where He thinks fit : there being in reality no dif- serving for himself the best of all those spoils which ference whether He commands a whole nation, without God had expressly commanded to be utterly destroyed ; distinction of persons to be destroyed in war, as in the 2ndly, of vanity and ostentation, in taking Agag the present case of Amalek and thatof the nations of Canaan; king of Amalek alive, and bringing him with him in or whether He consumes them by a flood, as at the uni- triumph, when God had peremptorily commanded him versal deluge; or by fire from heaven, as in the case of to destroy them all. Dr. S. Clarke. Sodom ; or by a sudden earthquake, or by pestilential 11. It repenteth me that I have set up &c.] Meaning, diseases, or by a natural death. All these things in the that He had resolved to cast him down from the throne. hand of God, who ruleth over all, and who hath an un- Repentance in God implies only a change in his dispendoubted
power and right over that life which He Him-sation towards his creatures : it is ascribed to God when self gave, and who in the world to come can make that He alters his course and method of dealing, and treats exact distinction of persons, which there is no necessity a person as if He indeed repented of the kindness He should be made here; in his hand, I say, all these things had shewed him. Bp. Patrick. God speaks as a man, are equally proper instruments of justice; and without to make Himself understood of men. Wogan. See all question He may destroy a wicked nation by what notes at Gen. vi. 6. means He Himself thinks fit. Dr. S. Clarke. The and hath not performed my commandments.] This severity of this sentence has given offence to infidels and very king Saul, but a little time before would have put false philanthropists; but without any just ground. The his brave son Jonathan to death only for taking a little Amalekites had all along shewn the most determined honey, contrary to his command. Behold here the and inveterate hostility towards the Israelites, by way- pride and impiety of man's heart, full of resentment, laying them, and prematurely attacking them, and join if his own unreasonable will be not in all things coming their enemies, Deut. xxv. 18 ; Numb. xiv. 43; Judg. plied with, and quite negligent and forgetful of the holy ii. 13, &c. : and, besides, were great sinners themselves, will of God! Whereby he plainly honours himself far i Sam. xv. 18; but they were not cut off till their ini- above his Maker, expecting the greatest deference to his quity had come to the full, as was the case of the de- own word, while at the same time he pays little or no voted nations in general, Gen. xv. 16; and after a res reverence to that of the Most High. Reading. pite of more than 400 years from the time when their 12. - came to Carmel,] Not the famous mountain sentence was first pronounced, Exod. xvii
. 8 ; of which so called, but a city in the south part of the tribe of they could not be ignorant, but which they might have Judah, mentioned" Josh. xv. 55, which seems to have averted by repentance. They were therefore fit objects given name to the territory round it. Eusebius and of the vengeance of the righteous Judge of all the earth, St. Jerome mention, that there was in their time a town to be inflicted by the sword of the Israelites, the execu- called Carmelia, ten miles from Hebron to the east, in tioners of his decrees. Dr. Hales.
which the Romans kept a garrison, which might very
+ Heb. they
God's rejection of Saul
for his disobedience. CHRIst a place, and is gone about, and pass- | destroy the sinners the Amalekites, about 1079. ed on, and gone down to Gilgal. and fight against them until † they be about 1079,
13 And Samuel came to Saul : consumed.
14 And Samuel said, What mean the sight of the LORD?
LORD, and have gone the way which
the things which should have been
17 And Samuel said, When thou ings and sacrifices, as in obeying the
23 For rebellion is as the sin of 18 And the Lord sent thee on a t witcheraft, and stubbornness is as + Heb. journey, and said, Go and utterly iniquity and idolatry. Because thou
Matt. 9. 13. & 12. 7.
well be the same with the Carmel here mentioned. Dr. The meaning is, that a virtuous and good life is better, Wells.
not only than Jewish rites and ceremonies, but better - he set him up a place,] Meaning either that he even than the best of any other worship that is paid to encamped there for the night, or that he erected a tri- God, either on earth or in heaven. Nevertheless, as the umphal arch in celebration of his victory. Dr. Wells. one ought above all things to be done, so the other
13. Blessed be thou of the Lord :) A form of sa- ought not by any means to be left undone; nay, the lutation, wishing him all happiness from God; who worshipping Him is part of that very obedience, and a had ordered him to undertake this service. Bp. Pa- means to enable men to perform more acceptably the trick.
other parts of their obedience to Him. Dr. S. Clarke. I have performed &c.] It might seem from this In the case of sacrifice, and all other ritual observances, confident address to the Prophet, that Saul expected it was the inward principle of humble and dutiful obepraise and not reproof for what he had done; but, as dience which made them acceptable : the outward obappears from the Prophet's answer, while the sinner servance, when separate from that, is vain and insignineither saw nor heard his sins, they cried aloud in the ficant. Dr. Berriman. There can be no excuse for ears of God. We cannot but notice here the strange swerving from the precise rule which God hath preblindness of a carnal and worldly heart; we are all too scribed to us; nor must we propound a religion out of apt, like Saul, to mistake a part for the whole of our the good purposes and intentions of piety and devotion, duty, and even to pride ourselves in such a partial obe- for our convenience, while for the present we decline a dience, as if it was uniform and complete. Wogan. fundamental point of our religion, obedience to what
15. - the people spared] This was a mean excuse, He has commanded. We are not judges what is to be to throw all the blame upon the people, when he him- preserved, or which is the way of preserving. It may self was principally in fault, and when he had it in his be God thinks it fit that our estates, liberties, and lives, power to govern the people better. Bp. Patrick. As should be sacrificed to his truth, and for the defence of one sin naturally draws on another, Saul having first it; and then, the redeeming either by artifices or comtransgressed in the principal action, falls into other con- pliances is no less than sacrilege. What He hath detinual provocations. On Samuel's coming to meet him, termined shall be destroyed or utterly lost to us, must ver. 13, he first presumptuously declares that he had not be kept for sacrifices; and what He hath appointed obeyed the commandment of the Lord. When the for sacrifice to Him, must not be preserved to ourselves. falsity of this declaration was immediately laid open, Lord Clarendon. by the spoils which he had taken being present before 23. — rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, &c.] The him, he endeavours to transfer the fault from himself word we here render“ witchcraft," signifies the followto others, ver. 15, as if what the people did was not done ing of divinations and enchantments, which were superby his direction and authority. This being too apparent stitions forbidden with the severest penalties under the to be denied, he next adds an excuse drawn from a pre- law, and were justly looked upon as a renouncing of tence of religion ; which was as much as to say, we God, in having recourse to other real or imaginary have disobeyed the commandment of God in order to powers in opposition to Him. When therefore a crime serve Him. Dr. S. Clarke.
is said to be “ as the sin of witchcraft," the meaning is, 22. - Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, &c.] that it is a fault of so deep a die, of so heinous and pro