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Chapter Fourteen (ESV)


36 Then Saul said, “Let us go down after the Philistines by night and plunder them until the morning light; let us not leave a man of them.” And they said, “Do whatever seems good to you.” But the priest said, “Let us draw near to God here.” 37 And Saul inquired of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into the hand of Israel?” But he did not answer him that day. 38 And Saul said, “Come here, all you leaders of the people, and know and see how this sin has arisen today. 39 For as the Lord lives who saves Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” But there was not a man among all the people who answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, “You shall be on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side.” And the people said to Saul, “Do what seems good to you.” 41 Therefore Saul said, “O Lord God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant this day? If this guilt is in me or in Jonathan my son, O Lord, God of Israel, give Urim. But if this guilt is in your people Israel, give Thummim.” And Jonathan and Saul were taken, but the people escaped. 42 Then Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan was taken.


43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” And Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the tip of the staff that was in my hand. Here I am; I will die.” 44 And Saul said, “God do so to me and more also; you shall surely die, Jonathan.” 45 Then the people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has worked this great salvation in Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.” So the people ransomed Jonathan, so that he did not die. 46 Then Saul went up from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.



  1. Note the interactions between King Saul and his subjects: “Do whatever seems best to you”(vv36,40) , “But not one of them said a word ”(v39), “Never”(v45). In detail after detail, we see Saul’s authority erode. Ostensibly, Saul was king, but Jonathan was doing all the work.
  2. As God’s spirit receded from Saul, he became more and more anxious and religious. He rashly and foolishly made an unwise and unnecessary oath. After receiving no reply from God, he decided to root out the cause in order to show his piety to God and his faithfulness to his vow. He even wanted kill his son Jonathan who is the real hero for their victory.
  3. All of Saul’s religion was merely an external show and not an inward reality. What about me? Are all my religious activities (attending Worship, cell, Bible reading and prayer, etc.) just outward show or inward reality?



Meditate on this verse with my name in as if God is speaking to me. Listen and respond.

“(Fill in my name) comes near to me with (my name) mouth and honors me with (my name) lips, but (my name) heart is far from me. (my name) worships of me is based on merely human rules (my name) has been taught.(Ref Is 29:13)