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Matthew Henry's Commentary – Chapter 14
Chapter 14

We left the host of Israel in a very ill posture, in the close of the foregoing chapter; we saw in them no wisdom, nor strength, nor goodness, to give us ground to expect any other than that they should all be cut off by the army of the Philistines; yet here we find that infinite power which works without means, and that infinite goodness which gives without merit, glorified in a happy turn to their affairs, that still Samuel’s words may be made good: “The Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake,” (1 Sam. 12:22. In this chapter we have, I. The host of the Philistines trampled upon, and triumphed over, by the faith and courage of Jonathan, who unknown to his father (1 Sam. 14:1-3), with his armour-bearer only, made a brave attack upon them, encouraging himself in the Lord his God, 1 Sam. 14:4-7. He challenged them (1 Sam. 14:8-12), and, upon their acceptance of the challenge, charged them with such fury, or rather such faith, that he put them to flight, and set them one against another (1 Sam. 14:13-14), which gave opportunity to Saul and his forces, with other Israelites, to follow the blow, and gain a victory, 1 Sam. 14:16-23. II. The host of Israel troubled and perplexed by the rashness and folly of Saul, who adjured the people to eat no food till night, which 1. Brought Jonathan to a praemunire, 1 Sam. 14:24-30. 2. Was a temptation to the people, when the time of their fast had expired, to eat with the blood,, 1 Sam. 14:31-35. Jonathan’s error, through ignorance, had like to have been his death, but the people rescued him, 1 Sam. 14:36-46. III. In the close we have a general account of Saul’s exploits (1 Sam. 14:47, 48) and of his family, 1 Sam. 14:49-52.