1 Samuel 14* Jonathan smites the Philistines. (1-15) Their defeat. (16-23)Saul forbids the people to eat till evening. (24-35) Jonathanpointed out by lot. (36-46) Saul's family. (47-52)1-15 Saul seems to have been quite at a loss, and unable tohelp himself. Those can never think themselves safe who seethemselves out of God's protection. Now he sent for a priest andthe ark. He hopes to make up matters with the Almighty by apartial reformation, as many do whose hearts are unhumbled andunchanged. Many love to have ministers who prophesy smooththings to them. Jonathan felt a Divine impulse and impression,putting him upon this bold adventure. God will direct the stepsof those that acknowledge him in all their ways, and seek to himfor direction, with full purpose of heart to follow hisguidance. Sometimes we find most comfort in that which is leastour own doing, and into which we have been led by the unexpectedbut well-observed turns of Divine providence. There wastrembling in the host. It is called a trembling of God,signifying, not only a great trembling they could not resist,nor reason themselves out of, but that it came at once from thehand of God. He that made the heart, knows how to make ittremble. 16-23 The Philistines were, by the power of God, set againstone another. The more evident it was that God did all, the morereason Saul had to inquire whether God would give him leave todo any thing. But he was in such haste to fight a fallen enemy,that he would not stay to end his devotions, nor hear whatanswer God would give him. He that believeth, will not make suchhaste, nor reckon any business so urgent, as not to allow timeto take God with him. 24-35 Saul's severe order was very unwise; if it gained time,it lost strength for the pursuit. Such is the nature of ourbodies, that daily work cannot be done without daily bread,which therefore our Father in heaven graciously gives. Saul wasturning aside from God, and now he begins to build altars, beingthen most zealous, as many are, for the form of godliness whenhe was denying the power of it. 36-46 If God turns away our prayer, we have reason to suspectit is for some sin harboured in our hearts, which we should findout, that we may put it away, and put it to death. We shouldalways first suspect and examine ourselves; but an unhumbledheart suspects every other person, and looks every where but athome for the sinful cause of calamity. Jonathan was discoveredto be the offender. Those most indulgent to their own sins aremost severe upon others; those who most disregard God'sauthority, are most impatient when their own commands areslighted. Such as cast abroad curses, endanger themselves andtheir families. What do we observe in the whole of Saul'sbehaviour on this occasion, but an impetuous, proud, malignant,impious disposition? And do we not in every instance perceivethat man, left to himself, betrays the depravity of his nature,and is enslaved to the basest tempers. 47-52 Here is a general account of Saul's court and camp. Hehad little reason to be proud of his royal dignity, nor had anyof his neighbours cause to envy him, for he had but littleenjoyment after he took the kingdom. And often men's earthlyglory makes a blaze just before the dark night of disgrace andwoe comes on them.
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