Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: 1 Samuel
Book: 1 Samuel
Chapter: 14

Jonathan smites the Philistines. (1-15) Their defeat. (16-23)
Saul forbids the people to eat till Evening. (24-35) Jonathan
pointed out By Lot. (36-46) Saul's family. (47-52)

1-15 Saul seems to have been quite at a loss, and unable to
help himself. Those can never think themselves safe who see
themselves out of God's protection. Now he sent for a Priest and
the Ark. He hopes to make up matters with the Almighty By a
partial reformation, as many do whose hearts are unhumbled and
unchanged. Many Love to have ministers who prophesy smooth
things to them. Jonathan felt a Divine impulse and impression,
putting him upon this bold adventure. God will direct the steps
of those that acknowledge him in all their ways, and seek to him
for direction, with full purpose of Heart to follow his
guidance. Sometimes we find most comfort in that which is least
our own doing, and into which we have been led By the unexpected
but Well-observed turns of Divine Providence. There was
trembling 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 the
Hand of God. He that made the Heart, knows how to make it

16-23 The Philistines were, By the power of God, set against
one another. The more evident it was that God did all, the more
reason Saul had to inquire whether God would give him leave to
do any thing. But he was in such haste to fight a fallen enemy,
that he would not stay to End his devotions, nor hear what
answer God would give him. He that believeth, will not make such
haste, nor reckon any business So urgent, as not to allow time
to 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 our
bodies, that daily work cannot be done without daily Bread,
which therefore our Father in Heaven graciously gives. Saul was
turning aside from God, and now he begins to build altars, being
then most zealous, as many are, for the form of Godliness when
he was denying the power of it.

36-46 If God turns away our Prayer, we have reason to suspect
it is for some Sin harboured in our hearts, which we should find
out, that we may Put it away, and Put it to Death. We should
always first suspect and examine ourselves; but an unhumbled
Heart suspects every other person, and looks every where but at
home for the sinful cause of calamity. Jonathan was discovered
to be the offender. Those most indulgent to their own sins are
most severe upon others; those who most disregard God's
authority, are most impatient when their own commands are
slighted. Such as cast abroad curses, endanger themselves and
their families. What do we observe in the whole of Saul's
behaviour On this occasion, but an impetuous, proud, malignant,
impious disposition? And do we not in every instance perceive
that 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. He
had little reason to be proud of his royal dignity, nor had any
of his neighbours cause to envy him, for he had but little
enjoyment after he took the kingdom. And often men's earthly
Glory makes a blaze just before the dark night of disgrace and
woe comes On them.