- Saul and Jonathan's life-guard, verse 1, 2.
- Jonathan smites a garrison, and the people are called together, verse 3, 4.
- The Philistines come up, and the Israelites are terrified, verse 5-7.
- Saul sacrifices, verse 8-10.
- Is reproved by Samuel, verse 11-14.
- The people diminished, plundered, and disarmed, verse 15-23.
Blew - That is, he sent messengers to tell them all what Jonathan had done, and how the Philistines were enraged at it, and therefore what necessity there was of gathering themselves together for their own defence.
Saul - Perhaps contrary to some treaty.
Thirty thousand chariots, &c. - Most of them, we may suppose, carriages for their baggage, not chariots of war, tho' all their allies were joined with them.
Strait - Notwithstanding their former presumption that if they had a king, they should be free from all such straits. And hereby God intended to teach them the vanity of confidence in men; and that they did not one jot less need the help of God now, than they did when they had no king. And probably they were the more discouraged, because they did not find Samuel with Saul. Sooner or later men will be made to see, that God and his prophets are their best friends.
All the people - That is, all that were left.
Seven days - Not seven compleat days; for the last day was not finished.
Camest not - That is, when the seventh day was come, and a good part of it past, whence I concluded thou wouldst not come that day.
Supplication - Thence it appears, that sacrifices were accompanied with solemn prayers. Forced myself - I did it against my own mind and inclination.
For ever - The phrase, for ever, in scripture often signifies only a long time. So this had been abundantly verified, if the kingdom had been enjoyed by Saul, and by his son, and by his son's son; after whom the kingdom might have come to Judah.
A man - That is, such a man as will fulfil all the desires of his heart, and not oppose them, as thou dost. Commanded - That is, hath appointed, as the word command is sometimes used: but though God threatened but Saul with the loss of his kingdom for his sin; yet it is not improbable, there was a tacit condition implied, to wit, if he did not repent of this; and of all his sins; for the full, and final, and peremptory sentence of Saul's rejection, is plainly ascribed to another cause, chap. 15:11,23,26,28,29, and 'till that second offence, neither the spirit of the Lord departed from him, nor was David anointed in his stead. "But was it not hard, to punish so little a sin so severely?" It was not little: disobedience to an express command, tho' in a small matter, is a great provocation. And indeed, there is no little sin, because there is no little god to sin against. In general, what to men seems a small offence, to him who knows the heart may appear a heinous crime. We are taught hereby, how necessary it is, that we wait on our God continually. For Saul is sentenced to lose his kingdom for want of two or three hours patience.
Philistines - Not to the land of the Philistines, but to the stations and garrisons which the Philistines retained in several parts of Israel's land, though Samuel's authority had so far over-awed them, that they durst not give the Israelites much disturbance. In these, therefore, the Philistines kept all the smiths; and here they allowed them the exercise of their art for the uses following.
Sword - It seems restrained to the six hundred that were with Saul and Jonathan; for there were no doubt a considerable number of swords and spears among the Israelites, but they generally hid them, as now they did their persons, from the Philistines. And the Philistines had not yet attained to so great a power over them, as wholly to disarm them, but thought it sufficient to prevent the making of new arms; knowing that the old ones would shortly be decayed, and useless. There were likewise other arms more common in those times and places, than swords and spears; to wit, bows and arrows, and slings and stones.