Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Saul's Foolish Command: No Food

By Mary Vee
I Samuel 14

Journal Entry From A Solider in Saul's Army

This morning King Saul ordered, actually, he made us promise not to eat any food for the entire day.

We had several battles against the Philistines during the last few days from Michmash all the way to Aijalon. We were tired and needed something to eat.

The prophet Samuel had refused to come to the battle scenes because King Saul disobeyed the Lord's commands. Without the Lord's blessing we wouldn't win. The Philistines out ranked us in every category.

King Saul paced around like a hungry lion this morning. No one could sooth his angry spirit. Before any soldier had a chance to eat Saul rallied the troops. He ordered us to raise our right hands and promise: "Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies."

We marched and fought all day long. My stomach growled. I forced myself to march forward as sweat dripped down my back. My head wobbled and dizziness overwhelmed me. 

We came upon a forest and found honey on the ground. I wanted to dip my hand into the gooey sweet food that would satisfy my stomach, but I resisted. I would not disobey my king.

Jonathan, the king's son had been missing all day. I heard he went with his armor bearer and attacked a band of Philistines and that he was successful. He wasn't at the camp this morning when King Saul made us take the oath not to eat. About evening time Jonathan found us in the woods and greeted everyone. He noticed the honey dripping. He stretched out the end of his rod and dipped it in a honeycomb. 

Jonathan closed his eyes and smacked his lips. When he opened his eyes, he smiled. My stomach growled again. Oh how I wish I could have some of that honey.

One of the soldiers stepped close to Jonathan and whispered, "Your father strictly ordered the people not to eat any food today or they would be cursed."

Jonathan looked at the soldiers standing around him. "You're kidding. Really? Is that why you all look weak and unable to fight? I ate the honey and now my strength is restored. If you had been able to eat freely, you might have killed more Philistines."

Before the evening battle, Saul ordered a sacrifice to be given. He asked the Lord if we should fight the Philistines that night. The Lord did not answer him. That's when Saul became filled with rage. 

He called a meeting of the chiefs. "Come see who has committed a sin today. A sin that has kept the Lord from talking to us. As the Lord lives, even if the sinner is Jonathan, he will surely die." None of the chiefs answered him..

Saul took Jonathan and stood away from the people. "Cast lots between the people and us to show who has sinned." The lot fell on Saul and Jonathan. Then Saul moved away from Jonathan and said again, "Cast lots between Jonathan and me." The lot fell on Jonathan.

Saul screamed at Jonathan, "What did you do?"

"Father, I only tasted a little honey with the end of my rod. So, because of your rule, I must die?"

Saul shook his head. "Yes. You deserve more than death for disobeying me, Jonathan."

The other soldiers and I wouldn't allow the injustice any longer. We stood together, strong against Saul. "Shall Jonathan die? Certainly not! He's the one who brought about this great deliverance in Israel. This morning he fought a band of Philistines while we sat here with you. He obeyed God. As the Lord lives, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground for he has worked with God this day."

And because we stood up for Jonathan, Saul did not punish him. 

1. What did King Saul make the soldiers promise?
2. Why did he do that?
3. Who disobeyed the promise? Why?
4. What was wrong with the promise Saul force the soldiers to make?
5. When the lots were cast, who was found guilty?
6. What was Saul's judgement?
7. What did the people do for Jonathan?

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