1-Samuel 14-1 [1-Samuel 14:1] NOW IT CAME TO PASS UPON A DAY, THAT JONATHAN THE SON OF SAUL SAID UNTO THE YOUNG MAN THAT BARE HIS ARMOUR, COME, AND LET US GO OVER TO THE PHILISTINES' GARRISON, THAT IS ON THE OTHER SIDE. BUT HE TOLD NOT HIS FATHER.
[1-Samuel 14:2] AND SAUL TARRIED IN THE UTTERMOST PART OF GIBEAH UNDER A POMEGRANATE TREE WHICH IS IN MIGRON: AND THE PEOPLE THAT WERE WITH HIM WERE ABOUT SIX HUNDRED MEN;
"MIGRON": North of Micmash.
[1-Samuel 14:3] AND AHIAH, THE SON OF AHITUB, ICHABOD'S BROTHER, THE SON OF PHINEHAS, THE SON OF ELI, THE LORD'S PRIEST IN SHILOH, WEARING AN EPHOD. AND THE PEOPLE KNEW NOT THAT JONATHAN WAS GONE.
"EPHOD": This was a kind of pullover or garment shaped like a bullet-proof vest into which the breastplate was inserted. The Priest (Cohan) would be enabled to communicate with the Almighty through wearing this garment and contemplating the names of the tribes of Israel engraved on the twelve precious stones of the Breast-Plate. The Ephod was clasped onto the shoulders of the Priest by being tied onto two precious stones (called "shoham" in Hebrew). The names of the 12 tribes were also engraved onto these two shoham stones 6 tribes being engraved on each one.
[Exodus 28:4] AND THESE ARE THE GARMENTS WHICH THEY SHALL MAKE; A BREASTPLATE, AND AN EPHOD, AND A ROBE, AND A BROIDERED COAT, A MITRE, AND A GIRDLE: AND THEY SHALL MAKE HOLY GARMENTS FOR AARON THY BROTHER, AND HIS SONS, THAT HE MAY MINISTER UNTO ME IN THE PRIEST'S OFFICE.
[Exodus 28:5] AND THEY SHALL TAKE GOLD, AND BLUE, AND PURPLE, AND SCARLET, AND FINE LINEN.
[Exodus 28:6] AND THEY SHALL MAKE THE EPHOD OF GOLD, OF BLUE, AND OF PURPLE, OF SCARLET, AND FINE TWINED LINEN, WITH CUNNING WORK.
[Exodus 28:7] IT SHALL HAVE THE TWO SHOULDERPIECES THEREOF JOINED AT THE TWO EDGES THEREOF; AND SO IT SHALL BE JOINED TOGETHER.
[Exodus 28:8] AND THE CURIOUS GIRDLE OF THE EPHOD, WHICH IS UPON IT, SHALL BE OF THE SAME, ACCORDING TO THE WORK THEREOF; EVEN OF GOLD, OF BLUE, AND PURPLE, AND SCARLET, AND FINE TWINED LINEN.
[Exodus 28:9] AND THOU SHALT TAKE TWO ONYX STONES, AND GRAVE ON THEM THE NAMES OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL:
[Exodus 28:10] SIX OF THEIR NAMES ON ONE STONE, AND THE OTHER SIX NAMES OF THE REST ON THE OTHER STONE, ACCORDING TO THEIR BIRTH.
[Exodus 28:11] WITH THE WORK OF AN ENGRAVER IN STONE, LIKE THE ENGRAVINGS OF A SIGNET, SHALT THOU ENGRAVE THE TWO STONES WITH THE NAMES OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL: THOU SHALT MAKE THEM TO BE SET IN OUCHES OF GOLD.
[Exodus 28:12] AND THOU SHALT PUT THE TWO STONES UPON THE SHOULDERS OF THE EPHOD FOR STONES OF MEMORIAL UNTO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL: AND AARON SHALL BEAR THEIR NAMES BEFORE THE LORD UPON HIS TWO SHOULDERS FOR A MEMORIAL.
The Shoham (translated as "onyx") TWO SHOULDERPIECES stone on which the names of the twelve tribes were engraved was also the special stone of Joseph in the breastplate in which each tribe had its own stone. The Commentary "Sefath Emeth" ("Sefas Emes", Rabbi Yehudah Leib Alter, 1847 - 1905, Poland) says on the significance of the Shoham stone being that of Joseph:
"The main point of the Memorial [see Exodus 28:12 above] concerns Joseph and that is why the Ephod there was only the Shoham which is the stone of Joseph. By means of the stone of Joseph all the twelve stones are unified at their roots". This means that Joseph has the power through which all twelve tribes may be unified and each find their unique expression in this unity.
[1-Samuel 14:4] AND BETWEEN THE PASSAGES, BY WHICH JONATHAN SOUGHT TO GO OVER UNTO THE PHILISTINES' GARRISON, THERE WAS A SHARP ROCK ON THE ONE SIDE, AND A SHARP ROCK ON THE OTHER SIDE: AND THE NAME OF THE ONE WAS BOZEZ, AND THE NAME OF THE OTHER SENEH.
[1-Samuel 14:5] THE FOREFRONT OF THE ONE WAS SITUATE NORTHWARD OVER AGAINST MICHMASH, AND THE OTHER SOUTHWARD OVER AGAINST GIBEAH.
[1-Samuel 14:6] AND JONATHAN SAID TO THE YOUNG MAN THAT BARE HIS ARMOUR, COME, AND LET US GO OVER UNTO THE GARRISON OF THESE UNCIRCUMCISED: IT MAY BE THAT THE LORD WILL WORK FOR US: FOR THERE IS NO RESTRAINT TO THE LORD TO SAVE BY MANY OR BY FEW.
"AND JONATHAN SAID": The Radak pints out that up until now (in the Hebrew original) JONATHAN has been called by the more shortened version of his name "Yonathan". From this verse (1-Samuel 14:6) on the Bible refers to him "Yehonathan" which is the longer and more complete version. The name "Yehonathan" may be explained to mean "The Gift of God". Both "Yonathan" and "Yehonathan" are different forms of the same name but "Yehonathan" emphasize the aspect acknolwedging Diniity in the name. By putting his faith in the Almighty and having a great miracle performed through himself Jonathan had brought about a sanctification and glorifying of the Almighty in the eyes of HIS Chosen People. A son of mine is named "Yehonatan".
[1-Samuel 14:7] AND HIS ARMOURBEARER SAID UNTO HIM, DO ALL THAT IS IN THINE HEART: TURN THEE; BEHOLD, I AM WITH THEE ACCORDING TO THY HEART.
[1-Samuel 14:8] THEN SAID JONATHAN, BEHOLD, WE WILL PASS OVER UNTO THESE MEN, AND WE WILL DISCOVER OURSELVES UNTO THEM.
[1-Samuel 14:9] IF THEY SAY THUS UNTO US, TARRY UNTIL WE COME TO YOU; THEN WE WILL STAND STILL IN OUR PLACE, AND WILL NOT GO UP UNTO THEM.
[1-Samuel 14:10] BUT IF THEY SAY THUS, COME UP UNTO US; THEN WE WILL GO UP: FOR THE LORD HATH DELIVERED THEM INTO OUR HAND: AND THIS SHALL BE A SIGN UNTO US.
"COME UP UNTO US": The Commentators (e.g. Maharal) said that this would indicate that the Philistines were afraid.
[1-Samuel 14:11] AND BOTH OF THEM DISCOVERED THEMSELVES UNTO THE GARRISON OF THE PHILISTINES: AND THE PHILISTINES SAID, BEHOLD, THE HEBREWS COME FORTH OUT OF THE HOLES WHERE THEY HAD HID THEMSELVES.
[1-Samuel 14:12] AND THE MEN OF THE GARRISON ANSWERED JONATHAN AND HIS ARMOURBEARER, AND SAID, COME UP TO US, AND WE WILL SHEW YOU A THING. AND JONATHAN SAID UNTO HIS ARMOURBEARER, COME UP AFTER ME: FOR THE LORD HATH DELIVERED THEM INTO THE HAND OF ISRAEL.
"WE WILL SHEW YOU A THING": Kill you or sexually abuse you as was the custom of the Philistines and still is of their spiritual and physical successors. Sexual immorality can lead to a greater than usual overwhelming physical fear and lack of will to face physical risk.
[1-Samuel 14:13] AND JONATHAN CLIMBED UP UPON HIS HANDS AND UPON HIS FEET, AND HIS ARMOURBEARER AFTER HIM: AND THEY FELL BEFORE JONATHAN; AND HIS ARMOURBEARER SLEW AFTER HIM.
[1-Samuel 14:14] AND THAT FIRST SLAUGHTER, WHICH JONATHAN AND HIS ARMOURBEARER MADE, WAS ABOUT TWENTY MEN, WITHIN AS IT WERE AN HALF ACRE OF LAND, WHICH A YOKE OF OXEN MIGHT PLOW.
My understand of what happened is thusly: There was a narrow pass high up in the cliff face on each side of which two enormous rocks protruded. Between the rocks was a garrison guarding the pass. Guards of the garrison stood at the entrance to the pass. They called Jonathan and his companion to come up. They crawled up the slope from an angle to the garrison guards and then descended upon them. This enabled only one Philistine at a time to face them. Jonathan would strike the Philistine to the ground in such a way that his companion behind him could make the killing blow. They did that twenty times while proceeding forward. The rest of the Philistine garrison saw part of what was happening without understanding it fully but they did understand that sudden death was coming upon all who did not run. At this very moment there occurred a trembling of the ground, an earthquake, and an overwhelming terror fell on all the Philistine camp.
[1-Samuel 14:15] AND THERE WAS TREMBLING IN THE HOST, IN THE FIELD, AND AMONG ALL THE PEOPLE: THE GARRISON, AND THE SPOILERS, THEY ALSO TREMBLED, AND THE EARTH QUAKED: SO IT WAS A VERY GREAT TREMBLING.
"A VERY GREAT TREMBLING": In Hebrew "Le-cHerdat Elohim" i.e. Terror of God.
[1-Samuel 14:16] AND THE WATCHMEN OF SAUL IN GIBEAH OF BENJAMIN LOOKED; AND, BEHOLD, THE MULTITUDE MELTED AWAY, AND THEY WENT ON BEATING DOWN ONE ANOTHER.
The hordes of Philistines began to flee and in the course of their flight were fighting amongst themselves causing great losss to each other.
[1-Samuel 14:17] THEN SAID SAUL UNTO THE PEOPLE THAT WERE WITH HIM, NUMBER NOW, AND SEE WHO IS GONE FROM US. AND WHEN THEY HAD NUMBERED, BEHOLD, JONATHAN AND HIS ARMOUR BEARER WERE NOT THERE.
[1-Samuel 14:18] AND SAUL SAID UNTO AHIAH, BRING HITHER THE ARK OF GOD. FOR THE ARK OF GOD WAS AT THAT TIME WITH THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL.
Radak says that the Urim and Tumim (in the breastplate of the High Priest) were normally placed by the Ark and it was these that Saul intended.
[1-Samuel 14:19] AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHILE SAUL TALKED UNTO THE PRIEST, THAT THE NOISE THAT WAS IN THE HOST OF THE PHILISTINES WENT ON AND INCREASED: AND SAUL SAID UNTO THE PRIEST, WITHDRAW THINE HAND.
Saul first called the Priest to bring up the Ark in order to divine what was happening. He then realized that his force should fall upon the retreating Philistines and kill as many as possible in order to ensure the safety of Israel. He was suddenly so sure that this was the right thing to do that he decided he did not need the intervention of the Priest with the Ark asking God as to what had happened and what should be done. The Sages criticized Saul for this abrupt cursory and somewhat disrespectful behavior. The Sages say that since Saul had already begun to ask of the Almighty for an answer he should have continued to do so until his answer was received.
[1-Samuel 14:20] AND SAUL AND ALL THE PEOPLE THAT WERE WITH HIM ASSEMBLED THEMSELVES, AND THEY CAME TO THE BATTLE: AND, BEHOLD, EVERY MAN'S SWORD WAS AGAINST HIS FELLOW, AND THERE WAS A VERY GREAT DISCOMFITURE.
[1-Samuel 14:21] MOREOVER THE HEBREWS THAT WERE WITH THE PHILISTINES BEFORE THAT TIME, WHICH WENT UP WITH THEM INTO THE CAMP FROM THE COUNTRY ROUND ABOUT, EVEN THEY ALSO TURNED TO BE WITH THE ISRAELITES THAT WERE WITH SAUL AND JONATHAN.
Israelites (Hebrews) had been serving in the Philistine armies. These now turned against their former masters and fought on the side of their fellow Hebrews. It may be that those Hebrews who had been with the Philistines had actually by far outnumbered those who had been with Saul.
[1-Samuel 14:22] LIKEWISE ALL THE MEN OF ISRAEL WHICH HAD HID THEMSELVES IN MOUNT EPHRAIM, WHEN THEY HEARD THAT THE PHILISTINES FLED, EVEN THEY ALSO FOLLOWED HARD AFTER THEM IN THE BATTLE.
[1-Samuel 14:23] SO THE LORD SAVED ISRAEL THAT DAY: AND THE BATTLE PASSED OVER UNTO BETH-AVEN.
[1-Samuel 14:24] AND THE MEN OF ISRAEL WERE DISTRESSED THAT DAY: FOR SAUL HAD ADJURED THE PEOPLE, SAYING, CURSED BE THE MAN THAT EATETH ANY FOOD UNTIL EVENING, THAT I MAY BE AVENGED ON MINE ENEMIES. SO NONE OF THE PEOPLE TASTED ANY FOOD.
[1-Samuel 14:25] AND ALL THEY OF THE LAND CAME TO A WOOD; AND THERE WAS HONEY UPON THE GROUND.
"HONEY": In Hebrew "Devash". The word can be applied to all forms of sweetness. In this case it probably means the run of honey from the broken beehive of wild bees BUT it could alternately mean a run from ripe figs such as was recorded to occur in Ancient Times in the Land of Israel. Some (e.g. Metzudat David) that the "honey" referred to here was sugar cane. Most commentators however consider the honey to have been that of bees. Yehudah Kiel explains that the wax in wild honey combs can sometimes melt and cause the honey to leak out along the ground.
[1-Samuel 14:26] AND WHEN THE PEOPLE WERE COME INTO THE WOOD, BEHOLD, THE HONEY DROPPED; BUT NO MAN PUT HIS HAND TO HIS MOUTH: FOR THE PEOPLE FEARED THE OATH.
[1-Samuel 14:27] BUT JONATHAN HEARD NOT WHEN HIS FATHER CHARGED THE PEOPLE WITH THE OATH: WHEREFORE HE PUT FORTH THE END OF THE ROD THAT WAS IN HIS HAND, AND DIPPED IT IN AN HONEYCOMB, AND PUT HIS HAND TO HIS MOUTH; AND HIS EYES WERE ENLIGHTENED.
[1-Samuel 14:28] THEN ANSWERED ONE OF THE PEOPLE, AND SAID, THY FATHER STRAITLY CHARGED THE PEOPLE WITH AN OATH, SAYING, CURSED BE THE MAN THAT EATETH ANY FOOD THIS DAY. AND THE PEOPLE WERE FAINT.
[1-Samuel 14:29] THEN SAID JONATHAN, MY FATHER HATH TROUBLED THE LAND: SEE, I PRAY YOU, HOW MINE EYES HAVE BEEN ENLIGHTENED, BECAUSE I TASTED A LITTLE OF THIS HONEY.
[1-Samuel 14:30] HOW MUCH MORE, IF HAPLY THE PEOPLE HAD EATEN FREELY TO DAY OF THE SPOIL OF THEIR ENEMIES WHICH THEY FOUND? FOR HAD THERE NOT BEEN NOW A MUCH GREATER SLAUGHTER AMONG THE PHILISTINES?
If they had have eaten something then they would have had more strength and energy to pursue the Philistines who were in a state of terrified panic and unable to resist.
[1-Samuel 14:31] AND THEY SMOTE THE PHILISTINES THAT DAY FROM MICHMASH TO AIJALON: AND THE PEOPLE WERE VERY FAINT. If you do not eat or drink enough and physically exert yourself you are liable to be overcome with exhaustion. This can come about quite suddenly. Sometimes a person gets carried away with what he is doing and does not realize that he needs to take care of his bodily needs until it is too late. This usually happens when one is in the middle of doing something strenuous that is important and which one is not used to such as moving house etc.
[1-Samuel 14:32] AND THE PEOPLE FLEW UPON THE SPOIL, AND TOOK SHEEP, AND OXEN, AND CALVES, AND SLEW THEM ON THE GROUND: AND THE PEOPLE DID EAT THEM WITH THE BLOOD.
The usual explanation is that the animals were offered up us whole offering sacrifices in which the owners eat the flesh after the blood has been splashed against the walls of the altar. The people were so exhausted and famished that they fell upon the meat before the blood had been splashed properly. An alternate explanation is that they were so hungry that they were killing the animals and eating the flesh without draining the blood from it as the Law requires. In cases of danger or extreme sickness the normal laws of Kashrut do not apply: It may be that the people were so exhausted that some mistakenly thought that in their case they did not need to be as strict as they normally would have been. They were in the middle of a battle pursuing ta fleeing host of pagan savages. Where did all this livestock suddenly come from? They must have gotten them from the Philistines. It may be the case that the Philistines had been taking their livestock away from them and the eating of meat had become a rare event so that they were not all necessarily aware of what needed to be done.
[1-Samuel 14:33] THEN THEY TOLD SAUL, SAYING, BEHOLD, THE PEOPLE SIN AGAINST THE LORD, IN THAT THEY EAT WITH THE BLOOD. AND HE SAID, YE HAVE TRANSGRESSED: ROLL A GREAT STONE UNTO ME THIS DAY.
[1-Samuel 14:34] AND SAUL SAID, DISPERSE YOURSELVES AMONG THE PEOPLE, AND SAY UNTO THEM, BRING ME HITHER EVERY MAN HIS OX, AND EVERY MAN HIS SHEEP, AND SLAY THEM HERE, AND EAT; AND SIN NOT AGAINST THE LORD IN EATING WITH THE BLOOD. AND ALL THE PEOPLE BROUGHT EVERY MAN HIS OX WITH HIM THAT NIGHT, AND SLEW THEM THERE.
[1-Samuel 14:35] AND SAUL BUILT AN ALTAR UNTO THE LORD: THE SAME WAS THE FIRST ALTAR THAT HE BUILT UNTO THE LORD.
[1-Samuel 14:36] AND SAUL SAID, LET US GO DOWN AFTER THE PHILISTINES BY NIGHT, AND SPOIL THEM UNTIL THE MORNING LIGHT, AND LET US NOT LEAVE A MAN OF THEM. AND THEY SAID, DO WHATSOEVER SEEMETH GOOD UNTO THEE. THEN SAID THE PRIEST, LET US DRAW NEAR HITHER UNTO GOD.
[1-Samuel 14:37] AND SAUL ASKED COUNSEL OF GOD, SHALL I GO DOWN AFTER THE PHILISTINES? WILT THOU DELIVER THEM INTO THE HAND OF ISRAEL? BUT HE ANSWERED HIM NOT THAT DAY.
[1-Samuel 14:38] AND SAUL SAID, DRAW YE NEAR HITHER, ALL THE CHIEF OF THE PEOPLE: AND KNOW AND SEE WHEREIN THIS SIN HATH BEEN THIS DAY.
[1-Samuel 14:39] FOR, AS THE LORD LIVETH, WHICH SAVETH ISRAEL, THOUGH IT BE IN JONATHAN MY SON, HE SHALL SURELY DIE. BUT THERE WAS NOT A MAN AMONG ALL THE PEOPLE THAT ANSWERED HIM.
"THOUGH IT BE IN JONATHAN MY SON": We should be careful with what we say. Sometimes the most far-fetched statements made in anger or grief can turn against us. This statement also indicates an element of self-destruction inherent in the character of Saul and a striving for perfection that was too extreme and lacking a realization of reality.
[1-Samuel 14:40] THEN SAID HE UNTO ALL ISRAEL, BE YE ON ONE SIDE, AND I AND JONATHAN MY SON WILL BE ON THE OTHER SIDE. AND THE PEOPLE SAID UNTO SAUL, DO WHAT SEEMETH GOOD UNTO THEE.
[1-Samuel 14:41] THEREFORE SAUL SAID UNTO THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL, GIVE A PERFECT LOT. AND SAUL AND JONATHAN WERE TAKEN: BUT THE PEOPLE ESCAPED.
[1-Samuel 14:42] AND SAUL SAID, CAST LOTS BETWEEN ME AND JONATHAN MY SON. AND JONATHAN WAS TAKEN.
[1-Samuel 14:43] THEN SAUL SAID TO JONATHAN, TELL ME WHAT THOU HAST DONE. AND JONATHAN TOLD HIM, AND SAID, I DID BUT TASTE A LITTLE HONEY WITH THE END OF THE ROD THAT WAS IN MINE HAND, AND, LO, I MUST DIE.
Jonathan had unknowingly transgressed against "cherem" of the King. This was similar to the "curse" placed by Joshua on the city of Jericho and all that was in it (Joshua 6:17). It is diffiuclt for us to appreciate the seriousness of this matter since we have a different mind set in our time and there is nothing it can be compared to. In Ancient Times however the fate of the entire people was believed to be bound up with a fulfillment of these types of vow. The Ancient Cimbrians were of Israelite Origin (see Brit-Am writings, e.g. The Tribes) and at one stage (ca 120 BCE) attacked the Roman Empire. After one great victory they were reported to destroy everything including the booty they had captured in fulfillment of a vow.
[1-Samuel 14:44] AND SAUL ANSWERED, GOD DO SO AND MORE ALSO: FOR THOU SHALT SURELY DIE, JONATHAN.
[1-Samuel 14:45] AND THE PEOPLE SAID UNTO SAUL, SHALL JONATHAN DIE, WHO HATH WROUGHT THIS GREAT SALVATION IN ISRAEL? GOD FORBID: AS THE LORD LIVETH, THERE SHALL NOT ONE HAIR OF HIS HEAD FALL TO THE GROUND; FOR HE HATH WROUGHT WITH GOD THIS DAY. SO THE PEOPLE RESCUED JONATHAN, THAT HE DIED NOT.
One of the Sages says that the people gave the weight of Jonathan in gold, others say that the people redeemed Jonathan by proving him innocent of bad intent. The Radak quotes Saadia Gaon and the Sages that since Jonathan had not been aware of the oath made by Saul he was not culpable. Saul had not received an answer from the Urim and Tumim (breastplate) and the whole even had been brought about in order to make it clear that Jonathan had acted in good faith and without knowledge since the actual deed had become widely known. Yehudah Kiel (Daat Mikra) says that the people redeemed Jonathan by saying that the great miracle that had occurred that day was due to Jonathan and that this showed that his intent was favorable before the Almighty and therefore he could not be guilty of bad intent.
[1-Samuel 14:46] THEN SAUL WENT UP FROM FOLLOWING THE PHILISTINES: AND THE PHILISTINES WENT TO THEIR OWN PLACE.
[1-Samuel 14:47] SO SAUL TOOK THE KINGDOM OVER ISRAEL, AND FOUGHT AGAINST ALL HIS ENEMIES ON EVERY SIDE, AGAINST MOAB, AND AGAINST THE CHILDREN OF AMMON, AND AGAINST EDOM, AND AGAINST THE KINGS OF ZOBAH, AND AGAINST THE PHILISTINES: AND WHITHERSOEVER HE TURNED HIMSELF, HE VEXED THEM.
"ZOBAH" In Northern Syria by the Euphrates River. Saul carved out quite an Empire. Saul became a great military conqueror but the Bible only hints at this in passing. "HE VEXED THEM": Hebrew "HiRshia" literally meaning "he did evil unto", or it could mean "He found them [the enemies of Israel] guilty". To say that he did evil unto the enemies of Israel means that he did good nevertheless it is an unusual expression. David was to act similarly to Saul but the Sages that his actions had a more positive emphasis (1-Samuel 18:14 see Talmud Sanhedrin 93 n.16 Schottenstein-Artscroll)
[1-Samuel 14:48] AND HE GATHERED AN HOST, AND SMOTE THE AMALEKITES, AND DELIVERED ISRAEL OUT OF THE HANDS OF THEM THAT SPOILED THEM.
The Amalekites had been attacking killing and robbing the Israelites. Saul saved Israel from this evil oppression.
[1-Samuel 14:49] NOW THE SONS OF SAUL WERE JONATHAN, AND ISHUI, AND MELCHISHUA: AND THE NAMES OF HIS TWO DAUGHTERS WERE THESE; THE NAME OF THE FIRSTBORN MERAB, AND THE NAME OF THE YOUNGER MICHAL:
Eliyahu Yedid ("Shaul, Bechir HaShem") on the basis of other verses and the Radak explains that here four sons of Saul are mentioned: Jonanathan, ISHUI (pronounceable as : "Yishvi" or "Yiswi". He was also known as "ABINADAB" 1-Samuel 31:2), MELCHISHUA, and Ish-Boshet (2-Samuel 2:8) who was also known as Ish-Baaal (1-Chronicles 8:33). In addition Saul had at least two other sons by a concubine (2-Samuel 21:8). It was not unusual in Biblical times for a person to have more than one name as we will see quite frequently.
[1-Samuel 14:50] AND THE NAME OF SAUL'S WIFE WAS AHINOAM, THE DAUGHTER OF AHIMAAZ: AND THE NAME OF THE CAPTAIN OF HIS HOST WAS ABNER, THE SON OF NER, SAUL'S UNCLE.
The above verse is more easily understood if read to say: "ABNER ( SAUL'S UNCLE) [was] THE SON OF NER". See the next verse.
[1-Samuel 14:51] AND KISH WAS THE FATHER OF SAUL; AND NER THE FATHER OF ABNER WAS THE SON OF ABIEL.
Abiel was the father of Ner who was the father of Kish and Abner. Kish was the father of Saul. Abner was therefore the uncle of Saul.
[1-Samuel 14:52] AND THERE WAS SORE WAR AGAINST THE PHILISTINES ALL THE DAYS OF SAUL: AND WHEN SAUL SAW ANY STRONG MAN, OR ANY VALIANT MAN, HE TOOK HIM UNTO HIM.
The Kingdom of Saul and His Wars
http://www.anova.org/sev/atlas/htm/049.htm Saul 1000 BC
The Achievements of Saul (Based on an article by Yigal Ariel):
Yigal Ariel ("Oz Melech") uses this opportunity to sum up some major achievements of Saul (Paraphrased by Brit-Am):
1. Establishment of a Permanent army (1-Samuel 14:52).
2. Order in the Kingdom demonstrated by compulsory conscription when needed (1-Samuel 11:7-8), a declared ordered policy (1-Samuel 11:9), official ceremonial (1-Samuel 11:14), effective decision that was adhered to (1-Samuel 14:24, 14:33).
3. Consistent Warfare Against the Enemies of Israel in all directions: In the west against the Philistines; in the east against Edom, Moab, Ammon (1-Samuel 14:47) and the [Arab]Hagrim (1-Chronicles 5); in the north against Aram-Zobah (1-Samuel 14:47); in the south against the Amalekites.
Yigal Ariel (in line with the Radak) claims that even though Saul achieved many victories and seriously weakened his enemies he did not achieve outright complete conquests but (to my mind) this is not so certain.
4. Saul established the borders of Israel all around.
[In the time of Saul for the first time in the Bible the "Land of Canaan" is referred to as "The land of Israel":
"NOW THERE WAS NO SMITH FOUND THROUGHOUT ALL THE LAND OF ISRAEL" [1-Samuel 13:19].
Even after the death of Saul the borders he had set remained stable so that Abner was able to establish his son over liberated areas: "BUT ABNER THE SON OF NER, CAPTAIN OF SAUL'S HOST, TOOK ISH-BOSHETH THE SON OF SAUL, AND BROUGHT HIM OVER TO MAHANAIM; " AND MADE HIM KING OVER GILEAD, AND OVER THE ASHURITES, AND OVER JEZREEL, AND OVER EPHRAIM, AND OVER BENJAMIN, AND OVER ALL ISRAEL" [2-Samuel 2:8-9].
5. Saul uprooted idolatry and pagan practices from the land: " SAUL HAD PUT AWAY THOSE THAT HAD FAMILIAR SPIRITS, AND THE WIZARDS, OUT OF THE LAND" [1-Samuel 28:3]. Saul was to even transgress by being too zealous and to wipe out non-Israelites whom Israelites were duty bound to protect:
"AND THE KING CALLED THE GIBEONITES, AND SAID UNTO THEM; (NOW THE GIBEONITES WERE NOT OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, BUT OF THE REMNANT OF THE AMORITES; AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL HAD SWORN UNTO THEM: AND SAUL SOUGHT TO SLAY THEM IN HIS ZEAL TO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL AND JUDAH" [2-Samuel 21:2].
The rulership of Saul was felt throughout the land [1-Samuel 28:9].
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