Jonathan the Prince


Jonathan the Prince

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Jonathan rose to national fame when he and his armor-bearer killed twenty Philistines at a place called Micmash. I Samuel 14:15 states that God put fear into the Philistine army. While this was taking place, Saul and his army were at Gibeah. He was not aware that Jonathan and his armor-bearer had slipped away. But as he saw the Philistines spreading out, the king realized that the two were missing. Saul assembled his troops for an attack, and ordered the high priest to bring the Ark of the Covenant to the battlefront. Israel was able to chase the Philistines from the region on that day.

I Samuel 14:24 records that the army of Israel was forbidden to eat because Saul had made an oath earlier that day, "Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening that I may be avenged on mine enemies." Verse 27 states that Jonathan, not knowing about the oath, dipped his rod in a honeycomb, and licked it. When he was told about his father’s command, Jonathan rebuked him. He even encouraged the people to enjoy the spoils of war. The people listened to Jonathan and disobeyed Saul’s oath. Not only did they eat of the livestock, the Israelites also tasted the animal’s blood. This was a direct violation of the Mosaic Law. When Saul heard of this, he ordered everyone to bring an ox to the Lord.

Convinced that everything was fine, Saul prepared to continue his attack on the fleeing Philistines. The priest sought advice from God, but the Lord did not respond. The king assembled all his men to cast lots. The lots fell on Saul and Jonathan. After the two were separated from the others, the lots were cast again, and this time they fell on Jonathan. Saul asked his son what sin he had committed. Jonathan told him about tasting the honey. The King then condemned his eldest to death. But the people stood up the king, and Saul was reminded of Jonathan’s heroic deeds. So the life of Jonathan was spared.

I have heard two opinions on Jonathan’s actions in this story. Some say that he sinned, by breaking his father’s command, which put the men of Israel in great danger. Others state that Jonathan was innocent because he was not aware of the oath. Personally I think Jonathan did nothing wrong when he tasted the honey. But when he became aware of his father’s oath, Jonathan should not have publicly denounced his father. In I Samuel 13 records that Saul had turned away from God, and was making foolish decisions. Still he was God’s anointed king of Israel, and Jonathan should not have denounced him.

Even though Jonathan made a mistake, he was loved and respected by the people. After the house of Saul turned from God, Jonathan remained faithful. My next article will be about friendship, and Jonathan will be my example.

This Article is by Terry McDermott click the link to his website or scroll down to the bottom of the page to view his member details
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Jonathan rose to national fame when he and his armor-bearer killed twenty Philistines at a place called Micmash. I Samuel 14:15 states that God put fear into the Philistine army. While this was taking place, Saul and his...

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