For, as the LORD lives, which saves 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Though it be in Jonathan my son.—“Were Jonathan himself the transgressor, he [Saul] would not spare his life; and so, feeling inwardly bound by his oath, presses for decision by means of the sacred lot, amid the ominous silence of the horror-stricken people.”—Ewald.1 Samuel 14:39. As the Lord liveth — Here again we have a proof of Saul’s rashness and folly, and of the violence and impetuosity of his temper. As he had before adjured the people, and exposed them to an execration uttered most inconsiderately; so now he lays himself under an execration to put to death, as it turned out, even his son Jonathan, who had been the first and almost sole instrument of effecting this glorious deliverance for Israel, and that for no other fault than tasting a little honey, without knowing that he had thereby exposed himself to his father’s curse. But not a man answered him — None of those that saw Jonathan eating informed against him; because they were satisfied that his ignorance excused him; and from their great love to Jonathan, whom they would not expose to death for so small an offence.1 Samuel 14:36, 1 Samuel 14:40, indicate the fear in which the people stood of Saul. None dared to resist his will.
though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die; that is, though the sin should be found in him, or he should be found guilty of the breach of what he had charged them with an oath to observe, namely, to eat no food that day till evening:
but there was not a man among all the people that answered him; who knew that Jonathan had tasted of honey, but they would not acquaint him with it; partly because they knew he did it ignorantly, having no knowledge of his father's charge and oath, and partly because of their great affection to him, who had been the instrument of their deliverance and salvation that day.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 39. - He shall surely die. With despotic violence, without waiting to learn what the offence was, and judging simply by consequences, because he was delayed in following up the pursuit, he takes a solemn oath that the offending person shall be put to death. Thus twice in the same day he was guilty of the sin of rash swearing. The people condemn him by their silence. They had obeyed him with ready devotion; but now they listen in terror to the rash and violent words which condemn to death the young hero by whom God had that day wrought deliverance for them.
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