And Saul answered, God do so and more also: for you shall surely die, Jonathan.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Samuel 14:44-45. Thou shalt surely die, Jonathan — This again was most rashly spoken. Saul, however, seems to have been influenced by a real fear of God, and certainly is to be commended for having a greater regard to his oath than to his kindred and natural affection. The people said, Shall Jonathan die? — Hitherto they had expressed themselves in a way that manifested their obedience to Saul, and acquiesced in what seemed good to him. But now that Jonathan is in danger, Saul’s word is no longer a law to them; but with the utmost zeal they oppose the execution of his sentence. Who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel — Shall that life be sacrificed which was so bravely exposed for the public service, and to which we owe our lives and triumphs? No, we will never stand by and see him thus treated whom God has delighted to honour. As the Lord liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground — Saul had sworn that he should die; but they oppose their oath to his, and swear he shall not die. They did not rescue him by violence, but by reason and resolution. And Josephus says, “They offered prayers to God that he would forgive Jonathan’s sin,” and that he might be loosed from the curse. He hath wrought with God this day — It is plain the blessing and favour of God have been with him. It has been in concurrence with God that he has wrought this salvation. And God is so far from being offended with Jonathan, that he hath graciously owned him in the great services of this day. We may suppose Saul had not so perfectly forgot the relation of a father, but that he was willing enough to have Jonathan rescued, and well pleased to have that done which yet he would not do himself; and he that knows the heart of a father, knows not how to blame him.
It may be edifying to the reader, and therefore not improper to copy here, the following important observations of a late but anonymous writer, on the foregoing verses: “It may, at first sight, appear strange that the Divine Providence should so order things, by giving no answer to the high-priest, and causing the lots so to fall, that Jonathan, who appears entirely guiltless, should be brought into imminent danger of his life. If we consider this only in respect to Jonathan, it does indeed appear unaccountable; but if we take in his father Saul, it will appear to have been an act of divine wisdom. It is manifest, as well from the unnecessary and unprofitable oath that Saul here exacted from the people, as from many other passages of his life, that Saul was of a hasty, precipitate temper. What better lesson then could God give to him, and to all of such hasty, precipitate tempers, than to bring him into the grievous strait of either breaking a solemn oath or putting his own son to death? That this was the main intention of all that happened on this occasion appears evident, in that God inspired the people with such a courage and love for Jonathan, that they would not, upon any terms, permit even a hair of his head to fall to the ground. For we cannot suppose, if God had intended to punish Jonathan, as guilty of any crime, that the disposition of the people could have prevented his purposes, though they did those of Saul, which had no foundation in justice.”
Thou shalt surely die: strange perverseness! He who was so indulgent as to spare wicked Agag, 1Sa 15, is now so severe as to destroy his own worthy son: he that could easily dispense with God’s righteous and reasonable command, will not bear the violation of his own rash and foolish command; because his own authority and power is concerned in this, and only God’s in the other. Ruth 1:17, though Abarbinel thinks this is not the form of an oath, but an asseveration of a curse that would befall him; as that God would not answer him when he inquired of him, and that he would add to do so again and again, if he died not:
for thou shall surely die, Jonathan; such words from a father must be very striking to a son, and argue a want of paternal affection in Saul, that could call his son by his name, and deliver such a speech unto him in so strong a manner.And Saul answered, God do so and more also: for thou shalt surely die, Jonathan.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 44. - God do so, etc. Again Saul takes an oath to put Jonathan to death, supposing himself bound by his former words. But he must have been pained beyond measure at the miserable consequences of his rashness, and have bitterly reproached himself for thus twice marring the happiness of the day by unhallowed oaths. Jonathan's trespass, committed unwittingly, required nothing more than a trespass offering for its expiation, nor did the silence of the Urim and Thummim imply any fault in him. The fault lay in Saul having imposed an oath upon the army; that oath had been broken, and a formal expiation must be made. But Saul was by nature a despot, and could endure nothing that seemed even for the moment to stand in his way. Judges 20:2) to draw near to learn whereby (wherein) the sin had occurred that day, and declared, "As truly as Jehovah liveth, who has brought salvation to Israel, even if it were upon Jonathan my son, he shall die." The first כּי in 1 Samuel 14:39 is explanatory; the second and third serve to introduce the words, like ὅτι, quod; and the repetition serves to give emphasis, lit., "that even if it were upon my son, that he shall die." "And of all the people no one answered him," from terror at the king's word.
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