God had shown that he considered Jonathan, Saulís son, to be guilty of an evil deed. He had not obeyed the command of his father, King Saul (14:24-27). Jonathan had acted without knowledge of that command, but his words afterwards made the matter more serious (14:29-30). Jonathan was not humble and he was not sorry. He insisted that he was right.
Saul had made a serious promise to kill the man who was guilty of that evil deed (14:39). Even when God showed Jonathan to be guilty, neither Saul nor Jonathan changed their attitude. Jonathan was still arguing that he did not deserve to die. Saul was still promising to kill Jonathan.
As king, Saul had the right to carry out that punishment against Jonathan. However, Israelís soldiers stopped him. With Godís help, Jonathan had rescued Israel that day. So the soldiers insisted that Jonathan should not die. As Jonathan had rescued their nation, so they rescued him from death.
We may ask, however, whether Godís law allowed them to do that. Under Godís law, Jonathan was guilty. Jonathan did not know that he was not obeying his father. However, in such circumstances, Godís law still made him responsible for his wrong deed (Leviticus 5:17). It was a very serious matter for a person to speak against his father (Leviticus 20:9). It was even more serious to oppose the king whom God had appointed (26:9).
However, the purpose of Godís law is to punish evil people - not to control people who trust God (1 Timothy 1:9-10; Galatians 3:11-12). Jonathan believed Godís promises to Israel; he was trusting God to save Israel (14:6). God saves those people who trust him (Romans 4:3-6).
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© 2014, Keith Simons.