In 1 Samuel 8:19-20, Israelís people urged Samuel to appoint a king for them, who would be like the kings of other nations. In particular, they were thinking about the powerful and cruel King Nahash of Ammon (12:12).
Israelís first king, Saul, would become a powerful and cruel man, even as Nahash had been.
We can see how powerful Saul already was by his instructions to his men before the battle. He forced them to make a serious promise not to eat until they had defeated his enemies that day. He declared a terrible fate for any man who did not obey that promise.
Jonathan, Saulís son, had a very different character from his father. Jonathan was a brave soldier, but he was still a kind man. He had begun the battle ahead of the other men, so he did not hear his fatherís instructions to them.
Jonathan felt a strong sense of shock when he heard about the promise. It was very hard work to fight a battle; of course the men needed food. Jonathan himself had already tasted a little wild honey, and that had made him stronger. The soldiers had taken some animals from the enemies; they should cook some meat for their men. Now that Jonathan had heard about the promise, he would obey it. However, that was still his opinion about this matter.
Saul gave that order because he wanted the men to use every effort in the battle. He believed that he must win the battle by human effort. Jonathan, on the other hand, was trusting God to save his people (14:6). So of course he desired to show kindness to the men who were carrying out Godís work.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.