Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 14

Saulís order to bring the ark

1 Samuel 14:16-19

The Philistines (men from Philistia) believed that Israelís God was fighting against them. However, Saul (the king of Israel) was not sure about that.

Saul could see that there was great confusion in his enemiesí camp. Men were running in every direction and they were even fighting each other. However, Saul could not understand why that was happening. The Philistines were acting as if an army were attacking them.

Saul gathered his own soldiers so that they would be ready to fight. Only then did Saul realise that Jonathan, his son, had left his camp. Jonathan had left secretly, but Saul knew his sonís attitudes. Saul probably suspected then that, somehow, Jonathan was responsible for the trouble in the Philistinesí camp.

Saul could see that this situation gave him the opportunity to lead Israelís army in a successful battle against the Philistines. He was eager to fight against them (14:24). However, first he needed to be sure that God was on his side.

So Saul called Ahijah, who was Israelís chief priest. Saul gave him an extraordinary order: to bring the ark of the covenant into the battle. The ark was the sacred box which acted as evidence of Godís covenant (relationship) with Israel. Saul had tried to persuade God to support him in this battle by means of sacrifices (gifts) in 1 Samuel 13:9-14. Now Saul was trying to force God to act, because the sacred ark would be in danger.

It would have taken a whole day to bring the ark from Kiriath Jearim (7:1). Saul could not wait that long; he had to act quickly. So he changed his mind about the ark and he sent his soldiers into the battle.

Next part: More men join the fight (1 Samuel 14:20-23)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.