Partial Victory Over the Philistines

Scripture Passage: 
1 Samuel 14:1-52

INTRODUCTION: In this lesson, we learn from Jonathan’s faith in God and bravery in battle and from Saul’s fearfulness and foolishness in making an unreasonable oath.

  1. THE ACTION OF JONATHAN (1 Samuel 14:1-12)
    1. In Separating from the Army (1 Samuel 14:1-3)
      1. Jonathan’s eagerness (1 Samuel 14:1a; cp. 1 Samuel 13:3) – “let us go over.”
      2. Jonathan’s secrecy (1 Samuel 14:1b) – “he told not his father.”
      3. Saul’s fearfulness (1 Samuel 14:2a)
        1. In the uttermost part of Gibeah
        2. Under a pomegranate tree
      4. Saul’s army (1 Samuel 14:2b; cp. 1 Samuel 13:2) – 600 men
      5. Saul’s priest (1 Samuel 14:3)
        1. Samuel was available (1 Samuel 13:15).
        2. But Ahiah was subservient (cp. 1 Samuel 14:18-19).
    2. In Approaching the Philistines (1 Samuel 14:4-8)
      1. The strength of the Philistines (1 Samuel 14:4-5)
        1. Their location
        2. Their army (1 Samuel 13:5)
      2. The strength of Jonathan (1 Samuel 14:6)
        1. His righteous cause
          1. Against “these uncircumcised” (see Judges 14:3)
          2. Is there not a cause? (1 Samuel 17:29)
        2. The favor of the Lord – “it may be that the LORD will work for us.”
        3. The power of the Lord – “there is no restraint to the LORD” (see 2 Chronicles 14:11; Romans 8:31).
      3. The courage of Jonathan (1 Samuel 14:7-8)
        1. Encourages his armor bearer (1 Samuel 14:7)
        2. Develops a plan of action (1 Samuel 14:8)
    3. In Seeking God’s Direction (1 Samuel 14:9-12)
      1. His test (1 Samuel 14:9-10; cp. Judges 6:36-40)
        1. If they say, Tarry (1 Samuel 14:9)
        2. If they say, Come up (1 Samuel 14:10) – this is “a sign.”
      2. His answer (1 Samuel 14:11-12)
  2. THE DEFEAT OF THE PHILISTINES (1 Samuel 14:13-23)
    1. Under the Hand of Jonathan (1 Samuel 14:13-15)
      1. Their climb up the cliff (1 Samuel 14:13)
      2. Their slaughter of twenty men (1 Samuel 14:14)
      3. The trembling in the field (1 Samuel 14:15)
        1. The Philistines
        2. The earth
    2. In the Sight of Saul (1 Samuel 14:16-18)
      1. The report of the watchmen (1 Samuel 14:16)
      2. The discovery of two missing men (1 Samuel 14:17)
      3. The call for the ark (1 Samuel 14:18)
    3. Before Various Enemies (1 Samuel 14:19-23)
      1. Beaten by Saul’s army (1 Samuel 14:19-20a)
      2. Beaten by themselves (1 Samuel 14:20b; cp. Judges 7:22)
      3. Beaten by the Israelites in the Philistine camp (1 Samuel 14:21)
      4. Beaten by the Israelites out of hiding (1 Samuel 14:22)
      5. Beaten by the Lord (1 Samuel 14:23)
  3. THE FOOLISH OATH OF SAUL (1 Samuel 14:24-35)
    1. Robbing the People of Strength (1 Samuel 14:24)
      1. Cursed for eating food
      2. Until the evening
    2. Tempting the People Unjustly (1 Samuel 14:25-26)
      1. Honey on the ground
      2. Which the people feared to eat
    3. Cursing His Unknowing Son (1 Samuel 14:27-29)
      1. Jonathan eats the honey (1 Samuel 14:27; see Proverbs 24:13).
      2. Jonathan is informed of the oath (1 Samuel 14:28).
      3. Jonathan denounces the oath (1 Samuel 14:29).
    4. Decreasing the Victory That Day (1 Samuel 14:30-31)
    5. Causing the People to Sin (1 Samuel 14:32-35)
      1. They ate animals with the blood (1 Samuel 14:32; Leviticus 17:10-14).
      2. Saul corrects this sin (1 Samuel 14:33-34).
      3. Saul builds an altar to the Lord (1 Samuel 14:35).
        1. His first altar
        2. After God rejected him (1 Samuel 13:12-14)
  4. THE DELIVERANCE OF JONATHAN (1 Samuel 14:36-46)
    1. God’s Refusal to Answer (1 Samuel 14:36-37)
      1. Saul’s attempt to correct his mistake (1 Samuel 14:36a); since he failed to win because of his foolish oath, he sought to make up by attacking at night.
      2. The priest’s suggestion to ask of God (1 Samuel 14:36b)
      3. The Lord’s refusal to answer (1 Samuel 14:37)
    2. Jonathan’s Condemnation by Saul (1 Samuel 14:38-44)
      1. Saul’s rash condemnation (1 Samuel 14:38-39)
      2. Jonathan’s perfect lot (1 Samuel 14:40-42)
      3. Saul’s declaration of the death penalty (1 Samuel 14:43-44)
    3. Israel’s Refusal to Obey (1 Samuel 14:45-46)
      1. Israel’s rescue of Jonathan (1 Samuel 14:45)
      2. Saul’s departure from the battle (1 Samuel 14:46)
  5. THE KINGDOM OF SAUL (1 Samuel 14:47-52)
    1. Saul’s Battles (1 Samuel 14:47-48)
    2. Saul’s Family (1 Samuel 14:49-51)
      1. His children (1 Samuel 14:49)
      2. His wife (1 Samuel 14:50a)
      3. His captain (1 Samuel 14:50b-51)
    3. Saul’s Heritage (1 Samuel 14:52)
      1. Continual war against the Philistines
      2. Continual seeking of new soldiers (see 1 Samuel 8:11-12)

CONCLUSION: What could have been the greatest victory of Saul’s reign became a time of uncertainty because of Saul’s foolish oath. Nevertheless, the people of God do experience temporary victory over the Philistines.

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 18:13

He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.