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before, as a sudden and abrupt elevation from a very low to a very high position. Now, there has been seldom a more abrupt elevation than was Saul's ; but he gives no token, at all events at the outset of his career, that it has wrought this mischief
Archbishop Trench. 5. The true leader will be ready, at God's bidding, to yield his place to another, as Samuel yielded his position to Saul. “ The magnanimity of the man thus giving his mind and his hand, not to the perpetuating of his own life-work, but to the setting up of ways in which that would be entirely eclipsed by others of the coming era all this is noble beyond praise. Samuel had, indeed, relit a lamp in Israel ; but this unselfish, great-minded, and true-hearted old man gave his last days to the lighting of a new lamp whose glory should pale his own." Rev. P. Carnegie Simpson.
6. Above all, the true leader will lead men in the power of God. This is what Saul's change of heart meant to him. “ He who, when Samuel's revelations were first granted to him, was conscious only of his weakness and insufficiency, now learned that he who had called him would also enable him to fulfil his new office.” Rev. George Milligan, D.D. “Let us most eagerly seek the sacred anointing of the Holy Spirit at the spring of the day. His sacred unction will teach us all things that we need to know." Rev. F. B. Meyer, D.D.
JONATHAN AND HIS ARMORBEARER. — 1 Samuel 14:1-46.
PRINT 1 Sam. 14:1-13.
Be strong and of good courage. — Josh. 1:6.
Devotional Reading : Eph. 6:10–20.
Lesson Material : 1 Sam. 14 : 1-23.
Memory Verse : Fear not ; for I am with thee. Isa. 43 : 5. Junior Topic : How Two MEN PUT AN ARMY TO Flight.
Lesson Material : i Sam. 14 : 1-13.
Memory Verse : Ps. 27 : 3.
THE TEACHER AND HIS CLASS. The Older Classes, familiar with the
story, will review it rapidly, and then The Younger Pupils will be interested make it the basis for a study of initiative in the story of Jonathan's brave dash up in Christian work, such bold initiative as the cliff and the way the Philistines Jonathan displayed. Discuss where this melted away before him. Make much initiative is needed, from whom it may also of the faithful armorbearer. Teach be expected, what it will accomplish, the children that if they will only live and especially consider whether in your so that God is with them, they need own church you are developing Christian not fear any danger or difficulty. initiative, and how it may be done.
The Intermediate Classes will take a broader view of the history, will study the onset of the Ammonites, the formal THE LESSON IN ITS SETTING. acceptance of Saul by the people, the attack of the Philistines, and Saul's rash Time. Professor Beecher places the command and its consequences, as well victory over the Ammonites at 1102 B.C., as Jonathan's bravery, with its applica- and Jonathan's exploit described in this tion to their own lives.
lesson at 1085 B.C.
Place. Gilgal, where Saul was finally II. JONATHAN's Bold Exploit, 1 Sam. accepted as king, and where Saul gathered
14:1-15 the people to meet the Philistines, was “No restraint to Jehovah.” southeast of Jericho. Geba (Gibeah) was The faithful armorbearer.
Two against an army. six miles north of Jerusalem, Michmash
"One with God is a majority." not far away to the northeast, and Bethel about six miles to the north, or
III. JONATHAN'S PERIL AND PRESERVAtwelve miles north of Jerusalem.
TION, I Sam. 14 : 16-46.
Jonathan's zeal for our present-day tasks.
THE TEACHER'S LIBRARY.
Hastings's Greater Men and Women Superstition versus true worship.
of the Bible on Samuel and Jonathan. Bible victories of a few against many.
Sermons on these events by Newbolt (in Words of Exhortation), Talmage (The
Mask Torn Off), Nicoll (Sunday Evening), THE PLAN OF THE LESSON.
Jonathan," SUBJECT : How to Win Victories for by Rev. J. G. Greenhough, in Men of God and Right.
the Old Testament. On honey in Pales
tine, Tristram's Natural History of the I. SAUL ESTABLISHED IN THE KING- Bible. On the Urim and Thummim, see
DOM, 1 Sam. 11 :1-13 : 23. articles in The International Standard
Bible Encyclopedia (by Nathan Isaacs)
and Hastings's Bible Dictionary (by Saul's disobedience, and ours.
A. R. S. Kennedy).
I. SAUL ESTABLISHED IN THE KINGDOM, I Sam. :1-13 : 23. The new king soon found an opportunity to prove his qualities as a leader. The Ammonites were a fierce tribe east of the Jordan. Jephthah had defeated them, but under King Nahash they were attacking the Israelites east of the Jordan, and making the barbarous threat that they would blind them in their right eyes. Thus they could not fight, as the left eye in battle was covered by the shield.
When the messengers of these threatened Israelites arrived, Saul was at work on his farm, as Cincinnatus was following the plough when the messengers from the Roman senate came offering him the dictatorship. In a burst of rage Saul hewed in pieces the oxen with which he had been ploughing, and sent the pieces around among the people, bidding them come to the war or their oxen would be treated in the same fashion. So they gathered, 330,000 strong, and routed the Ammonites.
A NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AT Gilgal followed this notable victory, for it seemed proper to ratify unmistakably the choice of Saul made privately at Ramah, and then made at Mizpeh with the opposition of part of the people. The execution of those who had opposed Saul at Mizpeh was now proposed by his supporters, but he rightly refused to mar his triumph by any revenge.
THE FAREWELL ADDRESS OF SAMUEL was the chief feature of this assembly at Gilgal. It marked the end of the era of the judges. From that time Samuel was prophet and priest, but he was judge no longer. He challenged the people to point to any unrighteous act of his, and they shouted their testimony to his uprightness. Then Samuel reminded the people of God's kindness to them through all the history of the nation, how over and over he had sent deliverers to free them from their foes; and in witness to the power of Jehovah he called upon the heavens to send thunder and rain. This would be a miracle, because it was then wheat harvest, late May or early June, a time of the year when rain never falls and there are no storm-clouds in the sky. Then the Lord sent rain and thunder, and the people were greatly terrified, so that Samuel had to reassure them. He promised them that the Lord would not forsake them, if they would serve him faithfully, and that he himself would continue to teach them and pray for them.
It was a noble close to the judgeship of Samuel, second only to Moses as a leader of Israel. “True statesmanship,” says Dr. Gunsaulus, “ consists in discovering the way God is going, and getting things out of the way for him.” Samuel was certainly a true statesman.
“The Man who, lifted high,
- From Wordsworth's "Character of the Happy Warrior." THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE PHILISTINES came upon the Israelites soon after the campaign against the Ammonites, when Saul had reigned two years. Of the army that had won the victory over the Ammonites Saul retained three thousand men, whom he stationed in three strongholds, his own town of Geba (Gibeah), Michmash a little to the northeast, and Bethel a little further to the north.
Jonathan, Saul's brave and noble son, who was commanding at Geba, attacked the Philistine garrison of the place, doubtless on Saul's orders. Saul knew that the news would speedily pass through the Philistine nation, and it would be hot for revenge ; therefore he sent runners to summon all Israel to meet the expected attack. The rendezvous, as usual, was Gilgal, as it was far from the Philistines and was not in danger from them. Against the Israelites the Philistines assembled in vast numbers, with thirty thousand chariots (the text should probably read one thousand), six thousand cavalry, and a countless host of infantry. When the Israelites saw how vast an army was opposed to them, their hearts failed, and many of them took to the caves and the dense woods, and some even ran away across the Jordan. Their plight was the worse because the Philistines had not allowed the Israelites to possess swords or spears, or even to have smiths in their land that could make weapons for them. Saul and Jonathan alone had sword and spear.
Saul's DISOBEDIENCE, AND Ours. It was for this time that Samuel, by divine direction, had given Saul the orders recorded in 1 Sam. 10 : 8. He was to tarry at Gilgal until Samuel arrived to offer sacrifices. He was not to begin a war till he had the blessing of Jehovah upon it. The reign which began in the self-will of the people could not expect to continue and prosper unless it submitted itself definitely to the will of God. This truth is the key to what follows.
Saul saw his soldiers falling away from him. The minutes were precious. Now, he thought, was the time to strike, if ever. In hot impatience he waited the seven days which Samuel had set, but he thought he could not wait an instant longer. He offered the sacrifices himself.
1. Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines' garrison, that is on the other side. But he told not his father.
2. And Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron: and the people that were with him were about six hundred men;
3. And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, I-chabod's brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD's priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone.
4. And between the passages, by which Jonathan sought to go over unto the Philistines' garrison, there was a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side: and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh.
5. The forefront of the one was situate northward over against Michmash, and the other southward over against Gibeah.
Just as he had completed the ceremony, Samuel appeared, and sternly rebuked Saul. He owed everything to God, but he had put no trust in God or in God's priest and prophet. Therefore Samuel foretold that Saul's house should not continue, but the sceptre should pass to another, to a man after God's own heart.
Very much like Saul, we are tempted to hurry to our tasks without taking time for religion ! " How difficult it is to realize, in the rush of life, as Philistine after Philistine tops the crest, that we must wait. No, I must not cut short my prayers. No, I must not scamp my daily meditation.' What a temptation there is to think that unless we are in a perpetual fuss and bustle Israel will melt away, and the Philistines will strike home. Let us not do unconsecrated work." — Canon Newbolt.
" The word of Jesus, in the mind of one who does not do the will of Jesus, lies like seed-corn in a mummy's hand.” — Henry van Dyke.
"Not as I will': the sound grows sweet
'Not as I will.' II. JONATHAN'S BOLD EXPLOIT, 1 Sam. 14:1-15. If Saul had failed Jehovah, not so his glorious son Jonathan. By a deed of supreme trust in God Jonathan was to prove to Saul and the Israelites where their true resource lay. Jonathan was a genuine hero of faith, worthy to be ranked with any in the eleventh of Hebrews.
1. Jonathan . . . said unto the young man that bare his armor, corresponding to the squire of a knight of the Middle Ages. He proposed that they two, all alone, should attack the immense host of the Philistines. But he told not his father, since Saul, lacking his son's faith, would have forbidden an act that would have seemed to be foolhardy in the extreme.
2. And Saul abode. We have in verses 2-5 a parenthetical note regarding the situation. The especial point is that Saul had with him the great-grandson of Eli, Ahijah, who was officiating as high priest. Also we are told that Jonathan's way over to the Philistines lay through a deep ravine flanked by two craggy hills. One of these hills was called Seneh or “the Acacia,” a name now given to the entire valley because of the acacia trees growing there ; the other hill, on the north, was called Bozez or “ Shining." “ The great valley runs nearly due east, and thus the southern cliff is almost entirely in shade during the day. The contrast is surprising and picturesque between the dark cool color of the south side and the ruddy or tawny tints of the northern cliff, crowned with the gleaming white of the upper chalky 6. And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.
7. And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.
8. Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them.
9. If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them.
10. But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the LORD hath delivered them into our hand : and this shall be a sign unto us.
strata. The picture is unchanged since the days when Jonathan looked over to the white camping-ground of the Philistines, and Bozez must then have shone as brightly as it does now, in the full light of an Eastern sun.” — Conder's “Tent Work.”
6 These uncircumcised. This term applied to the Philistines is Jonathan's reminder that they have not been sealed to God by the symbolic rite that marked the Israelites as God's children, and so could not expect God's help. Jehovah will work for us, Jonathan was confident. There is no restraint to Jehovah to save by many or by few. Perhaps in these noble words Jonathan had in mind the experience of Gideon and his three hundred. The thought was echoed by David before Goliath (1 Sam. 17:46, 47), by Asa before Zerah (2 Chron. 14:11), and in nearly the same words by the great Jewish patriot, Judas Maccabæus, before the battle of Beth-horon (1 Macc. 3:16-21) : “ With the God of heaven it is all one to deliver with a great multitude or with a small company; for the victory of battle standeth not in the multitude of an host ; but strength cometh from heaven.” It was such men as Jonathan who “ through faith waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens ” (Heb. II : 34).
Valley of Michmash. 7. The armorbearer's fine answer is still more impressive in the Greek translation, the Septuagint : “ Do all to which thine heart inclines ; behold, I am with thee; as thy heart so is my heart." Thus also Jehu spoke to Jehonadab the son of Rechab (2 Kings 10 : 15).
10. This shall be the sign. Compare the sign of the milch kine, 1 Sam. 6:7-9. Compare also the sign which pointed out Isaac's future wife, Gen. 24 : 14, and the sign of Gideon's fleece, Judg. 6 : 36-40. Jonathan might seem to be resting too much on the mere chance of what words should first be spoken to them by the Philistines, but the Hebrews believed that God directed all the smallest details of life, and saw divine meanings in them. We do not believe that God discloses his will to us by trivial signs or omens, but that he speaks to us by our consciences, by his Word, and by men who are moved by his Spirit.