|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:1-15 Saul seems to have been quite at a loss, and unable to help himself. Those can never think themselves safe who see themselves out of God's protection. Now he sent for a priest and the ark. He hopes to make up matters with the Almighty by a partial reformation, as many do whose hearts are unhumbled and unchanged. Many love to have ministers who prophesy smooth things to them. Jonathan felt a Divine impulse and impression, putting him upon this bold adventure. God will direct the steps of those that acknowledge him in all their ways, and seek to him for direction, with full purpose of heart to follow his guidance. Sometimes we find most comfort in that which is least our own doing, and into which we have been led by the unexpected but well-observed turns of Divine providence. There was trembling in the host. It is called a trembling of God, signifying, not only a great trembling they could not resist, nor reason themselves out of, but that it came at once from the hand of God. He that made the heart, knows how to make it tremble.
Verse 10. - A sign. The waiting of the garrison for Jonathan and his armour bearer to mount up to them would be a sign of great indifference and supineness on their part; but what he rather meant was that they were to regard it as an omen. Kim'hi has a long digression in his commentary on this place to show that there was nothing superstitous in their looking for a prognostic to encourage them in their hazardous undertaking. God, he says, bade Gideon go to the camp of the Midianites to obtain such a sign. as Jonathan looked for here (see Judges 7:11).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But if they say unto us, come up unto us,.... Which however spoken in contempt of them, yet would discover some fear, that they did not care to come out of their hold to them, and expose themselves to any danger; and besides being bid to come up, though it might be in a sneering ironical way, as supposing it impracticable for them; yet this would lead them on to make the attempt; and while the men were careless and secure, they might obtain their point:
then we will go up: the precipice, which was supposed impassable:
for the Lord hath delivered them into our hands: they being afraid to come out, and scornful and self-confident in their garrison: and this shall be a sign unto us; a direction how to behave, what steps to take, and a confirming sign assuring of success. Bishop Patrick and others observe, from Herodotus (o), something similar to this, of the Paeonians, who went to war with the Perinthians, directed by the oracle; and were ordered that if the Perinthians provoked them to fight, calling them by name, then they should invade them; but, if not, should abstain; and so they did, and overcame; for when they met, there were three single combats; in the two first the Perinthians were conquerors, and began to triumph and insult; upon which the Paeonians said to one another, now is the oracle fulfilled, now is our business, and so fell upon them, and left few of them.
(o) Terpsichore, sive, l. 5. c. 1.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
14:10 A sign - Jonathan not being assured of the success of this exploit, desires a sign; and by the instinct of God's Spirit, pitches upon this. Divers such motions and extraordinary impulses there were among great and good men in ancient times. Observe; God has the governing of the hearts and tongues of all men, even of those that know him not, and serves his own purposes by them, tho' they mean not so, neither does their hearts think so.
1 Samuel 14:10 Parallel Commentaries
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