|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:24-35 Saul's severe order was very unwise; if it gained time, it lost strength for the pursuit. Such is the nature of our bodies, that daily work cannot be done without daily bread, which therefore our Father in heaven graciously gives. Saul was turning aside from God, and now he begins to build altars, being then most zealous, as many are, for the form of godliness when he was denying the power of it.
Verse 25. - And all they of the land. Hebrew, "the whole land," or, as we should say, the whole country, which had risen to join in the pursuit. Honey upon the ground. The wild bees in Palestine fill fissures in the rocks (Deuteronomy 32:13; Psalm 81:16) and hollow trees with honey, till the combs, breaking with the weight, let it run down upon the ground. A similar abundance of honey was found by the early settlers in America.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And all they of the land came to a wood,.... Which lay between Bethaven and Aijalon; by whom are meant not all the inhabitants of the land of Israel, but all that came with Saul and Jonathan, and that joined them in the pursuit:
and there was honey upon the ground; which dropped upon it, as in the following verse, or where it was produced by bees; for Aristotle (r) reports, that bees in some places make their combs upon the ground; this was wild honey, which Diodorus Siculus (s) speaks of as common in Arabia, and which perhaps John the Baptist ate of, Matthew 3:4. Jarchi says, this was the honey of canes, or sugar canes, which grew in the land of Israel; and affirms from Nathan an Ishmaelite, that in the Ishmaelitish or Arabic language they call honey, sugar; but neither of these can be proved.
(r) Hist. Animal. l. 5. c. 22. (s) Bibliothec. l. 19. p. 731.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
25. all they of the land came to a wood; and there was honey—The honey is described as "upon the ground," "dropping" from the trees, and in honeycombs—indicating it to be bees' honey. "Bees in the East are not, as in England, kept in hives; they are all in a wild state. The forests literally flow with honey; large combs may be seen hanging on the trees as you pass along, full of honey" [Roberts].
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