1 Samuel 14:38
And Saul said, Draw you near here, all the chief of the people: and know and see wherein this sin has been this day.
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(38) Draw ye near hither.—Round that rough unfinished altar, in the dark night, King Saul hastily summoned his leading officers and the prominent chiefs of the Israelites who had joined him in the late battle. The word rendered “chief of the people” (pinnoth) is literally, corner stones (as in Judges 20:2).

He would ask God’s help in the casting of lots, to discover who of these was the transgressor, whose sin made dumb the Divine Oracle.

14:36-46 If God turns away our prayer, we have reason to suspect it is for some sin harboured in our hearts, which we should find out, that we may put it away, and put it to death. We should always first suspect and examine ourselves; but an unhumbled heart suspects every other person, and looks every where but at home for the sinful cause of calamity. Jonathan was discovered to be the offender. Those most indulgent to their own sins are most severe upon others; those who most disregard God's authority, are most impatient when their own commands are slighted. Such as cast abroad curses, endanger themselves and their families. What do we observe in the whole of Saul's behaviour on this occasion, but an impetuous, proud, malignant, impious disposition? And do we not in every instance perceive that man, left to himself, betrays the depravity of his nature, and is enslaved to the basest tempers.Asked counsel - The technical phrase for inquiring of God by Urim and Thummim, and applied also to inquiry of other oracles. 31-34. the people were very faint. And the people flew upon the spoil—at evening, when the time fixed by Saul had expired. Faint and famishing, the pursuers fell voraciously upon the cattle they had taken, and threw them on the ground to cut off their flesh and eat them raw, so that the army, by Saul's rashness, were defiled by eating blood, or living animals; probably, as the Abyssinians do, who cut a part of the animal's rump, but close the hide upon it, and nothing mortal follows from that wound. They were painfully conscientious in keeping the king's order for fear of the curse, but had no scruple in transgressing God's command. To prevent this violation of the law, Saul ordered a large stone to be rolled, and those that slaughtered the oxen to cut their throats on that stone. By laying the animal's head on the high stone, the blood oozed out on the ground, and sufficient evidence was afforded that the ox or sheep was dead before it was attempted to eat it. All the chief of the people; in the name of all the people, that you may be witnesses, and may see where the fault lies. And Saul said, draw ye near hither all the chief of the people,.... Or, the corners of the peoples (g); the princes, as Jarchi interprets it: and so the Targum, the heads of the people, in allusion to the cornerstones in buildings, which are the ornament, strength, and cement of them, see Zechariah 10:4, though Abarbinel thinks the tribes themselves are meant, which lay encamped everyone in a corner by themselves, separated from one another; and these he would have brought together; not the heads only, but everyone, small and great, that it might be seen and known where the sin lay; but he should have observed, that the tribes of Israel were not now present with Saul, but a small number of them:

and know and see wherein this sin hath been this day; he concluded, from having no answer from the Lord, that sin had been committed, which was the cause of it; but never thought of his own rash oath, which was the cause of the people's sinning, and had brought his son into danger; nor the sin of the people in eating the flesh with the blood; nothing ran in his mind but the breach of the oath with which he had adjured the people, and this he was determined to find out, if possible.

(g) "anguli populi", Pagninus, Montanus, &c.

And Saul said, Draw ye near hither, all the chief of the people: and know and see wherein this sin hath been this day.
38. the chief of the people] Lit. “the corner-stones of the people,” as in Jdg 20:2, probably the elders or heads of houses.

wherein this sin hath been] Saul assumes that some undiscovered sin must have caused God to refuse an answer, as Achan’s trespass led Him to withdraw His Presence and abandon Israel to defeat (Joshua 7:11-12). At a later time Saul’s own sin made God desert Him in the same way (ch. 1 Samuel 28:6; 1 Samuel 28:15). Jonathan’s transgression of the oath, although unintentional, was an offence against the Majesty of the Divine Name which could not be left unnoticed.They therefore "fell voraciously upon the booty" - (the Chethibh ויּעשׂ is no doubt merely an error in writing for ויּעט, imperf. Kal of עיט with Dagesh forte implic. instead of ויּעט, as we may see from 1 Samuel 15:19, since the meaning required by the context, viz., to fall upon a thing, cannot be established in the case of עשׂה with על. On the other hand, there does not appear to be any necessity to supply the article before שׁלל, and this Keri seems only to have been taken from the parallel passage in 1 Samuel 15:19), - "and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, and slew them on the ground (ארצה, lit. to the earth, so that when they were slaughtered the animal fell upon the ground, and remained lying in its blood, and was cut in pieces), and ate upon the blood" (הדּם על, with which הדּם אל, "lying to the blood," is interchanged in 1 Samuel 14:34), i.e., the flesh along with the blood which adhered to it, by doing which they sinned against the law in Leviticus 19:26. This sin had been occasioned by Saul himself through the prohibition which he issued.
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