1 Samuel 14:9
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.
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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.It is remarkable that the epithet "uncircumcised," used as a term of reproach, is confined almost exclusively to the Philistines. (Compare 1 Samuel 17:26, 1 Samuel 17:36; Judges 14:3; Judges 15:18, etc.) This is probably an indication of the long oppression of the Israelites by the Philistines and of their frequent wars. 9, 10. if they say, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the Lord hath delivered them into our hand—When Jonathan appears here to prescribe a sign or token of God's will, we may infer that the same spirit which inspired this enterprise suggested the means of its execution, and put into his heart what to ask of God. (See on [242]Ge 24:12). No text from Poole on this verse.

If they say thus unto us,.... By this and what follows he gives his man a sign by which both might know how they should conduct themselves in this expedition, and what would be the issue, whether they should succeed or not: should they say,

tarry until we come to you; this, as it would express boldness in the men of the garrison, and show that they were ready to come out and fight, would portend evil, and then what they had to do was to be upon the defensive:

then we will stand still in our place; wait till they came to them, and make the best defence of themselves as they could, showing as little fear as possible, and not attempting to retreat and flee:

and will not go up unto them; neither go backwards nor forwards; not backward, which would show fear; nor forward, to expose themselves to too much danger from the garrison, they appearing to be bold and intrepid.

{d} 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.

(d) This he spoke by the spirit of prophecy, and by this God gave him assurance of victory.

Verse 9. - Tarry. Hebrew, "be still," "stand still," the word used by Joshua of the sun (Joshua 10:12, 13); but not the word rendered stand still just below, where the Hebrew has, "We will stand under us," i.e. we will stop just where we were. 1 Samuel 14:9"Behold, we go over to the people and show ourselves to them. If they say to us, Wait (דּמּוּ, keep quiet) till we come to you, we will stand still in our place, and not go up to them; but if they say thus, Come up unto us, then we will go up, for Jehovah hath (in that case) delivered them into our hand." The sign was well chosen. If the Philistines said, "Wait till we come," they would show some courage; but if they said, "Come up to us," it would be a sign that they were cowardly, and had not courage enough to leave their position and attack the Hebrews. It was not tempting God for Jonathan to fix upon such a sign by which to determine the success of his enterprise; for he did it in the exercise of his calling, when fighting not for personal objects, but for the kingdom of God, which the uncircumcised were threatening to annihilate, and in the most confident belief that the Lord would deliver and preserve His people. Such faith as this God would not put to shame.
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