1 Samuel 14
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
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.
Ch. 1 Samuel 14:1-15. Jonathan’s deed of daring

1. that bare his armour] A confidential attendant like the squire of the middle ages.

But he told not his father] For fear lest he should forbid so hazardous an attempt. From this point to the end of 1 Samuel 14:5 we have a series of clauses introduced parenthetically to describe the circumstances under which the attack was made. 1 Samuel 14:6 resumes the thread of the narrative by a repetition of Jonathan’s words. The vivid detail marks the account of one familiar with the spot.

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;
2. the uttermost part of Gibeah] Here at any rate Gibeah seems to denote a district. See note on 1 Samuel 10:5. Saul was stationed probably at the northern extremity of it, under “the pomegranate tree which is in Migron.” So we find him afterwards “under the tamarisk in Gibeah” (1 Samuel 22:6). Migron cannot be the place mentioned in Isaiah 10:28, which was north of Michmash. The name means precipice, and probably occurred frequently in this rocky region.

And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod'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.
3. And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub] And [there was with him] Ahiah, or Ahijah, as the name is usually transliterated. Ahijah is perhaps the same as Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, the priest at Nob, who was the victim of Saul’s sacrilegious vengeance (1 Samuel 22:9). The name Ahijah = “brother of Jah” and Ahimelech = “brother of the king” may have been applied to the same person, Melech king being substituted for the divine name Jah in ordinary intercourse. But it is also possible that Ahimelech was the brother of Ahijah and his successor in the high priesthood.

I-chabod’s brother] See 1 Samuel 4:21. I-chabod’s elder brother Ahitub was probably about the same age as Samuel, and his son may have been high-priest already for some time. Fifty years or more must have elapsed since the death of Eli. See Introduction, Ch. III.

the Lord’s priest in Shiloh] These words must be referred to Eli as the most famous priest during the period while the Tabernacle was at Shiloh, not to Ahijah. It is all but certain that Shiloh ceased to be the religious centre of the nation after the capture of the Ark.

wearing an ephod] i.e. officiating as high-priest. See note on 1 Samuel 2:18. His presence with the army is noticed to prepare the way for the fact mentioned in 1 Samuel 14:18.

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.
4. And between the passages, &c.] The scene of Jonathan’s adventure is accurately described. The “passages” appear to be ravines running down into the main valley, by which it was possible to get down and cross over. “In the valley, [the Wady es-Suweinit] just at the left of where we crossed, are two hills of a conical or rather a spherical form, having steep rocky sides, with small wadys running up behind each so as almost to isolate them. One is on the side toward Jeba and the other towards Mukhmas. These would seem to be the two rocks mentioned in connexion with Jonathan’s adventure.” Robinson, Bibl. Res. I. 441.

a sharp rock] Lit. “a tooth of the rock.” Cp. note on 1 Samuel 7:12.

the name of the one was Bozez] “The northern cliff was named Bozez or “shining,” and the true explanation of this name only presents itself on the spot. 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 colour of the south side and the ruddy or tawny tints of the northern cliff crowned with the gleaming white of the upper chalky 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, II. 113.

the name of the other Seneh] “The southern cliff was called Seneh or ‘the Acacia,’ and the same name still applies to the modern valley, due to the acacia trees which dot its course.” Wady es-Suweinit = “Valley of the little thorn tree” or “acacia.” Id.

The forefront of the one was situate northward over against Michmash, and the other southward over against Gibeah.
5. the forefront of the one, &c.] Lit. The one crag (lit. tooth) was a pillar on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba. The Sept. omits “a pillar.”

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.
6. these uncircumcised] A frequent epithet of abhorrence for the Philistines. Here it has a special significance, for it indicates that Jonathan’s hope of success was based on the reflection that the Philistines stood in no covenant-relation to Jehovah, as Israel did.

there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few] See ch. 1 Samuel 17:46-47; Jdg 7:4; Jdg 7:7; 2 Chronicles 14:11, and the noble words of Judas Maccabaeus before the battle of Beth-horon (1Ma 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.” These were among the heroes who “through faith waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens” (Hebrews 11:34).

And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.
7. turn thee] The reading of the Heb. text is doubtful, and that of the Sept. perhaps to be preferred. “Do all unto which thine heart inclineth: behold I am with thee: my heart is as thy heart.”

Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them.
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.
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.
10. this shall be a sign unto us] “The sign” is clearly regarded by Jonathan as an intimation of the Divine will. Cp. Genesis 24:14; Jdg 6:36 ff., and ch. 1 Samuel 2:34, note.

And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves.
11. the holes where they had hid themselves] See 1 Samuel 13:6. Travellers speak of numerous caverns in the limestone rocks of the district.

And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the LORD hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.
12. we will shew you a thing] Either, “give you some information;” or, “teach you a lesson.” Cp. Jdg 8:16. Perhaps a colloquial phrase, used of course contemptuously.

And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him.
13. Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet] “Immediately to the east of the village of Michmash exists a natural fortress, still called ‘the fort’ by the peasantry. It is a ridge rising in three rounded knolls above a perpendicular crag, ending in a narrow tongue to the east with cliffs below.” Conder’s Tent Work, II. 112. This may have been the post occupied by the advanced guard of the Philistines.

And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow.
14. within as it were a half acre of land which a yoke of oxen might plow] Lit. in about half a furrow of a yoke of land. “A yoke of land” may denote such a piece of land as a yoke of oxen would plough in one day, a natural measure for an agricultural people to use. “The furrow of a yoke” will then denote the length of one side of such a square measure. The point appears to be that the garrison was cut to pieces in a comparatively short distance.

The Sept. however (unless its rendering is mere conjecture) represents a different reading: “And the first slaughter … was with darts and slings and stones of the field.” But Jonathan at any rate was better armed (1 Samuel 13:22), and it is hard to see the point of mentioning the weapons with which the first slaughter was accomplished.

And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling.
15. in the host, in the field] In the camp in the field, the main army as distinguished from the outpost which Jonathan had attacked.

the earth quaked] Perhaps this only describes the tumult and confusion of the Philistine host (cp. 1 Samuel 4:5), but possibly an earthquake augmented the general panic, as at the Exodus (Psalm 77:18). Cp. the storm at Ebenezer (ch. 1 Samuel 7:10).

so it was a very great trembling] Lit. “And it became a trembling of God,” i.e. a supernatural panic inspired by God. Cp. 2 Kings 7:6.

And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another.
16–23. The rout of the Philistines

16. in Gibeah of Benjamin] If Tuleil-el-Fûl is the true site of the town of Gibeah, we must either suppose that Gibeah is here used of the surrounding district, or read Geba for Gibeah, since according to Lieut. Conder, Michmash is not visible from Tuleil-el-Fûl. See note on 1 Samuel 10:5.

they went on beating down one another] It is doubtful if this or any other meaning can be extracted from the present Heb. text The Sept. gives a good sense: “And behold, the camp was in confusion on every side.”

Then said Saul unto the people that were with him, Number now, and see who is gone from us. And when they had numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armourbearer were not there.
17. Number now] The word denotes a muster or parade of the troop for inspection.

And Saul said unto Ahiah, Bring hither the ark of God. For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel.
18. Bring hither the ark of God] Saul wished to “inquire of God” before going to battle. See Numbers 27:21. But apart from the fact that we have no mention of the transportation of the Ark from Kirjath-jearim, it was not the Ark, but the Ephod with Urim and Thummim which was the proper instrument for ascertaining the will of God. Moreover “bring hither” is a term applied to the Ephod (1 Samuel 23:9, 1 Samuel 30:7) but not to the Ark. It seems best therefore to follow the reading of the Sept.; “And Saul said to Ahia, bring hither the Ephod: for he wore the Ephod at that time before the children of Israel.”

And it came to pass, while Saul talked unto the priest, that the noise that was in the host of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said unto the priest, Withdraw thine hand.
19. Withdraw thine hand] Desist from the inquiry. With characteristic impatience Saul would not wait for God’s answer.

And Saul and all the people that were with him assembled themselves, and they came to the battle: and, behold, every man's sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great discomfiture.
20. every man’s sword was against his fellow] Cp. Jdg 7:22; 2 Chronicles 20:23.

Moreover the Hebrews that were with the Philistines before that time, which went up with them into the camp from the country round about, even they also turned to be with the Israelites that were with Saul and Jonathan.
21. the Hebrews that were with the Philistines] Either renegade Israelites who had taken service in the Philistine army, or forced levies from the districts occupied by the Philistines. The name “Hebrews” by which they were known to the Philistines is used to distinguish them from the “Israelites” who had not submitted to their oppressors. The Sept. reads “slaves.” See notes on 1 Samuel 4:6 and 1 Samuel 13:3.

Likewise all the men of Israel which had hid themselves in mount Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, even they also followed hard after them in the battle.
So the LORD saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over unto Bethaven.
23. So the Lord saved Israel] Cp. Exodus 14:30; 2 Chronicles 32:22.

unto Beth-aven] Saul crossed the valley from Geba to Michmash, and drove the Philistines back in a north-westerly direction to Beth-aven, half way between Michmash and Bethel. Thence the pursuit was across the watershed, and headlong down the pass of Beth-horon to Aijalon, where the valley begins to open out towards the plain of Philistia:—that same pass where Joshua gained his great victory over the five Amorite kings (Joshua 10:10), and where the valiant Judas Maccabaeus was once more in later times to drive back the enemies of Israel to the plains (1Ma 3:24). The whole distance was between 15 and 20 miles.

And the men of Israel were distressed that day: for Saul had adjured the people, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies. So none of the people tasted any food.
24–30. Jonathan’s breach of Saul’s rash oath

24. were distressed that day: for Saul, &c.] Render, And the men of Israel were distressed that day. And Saul caused the people to swear, &c. Seeing the fatigued condition of the army, and fearing lest they should relinquish the pursuit to get food, Saul rashly exacted from them an oath, which led to three evil results. (1) It hindered instead of facilitating the pursuit of the enemy. (2) It involved Jonathan in an involuntary trespass. (3) It indirectly occasioned the sin of the people (1 Samuel 14:32). The Sept. however appears to have had a different text as follows: “And all the people that were with Saul were about ten thousand men. And the battle was scattered throughout the whole wood [city is a mistranslation of the Heb. word for wood in 1 Samuel 14:25] in mount Ephraim. And Saul did very foolishly on that day, and adjured the people, saying, &c.”

And all they of the land came to a wood; and there was honey upon the ground.
And when the people were come into the wood, behold, the honey dropped; but no man put his hand to his mouth: for the people feared the oath.
26. behold, the honey dropped] Lit. behold a stream of honey. Palestine is literally “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8). Wild bees settle in vast numbers in the clefts of the limestone rocks and in the trees. Compare the statement of a traveller in India, where “the forests literally flow with honey, Large combs may be seen hanging in the trees as you pass along, full of honey.” Cp. Matthew 3:4. See Tristram’s Land of Israel, p. 83. Kitto’s Bible Illustrations, p. 190.

But Jonathan heard not when his father charged the people with the oath: wherefore he put forth the end of the rod that was in his hand, and dipped it in an honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened.
27. his eyes were enlightened] Cp. Psalm 13:3. His bodily powers were refreshed. The opposite idea is conveyed by the Heb. words for fainting, which are derived from roots meaning ‘to be shrouded in darkness.’

Then answered one of the people, and said, Thy father straitly charged the people with an oath, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food this day. And the people were faint.
28. straitly] i.e. strictly. Cp. Exodus 13:19; Joshua 6:1.

And the people were faint] Better, and the people are faint, or weary: words of the speaker, not a comment by the historian.

Then said Jonathan, My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey.
29. hath troubled] The word applied to Achan in Joshua 7:25.

How much more, if haply the people had eaten freely to day of the spoil of their enemies which they found? for had there not been now a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?
And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon: and the people were very faint.
31–35. The sin of the people

31. from Michmash to Aijalon] See note on 1 Samuel 14:23.

And the people flew upon the spoil, and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, and slew them on the ground: and the people did eat them with the blood.
32. the people did eat them with the blood] As soon as it was evening, the fasting people flew upon the spoil to satisfy their hunger, and in doing so transgressed the primeval prohibition (Genesis 9:4), which was re-enacted in the Mosaic law (Leviticus 17:10-14), and observed in the early days of the Christian Church (Acts 15:20).

Then they told Saul, saying, Behold, the people sin against the LORD, in that they eat with the blood. And he said, Ye have transgressed: roll a great stone unto me this day.
33. this day] Rather, forthwith. But the Sept. reads “here,” perhaps rightly.

And Saul said, Disperse yourselves among the people, and say unto them, Bring me hither every man his ox, and every man his sheep, and slay them here, and eat; and sin not against the LORD in eating with the blood. And all the people brought every man his ox with him that night, and slew them there.
And Saul built an altar unto the LORD: the same was the first altar that he built unto the LORD.
35. the same was the first altar] Lit. “it he began to build as an altar to Jehovah.” The E. V. probably gives the right sense. The altar was erected as a thank-offering for the victory. “The great stone” most likely formed part of it.

And Saul said, Let us go down after the Philistines by night, and spoil them until the morning light, and let us not leave a man of them. And they said, Do whatsoever seemeth good unto thee. Then said the priest, Let us draw near hither unto God.
36–46. The consequence of Jonathan’s transgression

36. Let us draw near hither unto God] Ahijah checks Saul’s impulse, reminding him that it was necessary first to ascertain the will of God. Perhaps he felt that Saul’s neglect to wait for God’s answer in the morning (1 Samuel 14:19) had already borne evil fruit.

And Saul asked counsel of God, Shall I go down after the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into the hand of Israel? But he answered him not that day.
37. asked counsel of God] Inquired of God, the same verb as in 1 Samuel 10:22, See note there.

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.

For, as the LORD liveth, which saveth Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die. But there was not a man among all the people that answered him.
Then said he unto all Israel, Be ye on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side. And the people said unto Saul, Do what seemeth good unto thee.
Therefore Saul said unto the LORD God of Israel, Give a perfect lot. And Saul and Jonathan were taken: but the people escaped.
41. Give a perfect lot] This and not the marginal rendering “Shew the innocent” is the best explanation of an obscure phrase which occurs nowhere else.

The Sept. however has a very different reading, which with some emendation may be rendered, “And Saul said, O Lord God of Israel, why hast thou not answered thy servant to day? If the iniquity be in me or in Jonathan my son, O Lord God of Israel, give Urim: and if it be in thy people Israel, give Thummim.” If this reading is correct, it points to the conclusion that the “judgment of Urim and Thummim” was obtained by a special method of casting lots, which was employed on the present occasion. See further on 1 Samuel 28:6. The Heb. text implies that the ordinary lot only was used.

And Saul said, Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son. And Jonathan was taken.
42. And Saul said, &c.] Again the Sept. text is fuller. “And Saul said, Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son: whomsoever the Lord taketh by lot, let him die. And the people said unto Saul, This thing shall not be. And Saul prevailed over the people, and they cast lots between him and Jonathan his son, and Jonathan was taken.” The omission in the Heb. text may be accounted for by homoeoteleuton (1 Samuel 10:1. note), the words for my son and his son being almost identical.

Then Saul said to Jonathan, Tell me what thou hast done. And Jonathan told him, and said, I did but taste a little honey with the end of the rod that was in mine hand, and, lo, I must die.
43. Tell me] In like manner Joshua moved Achan to confess, when the lot had fixed upon him as the “troubler of Israel” (Joshua 7:19).

I did but taste, &c.] I did certainly taste … here I am: I will die. Jonathan’s words are not a lamentation over his hard fate, as the E. V. implies, but a confession that the guilt, though involuntary, was his, and an heroic expression of readiness to sacrifice his life for his country even in the hour off victory.

And Saul answered, God do so and more also: for thou shalt surely die, Jonathan.
And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? God forbid: as the LORD liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he hath wrought with God this day. So the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not.
45. there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground] See 2 Samuel 14:11; 1 Kings 1:52; Matthew 10:30; Luke 21:18; Acts 27:34.

he hath wrought with God] Compare Jonathan’s own words in 1 Samuel 14:6.

the people rescued Jonathan] “There was now a freer and more understanding spirit in the nation at large. What was tolerated in the time of Jephthah, when every man did what was right in his own eyes, and when the obligation of such vows overrode all other considerations, was no longer tolerated now. The people interposed in Jonathan’s behalf. They recognised the religious aspect of his great exploit. They rallied round him with a zeal that overbore even the royal vow, and rescued Jonathan that he died not. It was the dawn of a better day. It was the national spirit now in advance of their chief, animated by the same Prophetic teaching, which through the voice of Samuel had now made itself felt; the conviction that there was a higher duty even than outward sacrifice or exact fulfilment of literal vows.” Stanley’s Lectures, II. 14.

A somewhat analogous story is told in Livy VIII. 35. Q. Fabius the Master of the Horse violated the commands of the Dictator Papirius Cursor by attacking the Samnites in his absence. He was ordered for instant execution by the dictator, but escaped through the intercession of the people.

Then Saul went up from following the Philistines: and the Philistines went to their own place.
So Saul took the kingdom over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines: and whithersoever he turned himself, he vexed them.
47–52. Summary account of Saul’s wars and family

47. So Saul took the kingdom] The various wars undertaken by Saul whom the people elected king “to go out before them and fight their battles” are here summarily noticed. (1) Against Moab. See note on 1 Samuel 11:1. (2) Against the children of Ammon, as recorded in ch. 11, and perhaps upon other occasions. (3) Against the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, surnamed Edom (Genesis 25:30), who occupied Edom or Idumaea, previously called Mount Seir (= rugged), the mountainous district stretching from the Dead Sea to the head of the Gulf of Elath. The Edomites were conquered by David (2 Samuel 8:14), and remained subject to Judah till the reign of Jehoram (2 Kings 8:20). They are fiercely denounced by the later prophets, especially Obadiah, for their hostility to Judah. (4) Against the Syrian kingdom of Zobah on the north-east. This kingdom was probably situated between Damascus and the Euphrates, but its exact position and limits are undetermined. The “kings” were apparently independent chiefs; in David’s time it was ruled by a single king Hadadezer, and the account of David’s wars with it testify to its power and importance (2 Samuel 8:3-10). (5) Against the Philistines throughout his reign (1 Samuel 14:52). No special account of the wars against Moab, Edom and Zobah is given, for the object of the book is not to give a complete history of Saul’s reign, but to describe its salient features, and the sins which led to his rejection.

he vexed them] The word means literally “to condemn,” and so (if the reading is correct) “to conquer,” the war being regarded as a suit against the enemies of God, in which defeat was tantamount to a verdict of condemnation. The Sept. however reads simply, “he was victorious.”

And he gathered an host, and smote the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them.
48. gathered a host] Better, did valiantly, as in Numbers 24:18; Psalm 40:12.

smote the Amalekites] As recorded at length in ch. 15.

Now the sons of Saul were Jonathan, and Ishui, and Melchishua: and the names of his two daughters were these; the name of the firstborn Merab, and the name of the younger Michal:
49. Ishui] Since in ch. 1 Samuel 31:2 and 1 Chronicles 10:2, the names of the sons who fell with Saul at Gilboa are given as Jonathan, Abinadab and Melchishua, and in the genealogies of 1 Chronicles 8:33; 1 Chronicles 9:39 these three are again mentioned with the addition of Esh-Baal or Ish-bosheth, it seems probable that Ishui is identical with Abinadab. Either Ishui was a second name, or it is a corruption of the Heb. word for “and the second.” Cp. note on 1 Samuel 8:2.

And the name of Saul's wife was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz: and the name of the captain of his host was Abner, the son of Ner, Saul's uncle.
50. Abner the son of Ner Saul’s uncle] Grammatically, “Saul’s uncle” might refer either to Abner or to Ner, but it is almost certain that it must refer to the latter, so that Saul and Abner were first cousins. 1 Samuel 14:51 should be read, according to Josephus, “And Kish the father of Saul and Ner the father of Abner were sons of Abiel.” It is true that the genealogies in 1 Chronicles 8:33; 1 Chronicles 9:39 make Ner the grandfather of Saul and consequently Abner Saul’s uncle: but (a) Ner is not mentioned among Saul’s ancestors in ch. 1 Samuel 9:1, and (b) it is difficult to suppose that Abner who was in full vigour for seven years after Saul’s death (2 Samuel 2, 3) could have belonged to the generation above him. There is probably some confusion of the names in Chronicles.

And Kish was the father of Saul; and Ner the father of Abner was the son of Abiel.
51. Abiel] It has been conjectured that Abiel is the same as Jehiel “the father” or founder of Gibeon, 1 Chronicles 9:35, and that Gibeon is identical with Gibeah; but this is doubtful.

And there was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul: and when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he took him unto him.
52. he took him] to serve in his permanent corps of picked soldiers (1 Samuel 13:4).

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