Failure of Saul & the deliverer Jonathan: The redemption pattern
6th September 2009, hej
This Article: (4 Pages)
1) The Events
Jonathan wins a victory against the Philistines. The Philistines are provoked and gather their troops and Saul calls all Israel out. Meanwhile Saul's such a bad leader he thinks he has to offer a sacrifice to stop people leaving him, which annoys Yahweh the God of Israel, who says he will take the kingdom from him. After this Saul still sits around with his 600 hangers on, while his son Jonathan with an armour bearer takes on the whole Philistine army single handedly. The earth quakes and the Philistine army starts falling apart, and we learn they had Hebrews amongst them (reflecting poorly on Saul's leadership). Saul finally starts leading out his men and we learn he'd made a vow nobody should eat until victory. Jonathan, when he found this out, condemned the oath as foolish (after having already eaten some honey). Then Saul's troops are so hungry they eat with the blood forcing Saul to build an altar to do the thing properly.
Then after this Saul asks God for help and gets no answer. So he says 'whoever is causing this must die even if it be my son'. Saul takes a lot, which ends in Jonathan being selected. Jonathan confesses he ate the honey. Saul condemns his son to die. The people protest that it was only through Jonathan there was so great a victory. Saul bows to their pressure and lets his son live. Saul does not follow up attacking the Philistines, and what's left of the Philistines go home.
The whole incident from every angle is embarrassing. Saul comes out looking weak and a fool, and the whole Hebrew nation of that time, a divided mess. The only bright light is Jonathan and he was condemned to death! But this is more than a frank history. In here is the very pattern of the messy events that are part of our redemption.
Jonathan the leader
The account of the two chapters is about Jonathan. This chapter is the very first time Jonathan is mentioned in the Bible. We are told it is the second year of Saul's reign. Jonathan is given no introduction, rather he suddenly appears as a leader of a 1000 of Saul's regular army.
Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent. (1Samuel 13:2)
Jonathan must have gone off with his 1000 men and attacked a garrison of the Philistines as the very next thing that is said is,
And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear.
And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philistines, and that Israel also was had in abomination with the Philistines. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal. (1Samuel 13:3-4)
We can see from this that what ever Jonathan had done had made the Philistines so angry their whole army was on its way out. But Saul was taking the credit and called up Israel. Saul and those he gathered, however, seemed to have baulked a bit when they saw what forces the Philistines had managed to muster, 30,000 chariots (2 men in each) 6,000 horsemen and an uncountable number of foot soldiers. In fact most took off and hid as Saul was left with only 600.
In the book of Isaiah there are interesting references to towers that will fall. As we wrote this article a tower in Kensington a wealthy suburb of London burnt to a blackened skeleton. What is even more important is the context and time of the falling of the towers.
As I was thinking to write this article, having just read Psalm 46 as I do each year on that day, on January 25th a Bible was found untouched after a tornado hit Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Yeshua's prophecy speaks of earthquakes in diverse places. Often people assume the prediction means an increase in quakes, but the prophecy does not require an increase statistical or in perception– but rather quakes in diverse places, those places not before known for quakes: quakes that are not on fault lines. Both the Haiti quake 12 January 2010 and the Christchurch quake on the 4 September 2010 were new faults, and there is an amazing symmetry. They speak of two churches.
This article is from the archives. It was written 20 years ago in January 1990. What is interesting is that history has borne out the understanding of the events then. From the vantage of 20 years we can look back and see how great the earthquake of the year 1989 was. Before 1988 was another world. The year 1990 is the beginning of our world as it is now.
Why did Israel have to buy and then fight for the promised land if it was promised to them? Why were they not just given it?