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restrained Saul and other kings in some degree of obedience to and are intimated in Clement's undoubted Epistle, $ 40. To
thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horses; he had sent him; and had not stayed till his and they pitched their camp at the city Michmash.* coming; which being appointed according to the When Saul, the king of the Hebrews, was inform- will of God, he had prevented him in offering ed of this, he went down to the city Gilgal, and those prayers and sacrifices that he should have made proclamation over all the country, that they made for the multitude; and that he therefore had should try to regain their liberty, and called them performed divine offices rashly, and in an ill manto the war against the Philistines, diminishing ner. Hereupon Saul made an apology for himself, their forces, and despising them, as not so great, and said, that he had waited as many days as but they might hazard a battle with them. But Samuel had appointed; that he had been so quick when the people about Saul observed how numer- in offering his sacrifices, upon account of the neous the Philistines were, they were under great cessity he was in, and because his soldiers were consternation; and some of them hid themselves departing from him, out of their fear of the enein caves, and in dens under ground ; but the mies' camp at Michmash; the report being gone greater part fled into the land beyond Jordan, abroad that they were coming down upon him to which belonged to Gad and Reubel.
Gilgal. Samuel replied, “ Nay, certainly, if thou But Saul sent to the prophet, and called him to hadst been af righteous man, and hadst not disconsult with him about the war, and the public obeyed me, nor slighted the commands which God
affairs. So he commanded him to stay there for suggested to me concerning the present state of -- him, and to prepare sacrifices; for he would come affairs, and hadst not acted more hastily than the
to him within seven days, that they might offer present circumstances required, thou wouldst have sacrifices on the seventh day, and might then join been permitted to reign a long time, and thy pos
battle with their enemies.t So he waited, as the terity after thee.”S Šo Samuel being grieved at * prophet commanded him to do. Yet did not he what had happened, returned home. But Saul
observe the command that was given him. But came to the city Gibeah, with his son Jonathan ;
when he saw that the prophet tarried longer than having only six hundred men with him; and of :: he expected, and that he was deserted by the these the greater part had no weapons; because
u soldiers, he took the sacrifices, and offered them. of the scarcity of iron in that country, as well as ** At this juncture he heard that Samuel was come, of those that could make such weapons; for as
and went out to meet him. But the prophet said we showed a little before, the Philistines had not 2: he had not done well in disobeying the injunctions suffered them to have such iron, or such work
baggage belonging to such a vast multitude of men, or for the try and impiety. Of the advantage of which strictness, in the deportation of the plunder they hoped to be master of by having observing divine laws, and inflicting their threatened penalties, conquered the country. Le Clerc's Commentary, and Universal see Antiq. VI. 12, where Josephus speaks of that matter. Though History. B.
it seems at least in three instances, that good men did not al. 1 Sam. xiii. 5.
ways immediately approve of such divine severity. There seems + Saul seems to have stayed till near the time of the evening to be one instance, 1 Sam. vi. 19, 20. Another, 1 Sam. xv. 11. sacrifice, on the seventh day; which Samuel had appointed | And a third, 2 Sam. vi. 8, 9. Joseph. Antiq. VI. 7, though they
him; but not till the end of that day, as he ought to have done; all at last acquiesced in the divine conduct, as knowing that mi and Samuel appears, by delaying to come till the full time of God is wiser than men. is the evening sacrifice on that day, to have tried him (who seems By this answer of Samuel, and that from a divine commis.
to have been already for some time declining from his strict sion, which is fuller, in 1 Sam. xiii. 14, and by that parallel * i subordination to God, and his prophet; to have taken life note in the Apostolical Constitutions, just quoted, concerning
guards for himself and his son, which was an entirely new thing the great wickedness of Saul in venturing, even under a seem* in Israel, and savoured of a distrust of God's providence; and ing necessity of affairs, to usurp the priest's office, and offer
to have affected more than he ought that independent authority sacrifice without the priest, we are in some degree able to anwhich the Pagan kings took to themselves :) Samuel, I say, swer that question, which I have ever thought a very difficult * seems here to have tried Saul, whether he would stay till the one: viz. Whether if there were a city or country of lay Chrisgales priest came, who alone could lawfully offer the sacrifices, or tians, without any clergymen, it were lawful for the laity alone
would boldly and profanely usurp the priest's office; which he to baptize, administer the sacrament, &c. or indeed whether venturing upon, was justly rejected for his profaneness. See they alone could ordain themselves either bishops, priests, or Constitut. Apost. II. 27. And indeed since Saul had accepted deacons, for the due performance of such sacerdotal ministrakingly power, which naturally becomes ungovernable and ty- tions; or whether they ought not rather, till they procure clerrannical, as God foretold, and the experience of all ages has gymen to come among them, to confine themselves within those
shown ; the divine settlement by Moses had soon been laid bounds of piety and Christianity which belong alone to the laity; enes aside under the kings, had not God, by keeping strictly to his such particularly as are recommended in the 1st Book of the
himself. Nor was even this severity sufficient to restrain most which latter opinion I incline. of the future kings of Israel and Judah, from the grossest idola § 1 Sam. xiii. 13.
men.* Now the Philistines divided their army into come up to them; take that for a signal of victory. three companies, and took as many roads, and But if they say nothing, as not intending to invite laid waste the country of the Hebrews;t while us to come up, let us return back again."| So Saul and his son Jonathan saw what was done, when they were approaching to the camp, just but were not able to defend the land; as having after break of day, and the Philistines saw them, no more than six hundred men with them. But they said to one another, “ The Hebrews come as he, and his son, and Ahiah the high-priest, who out of their dens and caves :" and they said to was of the posterity of Eli, were sitting upon a Jonathan, and to his armour-bearer, “Come on, pretty high hill, and seeing the land laid waste, ascend up to us, that we may inflict a just punishthey were greatly disturbed at it. Now Saul's ment upon you for your rash attempt." So Saul's son agreed with his armour-bearer, that they son accepted that invitation ; as indicative of vicwould go privately to the enemies' camp, and tory, and immediately came out of the place make a tumult, and a disturbance among them. whence they were seen by their enemies: so he And when the armour-bearer had readily promised changed his place, and came to the rock, which to follow, whithersoever he should lead him, though had none to guard it, because of its own strength. he should be obliged to die in the attempt, Jona- From thence they crept up with great labour and than made use of the young man's assistance, and difficulty, and overcame by force the nature of descended from the hill, and went to their
enemies. the place, till they were able to fight with their Now the cnemies' camp was upon a precipice, enemies.
enemies. So they fell upon them,g as they were which had three tops, that ended in a small but asleep, and slew about twenty of them; and theresharp and long extremity; while there was a rock by filled them with disorder, and surprise; insothat surrounded them, like lines made to prevent much that some of them threw away their armour, the attacks of an enemy. There it happened, that and fled; but the greatest part not knowing one the out-guards of the camp were neglected; be- another, because they were of different nations, cause of the natural security of the place, and be suspected each other to be enemies; (for they cause they thought it altogether impossible, not did not imagine that there were only two of the only to ascend up to the camp on that quarter, but Hebrews that came up,) and so they fought one so much as to come near it. As soon therefore as against another. And some of them died in the they came to the camp, Jonathan encouraged his battle, and some as they were flying away were armour-bearer, and said to him, “Let us attack thrown headlong from the rock.|| our enemies; and if when they see us, they bid us Now Saul's watchman told the king, that the
* The precaution which the Philistines took to hinder the hatchets, their spades, their forks, their mattocks, &c. into in. Israelites from providing themselves with weapons, is no more struments of war; a much better shift that what we read of than what other conquerors have done to the nations they have some, who, in ancient times, had no other arms than clubs and vanquished. Porsenna, when he made peace with the Romans, sharpened stakes, hardened in the fire. restrained them from the use of all iron but what was necessary
Non jam certamine agresti in the tillage of their ground. Cyrus, when he subdued the Stipitibus duris agitur, sudibusque præustis. Virgil, Æneid, 7. B. Lydians, for fear of a revolt, took from them the use of arms, and instead of a laborious life spent in war, suffered them to
† About An. 1108.
# 1 Sam. xiv. 9, 10. sink into softness and luxury, so that they soon lost their an This action of Jonathan's, considered in itself, was doubtless cient valour: and (to instance one prince more) Nebuchad. a very rash attempt, and contrary to the laws of war, which pronezzar, when he had made himself master of Judea, took along hibit all under command (as he was) from engaging the enemy, with him into Babylon all the craftsmen and smiths, that the or entering upon any enterprise, without the general's order: poorest of the people, which he left behind, might be in no but what may very justly be said in excuse of it is,—That he condition to rebel, 2 Kings xxiv. 14. The only wonder is, why had a divine incitation to it, which he might probably feel upon the Israelites, after they had regained their liberty under the the sight of the Philistines appearing as if they intended to government of Samuel, and given the Philistines so total an assault Gibeah, and upon the information which he might re. overthrow at Eben-ezer, did not restore those artificers, and so ceive of the great spoil which the three parties made of the poor provide themselves with proper arms against the next occasion ? | people in the country. Patrick's Comment. B. But, besides the extreme sloth and negligence which appear || How two men could put the whole army into such a conin the Israelites' whole conduct during this period, it was not sternation, may seem somewhat extraordinary; but it should be so easy a matter, in so short a time, to recover a trade that was considered, that Jonathan and his armour-bearer, climbing up 8 lost; especially among a people that had no iron-mines, and way that was never attempted before, might come upon then were so wholly addicted to the feeding of cattle, that they made unawares, and surprise them: that this action might happen, as no account of any mechanical art. In the famous victory which Josephus thinks, early in the morning, when a great part of the they gained over Sisera, we are told, that there was not a shield Philistines' army was asleep; that, even had they been all or spear seen among fifty thousand men of Israel, Judg. v. 8; | awake, Jonathan might have so posted himself, (as Horatius but notwithstanding this, they had bows and arrows, and slings, Cocles did on a bridge,) so as to be able to maintain his pass which the men of Gibeah could manage to a wonderful advan against all the force of the enemy; that those who made at him, tage, Judg. XX. 16. And besides these, the Israelites, upon this (as only one perhaps could at a time,) he with one stroke might occasion, might convert their instruments of husbandry, their lay flat on the ground, and his armour-bearer immediately dis
camp of the Philistines was in confusion. Then || with greater vigour and alacrity, and had both he inquired, whether any body were gone from taken and slain many more of their enemies.t the army? and when he heard that his son and When therefore they had slain many ten thouhis armour-bearer were absent, he bade the high-sands of the Philistines, they began spoiling their priest take the pontifical garments and predict camp, but not till late in the evening. They also what success they should have. The high-priest took a great deal of prey, and cattle, and killed said, they should get the victory, and prevail them and ate them with their blood. The scribes against their enemies. So he went out after the therefore told their sovereign that the multitude Philistines, and set upon them, as they were slay- were sinning against God, as they sacrificed; and ing one another. Those also came running to were eating before the blood was well washed him, who had fled before to dens and caves ; upon away, and the flesh was made clean. Then did their hearing that Saul was gaining a victory. Saul give order, that a great stone should be When therefore the number of the Hebrews that rolled into the midst of them, and he made procame to Saul amounted to about ten thousand; clamation that they should kill their sacrifices he pursued the enemy, who were scattered all upon it, and not feed upon the flesh with the over the country. But then he fell into an action, blood; for that was not acceptable to God. And which was a very unhappy one, and liable to be when all the people did as the king commanded, very much blamed. For whether out of igno- Saulf erected an altar, and offered burnt-offerrance, or whether out of joy for a victory gained ings to God. This was the first altar that Saul so strangely, (for it frequently happens that per- built.|| sons so fortunate are not able to use their reason So when Saul was desirous of leading his men consistently,) he was so desirous to avenge him to the enemies' camp before it was day, in order self, and to exact a due punishment of the Philis- to.plunder it; and when the soldiers were not tines, that he denounced a* curse on the Hebrews, unwilling to follow him, but indeed showed great to this purport. “If any one put a stop to his readiness to do as he commanded them; the slaughter of the enemy, and began eating, and left king called Ahitub the high-priest, and enjoinoff the slaughter or the pursuit before night came ed him to know of God whether he would grant on, and obliged them so to do; he should be ac- them permission to go against the camp, in order cursed.” Now after Saul had denounced this to destroy those that were in it. But the priest curse, since they were in a wood belonging to the said, that God would not give any answer. Then tribe of Ephraim, which was thick and full of said Saul, “ It is not without some cause, that bees; Saul's son, who did not hear his father de- God refuses to answer what we inquire of him; nounce that curse, nor hear of the approbation the who yet a little while ago declared to us all that multitude gave to it; brake off a piece of a honey- we desired beforehand, and even prevented us in comb, and ate part of it. But in the mean time, his answer. To be sure there is some sin against he was informed with what a curse his father had him that is concealed from us, which is the occaforbidden them to taste any thing before sun-set- sion of his silence. Now I swear by himself, that ting: so he left off eating, and said his father had though he that committed this sin should prove not done well in this prohibition; because had to be my own son Jonathan, I will slay him; and they taken some food, they had pursued the enemy by that means will appease the anger of God
patch them; that the rest seeing them act thus intrepidly, might ble; it being of the essence of the obligation of all laws, that take them for two scouts, or van-couriers only of a great army they be sufficiently known and promulgated. Otherwise the that was coming up, and ready to fall upon them; that the army conduct of Providence, as to the sacredness of solemn oaths and of the Philistines, being made up of different nations, might be vows, in God's refusing to answer by Urim, till this breach of in the greatest confusion, as either not understanding or else Saul's vow or curse was understood and set right, and God prosuspecting one another; and (what might complete their con- pitiated by public prayer, is here very remarkable; as indeed it sternation) that God at this time might send a panic fear upon is everywhere else in the Old Testament. See Scripture Poli. them, which, whenever he does it, even in the opinion of tics, p. 54–65. Heathens themselves, is enough to make the stoutest tremble, + 1 Sam. xiv. 29, 30. and the most heroic spirits betake themselves to flight.
| Here we have still more indications of Saul's affectation of 'Εν γαρ δαιμονιoισι φοβους
despotic power, and of his intrenching upon the priesthood, and Φευγονίαις και παιδες Θεων. .
making and endeavouring to execute a rash vow or curse with
out consulting Samuel or the Sanhedrim. In this view it is also Pind. Nemes. 9. B.
that I look upon this erection of a new altar by Saul, and his * This rash vow, or curse of Saul's, which Josephus says was offering of burnt-offerings himself upon it, and not as any proper confirmed by the people, and yet not executed, (I suppose prin- | instance of devotion or religion. cipally because Jonathan did not know of it,) is very remarka. f 1 Sam. xiv. 35.
against us; and that in the very same manner as
CHAP. VII. if I were to punish a stranger, and one not at all related to me for the same offence.'
9* So when the
OF SAUL'S WAR WITH THE AMALEKITES, AND HIS CONQUEST OF THEM. multitude cried out to him so to do, he presently Now Samuel came unto Saul,t and said unto him, set all the rest on one side, and he and his son that he was sent by God to put him in mind, that stood on the other side, and he sought to discover God had preferred him before all others, and ordainthe offender by lot. Now the lot appeared to fall ed him king; and he therefore ought to be obedient upon Jonathan himself. So when he was asked to him, and to submit to his authority; as considerby his father what sin he had been guilty of ? and ing, that though he had the dominion over the other what he was conscious of in the course of his life tribes, yet that God had the dominion over him, and that might be esteemed instances of guilt or pro- over all things. That accordingly God said to him, faneness? his answer was this, “O father! I have “ Because the Amalekites did the Hebrews a great done nothing more than that yesterday, without deal of mischief while they were in the wilderness, knowing of the curse and the oath thou hadst de- and when, upon their coming out of Egypt, they nounced, while I was in pursuit of the enemy, I were making their way to that country which is tasted of a honey-comb." "Saul immediately swore now their own, I enjoin thee to punish the Amalekthat he would slay him, and prefer the observa- ites, by making war upon them; and when thou tion of his oath before all the ties of birth and na- hast subdued them, to leave none of them alive; but ture. But Jonathan was not dismayed at this to pursue them through every age, and to slay them; threatening : but offering himself to it generously, beginning with the women and the infants; and to and undauntedly, he said, “ Nor do I desire you, require this as a punishment to be inflicted on them father, to spare me. Death will be to me very ac- for the mischief they did to our forefathers. To ceptable, when it proceeds from thy piety, and spare nothing, neither asses, nor other beasts; nor after a glorious victory; for it is the greatest con to reserve any of them for your own advantage and solation to me, that I leave the Hebrews vic- possession ; but to devote them universally to God, torious over the Philistines.” Hereupon all the and, in obedience to the commands of Moses, to people were greatly afflicted for Jonathan: and blot out the name off Amalek entirely.” they sware that they would not see him die, who Saul promised to do what he was commanded was the author of their victory. By which means and supposing that his obedience to God would be they snatched him out of the danger he was in shown not only in making war against the Amalekfrom his father's curse; while they made their ites, but more fully in the readiness and quickness prayers to God also for the young man, that he of his proceedings; he immediately gathered towould remit his sin.
gether all his forces. And when he had numbered So Saul having slain about sixty thousand of the them in Gilgal, he found them to be about four hunenemy, returned to his own city, and reigned hap- dred thousand of the Israelites, besides the tribe of pily. And he also fought against the neighbouring Judah ; for that tribe contained by itself thirty thounations, and subdued the Ammonites, Moabites, sand. Accordingly, Saul made an irruption into the Edomites, and Amalekites; as also the king of country of the Amalekites; and set many men and Zobah. He had three male children, Jonathan, several parties in ambush at the river ; that so he Ishui, and Melchi-shua, with Merah and Michal, his might not only do them a mischief by open fightdaughters. He had also Abner, his uncle's son, for ing; but might fall upon them unexpectedly in the the captain of his host; that uncle's name was Ner. ways, and might thereby surround and kill them. Now Ner and Kish the father of Saul were brothers. And when he had joined battle with the enemy, he Saul had also a great many chariots and horsemen; beat them, and pursuing them as they fled, he deand against whomsoever he made war, he returned stroyed them all. And when that undertaking had conqueror, and advanced the affairs of the Hebrews succeeded, according as God had foretold; he beto a great degree of success and prosperity, and sieged the cities of the Amalekites, and took them made them superior to other nations. And he made by force; partly by warlike machines, partly by such of the young men as were remarkable for tall- mines dug under ground, and partly by building ness and comeliness, his body guards.
walls on the outsides. Some they starved out by
1 Sam. xiv. 39.
utterly to destroy, the nation of Israel. See Exod. xvii. &–16. + About An. 1106.
Numb. xiv. 45. Deut. xxv. 17, 18, 19. Judg. vi. 3, 6. vii. 12. | The reason of this severity is distinctly given, 1 Sam. xv. x. 12. 1 Sam. xv. 33. xxx. 1, 2. Psal. lxxxiii. 7; and above 18. Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites. Nor all, the most barbarous of all cruelties, that of Haman the Agagindeed do we ever meet with these Amalekites, but as very ite, or, one of the posterity of Agag, the old king of the Amacruel and bloody people; and particularly seeking to injure, and lekites. Esth. iii. 1-15.
famine, and some they gained by other methods ; | fore told Samuel, he repented that he had made Saul and after all he betook himself to slay the women king; while he did nothing that he had commanded and the children, and thought he did not act therein him, but indulged his own inclinations. When Sameither barbarously or inhumanly: first, because they uel heard that, he was in confusion, and began to were enemies whom they thus treated; and in the beseech God all that night to be reconciled to Saul, next place, because it was done by the command of and not to be angry with him. But he did not grant God; whom it was dangerous not to obey. He also that forgiveness which the prophet solicited; as not took Agag, the enemies' king, captive; the beauty deeming it a fit thing to grant forgiveness of such and tallness of whose body he admired so much, sins at his entreaties; since injuries do not otherthat he thought him worthy of preservation. Yet wise grow so great, as by the easy tempers of those was not this done according to the will of God; but that are injured. For while they seek after the by giving way to human passions, and suffering glory of being thought gentle and good-natured, himself to be moved with an unseasonable commis- before they are aware, they produce other sins. As eration, in a point where it was not safe to indulge soon, therefore, as God had rejected the intercession it. For God hated the nation of the Amalekites, to of the prophet, and it plainly appeared he would not such a degree, that he commanded Saul to have no change his mind; at break of day Samuel came to pity even on those infants which we by nature Saul to Gilgal. When the king saw him, he ran to chiefly compassionate. Saul, however, preserved him, and embraced him, and said, “I return thanks the king from the miseries which the Hebrews to God, who hath given me the victory; for I have brought upon the people; as if he preferred the performed every thing that he hath commanded.” fine appearance of the enemy to the memory of Samuel replied: “How is it then that I hear the what God had sent him about.
The multitude bleating of the sheep, and the lowing of the greater were also guilty, together with Saul; for they cattle in the camp ??? Saul made answer, that the spared the herds and the flocks, and took them for people had reserved them for sacrifices; but that, as a prey; when God had commanded they should to the nation of the Amalekites, it was entirely denot spare them. They also carried off the rest of stroyed; as he had received it in command to see their wealth and riches; but if there were any thing done, and that no one man was left; but that he that was not worthy of regard, that they destroyed.* had saved alive the king alone, and brought him to
When Saul had conquered all these Amalekites him; concerning whom he said they would advise that reached from Pelusium of Egypt, to the Red together what should be done with him. But the Sea, he laid waste all the rest of the enemies coun- prophet said, "God is not delighted with sacrifices; try; but for the nation of thet Sichemites, he did but with good and righteous men, who are such as not touch them, although they dwelt in the very follow his will and his laws; and never think that middle of the country of Midian. For before the any thing is well done by them, but when they do it battle, Saul had sent to them, and charged them to as God commanded them: that he then looks upon depart thence, lest they should be partakers of the himself as affronted; not when any one does not miseries of the Amalekites. For he had a just occa- sacrifice, but when any one appears disobedient to sion for saving them, since they were of the kindred him. But that from those that do not obey him, of Raguel, Moses's father-in-law.
nor pay him that duty which is the true and acceptHereupon Saul returned home with joy for the able worship, he will not kindly accept their oblaglorious things he had done, and for the conquest tions; be those they offer never so many and so fat, of his enemies; as though he had not neglected any and be the presents they make him never so ornathing which the prophet had enjoined him to do mental; nay, though they were made of gold and when he was going to make war with the Amalek- silver themselves. But he will reject them, and ites; and as though he had exactly observed all that esteem them instances of wickedness, and not of he ought to have done. But God was grieved that piety. And that he is delighted with those that the king of the Amalekites was preserved alive; and still bear in mind this one thing, how to do that, that the multitude had seized on the cattle for a whatsoever it be, which God pronounces or comprey; because these things were done without his mands for them to do; and to choose rather to die, permission. For he thought it an intolerable thing than to transgress any of those commands. Nor that they should conquer their enemies by that power does he require so much as a sacrifice from them; which he gave them; and then that he himself should and when these sacrifice, though it be a mean oblabe so grossly despised and disobeyed, that a mere tion, he better accepts of it, as the honour of povman that was a king would not bear it. He there
He there- erty; than such oblations as come from the richest
* 1 Sam. xy. 9.
† Kenites, 1 Sam. xv. 6.
# 1 Sam. xv. 14.