A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible

A nonbeliever's SECOND reading of the Bible
Hunc tu caveto.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Should Saul's Son Die Because He Ate Honey? (1 Samuel, Chapter 14)

Archaeologists think these two rocks at Michmach Gorge (forefront), are the rocks named Bozez and Seneh, mentioned in this chapter.  
From LifeInTheHolyLand.com

In this chapter, we're faced with an interesting question.  If a rule is made, but someone who didn't hear the rule breaks it, should that person be punished? 

In this chapter, Saul's son Jonathan and perhaps 600 men secretly leave to go wreak havoc among the Philistines.  As Jonathan made his way to the Philistines, the text mentions him passing through two rocks called Bozez and Seneh (see photo above). 

I like how the author played up the conflict.  On the one hand, the Israelites call the Philistines "the uncircumcised".  On the other, the Philistines seem to refer to the Israelites as rats.  "Look," says one Philistine, "the Israelites have come out of the holes in which they've been hiding."

The short battle, affectionately called Jonathan's "first slaughter", resulted in 20 dead Philistines in a one-half acre area.  The Israelite God (Yahweh) was very pleased at this turn of events and caused an earthquake.

This victory enthused the Israelites so much that they joined Saul and Jonathan in the fight against the Philistines, and wreaked plenty of destruction and shed much blood. 

It is here that Saul makes an oath, "Any man who eats before the evening will be cursed, so I can avenge my enemies."  The problem is, at the time of this decree, Saul's son Jonathan was not around.

While Jonathan was out slaughtering Philistines, he had eaten some honey.  (1 Samuel 14:27)

Later on, when Jonathan heard of this decree, he was convinced that he had to die.  Saul was even convinced!  However, the Israelites loved Jonathan so much because of his battlefield victories they asked that he not be sacrificed.

After the Philistines are put into their place, the Israelites take over Israel and continue fighting (and slaughtering) the other tribes - Moabites, Ammonites, Ebonites, the kings of Zobah, and even their old friends the Amalekites. 

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