Verse 1 – Saul’s poor leadership was not a result of personality traits but of decaying spiritual character; he had no communication with Jonathan; he made a foolish curse; and he ignored the well-being of his own soldiers. Jonathan went alone to attack the Philistines because he knew it was no problem for God.
Verse 6 – While the majority of the men that were with Saul were afraid to attack, Jonathan and his armor-bearer trusted God. God honored the faith and brave action of these two men with tremendous victory. Our God is never intimidated by the size of an enemy or the complexity of a problem. With God, there is always enough resources to resist the pressures and win the battle.
Verse 12 – Jonathan didn’t have the authority to lead all the troops into battle, but he could start a small skirmish in one corner of the enemy’s camp. When he did, panic broke out among the Philistine and the Hebrews who had been drafted by the Philistines revolted. Sometimes a few small steps are what’s needed to begin the chain of events leading to eventual victory.
Verse 19 – “Withdraw your hand” refers to the Urim and Thummim. They were withdrawn from the linen ephod (vest) as a way to determine God’s will. Saul was rushing the formalities of getting an answer from God so he could hurry and get into battle to take advantage of the confusion in the Philistines camp.
Verse 24 – Saul had made an oath without thinking through the implications. Saul’s impulsive oath sounded heroic, but it had disastrous side effects.
Verses 32-34 – One of the oldest and strongest Hebrew food laws was the prohibition against eating meat containing animal’s blood (Leviticus 7:26, 27). This law began in Noah’s day (Genesis 9:4) and was still observed by the early Christians (Acts 15:27-29). The blood represented life and life belongs to God.
Verses 35, 36 – Throughout Saul’s reign, he consistently approached God only after he had tried everything else. How much better if Saul had gone to God first, building an altar as his first official act as king. God is too great to be an afterthought.
Verse 39 – Saul had issued a ridiculous command and had driven his men to sin, but still wouldn’t back down even if he had to kill his son. Sticking to the story, just to save face, only compounds the problems.
Verse 43 – Evan though Jonathan was unaware of Saul’s oath, he was willing to accept the consequences of his actions.
Verses 44, 45 – Let’s not be like Saul. Admit your mistakes, and show that we are more interested in doing what’s right.
Verse 47 – Why was Saul so successful right after disobeying God? Sometimes ungodly people win battles. God may have given Saul victory for Israel’s sake. Regardless of God’s reasons for delaying Saul’s demise, his reign ended exactly the way God had foretold.