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1 Samuel 14:45

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And the people said - "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." Here was a righteous and impartial jury, who brought in a verdict according to the evidence: No man should die but for a breach of the law of God; but Jonathan hath not broken any law of God; therefore Jonathan should not die. And because he should not, therefore he shall not.

He hath wrought with God this day - God has been commander-in-chief; Jonathan has acted under his directions.

So the people rescued Jonathan - And God testified no displeasure; and perhaps he permitted all this that he might correct Saul's propensity to rashness and precipitancy.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
If God turns away our prayer, we have reason to suspect it is for some sin harboured in our hearts, which we should find out, that we may put it away, and put it to death. We should always first suspect and examine ourselves; but an unhumbled heart suspects every other person, and looks every where but at home for the sinful cause of calamity. Jonathan was discovered to be the offender. Those most indulgent to their own sins are most severe upon others; those who most disregard God's authority, are most impatient when their own commands are slighted. Such as cast abroad curses, endanger themselves and their families. What do we observe in the whole of Saul's behaviour on this occasion, but an impetuous, proud, malignant, impious disposition? And do we not in every instance perceive that man, left to himself, betrays the depravity of his nature, and is enslaved to the basest tempers.
Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 253.4

Christ Himself has trod the rough pathway before us and has smoothed the path for our feet. The narrow path of holiness, the way cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in, is illuminated by Him who is the light of the world. As we follow in His steps, His light will shine upon us, and as we reflect the light borrowed from the glory of Christ, the path will grow brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. TMK 253.4

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 287.4

We must hide self in Jesus Christ, and let Him appear in our conversation and character as the One altogether lovely, and the chief among ten thousand. Our lives, our deportment, will testify how highly we prize Christ and the salvation He has wrought out for us at such a cost to Himself. While we look constantly to Him whom our sins have pierced and our sorrows have burdened, we shall acquire strength to be like Him. We shall bind ourselves in willing, happy, captivity to Jesus Christ.10 TMK 287.4

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 623-6

God had permitted matters to be thus brought to a crisis that He might rebuke the perversity of Saul and teach His people a lesson of humility and faith. Because of Saul's sin in his presumptuous offering, the Lord would not give him the honor of vanquishing the Philistines. Jonathan, the king's son, a man who feared the Lord, was chosen as the instrument to deliver Israel. Moved by a divine impulse, he proposed to his armor-bearer that they should make a secret attack upon the enemy's camp. “It may be,” he urged, “that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.” PP 623.1

The armor-bearer, who also was a man of faith and prayer, encouraged the design, and together they withdrew from the camp, secretly, lest their purpose should be opposed. With earnest prayer to the Guide of their fathers, they agreed upon a sign by which they might determine how to proceed. Then passing down into the gorge separating the two armies, they silently threaded their way, under the shadow of the cliff, and partially concealed by the mounds and ridges of the valley. Approaching the Philistine fortress, they were revealed to the view of their enemies, who said, tauntingly, “Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves,” then challenged them, “Come up to us, and we will show you a thing,” meaning that they would punish the two Israelites for their daring. This challenge was the token that Jonathan and his companion had agreed to accept as evidence that the Lord would prosper their undertaking. Passing now from the sight of the Philistines, and choosing a secret and difficult path, the warriors made their way to the summit of a cliff that had been deemed inaccessible, and was not very strongly guarded. Thus they penetrated the enemy's camp and slew the sentinels, who, overcome with surprise and fear, offered no resistance. PP 623.2

Angels of heaven shielded Jonathan and his attendant, angels fought by their side, and the Philistines fell before them. The earth trembled as though a great multitude with horsemen and chariots were approaching. Jonathan recognized the tokens of divine aid, and even the Philistines knew that God was working for the deliverance of Israel. Great fear seized upon the host, both in the field and in the garrison. In the confusion, mistaking their own soldiers for enemies, the Philistines began to slay one another. PP 623.3

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Ellen G. White
Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a, 70-2

Because of the sin of Saul in his presumptuous offering, the Lord would not give to him the honor of commanding the armies of Israel in battle with the Philistines. The Lord would have his name alone magnified lest the armies of Israel should exalt themselves as though it were on account of their righteousness, valor or wisdom, that their enemies were overcome. He moved upon the heart of Jonathan, a righteous man, and his armor-bearer, to go over to the garrison of the Philistines. Jonathan believed that God was able to work for them, and save by many or by few. He did not rush up presumptuously. He asked counsel of God, then with a fearless heart, trusting in him alone, he moved forward. Through these two men the Lord accomplished his work of subduing the Philistines. He sent angels to protect Jonathan and his armor-bearer and shield them from the instruments of death in the hands of their enemies. 4aSG 70.1

Angels of God fought by the side of Jonathan, and the Philistines fell all around him. Great fear seized the host of the Philistines in the field and in the garrison. And the spoilers that had been divided into separate companies, and sent in different directions, ready for their work of slaughter, were terribly afraid. The earth trembled beneath them, as though a great multitude with horsemen and chariots were upon the ground prepared for battle. Jonathan and his armor-bearer, and even the Philistine host knew that the Lord was working for the deliverance of the Hebrews. The Philistines became perplexed. There appeared to them to be men of Israel among them, fighting against them; and they fought against one another, and slaughtered their own armies. 4aSG 70.2

The battle had progressed quite a length of time before Saul and his men were aware that deliverance was being wrought for Israel. The watchmen of Saul perceived great confusion among the Philistines, and saw their numbers decreasing and yet no one was missed from the armies of Israel. After numbering the men of war Jonathan and his armor-bearer were reported missing. Saul and the people were perplexed. He had the ark of God brought, and while the priest was inquiring of God, the noise among the Philistines increased. It sounded like two great armies in close battle. When Saul and the people of Israel perceived that God was fighting for them, those who had fled and hid in their terror, and those who had joined the Philistines through fear, united with Saul and Jonathan, and pursued the Philistines. The Lord wrought for Israel, and delivered them for his own name's glory, lest the heathen army should triumph over his people, and exalt themselves proudly against God. 4aSG 71.1

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 2 (EGW), 1015-6

The Lord would have His people, under all circumstances, manifest implicit trust in Him. Although we cannot always understand the workings of His providence, we should wait with patience and humility until He sees fit to enlighten us. We should beware of taking upon ourselves responsibilities which God has not authorized us to bear. Men frequently have too high an estimate of their own character or abilities. They may feel competent to undertake the most important work, when God sees that they are not prepared to perform aright the smallest and humblest duty (The Signs of the Times, August 10, 1882). 2BC 1015.1

13, 14. Saul's Folly Leads to Rejection—Saul's transgression proved him unworthy to be intrusted with sacred responsibilities. One who had himself so little reverence for God's requirements, could not be a wise or safe leader for the nation. Had he patiently endured the divine test, the crown would have been confirmed to him and to his house. In fact, Samuel had come to Gilgal for this very purpose. But Saul had been weighed in the balance, and found wanting. He must be removed to make way for one who would sacredly regard the divine honor and authority (The Signs of the Times, August 3, 1882). 2BC 1015.2

After Whose Heart?—Saul had been after the heart of Israel, but David is a man after God's own heart (The Signs of the Times, June 15, 1888). 2BC 1015.3

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