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    “See to it no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

    « 1 Samuel Commentary: Part 4 | 1 Samuel Commentary: Part 2 »

    1 Samuel Commentary: Part 3

    1 Samuel 14 and Disney's "Prince Caspian"


    14:1-14: Here we see a bit of Saul’s rash temperament in Jonathon, although Jonathon was  a far wiser ruler and with more common sense than his dear old dad. Jonathon, was bold, brave, and daring by taunting the Philistines but a little dumb (in my opinion) by not first asking God what he should do.


    Instead, he randomly declares that if B happens, then God is willing them to fight. However, it works-God honors Jonathan’s bravery and sends a clearly, miraculous victory.


    14:15-52: Here’s where it gets really good. In verse 18 we read that Saul sends for the ark of the covenant. Just a few chapters back (1 Sam. 4-6), and surely still within Saul’s lifetime is the story of how the Israelites took the ark as a religious symbol (trying to control God by forcing His hand to save the ark) into battle against the Philistines AND LOST IT.


    God himself brought the ark back home in a strange way. Now Saul is attempting to do the exact same thing again in battle with the Philistines. Why, I don’t understand, because it is clear the Israelites are winning and never lifted a finger, save for Jonathan and his armor-bearer. In any case, Saul says (essentially) “never mind” and the ark goes back, then all the men chase the Philistines and kill many.


    Verses 24-35: Saul now declares that no one can eat until all of HIS ENEMIES are killed.

    1. Foodless men make for weak men, especially when they’ve been running and fighting all day. It is implied that had Saul allowed them to eat, they may have wiped out the Philistines entirely (at the very least, their entire army).


    2. Saul makes a solemn oath (remember other parts of scripture-let your yes be your yes, and your no be your no?-James 5:12 and Matthew 5:34-37-No oaths allowed.).


    3. Saul declares HIS revenge on the Philistines, HIS enemies, even though it was obvious that battle belonged to the Lord alone (1 Samuel 17:47 and 2 Chronicles 20:15). Saul basically was taking credit for winning the battle that he never batted an eyelash for, and ignoring God entirely.


    4. Later, the men were so hungry (in my Bible the word is “pounced”) they literally slaughtered animals and ate them right there (no fire, blood and all-Yuck!). Saul caused his men to sin by denying them food, then he chastises them for sinning.


    Verse 35:

    This verse notes that after this bloody feast, was the first time in his life, Saul had built an altar to God. At this point, the scriptures tell us Saul is 72 years old, and has been ruling Israel for 42 years. I guess humility never was a part of his record.



    Now Saul feels inclined to pursue the Philistines without mercy, but the priest suggests (ya know, since they did just build an altar and all) that they ask God what He would like them to do. God doesn’t answer immediately, so Saul jumps to conclusions and begins accusing everyone of sinning.


    He might have simply waited until he heard God speak. Saul casts lots (gambling) and the lot falls to Jonathon, ironically the only innocent one there. Saul has committed many sins throughout this climatic day, and even the fighting men sinned by eating unclean meat.


    But Saul declares a mere taste of honey punishable by death-for his own son! For an oath he never should have made! And holding accountable the one person who didn’t know about it. The lack of justice is astounding in this passage, again highlighting Saul’s insane ego.


    It was ok for Saul and his men to sin against God, but it deserved death to against Saul, the king’s words. Perhaps Saul was really jealous of his own son. All throughout the day, Saul’s men tell him “do what you want, we will follow” until this event when they take a stand against Saul and back Jonathon up. To top it all off, Saul never does attempt to ask God’s direction, and simply leaves the Philistines.


    *It struck me after reading this that the character’s in CS Lewis’s “Prince Caspian” of the Narnia series parallel this passage of scripture (at least comparing the Bible to the Disney movie “Prince Caspian”). We see at the very beginning of the film and more than halfway through that Peter has gained a “Saul complex”.


    Peter has a huge ego and Susan’s line to him at the climax of the film, “Who are you really doing this for, Peter? Or have you forgotten who really defeated the White Witch?” This mirrors Saul’s problem to a tee. (BTW, In chapter 28 of 1 Samuel, Saul consults the Witch of Endor to bring Samuel back from the dead, in order to seek advice about a battle.


    Peter and Caspian do this same thing in the film, attempting to bring back the White Witch). Fortunately for Peter, he does come out of his Saul-like state and realigns himself to Aslan.


    Caspian is a David-like figure, Lucy is like the prophet Samuel, and Edmond is Jonathon (I think). Perhaps Susan is a wise armor-bearer?

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