Jonathon and the Honey
Priscilla Van Sutphin
1 Sam 13:16-14:46 NKJV
Saul, Jonathan his son, and the people present with them remained in Gibeah [ means hill] of Benjamin. But the Philistines encamped in Michmash. [ hidden place]
I submit to you that there are some lessons about spiritual warfare in this piece of scripture so that the names are not accidentally used. The enemy is often waiting in the hidden place of prayer to oppose us. He will erect a hill that must be brought down or traversed to get to the place of intimacy.
17 Then raiders came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies. one company turned onto the road to Ophrah,[ hind(deer) ] to the land of Shual, [ jackal ]
The Lord has promised to make our feet like the feet of a deer in Habakkuk
to overcome the hills and mountains representing the high places in our own temples, or the world, the flesh and the devil. Mountains often stand for authorities good or bad. Many a jackal is waiting there to consume us.
18 another company turned to the road to Beth Horon,[ house of the hollow] and another company turned to the road of the border that overlooks the Valley of Zeboim [ hyenas ] toward the wilderness.
A hollow is a secret place in the mountains, a dip in the landscape. Zeboim means hyenas...hyenas represent demonic spirits...hyenas feed on what others have killed usually. They only come in and butt in so to speak on what someone else is feeding upon. Sort of the way that a demon will get in as a stronghold, then others will come along later or with him.
19 Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, "Lest the Hebrews make swords or spears."20 But all the Israelites would go down to the Philistines to sharpen each man's plowshare, his mattock, his ax, and his sickle;
21 and the charge for a sharpening was a pim for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to set the points of the goads.
22 So it came about, on the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan. But they were found with Saul and Jonathan his son.
23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.
Not having a blacksmith sounds like not a very good thing and it is interesting to me, that even if the Philistines left that Israel would have none of their own blacksmiths so why would there be no blacksmith? How do we sharpen our swords ? Isn't it by use ? By proclaiming the Word which is represented by a sword "the sword of the Word " . So to me this symbolically speaks of the Israelites not being prepared in battle like us when we are not reading/studying the Word. The bible admonishes us to be ready in season and out, but in this case, the Israelites had to go to the camp of the enemy to sharpen their swords as there was no blacksmith in Israel. Hmmm. Sometimes it takes a battle to sharpen our swords. If there is no opposition we may get complacent in our warfare skills. But here it takes going into the camp of the enemy to sharpen their swords. I also thought of how the very things that come against us, God gives us victory over, then we're able to come against that thing in the lives of others. So once we have routed the enemy, in our own lives, then God will give us the sharpened sword with AUTHORITY to break it's power over the enemy in other's lives. And this allows us not only to defend ourselves, but to go into the camp of the enemy and take ground.
As we go on to the next and main chapter we see why Jonathon was so kindred with David
1 Samuel 14
14:1 Jonathan Defeats the Philistines
Now it happened one day that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who bore his armor, "Come, let us go over to the Philistines' garrison that is on the other side." But he did not tell his father. 2 And Saul was sitting in the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron. [ precipitous-very steep ] The people who were with him were about six hundred men. [ There had been 3000 at first but many left ] 3 Ahijah the son of Ahitub, Ichabod's brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD's priest in Shiloh, was wearing an ephod. But the people did not know that Jonathan had gone.
Why you might ask would he go without telling his father or the people ?
Because his father would have forbidden it, and the people would have discouraged him, as they were all lacking in faith.
4 Between the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistines' garrison, there was a sharp rock on one side and a sharp rock on the other side. And the name of one was Bozez, [shining] and the name of the other Seneh.[ thornbush ] 5 The front of one faced northward opposite Michmash, and the other southward opposite Gibeah.
6 Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, "Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the LORD will work for us. For nothing restrains the LORD from saving by many or by few."
7 So his armorbearer said to him, "Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart."
Don't you just love the heart of Jonathon ? His heart is like David's. He knows the strength and nature of His God. And his armour-bearer is also of like mind.
8 Then Jonathan said, "Very well, let us cross over to these men, and we will show ourselves to them. 9 If they say thus to us, 'Wait until we come to you,' then we will stand still in our place and not go up to them. 10 But if they say thus, 'Come up to us,' then we will go up. For the LORD has delivered them into our hand, and this will be a sign to us."
So here Jonathon puts a test to the Lord that if they do not call to them, they will know not to go up, but if they say come, then they will know that God is with them and will give them into their hands
11 So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, "Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden." 12 Then the men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armorbearer, and said, "Come up to us, and we will show you something." Jonathan said to his armorbearer, "Come up after me, for the LORD has delivered them into the hand of Israel." 13 And Jonathan climbed up on his hands and knees with his armorbearer after him; and they fell before Jonathan. And as he came after him, his armorbearer killed them.
14 That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armorbearer made was about twenty men within about half an acre of land.
So here the Lord confirms the words of Jonathon and he immediately embarks on hands and knees so must have been pretty steep, and his armourbearer right after him. And sure enough, the Lord helps them to overcome the Philistines and then.
15 And there was trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and the raiders also trembled; and the earth quaked, so that it was a very great trembling.
Isn't this amazing!!! The Lord undertook for them in a supernatural way even
more ! There was fear in the camp, fear among the raiders, and then last but not least the earth even SHOOK and it says it was a very great trembling. What is in the spiritual is also manifest in the natural.
16 Now the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and there was the multitude, melting away; and they went here and there.
Then those who are in Saul's camp get an inkling for what is going on and they saw that the camp of the Philistines was in turmoil.
17 Then Saul said to the people who were with him, "Now call the roll and see who has gone from us." And when they had called the roll, surprisingly, Jonathan and his armorbearer were not there. 18 And Saul said to Ahijah, "Bring the ark of God here" (for at that time the ark of God was with the children of Israel). 19 Now it happened, while Saul talked to the priest, that the noise which was in the camp of the Philistines continued to increase; so Saul said to the priest, "Withdraw your hand."
The noise of the tumult increased SO much, that then they realized, they needed to join in on the battle before they had time to pray or offer sacrifice or anything then Saul decides to go out as there was great confusion in the camp of the enemy. PTL !
20 Then Saul and all the people who were with him assembled, and they went to the battle; and indeed every man's sword was against his neighbor, and there was very great confusion. 21 Moreover the Hebrews who were with the Philistines before that time, who went up with them into the camp from the surrounding country, they also joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 Likewise all the men of Israel who had hidden in the mountains of Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, they also followed hard after them in the battle. 23 So the LORD saved Israel that day, and the battle shifted to Beth Aven.
So now, even those in hiding who had gone out from Saul, expecting to be destroyed by the Philistines, join in the slaughter, hearing the great confusion in the enemy's camp.
24 Saul's Rash Oath
And the men of Israel were distressed that day, for Saul had placed the people under oath, saying, "Cursed is the man who eats any food until evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies." So none of the people tasted food.
Saul, it seems , could not keep himself from false prophecy or foolish speaking Jesus said, for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks...here Saul speaks out of his own pride. I, I , I.
25 Now all the people of the land came to a forest; and there was honey on the ground. 26 And when the people had come into the woods, there was the honey, dripping; but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath; therefore he stretched out the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in a honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his countenance brightened.
Jonathon, had not been there when Saul pronounced his curse, so he really wasn't responsible for it. But there is another meaning to this word honey. In the bible is often likened to the sweetness of the Word of God. And Jonathon, being familiar with scriptures, had spoken out of a pure heart, before starting this whole battle. He obviously knew His Lord, and was much more fit for battle than his father. And we see, that as he tasted the honey, that his countenance brightened it says. Likewise, when we eat of the sweetness of the Lord's Word, our countenance is brightened. For faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of GOD, the scriptures say. So Jonathon was acting out in the physical, what was demonstrated through him just before this. Because He believed he received the victory. Below are some scriptures demonstrating the symbolism of honey to the sweetness of the Word.
Ps 19:9-11 AMP The [reverent] fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even than much fine gold; they are sweeter also than honey and drippings from the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is Your servant warned (reminded, illuminated, and instructed); and in keeping them there is great reward.
Ps 81:16 AMP
[God] would feed [Israel now] also with the finest of the wheat; and with honey out of the rock would I satisfy you.
How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
[Ps 19:10; Prov 8:11.]
Isa 7:14-16 NKJV
14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. 15 Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.
Ezek 3:3-4 NKJV
3 And He said to me, "Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you." So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness. 4 Then He said to me: "Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them
28 Then one of the people said, "Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, 'Cursed is the man who eats food this day.'" And the people were faint.
29 But Jonathan said, "My father has troubled the land. Look now, how my countenance has brightened because I tasted a little of this honey.
30 How much better if the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies which they found! For now would there not have been a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?"
Wisdom was upon Jonathon and he speaks that his father has not done what is right for the people and how if they had eaten, they would have had the strength to fight even stronger. Now what is true in the natural is also true in the spiritual. Without food we become weak physically. Is that not like us also spiritually?
We can fight more strongly when we are full of the WORD of GOD. Rhema and Logos ? When we do not eat of the Word we become weak, and our weakness not only affects us, but the whole of God's purposes for the corporate body as well. And our enemies can over-run us. Not only that, but then due to their extreme hunger, they fall into sin, being weak also from lack of spiritual food that feeds the soul, having spent too much time with Saul who lacked faith.
31 Now they had driven back the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. So the people were very faint. 32 And the people rushed on the spoil, and took sheep, oxen, and calves, and slaughtered them on the ground; and the people ate them with the blood. 33 Then they told Saul, saying, "Look, the people are sinning against the LORD by eating with the blood!"
So he said, "You have dealt treacherously; roll a large stone to me this day."
Eating the blood was forbidden. You'd have to be pretty hungry to eat the blood from my point of view. but it also brings to mind, that when we lack spiritual food, we also become quite carnal. The Word constantly renews the mind and when we get away from reading it, we too, can become more treacherous in our actions. We forget the things of God and get our mind off the heavenly and more on the earthly.
34 Then Saul said, "Disperse yourselves among the people, and say to them, 'Bring me here every man's ox and every man's sheep, slaughter them here, and eat; and do not sin against the LORD by eating with the blood.' " So every one of the people brought his ox with him that night, and slaughtered it there. 35 Then Saul built an altar to the LORD. This was the first altar that he built to the LORD.
You would think that by now given his actions, that Saul would have seen his folly.
36 Now Saul said, "Let us go down after the Philistines by night, and plunder them until the morning light; and let us not leave a man of them."
And they said, "Do whatever seems good to you."
They answer him like a subjected people.whatever ! Then comes the voice of reason from a priest: Then the priest said, "Let us draw near to God here."
37 So Saul asked counsel of God, "Shall I go down after the Philistines?
Will You deliver them into the hand of Israel?" But He did not answer him that day. 38 And Saul said, "Come over here, all you chiefs of the people, and know and see what this sin was today. 39 For as the LORD lives, who saves Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die." But not a man among all the people answered him.
So then when the Lord doesn't answer, he thinks it's the sin of the people not keeping his curse, so he says , even if it is my own son that person will die( Saul seemed to always find blame elsewhere rather than within )
40 Then he said to all Israel, "You be on one side, and my son Jonathan and I will be on the other side." And the people said to Saul, "Do what seems good to you."
41 Therefore Saul said to the LORD God of Israel, "Give a perfect lot." So Saul and Jonathan were taken, but the people escaped. 42 And Saul said, "Cast lots between my son Jonathan and me." So Jonathan was taken. 43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, "Tell me what you have done."
And Jonathan told him, and said, "I only tasted a little honey with the end of the rod that was in my hand. So now I must die!"
44 Saul answered, "God do so and more also; for you shall surely die, Jonathan."
Oh my, has he got his priorities mixed up or what ? Jonathon who has followed the leading of the Lord, he is now willing to kill, for not keeping his unjust and prideful, macho oath ! He is willing to sacrifice his own son instead of taking responsibility for his foolishness ! See how far this is from the heart of Davidwho later is so broken over the sins of his own sons who deserve death ?
45 But the people said to Saul, "Shall Jonathan die, who has accomplished this great deliverance in Israel? Certainly not! As the LORD lives, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day." So the people rescued Jonathan, and he did not die.
Praise GOD someone had some sense ! This also speaks to me loud of how when the Sauls come against the Jonathons and Davids of this age, the people who see the difference in heart will stand up for the truth. Like in braveheart when Wallace says "The people will not follow titles, they'll follow courage !"
46 Then Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.
So Saul went homewithout apology, without taking responsibility, but praise God without adding to his sins, the killing of his son.
You can see from this passage the heart of Jonathon and why David and he were so drawn to each other. Their relationship to me is like the relationship between people who truly KNOW the character of their GOD.
There is a spiritual as well as social attraction between those who know how good their God is, how just, how mighty, how holy, etc.and there is an application to the situation in the church today as well. There are Sauls. There are Davids and Jonathons. And there are many other characatures ,but in using these we see the similarities in what is the true church of Jesus Christ in our times. Both David and Jonathon had in mind the things of God, and obeying what HE wanted to do, in their hearts, not only just building their kingdom, not stymied by the fear of man, or the fear of the enemy, but triumphant for their God in the Words of their "testimony" and willing to lay down their lives for their KING of KINGS.