Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food this day.’” And the people were faint. Then Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. See how my eyes have become bright because I tasted a little of this honey. How much better if the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies that they found. For now the defeat among the Philistines has not been great.”
****They struck down the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. And the people were very faint. ****
The people pounced on the spoil and took sheep and oxen and calves and slaughtered them on the ground. And the people ate them with the blood. Then they told Saul, “Behold, the people are sinning against the LORD by eating with the blood.” And he said, “You have dealt treacherously; roll a great stone to me here.” And Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people and say to them, ‘Let every man bring his ox or his sheep and 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 they slaughtered them there. And Saul built an altar to the LORD; it was the first altar that he built to the LORD.
Comment: I think that the record here is a bit like watching a TV show where they jump about and two things happening at once are shown sequentially, Some times prior happenings are shown a bit later to make the story clearer.
I think that the passage in the middle which I have marked with asterisks, before and after, is an overall statement of what happened that day battle-wise. It ends with a faint and wearied people.
During the battle the episode with Jonathan and his honey, which we talked about yesterday, happens and he is told of his father’s curse. His comment is against his father’s curse but the people still don’t dare break the king’s order.
At the end of the day the people wait until the timing of the king’s command had passed but then very unwisely break the dietary laws of their religion by eating the blood of the slain animals. It almost seems as if the king’s command not to eat was more important than God’s command about how to eat! This time Saul acted wisely by providing a way for the animals to be killed according to ritual laws, and the soldiers regained their strength.
Prayer: Help me to chose the right heroes to follow and not to not act hastily to satiate my temporal desires above following in Your way.