Daily Tanach Thursday: Shmuel 1 Chapter 14-Part 2 The battle against the Philistines

* The article below is an excerpt from the above Sefer

1.      The pact to not eat bread and the breaking of the vow by an unknowing Yonason:

  • The Jewish people were brave to enter battle on that day[1] as Shaul entered the people into a pact and vow saying that cursed will be the man who will eat bread [or any other food[2]] on that day, until the evening, in order so they can take vengeance against the enemy.
  • Indeed, the entire nation avoided the eating of bread on that day.
  • Shaul eats the honey from the field: The entire nation[3] came to the forest and there was honey on the surface of the field [i.e. sugar cane[4]], although they did not eat any of it due to the oath they took upon themselves. However, Yonason did not hear of the oath that his father imposed, and thus when he came to the above-said honey field he dipped his staff in the honey and tasted it. When he tasted it, his eyes [which were weakened due to hunger[5]] were shined with light to be able to see. A man who observed Yonason tasting the honey informed him of the oath that they had accepted from his father, that cursed will be the man who eats food today. The nation was very exhausted. Yonason replied that his father had ruined and confused the people [and hindered their salvation[6]], as “my eyes have become enlightened after I ate from a little bit of the honey. If you would have eaten from the spoils of the Philistines, you would have been able to smite the Philistines even more[7].”
  • The Jewish people had smitten the Philistines on that day in Michmash until Ayalon, and they were very exhausted.

2.      The Jewish people eat sacrifices from the booty on that day:

  • The nation took the booty from the Philistines and took sheep, cattle, and calves, and they slaughtered them over the ground and ate over the blood. Shaul was informed that the nation was sinning to G-d and eating over blood [i.e. they were slaughtering the mother and child on the same day, and ate the meat before the blood of the sacrifice was offered[8]]. He said that they had betrayed [G-d], and they should bring to him today a great stone. Shaul said that they should announce to a nation and have them each bring him their ox and sheep, and they should eat and not sin to G-d. So, the entire nation brought forth their ox that night and slaughtered it.
  • Shaul built an altar for G-d using that stone, and they began to build altars for G-d from that day.
  • Shaul told the nation that they should descend to the area of the Philistines at night and take their booty until morning. No man should remain. They replied to Shaul that whatever is good in his eyes he should do.

[1] Rashi 14:24; See Ralbag 14:24

[2] Rashi 14:24

[3] See Metzudos Dovid 14:25

[4] Rashi 14:25; Metzudos Dovid 14:25

[5] Metzudos Dovid 14:27; See Malbim ibid

[6] See Rashi 14:29

[7] See Malbim 14:30

[8] Rashi 14:32

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