1 Samuel 14:17
(17) Then said Saul . . .--When this panic which was taking place in the Philistine army was reported to King Saul, he naturally inquired as to what had caused it, knowing that he, as general-in-chief, had given no directions to any of his men to attack the enemy. In the little Israelitish force, when the roll was called, it was soon discovered who was missing.

Verses 17, 18. - Number now. On hearing from the watchmen that fighting was seen on the other side of the ravine, Saul commands the roll to be called, that he may learn who has made the attack, and finds only his son and the armour bearer missing. Uncertain what their absence might mean, he said unto Ahiah, Bring hither the ark of God. The Syriac, Vulgate, and Chaldee support this reading, but the Septuagint has ephod, and there can be no doubt that this is the right reading; for the verb rendered. Bring hither is never used of the ark, but only of the ephod; nor was the ark used for making inquiry of God, but the ephod with the breastplate inserted in it. The rest of the verse is a gloss added by some scribe struck at this strange mention of the ark, which we know was still at Kirjath-jearim. It is itself corrupt and ungrammatical, being, "For the ark of God was in that day and the children of Israel." Still both the reading ark and the gloss are very ancient, being found in the versions, except the Septuagint, as above.

14:16-23 The Philistines were, by the power of God, set against one another. The more evident it was that God did all, the more reason Saul had to inquire whether God would give him leave to do any thing. But he was in such haste to fight a fallen enemy, that he would not stay to end his devotions, nor hear what answer God would give him. He that believeth, will not make such haste, nor reckon any business so urgent, as not to allow time to take God with him.Then said Saul unto the people that were with him,.... To some of the officers, particularly the muster master:

number now, and see who is gone from us: for he concluded that this agitation and confusion in the host of the Philistines were occasioned by an enterprise of some of his men, who by some stratagem or another had thrown them into this disorder:

and when they had numbered: which was soon done, being but six hundred men in all:

behold, Jonathan and his armourbearer were not there; from whence it might be inferred, that this commotion the Philistines were in was occasioned by an onset of theirs on the outer guards or sentinels of their garrison or army, which had alarmed them.

1 Samuel 14:16
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