here I am; I will die

Today's devotion from 1 Samuel 14.

This is the beginning of a recurring undertone in Samuel. Jonathan and Saul will drift further and further away. In this instance, Jonathan had been full of faith, and struck at their enemy. In the heat of the moment, Saul had uttered a curse. It was rash and foolish. Even Jonathan (after he finds out about the curse) questions the logic of charging battle-weary men to further weary themselves by fasting.

As this story arch comes to a close, we see Jonathan standing before his father after the lots finally revealed that he had broken the command of the king by tasting honey. There is nothing left to do. Jonathan is found out, and quickly confesses his deed. As he does, he simply states, "Here I am; I will die." How does Saul respond? He essentially says that he will kill his son for this offense?

For what offense? That's the question. He didn't break the law of God by eating blood. He unwittingly disobeyed the order of a king that he had not even known had been uttered. Yet his father was willing to put him to death, even though he had just spurred Israel to this great victory.

This is when the people stepped in. The CSB uses "redeemed," while the ESV uses the word, "ransomed." Robert Bergen wrote in the New American Commentary series:

Even oaths spoken by earthly kings were the product of human breath and could be quashed...Using Saul, Israel’s first monarch, as an example, the narrative demonstrates that kings could lead Israel into battle, but they could also diminish a nation’s capacity to achieve victory. Kings could build altars for their subjects to sacrifice to God, but they could not guarantee an encounter with the divine.

These days are filled will near constant concern for the power of men. Who is the president? Which party is at fault? What is that foreign government doing? While it is prudent to be mindful of these things, we cannot afford to misplace our hope in them. Follow God faithfully. If you find yourself answering to human authorities, remember the words of Jonathan, "Here I am."