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[122] So when Saul was desirous of leading his men to the enemy's camp before it was day, in order to plunder it, and when the soldiers were not unwilling to follow him, but indeed showed great readiness to do as he commanded them, the king called Ahitub the high priest, and enjoined him to know of God whether he would grant them the favor and permission to go against the enemy's camp, in order to destroy those that were in it. And when the priest said that God did not give any answer, Saul replied, "And not without some cause does God refuse to answer what we inquire of him, while yet a little while ago he declared to us all that we desired beforehand, and even prevented us in his answer. To be sure there is some sin against him that is concealed from us, which is the occasion of his silence. Now I swear by him himself, that though he that hath committed this sin should prove to be my own son Jonathan, I will slay him, and by that means will appease the anger of God against us, and that in the very same manner as if I were to punish a stranger, and one not at all related to me, for the same offense." So when the multitude cried out to him so to do, he presently set all the rest on one side, and he and his son stood on the other side, and he sought to discover the offender by lot. Now the lot appeared to fall upon Jonathan himself. So when he was asked by his father what sin he had been guilty of, and what he was conscious of in the course of his life that might be esteemed instances of guilt or profaneness, his answer was this, "O father, I have done nothing more than that yesterday, without knowing of the curse and oath thou hadst denounced, while I was in pursuit of the enemy, I tasted of a honey-comb." But Saul sware that he would slay him, and prefer the observation of his oath before all the ties of birth and of nature. And Jonathan was not dismayed at this threatening of death, but, offering himself to it generously and undauntedly, he said, "Nor do I desire you, father, to spare me: death will be to me very acceptable, when it proceeds from thy piety, and after a glorious victory; for it is the greatest consolation to me that I leave the Hebrews victorious over the Philistines." Hereupon all the people were very sorry, and greatly afflicted for Jonathan; and they sware that they would not overlook Jonathan, and see him die, who was the author of their victory. By which means they snatched him out of the danger he was in from his father's curse, while they made their prayers to God also for the young man, that he would remit his sin.

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