1. Swearing of Saul (Judges 11; 1Samuel 14)
Ellen White (1827-1915): “he had sworn that the offender should surely die; not considering whether the offense might not be a sin of ignorance, to be expiated by a sin-offering, instead of a willful transgression punishable with death” (Signs of the Times, No. 31, 1882).
“His own course convinced the people that kingly honor and authority were dearer to him than justice, mercy, or benevolence” (Sign of the Times, August 17, 1882).
“But Jonathan was ignorant of his father’s prohibition, and unwittingly transgressed by eating a little of the honey” (Signs of the Times, August 17, 1882).
“The long abstinence rendered them weak and exhausted at the very time when they should have been strong and courageous to push the battle against the foe. And then to confirm this inconsiderate prohibition by a solemn oath showed Saul to be both rash and profane” (Ibid).
Ellen White: “The obligation to which one’s word is pledged—if it do not bind him to perform a wrong act—should be held sacred” (PP. p. 506).
Pulpit Commentary (1880-1890): “But Saul’s last oath was more reckless than his first; it was ignorant and wilful, showed more concern about the literal fulfilment of his word than humble and faithful obedience to a higher will, and brought him to the brink of a great crime.
“Thus twice in the same day he was guilty of the sin of rash swearing. The people condemn him by their silence”
“Saul might feel bound by his rash oath, but the consciences of the people told them that an oath to commit a crime is an oath to be repented of as a sin, and not to be performed as a duty”
“Jonathan’s trespass, committed unwittingly, required nothing more than a trespass offering for its expiation, nor did the silence of the Urim and Thummim imply any fault in him. The fault lay in Saul having imposed an oath upon the army; that oath had been broken, and a formal expiation must be made” (Spence, H. D. M, 1890).
Joseph Sutcliffe (1762-1856): “A broken and a contrite heart for sin, is the best oblation which a nation can offer to God in the day of trouble. A rash vow is better repented of than kept. The vow itself was wicked, and the keeping of it was the completion of crime. Israel often broke their vows and covenants, and the Lord required no sacrifice but unfeigned repentance. Jonathan broke the foolish vow of Saul, by eating honey, and the army saved him from death; nor was God angry in any peculiar way on that account. Whoever utters an ill- advised word, a word that will trouble his soul for life, had better cast himself on the divine clemency by unfeigned repentance. Notwithstanding, all holy and lawful vows must be kept, though they be to our own hurt” (Sutcliffe’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Judges 11, 1836).
2. Condemning others
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Those who are most ready to excuse or justify themselves in sin are often most severe in judging and condemning others” (Saul’s rash vow: Signs of the Times, No. 31, 1882).
Pulpit Commentary (1880-1890): “But men who severely condemn the faults of others are often blind to their own” (Saul’s rash vow, 1 Samuel, 14).