What followed was simply - Irrational
Jonathan and his guys are busy killing Philistines. 25 -27 "There were honeycombs here and there in the fields. But no one so much as put his finger in the honey to taste it, for the soldiers to a man feared the curse. But Jonathan hadn't heard his father put the army under oath. He stuck the tip of his staff into some honey and ate it. Refreshed, his eyes lit up with renewed vigor. "
Saul doesn't hear from God, so decides (quite on his own) to consult God through the priest and see who has "sinned"
42 "Next Saul said, "Cast the lots between me and Jonathan—and death to the one God points to!"
The soldiers protested, "No—this is not right. Stop this!" But Saul pushed on anyway. They cast the lots, Urim and Thummim, and the lot fell to Jonathan.
43 Saul confronted Jonathan. "What did you do? Tell me!"
Jonathan said, "I licked a bit of honey off the tip of the staff I was carrying. That's it—and for that I'm to die?"
Right here - Saul had a choice. Follow common sense, or press forward in his foolishness.
44 Saul said, "Yes. Jonathan most certainly will die. It's out of my hands— I can't go against God, can I?"
Fortunately, the soldiers had more sense than their new leader. 45 "The soldiers rose up: "Jonathan—die? Never! He's just carried out this stunning salvation victory for Israel. As surely as God lives, not a hair on his head is going to be harmed. Why, he's been working hand-in-hand with God all day!" The soldiers rescued Jonathan and he didn't die. "
Leadership is a tricky skill. Part art part temperament part wisdom part courage.
In this incident, Saul blew it. In today's politics, he would have been thrown out of office. Although he stayed on as king, I'm sure his soldiers had less respect and admiration for him after this event.