1 Samuel 11

  Saul rescues the people of Jabesh-gilead who are threatened by the Ammonites.
.1 Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabeshgilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee.
 2 And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, On this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out all your right eyes, and lay it for a reproach upon all Israel.
 3 And the elders of Jabesh said unto him, Give us seven days' respite, that we may send messengers unto all the coasts of Israel: and then, if there be no man to save us, we will come out to thee.
  Nahash The name means "serpent." The Israelites kept the bronze serpent which God used, through Moses to save people from poisonous reptiles in the wilderness nu2001, nu2105. Then they began to worship it ez0807. Compare 2ki1804. Here Jabesh was threatened by one called "the serpent." He (or his son) was friendly with David 2sa0210.
  Jabesh-gilead A town of Israel, now thought to be 2 2/3 mi (4.3 km) east of the Jordan, midway between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, below the mountains of Gilead. Also see jg2108.
  Reproach v2 Nahash, as an agent of the evil one, wanted to show his contempt. Israel was weak because of rejecting the strength of God.
  Send messengers The town must have been out of touch with the rest of the nation apparently not knowing that Saul had been chosen king.
.4 Then came the messengers to Gibeah of Saul, and told the tidings in the ears of the people: and all the people lifted up their voices, and wept.
 5 ¶ And, behold, Saul came after the herd out of the field; and Saul said, What aileth the people that they weep? And they told him the tidings of the men of Jabesh.
  4 - Ears of the people "It does not appear that the people of Jabesh-gilead knew any thing of Saul's appointment to the kingdom, for the message is not directed to him but to the people." (Clarke)
  4 - Wept They saw no hope.
  5 - Saul came ... heard He had gone back to is cattle.
 6 And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.
 7 And he took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the coasts of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, Whosoever cometh not forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen. And the fear of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out with one consent. 
 8 And when he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand.
  6 - Spirit of God ... anger Perhaps as at 1sa1614. God was not responsible for the angry words but allowed them, perhaps, so the people would understand.
  8 - Bezek 12¾ mi. (20.4 km.) NE of Shechem. See map.
 9 And they said unto the messengers that came, Thus shall ye say unto the men of Jabeshgilead, To morrow, by that time the sun be hot, ye shall have help. And the messengers came and shewed it to the men of Jabesh; and they were glad. 
 10 Therefore the men of Jabesh said, To morrow we will come out unto you, and ye shall do with us all that seemeth good unto you.
.11 And it was so on the morrow, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the host in the morning watch, and slew the Ammonites until the heat of the day: and it came to pass, that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together.
  11 - In the morning watch See la0219, jg0719, ex1424
 12 ¶ And the people said unto Samuel, Who is he that said, Shall Saul reign over us? bring the men, that we may put them to death.
 13 And Saul said, There shall not a man be put to death this day: for to day the LORD hath wrought salvation in Israel.
  13 - Not ... death ... the Lord Evidence of a good attitude mt0543. Sadly, that was to change when he was ready to kill his own son to keep his wild treat 1sa1443.
.14 Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there.
.15 And all the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal; and there they sacrificed sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.
  15 - Gilgal Now thought to be modern Khirbet-el-Mefier, 1¼ mi. (2 km.) NE of ancient Jericho. See Jericho on map. This was headquarters for the six years of conquest of Canaan jos1507. Then the tabernacle was moved to Shiloah jos1801.
Samuel home
Commentary home