1 Samuel 11


‘Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead. And all the men of Jabesh said to him, ‘Make a treaty with us, and we will be subject to you.’ But Nahash the Ammonite replied, ‘I will make a treaty with you only on the condition that I gouge out the right eye of every one of you and so bring disgrace on all Israel.’ The elders of Jabesh said to him, ‘Give us seven days so we can send messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue us, we will surrender to you.’ When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and reported these terms to the people, they all wept aloud. Just then Saul was returning from the fields, behind his oxen, and he asked, ‘What is wrong with everyone? Why are they weeping?’ Then they repeated to him what the men of Jabesh had said. When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger. He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming, ‘This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.’ Then the terror of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out together as one. When Saul mustered them at Bezek, the men of Israel numbered three hundred thousand and those of Judah thirty thousand. They told the messengers who had come, ‘Say to the men of Jabesh Gilead, ‘By the time the sun is hot tomorrow, you will be rescued.’ When the messengers went and reported this to the men of Jabesh, they were elated. They said to the Ammonites, ‘Tomorrow we will surrender to you, and you can do to us whatever you like.’ The next day Saul separated his men into three divisions; during the last watch of the night they broke into the camp of the Ammonites and slaughtered them until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.’ 1 Samuel 11:1-11

Saul Rescues The City Of Jabesh

In the previous chapter we Samuel anointing Saul and most of the people agreeing that God made Saul king and leader of Israel. As we begin this chapter, we find that Saul’s kingship was going to be put to the test very quickly as Nahash the Ammonite, 2 Samuel 10:2 / 1 Chronicles 19:1-2, besieged Jabesh Gilead, 1 Samuel 31:8-13, and the men of Jabesh wanted to make a treaty with him.

Notice that Nahash the Ammonite gave terms and conditions for a treaty with the men of Jabesh, this tells us just how evil he and the Ammonites were, Amos 1:13.

There was a close relationship between the Benjamites and the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead. There was a time when Israel almost wiped out the Benjamites, and 400 men from Jabesh were given to the women of Benjamin so that they could preserve the tribe, Judges 21:8-14.

The Spirit of God came powerfully upon Saul because of the demands of the Ammonites, Judges 3:10 / Judges 6:34 / Judges 11:29. Make no mistake about it, what the Ammonites were demanding was absolutely cruel and unjust. And so, when Saul made the call to all Israel, the response was fear in the hearts of the people. This fear resulted in 330,000 men who were ready for war and the Ammorites were completely overwhelmed.

Saul Confirmed As King

‘The people then said to Samuel, ‘Who was it that asked, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Turn these men over to us so that we may put them to death.’ But Saul said, ‘No one will be put to death today, for this day the LORD has rescued Israel.’ Then Samuel said to the people, ‘Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship.’ So all the people went to Gilgal and made Saul king in the presence of the LORD. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings before the LORD, and Saul and all the Israelites held a great celebration.’ 1 Samuel 11:12-15

God was working through Saul and it was through him that He saved Israel from the oppression of the Ammorites. As this was Saul’s first test as being king and he was successful, everyone got behind him in total support of his kingship but the people suggested that anyone who didn’t support him was to be put to death, 1 Samuel 10:27.

But notice that we see Saul showing mercy here, because of his victory over the Ammonites he wants all of Israel to become one, he wants all of Israel to come under his reign as one.

Samuel knew this was God’s victory and he tells everyone to go to Gilgal to renew Saul’s kingship, the offered fellowship offerings and held great celebrations.

Go To 1 Samuel 12


"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

John 3:16