Saul Comes to the Aid of Jabesh
Nahash the Ammonite marched against Jabesh Gilead. All the men of Jabesh Gilead said to Nahash, “Make a treaty with us and we will serve you.”
But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, “The only way I will make a treaty with you is if you let me gouge out the right eye of every one of you and in so doing humiliate all Israel!”
The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Leave us alone for seven days so that we can send messengers throughout the territory of Israel. If there is no one who can deliver us, we will come out voluntarily to you.”
When the messengers went to Gibeah (where Saul lived) and informed the people of these matters, all the people wept loudly. Now Saul was walking behind the oxen as he came from the field. Saul asked, “What has happened to the people? Why are they weeping?” So they told him about the men of Jabesh.
The Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and he became very angry. He took a pair of oxen and cut them up. Then he sent the pieces throughout the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers, who said, “Whoever does not go out after Saul and after Samuel should expect this to be done to his oxen!” Then the terror of the Lord fell on the people, and they went out as one army. When Saul counted them at Bezek, the Israelites were 300,000 strong and the men of Judah numbered 30,000.
They said to the messengers who had come, “Here’s what you should say to the men of Jabesh Gilead: ‘Tomorrow deliverance will come to you when the sun is fully up.’” When the messengers went and told the men of Jabesh Gilead, they were happy. The men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will come out to you and you can do with us whatever you wish.”
The next day Saul placed the people in three groups. They went to the Ammonite camp during the morning watch and struck them down until the hottest part of the day. The survivors scattered; no two of them remained together.
Saul Is Established as King
Then the people said to Samuel, “Who were the ones asking, ‘Will Saul reign over us?’ Hand over those men so we may execute them!” But Saul said, “No one will be killed on this day. For today the Lord has given Israel a victory!” Samuel said to the people, “Come on! Let’s go to Gilgal and renew the kingship there.” So all the people went to Gilgal, where they established Saul as king in the Lord’s presence. They offered up peace offerings there in the Lord’s presence. Saul and all the Israelites were very happy.