Saul Rescues Jabesh-Gilead

1 Samuel 11

Soon after Saul was anointed king of Israel by Samuel, Saul demonstrated his ability to unite the tribes against a common enemy, fulfilling one of the reasons the people had asked Samuel for a king (1 Samuel 8:19-20). A man named Nahash the Ammonite had besieged the Israelite town of Jabesh-gilead, and before he would grant them a treaty, he required that he gouge out the right eye of every person in the town. Messengers from Jabesh-gilead went throughout Israel seeking someone to rescue them from Nahash. When they reached Gibeah, they told this to the people and then to Saul as he was returning from the fields with his oxen. When Saul heard what was happening, the Spirit of God came upon him powerfully, and he cut up his oxen and sent pieces throughout Israel as a threat to anyone who did not join him to rescue Jabesh-gilead. Saul mustered Israel’s forces at Bezek and sent word to the people of Jabesh-gilead that they would be rescued the next day. The next day Saul did defeat the Ammonites and completely destroyed them. In response, some suggested to Samuel that those who initially opposed Saul’s appointment as king should be put to death, but Samuel instead called for everyone to meet at Gilgal and reaffirm Saul as king. The people did so and celebrated Saul’s kingship with fellowship offerings before the Lord.

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