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Nahash Troubles Jabesh Gilead

11 About a month later Nahash the Ammonite and his army surrounded the city of Jabesh in Gilead. All the people of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you.”

But he answered, “I will make a treaty with you only if I’m allowed to poke out the right eye of each of you. Then all Israel will be ashamed!”

The elders of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Give us seven days to send messengers through all Israel. If no one comes to help us, we will give ourselves up to you.”

When the messengers came to Gibeah where Saul lived and told the people the news, they cried loudly. Saul was coming home from plowing the fields with his oxen when he heard the people crying. He asked, “What’s wrong with the people that they are crying?” Then they told Saul what the messengers from Jabesh had said. When Saul heard their words, God’s Spirit rushed upon him with power, and he became very angry. So he took a pair of oxen and cut them into pieces. Then he gave the pieces of the oxen to messengers and ordered them to carry them through all the land of Israel.

The messengers said, “This is what will happen to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.” So the people became very afraid of the Lord. They all came together as if they were one person. Saul gathered the people together at Bezek. There were three hundred thousand men from Israel and thirty thousand men from Judah.

They said to the messengers who had come, “Tell the people at Jabesh Gilead this: ‘Before the day warms up tomorrow, you will be saved.’” So the messengers went and reported this to the people at Jabesh, and they were very happy. 10 The people said to Nahash the Ammonite, “Tomorrow we will come out to meet you. Then you can do anything you want to us.”

11 The next morning Saul divided his soldiers into three groups. At dawn they entered the Ammonite camp and defeated them before the heat of the day. The Ammonites who escaped were scattered; no two of them were still together.

12 Then the people said to Samuel, “Who didn’t want Saul as king? Bring them here and we will kill them!”

13 But Saul said, “No! No one will be put to death today. Today the Lord has saved Israel!”

14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let’s go to Gilgal. There we will again promise to obey the king.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there, before the Lord, the people made Saul king. They offered fellowship offerings to the Lord, and Saul and all the Israelites had a great celebration.

Saul Rescues the City of Jabesh

11 Nahash[a](A) the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead.(B) And all the men of Jabesh said to him, “Make a treaty(C) 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(D) that I gouge(E) out the right eye of every one of you and so bring disgrace(F) on all Israel.”

The elders(G) of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days so we can send messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue(H) us, we will surrender(I) to you.”

When the messengers came to Gibeah(J) of Saul and reported these terms to the people, they all wept(K) 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(L) of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger. He took a pair of oxen,(M) cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel,(N) proclaiming, “This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone(O) who does not follow Saul and Samuel.” Then the terror of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out together as one.(P) When Saul mustered(Q) them at Bezek,(R) 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. 10 They said to the Ammonites, “Tomorrow we will surrender(S) to you, and you can do to us whatever you like.”

11 The next day Saul separated his men into three divisions;(T) during the last watch of the night they broke into the camp of the Ammonites(U) and slaughtered them until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.

Saul Confirmed as King

12 The people then said to Samuel, “Who(V) was it that asked, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Turn these men over to us so that we may put them to death.”

13 But Saul said, “No one will be put to death today,(W) for this day the Lord has rescued(X) Israel.”

14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal(Y) and there renew the kingship.(Z) 15 So all the people went to Gilgal(AA) and made Saul king(AB) in the presence of the Lord. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings before the Lord, and Saul and all the Israelites held a great celebration.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Samuel 11:1 Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls gifts. Now Nahash king of the Ammonites oppressed the Gadites and Reubenites severely. He gouged out all their right eyes and struck terror and dread in Israel. Not a man remained among the Israelites beyond the Jordan whose right eye was not gouged out by Nahash king of the Ammonites, except that seven thousand men fled from the Ammonites and entered Jabesh Gilead. About a month later, Nahash

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