1 Samuel 11
-Nahash, the Ammonite (of the sons of Ammon east of the Dead Sea area), came up and besieged Jabesh-gilead on the east side of the Jordan. The men of Jabesh were afraid and asked for a covenant of peace to serve the Ammonites. But the conditions laid on them from Nahash were extremely harsh. He told them that if they became a reproach to all Israel by having their right eye gauged out by his people, then there would be an agreement not to kill them. The elders of Jabesh asked for a seven-day decision period to get their brothers input from Israel. If there were none to deliver them, then they would accept the brutal terms of this offer (1 Samuel 11:1-3).
-The messengers sent out by the elders of Jabesh came to Gibeah of Saul and spoke these words, which Nahash had threatened them with, to all the people. This caused the inhabitants to lift up their voices in weeping and wailing. As Saul came in from the field this day, he asked why all the commotion and weeping. When he heard what was going on, the Spirit of the LORD came upon Saul mightily again, and he became angry with righteous indignation. He took a yoke of oxen and cut them into pieces and sent them throughout the territory of Israel through messengers telling them, “Whoever does not come out after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen.” This caused the dread of the LORD to come on all the people, and they came out as one man, unified and determined. War was in the air at this point. The warriors of Israel were numbered just to the west of the Jordan River at Bezek, just across the river from Jabesh-gilead. Their number came to 300,000, and Judah had 30,000. They informed the messengers who had come to them to go tell their brethren in Jabesh-gilead, “Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you will have deliverance. This gave hope and life to these messengers as well as the people of Jabesh-gilead. They were indeed glad. The men of Jabesh-gilead let them know that they would be coming out for battle the next day and do everything that seemed good to them in service. The next morning Saul commanded the army of Israel by putting them into three distinct companies, and they came into the midst of the camp for a fight at the morning watch. They struck down the Ammonites until the heat of the day scattering the survivors so that no two were even left together (1 Samuel 11:4-11). A complete and utter victory was achieved!
-The naysayers that were worthless men of negativity (1 Samuel 10:27) were now sought out by the people of Israel in the aftermath. They said, “Who is he that said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, that we may put them to death.” But Saul showed humility and grace in this instance seeking no revenge and giving glory to God, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the LORD has accomplished deliverance in Israel.” Samuel stepped in at this point, “Come and let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.” Therefore, everyone went to Gilgal to the south along the Jordan River on the west side, where Israel had first camped in the Promised Land before their attack of Jericho. There they made Saul king before the LORD and offered sacrifices of peace offerings before their Covenant God once again. “And there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly (1 Samuel 11:12-15).” It was a great day in the history of Israel.
-*Application* There are leadership lessons to be learned from this particular passage. The elders of Jabesh-gilead were prudent in taking some time for their decision and seeking extended council. This saved their city and their days. Saul showed some moxy by being filled with the Spirit and taking quick, decisive, bold action in the face of a threat. He was able to unify a body and fight a worthy, just fight. Afterwards, Saul did not act vindictively or harsh in his victory towards those of his own clan who had opposed him and had spoken ill of him. In other words, he had a forgiving spirit. This is grace. Then, Samuel wrapped it all up with a faithful act of worship in a holy place. There was a celebration of all God had accomplished and an established peace. This sets the standard for any organization to emulate.
Verse to Memorize: 1 Samuel 11:13