1 Samuel 11

Saul saves the town called Jabesh

1 Nahash was an Ammonite. He went with his army to beat the men in Jabesh. Jabesh was in the part of the country called Gilead. The soldiers were all round Jabesh. The people from Jabesh said, ‘Make a covenant with us and we will let you be our ruler.’ 2 Nahash said, ‘I will make a covenant with you. But I will pull out the right eye of every person in your town. Then Israel's people will be ashamed.’ 3 The rulers of Jabesh said to him, ‘Wait for seven days. We will send a message to all the people in Israel. We will ask them to help us. If nobody comes to save us, we will let you be our ruler.’

11:3The Ammonites had attacked Israel in the past – see Judges 3:13 and 11:4-32.

4 Men took the message to the town called Gibeah. Saul lived in this town. When they told the news to the people, the people started to cry aloud. 5 Saul had been in his field. Now he was returning to his home with the cows. He heard the people crying. He asked, ‘What has happened? Why are the people crying?’ They told Saul what the men from Jabesh had said. 6 When people told Saul the news, the Spirit of God made him very powerful. Saul became very angry. 7 He killed two of his cows. He cut them into pieces. He gave the pieces to the men from Jabesh. He said that they must take the pieces to all the towns in Israel. The men said, ‘Everyone must join Saul and Samuel to fight the Ammonites. They will cut up your cows like this if you do not follow.’ The people were afraid of the Lord. So all the men came together as one group. 8 They met together with Saul at the town called Bezek. There were 300,000 men from Israel. And there were 30,000 men from Judah.

11:8A ‘thousand’ (1000) is the name for a large group of men. The group has up to 1,000 men, but there may be fewer men.

9 Saul spoke to the men who had brought the news from Jabesh. He said to them, ‘Return to Jabesh and tell the people this message: “Our people will save you. They will do it tomorrow before midday.” ’ So, the men went and they gave the message to them. All the people in Jabesh were very happy. 10 The men from Jabesh went and they spoke to Nahash. They said, ‘Tomorrow we will come out to you. Then you can do anything that you want with us.’

11 The next day Saul put his soldiers into three groups. At dawn, they attacked the Ammonites' army. The Israelite soldiers killed the Ammonites and won the fight before midday. Some Ammonite soldiers ran away in different directions. Each man ran off by himself.

12 Israel's people said to Samuel, ‘Some men said, “We do not think that Saul should rule us.” Bring the men who said that to us. Then we will kill them.’

13 Saul said, ‘No, you must not kill anyone today because the Lord saved Israel's people today.’

14 Samuel said to the people, ‘We will all go to the town called Gilgal. Then we will agree again that Saul is our king.’ 15 So everyone went to Gilgal. They went to the place for worship. They all agreed that Saul should be their king. They gave fellowship offerings to the Lord. Saul and all the Israelites had a very good party.