Saul saves Jabesh town
1 One month later, Nahash went with his army to attack Jabesh, a town in Gilead region. Nahash was an Ammonite. The people in Jabesh said to him, ‘Make an agreement with us so that we will serve you.’ 2 Nahash said, ‘I will make an agreement with you only if you let me do this. I must cut out the right eye of every person in your town. I want to bring shame on all Israel's people.’
11:1The Ammonites were the descendants of Ben-Ammi, who was the grandson of Lot. See Genesis 19:36-38. The Ammonites had attacked Israel in the past. See Judges 3:13; 11:4-32.
3 The leaders of Jabesh said to him, ‘Wait for seven more days. We will send a message to all the people in Israel. We will ask them to rescue us. If nobody comes to save us, we will agree to whatever you say.’
4 Men took the message to Gibeah, the town where Saul lived. When they told the news to the people there, the people started to weep loudly. 5 Saul had been out on his farm. As he was returning home with his cows, he asked, ‘What has happened here? Why are the people weeping?’ They told Saul what the men from Jabesh had said.
6 When Saul heard the news, God's Spirit came on him with power. He became very angry. 7 He killed two of his oxen. He cut their bodies into pieces. He sent men with the pieces to all the towns in Israel. In each town, the men said, ‘Everyone must join Saul and Samuel to fight in their army. If you do not agree to join them, they will cut up your oxen just like this!’ The people became very afraid of what the Lord would do. So they all came together as one army. 8 They met together at Bezek. Saul counted 300,000 men from Israel and 30,000 men from Judah.
11:8Judah was the most important Israelite tribe.
9 Saul said to the men who had brought the news from Jabesh, ‘Return to Jabesh. Tell the people, “We will come to rescue you tomorrow, before midday.” ’
So the men took the message to the people in Jabesh. The people were very happy. 10 The men there said to Nahash, ‘Tomorrow we will come out of the town to you. Then you can do anything that you want to us.’
11 Early the next day, Saul put his soldiers into three groups. At dawn, they attacked the camp of the Ammonite soldiers. The Israelite soldiers continued to kill the Ammonites until midday. The Ammonite soldiers who were still alive ran away in different directions. Each man ran off by himself.
12 The Israelite people said to Samuel, ‘Bring to us those men who said, “We do not want Saul to rule over us.” We must kill them!’
13 Saul said, ‘No, you must not kill anyone today. It is the day when the Lord has rescued Israel's people.’
14 Samuel said to the people, ‘Now we will all go to Gilgal. We must all agree that Saul will continue to be our king.’ 15 So everyone went to Gilgal. They went to the place where they worshipped the Lord. They all agreed that Saul would be their king. They offered peace offerings to the Lord. Saul and all the Israelites were very happy.