[1-Samuel 11:1] THEN NAHASH THE AMMONITE CAME UP, AND ENCAMPED AGAINST JABESHGILEAD: AND ALL THE MEN OF JABESH SAID UNTO NAHASH, MAKE A COVENANT WITH US, AND WE WILL SERVE THEE. <
[1-Samuel 11:2] AND NAHASH THE AMMONITE ANSWERED THEM, ON THIS CONDITION WILL I MAKE A COVENANT WITH YOU, THAT I MAY THRUST OUT ALL YOUR RIGHT EYES, AND LAY IT FOR A REPROACH UPON ALL ISRAEL. This is a ferocious demand but it is the type of thing that was done in ancient times and would be entirely understandable in Mosle-type settings. The eyes of dead Israelis who have been lynched by Arab mobs have on occasion been torn out and displayed by the jubilating mob.
[1-Samuel 11:3] AND THE ELDERS OF JABESH SAID UNTO HIM, GIVE US SEVEN DAYS' RESPITE, THAT WE MAY SEND MESSENGERS UNTO ALL THE COASTS OF ISRAEL: AND THEN, IF THERE BE NO MAN TO SAVE US, WE WILL COME OUT TO THEE.
[1-Samuel 11:4] THEN CAME THE MESSENGERS TO GIBEAH OF SAUL, AND TOLD THE TIDINGS IN THE EARS OF THE PEOPLE: AND ALL THE PEOPLE LIFTED UP THEIR VOICES, AND WEPT.
[1-Samuel 11:5] AND, BEHOLD, SAUL CAME AFTER THE HERD OUT OF THE FIELD; AND SAUL SAID, WHAT AILETH THE PEOPLE THAT THEY WEEP? AND THEY TOLD HIM THE TIDINGS OF THE MEN OF JABESH.
[1-Samuel 11:6] AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD CAME UPON SAUL WHEN HE HEARD THOSE TIDINGS, AND HIS ANGER WAS KINDLED GREATLY.
[1-Samuel 11:7] AND HE TOOK A YOKE OF OXEN, AND HEWED THEM IN PIECES, AND SENT THEM THROUGHOUT ALL THE COASTS OF ISRAEL BY THE HANDS OF MESSENGERS, SAYING, WHOSOEVER COMETH NOT FORTH AFTER SAUL AND AFTER SAMUEL, SO SHALL IT BE DONE UNTO HIS OXEN. AND THE FEAR OF THE LORD FELL ON THE PEOPLE, AND THEY CAME OUT WITH ONE CONSENT.
Saul had threatened to destroy their oxen.
Actually this is a wrong translation.
"Oxen" in English usually connotes castrated bulls but the Ancient Hebrews forbade the castration of animals:
"YE SHALL NOT OFFER UNTO THE LORD THAT WHICH IS BRUISED, OR CRUSHED, OR BROKEN, OR CUT; NEITHER SHALL YE MAKE ANY OFFERING THEREOF IN YOUR LAND" [Leviticus 22:24]. In Hebrew this verse says: "YE SHALL NOT OFFER UNTO THE LORD THAT WHICH IS BRUISED, OR CRUSHED, OR BROKEN, OR CUT [castrated]; And in YOUR LAND you shall not do so" [Leviticus 22:24], i.e. in your land you shall not destroy the maleness of your male animals. It was interpreted to mean that wherever you are you should not such a thing. In the verse in [1-Samuel 11:7] above the word translated as OXEN is "boker" meaning "cattle" presumably bulls but it could also refer to cows. In those days everyone had their own piece of land that provided the family with its livelihood. They needed the cattle to push the plough and do other farm work. Saul was hereby threatening anyone who did not come to the aid of his fellow Israelites with severe economic sanctions. "THE FEAR OF THE LORD" fell upon them in a supernatural way beyond that which could be attributed to the threatened economic sanction. The Israelites came out to fight united as one body.
[1-Samuel 11:8] AND WHEN HE NUMBERED THEM IN BEZEK, THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL WERE THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND, AND THE MEN OF JUDAH THIRTY THOUSAND. Here we see Judah and Israel numbered as separate bodies even though they had not divided off from each other. The Tribe of Judah here numbers the equivalent of one-tenth of the rest of Israel.
[1-Samuel 11:9] AND THEY SAID UNTO THE MESSENGERS THAT CAME, THUS SHALL YE SAY UNTO THE MEN OF JABESHGILEAD, TO MORROW, BY THAT TIME THE SUN BE HOT, YE SHALL HAVE HELP. AND THE MESSENGERS CAME AND SHEWED IT TO THE MEN OF JABESH; AND THEY WERE GLAD.
[1-Samuel 11:10] THEREFORE THE MEN OF JABESH SAID, TO MORROW WE WILL COME OUT UNTO YOU, AND YE SHALL DO WITH US ALL THAT SEEMETH GOOD UNTO YOU. They deceived the Ammonites. It is permitted to deceive your enemy when it means saving lives.
[1-Samuel 11:11] AND IT WAS SO ON THE MORROW, THAT SAUL PUT THE PEOPLE IN THREE COMPANIES; AND THEY CAME INTO THE MIDST OF THE HOST IN THE MORNING WATCH, AND SLEW THE AMMONITES UNTIL THE HEAT OF THE DAY: AND IT CAME TO PASS, THAT THEY WHICH REMAINED WERE SCATTERED, SO THAT TWO OF THEM WERE NOT LEFT TOGETHER. They struch the Ammonites suddenly and slew them for about six straight hours.
[1-Samuel 11:12] AND THE PEOPLE SAID UNTO SAMUEL, WHO IS HE THAT SAID, SHALL SAUL REIGN OVER US? BRING THE MEN, THAT WE MAY PUT THEM TO DEATH. <
[1-Samuel 11:13] AND SAUL SAID, THERE SHALL NOT A MAN BE PUT TO DEATH THIS DAY: FOR TO TO DAY THE LORD HATH WROUGHT SALVATION IN ISRAEL. The Sages say this was a mistake. Saul was the appointed king of Israel and as such had an obligation to uphold the dignity of the monarchy even if his own inclination was against it.
[1-Samuel 11:14] THEN SAID SAMUEL TO THE PEOPLE, COME, AND LET US GO TO GILGAL, AND RENEW THE KINGDOM THERE. We saw above (chapter 10) how Saul had already been appointed king in the presence of all the people. Not all the people had however accepted the new monarch and Saul himself had returned to his house as if nothing had changed. He had placed himself in "early retirement" as it were even though he had actually not yet merited very much to retire from. After that under the leadership of Saul all of he people had experienced a great fear of the Almighty and as one body had gone out to fight and done a great slaughter amongst the venomous enemies of Israel lead by "Snake" their leader. Everyone had now experienced a miracle ands an uplifting of the spirit infighting under the command of Saul. The situation was different. Even those who previously had been prepared to accept Saul as their king were now able to do so with greater confidence and certainty that this was right thing to do, the revealed will of the God of Israel.
[1-Samuel 11:15] AND ALL THE PEOPLE WENT TO GILGAL; AND THERE THEY MADE SAUL KING BEFORE THE LORD IN GILGAL; AND THERE THEY SACRIFICED SACRIFICES OF PEACE OFFERINGS BEFORE THE LORD; AND THERE SAUL AND ALL THE MEN OF ISRAEL REJOICED GREATLY. Saul was happy. He had been made king and the Almighty had given him the spirit to lead the people and through him to achieve a great victory. Saul had been enabled to exercise his royalty.
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