Saul Rescues the Town of Jabesh in Gilead
1 About this time, King Nahash of Ammon came with his army and surrounded the town of Jabesh in Gilead. The people who lived there told Nahash, “If you will sign a peace treaty with us, you can be our ruler, and we will pay taxes to you.”
2 Nahash answered, “Sure, I'll sign a treaty! But not before I insult Israel by poking out the right eye of every man who lives in Jabesh.”
3 The town leaders said, “Give us seven days so we can send messengers everywhere in Israel to ask for help. If no one comes here to save us, we will surrender to you.”
4 Some of the messengers went to Gibeah, Saul's hometown. They told what was happening at Jabesh, and everyone in Gibeah started crying. 5 Just then, Saul came in from the fields, walking behind his oxen.
“Why is everyone crying?” Saul asked.
They told him what the men from Jabesh had said. 6 Then the Spirit of God suddenly took control of Saul and made him furious. 7 Saul killed two of his oxen, cut them up in pieces, and gave the pieces to the messengers. He told them to show the pieces to everyone in Israel and say, “Saul and Samuel are getting an army together. Come and join them. If you don't, this is what will happen to your oxen!”
The Lord made the people of Israel terribly afraid. So all the men came together 8 at Bezek. Saul had them organized and counted. There were 300,000 from Israel and 30,000 from Judah.
9 Saul and his officers sent the messengers back to Jabesh with this promise: “We will rescue you tomorrow afternoon.” The messengers went back to the people at Jabesh and told them that they were going to be rescued.
Everyone was encouraged! 10 So they told the Ammonites, “We will surrender to you tomorrow, and then you can do whatever you want to.”
11 The next day, Saul divided his army into three groups and attacked before daylight. They started killing Ammonites and kept it up until afternoon. A few Ammonites managed to escape, but they were scattered far from each other.
12 The Israelite soldiers went to Samuel and demanded, “Where are the men who said they didn't want Saul to be king? Bring them to us, and we will put them to death!”
13 “No you won't!” Saul told them. “The Lord rescued Israel today, and no one will be put to death.”
Saul Is Accepted as King
14 “Come on!” Samuel said. “Let's go to Gilgal and make an agreement that Saul will continue to be our king.”
15 Everyone went to the place of worship at Gilgal, where they agreed that Saul would be their king. Saul and the people sacrificed animals to ask for the Lord's blessing, and they had a big celebration.