December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 About a month later, Nahash the Ammonite went up and laid siege to Jabesh-gilead. All the men of Jabesh begged Nahash, "Make a treaty with us, and we will be your subjects."
- But Nahash the Ammonite replied, "This is my condition for a treaty with you: I must gouge out every man's right eye, that I may thus bring ignominy on all Israel."
- The elders of Jabesh said to him: "Give us seven days to send messengers throughout the territory of Israel. If no one rescues us, we will surrender to you."
- When the messengers arrived at Gibeah of Saul, they related the news to the people, all of whom wept aloud.
- Just then Saul came in from the field, behind his oxen. "Why are the people weeping?" he asked. The message of the inhabitants of Jabesh was repeated to him.
- As he listened to this report, the spirit of God rushed upon him and he became very angry.
- Taking a yoke of oxen, he cut them into pieces, which he sent throughout the territory of Israel by couriers with the message, "If anyone does not come out to follow Saul (and Samuel), the same as this will be done to his oxen!" In dread of the LORD, the people turned out to a man.
- When he reviewed them in Bezek, there were three hundred thousand Israelites and seventy thousand Judahites.
- To the messengers who had come he said, "Tell the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead that tomorrow, while the sun is hot, they will be rescued." The messengers came and reported this to the inhabitants of Jabesh, who were jubilant,
- and said to Nahash, "Tomorrow we will surrender to you, and you may do whatever you please with us."
- On the appointed day, Saul arranged his troops in three companies and invaded the camp during the dawn watch. They slaughtered Ammonites until the heat of the day; by then the survivors were so scattered that no two were left together.
- 2 The people then said to Samuel: "Who questioned whether Saul should rule over us? Hand over the men and we will put them to death."
- But Saul broke in to say, "No man is to be put to death this day, for today the LORD has saved Israel."
- Samuel said to the people, "Come, let us go to Gilgal to inaugurate the kingdom there."
- So all the people went to Gilgal, where, in the presence of the LORD, they made Saul king. They also sacrificed peace offerings there before the LORD, and Saul and all the Israelites celebrated the occasion with great joy.
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1  About a month later: there is ancient evidence for a longer introduction to this campaign. The time indication here may refer to its earlier stages rather than to the events of 1 Sam 10.
2 [12-14] With these verses, an editor has harmonized the account of the acknowledgment of Saul as king at Mizpah (1 Sam 10:17-24) with the public acclamation at Gilgal (1 Sam 11:15) after the defeat of the Ammonites (1 Sam 11:1-11). The Greek text of 1 Sam 11:15 reads "and Samuel anointed Saul as king," instead of they made Saul king.
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