1 Samuel 11

1 Samuel 11 has the bad guys led by Nahash the Ammonite threatening the people at Jabesh-gilead.  Nahash offers to let them live if they allow him to “gouge out all your right eyes, and thus bring disgrace on all Israel”.  Quite a trade off to be left alive.  The elders of Jabesh asked for seven days to make a decision and sent messengers around the territory of Israel to see if anyone would help them.  “When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul, they reported the matter in the ears of the people, and all the people wept aloud”.

Saul was out working the fields and came in behind the oxen he was driving.  He sees the people all weeping and asks what the issue is.  They tell him the situation in Jabesh.  “And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled”.  Somehow I don’t think this is good news for the bad guys.  God moves in his heart and he is ready to take action.  He immediately decides how to send a message throughout the land of Israel so everyone got it loud and clear.

He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers, saying, Whoever does not come out after Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen”.  Pretty visual message – a bunch of oxen meat with the message that anyone who doesn’t join the fight will have their property end up the same way.  He got the attention of over 300,000 men who came to join the fight.

The next day “Saul put the people in three companies”.  He organizes the men and they attacked the Ammonites.  They were killed or scattered.  Saul has become recognized as the king and one who is the leader of the people.  There was a desire to kill those who had earlier resisted Saul, but he says “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has worked salvation in Israel”.  Saul has proved himself as leader and king.  He is the person they have wanted to lead them.  “Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly”.

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