Saul’s First Victory
1Now Nahash the Ammonite marched up and encamped against Jabesh-gilead. Then all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you.”
2But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, “Only on this condition will I make a treaty with you—by gouging out the right eye of every one of you, thus I will bring disgrace on all Israel.”
3So the elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days’ respite, so we may send messengers throughout all the territory of Israel. If no one comes to deliver us, we will surrender to you.”
4When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and spoke these words in the hearing of the people, all the people lifted up their voice and wept.
5Now behold, Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen, so Saul asked, “Why are the people weeping?” Then they told him the words of the men of Jabesh.
6Then the Ruach of God suddenly rushed upon Saul when he heard those words, and his anger blazed.
7So he took a pair of oxen, 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 after Samuel, so will it be done to his oxen.” So the dread of Adonai fell on the people, and they came out as one man.
8He numbered them in Bezek, and Bnei-Yisrael were 300,000 and the men of Judah 30,000.
9So they said to the messengers who came, “Thus will you say to the men of Jabesh-gilead: Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you will have deliverance.” The messengers came and told the men of Jabesh, and they were glad.
10Then the men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will surrender to you and you can do to us whatever seems good to you.”
11So it was on the following day that Saul divided the people into three columns; they penetrated into the midst of the camp at the morning watch and struck down the Ammonites until the heat of day. It came about that the survivors were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
12Then the people said to Samuel, “Who was it who said, ‘Should Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, so we may put them to death.”
13But Saul replied, “No man will be put to death this day, for today Adonai has brought deliverance to Israel.”
14Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let’s go to Gilgal and reaffirm the kingdom there.”
15So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before Adonai in Gilgal. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings before Adonai, and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.