1 Samuel 11 is a pivotal chapter in Saul's early kingship, depicting his successful military campaign against the Ammonites and his subsequent confirmation as king. This chapter demonstrates Saul's capability as a leader and unites the people of Israel under his rule. Key aspects include:
Ammonite Threat: The chapter opens with Nahash the Ammonite besieging Jabesh-gilead. The inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead seek terms of surrender, but Nahash demands a humiliating condition: gouging out the right eye of every inhabitant.
Saul’s Response: When Saul hears of this situation, the Spirit of God comes powerfully upon him. He takes a pair of oxen, cuts them into pieces, and sends them throughout Israel as a warning to rally support for Jabesh-gilead.
Mobilization of Israel: The fear of the LORD falls on the people, and they come out united. Saul musters a force of about 330,000 men.
Saul’s Military Strategy: Saul divides his army into three companies and launches a surprise attack on the Ammonite camp at dawn, achieving a decisive victory.
Israel’s Acclamation of Saul as King: Following this victory, the people gather at Gilgal and reaffirm Saul's kingship. They call for the execution of those who previously doubted Saul’s ability to lead, but Saul, displaying mercy and wisdom, refuses to shed blood on this day of salvation.
Renewal of the Kingdom at Gilgal: Samuel leads the people in renewing the kingdom at Gilgal. They offer sacrifices of fellowship to the LORD, and there is great rejoicing.
1 Samuel 11 marks Saul’s emergence as a strong and capable leader, earning the respect and allegiance of the Israelites. His initial success sets a positive tone for his reign, characterized by military prowess and unification of the tribes. The chapter also highlights the role of divine intervention in Saul’s leadership, as seen through the Spirit of God coming upon him. Saul’s act of mercy towards his detractors further establishes him as a just and prudent leader, albeit in the early and more optimistic phase of his kingship.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

6  And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.

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.

8  And when he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand.

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.

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.

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.

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.

13  And Saul said, There shall not a man be put to death this day: for to day the LORD hath wrought salvation in Israel.

14  Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there.

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.

End of 1 Samuel 11

1 Year Plan:  Apr 26 - 1 Sa 10, 1 Sa 11,  Ps 47

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