Nahash1 the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead.2 And all the men of Jabesh said to him, "Make a treaty3 with us, and we will be subject to you."
But Nahash the Ammonite replied, "I will make a treaty with you only on the condition4 that I gouge5 out the right eye of every one of you and so bring disgrace6 on all Israel."
The elders7 of Jabesh said to him, "Give us seven days so we can send messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue8 us, we will surrender9 to you."
When the messengers came to Gibeah10 of Saul and reported these terms to the people, they all wept11 aloud.
Just then Saul was returning from the fields, behind his oxen, and he asked, "What is wrong with the people? Why are they weeping?" Then they repeated to him what the men of Jabesh had said.
When Saul heard their words, the Spirit12 of God came upon him in power, and he burned with anger.
He took a pair of oxen,13 cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel,14 proclaiming, "This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone15 who does not follow Saul and Samuel." Then the terror of the LORD fell on the people, and they turned out as one man.168
When Saul mustered17 them at Bezek,18 the men of Israel numbered three hundred thousand and the men of Judah thirty thousand.
They told the messengers who had come, "Say to the men of Jabesh Gilead, 'By the time the sun is hot tomorrow, you will be delivered.' " When the messengers went and reported this to the men of Jabesh, they were elated.
They said to the Ammonites, "Tomorrow we will surrender19 to you, and you can do to us whatever seems good to you."
The next day Saul separated his men into three divisions;20 during the last watch of the night they broke into the camp of the Ammonites21 and slaughtered them until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
The people then said to Samuel, "Who22 was it that asked, 'Shall Saul reign over us?' Bring these men to us and we will put them to death."
But Saul said, "No one shall be put to death today,23 for this day the LORD has rescued24 Israel."