1 Samuel 11

Saul Rescues the City of Jabesh

1 Nahash[a] the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead. And all the men of Jabesh said to him, “Make a treaty with us, and we will be subject to you.”
2 But Nahash the Ammonite replied, “I will make a treaty with you only on the condition that I gouge out the right eye of every one of you and so bring disgrace on all Israel.”
3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days so we can send messengers throughout Israel; if no one comes to rescue us, we will surrender to you.”
4 When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and reported these terms to the people, they all wept aloud.
5 Just then Saul was returning from the fields, behind his oxen, and he asked, “What is wrong with everyone? Why are they weeping?” Then they repeated to him what the men of Jabesh had said.
6 When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger.
7 He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming, “This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.” Then the terror of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out together as one.
8 When Saul mustered them at Bezek, the men of Israel numbered three hundred thousand and those of Judah thirty thousand.
9 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 rescued.’ ” When the messengers went and reported this to the men of Jabesh, they were elated.
10 They said to the Ammonites, “Tomorrow we will surrender to you, and you can do to us whatever you like.”
11 The next day Saul separated his men into three divisions; during the last watch of the night they broke into the camp of the Ammonites and slaughtered them until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.

Saul Confirmed as King

12 The people then said to Samuel, “Who was it that asked, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Turn these men over to us so that we may put them to death.”
13 But Saul said, “No one will be put to death today, for this day the LORD has rescued Israel.”
14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship.”
15 So all the people went to Gilgal and made Saul king in the presence of the LORD. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings before the LORD, and Saul and all the Israelites held a great celebration.

1 Samuel 11 Commentary

Chapter 11

Jabesh-gilead delivered. (1-11) Saul confirmed in his kingdom. (12-15)

Verses 1-11 The first fruit of Saul's government was the rescue of Jabesh-gilead from the Ammonites. To save their lives, men will part with liberty, and even consent to have their eyes put out; is it then no wisdom to part with that sin which is as dear to us as our right eye, rather than to be cast into hell-fire? See the faith and confidence of Saul, and, grounded thereon, his courage and resolution. See also his activity in this business. When the Spirit of the Lord comes upon men, it will make them expert, even without experience. When zeal for the glory of God, and love for the brethren, urge men to earnest efforts, and when God is pleased to help, great effects may speedily be produced.

Verses 12-15 They now honoured Saul whom they had despised; and if an enemy be made a friend, that is more to our advantage than to have him slain. The once despised Saviour will at length be acknowledged by all as the Lord's own anointed king. As yet, upon his mercy-seat, he receives the submission of rebels, and even pleads their cause; but shortly, from his righteous tribunal, he will condemn all who persist in opposing him.

Cross References 28

  • 1. S Genesis 19:38; 1 Samuel 12:12; 2 Samuel 10:2; 2 Samuel 17:27; 1 Chronicles 19:1
  • 2. Judges 21:8; 1 Samuel 31:11; 2 Samuel 2:4,5; 2 Samuel 21:12
  • 3. S Exodus 23:32; S Jeremiah 37:1; 1 Kings 20:34; Ezekiel 17:13
  • 4. Genesis 34:15
  • 5. S Numbers 16:14
  • 6. 1 Samuel 17:26
  • 7. S 1 Samuel 8:4
  • 8. S Judges 2:16
  • 9. ver 10
  • 10. S 1 Samuel 10:5,26; 1 Samuel 15:34
  • 11. S Genesis 27:38; S Numbers 25:6; Judges 2:4; 1 Samuel 30:4
  • 12. S Judges 3:10; Judges 6:34; Judges 13:25; Judges 14:6; 1 Samuel 10:10; 1 Samuel 16:13
  • 13. S 1 Samuel 6:14
  • 14. S Judges 19:29
  • 15. Judges 21:5
  • 16. S Judges 20:1
  • 17. Judges 20:2
  • 18. Judges 1:4
  • 19. ver 3
  • 20. S Judges 7:16
  • 21. S Genesis 19:38
  • 22. S Deuteronomy 13:13; 1 Samuel 10:27; Luke 19:27
  • 23. 2 Samuel 19:22
  • 24. Exodus 14:13; 1 Samuel 19:5; 1 Chronicles 11:14
  • 25. S Joshua 10:43; S 1 Samuel 10:8
  • 26. 1 Samuel 10:25
  • 27. S Joshua 5:9; 2 Samuel 19:15; 1 Samuel 10:8,17
  • 28. 1 Samuel 12:1

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls "gifts. Now Nahash king of the Ammonites oppressed the Gadites and Reubenites severely. He gouged out all their right eyes and struck terror and dread in Israel. Not a man remained among the Israelites beyond the Jordan whose right eye was not gouged out by Nahash king of the Ammonites, except that seven thousand men fled from the Ammonites and entered Jabesh Gilead. About a month later, " 1"Nahash"

Chapter Summary


This chapter relates the distress the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead were in on account of the Ammonites, 1Sa 11:1-3 upon which they sent messengers to Saul, whose spirit was immediately stirred up to help them, 1Sa 11:4-6, and prepared for it, and came up soon enough for their relief, and slew their enemies, 1Sa 11:7-11, which gained him much honour and reputation among the people, and occasioned the renewal of the kingdom to him, 1Sa 11:12-15.

1 Samuel 11 Commentaries

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