1 Samuel 11

Listen to 1 Samuel 11

Saul Defeats the Ammonites

1 1Then Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged 2Jabesh-gilead, and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, 3"Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you."
2 But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, "On this condition I will make a treaty with you, 4that I gouge out all your right eyes, and thus 5bring disgrace on all Israel."
3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, "Give us seven days' respite that we may send messengers through all the territory of Israel. Then, if there is no one to save us, we will give ourselves up to you."
4 When the messengers came to 6Gibeah of Saul, they reported the matter in the ears of the people, 7and all the people wept aloud.
5 Now, behold, Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen. And Saul said, "What is wrong with the people, that they are weeping?" So they told him the news of the men of Jabesh.
6 8And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled.
7 He took a yoke of oxen 9and cut them in pieces and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers, saying, 10"Whoever does not come out after Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen!" Then the dread of the LORD fell upon the people, and they came out 11as one man.
8 When he mustered them at 12Bezek, 13the people of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand.
9 And they said to the messengers who had come, "Thus shall you say to the men of Jabesh-gilead: 'Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you shall have 14deliverance.'" When the messengers came and told the men of Jabesh, they were glad.
10 Therefore the men of Jabesh said, 15"Tomorrow we will give ourselves up to you, and you may do to us whatever seems good to you."
11 16And the next day Saul put the people 17in three companies. And they came into the midst of the camp in the morning watch and struck down the Ammonites until the heat of the day. And those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.

The Kingdom Is Renewed

12 Then the people said to Samuel, 18"Who is it that said, 'Shall Saul reign over us?'19Bring the men, that we may put them to death."
13 But Saul said, 20"Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today 21the LORD has worked 22salvation in Israel."
14 Then Samuel said to the people, "Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingdom."
15 So all the people went to 23Gilgal, and there they made Saul king 24before the LORD in Gilgal. There 25they sacrificed peace offerings before the LORD, and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.

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 25

  • 1. 1 Samuel 12:12
  • 2. Judges 21:8
  • 3. Genesis 26:28; 1 Kings 20:34; Ezekiel 17:13; [Exodus 23:32; Exodus 34:12, 15; Deuteronomy 7:2]
  • 4. [Numbers 16:14]
  • 5. 1 Samuel 17:26; Genesis 34:14
  • 6. 1 Samuel 10:26
  • 7. Judges 2:4; Judges 21:2
  • 8. See 1 Samuel 10:6, 10
  • 9. [Judges 19:29]
  • 10. Judg. 21:5, 8, 10
  • 11. Judges 20:1
  • 12. Judges 1:5
  • 13. [Judges 20:15-17; 2 Samuel 24:9]
  • 14. ver. 13
  • 15. ver. 3
  • 16. [1 Samuel 31:11]
  • 17. Judges 7:16
  • 18. 1 Samuel 10:27
  • 19. [Luke 19:27]
  • 20. 2 Samuel 19:22
  • 21. [1 Samuel 19:5; Exodus 14:13]
  • 22. ver. 9
  • 23. 1 Samuel 10:8
  • 24. 1 Samuel 15:33; [1 Samuel 10:17; Judges 11:11]
  • 25. 1 Samuel 10:8

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

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.