About a month later Nahash the Ammonite and his army sur- rounded the city of Jabesh in Gilead. All the people of Jabesh said to Nahash, "Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you."
But he answered, "I will make a treaty with you only if I'm allowed to poke out the right eye of each of you. Then all Israel will be ashamed!"
The older leaders of Jabesh said to Nahash, "Give us seven days to send messengers through all Israel. If no one comes to help us, we will give ourselves up to you."
When the messengers came to Gibeah where Saul lived and told the people the news, they cried loudly.
Saul was coming home from plowing the fields with his oxen when he heard the people crying. He asked, "What's wrong with the people that they are crying?" Then they told Saul what the messengers from Jabesh had said.
When Saul heard their words, God's Spirit rushed upon him with power, and he became very angry.
So he took a pair of oxen and cut them into pieces. Then he gave the pieces of the oxen to messengers and ordered them to carry them through all the land of Israel. The messengers said, "This is what will happen to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel." So the people became very afraid of the Lord. They all came together as if they were one person.
Saul gathered the people together at Bezek. There were three hundred thousand men from Israel and thirty thousand men from Judah.
They said to the messengers who had come, "Tell the people at Jabesh Gilead this: 'Before the day warms up tomorrow, you will be saved.'" So the messengers went and reported this to the people at Jabesh, and they were very happy.
The people said to Nahash the Ammonite, "Tomorrow we will come out to meet you. Then you can do anything you want to us."
The next morning Saul divided his soldiers into three groups. At dawn they entered the Ammonite camp and defeated them before the heat of the day. The Ammonites who escaped were scattered; no two of them were still together.
Then the people said to Samuel, "Who didn't want Saul as king? Bring them here and we will kill them!"
But Saul said, "No! No one will be put to death today. Today the Lord has saved Israel!"