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1Sa 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.
Ver. 1. Then Nahash the Ammonite came up. ] After long preparations, 1Sa 12:12 and for the old hatred, Eze 25:15 and upon the old claim, Jdg 11:13 as also to revenge the overthrow then given them by Jephthah.
And encamped against Jabeshgilead. ] Because it lay near to their country, and had been much weakened by that cruel slaughter of their men, Jdg 21:6 and not like to be relieved, because the Israelites were ill-agreed among themselves about the choice of their new king. 1Sa 10:27
Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee. ] Take us for thy confederates, and not for thy slaves. This was to make as good terms for themselves as they could; but they should not have made any with that accursed nation. Deu 23:3
1Sa 11:2 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.
Ver. 2. On this condition will I make a covenant. ] Slaves he would make them, and perpetually so, - stigmatical slaves, utterly disabled to deliver themselves out of his hands.
That I may thrust out all your right eyes. ] This was most inhuman and insolent. The devil - as another Nahash, which signifieth a serpent - would likewise put out the right eye of faith, and leave us only the left eye of reason; look to him narrowly. Those that would deprive the people of the Scriptures, and muzzle them in ignorance, do the like.
And lay it for a reproach upon all Israel. ] For a base people that would live upon any terms; that boasted also of an almighty God, but durst not confide in him.
1Sa 11:3 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.
Ver. 3. Give us seven days’ respite.] This the tyrant yielded unto, non ex pietate, sed ex animositate, which proved to be his ruin. Pride goeth before destruction. Meanwhile the men of Jabeshgilead tempted God in setting him a time; but he helped them nevertheless, and made way thereby for Saul’s settlement in his kingdom.
1Sa 11:4 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.
Ver. 4. And all the people lifted up their voices, and wept. ] This was to "weep with those that weep." Rom 12:15 And if in addition they "turned again unto the Lord, that their" distressed "brethren might" the sooner "find compassion," as 2 Chronicles 30:9 , they did best of all. God, in such a case, "will restore comforts unto his mourners." Isa 57:18
1Sa 11:5 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.
Ver. 5. Saul came after the herd out of the field. ] His volunteers, belike, that guarded him home were dismissed, and he returned to his country employment, till God should give a further opportunity to act as a king.
“ Res age, tutus eris. ”
1Sa 11:6 And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.
Ver. 6. And the Spirit of God came upon Saul. ] That is, The spirit of fortitude, saith the Chaldee Paraphrast; not that "spirit of love, of power, and of a sound mind." 2Ti 1:7
And his anger was kindled greatly. ] Anger is cos fortitudinis, saith Aristotle, the whetstone of courage a And Saul, though cold in his own cause when slighted and rejected, 1Sa 10:27 is all alight, on fire, exarsit nasus eius, when God is dishonoured, and his people so reproached.
a Nervus est animae indignatio.
1Sa 11:7 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.
Ver. 7. And he took a yoke of oxen. ] His own, likely, which he was following from the field. 1Sa 11:5 These he slayeth and sendeth abroad, as that Levite did his dead concubine, Jdg 19:29 and as the Scots do their fire cross, with proclamation that all men above sixteen years of age, and under sixty, shall come into the field, to oppose the common enemy. a
So shall it be done unto his oxen. ] He knew that deeds would persuade more than words; and that fear of punishment prevaileth most with the many. He therefore taketh upon him like a king, which yet would have been to small purpose, but that -
The fear of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out with one consent. ] Whereas otherwise the malcontents would have said, Minarum strepitus, Asini crepitus.
a Life of Edw. VI, by Sir Jo. Heywood, 20.
1Sa 11:8 And when he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand.
Ver. 8. And the men of Judah thirty thousand. ] All which yielded, now that God had signified his will, to be commanded by Benjamin, the least of the tribes.
1Sa 11:9 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.
Ver. 9. Tomorrow, by that time the sun be hot. ] Not tertio die, the next day after tomorrow, as Josephus and Comestor have it, who will needs mend Magnificat.
1Sa 11:10 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.
Ver. 10. Tomorrow we will come out, ] viz., If help come not in the meanwhile; but this they cunningly concealed.
1Sa 11:11 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.
Ver. 11. Came into the midst … in the morning watch.] Before they were looked for by either side, with wonderful celerity; so that he might well say as Caesar did, Veni, vidi, vici, I no sooner came, but overcame.
And slew the Ammonites. ] Together with Nahash their king, saith Josephus; but some think otherwise, from 2 Samuel 10:1 .
1Sa 11:12 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.
Ver. 12. Who is he that said? ] Saul’s prudence and diligence crowned with so good success, had made him many friends. Those of Jabeshgilead showed their thankfulness many years after. 1Sa 31:11-12
1Sa 11:13 And Saul said, There shall not a man be put to death this day: for to day the LORD hath wrought salvation in Israel.
Ver. 13. There shall not a man be put to death this day. ] Mitisima sors est Regnorum sub Rege novo. a But this held not long with Saul; witness his dealing with David, Jonathan, the Lord’s priests, &c. He was never right.
For today the Lord hath wrought, &c. ] Therefore this day shall not be obscured or fouled with shedding of blood. So the citizens of Berne, for joy of the reformation there wrought, pardoned a couple of traitors, and gave liberty to all their exiles to return home again. b
b Scultet., Annal.
1Sa 11:14 Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there.
Ver. 14. And renew the kingdom there, ] i.e., The covenant of the kingdom between the new king and his people, for the preventing of future rebellion.
1Sa 11:15 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.
Ver. 15. And there they made Saul king. ] Serrarius saith these were the ceremonies used at such a time: (1.) They set the king in his throne; (2.) They crowned him; (3.) They anoined him; (4.) They put the book of the law into his hand: They took an oath of him to observe it; (6.) They offered sacrifices of all sorts; (7.) They showed various signs and testimonies of public joy.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 11". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29