Old Testament

1 Samuel 11
Saul Saves Jabesh Gilead
111Nahash[] the Ammonite went and set up camp against Jabesh Gilead. So all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you.” 2Nahash the Ammonite said to them, “On this condition I will make a treaty with you: I will gouge out the right eye of every one of you in order to dishonor all Israel.”
3The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days, so that we can send messengers throughout all the borders of Israel. Then, if there is no one to rescue us, we will come out to you.” 4When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and spoke these words in the hearing of the people, all the people cried out and wept loudly.
5Just then Saul came in from the field, following the oxen. Saul asked, “What has upset the people? Why are they weeping?” So they told him about the words of the men of Jabesh.
6When Saul heard those words, the Spirit of God rushed upon him with power, and his anger burned intensely. 7He took a yoke of oxen and cut them to pieces and sent the pieces throughout all the borders of Israel in the hands of messengers who said, “This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not turn out to follow Saul and Samuel.” The dread of the Lord fell on the people, and they turned out as one man. 8Saul counted them in Bezek. The men of Israel totaled three hundred thousand and the men of Judah thirty thousand.
9They said to the messengers who had come, “Tell the men of Jabesh Gilead, ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you will be rescued.’”
The messengers came and told the men of Jabesh, and they were very happy. 10So the men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will come out to you, and you can do with us whatever seems good to you.”
11On the next day, Saul split the army into three divisions. They broke into the middle of the Ammonite camp during the last watch before morning and struck them down until the heat of the day. Those who survived were so scattered that no two of them were left together.
12Then the people said to Samuel, “Who was it who said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Hand those men over to us, so we can put them to death!”
13But Saul said, “No one shall be put to death today, because today the Lord has rescued Israel.”
14Then Samuel said to the people, “Come! Let's go to Gilgal and confirm the kingship there.” 15So all the people went to Gilgal, and they made Saul king in the presence of the Lord there at Gilgal. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings before the Lord, and Saul and all the men of Israel held a great celebration there.


  • 11:1 One of the Hebrew manuscripts of Samuel found among the Dead Sea Scrolls has a much longer reading here. This longer reading is also supported by the Jewish historian Josephus. This longer reading clarifies the context, but since the manuscript support for it is limited, the translation leaves it in a footnote. Nahash king of the Ammonites had been severely oppressing the Gadites and the Reubenites. He would gouge out the right eye of each of them and would not grant Israel a deliverer. No one was left of the Israelites across the Jordan whose right eye Nahash king of the Ammonites had not gouged out. But there were seven thousand men who had escaped from the Ammonites and had entered Jabesh Gilead. After about a month Nahash… Note that the possible omission occurs between two occurrences of Nahash.