| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 54 - Page 185 of 210 Index | Zoom | |
The great weight and influence of Samuel among the people is strikingly shown by
their turning to him, even in the first flush of Saul's great victory. It was Samuel to
whom the people looked to bring to judgment the men who dared to question the wisdom
of electing Saul as king.
"And Saul said, There shall not a man be put to death this day: for today the Lord
hath wrought salvation in Israel" (11: 13).
A wise as well as generous decision. Vengeance then could well have been the cause
of civil war and of future feuds and bitterness. So Saul began his reign with wise
discretion as well as heroic valour. He had humbly acknowledged the merciful hand of
God in the glorious triumph over the enemy, so it became impossible for him to seek
personal revenge on those in Israel who sought his downfall. The mighty power of
Jehovah had gained for Israel a glorious victory, and in view of the generous mercy of the
Lord upon his rebellious and stiff-necked people, with the spirit of God within his heart
he had no other option than to show clemency also.
"Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the
kingdom there. 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" (11: 14, 15).
It was at Mizpeh, the site of the decisive battle with the Philistines that finally
wrenched the initiative from these mighty foes of Israel, that Saul was elected and
anointed king. It was at Gilgal that he formally became king. After his great victory and
the deliverance of the beleaguered city of Jabesh-Gilead, his former anointing was
ratified and he became in very deed king in Israel.
Gilgal, the place that held the most sacred memories for the people. When Jehovah
rolled up the river Jordan to make a pathway for the armies of His people to enter into
Canaan, the promised land, one man from each tribe was selected to carry one boulder
from the brink of the river bed where the priests that carried the ark of the covenant stood
firm. These twelve boulders were pitched in GILGAL for a memorial for ever to the
children of Israel. Here their thoughts would be taken back to the power and majesty of
Jehovah their God, His mercy and His faithfulness toward them.
Joshua had made Gilgal his capital city as God swept the Canaanites from the land
before the hosts of Israel. It was a place of hallowed memory. It was the national shrine.
It was of course in the territory given to the tribe of Benjamin. There Samuel and
representatives of the whole nation crowned Saul as their king.