The Berean Expositor
Volume 54 - Page 184 of 210
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11: 6 - 15.
pp. 178 - 180
"And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger
was kindled greatly" (I Sam. 11: 6).
We often read of this Spirit of God coming upon His servants, preparing their thoughts
and enduing them with wisdom, valour, and power from on high. We remember the
changed lives of the apostles after Pentecost, and of that other Saul, who became Paul, on
the Damascus Road. It was power from on high that enabled faithful men to carry out the
will of the Lord.
"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. And when he numbered them in Bezek,
the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand"
(I Sam. 11: 7, 8).
Suddenly Saul assumes command. He takes the necessary action required to order the
nation to war. Israel responded as one man, and there assembled at Bezek a great army.
This was in the plain of Jezreel in the tribe of Issachar's territory, where there was plenty
of space for the gathering of this huge host. All the tribes must have responded to the
summons of the young king by sending every man they could muster, with the exception
of the mighty tribe of Judah. Evidently she still smarted that it was not from her sons that
the choice of king was made. So a token army only was contributed from this proud
"And they said unto the messengers that came, Thus shall ye say unto the men of
Jabesh-Gilead, Tomorrow, 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. Therefore the
men of Jabesh said, Tomorrow we will come out unto you, and ye shall do with us all that
seemeth good unto you" (11: 9, 10).
Bezek was a mere twenty miles from Jabesh, so by noon deliverance would be at hand.
To say the beleaguered city "was glad" seems to be a masterly under-statement. One can
imagine the delirious relief and joy of the people as the news seeped through that help
was on the way, and that the new king Saul was near at hand with a mighty army.
Saul evidently did not stop for sleep. Dividing his force into three parties he attacked
"in the morning watch". This was the last of the three dividing the twelve hours of
darkness into four-hour shifts. The morning watch lasted from 2a.m. until 6a.m., so Saul
was better than his promise to the citizens of Jabesh-Gilead. In fact, by the time the sun
was hot the Ammonites were defeated, and Saul had gained a triumphant victory. He
became at once the `darling' of the nation, a hero acclaimed from Dan to Beersheba.
"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" (11: 12).