The Berean Expositor
Volume 54 - Page 186 of 210
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12: 1 - 25.
pp. 217 - 220
Chapter 11: finishes on a high note for king Saul. He had begun his reign over Israel
in splendid style for the Lord was with him.
When Nahash, the mighty king of Ammon, heard that the Israelites had appointed a
king, he came and captured the city of Jabesh Gilead.
The Ammonites were descended from Lot and his younger daughter. They were an
idolatrous and warlike nation whose kingdom lay to the north-east of Moab, and east of
the tribes of Reuben and Gad. It was between the rivers Arnon and Jabbok, to the west of
the river Jordan.  In Deut. 23: 3-6 we read of God's command to His people Israel
regarding these Ammonites:
"An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to
their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever:
Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out
of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of
Mesopotamia, to curse thee. Nevertheless the Lord thy God would not hearken unto
Balaam; but the Lord thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the
Lord thy God loved thee. Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days
for ever."
Jabesh Gilead was a town in the territory allocated to the tribe of Gad, and situated
right on the border with the Ammonites. The inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead were forced to
enter into a covenant with Nahash, who offered to spare their lives, but would have the
right eyes of all the males put out. Fighting men would then be rendered useless by this
inhuman act, as in battle the left eye was covered by the shield.
The elders of Jabesh asked for a seven day respite, and immediately sent word to Saul
and asked for help.
Saul at once gathered an army together, and Jehovah gave him a magnificent victory,
as we read in 11: 13:
"for today the Lord hath wrought salvation in Israel."
What a boost for Saul this was at the very commencement of his reign!
In chapter 11: 14 and 15, Samuel summoned the nation to Gilgal and publicly
presented Saul to all the nation, confirming his kingship. Sacrifices were offered to the
Lord and a great coronation celebration was held.
In chapter 12: Samuel obtains witness from all the people of his uprightness in his
office. No one could accuse him of accepting bribes, defrauding, stealing or abusing