I Samuel Chapter 11

"Agression by Nahash the Ammonite [1-11]."
"The Inauguration of the Kingdom, Saul made King [12-15]."

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription is provided with written permission by http://www.theseason.org

I Samuel 11:1 "Then Nashash the Ammonite came up and encamped against Jabesh-gilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, "Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee."

The Word "Nashash" also means "serpent" and this should give us a hint who is behind the aggression of Nashash and the Ammonites. Remember from Judges 19 the men of Israel went to war against the people of Gibeah because of they had turned into a community of Sodomites, and had attacked and killed the Levite priest's wife, and the daughter of the old man that the Levite was staying with. The nation of all the tribes were called to war against Gibeah, and the call for conscripts went out to all the communities.

When they were all gathered together at Mizpeh, it was known that no one from Jabesh-gilead was there to answer the call to go to war. Lets review Judges 21 to see what happened to the people of Jabesh-gilead.

Judges 21:8 "And they said, "What one is there of tribes of Israel that came unto up to Mizpeh to the Lord?" And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly of God."

Judges 21:9 "For the people numbered, and, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead there."

Judges 21:10 "And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, "Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children."

Judges 21:11 "And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroyu every male, and every woman that hath lain by man."

This act of killing all the men, and the women that had sexual union with a man, would virtually end the existance of that that tribe. It was a form of genecide and it took place within the tribes of Israel. However when the battle was over the entire tribe of Benjamin was wiped out, except for six hundred men. The Israelites realized after the fact as to what they had done, and that they had eliminated the inheritance of Benjamin yet they were held back from giving their daughters to these six hundred men by their own laws and decrees.

Judges 21:18 "Howbeit we may not give wives of our daughters: for the children of Israel have sworn, saying, Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin."

The problem was solved when they determined that the men of Israel would use the dance of the feast at Shiloh that was held each year as a method of allowing the six hundred men of Benjamin to continue their tribe. The plan was to have the men hid in the bushes, select a wife and steal her away, then rush her back to their land. A priest would be there to marry them instantly, and thus a new family unit would be established so that children would be born and the tribe would have an inheritance.

Saul was a child that came from one of these marriages, and the city of Jabesh-gilead were the descendants of part of those six hundred men. The Ammonites were coming against the town of Jabesh, and before the men of that town would give into the Ammonites, they sent word out to the rest of Israel for help. Remember that the tribe of Benjamin was the smallest of all the tribes because of that war, and the rest of Israel did not want that tribe to be done away with.

The Ammonites were the offspring of Lot, the nephew of Abraham. The Ammonites heard this plea and the desire of the men of Jabesh-gilead to make a covenant with them, only they wanted to hear the conditions to that covenant or peace agreement.

I Samuel 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 on all Israel."

The condition that Nahash put before the men of Jabesh must happen before we enter into a covenant with you, first he and the Ammonites wanted to enter into Jabesh, and put out the right eye of all the men in the town. The right eye is the eye used by the swordsman and the archers in their marksmanship, and to do this would destroy the town from ever defending themselves. In battle the shield covered the left eye, and thus the loss of the right eye made the man incapacitated for fighting.

God is trying to give us a lesson through this chapter, in letting us know the mess that we can get ourselves into when we try to negotiate with the "serpent", old Nahash [the devil], and his type. The Israelites of Jabesh-gilead are pulling away from God, and turning to a man to same them. The first thing that these people of the serpent will try to do is to disarm us, and make us inaffective to fight the battles that God expects of us. Man can't save you, for it is only God that can save you. The only power that we can have comes from our Heavenly Father.

Nahash wants to gouge of all of the right eyes of all Israel, and he wants to start with these men of Jabesh.

I Samuel 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."

Seven days is a very short respite, or time to think something over. It means that what is going to be done, has to be done quickly. The elders had a very serious lesson some three hundred years prior, as we read in the book of Judges, and they wanted to see if their other brethren of the other tribes would come to their defence. They are looking for men to save them and not to God at this time, and they are searching for time before they are forced into this agreement.

Translate that seven days into dispensations for this earth age, and you will find something very interestings.

I Peter 3:8 "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."

I Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

I Samuel 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 ut their voices and wept."

This is not the time for weeping, for the enemy is at the gate of the city, it is time for action. Gibeah was that small community that was wiped out some two hundred years prior for their inactions against sodomy, and this was the community that was reformed after the first community was destroyed. This is also Saul's birthplace, and the place where his family lives.

I Samuel 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."

It doesn't state what kind of herd Saul was over at this time, but in the prior chapter Saul was over a herd of asses or donkeys. As Saul entered into Jabesh, all the people in town are weeping, and Saul wants to know why? The people told Saul what the men of Jabesh had to say, that the Ammonites were going to take the right eye of all the men of Israel, and start with Jabesh, if they didn't respond. That was the basis for the covenant between the Ammonites and the Israelites. The Israelites than would have to rely of the Ammonites to defend them.

I Samuel 11:6 "And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly."

Many soft spoken reverends today say that God never looses his temper, well the Spirit of God gave Saul a strong righteous indignation when he heard the words of the men of Jabesh. Those type of words should warn you that that so-called preacher just doesn't know what he is saying. It was the Spirit of God that came upon Saul, and placed the anger in his mind when he heard those things that were told him. When God's Spirit forces you to act, that action is called "righteous indignation". God believes that His people should be able to take care of themselves and their own as a people, when trouble comes their way. This is not to say that you have to fight when any person says something against you. This is a matter of fighting for the defense of your people.

I Samuel 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 goeth 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."

Saul took two oxen, and cut them up into little pieces and sent the pieces into all the towns of all the tribes. This was an object lesson to let the people know what would happen to their oxen if they did not come to defend their brethren that lived at Jabesh-gilead. The killing of their oxen would end their providing for themselves, and get into their pocket book, and when that happens the fear of the Lord will fall on any man. They all got the lesson by Saul. The warning was that if you don't come out to fight the enemy, I am going to come and kill every bit of the livestock that you own.

I Samuel 11:8 "And when he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand."

"Bezek" in the Hebrew tongue means "lightning", and it was in very quick action that the army was formed and divided into their fighting divisions.

This is the start of the separation between the house of Israel and the house of Judah. The mention of Israel refers to all the tribes except for Judah, and Benjamin, while when Judah is mentioned it is referring to only Judah and Benjamin. If you are going to understand the Scripture, you must fix in your mind the division to each of these separate groups of people, for God deals with each of these houses separately. God divorced the Israel and not the Jews at a later time, yet God never divorced Judah. It was through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that God now draws all his people of the house of Israel back to him.

Saul knews of the division that was stated back in Genesis 48-50, and thus he treats Israel, all of the tribes except Judah, as a separate unit from Judah. There were three hundred thousand of the house of Israel, and there were thirty thousand of Judah. Remember that Benjamin was very limited because most of their tribe was killed off three hundred years prior, right there in Gibeah.

These two house will not be joined back together until the prophecy of Ezekiel 37 comes to pass, and that event will be the entering into the Millennium age when the kingdom of Jesus Christ is established right here on earth.

I Samuel 11:9 "And they said unto the messengers that came, "Thus shall ye say unto the men of Jebesh-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."

It didn't take long for the army to be formed and the valiant men of Israel to ready themselves to go to war. The message was given from Saul to the messengers of Jebesh-gilead to give to their elders that help is on the way. They can expect to be in the battle by noon tomorrow. This message was delivered to the elders just as spoken by Saul.

I Samuel 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."

This is what is called "covert activity". The leaders of Jabesh are leading the Ammonites on to believe that they are going to get their covenant, and that the Israelites will yield to their every wish. However, the time of the agreement must be set for tomorrow. This buys the time that was needed for the army of Israel to get to the battlefield. They are lying to Nahash to save their right eyes.

I Samuel 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. "

Saul's three divisions of armies arrived at Jabesh sometime between three and six A.M. in the morning, just before the sun came up, and Saul's army went right into battle. They slew the Ammonites while they were least expecting trouble, for they thought they had won the battle. They let their guard down, and now the Ammonites were either dead, or scattered in all directions.

Samuel, the man of God that was with them, had brought God's blessings with Saul and the army of the Israelites. Israel always wins when they have God's blessings on their side. Any people will win when they have God's blessings on their side.

I Samuel 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."

Remember that this was the proverb that some of the men began to chant in an insult to Saul, when Samuel anointed Saul and revealed to the people that Saul was God's choice for king. The people of Israel now wanted to bring those men so in that they could put those men to death. After this battle and the complete scattering of the Ammonites, the rest of the Israelites thought that Saul would be a very good king. However, it still doesn't change the fact that God wanted to be our king.

I Samuel 11:13 "And Saul said, "There shall not a man be put to death this day for the Lord hath wrought salvation in Israel."

Saul knew that it wasn't he that won the battle, but God gave them the victory. Saul knew that it just wasn't right to take the glory and credit for a battle that was given to him by God. This is the sign of wisdom; to give the credit to God instead of taking it for himself.

I Samuel 11:14 "Then said Samuel to the People, "Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there."

The name "Gilgal" means wheel, and Gilgal was the hub of the center of activity. They all went down to Gilgal, with the victory of the battle fresh in their minds. At Gilgal the elders would anoint Saul as king before all the people of Israel.

I Samuel 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."

The people are keeping God in the forefront and trying to do it all God's way. This was the first victory that Israel would have with a king in the lead. Following the battle Saul and all the people gave God all the glory, they made their peace offerings before the Lord, and Samuel was ahead of the celebration.

We now have the switch from the judges that ruled Israel, to a monarchy that would rule from this time forth. This celebration would be the time when the judgeship would shift from off his sholders and on to that of a king. Samuel passed the leadership from the religious realm, and the prophets, on to a secular king, who would have the responsibility of the defender of the faith.

This support that comes from God is very conditional, and it is based on the king and the nation following the laws and statutes of God. Even to our day today, the blessings that God gives us has a condition to them, for when God gives us a promise, He also has a condition attached to them. Deuteronomy 28 gives us the conditions of those blessings and cursings that God us through Moses, and they are as good today as they were thirty five hundred years ago. When God makes a promise, He will keep it, "IF" you keep the conditions that He has made for that promise.

So this verse ends the time of the Judges, and the position of civil leadership is now in the hands of a king. God gave the Israelites Saul as His anointed man for their king. This now establishes the separation of church and state in the land of all Israelite nations. This is just as true today in the United States and England and the rest of the Israelite nations as it was in Saul's day. The State becomes the judge over the people and the defender of the faith, giving the religious freedoms to the religious arm, or the church.

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