1Nahash the Ammonite came with his army and besieged Jabesh-gilead. All the people of Jabesh said to him, “Make a peace treaty with us, and we will be your subjects.”
2But Nahash the Ammonite responded, “I'll make a peace treaty with you on one condition: that I gouge out everyone's right eye to bring shame on all Israelites.”
3“Let us have seven days so we can send messengers all over Israel,” replied the town elders of Jabesh. “If no one comes to help us, we will surrender to you.”
4When the messengers arrived in Gibeah of Saul and gave the message as the people listened, they all wept out loud.
5Right then Saul was coming back from ploughing a field with his oxen. “Why is everyone so upset?” he asked. They told him what the men from Jabesh had said.
6The Spirit of God came on Saul in power when he heard about this, and he grew very angry.
7He took a pair of oxen and cut them into pieces. Then he sent them by messenger to every part of Israel with the message, “This is what will happen to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.” The Lord made the people anxious to do so, and they came out as one.
8When Saul counted them at Bezek, there were 300,000 men from Israel and 30,000 men from Judah.
9They said to the messengers who came, “Tell the men of Jabesh Gilead, ‘Tomorrow you'll be rescued, by the time the sun is hot.’” The people of Jabesh were so happy when the messengers arrived and told them this.
10They told the Ammonites, “We will surrender to you tomorrow, and then you can do to us whatever you want.”
11The next day Saul organized the army into three divisions. They attacked the Ammonite camp before dawn and went on killing them until the day grew hot. The survivors were so scattered that not even two of them were left together.
12Then the people asked Samuel, “Who was saying, ‘Why should we have Saul as our king?’ Hand these men over so we can execute them.”
13But Saul replied, “No one's going to be executed today, for this is the day that the Lord saved Israel.”
14Then Samuel said to the people, “Come with me—let's go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom.”
15Everyone went to Gilgal and confirmed Saul as king before the Lord. They sacrificed friendship offerings to the Lord, and Saul together with all the Israelites had a great celebration.