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HOW SAUL SAVED THE EYES OF THE MEN OF JABESH
I Samuel xi: 1, to xii: 25.
AUL was now the king of all the twelve tribes of Israel,
but he did not at once in his manner of life set up the
state of a king. He lived at home, and worked in the
fields on his father's farm, just as he had always
One day, while Saul was plowing in the field with a
yoke of oxen, a man came running with sad news. He said
that the Ammonites, a fierce people living near the
desert on the east, beyond the Jordan, had come up
against Jabesh in Gilead, led by their king, Nahash.
The people in that city were too few to fight the
Ammonites, and they said, "We will submit to your rule,
if you will promise to spare our lives."
And Nahash, the king of the Ammonites, said to the
people of Jabesh, "You shall live, but within seven
days I will come with my soldiers, and I will put out
the right eye of every man in your city."
When a city was taken by its enemies in those times,
such cruel deeds were common. Often all the people in
it, young and old, were slain without mercy. The men of
Jabesh sent a messenger to go to Saul as swiftly as
possible, and to tell him of the terrible fate that was
hanging over them.
A MESSENGER BRINGS SAUL SAD NEWS
When Saul heard of it the spirit of a king rose within
him. He killed the oxen that he was driving, cut them
into twelve pieces, and sent swift messengers through
all the land, to say to every fighting man in the
twelve tribes, "Whoever will not come out after Saul
and after Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen."
And the Lord gave to all the people the spirit of
 their king. At once a great army gathered at a place
called Bezek, and he sent word to Jabesh, saying,
"To-morrow, by the time the sun is hot, you will be set
free from all fear of the Ammonites."
Saul and his men marched swiftly over the mountains of
Benjamin and down into the Jordan valley. They walked
across the river where it was shallow and climbed the
mountains of Gilead. There they fell furiously upon the
Ammonites early in the morning, killed many of them and
scattered the rest, so that not even two of their men
could be found together.
We read in the last Story that when Saul was made king
some men were not pleased and were unwilling to submit
to him. Now that a great victory had been won under
Saul as leader, the people said with one voice, "Where
are those men who would not honor our king? Bring them
out, and let them be put to death."
But King Saul said, "There shall not a man be put to
 day, for to-day the Lord has set his people free from
their enemies." Samuel was with Saul, and he said,
"Let us go to Gilgal, where Joshua encamped long ago
when our fathers crossed the Jordan; and there let us
set up the kingdom again."
They came to Gilgal, and offered sacrifices to the Lord
and worshipped. There Samuel gave up to the new king
the rule over the land and spoke words of farewell. He
said to the people:
"I have done as you asked me, and have given you a
king. Your king stands before you now. I am old and
gray-headed, and I have lived before you from my youth
up to this day. Here I am; now, in the presence of the
Lord and of his anointed king, is there any man whom I
have wronged? Have I taken any man's ox or ass? Have I
taken a present from any man to make me favor him as
judge? If I have robbed any man, let him speak, and I
will pay him all that I have taken."
And all the people said to Samuel, "You have ruled
justly, and have wronged no man, and have robbed no
And Samuel said, "The Lord is witness, and his
anointed, the king, is witness, that I have taken
nothing from any man."
And all the people said, "He is witness."
Then Samuel called to their minds all that God had done
for his people since he had led them out of Egypt; how
he had saved them from their enemies, and had given
them judges. And he said, "Now the Lord has set a king
over you. If you will fear the Lord, and will serve
him, then it shall be well with you. But if you
disobey the Lord, then God will
punish you, as he punished your fathers."
Then Samuel called upon God, and God sent thunder and
rain on that day, showing his power. The people were
filled with fear, and they cried to Samuel, "Pray to
the Lord for us, for we have done wrong in asking for a
"Yes," said Samuel, "you have done wrong; but if you
from this time do right, and seek the Lord, God will
not forsake you. He will forgive you and bless you. I
will always pray for you, and will teach you the right
way. But if you do evil, God will destroy you and your
king. So fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all
After this Samuel went again to his own house at Ramah,
and Saul ruled the people from Gibeah, the home of his