1 Then Nahash 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.’
א וַיַּעַל נָחָשׁ הָעַמּוֹנִי וַיִּחַן עַל יָבֵישׁ גִּלְעָד וַיֹּאמְרוּ כָּל אַנְשֵׁי יָבֵישׁ אֶל נָחָשׁ כְּרָת לָנוּ בְרִית וְנַעַבְדֶךָּ.
2 And Nahash the Ammonite said unto them: ‘On this condition will I make it with you, that all your right eyes be put out; and I will lay it for a reproach upon all Israel.’
ב וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם נָחָשׁ הָעַמּוֹנִי בְּזֹאת אֶכְרֹת לָכֶם בִּנְקוֹר לָכֶם כָּל עֵין יָמִין וְשַׂמְתִּיהָ חֶרְפָּה עַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל.
3 And the elders of Jabesh said unto him: ‘Give us seven days’ respite, that we may send messengers unto all the borders of Israel; and then, if there be none to deliver us, we will come out to thee.’
ג וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו זִקְנֵי יָבֵישׁ הֶרֶף לָנוּ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וְנִשְׁלְחָה מַלְאָכִים בְּכֹל גְּבוּל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאִם אֵין מוֹשִׁיעַ אֹתָנוּ וְיָצָאנוּ אֵלֶיךָ.
4 Then came the messengers to Gibeath-shaul, and spoke these words in the ears of the people; and all the people lifted up their voice, and wept.
ד וַיָּבֹאוּ הַמַּלְאָכִים גִּבְעַת שָׁאוּל וַיְדַבְּרוּ הַדְּבָרִים בְּאָזְנֵי הָעָם וַיִּשְׂאוּ כָל הָעָם אֶת קוֹלָם וַיִּבְכּוּ.
6 And the spirit of God came mightily upon Shaul when he heard those words, and his anger was kindled greatly.
ו וַתִּצְלַח רוּחַ אֱלֹהִים עַל שָׁאוּל בשמעו (כְּשָׁמְעוֹ) אֶת הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַיִּחַר אַפּוֹ מְאֹד.
7 And he took a yoke of oxen, and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the borders of Israel by the hand of messengers, saying: ‘Whosoever cometh not forth after Shaul and after Shmuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen.’ And the dread of Hashem fell on the people, and they came out as one man.
8 And he numbered them in Bezek; and the Bnei Yisrael were three hundred thousand, and the men of Yehuda thirty thousand.
9 And they said unto the messengers that came: ‘Thus shall ye say unto the men of Jabesh-gilead: To-morrow, by the time the sun is hot, ye shall have deliverance.’ And the messengers came and told the men of Jabesh; and they were glad.
ט וַיֹּאמְרוּ לַמַּלְאָכִים הַבָּאִים כֹּה תֹאמְרוּן לְאִישׁ יָבֵישׁ גִּלְעָד מָחָר תִּהְיֶה לָכֶם תְּשׁוּעָה בחם (כְּחֹם) הַשָּׁמֶשׁ וַיָּבֹאוּ הַמַּלְאָכִים וַיַּגִּידוּ לְאַנְשֵׁי יָבֵישׁ וַיִּשְׂמָחוּ.
10 And 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.’
י וַיֹּאמְרוּ אַנְשֵׁי יָבֵישׁ מָחָר נֵצֵא אֲלֵיכֶם וַעֲשִׂיתֶם לָנוּ כְּכָל הַטּוֹב בְּעֵינֵיכֶם.
11 And it was so on the morrow, that Shaul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the camp in the morning watch, and smote the Ammonites until the heat of the day; and it came to pass, that they that remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together.
Samuel told the people it is time to renew the kingship, which leads to the crowning of King Saul and great rejoicing. Rashi explains the need for this renewal as previously not everyone had agreed to Saul’s appointment. At this point, the entire nation willingly agrees. Kingship, like all just governments, requires the consent of the governed. It is thus not surprising that Israel’s government in this pre-messianic era is a democracy, the only democracy in a region of autocracies and theocracies.
15 And all the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Shaul king before Hashem in Gilgal; and there they sacrificed sacrifices of peace-offerings before Hashem; and there Shaul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.