1 Nahash the Amonite marched up and besieged Jabesh-gilead. All the men of Jabesh-gilead said to Nahash, “Make a pact with us, and we will serve you.”
א וַיַּעַל נָחָשׁ הָעַמּוֹנִי וַיִּחַן עַל־יָבֵשׁ גִּלְעָד וַיֹּאמְרוּ כָּל־אַנְשֵׁי יָבֵישׁ אֶל־נָחָשׁ כְּרָת־לָנוּ בְרִית וְנַעַבְדֶךָּ׃
2 But Nahash the Amonite answered them, “I will make a pact with you on this condition, that everyone’s right eye be gouged out; I will make this a humiliation for all Yisrael.”
ב וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם נָחָשׁ הָעַמּוֹנִי בְּזֹאת אֶכְרֹת לָכֶם בִּנְקוֹר לָכֶם כָּל־עֵין יָמִין וְשַׂמְתִּיהָ חֶרְפָּה עַל־כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days’ respite, so that we may send messengers throughout the territory of Yisrael; if no one comes to our aid, we will surrender to you.”
ג וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו זִקְנֵי יָבֵישׁ הֶרֶף לָנוּ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וְנִשְׁלְחָה מַלְאָכִים בְּכֹל גְּבוּל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאִם־אֵין מוֹשִׁיעַ אֹתָנוּ וְיָצָאנוּ אֵלֶיךָ׃
4 When the messengers came to Giva of Shaul and gave this report in the hearing of the people, all the people broke into weeping.
ד וַיָּבֹאוּ הַמַּלְאָכִים גִּבְעַת שָׁאוּל וַיְדַבְּרוּ הַדְּבָרִים בְּאָזְנֵי הָעָם וַיִּשְׂאוּ כָל־הָעָם אֶת־קוֹלָם וַיִּבְכּוּ׃
6 When he heard these things, the spirit of Hashem gripped Shaul and his anger blazed up.
ו וַתִּצְלַח רוּחַ־אֱלֹהִים עַל־שָׁאוּל בשמעו [כְּשָׁמְעוֹ] אֶת־הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַיִּחַר אַפּוֹ מְאֹד׃
7 He took a yoke of oxen and cut them into pieces, which he sent by messengers throughout the territory of Yisrael, with the warning, “Thus shall be done to the cattle of anyone who does not follow Shaul and Shmuel into battle!” Terror from Hashem fell upon the people, and they came out as one man.
8 [Shaul] mustered them in Bezek, and the Israelites numbered 300,000, the men of Yehuda 30,000.
9 The messengers who had come were told, “Thus shall you speak to the men of Jabesh-gilead: Tomorrow, when the sun grows hot, you shall be saved.” When the messengers came and told this to the men of Jabesh-gilead, they rejoiced.
ט וַיֹּאמְרוּ לַמַּלְאָכִים הַבָּאִים כֹּה תֹאמְרוּן לְאִישׁ יָבֵישׁ גִּלְעָד מָחָר תִּהְיֶה־לָכֶם תְּשׁוּעָה בחם [כְּחֹם] הַשָּׁמֶשׁ וַיָּבֹאוּ הַמַּלְאָכִים וַיַּגִּידוּ לְאַנְשֵׁי יָבֵישׁ וַיִּשְׂמָחוּ׃
10 The men of Jabesh then told [the Amonites], “Tomorrow we will surrender to you, and you can do to us whatever you please.”
י וַיֹּאמְרוּ אַנְשֵׁי יָבֵישׁ מָחָר נֵצֵא אֲלֵיכֶם וַעֲשִׂיתֶם לָּנוּ כְּכָל־הַטּוֹב בְּעֵינֵיכֶם׃
11 The next day, Shaul divided the troops into three columns; at the morning watch they entered the camp and struck down the Amonites until the day grew hot. The survivors scattered; no two were left together.
11:14 Shmuel said to the people
Shmuel tells the people it is time to renew the monarchy, which leads to a second coronation of King Shaul and great rejoicing. Rashi explains the need for this renewal: Previously, not everyone had acquiesced to Shaul’s appointment. At this point, though, the entire nation willingly agrees. Monarchy, like all just forms of governments, requires the consent of the governed. Therefore, it is not surprising that Israel’s government in the contemporary pre-messianic era is a democracy. In fact, it is the only democracy in a region of autocracies and theocracies.Comment
15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there at Gilgal they declared Shaul king before Hashem. They offered sacrifices of well-being there before Hashem; and Shaul and all the men of Yisrael held a great celebration there.