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will come out unto you, and ye shall do with us all that seemeth good unto you.
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.
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.
And Saul said, There shall not a man be put to death this day : for to-day the Lord hath wrought salvation in Israel.
Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there.
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
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
To what an abject condition must the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead have been reduced ! It is plain they had no confidence in the aid of the LORD, nor did they attempt to seek it, being conscious that as Israel had rejected God, they had no claim to His assistance ; therefore, in order to save their lives, they determined to submit to slavery. The terms which Nahash proposed to them were of the most huniliating kind. “ The reason he desired to have their right eyes put out, was, that they might be rendered incapable of fighting P 5
either with their bows and arrows, or with swords and shields. In combat the left eye is usually covered with the shield ; and in shooting with the bow, it is customary to wink with it.”
As some few amongst the Israelites were disaffected to Saul, he had chosen rather to return to his private station, after he was elected, than to be the cause of civil dissension ; but as soon as he beheld his people in distress, he resolved to act as became the captain of the Lord's inheritance, for he had not yet given way to pride and ambition, and he was instantly inspired with courage to oppose the Ammonites. Saul shewed great skill as well as bravery in the exertion of his authority ; he had now an opportunity of revenging himself on those who had opposed his being elected ; but with a true generosity and nobleness of spirit, he forgave their injurious treatment, and imputed his success
to the power of the LORD; by this moderation, he gained the applauses of the people, who now unanimously consented to confirm him in the kingdom. Happy would it have been for Saul, if he had continued to act on such principles ! In respect to his forbearance towards his ene. mies, he was highly worthy of imitation.
SAMUEL TESTIFIETH HIS INTEGRITY.
From 1 Samuel, Chap. xii. And Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me, and have made a king over you. And now, behold, the king walketh before you ; and I am old and greyheaded : and behold, my sons are with you : and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day.
Behold, here I am, witness against me before the
and before his anointed : whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded ? whom have I oppressed ? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith ? and I will restore it to you.
And they said, Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man's hand.
And he said unto them, The Lord is witness against, you, and his anointed is witness, this day, that ye have not found ought in my hand. And they answered, He is witness.
And Samuel said unto the people, It is the LORD that advanced Moses and Aaron, and that brought your fathers
out of the land of Egypt. Now therefore stand still that I may reason with you before the Lord, of all the righteous acts of the LORD which he did to you and to your fathers.
When Jacob was come into Egypt, and your fathers ' cried unto the LORD, then the LORD sent Moses and Aaron, which brought forth your fathers out of Egypt, and made them dwell in this place.
And when they forgat the Lord their God, he sold them into the hand of Sisera, captain of the host of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them.
And they cried unto the LORD, and said, We have sinned, because we have forsaken the LORD, and have served Baalim and Ashtaroth : but now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve thee.
And the Lord sent Jerubbaal, and Bedan, and Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand P 6
your enemies on every side, and ye dwelled safe. And when ye saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, ye said unto me, Nay ; but a king shall reign over us : when the LORD your God was your king. Now therefore behold the king whom ye
have chosen, and whom ye have desired : and behold, the Lord hath sét a king over you.
If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye, and also the king that reigneth over you, continue following the LORD your God. But if
ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against
Now therefore stand and see this great thing which the LORD will do before your eyes.
Is it not, wheat-harvest to-day? I will call unto the LORD, and he shall send thunder and rain : that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great which ye have done in the sight of the Lord in asking you a king.
So Samuel called unto the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day : and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.
And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil to ask us a king
And Sumuel said unto the people, Fear not : ye have done all this wickedness ; yet turn not aside from fol. lowing the LORD, but serve the Lord with all your heart; and turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver, for they are vain.
For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.
Moreover, as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD, in ceasing to pray for you : but I will teach you the good and the right way: only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your
heart : for consider how great things he hath done for you.
But if shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed both
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
By the affecting discourse which Samuel made to the Israelites, when he was going to resign the government into Saul's hands, we may learn, that he was not insensible to the indignity they had put upon him, after so many years faithful services; he therefore required, for the sake of his reputation, that if they had any crime to alledge against him, they would accuse him to his face, that he might have an opportunity of vindi. cating himself: they could do no less than bear an honourable testimony to the whole of his conduct, which had been regulated by the strictest rules of integrity and justice. Samuel left it to their consciences to reproach them, for deserting him in his old age, and proceeded to instruct them in their duty.
The Israelites were now rejoicing before God with their king, and as Saul's first act of royal power had been blessed with success, they might think there was no harm in their having desired to have a king: Samuel therefore called to mind the various successes they had