Nahash the Ammonite 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.”
But Nahash the Ammonite 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 Israel.”
The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days’ respite, so that we may send messengers throughout the territory of Israel; if no one comes to our aid, we will surrender to you.”
When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and gave this report in the hearing of the people, all the people broke into weeping.
Saul was just coming from the field driving the cattle; and Saul asked, “Why are the people crying?” And they told him about the situation of the men of Jabesh.
When he heard these things, the spirit of God gripped Saul and his anger blazed up.
He took a yoke of oxen and cut them into pieces, which he sent by messengers throughout the territory of Israel, with the warning, “Thus shall be done to the cattle of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel into battle!” Terror from the LORD fell upon the people, and they came out as one man.
[Saul] mustered them in Bezek, and the Israelites numbered 300,000, the men of Judah 30,000.
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.
The men of Jabesh then told [the Ammonites], “Tomorrow we will surrender to you, and you can do to us whatever you please.”
The next day, Saul divided the troops into three columns; at the morning watch they entered the camp and struck down the Ammonites until the day grew hot. The survivors scattered; no two were left together.
The people then said to Samuel, “Who was it said, ‘Shall Saul be king over us?’ Hand the men over and we will put them to death!”
But Saul replied, “No man shall be put to death this day! For this day the LORD has brought victory to Israel.”
Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there inaugurate the monarchy.”
So all the people went to Gilgal, and there at Gilgal they declared Saul king before the LORD. They offered sacrifices of well-being there before the LORD; and Saul and all the men of Israel held a great celebration there.