I. SAUL’S CONQUEST OF THE AMMONITES
A. The Threatening and Reproach of the Ammonites
After Saul was anointed king, the Ammonites came to threaten and reproach the children of Israel (11:1-5). Nahash the Ammonite encamped against Jabesh-gilead, and the men of Jabesh told him that if he made a treaty with them, they would serve him. Nahash replied that he would make a treaty on the condition that all their right eyes would be gouged out. He would thus make it a reproach upon all Israel. The elders of Jabesh asked for seven days’ respite to see if there was one who could save them, and they sent messengers to Gibeah of Saul. This created an opportunity for Saul to make a show. He was not for the kingdom of God but for his monarchy.
B. Saul’s Conquering of the Ammonites
Saul conquered the Ammonites (vv. 6-11). God sent the Spirit to rush upon Saul (v. 6), and he was empowered by God. Then he gathered the people, divided them into three groups, and slaughtered the Ammonites (vv. 7-11).
C. Saul’s Forgiveness of His Despisers
on the Day of His Victory
Saul’s victory uplifted him in the eyes of the people of Israel. Some of the people said to Samuel, "Who said, Shall Saul reign over us? Bring the men that we may put them to death" (v. 12). However, Saul forgave his despisers, saying, "No man shall be put to death on this day, for today Jehovah has accomplished deliverance in Israel" (v. 13). Saul behaved in an attractive way and gained the heart of the people, but Samuel was clear concerning Saul’s real situation.
II. SAMUEL’S REMINDER TO ISRAEL
In 11:14—12:25 we have an account of Samuel’s reminder to Israel.
A. The Renewing of the Kingdom
and the Confirmation of Saul’s Kingship
before Jehovah by Samuel
After Saul conquered the Ammonites and forgave his despisers, Samuel spoke to Israel about renewing the kingdom, saying, "Come and let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingdom" (v. 14). All the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before Jehovah and sacrificed peace offerings before Jehovah. There at Gilgal Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly (v. 15). Although Saul had been victorious over the Ammonites and appeared to be such an attractive, humble person, according to Samuel the nation of Israel was still not the kingdom of God on earth.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Samuel, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)