Dave Burnette's Commentary

1 Samuel Chapter 11

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Samuel, Nathan, & Gad 
Date Penned: (931-975 BC)
Overview: Samuel, Israel's Last Judge (c 1-31)
Theme: Samuel and Saul (c 8-15)
Message: Saul Defeats the Ammonite Army (v 1-14)

1 Samuel 11 Commentary

(11:1) Saul Proves to Be a Good Leader - At this time, Israel was very susceptible to invasion by marauding tribes such as these Ammonites from east of the Jordan River. Saul's leadership in battle against this warlike tribe helped unify the nation and proved that he was a worthy military ruler. Saul's kingship was solidified when he saved the nation from disgrace and spared the people who had criticized him.

(11:3) Nahash Delays His Decision - Why would Nahash give the city of Jabesh-gilead seven days to find an army to help them? Because Israel was still disorganized, Nahash was betting that no one would come to the city's aid. He was hoping to take the city without a fight and avoid a battle. He also may not have been prepared to attack the city because a siege against its walls could last weeks or months.

(11:6) Saul is Angered by the Ammonites -  Anger is a powerful emotion. Often it is used wrongly to hurt others with words or physical violence. But anger directed at sin and the mistreatment of others is not wrong. Saul was angered by the Ammonites' threat to humiliate and mistreat his fellow Israelites. The Holy Spirit used Saul's anger to bring justice and freedom. When injustice or sin makes you angry, ask God how you can channel that anger in constructive ways to help bring about positive change.

(11:8) The Tribe of Judah - Judah, one of the 12 tribes of Israel, is often mentioned separately from the other 11. There are several reasons for this. Judah was the largest tribe Numbers 1:20-46), and it was the tribe from which most of Israel's kings would come (Genesis 49:8-12). Later, Judah would be one of the few tribes to return to God after a century of captivity under a hostile foreign power. Judah would also be the tribe through which the Messiah would come (Micah 5:2).

(11:14-15) Saul Gaines the Peoples Support - Saul had been anointed by Samuel at Ramah (10:1); then Saul was publicly chosen at Mizpeh (10:17-27). His defeat of the Ammonites confirmed his kingship in the people's minds. At this time all the people confirmed his rule.

(11:15) Israel Worships the Lord - The Israelites sacrificed peace offerings to God as they made Saul their first king. The instructions for giving these offerings are found in Leviticus 3. The peace offering was an expression of gratitude and thanksgiving to God, symbolizing the peace that comes to those who know him and who live in accordance with his commands. Although God did not want his people to have a human king, the people were demonstrating through their offerings that God was still their true King. Unfortunately, this attitude did not last, just as God had predicted (Samuel 8:7-19).


Dave Burnette's Life Application

A Positive Anger


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue in the book of 1st Samuel with Chapter 11. In our text, we see Saul defeats the Ammonite Army. Today we see how anger motivates Saul to victory in verse 6. In making an application, we see a positive application of anger. To be mad at sin, the enemy, and those who promote sin in our lives. When we see the fruit of sin in the lives of others, we should allow our anger to motivate us to rebuke sin, speaking out on sin and those who promote it. For Example, You never see a beer commercial promoting a fatal drunk driver homicide or a damaged liver causing the premature death of its consumer. Seeing this, we should be angry and speak about this product and producer instead of looking the other way. The sin of alcohol is just one of many we should be speaking out on its evil. How about you? Do you get angry at sin and use your anger to motivate you to speak out on its injustice? Let us learn from our text today and the Anger of Saul that should encourage us to speak out on sin.


1 Samuel 11

1 Samuel 11

 1Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabeshgilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee.

 2And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, On this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out all your right eyes, and lay it for a reproach upon all Israel.

 3And the elders of Jabesh said unto him, Give us seven days' respite, that we may send messengers unto all the coasts of Israel: and then, if there be no man to save us, we will come out to thee.

 4Then came the messengers to Gibeah of Saul, and told the tidings in the ears of the people: and all the people lifted up their voices, and wept.

 5And, behold, Saul came after the herd out of the field; and Saul said, What aileth the people that they weep? And they told him the tidings of the men of Jabesh.

 6And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.

 7And he took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the coasts of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, Whosoever cometh not forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen. And the fear of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out with one consent.

 8And when he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand.

 9And they said unto the messengers that came, Thus shall ye say unto the men of Jabeshgilead, To morrow, by that time the sun be hot, ye shall have help. And the messengers came and shewed it to the men of Jabesh; and they were glad.

 10Therefore 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.

 11And 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.

 12And 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.

 13And Saul said, There shall not a man be put to death this day: for to day the LORD hath wrought salvation in Israel.

 14Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there.

 15And 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.