1 Samuel 11:1-15 – Saul as Warrior King


1 Samuel 11:1-15


The newly appointed King Saul sets to work immediately defeating the Ammonites.


Ammonites captured and forced terrifying terms of surrender on the people of Jabesh Gilead. They reach out to Saul for a rescue. Saul, in turn, recruits hundreds of thousands of Israelites and tens of thousands of Judahites (already counted separately here, prior to the split in the Kingdoms). The force under Saul wins a decisive victory. 

After the demonstration of Saul’s military prowess, the Israelites are ready to execute anyone who had not previously supported Saul, because they are so grateful for his leadership. However, Saul insists that no Israelites should be killed on the day of his victory. The people all go with Samuel and Saul to Gilgal, to again affirm Saul as king. 

This victory cemented Saul’s kingship and would define the kind of king that Saul would become. Saul was a warrior, who united Israel to fight battles as a single people against common enemies, rather than to be sluggish to respond to threats as a loose confederation of tribes. Saul should continue to be understood as the warrior-giant that he had always been. Saul as warrior king works to remake the 12 tribes as a unified martial nation.