Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 11

Saul gathers a vast army

1 Samuel 11:8

When Saul became Israelís king, he did not try to show his authority immediately. He did not establish his government and he did not organise Israelís army. Even when some men began to speak against him, he did nothing (10:27).

We may ask why Saul waited. The answer is that Saul was aware of his own weakness. He was not from an important family (9:21). He had no experience as an army commander. He did not become king by a revolution or any powerful act.

If Saul tried to establish his authority too soon, he would quickly lose that authority. A king whom nobody respects has no power. If only a few people obey a leaderís orders, a stronger leader will soon appear to oppose him. When Saul acted, he must not show weak leadership.

The terrible situation in Jabesh gave Saul the opportunity that he needed to establish his leadership. However, the strength to do it did not come from Saul himself. Godís Holy Spirit gave Saul the power to act in this situation (11:6). In this, Saul acted like many of the men who led Israelís army in the Book of Judges. They too waited until the Holy Spirit came upon them; then they acted powerfully (Judges 3:10; Judges 6:34; Judges 11:29; Judges 14:19).

When it became necessary for Saul to act, he did not delay. By the power of the Holy Spirit, he gave an order for the men in Israel to gather for battle. The result was that they all obeyed his order. A vast army gathered at Bezek in order to rescue the inhabitants of Jabesh from Nahash, the king of Ammon.

Next part: Saul defeats Nahashís army (1 Samuel 11:9-11)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.