Israelís men had just 7 days to form themselves into an army, in order to rescue the inhabitants of Jabesh. They were not professional soldiers; most of them were farm workers. They did not have military equipment; they would have to use knives and farm tools in the battle.
It seemed impossible, therefore, to organise an army that could fight against Ammonís army. Israel now had a king, Saul from Gibeah. However, Saul was not yet acting like a king; in fact, he was still working on his farm. Nobody thought that he had the authority or power to command an army.
So, when the news arrived from Jabesh, everyone was desperately sad. Soon the inhabitants of Jabesh must suffer terribly, and nobody could rescue them. When Saul returned home from his work, everyone in Gibeah was weeping. Then Godís Holy Spirit came upon Saul. The result was that Saul was very angry. However, he was not out of control; he knew what he must do. Saul recognised that God had given him the authority to command Israelís army. So, Saul acted in a very powerful manner.
Saul took two of his own oxen. Oxen are farm animals like cows, which are strong enough to pull the plough. Saul took a knife and he killed those animals. Then he tore apart the bodies of the animals. He ordered the young men from Gibeah to take the pieces through all Israel. They must warn everyone severely. Every man in Israel must join Israelís army to save Jabesh. Otherwise, Saul would certainly punish them. Saul, who did not hesitate to kill his own oxen, would definitely not be afraid to kill anyone elseís oxen.
Next part: Saul gathers a vast army (1 Samuel 11:8)
Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 450 page course book.
© 2014, Keith Simons.