Then Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh-gilead, and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you.” But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, “On this condition I will make a treaty with you, that I gouge out all your right eyes, and thus bring disgrace on all Israel.” The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days’ respite that we may send messengers through all the territory of Israel. Then, if there is no one to save us, we will give ourselves up to you.” When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul, they reported the matter in the ears of the people, and all the people wept aloud.
Now, behold, Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen. And Saul said, “What is wrong with the people, that they are weeping?” So they told him the news of the men of Jabesh.
Comment: There seems to have been some unexpected gentleness in the Ammonites, for, after capturing the city, they were prepared to bargain. To have just plundered and destroyed would have wasted a lot of goods and people. The people of the city obviously were greatly outnumbered but didn’t want to be slain, so they offered to go into servitude. The harshness of the terms was better than slaughter, but the asking cost was very high. I’m surprised that the Ammonites gave them time to possibly raise an army. Messengers were sent out throughout the country and eventually arrived to where the new king resided. The ordinary people heard and wept. What will Saul, the reluctant king, do as he hears the news?
Prayer: Help us to be peacemakers in our lives, please God.