And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled. He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hand of the messengers, saying, “Whoever does not come out after Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen!” Then the dread of the LORD fell upon the people, and they came out as one man. When he mustered them at Bezek, the people of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand. And they said to the messengers who had come, “Thus shall you say to the men of Jabesh-gilead: ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you shall have salvation.’” When the messengers came and told the men of Jabesh, they were glad.
Comment: Saul has previously seemed pretty shy and weak. Now his anger flares and the writer explains this occurred because God stirred him up. With real diplomacy Saul links his name with Samuel the honoured old priest/judge and sends a dramatic warning all over the country for the Israelites to rally to him. Oxen were not only money to the people but their very means of livelihood as they pulled ploughs and carts and reproduced. His action got results and his army was huge. He sent a message to the town people of Jabesh-gilead. A message which made them very happy.
Prayer: We long, O Lord, for the day when wars will cease!