EVEN THOUGH THE LOCALS LOVED THE LOOK OF SAUL, THE REASON THERE HADN'T BEEN A HUGE FANFARE BY THE 12 TRIBES (TO HAIL HIM THE KING) IS BECAUSE OF THE POLITICAL CLIMATE - MANY HATED THE IDEA - SOME BECAUSE IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT THIS ANGERED YAHUSHA, OTHERS BECAUSE IT WAS SO HUMILIATING AND HURTFUL TO SAMUEL WHO'D BEEN LEADING THEM WITH SELFLESS DEDICATION FOR SO MANY YEARS, AND ALSO MANY TRIBAL CHIEFS WERE FURIOUS (MAINLY THOSE FROM JUDAH AND SIMEON IN THE SOUTH) BECAUSE A KING WOULD AUTOMATICALLY TAKE AWAY THEIR OWN PERSONAL AUTHORITY AND SOVEREIGNTY.
YISHARAL WAS A DEEPLY DIVIDED FAMILY. THERE WERE THREE DISTINCT FACTIONS IN YISHARAL AT THIS TIME:
1) REUBEN, GAD, AND ½ OF MENASSEH, WHO DECIDED (CENTURIES EARLIER) TO MAKE THEIR HOMES ON THE EAST SIDE OF THE JORDAN ...
2) JUDAH AND SIMEON WHO OCCUPIED THE SOUTH ...
3) A COALITION OF ABOUT 8 TRIBES WHO OCCUPIED THE FERTILE NORTH.
AND EVEN THOUGH THESE 3 FACTIONS WEREN’T OFFICIAL ENEMIES (RECOGNISING A COMMON FATHER IN JACOB), THEY WERE SERIOUS RIVALS, ALWAYS BATTLING TO PROVE WHICH TRIBE WAS THE BEST, AND MANY HOPED THAT A KING WOULD UNITE THE 12 TRIBES AGAIN AS MOSES AND JOSHUA HAD DONE.
NOW KING SAUL WAS FROM THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN, AN INTERESTING SPOT BECAUSE THEY WERE A BUFFER REGION IN BETWEEN BOTH JUDAH AND EPHRAIM’S BORDERS. THIS MADE BENJAMIN STRATEGICALLY IMPORTANT BUT ALSO PUT THEM IN A DICEY SITUATION ...
... BECAUSE (ON THE ONE HAND) THEY COULD PICK AND CHOOSE WHO TO AFFILIATE WITH, GIVING THEM THE GREATEST ADVANTAGE, BUT (ON THE OTHER HAND) THEY WERE VULNERABLE ON 3 FRONTS. AND AT THIS TIME BENJAMIN WAS GENERALLY ALIGNED WITH THE NORTHERN TRIBES, WITH ONE NOTABLE EXCEPTION: THE CITY OF JABESH THAT WAS IN THE TRANS-JORDAN (AND THIS FACT PLAYS A PIVOTAL ROLE IN THIS STORY).
SO BECAUSE OF THESE POLITIX, SAUL WASN'T ABLE TO ASSUME THE THRONE AND START RULING LIKE A REAL KING - THE OPPOSITION WAS JUST TOO GREAT. SO HE WENT HOME TO GIBEAH AND RESUMED NORMAL EVERYDAY LIFE (AS A FARMER AND HERDER) AND WAITED FOR HIS OPPORTUNITY TO PROVE HIMSELF AND GAIN THE NEEDED SUPPORT, AND HE DIDN’T HAVE TO WAIT VERY LONG.
PROVE IT (SAM.11)
King Nachash of the Ammonites was making the people of Gad and Reuben's life a living nightmare, by entering their towns and gouging out everyone’s right eye, and no one in Yisharal could stop him! He'd poked out the right eye of every Yisharalite man who lived East of the Jordan River and only 7000 men escaped from the Ammonites, fleeing into the town of Jabesh in Gilead.
THE AMMONITES WERE DESCENDANTS OF LOT (ALSO FROM THE LINE OF SHEM) AND DISTANT COUSINS OF YISHARAL, LIVING TO THE EAST OF GAD AND REUBEN. THEIR HATRED WAS BORN CENTURIES EARLIER WHEN THEY WERE EJECTED FROM THEIR LAND BY MOSES AND JOSHUA, SO THEY SOUGHT TO COMPLETELY HUMILIATE YISHARAL. TO HAVE AN EYE GOUGED OUT IS ONE THING BUT TO HAVE IT DONE TO YOUR RIGHT EYE BROUGHT GREAT SHAME BECAUSE THE RIGHT SIDE OF ANYTHING WAS REGARDED AS THE BEST AND MOST POWERFUL SIDE.
Then about a month later King Nachash came with his army and surrounded the town of Jabesh in the Tribe of Gad and the people who lived there were panicking and told him, “If you’ll make a blood-covenant with us, you can be our ruler, and we’ll pay taxes to you.”
And Nachash said sarcastically, “Sure, I’ll cut a Covenant with you lot, but the agreement won’t be sealed by the blood of an animal, but by me gouging out the right eye of every man who lives in Jabesh first.”
The town leaders said, “Give us seven days so we can send messengers everywhere in Yisharal to ask for help. If no one comes here to rescue us, we will surrender to you.” And Nachash agreed. He wanted to humiliate Yisharal so was more than happy to let the news spread.
KING NACHASH ASSUMED JABESH WOULD GET NO ASSISTANCE FROM THE OTHER TRIBES OF YISHARAL, GIVEN THEIR BITTER HISTORY. WHAT HAD HAPPENED? REMEMBER THE LEVITE'S CONCUBINE (JUDGES 21) WHO WAS GANG-RAPED AND LEFT FOR DEAD? MORE THAN A CENTURY EARLIER THIS CITY OF JABESH HAD REFUSED TO HELP YISHARAL WHEN THEY ALL CAME TOGETHER TO PUNISH THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN FOR THIS DISGUSTING CRIME WHICH HAPPENED IN THE CITY OF GIBEAH, WHICH IS THE VERY CITY WHERE SAUL NOW LIVES!
So some of the messengers went to Gibeah, Saul’s hometown (in the Benjamin Tribe), telling them all what was happening at Jabesh, and everyone in Gibeah started weeping because these two towns had extremely close ties (ever since Yisharal had massacred Gibeah for not dealing with their gang-rape incident 100 years prior, where Jabesh had refused to join Yisharal’s fight, so after the Tribe of Benjamin had been decimated, the Yisharalite Army slaughtered Jabesh for their treason, capturing 400 maidens, later giving them to the few remaining men of Gibeah, so the entire Benjamin Tribe wouldn’t die out).
So after this punishment against the Tribe of Benjamin, the majority of children born there had mothers from the Tribe of Gad and fathers from the Tribe of Benjamin. There was also a bitter relationship between Jabesh and the rest of Yisharal, who had mercilessly attacked them for merely refusing to participate in the war.
THIS EXPLAINS THE HIGH LEVEL OF SHOCK AND ANGUISH OF THE RESIDENTS OF GIBEAH WHEN THEY HEARD THE NEWS FROM THE MESSENGERS COMING FROM JABESH, BECAUSE THEY WERE RELATED TO THEM. THIS STORY BEGINS TO TAKE ON DIFFERENT AND DEEPER DIMENSIONS WHEN WE UNDERSTAND THE HISTORY DOESN’T IT?
And while everyone was weeping and wailing, Saul came in from the fields, walking behind his oxen, “What's with the misery-fest? Why’s everyone crying?”
And they told Saul what the messengers from Jabesh had said and Saul became furious because many of his family (aunts, uncles, cousins, children, in-laws and close friends) were now under attack and in grave danger at Jabesh.
Then the Spirit of Yahusha suddenly took control of Saul, giving him the strength and motivation (of a King) to gather an army to deal with this catastrophe.
THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT SAUL HAD ANY LEADERSHIP OR MILITARY EXPERIENCE BUT HE KNEW FULL-WELL THAT IF HE COULD PERSUADE THE TRIBES OF YISHARAL TO GATHER ITS MILITIA AND FOLLOW HIM TO BATTLE NACHASH, AND THAT IF YAHUSHA WOULD GRANT HIM VICTORY, CHANCES WERE GOOD THAT HE COULD ASSUME THE KINGSHIP OF YISHARAL AFTERWARDS WITH ONLY MINOR OPPOSITION.
So Saul (remembering the Levite who’d cut up his concubine's body) killed two of his oxen, CUT THEM UP INTO PIECES and gave them to his messengers, telling them to PARADE THEM AROUND EVERYWHERE IN YISHARAL and say, “Saul and Samuel are forming a revolution and getting an army together. Come and join them now, because if you don’t, this is what'll happen to your oxen!”
DON’T THINK FOR A SECOND THAT THE PEOPLE OF YISHARAL DIDN’T PERFECTLY UNDERSTAND THE IMPLICATION AND BITTER REMINDER THAT SAUL WAS GIVING THEM. THE GOAL OF THIS CRUEL AND BLOODY ACT WAS TO INTIMIDATE ALL THE TRIBES INTO COMPLIANCE BUT ALSO TO MAKE THEM REMEMBER THEIR GUILT IN THEIR RASH ACT (100 YEARS EARLIER) OF NEARLY ELIMINATING THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH. HOW COULD ANY YISHARALITE REFUSE?
HERE WAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO (AT LEAST IN SOME WAY) ATONE FOR A CENTURY-OLD WRONG THAT NEARLY SENT THE ENTIRE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN INTO EXTICTION. SO SAUL PROVED IMMEDIATELY THAT HE COULD BE BOTH CLEVER AND RUTHLESS.
And Yahusha made the Tribes of Yisharal terribly afraid and they all sent troops to join Saul. They all came together at Bezek and Saul had all the men organised and counted. There were 300,00 from Yisharal (NORTHERN TRIBES) and 30,000 from Judah (SOUTHERN TRIBES).
THE RATIO IS 10 MEN FROM YISHARAL TO EVERY 1 MAN FROM JUDAH BECAUSE JUDAH SAW THEMSELVES AS A SOVEREIGN ENTITY, SEPARATE FROM THE OTHER TRIBES, AND THE NORTHERN TRIBES KNEW THIS FULL WELL.
(Remember Jacob's prophesy? You betcha bippie Judah did! )
The next day, Saul divided his militia into three groups and attacked before daylight, completely startling the Ammonites (who thought they’d get a sleep-in before dealing with a gutless surrender by Jabesh). Yisharal hit them hard and only a few Ammonites managed to escape as Yisharal kept fighting and fighting until late in the afternoon, but those few who did manage to to flee were scattered far from each other.
Then Saul and his officers sent the messengers back to Jabesh with this promise, “We will rescue you this time tomorrow afternoon.”
And the messengers went back to the people at Jabesh and told them that they were going to be rescued and everyone rejoiced and was greatly encouraged, telling the Ammonites, “We’ll come out tomorrow, then you can do whatever you want to us.”
(THEY DIDN’T LIE, KING NACHASH JUST ASSUMED THEY WERE COMING OUT TO SURRENDER).
So Saul delivered the people of Jabesh from King Nachash that day and news of this victory spread throughout all of Yisharal, giving Saul the fame and notoriety he needed to assume the throne.
Then the Yisharalite soldiers, high in their victory (and newfound respect for Saul), went to Samuel and demanded, “Where are those wicked scoundrels who said that Saul shouldn’t be our King? BRING’EM TO US NOW, CAUSE THEY’RE ALL DEAD-MEAT!”
THAT WOULD BE MOST OF JUDAH, BUT BECAUSE THEY'D SENT 30,000 TO FIGHT ALONGSIDE THE NORTHERN TRIBES OBVIOUSLY THEY WERE NOT SO HELL-BENT ON IGNORING THEIR PLACE AS ONE OF THE 12 FAMILIES OF JACOB ANYMORE, OR OPENLY DEFYING THE GENERAL POLITIX OF ALL THE OTHER TRIBES IN ACCEPTING SAUL AS THEIR KING.
“NO THEY’RE NOT DEAD-MEAT!” Saul told them, “Yahuah has rescued Yisharal from the Ammonites today, so no more killing Ok … just get over it, I have!"
"YES! Infact let’s all go to Gilgal now and make it official, that Saul will continue to be our King.” Sam added.
So everyone went to the high-place of worship at Gilgal, where they established Saul as their King `before Yahusha' (WHERE THE ARK WAS). Saul and the people sacrificed animals to ask for Yahusha’s blessing, and they had a big celebration.
THIS KIND OF SACRIFICE IS DESCRIBED IN LEVITCUS AND THE PEOPLE WHO OFFERED THEM WERE ALLOWED TO EAT MOST OF THE MEAT, AND COULD INVITE OTHERS TO SHARE IT WITH THEM TOO.
974 BACHAN: to test (especially metals), to investigate, examine, prove, tempt, try.
5254 NACAH: to test, to attempt, adventure, assay, prove, tempt, try (trial).
6140 AQASH: to knot or distort, pervert (act or declare perverse), make crooked, (prove, that is) perverse(-rt).
"“Stop being so afraid,” Moses answered, “Yahuah appears like this to TEST you, so if you’re so afraid of Him, maybe you’ll be obedient!” EX 20 BRS
"Everyone's work (behaviour) will be revealed, for the day will show it up and reveal it by fire, which will TRY everyone's behaviour to see what it's made of". 1COR 3 BRS
"Don't mimic the world's behaviour, but be transformed by the cleansing and renewing of your mind, so that you PROVE what's good and pleasing to Yahusha and His perfect desire through you". 1 COR 11 BRS
Samuel told Yisharal that if they really wanted Yahusha among them, then they needed to PROVE IT through their behaviour (REPENT), not just an emotional response but an actual kulling of all their idolatry. Now we see Saul PROVE himself to Yisharal that he is actually fit to be their King. As Yahusha's chosen family we are to be TESTED and TRIED by fire (like precious metal, forged into a sword or shield) to see if we will withstand the attacks and storms OF THE DAY and maintain a sober, level-headed behaviour throughout the EXAMINATION, so that Yahusha can trust us and use us as vehicles and weapons of His loving-kindness.
This is the only process Yahusha puts His Bride through, so she not only LISTENS to His Words, she EXAMINES and INVESTIGATES, PROVING them real and alive within her and a strong foundation to walk on. Will you even ATTEMPT to go on this ADVENTURE?
We can also see the negative side in this word PROVE, as those around us will ATTEMPT to DISTORT, PERVERT and MAKE CROOKED this clean training path we're on, seeking to TEMPT US and put us in a QUERULOUS CONSEQUENCE.
ARE YOU REALLY SERIOUS ABOUT MAKING IT, BEING TRANSFORMED AND ACTUALLY ACHIEVING A TRUSTWORTHY STANDARD OF BEHAVIOUR?