- The distress of Jabesh-gilead, verse 1-3.
- Saul's readiness to relieve them, and success, verse 4-11.
- His tenderness to them that opposed him, verse 12-13.
- He is confirmed in his kingdom, verse 14-15.
Then - That is, about that time; for that this happened before, and was the occasion of their desire of a king, may seem from chap. 12:12, although it is possible, that Nahash's preparation, might cause that desire, and that he did not actually come 'till their king was chosen. Will serve - The occasion of this offer was, that they saw no likelihood of relief from their brethren in Canaan.
Thrust out, &c. - Partly for a reproach, as it here follows; and partly, to disable them. He leaves them one eye, that they might be fit to serve in any mean and base office.
After the herd - For being only anointed king, and not publickly inaugurated, nor having yet had opportunity of doing any thing worthy of his place, he thought fit to forbear all royal state, and to retire to his former private life, which, howsoever despised in this latter ages, was anciently in great esteem. Good magistrates are in pain, if their subjects are in tears.
Sent them - Wisely considering, that the sight of mens eyes does much more affect their hearts, than what they only hear with their ears. Samuel - Whom he joins with himself, both because he was present with him; and that hereby he might gain the more authority. Fear - A fear sent upon them by God, that they should not dare to deny their help. The fear of God will make men good subjects, good soldiers, and good friends to their country. They that fear God will make conscience of their duty to all men, particularly to their rulers.
Men of Judah - Who are numbered apart to their honour, to shew how readily they, to whom the kingdom was promised, Genesis 49:10, submitted to their king, though of another tribe; and how willing they were to hazard themselves for their brethren although they might have excused themselves from the necessity of defending their own country from their dangerous neighbours the Philistines.
Then - While the people were together by Jabesh-gilead, wherein Samuel's great prudence and fidelity to Saul is evident. He suspended the confirmation of Saul at first, whilst the generality of the people were disaffected, and now when he had given such eminent proof of his princely virtues, and when the peoples hearts were eagerly set upon him, he takes this as the fittest season for that work. Renew - That is, confirm our former choice.
Made - They owned and accepted him for their king.