1 Samuel 11:11
And it was so on the morrow, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the host in the morning watch, and slew the Ammonites until the heat of the day: and it came to pass, that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together.
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(11) The morning watch.—The morning watch was the last of the three watches, each lasting for four hours; this was the old Hebrew division of the night. Thus the first onslaught of the men of Israel under Saul would have taken place some time between two and six a.m. The battle, and subsequent rout of Ammon, continued evidently for many hours.

11:1-11 The first fruit of Saul's government was the rescue of Jabesh-gilead from the Ammonites. To save their lives, men will part with liberty, and even consent to have their eyes put out; is it then no wisdom to part with that sin which is as dear to us as our right eye, rather than to be cast into hell-fire? See the faith and confidence of Saul, and, grounded thereon, his courage and resolution. See also his activity in this business. When the Spirit of the Lord comes upon men, it will make them expert, even without experience. When zeal for the glory of God, and love for the brethren, urge men to earnest efforts, and when God is pleased to help, great effects may speedily be produced.The march from Bezek may have begun the night before. This disposition of the forces "in three companies" (imitating Gideon's strategy, compare the marginal reference.) would not have been made until the morning when they were very near the Ammonitish forces. "The morning watch" was the last of the three watches, of four hours each, into which the night was anciently divided by the Hebrews. (See Judges 7:19 note.) The time thus indicated would be between two and six in the morning. 11. on the morrow, that Saul put the people in three companies—Crossing the Jordan in the evening, Saul marched his army all night, and came at daybreak on the camp of the Ammonites, who were surprised in three different parts, and totally routed. This happened before the seven days' truce expired. Into three companies; that so invading them on several sides with a great force, he might both strike them with the greater terror, and prevent their escape.

In the morning watch; having marched all the day and night before it.

And it was so on the morrow,.... After the messengers were returned, and delivered their message, and the men of Jabeshgilead had given the Ammonites reason to expect that they would come out to them according to their agreement:

that Saul put the people into three companies; or "heads" (a), under so many commanders, assigning to each their number, if equally, 110,000 in each, as Gideon divided his three hundred into three companies, one hundred in each, Judges 7:16 and Abimelech, Judges 9:43 it seems to have been their way of fighting in those days:

and they came unto the midst of the host: that is, of the Ammonites:

in the morning watch; the third and last watch of the night, by break of day, or before, however before the sun was up; so quick was Saul and his men in their march, though on foot. Bunting (b) computes the distance from Gibeah to Bezek forty miles, and from thence to Jabesh sixteen; it is commonly reckoned that it was about sixty miles from Gibeah to Jabesh. Josephus (c) says it was ten "schaeni", each of which contained five or six miles:

and slew the Ammonites until the heat of the day; that is, till noon, so that from the morning watch till noon he was making slaughter of them:

and it came to pass, that they which remained were scattered; those that were not cut off by the sword of Saul were broken and dispersed, they could not stand their ground against him:

so that two of them were not left together; to flee together, but every one shifted for himself, and fled alone.

(a) "capita", Pagninus, Montanus, &c. (b) Travels of the Patriarchs, &c. p. 126. (c) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 6. c. 5. sect. 3.)

And it was so on the morrow, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the host in the morning watch, and slew the Ammonites until the heat of the day: and it came to pass, that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together.
11. in three companies] In order to make a simultaneous attack upon the Ammonite camp on three sides at once. Compare Gideon’s stratagem, Jdg 7:16 ff.

in the morning watch] The Jews anciently divided the night into three watches, each watch representing the time for which sentinels remained on duty. The first watch or “beginning of the watches” (Lamentations 2:19) lasted from sunset until 10 p.m.: the “middle watch” (Jdg 7:19) from 10 p.m. till 2 a.m.: the “morning watch” from 2 a.m. till sunrise. The division of the night into four watches referred to in the N. T. (Matthew 14:25; Mark 13:35; Acts 12:4) was of Roman origin.

they which remained were scattered] Jabesh was rescued from destruction, and its inhabitants long remembered the debt of gratitude which they owed to Saul. It was the men of Jabesh who at peril of their lives recovered the bodies of Saul and Jonathan from Philistine insults, and gave them honourable burial (ch. 1 Samuel 31:11-13): it was Gilead which was the chief centre and stay of the waning fortunes of Saul’s house during the early part of the reign of David (2 Samuel 2:8-9 ff.).

Verse 11. - They came.., in the morning watch. By a forced march Saul came upon the unsuspecting Ammonites just before daybreak, when sleep is deepest; and as his host was unwieldy, he arranged it in three divisions, assigning to each a different route, that they might not impede one another on the way, and might also cut off the retreat of the enemy. As the fighting went on for five or six hours, until the heat of the day, the Ammonites must at first have made some resistance; but when all three divisions of Saul's army had come up, they were so utterly routed that "no two of them were left together." 1 Samuel 11:11The next day Saul arranged the people in three divisions (ראשׁים, as in Judges 7:16), who forced their way into the camp of the foe from three different sides, in the morning watch (between three and six o'clock in the morning), smote the Ammonites "till the heat of the day," and routed them so completely, that those who remained were all scattered, and there were not two men left together.
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