1 Samuel 11:12
And the people said to Samuel, Who is he that said, Shall Saul reign over us? bring the men, that we may put them to death.
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(12) And the people said unto Samuel.—The great weight and influence of the seer among the people is strikingly shown by this record of their turning to him, even in the first flush of this great victory of Saul’s. It was Samuel to whom the people looked to bring to punishment the men who had dared to question the wisdom of electing Saul as king. It should be remembered, too, that the royal summons to Israel which accompanied the bloody war-signal of King Saul, ran in the joint names of Saul and Samuel. (See 1Samuel 11:7.)

1 Samuel 11:12-13. The people said unto Samuel — Who, it appears from hence, accompanied Saul in this expedition, to encourage him with hopes of good success. Saul said, There shall not a man be put to death this day — Saul had prudently dissembled his knowledge of their despising him before the kingdom was confirmed to him. But the moderation which he now manifested, after he had been so wonderfully victorious, argued still greater nobleness of mind, and benevolence, and mildness of disposition. For nothing is more glorious than to be humble and meek in the height of power.11:12-15 They now honoured Saul whom they had despised; and if an enemy be made a friend, that is more to our advantage than to have him slain. The once despised Saviour will at length be acknowledged by all as the Lord's own anointed king. As yet, upon his mercy-seat, he receives the submission of rebels, and even pleads their cause; but shortly, from his righteous tribunal, he will condemn all who persist in opposing him.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. 1Sa 11:12-15. Saul Confirmed King.

12-15. the people said …, Who is he that said, Shall Saul reign over us?—The enthusiastic admiration of the people, under the impulse of grateful and generous feelings, would have dealt summary vengeance on the minority who opposed Saul, had not he, either from principle or policy, shown himself as great in clemency as in valor. The calm and sagacious counsel of Samuel directed the popular feelings into a right channel, by appointing a general assembly of the militia, the really effective force of the nation, at Gilgal, where, amid great pomp and religious solemnities, the victorious leader was confirmed in his kingdom [1Sa 11:15].

Shall Saul reign over us? they did not say so in terms, a we may see, 1 Samuel 10:27, but this was the design and consequence of their speech, as they rightly construe it.

That we may put them to death; which till this time they were not able to do, because that infection was then almost universal. And the people said unto Samuel,.... By which it seems that Samuel accompanied Saul in this expedition; though it is somewhat difficult to account for it, that a man of his years should be able to attend so quick a march that Saul made; it may be, therefore, that he might follow after him gently, and meet him quickly after the battle was fought, when the people made the following speech to him:

who is he that said, shall Saul reign over us? is such a mean inexperienced man fit to rule over us? who can bear his government, and submit to it? what can be expected from him, that he should deliver and save us out of the hands of our enemies? in this they had respect to the sons of Belial, and what they said, 1 Samuel 10:27, but now it appeared he was sufficiently qualified, and God had made him an instrument of salvation, and was a proper person to be king over them:

bring the men, that we may put them to death; so transported were they with affection to Saul, and indignation against those men.

And the people said unto Samuel, {g} Who is he that said, Shall Saul reign over us? bring the men, that we may put them to death.

(g) By this victory the Lord won the hearts of the people to Saul.

Verses 12, 13. - The people said unto Samuel. Even after this glorious victory the people turn to Samuel, and doubtless his presence and influence had had great weight in gaining obedience to Saul's command (ver. 7). They now, with the old tumultuous violence, demand' that those who had opposed Saul's election should be put to death. Probably the ringleaders of Saul's opponents were some of the ciders disappointed at not being chosen themselves (see on 1 Samuel 10:27). But Saul displays, first, the kingly virtue of clemency, saying, There shall not a man be put to death this day - a decision politic as well as generous, for bloodshed would have led only to future feuds; and, secondly, piety, in so humbly ascribing to Jehovah the salvation that had been wrought in Israel. SAUL SOLEMNLY CONSECRATED AS KING (vers. 14, 15). When the report of the messengers had been communicated to him, "the Spirit of Jehovah came upon him, and his anger was kindled greatly," sc., at the shame which the Ammonites had resolved to bring upon all Israel.
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