1 Samuel 11:13
And Saul said, There shall not a man be put to death this day: for to day the LORD has worked salvation in Israel.
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(13) And Saul said, There shall not a man be put to death this day.—A wise, as well as a generous, decision; anything like a bloody vengeance would have been the commencement of future feuds and bitter heart-burnings between the new king and the powerful families of the other tribes, who misliked and opposed his election. Saul began his reign with wise discretion, as well as with heroic valour. By this determined refusal to avenge the cruel affront showed to him, he taught “kings to be” how truly a royal virtue was forgiveness of all past wrongs.

For to day the Lord hath wrought salvation in Israel.—And as yet unspoiled, the king’s heart was full of humble reverent piety. By this first public act of pardon, he “not only signified that the public rejoicing should not be interrupted, but reminded them of the clemency of God, and urged that since Jehovah had shown such clemency upon that day, that He overlooked their sins, and had given them a glorious victory. it was only right they should follow His example, and forgive their neighbours’ sins without bloodshed.” (Seb. Schmidt, quoted by Keil and Delitsch.)

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.There shall not a man ... - An instance of great moderation, as well as good policy, on the part of Saul. Compare David's conduct (marginal reference). 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].

I will not destroy any of those whom God hath so graciously preserved; nor sully the mirth of this glorious and comfortable day with the slaughter of any of my subjects; and therefore I freely forgive them. Wherein Saul showed his policy as well as his clemency, this being the most likely way to gain his enemies, and secure his friends, and stablish his throne in the hearts of his people. And Saul said,.... Preventing Samuel from giving an answer, being ready to forgive injuries; as it was in his power as a king, and him only, to pardon those persons that treated him in so ill a manner, and it was policy so to do, especially in the beginning of his reign; and it plainly appears that this temper did not always continue with him; though there is no reason to believe otherwise, that this was now owing to his lenity as well as his prudence:

there shall not be a man put to death this day; who by their appearance to his summons had testified their obedience, and by their courage and valour had showed their attachment to him, and to the interest of their country. Ben Gersom takes the sense to be, that it might be right after, but not on this day to put them to death; or that this was an artifice of Saul to deliver those men out of the hands of the Israelites, suggesting as if it was his intention hereafter to put them to death, though not now, for the following reason:

for today the Lord hath wrought salvation in Israel; he does not ascribe the victory to the quick dispatch he made, to his wisdom and prudence in forming the scheme he did, and to his valour and courage, and that of his troops, but to the power and goodness of God.

And Saul said, There shall not a man be {h} put to death this day: for to day the LORD hath wrought salvation in Israel.

(h) By showing mercy he thought to overcome their malice.

12–15. Confirmation of Saul as King

13. There shall not a man be put to death this day] The execution even of malcontents would have clouded the general rejoicing: and Saul’s best hope of uniting the kingdom under his rule lay in a policy of conciliation. Cp. 1 Samuel 10:27; 2 Samuel 19:22.

salvation] Deliverance. See note on 1 Samuel 11:9.He took a yoke of oxen, cut them in pieces, and sent (the pieces) into every possession of Israel by messengers, and said, "Whoever cometh not forth after Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen." The introduction of Samuel's name after that of Saul, is a proof that Saul even as king still recognised the authority which Samuel possessed in Israel as the prophet of Jehovah. This symbolical act, like the cutting up of the woman in Judges 19:29, made a deep impression. "The fear of Jehovah fell upon the people, so that they went out as one man." By "the fear of Jehovah" we are not to understand δεῖμα πανικόν (Thenius and Bttcher), for Jehovah is not equivalent to Elohim, nor the fear of Jehovah in the sense of fear of His punishment, but a fear inspired by Jehovah. In Saul's energetic appeal the people discerned the power of Jehovah, which inspired them with fear, and impelled them to immediate obedience.
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