Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal.—This was the well-known sanctuary of that name, and was selected as the place of solemn assembly, no doubt, because it was in the now royal tribe of Benjamin. It is situated in the Jordan Valley, not far from Jericho, and has been the scene of many of the most striking events in Israelitic history.
And renew the kingdom there.—There had been, as Samuel and Saul well remembered, many murmurings on the occasion of the original royal election at Mizpeh. Then the people had by no means unanimously accepted as sovereign the Benjamite who was now crowned with the glory of a splendid success. The seer, with striking generosity to one who superseded him in his position as judge, again presented the hero Saul to Israel as their anointed king.1 Samuel 11:14. Then said Samuel — While the people were together by Jabesh- gilead. Come, and let us renew the kingdom — That is, confirm our former choice, and more solemnly and unanimously inaugurate Saul for our king. Herein Samuel’s great prudence and fidelity to Saul appeared. He suspended the confirmation of Saul at first, while the generality of the people were disaffected, and now, when he had given such eminent proof of his princely virtues, and when the people’s hearts were eagerly set upon him, he takes this as the fittest season for that work.
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].Then; whilst the people were together by Jabesh-gilead, wherein Samuel’s great prudence and fidelity to Saul is evident. He suspended the confirmation to Saul at first, whilst the generality of the people were disaffected and discontented at the meanness of his person; and now when he had given such eminent proof of his princely virtues, and when the people’s hearts were unanimously and eagerly set upon him, he takes this as the fittest season for that work.
Let us go to Gilgal: this place he chose, both because it was near, and, to most of them, in the way to their homes; and because thither the Israelites on this side, and beyond Jordan, might more easily resort; and because it was famous for public conventions there kept, and particularly for the covenant there renewed by Joshua between God and the people.
Renew the kingdom there, i.e. confirm our former choice, to prevent all such seditious expressions and actions as we had experience of at the former election.
come, and let us go to Gilgal; which was the nearest place to them, on the other side Jordan, from which they now were, and where the children of Israel first encamped when they passed over Jordan, where the tabernacle and ark first were, and an altar was built, and where meetings used to be held on certain occasions; all which might be reasons why Samuel proposed to go to this place. According to Bunting (d), this place was thirty six miles from Jabeshgilead:
and renew the kingdom there; that is, recognize Saul, own and declare him king of Israel.Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. Then said Samuel] From this verse to 1 Samuel 12:22 is the Haphtarah or lesson from the Prophets appointed to be read in the Synagogue in conjunction with the history of Korah (Numbers 16).
to Gilgal] See note on 1 Samuel 7:16.
renew the kingdom] Which had been founded in the national assembly at Mizpah (1 Samuel 10:25).Verse 14. - Let us go to Gilgal. The famous sanctuary (1 Samuel 7:16) of that name, situated lower down, in the Jordan valley, near Jericho. It was not far from Jabesh-Gilead, and naturally the victorious host would move from the field of battle to the nearest religious spot to consecrate their king. Judges 1:4). The number assembled were 300,000 men of Israel, and 30,000 of Judah. These numbers will not appear too large, if we bear in mind that the allusion is not to a regular army, but that Saul had summoned all the people to a general levy. In the distinction drawn between the children of Judah and the children of Israel we may already discern a trace of that separation of Judah from the rest of the tribes, which eventually led to a formal secession on the part of the latter.
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