1 Samuel 11:15
And all the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal; and there they sacrificed sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.
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(15) And there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal.—We must not understand with the LXX. Version that Saul was anointed afresh at Gilgal. The Greek Version reads, “and Samuel anointed Saul king there.” The Gilgal convention was nothing more than a solemn national confirmation of the popular election at Mizpeh. The words “before the Lord,” imply the presence of the Ark, or of the high priest with the mystic Urim and Thummim. Bishop Wordsworth understands the words “they made Saul king” to signify that after this “the people would not allow him any longer to lead a private life, but they made him to assume the royal state and authority to which he had been appointed by God.”

1 Samuel 11:15. There they made Saul king — Owned and accepted him for their king. Saul had been anointed in Ramah, and chosen by lot in Mizpeh; but still some disdained to acknowledge him for their king, which made him content himself for a time with a private life. But now, after this signal token of God’s presence with him, in the late victory, he was, by common consent, received by all the people for their king. Before the Lord — Not before the ark, the symbol of God’s presence, as the expression sometimes means; for the ark was now at Kirjath-jearim, and not at Gilgal; but in a solemn manner, as in God’s presence, appealing to him as a witness of their sincerity in this transaction, and with solemn sacrifices and prayers for his blessing upon it.

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.Made Saul king - The Septuagint has another reading, "and Samuel anointed Saul king there." The example of David, who, besides his original anointing by Samuel 1 Samuel 16:12-13, was twice anointed, first as king of Judah 2 Samuel 2:4, and again as king over all Israel 2 Samuel 5:3, makes it probable that Saul was anointed a second time; but this may be included in the word "made king" (see 1 Samuel 12:3, 1 Samuel 12:5). 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].

They made Saul king, i.e. they recognized him, or owned and accepted him for their king by consent; for, to speak properly, Saul was not made or constituted king by the people, but by the Lord’s immediate act: see 1 Samuel 8:9 10:1.

Before the Lord; who was there present in a special manner; both because the people of the Lord were there assembled, and because there was an altar, as the following sacrifices show. The same phrase is used 1 Samuel 10:17 14:18.

They sacrificed sacrifices of peace-offerings; partly to praise God for so glorious a victory, and for the firm settlement of the distracted kingdom; and partly to implore the presence and assistance of God to the king and kingdom, in all their affairs and exigencies.

And all the people went to Gilgal,.... Agreed to the motion, and marched along with Saul and Samuel thither:

and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal; that is, they declared him to be king there; he was inaugurated into, and invested with his office, otherwise it was God only that made him king, who only had the power of making one, see Acts 2:36. Josephus says (e) that Samuel anointed him with the holy oil; and so the Septuagint version here renders it,"and Samuel anointed Saul there to be king;''and it is not improbable, that as he privately anointed him, he did it publicly also; if not at the election of him, then at this time; and it is observable, that in the next chapter, and not before, he is called the Lord's anointed. Now this was "before the Lord"; in this place; this being, as Abarbinel observes, a sanctified place, where the tabernacle and ark of God had been; and he supposes it probable that the ark was brought hither; but it was enough that the people and congregation of the Lord were here, and who, when assembled in his name, his presence was with them:

and there they sacrificed sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord; where an altar was built, and on which they offered these peace offerings by way of thanksgiving, partly for the victory obtained over the Ammonites, and partly for the renewal of the kingdom to Saul, and their unanimity in it, as well as to implore and obtain future peace and prosperity:

and there Saul, and all the people of Israel, rejoiced greatly; they in their king, and he in the good will of his people, and both in the great salvation God had wrought for them.

(e) Ut supra, (Antiqu. l. 6. c. 5.) sect. 4.

And all the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal; and there they sacrificed sacrifices of {i} peace offerings before the LORD; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.

(i) In sign of thanksgiving for the victory.

15. there they made Saul king] The choice of Saul as king, privately made by God through Samuel, and publicly confirmed by the election at Mizpah, had received an unmistakable ratification in his victory over Nahash. His detractors were silenced, and the unanimous consent of the people accepted him. The assembly now held after the general levy for the war was probably larger and more representative of the whole nation than the previous one at Mizpah.

The Sept. has, “and Samuel anointed Saul there to be king,” which may possibly be the original reading. A public anointing would be natural, for that recorded in ch. 1 Samuel 10:1 was strictly private, and the use of the title “the Lord’s anointed” in ch. 1 Samuel 12:3 gains point if the ceremony had just been performed. That it might be repeated we know from the case of David, who was thrice anointed.

sacrifices of peace-offerings] Thank-offerings to Jehovah for the deliverance he had wrought, and for the establishment of the kingdom.

Verse 15. - They made Saul king. This is not to be interpreted, with the Septuagint, of a second anointing of Saul, but of his confirmation in the kingdom by the unanimous voice of the nation, whereas the first election of him at Mizpah had met with opposition. Before Jehovah. I.e. with religious ceremonies conducted by Samuel and the high priest. The difference between Saul's election at Mizpah and the confirmation of it at Gilgal is much the same as between the first proclamation or' a king and his coronation. The latter is the nation's acknowledgment of his sovereignty, and the solemn consecration of him to his high office. Peace offerings were tokens of joy and gratitude, and were followed by a feast. At this there was great rejoicing, because the king whom they had desired had so quickly proved himself worthy to be their head.

1 Samuel 11:15Samuel turned this victory to account, by calling upon the people to go with him to Gilgal, and there renew the monarchy. In what the renewal consisted is not clearly stated; but it is simply recorded in 1 Samuel 11:15 that "they (the whole people) made Saul king there before the Lord in Gilgal." Many commentators have supposed that he was anointed afresh, and appeal to David's second anointing (2 Samuel 2:4 and 2 Samuel 5:3). But David's example merely proves as Seb. Schmidt has correctly observed, that the anointing could be repeated under certain circumstances; but it does not prove that it was repeated, or must have been repeated, in the case of Saul. If the ceremony of anointing had been performed, it would no doubt have been mentioned, just as it is in 2 Samuel 2:4 and 2 Samuel 5:3. But ימלכוּ does not mean "they anointed," although the lxx have rendered it ἔχρισε Σαμουήλ, according to their own subjective interpretation. The renewal of the monarchy may very well have consisted in nothing more than a solemn confirmation of the election that had taken place at Mizpeh, in which Samuel once more laid before both king and people the right of the monarchy, receiving from both parties in the presence of the Lord the promise to observe this right, and sealing the vow by a solemn sacrifice. The only sacrifices mentioned are zebachim shelamim, i.e., peace-offerings. These were thank-offerings, which were always connected with a sacrificial meal, and when presented on joyous occasions, formed a feast of rejoicing for those who took part, since the sacrificial meal shadowed forth a living and peaceful fellowship with the Lord. Gilgal is in all probability the place where Samuel judged the people every year (1 Samuel 7:16). But whether it was the Gilgal in the plain of the Jordan, or Jiljilia on higher ground to the south-west of Shiloh, it is by no means easy to determine. The latter is favoured, apart from the fact that Samuel did not say "Let us go down," but simply "Let us go" (cf. 1 Samuel 10:8), by the circumstance that the solemn ceremony took place after the return from the war at Jabesh; since it is hardly likely that the people would have gone down into the valley of the Jordan to Gilgal, whereas Jiljilia was close by the road from Jabesh to Gibeah and Ramah.
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