In a private ceremony, Samuel anoints Saul as king, then tells him of several signs that will prove to him that God has made king (ch. 10 verses 2-7). The term “another heart” simply refers to the Spirit of God rushing upon him and enabling him to become more like who the Lord needs him to be at the time. A timid Saul (ch. 10 verses 21-22) is then presented to the people.
The threat from Nahash the Ammonite in 11:2 makes a lot more sense when you learn that one of the Dead Sea scrolls (4QSam) contains an account of that Ammonite king gouging out the eyes of the Gadites and Reubenites on Transjordan – and 7,000 men fleeing to Jabesh-Gilead. When he granted the request for their delay in decision (verse 3), he did not believe they would be getting any help. We find Saul behind the plow (not exactly being treated like a king yet) in verse 5.
When told of the threat, the Spirit of the Lord rushes upon Saul, and he does what God had intended for him, hastily putting together an army an defeating the Ammonites. In 11:12-15, we have Saul at last acting like a leader. Better still, he credits God with the victory. How different might things have been if only he had remained that sort of man in the coming chapters?
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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