I Samuel 11
A Messenger from Jabesh's Journal
We woke one terrible morning to find Nahash the Ammonite camped with his army outside our city, Jabesh Gilead. This man was evil. Why did he come to our peaceful city?
All Israel knew about Nahash and his desire to not only conquer cities, but also to embarrass the citizens as much as possible.
We knew he'd attack and kill all the people from our city. Or, maybe if he had a good day, he might decide to take us as prisoners, torture us, and make us slaves. Neither choice worked for me.
Our city leaders met together. They were scared, all right.
They stroked their beards.
Sweat beaded on their foreheads.
Their voices trembled.
Not one could say a solution that pleased the others.
The head elder sighed. "Our only choice is surrender. We can't fight him and win." The other leaders groaned but finally nodded their agreement.
Women and children watched us climb to the top of the city wall. Their eyes showed hope and trust. Who are we that Nahash had to attack our small city? Why did he have to come here? I called out to Nahash. "Set your terms, Nahash and we will surrender. We agree to be your slaves."
Nahash didn't wait a second before laughing like an evil villain. "Sure. I accept your surrender. Here are my terms: you must all agree to let me take out the right eye of every person in your city." He laughed again. "This way, you will be embarrassed before all Israel."
Well we didn't expect him to say that!
The leaders rushed off to a meeting room and chattered like squirrels trying to work out a solution. One said, "Ask for an extension." Another said. "Yes, we need seven days to ask for help." And another said, "No other tribe has come to the aid of another in need for a long time, no one will come." The leaders shook their heads and sat back in their chairs. After a few moments of quiet one said, "He's right, but we have no other choice."
No one would come from any tribe to help, he said. Sad words, but true. Each tribe pretty much lived by themselves and ignored the others. We didn't act like a nation. If no tribe answered our plea for help against Nahash, well, I guess I'd be a slave with one eye.
The leaders and I walked back to the same place on top of the city wall. I called down to the evil Nahash. "Give us seven days to send messengers to all the territory of Israel. If no one comes to save us, we will agree to your terms."
Nahash knew the other tribes wouldn't come help, we weren't the first city he tormented. He burst into his dastardly laugh again. "Sure, call for help. Call anyone you'd like. In seven days I will have your right eyes."
He strutted back to his tent, laughing with his soldiers.
The elders chose the fastest message runners to take our plea for help to each tribe. I was sent to Gibeah to tell Saul, our new king. I hope he can help.
Come back next time to see what Saul chooses to do.
1. Who camped outside Jabesh Gilead?
2. What did he want to do?
3. Why didn't the people of Jabesh Gilead fight?
4. What was wrong with the other tribes of Israel?
5. Who didn't they ask for help?
6. When the leaders asked to surrender what did Nahash say?
7. What did the leaders decide to do?
8. Did Nahash agree? Why?