By Mike Chaffin
11 Now when the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men arose and traveled all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth Shan; and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days. 1 Samuel 31:11-13
The last words praise the actions of valiant men. King Saul, Jonathan and his other sons die in battle. Their enemy nails the bodies to a town’s wall to rot and to mock. Men of Jabesh Gilead rise up and bring the bodies back to their town and give them a proper burial. This tribute to King Saul was due to their gratefulness to the king.
Soon after Saul is anointed the first king of Israel, the people of Jabesh Gilead call on him to save them from the siege of the Ammonites. These people were threatening to kill and enslave them. This is the first battle King Saul faces, and he is victorious.
Interestingly, the final words of the book of Judges write about the killing of every person in Jabesh Gilead except 400 virgin girls. In Israel’s anger, the tribal leaders cal all the people to come and attack the Benjamites. The men of Jabesh Gilead didn’t join the fight to cleanse the land of the evil. Evidently at this time, no one in Jabesh Gilead cared. So, to supply wives to the remaining Benjamite men, they wipe out this city.
Decades later the city is reinhabited. This time by valiant men. Men who know right from wrong, who honor a fallen soldier and leader. This time they were grateful and took action to set a wrong right.
The last word here is God requires men to stand up and call evil for what it is. God requires men to take action when a wrong has been committed. God requires holiness and mercy. God is with you when you do.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
Prayer: Thank you Lord for calling me to a valiant life. One lead by you, so your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Help me to be bold in my witness to truth, salvation in Christ, and morality. In Jesus Name, Amen.