Jabesh-gilead was a city located east of the Jordan within the boundaries of the half tribe of Manasseh.

When the men of Israel gathered to fight against the tribe of Benjamin for the sins that Gibeah committed the men of Jabesh-gilead did not come out.[1] As the men of Israel mustered they took an oath saying that if anyone did not come up to the Lord at Mizpah they would be put to death.[2] After the battle Israel put to death all the people of Jabesh-gilead with the exception of young virgins that they would give to those Benjaminites that survived the war so that they tribe would not disapear from among Israel.[3]

Very early in the reign of king SaulNahash the Ammonite besieged Jabesh-gilead. The people of the town offered a treaty of peace and agreed to serve Ammon. Nahash would only accept the agreement if he was allowed to gouge out the right eye of all the people. When Saul heard of this he a yoke of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent them throughout Israel saying that whomever does not come out to battle Ammon will end up like these oxen. The fear of the Lord fell upon the people and they all came out for battle. Saul and the people struck down the Ammonites from morning until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered.[4]

When king Saul was slain in battle on Mount Gilboa, the Philistines cut off his head and fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. When the people of Jabesh-gilead heard of this they sent brave men to travel all night to take down the body of Saul and his sons. They took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted for seven days.[5]

References Edit

  1. Judges 21:8
  2. Judges 21:5
  3. Judges 21:10-12
  4. 1 Samuel 11:1-11
  5. 1 Samuel 31:8-13