Nahash was a bully.
It was one thing for the Ammonite king to oppress Israel. The Ammonites had done it before. But Nahash wanted more than oppression. He wanted to humiliate Israel. He’d make a treaty as long as he could blind in one eye (the right eye) every man of the city known as Jabesh Gilead. (Aside from the incapacity and indignity, it would also prevent them from taking aim in battle.)
This isn’t the first time we’ve read of Jabesh Gilead.
As the book of Judges came to a close, you will remember a crime was committed shocking all Israel. The culprits are of the tribe of Benjamin and Israel decides they will totally destroy the Benjaminites. It is a reckless and immoral vow. It does not appear, however, that the people of Gilead (relatives of the Benjaminites as descendants of Rachel through Joseph) participate in this vow. In Judges 21 we learn that Israel is sorry for making it, and meets to find a way around keeping it. The people of Gilead do not participate in this ill-conceived matter either, and the Israelites make an equally reckless vow to destroy the Gileadites. It would appear that rather than be destroyed, the people of Jabesh Gilead give up their virgin daughters to the men of Benjamin – thus paying for the sin of Israel in trying to destroy Benjamin – something the people of Gilead had no part in.
Now the Gileadites, a people of some conscience, were being oppressed again. In the Judges story, they were oppressed because of the Benjaminites. This time, they are to be rescued by a Benjaminite – Saul.
The men of Jabesh Gilead will never forget their rescue, as we shall see later in the life of Saul.