After victory had been achieved, the people realised that Saul truly had been equipped to be their leader. Their response was to punish those who had criticised him at Mizpah (1 Sam. 10:27). But Saul here showed good qualities of leadership.
First, he did not do what the people wanted. There must have been the temptation for him to keep his popularity by meeting their desire. But sometimes leaders have to distance themselves from the popular wish.
Second, he realised that the best way to remove opposition is by forgiving the offenders. If he had executed these men, their descendants would have had a long-term grudge against him. Rather he showed mercy in order to allow the rebels to profess allegiance.
Thirdly, Saul gave the credit for the victory to God. He acknowledged the divine help he had received. It is a pity that he did not continue in this outlook in later days, but that should not take away from the correctness of his response here.
There is also the response of Samuel to notice. He suggested that the people meet in Gilgal and renew the kingdom. The reason for this is probably the failure of the people to have a united response to Saul at Mizpah. In Israel’s history Gilgal is associated with new beginnings, therefore it was an appropriate place to gather. This was where the Israelites began their campaign to conquer Canaan, and where they had erected the twelve stones to recall the Lord’s goodness to them. It looked as if a new day was about to dawn.