Three days later, when David and his men arrived home at their town of Ziklag, they found that the Amalekites had made a raid into the Negev and had burned Ziklag to the ground.
They had carried off the women and children and everyone else but without killing anyone.
When David and his men saw the ruins and realized what had happened to their families,
they wept until they could weep no more.
David's two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel, were among those captured.
David was now in serious trouble because his men were very bitter about losing their wives and children, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the LORD his God.
Then he said to Abiathar the priest, "Bring me the ephod!" So Abiathar brought it.
Then David asked the LORD, "Should I chase them? Will I catch them?" And the LORD told him, "Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!"
So David and his six hundred men set out, and they soon came to Besor Brook.
But two hundred of the men were too exhausted to cross the brook, so David continued the pursuit with his four hundred remaining troops.
Some of David's troops found an Egyptian man in a field and brought him to David. They gave him some bread to eat and some water to drink.
They also gave him part of a fig cake and two clusters of raisins because he hadn't had anything to eat or drink for three days and nights. It wasn't long before his strength returned.
"To whom do you belong, and where do you come from?" David asked him. "I am an Egyptian -- the slave of an Amalekite," he replied. "My master left me behind three days ago because I was sick.
We were on our way back from raiding the Kerethites in the Negev, the territory of Judah, and the land of Caleb, and we had just burned Ziklag."
"Will you lead me to them?" David asked.The young man replied, "If you swear by God's name that you will not kill me or give me back to my master, then I will guide you to them."
So the Egyptian led them to the Amalekite encampment. When David and his men arrived, the Amalekites were spread out across the fields, eating and drinking and dancing with joy because of the vast amount of plunder they had taken from the Philistines and the land of Judah.
David and his men rushed in among them and slaughtered them throughout that night and the entire next day until evening. None of the Amalekites escaped except four hundred young men who fled on camels.
David got back everything the Amalekites had taken, and he rescued his two wives.
Nothing was missing: small or great, son or daughter, nor anything else that had been taken. David brought everything back.
His troops rounded up all the flocks and herds and drove them on ahead. "These all belong to David as his reward!" they said.
When they reached Besor Brook and met the two hundred men who had been too tired to go with them, David greeted them joyfully.
But some troublemakers among David's men said, "They didn't go with us, so they can't have any of the plunder. Give them their wives and children, and tell them to be gone."
But David said, "No, my brothers! Don't be selfish with what the LORD has given us. He has kept us safe and helped us defeat the enemy.
Do you think anyone will listen to you when you talk like this? We share and share alike -- those who go to battle and those who guard the equipment."
From then on David made this a law for all of Israel, and it is still followed.
When he arrived at Ziklag, David sent part of the plunder to the leaders of Judah, who were his friends. "Here is a present for you, taken from the LORD's enemies," he said.
The gifts were sent to the leaders of the following towns where David and his men had been: Bethel, Ramoth-negev, Jattir,
Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa,
Racal, a the towns of the Jerahmeelites, the towns of the Kenites,
Hormah, Bor-ashan, Athach,
Hebron, and all the other places they had visited.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)