1 Samuel 30

David Destroys the Amalekites

1 David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it,
2 and had taken captive the women and everyone else in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way.
3 When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive.
4 So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.
5 David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel.
6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.
7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, “Bring me the ephod.” Abiathar brought it to him,
8 and David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” “Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”
9 David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Valley, where some stayed behind.
10 Two hundred of them were too exhausted to cross the valley, but David and the other four hundred continued the pursuit.
11 They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat—
12 part of a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. He ate and was revived, for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and three nights.
13 David asked him, “Who do you belong to? Where do you come from?” He said, “I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago.
14 We raided the Negev of the Kerethites, some territory belonging to Judah and the Negev of Caleb. And we burned Ziklag.”
15 David asked him, “Can you lead me down to this raiding party?” He answered, “Swear to me before God that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to them.”
16 He led David down, and there they were, scattered over the countryside, eating, drinking and reveling because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from Judah.
17 David fought them from dusk until the evening of the next day, and none of them got away, except four hundred young men who rode off on camels and fled.
18 David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives.
19 Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back.
20 He took all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock, saying, “This is David’s plunder.”
21 Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow him and who were left behind at the Besor Valley. They came out to meet David and the men with him. As David and his men approached, he asked them how they were.
22 But all the evil men and troublemakers among David’s followers said, “Because they did not go out with us, we will not share with them the plunder we recovered. However, each man may take his wife and children and go.”
23 David replied, “No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the LORD has given us. He has protected us and delivered into our hands the raiding party that came against us.
24 Who will listen to what you say? The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.”
25 David made this a statute and ordinance for Israel from that day to this.
26 When David reached Ziklag, he sent some of the plunder to the elders of Judah, who were his friends, saying, “Here is a gift for you from the plunder of the LORD’s enemies.”
27 David sent it to those who were in Bethel, Ramoth Negev and Jattir;
28 to those in Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa
29 and Rakal; to those in the towns of the Jerahmeelites and the Kenites;
30 to those in Hormah, Bor Ashan, Athak
31 and Hebron; and to those in all the other places where he and his men had roamed.

1 Samuel 30 Commentary

Chapter 30

Ziklag spoiled by the Amalekites. (1-6) David overtakes the Amalekites. (7-15) He recovers what had been lost. (16-20) David's distribution of the spoil. (21-31)

Verses 1-6 When we go abroad in the way of our duty, we may comfortably hope that God will take care of our families in our absence, but not otherwise. If, when we come off a journey, we find our abode in peace, and not laid waste, as David here found his, let the Lord be praised for it. David's men murmured against him. Great faith must expect such severe trials. But, observe, that David was brought thus low, only just before he was raised to the throne. When things are at the worst with the church and people of God, then they begin to mend. David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. His men fretted at their loss, the soul of the people was bitter; their own discontent and impatience added to the affliction and misery. But David bore it better, though he had more reason than any of them to lament it. They gave liberty to their passions, but he set his graces to work; and while they dispirited each other, he, by encouraging himself in God, kept his spirit calm. Those who have taken the Lord for their God, may take encouragement from him in the worst times.

Verses 7-15 If in all our ways, even when, as in this case, there can be no doubt they are just, we acknowledge God, we may expect that he will direct our steps, as he did those of David. David, in tenderness to his men, would by no means urge them beyond their strength. The Son of David thus considers the frames of his followers, who are not all alike strong and vigorous in their spiritual pursuits and conflicts; but, where we are weak, ( 2 Corinthians. 12:9 2 Corinthians. 12:10 ) poor Egyptian lad, scarcely alive, is made the means of a great deal of good to David. Justly did Providence make this poor servant, who was basely used by his master, an instrument in the destruction of the Amalekites; for God hears the cry of the oppressed. Those are unworthy the name of true Israelites, who shut up their compassion from persons in distress. We should neither do an injury nor deny a kindness to any man; some time or other it may be in the power of the lowest to return a kindness or an injury.

Verses 16-20 Sinners are nearest to ruin, when they cry, Peace and safety, and put the evil day far from them. Nor does any thing give our spiritual enemies more advantage than sensuality and indulgence. Eating and drinking, and dancing, have been the soft and pleasant way in which many have gone down to the congregation of the dead. The spoil was recovered, and brought off; nothing was lost, but a great deal gained.

Verses 21-31 What God gives us, he designs we should do good with. In distributing the spoil, David was just and kind. Those are men of Belial indeed, who delight in putting hardships upon their brethren, and care not who is starved, so that they may be fed to the full. David was generous and kind to all his friends. Those who consider the Lord as the Giver of their abundance, will dispose of it with fairness and liberality.

Cross References 41

  • 1. S 1 Samuel 27:6; 1 Samuel 29:4,11
  • 2. S 1 Samuel 15:7; 1 Samuel 27:8
  • 3. ver 14
  • 4. S Genesis 31:26
  • 5. S Genesis 27:38
  • 6. S 1 Samuel 25:43; 2 Samuel 2:2
  • 7. S Exodus 17:4; John 8:59
  • 8. S Ruth 1:13
  • 9. S 1 Samuel 23:16; Psalms 27:14; Psalms 56:3-4,11; Romans 4:20
  • 10. S 1 Samuel 22:20
  • 11. S 1 Samuel 2:28; 1 Samuel 23:9
  • 12. S 1 Samuel 23:2
  • 13. S Genesis 14:16; ver 18
  • 14. S Exodus 2:17
  • 15. S 1 Samuel 27:2
  • 16. ver 21; ver 9,21
  • 17. S Judges 15:19
  • 18. S 1 Samuel 14:48
  • 19. 2 Samuel 8:18; 2 Samuel 15:18; 2 Samuel 20:7,23; 1 Kings 1:38,44; 1 Chronicles 18:17; Ezekiel 25:16; Zephaniah 2:5
  • 20. ver 16; S Joshua 14:13; S Joshua 15:13
  • 21. ver 1
  • 22. Deuteronomy 23:15
  • 23. Luke 12:19
  • 24. S ver 17; S Joshua 22:8; ver 14
  • 25. ver 16; 1 Samuel 11:11; 2 Samuel 1:1
  • 26. 2 Samuel 1:8; 1 Samuel 15:3
  • 27. S Genesis 14:16
  • 28. ver 10
  • 29. S Numbers 31:27; Joshua 22:8; S Judges 5:30
  • 30. S Genesis 33:11
  • 31. S Joshua 7:2
  • 32. S Joshua 10:40; Joshua 19:8
  • 33. S Joshua 15:48
  • 34. S Numbers 32:34; S Joshua 13:16
  • 35. 1 Chronicles 27:27
  • 36. S Joshua 15:50
  • 37. 1 Samuel 27:10
  • 38. Judges 1:16; S 1 Samuel 15:6
  • 39. S Numbers 14:45; S Numbers 21:3; Judges 1:17
  • 40. S Joshua 15:42
  • 41. Numbers 13:22; S Joshua 10:36; Joshua 14:13; 2 Samuel 2:1,4

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO FIRST SAMUEL 30

This chapter relates the condition Ziklag was in when David and his men came to it, the city burnt, and their families carried captive by the Amalekites, which occasioned not only a general lamentation, but mutiny and murmuring in David's men, 1Sa 30:1-6; the inquiry David made of the Lord what he should do, who is bid to pursue the enemy; and being directed by a lad where they were, fell upon them, and routed them, and brought back the captives with a great spoil, 1Sa 30:7-20; the distribution of the spoil, both to those that went with him, and to those who through faintness were left behind, 1Sa 30:21-25; and the presents of it he sent to several places in the tribe of Judah, who had been kind to him when he dwelt among them, 1Sa 30:26-31.

1 Samuel 30 Commentaries