1 Samuel 30

1 Three days later, David and his men arrived back in Ziklag. Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They tore Ziklag to pieces and then burned it down.
2 They captured all the women, young and old. They didn't kill anyone, but drove them like a herd of cattle.
3 By the time David and his men entered the village, it had been burned to the ground, and their wives, sons, and daughters all taken prisoner.
4 David and his men burst out in loud wails - wept and wept until they were exhausted with weeping.
5 David's two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail widow of Nabal of Carmel, had been taken prisoner along with the rest.
6 And suddenly David was in even worse trouble. There was talk among the men, bitter over the loss of their families, of stoning him.
7 He ordered Abiathar the priest, son of Ahimelech, "Bring me the Ephod so I can consult God." Abiathar brought it to David.
8 Then David prayed to God, "Shall I go after these raiders? Can I catch them?" The answer came, "Go after them! Yes, you'll catch them! Yes, you'll make the rescue!"
9 David went, he and the six hundred men with him. They arrived at the Brook Besor, where some of them dropped out.
10 David and four hundred men kept up the pursuit, but two hundred of them were too fatigued to cross the Brook Besor, and stayed there.
11 Some who went on came across an Egyptian in a field and took him to David. They gave him bread and he ate. And he drank some water.
12 They gave him a piece of fig cake and a couple of raisin muffins. Life began to revive in him. He hadn't eaten or drunk a thing for three days and nights!
13 David said to him, "Who do you belong to? Where are you from?"
14 We had raided the Negev of the Kerethites, of Judah, and of Caleb. Ziklag we burned."
15 David asked him, "Can you take us to the raiders?" "Promise me by God," he said, "that you won't kill me or turn me over to my old master, and I'll take you straight to the raiders."
16 He led David to them. They were scattered all over the place, eating and drinking, gorging themselves on all the loot they had plundered from Philistia and Judah.
17 David pounced. He fought them from before sunrise until evening of the next day. None got away except for four hundred of the younger men who escaped by riding off on camels.
18 David rescued everything the Amalekites had taken. And he rescued his two wives!
19 Nothing and no one was missing - young or old, son or daughter, plunder or whatever. David recovered the whole lot.
20 He herded the sheep and cattle before them, and they all shouted, "David's plunder!"
21 Then David came to the two hundred who had been too tired to continue with him and had dropped out at the Brook Besor. They came out to welcome David and his band. As he came near he called out, "Success!"
22 But all the mean-spirited men who had marched with David, the rabble element, objected: "They didn't help in the rescue, they don't get any of the plunder we recovered. Each man can have his wife and children, but that's it. Take them and go!"
23 "Families don't do this sort of thing! Oh no, my brothers!" said David as he broke up the argument. "You can't act this way with what God gave us! God kept us safe. He handed over the raiders who attacked us.
24 Who would ever listen to this kind of talk? The share of the one who stays with the gear is the share of the one who fights - equal shares. Share and share alike!"
25 From that day on, David made that the rule in Israel - and it still is.
26 On returning to Ziklag, David sent portions of the plunder to the elders of Judah, his neighbors, with a note saying, "A gift from the plunder of God's enemies!"
27 He sent them to the elders in Bethel, Ramoth Negev, Jattir,
28 Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa,
29 Racal, Jerahmeelite cities, Kenite cities,
30 Hormah, Bor Ashan, Athach,
31 and Hebron, along with a number of other places David and his men went to from time to time.

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.

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