1 Samuel 30

1 Now when David and his men were come to Siceleg on the third day, the Amalecites had made an invasion on the south side upon Siceleg, and had smitten Siceleg, and burnt it with fire,
2 And had taken the women captives that were in it, both little and great: and they had not killed any person, but had carried them with them, and went on their way.
3 So when David and his men came to the city, and found it burnt with fire, and that their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives,
4 David and the people that were with him, lifted up their voices, and wept till they had no more tears.
5 For the two wives also of David were taken captives, Achinoam, the Jezrahelitess, and Abigail, the wife of Nabal of Carmel.
6 And David was greatly afflicted: for the people had a mind to stone him, for the soul of every man was bitterly grieved for his sons and daughters: but David took courage in the Lord his God.
7 And he said to Abiathar, the priest, the son of Achimelech: Bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought the ephod to David.
8 And David consulted the Lord, saying: Shall I pursue after these robbers, and shall I overtake them, or not? And the Lord said to him: Pursue after them: for thou shalt surely overtake them and recover the prey.
9 So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and they came to the torrent Besor: and some, being weary, stayed there.
10 But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred stayed, who, being weary, could not go over the torrent Besor.
11 And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David: and they gave him bread to eat, and water to drink,
12 As also a piece of a cake of figs, and two bunches of raisins. And when he had eaten them, his spirit returned, and he was refreshed: for he had not eaten bread, nor drunk water, three days and three nights.
13 And David said to him: To whom dost thou belong; or whence dost thou come? and whither art thou going? He said: I am a young man of Egypt, the servant of an Amalecite: and my master left me, because I began to be sick three days ago.
14 For we made an invasion on the south side of Cerethi, and upon Juda, and upon the south of Caleb, and we burnt Siceleg with fire.
15 And David said to him: Canst thou bring me to this company? and he said: Swear to me by God, that thou wilt not kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee to this company. And David swore to him.
16 And when he had brought him, behold they were lying spread abroad upon all the ground, eating and drinking, and as it were keeping a festival day, for all the prey and the spoils which they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Juda.
17 And David slew them from the evening unto the evening of the next day, and there escaped not a man of them, but four hundred young men, who had gotten upon camels, and fled.
18 So David recovered all that the Amalecites had taken, and he rescued his two wives.
19 And there was nothing missing small or great, neither of their sons or their daughters, nor of the spoils, and whatsoever they had taken, David recovered all.
20 And he took all the flocks and the herds, and made them go before him: and they said: This is the prey of David.
21 And David came to the two hundred men, who, being weary, had stayed, and were not able to follow David, and he had ordered them to abide at the torrent Besor: and they came out to meet David, and the people that were with him. And David coming to the people, saluted them peaceably.
22 Then all the wicked and unjust men, that had gone with David, answering, said: Because they came not with us, we will not give them any thing of the prey which we have recovered: but let every man take his wife, and his children, and be contented with them, and go his way.
23 But David said: You shall not do so, my brethren, with these things, which the Lord hath given us, who hath kept us, and hath delivered the robbers that invaded us into our hands:
24 And no man shall hearken to you in this matter. But equal shall be the portion of him that went down to battle, and of him that abode at the baggage, and they shall divide alike.
25 And this hath been done from that day forward, and since was made a statute and an ordinance, and as a law in Israel.
26 Then David came to Siceleg, and sent presents of the prey to the ancients of Juda, his neighbours, saying: Receive a blessing of the prey of the enemies of the Lord.
27 To them that were in Bethel, and that were in Ramoth to the south, and to them that were in Jether.
28 And to them that were in Aroer, and that were in Sephamoth, and that were in Esthamo,
29 And that were in Rachal, and that were in the cities of Jerameel, and that were in the cities of Ceni,
30 And that were in Arama, and that were in the lake Asan, and that were in Athach,
31 And that were in Hebron, and to the rest that were in those places, in which David had abode with his men.

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