1 Samuel 30

1 SAMUEL CHAPTER 30

David’s Wives are Captured

      • David and his men arrived in Ziklag on the third day and found that the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag, had attacked and burned Ziklag, and had taken the women and everyone in it captive, from youngest to oldest. They did not kill anyone, but carried them off and went their way.

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “It was about 50 miles from Aphek to Ziklag. The Amalekites surely knew that the bulk of the armies of Philistia and Judah (v. 14) had gone to battle in the north, and they took advantage of that fact.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “There were no fighting men left in Ziklag to protect the women and children. The Amalekites had a reputation for preying on the weak and vulnerable (see Deut 25:17-18). The Amalekites were not being compassionate; women and children were more useful alive than dead.”

        • The same source adds this information about the Amalekites:

        • The Amalekites were the descendants of Amalek, a grandson of Esau (Gen 36:12; 1 Chr 1:36). They were nomadic herdsman; their territory in the Negev ranged from south of Beersheba to the southeast as far as Elath and Ezion-geber. They undoubtedly raided westward into the coastal plain, eastward into the Arabah wastelands, and possibly over into Arabia.”

        • The Amalekites were staunch enemies of Israel- Amalek inherited his grandfather Esau’s antagonism toward Jacob. Israel’s first encounter with the warriors of Amalek came at Rephidim near Sinai when they blocked Israel’s path (Exod 17:8-16). The Amalekites later rebuffed Israel’s disobedient attempt to enter the Promised Land (Num 14:39-45). As a result of their enmity, Moses instructed Israel to destroy them (Deut 25:17-19), but the Amalekites continued to inhabit the Negev (see Judg 3:12-14; 6:33; 1 Sam 14:47-48; 15:1-35). Those who survived were Israel’s enemies (27:8; 30:1-20; 2 Sam 8:12; Ps 83:7). This remnant was finally destroyed during the reign of Hezekiah (1 Chr 4:42-43). In the book of Esther, Haman (a descendant of King Agag) embodied their animosity to the bitter end (Esth 3:1; see 1 Sam 15).”

      • When David and his men came into the city, they found it burned, and their wives and sons and daughters had been taken captive. David and his men wept loudly until they had no more strength to weep. David’s two wives had been captured- Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel who was Nabal’s widow. David was in great danger because all his men were very bitter about the loss of their sons and daughters, and they were talking about stoning him. But David drew strength from Yahweh, his God.

      • Then David told Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, “Bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David and David inquired of Yahweh, saying, “Should I pursue this band of raiders? Will I catch them?” He answered him, “Pursue them. You will catch up to them and succeed in the rescue.”

        • Guzik says, “David sought God with the help of the priest, almost certainly using the Urim and Thummim that were part of the priest’s ephod. An ephod was a special apron that priests would wear, to cover over their clothing, so the sacrificial blood and gore would splash on the ephod, not so much on their clothing…If the Urim and Thummim were discovered today, God would no more bless their use today than He would bless a re-establishment of the Old Testament priesthood. The day for the Old Testament priesthood is past for us today, being perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ. But in David’s day it was commanded of the LORD. The Urim and Thummim were effective because God’s Word gave them. In seeking God through the Urim and Thummim, David was really going back to God’s Word for guidance, because it was the word of God that commanded their place and allowed their use. Today, if we have the same focus on God’s Word, He will guide us also.”

      • So David and his 600 men set out, but when they came to the Wadi Besor, 200 of them stayed there because they were too exhausted to cross. David and the remaining 400 continued in pursuit.

          • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “Besor was a large brook in Philistine territory that emptied into the Mediterranean southwest of Gaza. David’s men had traveled for three days (30:1) and were now in hot pursuit of the Amalekites without having rested. David did not upbraid them or drive them on mercilessly. See 30:23-25.”

      • They found an Egyptian in the open country and brought him to David. They gave him some bread to eat and water to drink, some pressed figs and two clusters of raisins. After he had eaten he revived because he hadn’t had anything to eat or drink for three days and three nights. Then David asked him, “Who do you belong to and where are you from?” He answered, “I am an Egyptian- the servant of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me three days ago when I got sick. We conducted a raid on the Negev of the Kerethites, the territory of Judah, and on the Negev of Caleb, and we burned Ziklag.” Then David asked him, “Will you lead me to this band of raiders?” He replied, “Swear to me before God that you won’t kill me or hand me over to my master and I’ll take you down to them.”

      • ESV Study Bible notes, “Bread here may simply refer to bread, or it may be a general term for food, so that what they specifically gave the Egyptian is stated in the next sentence…’Cherethites’ [or Kerethites] seems to be a synonym for ‘Philistines’ in Ezek 25:16 and Zeph 2:5. Since the Philistines are known to be of Aegean origin, the word probably derived from ‘Cretan.’ So the Negeb of the Cherethites is probably southern Philistia. The Neveb of Caleb is the area south of Hebron.”

        • Guzik adds, “As David and the 600 men pursued the Amalekites, they came across a man collapsed in the wilderness. It would be easy and logical, to ignore this man because they had a ‘much greater’ mission in pursing the Amalekites. But David and his men showed unexpected kindness and they gave him bread and he ate, and they let him drink water…In showing unexpected kindness to this Egyptian, God showed David unexpected blessing. The Egyptian promised to guide David to the camp of the Amalekites.”

David Defeats the Amalekites

      • So he led him down, and there they were, spread out all over the land, eating and drinking and dancing because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and the land of Judah. And David attacked them from twilight until the evening of the next day. None of them escaped with the exception of 400 young men who got away on camels. David got back everything the Amalekites had taken and he rescued his two wives. Nothing was missing: young or old, son or daughter, plunder or anything else that had been taken. David brought everything back. David took all the flocks and herds and his men drove the livestock in front of him saying, “This is David’s plunder.”

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “The word translated ‘twilight’ usually means ‘dusk’ but occasionally it can also mean ‘dawn,’ and the sense here is disputed. If it means ‘dawn,’ David and his men probably waited until morning to attack in order to avoid killing their own people or letting the Amalekites escape, and the battle continued during the daylight hours until sunset, which would be considered the start of the next day…”

        • Guzik agrees adding, “Twilight is probably a bad translation here, and it should be from dawn until evening of the next day.” He continues, citing Baldwin, “The Hebrew word nesep, translated ‘dawn’ in Job 7:4 and Psalm 119:147, has this sense here… Having noted the situation, David and his men took some rest and attacked at first light, when the Amalekites would be suffering from the soporific effects of the feast, and least able to defend themselves.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “The total number of Amalekite raiders must have been quite large if 400 young men escaped.”

      • Then David came to the 200 men who had been left behind at the Wadi Besor because they had been too exhausted to follow him. They came out to meet David and the men who were with him. As David and his men drew near he greeted them. But all the evil and worthless men among those who had gone with David said, “Since they didn’t go out with us we won’t share any of the plunder we recovered, except each man may take his wife and children and go.”

        • Guzik writes, “When David returned, these men of the supply camp saw their own possessions among the spoils of battle and they wanted them back. The wicked and worthless men (apparently, there were some among David’s men) protested, and said they could only have back every man’s wife and children, but none of their possessions.”

      • But David said, “No, my brothers! Look at what Yahweh has given us. He has protected us and delivered the band of raiders who attacked us over into our hands. Who would listen to your proposal? The share of the one who goes into battle will be the same as the share of the one who stayed behind with the supplies. All will share equally.”

        • NET Bible’s text critical notes say, “This clause is difficult in the MT. The present translation accepts the text as found in the MT and understands this clause to be elliptical, with an understood verb such as ‘look’ or ‘consider.’ On the other hand, the LXX seems to reflect a slightly different Hebrew text, reading ‘after’ where the MT has ‘my brothers.’ The Greek translation yields the following translation: ‘You should not do this after the Lord has delivered us.’ Although the Greek reading should be taken seriously, it seems better to follow the MT here.”

      • From that day forward he made this a statute and ordinance for Israel and it continues to this day.

        • NET Bible’s text critical notes writes, “Heb ‘a statute and a judgment.’ [‘a statute and ordinance’ above] The expression is a hendiadys.”

          • What is a hendiadys? Studylight’s Biblical Lexicon on figures of speech in the Bible explains, “Lit., one by means of two. Two words employed, but only one thing, or idea, intended. One of the two words expresses the thing, and the other (of synonymous, or even different, signification, not a second thing or idea) intensifies it by being changed (if a noun) into an adjective of the superlative degree, which is, by this means, made especially emphatic.”

      • When David returned to 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 Yahweh’s enemies.” This was a gift for those in the following locations: for those in Bethel, in Ramoth of the Negev, in Jattir, in Aroer, in Siphmoth, in Eshtemoa, in Racal, in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, in the cities of the Kenites, in Hormah, in Bor Ashan, in Athach, in Hebron, and for those in all the places where David and his men had roamed.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “David extended his generosity to influential people throughout his own tribal area, possibly to secure their support for him as king…The places mentioned here were all in southern Judah. David eventually emerged from this territory as king (see 2 Sam 2:1-4). From Hebron, David reigned as king over Judah for 7 ½ years (2 Sam 2:1-7; 5:5).”

        • ESV Study Bible gets more specific, “Hebron was the major city in the area. Bethel is not the famous Bethel (7:16; 10:3; 13:2) but an otherwise unknown city in Judah. Jattir and Eshtemoa are Levitical cities in the Judean hills (Josh 15:48, 50; 21:14); Bor-ashan is probably Ashan in the Shephelah (Josh 19:7). The locations of the other places are uncertain. The position of Hebron at the end of the list points toward David going to Hebron and being made king (2 Sam 2:4).”

Click here to go to chapter 31