1 Samuel 30


‘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 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. When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 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.’ 1 Samuel 30:1-6

David Destroys The Amalekites

After the events with Achish, in the previous chapter, we read here that the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. This problem should never have happened if Saul had done what he was supposed to do, 1 Samuel 15:1-33. The Amalekites took full advantage of the chance to capture and burn Ziklag whilst David and his men were away.

After seeing what the Amalekites had done, David wept until he couldn’t weep anymore. The grief was so great that there was talk of rebellion among David’s own men but David finds strength from the Lord. As is often the case, those who find themselves in leadership positions, find themselves very alone at times, but they have learned to trust God to help them through those lovely and difficult times.

‘Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, ‘Bring me the ephod.’ Abiathar brought it to him, 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.’ David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Valley, where some stayed behind. Two hundred of them were too exhausted to cross the valley, but David and the other four hundred continued the pursuit. They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat—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. 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. We raided the Negev of the Kerethites, some territory belonging to Judah and the Negev of Caleb. And we burned Ziklag.’ 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.’ 1 Samuel 30:7-15

David once again inquires of the Lord, this was usually done using the Urim and Thummim, Exodus 28:20 / Numbers 27:21 / 1 Samuel 22:10 / 1 Samuel 28:6 / 1 Samuel 30:8.

David continues to pursue the Amalekites with six hundred men whilst leaving two hundred men behind, these were probably the older men because they couldn’t keep up with the younger men, 1 Samuel 30:21.

Notice David meets an Egyptian who was a slave of an Amalekites, this again reminds us just how ruthless the Amalekites were. This poor Egyptian was basically left for dead as it appears that the Amalekites were in a hurry to get back to return to their territory before the Philistines returned from their battle with Israel.

‘He led David down, and there they were, scattered over the countryside, eating, drinking and revelling because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from Judah. 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. David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back. He took all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock, saying, ‘This is David’s plunder.’ 1 Samuel 30:16-20

Because of their success with all the raids they carried it, it appears it’s now party time, a time to celebrate. David and his took advantage of their drunken state and killed everyone except for 400 men on camels.

The good news is that everyone who was taken captive earlier was now freed, and David and the men managed to retrieve all the spoils that the Amalekites had taken from the Philistines and Israelites.

‘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. 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.’ 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. 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.’ David made this a statute and ordinance for Israel from that day to this. 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.’ David sent it to those who were in Bethel, Ramoth Negev and Jattir; to those in Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa and Rakal; to those in the towns of the Jerahmeelites and the Kenites; to those in Hormah, Bor Ashan, Athak and Hebron; and to those in all the other places where he and his men had roamed.’ 1 Samuel 30:21-31

When David and his men returned to the two hundred men he left behind earlier, 1 Samuel 30:10, some of David’s men didn’t want to share any of the spoils with them. But notice that those who complained about this were evil men and troublemakers, but David in his wisdom disagreed.

David explains the principle by which all his battles would be governed. In other words, as far as David is concerned, those who are on the front line are just as important as those who aren’t on the front line, Numbers 31:27-47 / Joshua 22:8.

Notice also that David sent some of the spoils to the elders of Judah who were his friends. We must understand that David wasn’t trying to bribe them, the tribe of Judah had always been his friend, 1 Kings 12:20.

David’s gift to them and all the surrounding towns was a way of expressing his thanks for their loyalty and their recognition that David was God’s choice to be the next king of Israel.

Go To 1 Samuel 31


"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."