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1Sa 30:1 When David and his men had come to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid on the South and on Ziklag, and had attacked Ziklag and burned it-
These Amalekites were those whose settlements David and his men had been massacring. It was of course providential that David returned when he did, rather than remaining say another week in northern Israel fighting Saul's army. Although he experienced a tragedy, it is clear from the preceding chapters that all these things were closely orchestrated by God.

1Sa 30:2 and had taken captive the women and all who were in it, both young and old. They didn’t kill any, but carried them off and went their way-
This is absolutely surprising, because David and his men had massacred the Amalekite settlements, leaving nobody alive to report to Achish what had happened. All through the record, there is the same hallmark of Divine grace.

1Sa 30:3 When David and his men came to the city they found it had been burned, and their wives, their sons and their daughters taken captive-
Burning with fire was perhaps a sign of devotion of the town to their gods, just as Israel had burnt Hazor (Josh. 11:13) and Midian (Num. 31:10).

1Sa 30:4 Then David and his men wept aloud until they had no more power to weep-
Heb. 'lifted up their voices and wept'. The phrase occurs around 10 times in the Hebrew Bible, and the context of each usage implies that this was not just mourning for that which had been lost, but mourning in the desperate hope and plea to God that things might change. But they wept until there was no more power to weep; they felt that the loss was permanent and now in fact there could be no remedy. Surveying the smouldering town, with no life anywhere, it would have seemed at first blush that their families had been burnt to death. And it would have been hard, because of the heat and smoke, to ascertain in depth whether there were bodies beneath the burning ruins; but they assumed so. Perhaps it was only at :8 that David learned that there was the possibility of recovering the spoil, implying their families had been taken captives and not burnt. The relevance to the exiles was that captivity and a burnt city [as Jerusalem was burnt] might seem irreversible; but the potential for restoration was there for them as it was for David at this time.  

1Sa 30:5 David’s two wives were taken captive: Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail who had been the wife of Nabal the Carmelite-
It would have been a far cry for Abigail from the days of living in the prosperous family of Nabal in Carmel. We wonder whether these women were raped, which would have been the usual thing in such circumstances. The taking captivity of the women is stressed three times (:2,3,5) as if this was the hardest loss to cope with.

1Sa 30:6 David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because they were grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters-
Stoning was the punishment for heresy. Their superstitious minds doubtless assumed David had sinned in some way, and they were all suffering the consequence of that sin. His apparent plan to lie to Achish and then turn around and fight for Israel (see on 1 Sam. 29:8) would have been hard to sell to 600 men. And there was likely a disease about the careful policy of lying to Achish about having attacked Hebrew settlements.

But David strengthened himself in Yahweh his God-
Just the same phrase is used of how Jonathan had met with David and strengthened himself in Yahweh (1 Sam. 23:16). It happens with us too that the encouragement others give us, we later have to give to ourselves when alone and isolated. With 600 of his own men against him, David literally had to grab hold of himself (Heb.) in Yahweh. And we must all pass through these times when even those on our side turn upon us, and we are left with Yahweh alone.

1Sa 30:7 David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, Please bring me here the ephod. Abiathar brought the ephod to David-
We note that they had taken the ephod with them into battle. It was brought to David, because David was going to use it himself as the high priest did, such was his personal relationship with God. He didn't ask Abiathar to get an answer for him, he himself used the urim and thummim stones, and they flashed out answers in response to his prayers.

1Sa 30:8 and David inquired of Yahweh saying, Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them? He answered, Pursue, for you will certainly overtake them and recover all-
The urim and thummim in the ephod gave yes / no answers to the various questions posed. I suggested on :4 that this was perhaps the first intimation the men had that their families were alive and not burnt to death. David would surely have seen the similarities between his situation and that of Abraham, who went to Damascus to rescue Lot with his 318 servants, and won an amazing victory. But David failed to follow Abraham as he might have done in this matter; see on :20. One advantage of familiarity with the Biblical record is that we perceive how circumstances repeat; what we pass through has its Biblical precedent in the biographies which were selected by God and recorded there, inspiring us to follow onwards in faith. Truly through patience and comfort of the scriptures we have hope (Rom. 15:4).

1Sa 30:9 So David and the six hundred men who were with him went to the brook Besor, where those who were left behind had stayed-
LXX "the superfluous ones stopped", the 200 weaker ones of :10, who were unnecessary for the victory. This would be a clear connection with Gideon, whose fighting force was also cut down by God next to a river. David had previously been in situations allusive to those featuring Gideon. He would have seen that this was God encouraging him in those similarities, urging him to follow Gideon's faith to the end. According to :21 LXX "he had caused them to remain by the brook of Bosor". See on :21.

1Sa 30:10 But David pursued the Amalekites with four hundred men; two hundred had stayed behind because they were so exhausted that they couldn’t go over the brook Besor-
As noted on :9 and :21, this was because David made them remain behind. "Stayed behind" is the usual word translated "stood". It would be wrong to think they collapsed exhausted on the ground. They stood, at least in God's eyes. And perhaps they literally stood guard over the baggage (:24). We see the difference in how David treated his weak ones, and how the Amalekite treated his Egyptian servant who was too weak to continue.

1Sa 30:11 They found an Egyptian in the field and brought him to David, and gave him food and he ate, and they gave him water to drink-
Heb. 'they made him drink water'; here and in :12 the Divine cameraman is zoomed in close up upon this dehydrated man they found lying as good as dead in a field. We see them in :12 giving him exactly two clusters of raisins, and piece, but not all, of a cake of figs. This focus is perhaps to show how God always uses some human mechanism in the way He works, and that mechanism is often man at his weakest.

1Sa 30:12 They gave him a piece of a cake of figs and two clusters of raisins. When he had eaten, he revived, for he had eaten no food nor drunk any water for three days and three nights-
See on :11. They actually saved the life of that dehydrated man, left to die. Three days and nights of effective death and then resurrection, eating "a piece" of food as the Lord ate "a piece" of fish afterwards (Lk. 24:42), all makes him a strange type of the Lord Jesus. This supports the suggestion on :11, that the weakest of men are used by God and shown to have connection with the Lord Jesus.  

1Sa 30:13 David asked him, To whom do you belong? Where are you from? He said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite, and my master left me because three days ago I fell sick-
Although the Amalekites were taking understandable revenge for David massacring their settlements, they had not killed any of David's people, unlike David. And yet they are presented here as callous and uncaring (see on :16). The man had been left in the field immediately he fell sick rather than being cared for (he had not drunk water for three days, :12). For care for sick servants was a basic part of Middle Eastern culture at the time, and was also enshrined in the spirit of the law of Moses. Perhaps we are given this detail to highlight how amazing was God's grace in moving the Amalekites to not murder a single one of the many women and children they had taken captive.

1Sa 30:14 We made a raid on the South of the Cherethites and on the territory which belongs to Judah and on the South of Caleb, and we burned Ziklag with fire-
This total honesty, admitting to Israelites that he had been part of raids on Judah, with the Cherethites being David's personal bodyguards, compares with the dishonesty of David, who said he had raided these areas when he had not. The contrast is intentional. "Caleb" refers to Hebron, the town given him for an inheritance (Josh. 21:11,12). The man was his inheritance.

1Sa 30:15 David said to him, Will you lead me down to this raiding party? He said, Swear to me by God that you will neither kill me nor deliver me up into the hands of my master, and I will take you down to them-
To be delivered into the hands of his master Saul had been David's great fear for decades. He was now given an opportunity to reflect the grace he had been shown. And we too are given personal encounters and circumstances in our lives which provide us with opportunities.

1Sa 30:16 When he had led him down-
There are intended similarities with Moses coming down from the mountain and seeing Israel dancing in their drunken apostasy. That they didn't murder a single Hebrew captive is the more remarkable, seeing here and in :13 the Amalekites are presented in very bad terms.

There they were, spread around over all the ground, eating, drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines and out of the land of Judah-
The language of being spread abroad upon the eretz, the land / earth, is used of judgment. They had judged themselves by doing this. And yet we note that David and his men had pillaged the Amalekite settlements and taken their spoil for themselves. The spoil the Amalekites had now taken from David's encampment at Ziklag was likely comprised of animals and spoil which had originally been theirs, but David had taken it.

1Sa 30:17 David fought them from twilight to the evening of the next day. Not a man of them escaped except four hundred young men who rode on camels and fled-
We note how 400 Israelites defeated the Amalekites, and yet 400 Amalekites escaped. The similarity in the numbers may have been in order to teach David and his men that they too had only survived by a hairsbreadth. They were to remember in the exhilaration of victory that they had only just escaped with their lives by God's grace in previous deliverances. And this feature is potentially built in to our experiences of success, if we will perceive it.

1Sa 30:18 David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and David rescued his two wives-
There is double emphasis upon the way that "all they had taken" was restored (:19). It was all clearly of God's restorative power, that the Amalekites didn't murder anyone, and all was restored. This would have been comfort to the exiles, that God is able to restore, just as He completely restored the fortunes of Job. "Rescued / recovered" is the same word used of the restoration of the exiles from Babylon (Ez. 34:10,12; Mic. 4:10; Zech. 3:2). See on :19.

1Sa 30:19 There was nothing missing, small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that they had taken. David brought back everything-
"Brought back" translates the word usually rendered 'return' in the context of the exiles returning and being restored at the restoration. This amazing restoration, beyond all Judah could ever have imagined possible, was potentially possible through a descendant of David at their time. But so much potential was wasted by their lack of faith and preference to remain in Babylon, as it is for so many today. See on :18.

1Sa 30:20 He took all the flocks and herds, which they drove before the other livestock, and he said, This is David’s spoil-
This seems out of step with Abraham's attitude when he rescued Lot, refusing to take any spoil for himself. It’s recorded that in the ethnic cleansing which David performed, he took the spoil of those settlements for himself (1 Sam. 27:9). And now when he destroyed Ziklag, he took away their herds “and said, This is David’s spoil”. We get the impression this was another example of his wrong attitude to the shedding of blood and lack of integrity in hot blood (1 Chron. 22:8). However, the idea may be that the spoil was designated "David's spoil" and then it was this which was divided amongst David's friends in Judah. 

1Sa 30:21 David came to the two hundred men who had been so exhausted that they could not follow David, who had been left behind at the brook Besor, and they went out to meet David and the people who were with him. When David came near them he greeted them-
LXX "he had caused them to remain by the brook of Bosor". This would mean that the decision to leave them was David's and not theirs. He had learned the lesson of Gideon, and knew he didn't need numbers for victory. It was the lesson of his friend Jonathan's victory, that the Lord could save by many or by few (1 Sam. 14:6). We may learn a lesson [and David may have been Jonathan's companion at that time], and then find our grasp of it tested again, decades later.

1Sa 30:22 But all the wicked men and troublemakers among David’s followers said-
As will be noted further on :23, the situation here is intended to be analogous to that after Saul delivered Jabesh Gilead. "Wicked men" likewise talked badly of Saul after his victory and clear election by God (1 Sam. 10:27; 11:12). 

Because they didn’t go with us we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, just each man’s wife and children; then he can take them away and depart-
David's attitude is a radical inversion of all this. He not only shared the spoil with the 200 who didn't participate in the battle; he went and distributed the spoil far and wide amongst God's people. In this he looked forward to the Lord Jesus as it were sharing the spoils of His singular victory on the cross. The Lord's words of how He would "divide the spoils" of His victory may be consciously alluding to David's attitude at this point (Lk. 11:22).

1Sa 30:23 David said, You must not do that, my brothers, with what Yahweh has given us-
LXX "Ye shall not do so, after the Lord has delivered the enemy to us". If we realize that the victory is the Lord's and not ours, then all self seeking or taking of personal credit naturally finishes. David is in fact exactly copying the spirit of Saul in 1 Sam. 11:13: "Saul said, No-one is to be put to death today, for today Yahweh has worked deliverance in Israel". David now copies that spirit; and we see his humility in being willing to credit Saul with something good, and even being willing to learn from a man who hated him and later went wrong before God. The men of Jabesh are perhaps other examples of being positive about Saul's earlier life (1 Sam. 31:11). He saw the spoils as what they had been given, by grace, and now what they had fought for.

He has preserved us and delivered the forces that came against us into our hand-
David felt preserved by God from Saul and his other enemies (1 Sam. 30:23; 2 Sam. 22:44), because he had preserved or obeyed [s.w.] God's ways (2 Sam. 22:22,24; Ps. 18:21,23); whereas Saul didn't obey / preserve them and was destroyed (1 Sam. 13:13,14; 1 Chron. 10:13). Hence Ps. 145:20: "Yahweh preserves all those who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy".

1Sa 30:24 Who will listen to what you say? The share of the one who goes down to the battle shall be the same as the share of the one who stays with the baggage; they shall share alike-
LXX "for they are not inferior to us". The reference to staying with the baggage corroborates with the word used in :10; the 200 remained 'standing', standing guard, and not slumped on the ground. Again we note the contrast with how David values his weak servants, compared to how the Amalekite discarded his Egyptian servant when he was too weak to continue marching. See on :22. The word for "share" in 1 Sam. 30:24 is that used in Dt. 18:8, where the Levites were to have the same "portions" or "share". David's language choice was setting up his men to see themselves as a new priesthood.

1Sa 30:25 From that day forward he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day-
The law of Moses was added to in practical terms as situations arose in Israel's history. It was not seen as static, and this eased the way towards the idea that it could be amended and then abrogated by the Lord's work.

1Sa 30:26 When David came to Ziklag he sent some of the spoil to the elders of Judah, his friends, saying, Here is a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of Yahweh-
Note the intended contrast between friends of David and enemies of Yahweh. David is careful to show that Yahweh's enemies were the Gentile marauders of His people, and not Saul and his supporters. This matches the Lord's dividing up the spoils of His singular victory (Lk. 11:22); see on :20,24.

1Sa 30:27 He sent it to those who were in Bethel, Ramoth of the South, Jattir-
Some of these places may have been plundered by the Amalekites, since they had invaded the south of Judah (:14). The Hebrews of Judah would have received news of Saul's defeat and murder at the same time as they received news of David's victory and evidence of it in the presents sent to them. The timing was clearly Divine; for David was thereby established as the logical next king of Judah. "Bethel" here is the small settlement near Ziklag (Josh. 15:30; 19:4; 1 Chron. 4:30), not the well known Bethel in the tribe of Benjamin.

1Sa 30:28 Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa-
This is not the Aroer on the river Arnon, but some smaller settlement in southern Israel. “Shama and Jehiel the sons of Hothan the Aroerite” were amongst David’s mighty men (1 Chron. 11:44). Perhaps David hid in the area whilst on the run from Saul, and these two men went off with him. Eshtemoa was a priestly city; it would seem the priests were largely supportive of David when on the run from Saul, perhaps due to Samuel's influence (Josh. 15:50; 21:14). Siphmoth was the home town of Zabdi, who had charge of David's wine cellars (1 Chron. 27:27). Those who supported him in his wilderness years, when he seemed a hopeless case, became exalted in his kingdom. And in the type, this is true of we who support the Lord Jesus in this life.

1Sa 30:29 Racal, the cities of the Jerahmeelites, the cities of the Kenites-
The record of these names may be in order to highlight the awful lie David had told Achish in 1 Sam. 27:10, claiming he had turned his hand against his friends and supporters: "When Achish said, Against whom have you made a raid today? David would say, Against the South of Judah, or against the South of the Jerahmeelites, or against the South of the Kenites". Racal is LXX "Carmel".

1Sa 30:30 Hormah, Borashan, Athach-
Hormah ["devoted"] is the Canaanite Zephath ["watchtower"] of Jud. 1:17. The strength of the Canaanites was devoted to Yahweh, and they were supportive of David when on the run from Saul (1 Sam. 30:30).

1Sa 30:31 Hebron and to those in all the places where David himself and his men used to stay
The record has noted that some areas had betrayed him to Saul (we think of the men of Jabesh and Ziph); or like Nabal, refused to support him when in need. But clearly he had support amongst many in Judah, who had supported him over the years. And he remembered exactly who they were, and sent these presents to them- now sensing that Saul's end was near and he was to become king at least over Judah.