1 Samuel 30:1-31

David fights against the Amalekites

1 David and his men arrived at Ziklag three days after they left King Achish. They found that the Amalekites had attacked Ziklag and towns in the south of Judah. The Amalekites had destroyed Ziklag with fire. 2 They had caught the women and the other people who were in the town, both young people and old people. They did not kill any of them, but they took them away as prisoners.

30:2God had told Saul that he must kill all the Amalekites (see 1 Samuel 15). But Saul did not obey God. Now the Amalekites caused trouble for David.

3 So when David and his men arrived at Ziklag, they saw that the Amalekites had destroyed the city. The Amalekites had taken away their wives, their sons and their daughters as prisoners. 4 David and his men wept loudly. They continued to weep until they had no strength to weep any more. 5 The Amalekites had taken both of David's wives: Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail from Carmel, who was Nabal's widow. 6 David was very upset because his men were complaining. They wanted to kill him with stones. His men were very upset because they had lost their sons and their daughters. But David trusted the Lord his God to make him strong.

7 Then David spoke to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son. David said to him, ‘Bring the priest's ephod to me.’ So Abiathar took the ephod to David. 8 David asked the Lord, ‘Should I chase after the men who attacked our town? Will I catch them?’

The Lord answered, ‘Yes, chase after them and you will certainly catch them. You will rescue your families.’

30:8David used the special stones in the ephod (Urim and Thummim) to find out God's answer.

9-10 So David and his 600 men left Ziklag. They arrived at Besor stream. Some of the men were too tired to go across the valley. So 200 men remained there. David and the other 400 men continued to chase after the Amalekites.

30:9-10Besor was a small stream in a valley that was about 19 kilometres (12 miles) south-west of Ziklag.

11 David's men found an Egyptian man in a field. They took him to David. They gave to man some water to drink and food to eat. 12 They gave him some dried figs and some raisins. Then be became stronger, because he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days.

13 David asked the man, ‘Who is your master? Where do you come from?’

The young man answered, ‘I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite man. My master left me here three days ago because I was ill. 14 We had attacked the south part of Judah, where the Kerethites live. We also attacked the land where Caleb's clan live. We destroyed Ziklag with fire too.’

30:14The Kerethites were a Philistine tribe that helped David. See 2 Samuel 8:18. Caleb's land was to the south of Hebron town.

15 David said to him, ‘Can you take me to find these men?’

The man said, ‘Please promise me in God's name that you will not kill me. Promise me that you will not take me back to my master. If you do that, I will lead you to find them.’

16 So the Egyptian man took David to find the Amalekites. The men were sitting everywhere, all over the ground. They were having a party, eating and drinking. They were happy because they had taken so many things from the towns of the Philistines and from the people in Judah.

17 That evening, David attacked the Amalekites. The fight continued until the next evening. David and his men killed all of the Amalekites except for 400 young men. Those 400 men rode away on their camels. 18 David got back everything that the Amalekites had taken. And he rescued his two wives. 19 The people had lost nothing. David brought everyone back, the young people and the old people, the sons and the daughters. He brought back all the valuable things and everything that the Amalekites had taken. 20 David took all the sheep, goats and cows from the Amalekites. His men led these animals in front of the other animals. They said, ‘These animals will belong to David!’

21 David returned to the 200 men who had stayed beside the Besor stream. These men had been too tired to go with David. They came to meet David and the men who were with him. When David met them, he happily said ‘hello’ to them. 22 But some of the men who had gone with David were wicked and stupid. They said, ‘These men did not come with us to attack the Amalekites. So we will not give them any of the things that we have brought back. Each man can have only his wife and his children. Then they must take them back home.’

23 David said, ‘No, my brothers. You cannot do that. The Lord has given all these things to us. He has kept us safe. He has helped us to win against the enemies who attacked us. 24 Nobody will agree with what you say. Each person will receive an equal part. The men who stayed here with our things and the men who went to fight will all receive the same amount.’

25 David made this a rule for the Israelites, and they still obey it.

26 David arrived back at Ziklag with all the things that they had taken from the Amalekites. He sent some of the things to the leaders of Judah who were his friends. David sent this message, ‘Here is a gift for you. We took these things from the Lord's enemies.’

27 David sent gifts to the leaders in these towns:

  • Bethel, Ramoth in the desert in the south, Jattir,
  • 28 Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, 29 Racal,
  • the towns where the clan of Jerahmeel live,
  • the towns where the Kenites live,
  • 30 Hormah, Bor Ashan, Athach 31 and Hebron.
  • David also sent gifts to the people in the towns that he and his men had visited.