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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

1 Samuel 30

 

 

Verse 1

And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;

The Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag. While the strength of the Philistine forces was poured out of their country into the plain of Esdraelon, the Amalekite marauders seized the opportunity of the defenseless state of Philistia to invade the southern territory (Negeb) of the Cherethites (Philistines) and of Judah (1 Samuel 30:14-26). Of course, David's town suffered from the ravages of these nomad plunderers, in revenge for his recent raid upon their territory.


Verse 2

And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way.

Slew not any ... but carried them away. Their conduct seems to stand in favourable contrast to that of David (1 Samuel 27:11). But their apparent clemency did not arise from humane considerations. It is traceable to the ancient war usages of the East, where the men of war, on the capture of a city were unsparingly put to death; but there were no warriors in Ziklag at the time, and the women and boys were reserved for slaves, and the old people were spared out of respect to age.


Verse 3

So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.

Came to the city, and, behold, it was burnt with fire. The language implies that the smoke of the conflagration was still visible, and the sacking very recent.


Verse 4-5

Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 6

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.

David was greatly distressed. He had reason, not only on his own personal account (1 Samuel 30:5), but on account of the vehement outcry and insurrectionary threats against him for having left the place so defenseless that the families of his men fell an unresisting prey to the enemy. Under the pressure of so unexpected and widespread a calamity, of which he was upbraided as the indirect occasion, the spirit of any other leader, guided by ordinary motives, would have sunk; "but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God." His faith supplied him with inward resources of comfort and energy, and through the seasonable inquiries he made by Urim, he inspired confidence by ordering an immediate pursuit of the plunderers.


Verse 7-8

And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 9

So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed.

Came to the brook Besor - supposed to be Wady Sheriah, the deep bed of a winter torrent, which is distantly traceable from the adjoining heights, in its sinuous course up to its source, far away in the distant hills of Judah. It is about 30 yards in width, and is flanked on both sides by a range of steep precipitous banks, pouring in the raining season a copious volume of muddy water to the sea; but with the return of spring this full current dwindles down to a few stagnant pools, and the wady becomes entirely dry. The verdant bank of a stream naturally offend a convenient rest to the solders, who, through fatigue, were unable to continue the pursuit. But the torrent was probably full, and from the impetuosity of its swollen current difficult to be forded, so that 200 of the men, faint and exhausted with the previous forced and long-continued pursuit, declared their total inability to proceed any further, and sank down on the grass. This was a new trial to the faith of David, to pursue the enemy with the diminution of his little army by one-third. But as the occasion demanded energy and despatch, he determined to advance as rapidly as possible with his reduced forces, relying on the encouraging oracle of the Lord.


Verse 10

But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 11

And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water;

They found an Egyptian ...


Verse 12

And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights.

He had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights. According to the Oriental mode of reckoning, three consecutive parts of days were counted three days (Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12:40; Matthew 27:63; Mark 8:31). Old and home-born slaves are usually treated with great kindness. But a purchased or captured slave must look to himself; for, if feeble or sick, his master will leave him to perish rather than encumber himself with additional burden. This Egyptian seems to have recently fallen into the hands of an Amalekite; and his master having belonged to the marauding party that had made the attack on Ziklag, he could give useful information as to the course taken by them on their return.


Verse 13

And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days agone I fell sick.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 14

We made an invasion upon the south of the Cherethites, and upon the coast which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire.

The Cherethites - i:e., the Philistines (Ezekiel 25:16; Zephaniah 2:5).


Verse 15

And David said to him, Canst thou bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company.

David said ... Canst thou bring me down to this company? The Hebrews were led, from the physical conformation of Palestine, to regard the north as higher, and the south us lower. Thus David was brought down to the country of the Amalekites which lay south from Israel. Swear unto me by God. Whether there was still among these idolatrous tribes a lingering belief in one God, or this Egyptian wished to bind David by the God whom the Hebrews worshipped, the solemn sanction of an oath was mutually recognized.


Verse 16

And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and 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.

They were spread abroad upon all the earth. Believing that David and all his men of war were far away, engaged with the Philistine expedition, they deemed themselves perfectly secure, and abandoned themselves to all manner of barbaric revelry [ chog


Verse 17

And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled.

There escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled - rather dromedaries (see a story exactly parallel, Robinson's 'Biblical Researches,' 2:, p. 584). The people as well as the booty taken from Ziklag was recovered, and, besides, a great amount of spoil which they had collected in wide freebooting excursion.


Verses 18-20

And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 21

And David came to the two hundred men, which were so faint that they could not follow David, whom they had made also to abide at the brook Besor: and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that were with him: and when David came near to the people, he saluted them.

David came to the two hundred men, which were so faint ... This unexpected accession of spoil was nearly proving an occasion of quarrel, through the selfish cupidity of some of his followers, and serious consequences might have ensued had they not been prevented by the prudence of the leader, who enacted as a standing ordinance the equitable rule that all the soldiers should share alike (see the notes at Numbers 31:11; Numbers 31:27).


Verses 22-25

Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 26

And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD

When David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah - i:e., as appears from the following list of the places, in the south and east of Judah. This was intended as an acknowledgment to the leading men in those towns and villages of Judah which had ministered to his necessities in the course of his various wanderings. It was the dictate of an amiable and grateful heart; and the effect of this well-timed liberality was to bring a large accession of numbers to his camp (1 Chronicles 12:22). The enumeration of these places shows what a numerous and influential party of adherents to his cause he could count within his own tribe.


Verse 27

To them which were in Bethel, and to them which were in south Ramoth, and to them which were in Jattir,

To them which were in Beth-el - called sometimes Bethul, and Chesil; a town in the southern part of Judah (see the note at Joshua 12:16; Joshua 15:30; Joshua 19:4 : cf. 1 Chr. 5:29-30 ).

South Ramoth. Four MSS. of acknowledged authority read Ramoth-negeb (see the note at Joshua 11:8), a fortified town situated on a low ridge (Robinson's 'Biblical Researches,' 2:, p. 615; Wilson's 'Lands of the Bible,' 1:, p. 342; Lord Lindsay's 'Letters,' 2:, p. 47; Van de Velde, 2:, p. 130).

Jattir - a town in the highlands of Judah (see the note at Joshua 15:48).


Verse 28

And to them which were in Aroer, and to them which were in Siphmoth, and to them which were in Eshtemoa,

Aroer - the modern 'Ar'ar'ah, situated somewhere in Wady Ar'ar'ah, which was not far from Beer-sheba.

Siphmoth - not identified.

Eshtemoa - now Semu'a (see the note at Joshua 15:50; Joshua 21:14).


Verse 29

And to them which were in Rachal, and to them which were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to them which were in the cities of the Kenites,

Rachal - not identified.

The cities of the Jerahmeelites - (see the note at 1 Samuel 27:10.)

Kenites - (see the note at 1 Samuel 27:10.)


Verse 30

And to them which were in Hormah, and to them which were in Chorashan, and to them which were in Athach,

Hormah - or Zephath (see the note at 1 Samuel 15:30).

Chor-ashan - not identified.

Athach - unknown.


Verse 31

And to them which were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt.

Hebron - (see the note at Genesis 13:18; Genesis 14:15; Genesis 23:19; Joshua 21:11.)

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 30:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-samuel-30.html. 1871-8.

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