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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Samuel 30

 

 

Verse 1

1 Samuel 30:1 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;

Ver. 1. Were come to Ziklag on the third day.] For so long they were in coming from the camp of the Philistines. See 2 Samuel 1:2.

That the Amalekites had invaded the south.] Of Judea, David’s country, who had lately so slaughtered them, but not wholly destroyed them. It is said of Carthage, that Rome was more troubled with it when it was half destroyed, than when it stood whole: so here, for now these Amalekites were enraged, and sought revenge.

And smitten Ziklag, and burnt it with fire.] Taking the advantage of David’s absence. And this was all that he got by fleeing to the Philistines, and marching among them. They sent him away as a man not to be trusted; and Ziklag smarts and smokes for their attempt against God’s people. But God had a holy hand in all, both for the chastising of David’s diffidence and dissimulation, for the further punishment of the cursed Amalekites, and for the endearing of David to his own people by the fame of his victory, and the largess he sent them. [1 Samuel 30:26]


Verse 2

1 Samuel 30:2 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.

Ver. 2. And had taken the women captives.] Perhaps out of covetousness to make prize of them. This is likewise the practice of seducers. [2 Timothy 3:6 2 Peter 2:3] Egregiam vero laudem! &c.

They slew not any, either great or small] By God’s restraint they took up with an unbloody revenge; while David, roving against the Amalekites not many days before, left neither man nor woman alive.


Verse 3

1 Samuel 30:3 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.

Ver. 3. And, behold, it was burned with fire.] Such is the woe and the waste of war. And now David was at his worst, - this sad accident was worse to him than all the evil that had befallen him from his youth until now, as Joab said in another case:, [2 Samuel 19:7] - a sign that deliverance was at next near by; as when things are at worst, we say they will mend.


Verse 4

1 Samuel 30:4 Then David and the people that [were] with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.

Ver. 4. Lifted up their voice, and wept.] Wept their utmost. They held not that stoical apathy, but testified their great grief for their sins and their sufferings by a flood of tears, which are called the blood of the soul.

Expletur lachrymis egeriturque dolor.


Verse 5

1 Samuel 30:5 And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite.

Ver. 5. And David’s two wives were taken captives.] This was a very great aggravation of his grief; for good wives are rare commodities, their price is above that of rubies. [Proverbs 31:10] What huge sums offered Darius to Alexander for the ransom of his dear wife!


Verse 6

1 Samuel 30:6 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.

Ver. 6. And David was greatly distressed.] So that he knew not which way to look, but heavenward. See 1 Samuel 30:3.

For the people spake of stoning him.] As the chief cause of their calamity, by carrying them all after Achish to no purpose; whereby their city was exposed to the spoil of the enemy.

Because the soul of all the people was grieved.] Imbittered and enraged; their great losses had put them into an anger, and David into danger.

But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.] He ran to his cordial. Virtus lecythos habet in malis, he turned into his counting house, and there saw himself well stored, and well underlaid, as we say. He had that which supported him in the fail of outward comforts - viz., the power, promises, and fatherly providence of God; who is here called his God, as being in covenant with him, never to fail him nor forsake him. No marvel that God remembereth David in all his troubles, since David did in all his troubles thus remember his God. If Saul could have done thus, he would never have been his own death’s man. See Habakkuk 3:17-18. {See Trapp on "Habakkuk 3:17"} {See Trapp on "Habakkuk 3:18"}


Verse 7

1 Samuel 30:7 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.

Ver. 7. I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod.] Some other times, when he should, he called not for it; but proceeded only upon his own head. Now being in this great distress, though very desirous to pursue his enemies, and recover his wives, he would not go without God’s approbation and direction. We are usually best when at worst.


Verse 8

1 Samuel 30:8 And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake [them], and without fail recover [all].

Ver. 8. Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them.] The mouth and ears of God, shut to Saul, are open to David. "Then shall ye return and discern," &c. [Malachi 3:18]


Verse 9

1 Samuel 30:9 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.

Ver. 9. He and the six hundred men.] Mighty men, and chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field, [2 Samuel 17:8] of redoubted and redoubled resolution.


Verse 10

1 Samuel 30:10 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.

Ver. 10. He and four hundred men.] For those six hundred were too many for God to work by, as 7:4. He delighteth to help his people "with a little help." [Daniel 11:34]

For two hundred abode behind.] Being either so weary, or so lazy, for the word will bear both, saith Vatablus, (a) that they marched no farther. Piscator noteth, that of the Hebrew word here used cometh pheger, for a dead carcass: to show that these two hundred were so weak and weary, that they were well nigh dead.


Verse 11

1 Samuel 30:11 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;

Ver. 11. And they found an Egyptian in the field.] Cast off, sick and ready to perish, by his cruel master - much unlike that good centurion in the gospel - but provided by God to be a guide to David, and a means of ruin to his wretched master, and the rest of his company.


Verse 12

1 Samuel 30:12 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.

Ver. 12. And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs.] All this they did for him out of their humanity and charity, before they knew whether he could or would do them any service.

His spirit came again to him.] For in nature were it not for nutrition, the natural life would be soon extinguished.


Verse 13

1 Samuel 30:13 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.

Ver. 13. And my master left me, because three days agone.] He should the rather have looked to him, and taken order for his carriage and cure; as did the good Samaritan for a mere stranger. But this is merces mundi, the world’s wages: and Eucherius here observeth, that the world usually serveth her servants in this sort, casting them off when at worst: and then God taketh them up, those that belong to his election, and not only relieveth them, but maketh great use of them in the Christian warfare.


Verse 14

1 Samuel 30:14 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.

Ver. 14. Upon the south of the Cherethites,] i.e., Of the Philistines. [1 Samuel 30:16] See Ezekiel 21:15, Zephaniah 2:5. Some think the Cretians might from these have their name and original.

And upon the south of Caleb,] i.e., Of the Calebites, amongst whom lay David’s possessions which he had with Abigail.


Verse 15

1 Samuel 30:15 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.

Ver. 15. That thou wilt neither kill me.] For a traitor to mine own company, and therefore not fit to live. How the Turkish Basha punished him that betrayed the Rhodes to him, is well known. Men hate the traitor, though they love the treason: the traitor is odious, though the treason may be commodious.


Verse 16

1 Samuel 30:16 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.

Ver. 16. And when he had brought him down.] For he knew by some means where they would rendezvous; and there they were spread abroad at random. Security ushereth in destruction, as it did not many years since at Verona in Italy. The story is this Nicolaus Picinninus, fighting against the Venetians, and being beaten by them, rallied his forces, and suddenly set upon Verona, fearing nothing less than a beaten enemy, and took it. But whilst his soldiers were plundering, and pleasing themselves in their so-soon-gotten victory, they were easily overcome again by Francis Sfortia coming unexpectedly upon them. So that that city was twice together taken by the same means, securitate et negligentia utrisque exitiali, saith the historian; that is, by security and negligence, destructive to both parties. (a)

Eating and drinking, and dancing.] Or, Keeping holiday. So Abraham found and routed Chedorlaomer and his army: [Genesis 14:15] Ahab, the Syrians: [1 Kings 20:16] Tomyris, the Persians: the Turks, twenty thousand Dutchmen in Joppa, drinking themselves drunk upon Martin’s day, their arch-saint. (b) In the fight at Bannockburn, in Scotland, (c) where the English were, under Edward II, overthrown, in the English camp wassail {A salutation used when presenting a cup of wine to a guest, or drinking the health of a person, the reply being drink-hail.} and drink-hail {The customary courteous reply to a pledge in drinking in early English times. The cup was offered with the salutation wæs hail ‘health or good luck to you’ (see wassail), to which the reply was drink hail, ‘drink good health or good luck’.} were thundered extraordinarily, as accounting themselves sure of the victory. (d) Far otherwise the Bruce’s army, which by his commandment spent the evening in making humble confession of their sins, and so to fit themselves on the morrow to receive the sacrament, &c.


Verse 17

1 Samuel 30:17 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.

Ver. 17. From the twilight even unto the evening of the next day.] Heb., Of their morrow, i.e., of David’s men’s morrow; (a) the morrow after they set forth to pursue the Amalekites, whom they found it no hard matter to stab with the sword, who were intoxicated before.

Upon camels,] i.e., Upon coursers or dromedaries.


Verse 18

1 Samuel 30:18 And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives.

Ver. 18. All that the Amalekites.] Non nisi cum faenore.

rescued his two wives.] Who might be vexed, but not violated, and now were double endeared to him.


Verse 19

1 Samuel 30:19 And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any [thing] that they had taken to them: David recovered all.

Ver. 19. And there was nothing lacking to them.] Here the end was better than the beginning: as the contrary befell the Amalekites, who lately framed comedies out of poor Ziklag’s tragedies.


Verse 20

1 Samuel 30:20 And David took all the flocks and the herds, [which] they drave before those [other] cattle, and said, This [is] David’s spoil.

Ver. 20. And David took all the flocks,] i.e., All the rest of the flocks and herds which the enemy had pillaged from other places.

And said, This is David’s spoil.] The soldiers said so, and as some think, sung so, this being the burden of their triumphant song. This was better, I trow, than to speak of stoning him: to make him amends for which, some say they gave him all this booty.


Verse 21

1 Samuel 30:21 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.

Ver. 21. That they could not follow David.] Could not, or would not. {See Trapp on "1 Samuel 30:10"}


Verse 22

1 Samuel 30:22 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.

Ver. 22. Of those that went with David.] As good as he was, he had bad men and Belialists in his retinue: although he had done his part by them to make them better. {Psalms 34:11; Psalms 34:1, with title}

Because they went not with us.] But did they not as good service in staying behind, and guarding the carriages? which if it had not been done, you would have fought but faintly.

We will not give them aught.] A man had as good deal with a cannibal, as with a truly covetous captive.


Verse 23

1 Samuel 30:23 Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand.

Ver. 23. Ye shall not do so, my brethren.] So they were by place and race, but not by grace; but he hoped they might become better hereafter; and therefore giveth them this compellation.


Verse 24

1 Samuel 30:24 For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part [is] that goeth down to the battle, so [shall] his part [be] that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.

Ver. 24. For who will hearken unto you?] Who that is unbiassed and impartial? Who that hath any ingenuity? &c.

But as his part is that, &c.] This is so far ex aequo et bono, agreeable to good reason, that the Romans also had the like law amongst them, as Polybius writeth. (a) See the like done, Numbers 31:25-40, Joshua 22:10-11; Joshua 2:1-24 Ma 8:28.


Verse 25

1 Samuel 30:25 And it was [so] from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day.

Ver. 25. That he made it a statute,] i.e., He revived and ratified it as most reasonable. The truth is, that all God’s laws are grounded upon so much good reason, that though he had never made them, yet it had been our wisest way to have lived according to them; since his will is not only recta but regula, the very rule of right.


Verse 26

1 Samuel 30:26 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

Ver. 26. He sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah.] Thereby to show his liberalitas muneraria, and so to make them his friends; for "a gift maketh room for a man"; [Proverbs 18:16] it "is as a precious stone," [Proverbs 17:8] and hath a marvellous conciliating property; it is a very loadstone. Much about this time were Saul and his sons slain, and thereby way made for David to the crown; whereunto these presents would not a little conduce. The Roman emperors were wont to insinuate into their soldiers and subjects by gifts and congiaries. (a)


Verse 27

1 Samuel 30:27 To [them] which [were] in Bethel, and to [them] which [were] in south Ramoth, and to [them] which [were] in Jattir,

Ver. 27. To them which were in Bethel.] Or, At God’s house, i.e., at Kirjathjearim, where the ark now was. See 1 Samuel 7:16; 1 Samuel 10:3.


Verse 28

1 Samuel 30:28 And to [them] which [were] in Aroer, and to [them] which [were] in Siphmoth, and to [them] which [were] in Eshtemoa,

Ver. 28. In Siphmoth.] Alias Shephum.


Verse 29

1 Samuel 30:29 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,

Ver. 29. Cities of the Kenites.] Jethro’s offspring, ever friendly to the godly party.


Verse 30

1 Samuel 30:30 And to [them] which [were] in Hormah, and to [them] which [were] in Chorashan, and to [them] which [were] in Athach,

Ver. 30. Chorashan.] Called also Ashan. [Joshua 19:7]


Verse 31

1 Samuel 30:31 And to [them] which [were] in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt.

Ver. 31. Were wont to haunt.] When they fled and hid from Saul, everywhere they found friends. So did the Waldenses in the worst of times. From Mentz in Germany, to Milan in Italy, they could pass and lodge with those of their own profession all along; neither forgot they that apostolical precept, "And be ye thankful," [Colossians 3:15] viz., to your friends and benefactors.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 30:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-samuel-30.html. 1865-1868.

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