Scripture reading – 1 Samuel 30

The Destruction of Ziklag (1 Samuel 30:1-6)

David and his men lived at Ziklag for sixteen months and prospered amid territory held by the Philistines (1 Samuel 27:8-11). However, tragedy struck that town when David and his men accompanied King Achish and his Philistine army to the battlefront against Israel. The Amalekites, knowing the Philistines were removed, used the absence of David and his men as an opportunity to attack Ziklag and exact revenge for his raids upon their cities (1 Samuel 27:8-9). With the men away, the Amalekites encountered no opposition, took away the women, sons, and daughters, and burned the city (1 Samuel 30:1-2).

David departed the battlefront and obeyed King Achish’s request that he and his men be removed from amid the Philistine soldiers. Upon arriving at Ziklag on the third day (1 Samuel 30:1), they found the city destroyed and their wives and children missing (1 Samuel 30:3). Distraught and overcome with grief, David and his men wept until there were no more tears (1 Samuel 30:4). Grief, however, turned quickly to bitterness. David’s men set upon whom to blame, and we read that “David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him” (1 Samuel 30:6a). 

David’s Consultation with the LORD (1 Samuel 30:7-8)

David’s response to the accusations and threats is instructive, for we read that in his distress, “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:8). In other words, he found his strength in the LORD. He then commanded Abiathar, the priest, to bring the ephod [i.e., breastplate] of the high priest. Then “David inquired at the Lord…[and the LORD] answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all” (1 Samuel 30:8).

David’s Pursuit of the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30:9-15)

David obeyed the LORD without hesitation and, with his troop of six hundred men, followed after the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30:9). Exhausted from three days of travel from the battlefront and the emotional toll of their families being taken, two hundred of the six hundred men, became faint along the way and were left behind. However, David continued pursuing their families (1 Samuel 30:9-10).

They came upon an Egyptian slave whose master had abandoned him without food or water (1 Samuel 30:11-15). Reviving him with nourishment, the man agreed to lead David and his men to the Amalekite’s camp with the assurance that his life would be spared (1 Samuel 30:15).

David’s Attack and Victory over the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30:16-20)

Finding the Amalekites celebrating the spoils they had taken from Ziklag, David and his men attacked them at night, “from the twilight [darkness] even unto the evening [setting sun] of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled” (1 Samuel 30:17). God gave David and his men a glorious victory, and all that the Amalekites took was recovered, including David’s two wives (1 Samuel 30:5, 18).

David’s Distribution of the Spoils (1 Samuel 30:21-31)

David took the plunder of the Amalekites for himself and sent some as presents to the elders of Judah (1 Samuel 30:26-31). However, some among the four hundred men that traveled with David were “men of Belial” (a wicked, worthless sort). They begrudged returning the possessions of the two hundred men who had faltered in the journey and stayed behind (1 Samuel 30:9, 22). However, David intervened; he reminded those complainers that the LORD gave them victory and saved their wives and children (1 Samuel 30:23).

David’s decision became law for Israel after that, for Israel was reminded that the battle and the victory are the LORD’S. (1 Samuel 30:24-25)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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