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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 30

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 1

On the third day - This indicates that Aphek was three days’ march from Ziklag, say about 50 miles, which agrees very well with the probable situation of Aphek (1 Samuel 4:1 note). From Ziklag to Shunem would not be less than 80 or 90 miles.

The Amalekites, in retaliation of David’s raids 1 Samuel 27:8-9, invaded “the south” of Judah Joshua 15:21; but owing to the absence of all the men with David there was no resistance, and consequently the women and children were carried off as prey, and uninjured.

Verse 7

Abiathar had continued to abide with David, ever since he joined him at Keilah 1 Samuel 23:6. On inquiry of the Lord by the ephod, see Judges 1:1 note. The answers were evidently given by the Word of the Lord in the mouth of the high priest (compare John 11:51).

Verse 9

Besor - Thought to be the stream of the Wady Sheriah which enters the sea a little south of Gaza.

Verse 12

Three days and three nights - Indicating that at least so long a time had elapsed since the sack of Ziklag.

Verse 14

The Cherethites - Here used as synonymous with Philistines 1 Samuel 30:16. In David’s reign the body-guard commanded by Benaiah consisted of Cherethites and Pelethites (Philistines?) and a picked corps of six hundred men of Gath commanded by Ittai the Gittite. It would seem from this that the Cherethites and Philistines were two kindred and associated tribes, like Angles and Saxons, who took possession of the seacoast of Palestine. The Philistines, being the more powerful, gave their name to the country and the nation in general, though that of the Cherethites was not wholly extinguished. Many persons connect the name Cherethite with that of the island of Crete.

Verse 20

The meaning is, “and David took all the sheep and oxen which the Amalekites drove” (i. e. had in their possession) “before that acquisition of cattle” (namely, before what they took in their raid to the south), “and they” (the people) “said, This is David’s spoil.” This was his share as captain of the band (compare Judges 8:24-26). All the other plunder of the camp - arms, ornaments, jewels, money, clothes, camels, accoutrements, and so on - was divided among the little army. David’s motive in choosing the sheep and oxen for himself was to make presents to his friends in Judah 1 Samuel 30:26-31.

Verse 27

Bethel - i. e. Bethuel 1 Chronicles 4:30, quite in the south near Beer-sheba, Hormah, and Ziklag; or Bethul Joshua 19:4, one of the cities of the Simeonites.

South Ramoth - Rather, “Ramoth of the South country” 1 Samuel 27:10; 1Sa 30:1, 1 Samuel 30:14, so-called to distinguish it from Ramoth-Gilead, one of the Simeonite cities Joshua 19:8. Shimei, the Ramathite 1 Chronicles 27:27, who was over David’s vineyards, was evidently a native of this Ramath. See below 1 Samuel 30:28.

Jattir - “In the mountains” of Judah, and one of the priests’ cities, is identified with ‘Attir, ten miles south of Hebron.

Verse 28

Aroer - Not Aroer on the Arnon, but (if rightly written) some town in Judah, not elsewhere named.

Siphmoth, Rachal 1 Samuel 30:29, and Athach 1 Samuel 30:30, are unknown and not elsewhere mentioned; but Zabdi the Shiphmite 1 Chronicles 27:27, who was over David’s wine-cellars, was evidently a native of the first-named place. It is a remarkable proof of the grateful nature of David, and of his fidelity to his early friendships, as well as a curious instance of undesigned coincidence, that we find among those employed by David in offices of trust in the height of his power so many inhabitants of those obscure places where he found friends in the days of his early difficulties. Ezri the son of Chelub, Shimei the Ramathite, and Zabdi the Shiphmite, as well as Ira and Gareb, and Ittai, and Hezrai, and many others, were probably among these friends of his youth.

Verse 30

Chor-ashan - Perhaps the same as Ashan Joshua 15:42, in the Shephelah of Judah, inhabited by Simeonites, and one of the priests’ cities 1 Chronicles 4:32; 1 Chronicles 6:59.

Verse 31

Hebron - Now El-Khulil (see Genesis 23:2). Hebron was a city of refuge Joshua 20:7, and one of the cities of the Kohathites Joshua 21:11. It lies twenty miles south of Jerusalem.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 30". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/1-samuel-30.html. 1870.
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