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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 30

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-31

1 Samuel 30:7 . Abiathar brought the ephod. None but the priest could wear this, and as the highpriest could not consult the oracle without the knowledge of his sovereign, Abiathar wore the ephod, and enquired at David’s command, in the place of devotion.

1 Samuel 30:14 . The Cherethites; Cretans and islanders who had settled among these less occupied lands.


How restless and wicked is the heart of man! Shall the earth never be at rest; and shall the wicked never be still? No sooner did the remnant of Amalek, who had escaped the sword of Saul and of David, hear of the war between Philistia and Israel, than they judged it a favourable opportunity to plunder both the countries. And those men and nations who are not reformed by the judgments of God, are not far from destruction.

David, who seemed doomed to adversity, since the day he left his father’s peaceful flocks, had scarcely escaped from the jealousies of the princes, before he found a greater calamity in the burning of Ziklag, and in the capture of both his wives and all the people. This was a heavy stroke. Every man was bereft of his wife, his children, his property: but great trials make manifest the heart of man. They all wept till they could weep no more; the invader was fled, and they had no hope. Revenge on the enemy seemed not in their power; therefore the wicked were resolved to stone David as a criminal for leaving the city defenceless.

Mark now the difference in the characters of men. While the wicked had no consolation but revenge, David had recourse to God; and where else can we go in the day of trouble. He called for Abiathar and the ephod, that he might enquire of God. This was the way to retrieve the calamity, and rise by the counsel and blessing of heaven. The Lord, ever mindful of the promise at his anointing, bade him pursue, and promised him success.

Mark also how providence corresponded with the oracle. They found a servant in the field, cruelly abandoned of his master, but graciously left as a guide to David. They overtook the enemy on the confines of his country, when he supposed all dangers past; when he was making a feast, exulting in his success, and saying, this is David’s spoil! Ah, little did he think that this night God would execute the residue of the sentence, and blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven. And little do the wicked think, during their cups and their feasts, that perhaps the long suspended strokes of insulted heaven are about to be inflicted in the severest manner, and that God will strike them as Amalek and Belshazzar, in the midst of their riot.

David, poor and ruined three days ago, having no hope but in his God, was now rich and victorious. He recovered all the women and children, all the cattle and spoil that Amalek had taken from the Philistines or Cherethites, from Judah, and from Ziklag; he acquired laurels in the estimation of all surrounding nations which faded not away, and was enabled to make presents to the princes of Judah, and others who had showed him kindness in his exile. Oh how much was he indebted to the envy and jealousy of the Philistine princes: or rather, to God who constantly overruled the calamities of this exile for good. Now the sons of Belial who served him of necessity, had their mouths shut. Now they were confounded for having in the violence of passion proposed stoning the Lord’s anointed. And surely the christian cannot but read the character of his God, in all the calamities of David. From the day he left the peaceful flocks of his father, to this day, he had seen little but a succession of afflictions, and afflictions which would have overwhelmed any man who had not the strongest confidence in God; but these calamities were to him always productive of salvation, of honour, and of piety. What then have we to fear from the malice and envy of men? They will fall into their own pits, and their feet will be entangled in their own net.

We learn last of all, that David as a prince was distinguished by equity. He fairly shared the immense booty with the two hundred men who had guarded his baggage, and were detained by extreme weakness. A prince of known probity and honour has the confidence of all his country; and the lustre of his moral character far exceeds the lustre of his fortune and his birth. What then is the confidence we should repose in Christ, the Prince of the kings of the earth?

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 30". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/1-samuel-30.html. 1835.
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