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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 30

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verses 1-6

Ziklag Raided and Overthrown

Although it begins to light around David, he is not yet where he should be. After a trip of three days he and his men arrive in Ziklag, where he hopes to relax. When he arrives there, however, he finds an overthrown and burnt city. There is also no one to welcome them. All family members are taken captive.

It teaches us a practical lesson. If we say goodbye to our loved ones, even for a few hours, we cannot foresee what may happen to them or to us before we meet again. Therefore, it is good to entrust each other to the gracious preservation of God and to praise Him for His preservation when we may meet each other healthy and well again. Another lesson is that we lose a lot when we leave the Lord’s way. As soon as we start living for ourselves, we should not rely on the Lord to preserve our family members. If the head of the family turns its back to the Lord, this often has serious consequences for the family.

What he finds in Ziklag must be bitter for him. The Amalekites have done that. For whatever reason they may have spared the captives, we may see God’s hand in it. In the defeating and burning of Ziklag we see the disciplining hand of God over David. In the sparing of the captives we see the preserving hand of God. That no one has been killed is thanks to His care. In wrath He remembers mercy (Habakkuk 3:2). God wants to use the Amalekites to correct, not to kill. That is why He prevents the enemies from hurting anyone of the prisoners.

The bitterness and bitter tears that emerge here are not to be found in the time when Saul chases him like a partridge on the mountains or even when he is offended by Nabal. These tears are the result of his search for shielding from the enemy of God’s people and not from God. He has never before experienced the disciplining hand of God in such a way. He has always been the object of God’s special care and protection. He withdrew from it, with this as a result. Let it be a warning to us!

In addition to the grief for what he has lost, there is also the uprising of his so far so loyal companions. They blame him for the heavy loss that also struck them. In their bitterness they even talk about stoning David! We see here that, if we go a way without God, we lose everything to ‘the Amalekites’ who are a picture of the flesh. We must also count on a deterioration in our relations with our brothers and sisters.

Besides the loss of everything, David also loses the trust of his men. He is also primarily responsible for this drama, although they followed him themselves. By this discipline David returns to God, his God. That is the difference with Saul, who cannot say that. God has departed from him by his own disobedience and penitence.

David seeks and finds strength. He does not find this strength in his men, for they are against him, nor in his wives, for they are not there. He finds it in the only source where it can be found, and that is in God Himself. What does David do? He “humbles” himself “under the mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5:6) and confesses his sin. He returns to the LORD and strengthens himself in Him (1 Samuel 30:6). This is the glorious turning point in David’s life. Here the light only breaks through properly. Now he is going to ask the LORD again what he should do.

Verses 7-10

The Pursuit Started

The connection with the LORD has been restored. The first sign that David is on the right path again is that he consults the LORD. He does not make decisions himself but wants to ask the LORD through the priest. He acknowledges Him in his ways, and He straightens his paths (Proverbs 3:6). The answer the LORD gives is clear, certain, and encouraging.

He gives more than David asks. David asks if he should pursue the band and overtake them. The answer is that he will overtake them, but God still gives him the full assurance of the rescue of their families and their possessions. God rejoices in it when a deviated child of Him goes back to Him again.

With six hundred men David starts the pursuit. These are the men who wanted to stone him just before. David, however, has strengthened himself in the LORD, his God and placed Him again before the attention of his men. That also gives them new strength and new confidence. When it turns out that the strength of two hundred men has been used up, David does not insist, but leaves them at the brook Besor. He himself continues with the rest.

Verses 11-15

A Guide to the Band

In this section we have a small history in great history. Herein a new quality of David becomes visible. Every thought of his life in the lie is covered here by his expressions of mercy and pity for an Egyptian young man. This compassion is the compassion of the Lord Jesus for him who has been discarded by the world and Satan.

In their pursuit of the Amalekites, the men of David find an Egyptian young man left behind by his masters, the Amalekites. They bring him to David. It is wonderful to see how David takes care of him. When his men have brought the young man to him, he first gives him food and drink. That is how the young man regains his strength.

Then David asks him two questions. These two questions are useful questions to ask to someone. The first question is: ‘To whom do you belong?” The second question is: ‘Where are you from?” At the first question man must confess that he is a slave to sin. He is in the power of the flesh. On the second question, he must confess that he is from of the world. The reality of the world is that once someone is no longer usable, there is no compassion. He is thrown away, discarded, because there is no benefit to be gained from such a person anymore.

That happened to the young man. He has become ill and such a person is not useful anymore. You depreciate him directly. He is discarded as worthless material. This is expressed in the young man’s confession in 1 Samuel 30:13. He confesses both his origins and his works. Egypt is a picture of the world. Someone who lives in the world is a slave of sin. The works of the flesh are made visible in him (1 Samuel 30:14; Galatians 5:20-Ecclesiastes :).

Today, many young people in the world are slaves of sin. Alcohol, drugs, and sex are the works in which that slavery becomes visible. Fortunately, it still happens that young people start to realize what a ruthless power they have ended up in and that they cannot expect any outcome for their real problems from that power. Fortunately, also when they come into contact with the Lord Jesus Who does not give them back into the power of their former rulers. If they honestly say who they are and what they have done, He wants to use them.

It is like with the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-Proverbs :). He had enough friends as long as they benefited from him. However, when he began to suffer want, there was no one he could fall back on. Then he came to himself. He saw his sin and went home to confess it. The father took him in his arms. Thus we may bring the gospel to people.

David then asks him if he wants to help trace the Amalekites. David says as it were: Do you want to go with me, to make your former friends your enemies and me your friend? In this he agrees, but not without having received the firm promise that David will not hand him over to his former master. He has his belly full of it. Never will anyone who joins the Lord Jesus be delivered back into the world by Him.

Verses 16-20

The Spoil of David

On the instruction of the young man David comes to the Amalekites. They are not aware of any danger. They celebrate exuberantly because of the big spoil they have captured. They think they are in peace and security, without even thinking for a moment of danger (1 Thessalonians 5:3). David attacks the enemy and causes a great slaughter. Only a few escape.

He saves everything that the Amalekites have stolen. David’s spoil is much larger than what the enemy took with him at Ziklag. It is all that the enemy has captured from other robberies. The spoil is the spoil of David and his men, but it is called “David’s spoil”. The spoil is attributed to him. He is the victor. So it is with the Lord Jesus.

Verses 21-25

David Divides the Spoil

David first asks about the prosperity of those who stayed behind because they had been too tired to come along. The expression “had also been left” indicates that David insisted that they would not move on. This is yet another characteristic of the Lord Jesus. It is the characteristic of the shepherd who does not demand the utmost from his sheep. This is why the Holy Spirit describes the events of this chapter in such detail. This is the action of the Lord Jesus, who will reign in righteousness and not according to the law of the world or of carnal believers.

When the spoil must be distributed, there is a quarrel among David’s followers. Here the selfishness of his followers is expressed. There are those who believe they have more rights than others. Don’t we recognize that? Probably so. David solves this beautifully. He brings everything back to the foundation of grace. He speaks to the “wicked and worthless men” who have made this selfish proposal as “my brothers”. In this way he prevents a contradiction with them and prevents the suspicion of giving preferential treatment.

He does not make hard accusations about this carnal behavior. His “gentle answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1). About the spoils he says that it is “what the LORD has given us”. David does not attribute victory to himself but to the LORD. He says as it were: “What do you have, that you have not received? (1 Corinthians 4:7). The victory is bestowed upon them by the LORD. Who dares to boast and say that he has more rights than anyone else?

The spoil is shared equally by all those who have been involved in the battle in any way. The people who stayed behind have looked after the baggage, haven’t they? Isn’t that a great job? Have the warriors forgotten how they lost Ziklag and everything they owned just before?

Thus will the Lord be able to reward all that has been done for Him. We tend to look only at what is conspicuous, what people talk about. The Lord also sees the sick man, who cannot go out himself, but prays for His work. He sees the mother who is busy caring for the children. Would that be less important than the man who is allowed to preach the Word of God before full halls, or the woman who has time to do children’s work and reach children with the gospel?

Verses 26-31

The Friends of David

When David is back in Ziklag, he also sends part of the spoils to Judah’s elders. He thus gives them the proof of his restoration. These elders are the true friends of David as opposed to Achish. We can see what he gives them as a gift of reconciliation. He shows that he is back with them and is there for them again, for their blessing. It may also be a kind of reward for their loyalty to him, even when he went the wrong way. He has, as it were, returned to be the head of his people.

David and his men have been wandering in all the places mentioned. There David received their friendship during his wanderings and was invigorated by it. He is rewarding that now. That too is something the Lord Jesus does (Matthew 10:40-Luke :). He now rewards all those who let Him into his or her life. He is still the Rejected. But He appreciates it when there are people who help Him. That means who support His work and all who work for Him.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 1 Samuel 30". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/1-samuel-30.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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