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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 30

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-31

Returning to Ziklag, David and his men find themselves described by the meaning of Zikiag's name, "enveloped in grief." They had been at least some days away, and the Amalekites had invaded the land, sacking Zikiag and burning it. They had not killed the women and children, but had taken them captive (v.2). David had before attacked the Amalekites in a certain area at least and killed men, women and children (ch.27:8-9). Likely other remaining Amalekites would hear of it, so that this attack could have been in reprisal. At any rate, David had not been caring for his own city, but was on an ill-advised trip with Achish. This is a spiritually important lesson for us. When we are not properly on guard and in communion with the Lord, the lusts of the flesh (of which Amalek speaks) will almost certainly take advantage of us. This will not result in the total destruction of a believer, but will rob away from him much of that with God has entrusted him.

David and his men were so overcome with grief that they wept until they could weep no longer (v.4). It is mentioned too that David's wives, along with all others, had been taken captive (v.5). But David's distress was increased when the grief of his men turns to anger against him. They would easily point to David's wasting time in a useless trip which Achish, and being grieved at the loss of their families, they consider stoning David to death! Of course this would help nothing. Men similarly talk against God for allowing their enemies to harm them. In that case, it is totally unjust, and certainly of no help. But David turned to the Lord in his need. (v.6). This was the one source of real help.

David asks Abiathar the priest to bring the ephod. This was the garment the high priest wore over his robe. In the ephod was the breastplate containing the urim and thummin, the twelve precious stones, each of which symbolized a tribe of Israel (Exodus 28:6-21). It was used for enquiring from God. The twelve stones emphasize the vital truth that God will only answer on the basis of his love and care for ALL Israel, not from any sectarian viewpoint, as though favoring one person or another. Saul could not rightly use it for it was not Israel that he loved, but himself. It may be that Abiathar himself wore it when David enquired of the Lord.

It is good to see David so inquiring. He did not do so in the case of Nabal (ch.25:12-13), and was preserved from acting rashly only by God's grace in working in Abigail's heart. This time God answers his inquiry as to pursuing the Amalekites by assuring him that he would not only overtake them, but would recover all that had been taken.

They could therefore go with full confidence in the living God David's six hundred men went with him only as far as the brook Besor, where two hundred remained behind because they were tired out (v.9). The other four hundred, in pursuing, found an Egyptian man in an exhausted condition, and brought him to David. They first gave him bread and water, a piece of a cake of figs and two clusters of raisins, then found out that he had been without food and water for three days (vs.11-12). The man was welcomed and fed before they questioned him. This is a refreshing picture of the grace of God. The fact of one's need is enough to entitle him to a free salvation. Abundance of grace is waiting for those who know themselves to be in real need. Christ has already died for them and risen again. He is "the bread of life" (John 6:35), available for every hungry heart, and He gives "the water of life" freely to anyone who desires it (Revelation 22:17). That water is the Spirit of God (John 7:37-39) who applies the Word of God to the one who realizes his need of it (Ephesians 5:26). The figs and raisins indicate that the grace of God abounds beyond our actual need.

The man being revived, David questioned him, "To whom do you belong? and where are you from?" Every sinner on earth should be prepared to honestly answer these questions. If so, their answer would be similar to the answers of this man. "I am a young man of Egypt" (v.13). We know that Egypt is a type of the world in its independence of God. Typically then the men is saying, "I am a young man of the world." More than that, he adds, "servant to an Amalekite." Typically this means "servant to the lusts of the flesh." How many in the world today does this describe! They have never been freed from their bondage to sin.

His master had no care for him personally. When he became sick, his master left him lying in a field. Thus many become slaves to sin, to drink, to drugs, etc., and find themselves alone and destitute, hopelessly lost. The one true resource for them is the grace of God in Christ Jesus, who can save the guiltiest and lift them out of their miserable condition.

In verse 14 the man frankly confesses his part in the invasion the Amalekites had made in the land of the Cherethites, of Judah and Caleb, and in the burning of Zikiag. The confession of who he was and to whom he belonged, together with a confession of what he had done, illustrates the proper attitude of one who comes to the Lord Jesus for salvation. He hides nothing, but simply tells the truth, though it may hurt him to do so.

David then asks the man if he will bring him down to this band of the Amalekites (v.15). This is similar to the Lord asking a newly converted person if he will bring Christ to his former friends. The man agreed only on condition that David would swear to him by God that he would not kill him and would not give him back into the hands of his master. We do not need to be told that David gave him this assurance. God gives similar assurance to all who trust the Lord Jesus as Savior. The words of the Lord Jesus are, "they shall never perish" (John 10:28). Also, Romans 8:14; Romans 8:14 assures the believer, "sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace."

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 30". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/1-samuel-30.html. 1897-1910.
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