1Samuel 30

 

1Samuel 30:1–30

The Amalekites Raid David’s Camp


Outline of Chapter 30:

 

       vv.    1–5        David and his Men Return to their Camp which was Raided by the Amalekites

       vv.    6–8        David’s Soldiers Turn Against Him/David Turns to God for Guidance

       vv.    9–10      David and His Soldiers Pursue the Amalekites; Some Lack the Strength to Continue

       vv.   11–15      An Abandoned Egyptian Servant Leads David to the Amalekite Raiders

       vv.   16–20      David’s Army Slaughters the Amalekites and Recovers their Women and Property

       vv.   21–25      David Treats Those too Weary to Continue with Grace

       vv.   26–31      David Distributes Much of the Spoil to the Elders in Judah


Charts, Short Doctrines and Maps:

 

       v.      3           How Did David Get Himself into this Mess?

       v.      6           Strengthening Oneself in the Midst of Tragedy with God’s Word

       v.     29           A Summary of the Doctrine of the Kenites

       v.     30           A Summary of the Doctrine of the City of Hormah

       v.     31           Interpreting the Final Wâw Conjunction


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

The City of Hormah

 

Ephod

Bethel

 

 

Kenites

Hebron Part I

 

 

Hebron Part II

 


Psalms Alluded To

 

Psalm 118

Psalm 143

 


I ntroduction: In 1Sam. 30, we follow David back to his camp where the Amalekites have burned down his tents with fire and have taken all of their women hostage. We know up until this time, David’s spiritual life has been questionable. He does not belong in Philistia; he should not be lying to Achish about his exploits; and he should not be taking his army to fight against Saul and his army. In other words, very little seems right in David’s life at this time. And when we are out of fellowship, and out of fellowship for awhile, we can expect God to bring discipline our way. This is exactly what we find in David’s situation. He and his men have been plundering the people around him and lying to Achish about it—now, it is time for David to suffer a little discipline.


In the previous chapter, Saul has gone to speak to the witch of Endor. This chapter is, more or less, coterminous with that chapter. We have several things occurring at or nearly at the same time. Achish tells David that he needs to assist him in battle, and David agrees to this, bringing his men with him. However, in Aphek, the other rulers of the Philistines object to David being there, and he is sent packing. So while David heads back south, Achish and the rest of the Philistines go north. While David is in transit, an Amalekite army strikes his camp and carries away all of the wives and children (which is the subject of this chapter). About the time David arrives in Ziklag, to find his camp burned to the ground, the Philistines arrive at their destination in Shunem. Saul and his army are gathered in Gilboa, and Saul goes out that night to Endor to speak to this witch. Then, while Saul goes to battle against the Philistines (1Sam. 31), David goes to war against the Amalekites (1Sam. 30). So, you see not only are these chapters not in chronological order, but they could not be in chronological order, as some events are occurring simultaneously. What I will do in the next chapter is lay these events all out, so it is easy to examine them from a chronological perspective (which seems to be the bend of the western mind). Footnote


To give you a bit more detail about this chapter: David had joined up with Achish and the rest of the Philistine army in Aphek. The other leaders of Philistine army did not want David fighting together with them, worried that he might, at any time, turn against them. So, as the Philistine soldiers move northward from Aphek to fight Saul, David and his men return to Ziklag (1Sam. 29:11). When they arrived in Ziklag, the found their camp destroyed with fire and all of their women and children gone (1Sam. 30:1). Although they did not know it at the time, the Amalekites who did this did not kill their women and children but took them captive (vv. 2–3). This upset the entire Israeli camp, even to the point of turning against David (vv. 4, 6a). David, however, returns to God and strengthens himself in Jehovah, the God of Israel (v. 6b). He calls upon Abiathar, who has the ephod, and asked him for guidance (vv. 7–8). Almost immediately, 200 of the men could go no further—they were exhausted from their march up to Aphek and then back to Ziklag (vv. 9–10). God left an Egyptian slave behind from the Amalekites for David and his soldiers to find (vv. 11–12). This former slave not only gave David all of the information that he needed, but he led David’s army to the Amalekites (vv. 13–16a). The Amalekites had apparently learned from David, and they had not only struck David’s camp, but probably several others (this is a logical deduction). At the time that David found them, they were having a huge, wild party while they were spread out over the countryside (v. 16a). Even though, these Amalekites were probably formidable warriors, in their drunkenness, they were easy prey for David and his men, who slaughtered all of them except for 400 who escaped (vv. 16b–17). David and his men recovered all that was taken from them and, apparently, a great deal more (vv. 18–20).


Leading and carrying all of this tremendous reward for destroying the Amalekites, David still had to deal with the 200 men who remained behind. Even though David could have ordered their execution, he treated them graciously, allowing them to partake in the loot which he recovered (vv. 21–22). In fact, this became customary from that time on for all of Israel to function in the same way (vv. 23–24).


There was so much additional spoil, much of which was probably taken from the inhabitants of Judah, that David sent it to the elders of Judah (v. 26). In fact, all (or most) of the cities that David shared this loot with are named (vv. 27–31).

 

Darby gives us a partial summary of previous events as they are tied to this chapter: In chapter 29, God, in His loving-kindness, brings David out of his difficulty by means of the jealousy of the lords of the Philistines. Nevertheless, to maintain his credit with Achish, David falls still lower, it seems to me, and protests that he is quite ready to fight against the enemies of the Philistine king, that is to say, against the people of God. This appears to me the most wretched part of David's life-at any rate, before he was king. God makes him sensible of it; for while he is there, the Amalekites strip him of everything and burn Ziklag, and his followers are ready to stone him. All this is grievous; but the grace of God raises him up again, and the effect of this chastisement is to bring him back to God, for he was ever true to Him in heart. David encouraged himself in Jehovah his God, and inquires of Him what he shall do. What patience, what kindness in God! What care He takes of His people, even while they are turning away from Him!  Footnote


Application: When you are in fellowship, in God’s will, it is a black and white world. With a little doctrine, most of your day-to-day decisions are fairly simple to make. You generally do not have to stress about this or that decision. When I was a lot younger, I wondered about a lot of decisions: should I make a left turn or a right turn; should I take this or that route to work; etc.—a lot of very trivial things. Often, charismatics I have known are plagued with trivial decisions which they believe require special signs from God to guide them. With a little doctrine, I found myself less and less concerned with the trivial options in my day. I knew what was right and what was wrong; when I did that which was wrong, I also knew to rebound and get back into fellowship. I have screwed up again and again, but God, in His grace, has allowed me to live and has allowed me to move forward. Furthermore, in my life, there have been relatively few difficult decisions. I know the trend is to leave your volition sensitive to God’s directive will; however, the more doctrine you know, the more time that you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the less you need to concern yourself with what are generally unimportant decisions.


Now, as we watch David, first he is out of God’s geographical will. Next, he is attacking enemies of Israel, but he is lying to Achish. Notice how gray his world has become? Maybe he should and maybe he should not be attacking these heathen; and what should he doe about Achish? Does he tell the truth, and cause Achish to become alarmed? Does he lie and provide some modicum of security for his men. And then David is faced with a very gray area: he is living in Philistia, making him, essentially, a citizen of that nation, making him responsible to Philistia and beholden to Achish. In that situation, David owes some allegiance and service to his country, which is Philistia. So now we find David facing the greyest decision of all: does he serve the country he lives in and fight against Israel; does he refuse to serve his country and not raise his hand against the army of the living God and the king of Israel? See, that is a grey area. The longer David stays out of fellowship, the more grey his decisions become. The longer you stay out of fellowship, the more morally ambiguous your situation will become.


Let’s talk about production and the spiritual life. There are two things you need in your spiritual life: the filling of the Holy Spirit and spiritual growth. Spiritual growth comes through doctrine mixed with faith mixed with the day-to-day life you lead. Doctrine makes your day-to-day decisions easier. There is less grey area for you to be concerned with. Furthermore, your production becomes more meaningful and greater. Let me give you the simplest of analogies: place a baby in the position of a executive and nothing is going to get done. Put a teenager in charge, and once and awhile, something might get done. Put a motivated MBA in charge, and suddenly, a great deal gets accomplished. The training makes all the difference in the world. The growth and maturity makes all the difference in the world. The same is true with the spiritual life. A baby cannot do much of anything. A teenager can do a few things, but they are too focused on themselves. Making intelligent decisions about the spiritual life is rather difficult. The more mature you are, the more you know about God’s plan, the greater your impact and the easier your day-to-day decisions are. Your life has meaning and impact. You are not just a person hanging around sucking up air and crying for food.


Have you noticed that we have gone a few chapters without studying a psalm written by David. There are no psalms that are clearly from this time period. David is spiritually stagnating; he is often out of fellowship; and he livs in a very, very grey world. Do you see the problems here? We have had several chapters where David seems to be unfocused and wandering; along with this, there seems to be no spiritual production. What we would expect is, any day now, God is going to bring down the ax. God is going to discipline David; and David is going to have to get right with God before he continues with his life. That is what this chapter is. David has stagnated, if not retrogressed; and now he is going to have to reverse this direction.


With regards to the various ancient manuscripts, I should point out that the Douay-Rheims Bible, which is based upon the Latin, is completely out of synch with the other Bibles. These first four verses, for instance, are found in the previous chapter of the DRB. There are some verses which are missing entirely (like v. 5). For this reason, I will rarely refer to the Latin when discussing these differences. Furthermore, most of this chapter is missing from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Footnote


However, apart from the Latin Bible being very out of synch here; the MT and LXX essentially agree. The few places where they do not are insignificant. Furthermore, the Hebrew is fairly easy throughout. We will run into very few phrases where I have to give you my best guess. Furthermore, the various translations seem to be more in synch here than any other chapter in recent memory. Although I offer a variety of English translations with each verse, it is remarkable that they are all so similar.


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David and his Men Return to their Camp which was Raided by the Amalekites


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so he is in a coming of David and his men [to] Ziklag in the day the third; and Amalekites had spread out unto [the] negeb and unto Ziklag and so they strike Ziklag and so they consume her in the fire.

1Samuel

30:1

And so it came to pass [when] David and his men entered Ziklag on the third day: the Amalekites had [begun to] plunder the negeb and Ziklag and they struck Ziklag and burned it with fire.

This is what happened when David and his men returned to Ziklag on the third day: the Amalekites had begun a campaign against southern Judah, including Ziklag, and they hit Ziklag and burned it down.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he is in a coming of David and his men [to] Ziklag in the day the third; and Amalekites had spread out unto [the] negeb and unto Ziklag and so they strike Ziklag and so they consume her in the fire.

Septuagint                             And it came to pass when David and his men had entered Sekelac on the third day, that Amalec had made an incursion upon the south, and upon Sekelac, and smitten Sekelac, and burnt it with fire.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       It took David and his men three days to reach Ziklag. But while they had been away, the Amalekites had been raiding in the desert around there. They had attacked Ziklag, burned it to the ground,...

The Message                         Three days later, David and his men arrived back in Ziklag. Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They tore Ziklag to pieces and then burned it down.

NLT                                        Three days later, when David and his men arrived home at their town of Ziklag, they found that the amalekites had made a raid into the Negev and had burned Ziklag to the ground.

REB                                       On the third day David and his men reached Ziklag. In the mean time the Amalekites had made a raid into the Negeb, attacked Ziklag, and set it on fire.

TEV                                       Two days later David and his men arrived back at Ziklag. The amalekites had raided southern Judah and attacked Ziklag. They had burned down the town...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Two days later, when David and his men came to Ziklag, the Amalekites had raided the Negev, including Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it.

JPS (Tanakh)                        By the time David and his men arrived in Ziklag, on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid into the Negeb and against Ziklag; they had stormed Ziklag and burned it down.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HCSB                                    David and his men arrived in Ziklag on the third day. The Amalekites had raided the Negev and attacked and burned down Ziklag.

Young's Updated LT              And it comes to pass, in the coming in of David and his men to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites have pushed unto the south, and unto Ziklag, and strike Ziklag, and burn it with fire.


What is the gist of this verse? David and his men returned to their camp in Ziklag, only to discover that the Amalekites had attacked their city and set fire to it.


1Samuel 30:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

Without a specific subject and object, the verb hâyâh often means and it will come to be, and it will come to pass, then it came to pass (with the wâw consecutive). Generally, the verb does not match the gender whatever nearby noun could be the subject (and, as often, there is no noun nearby which would fulfill the conditions of being a subject).

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

The infinitive construct, when combined with the bêyth preposition, can often take on a temporal meaning and may be rendered when [such and such happens]. It can serve as a temporal marker that denotes an event which occurs simultaneously with the action of the main verb.

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

men; inhabitants, citizens; companions, soldiers, companions

masculine plural noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

tsiqelag (ג-לק̣צ) [pronounced tzihke-LAHG]

transliterated Ziklag

Proper noun; location

Strong’s #6860 BDB #862


Translation: And so it came to pass [when] David and his men entered Ziklag... This phrase is sort of a title to this chapter. As mentioned, 1Sam. 29 will diverge into two sections, chapters 30 and 31. One chapter follows David and the other follows Saul. 1Sam. 31 will begin with sort of a meanwhile, back at the ranch beginning.


As I have talked about for sometime, even before I read this chapter, David is out of God’s geographical will and it is only a matter of time before God steps in and deals with David directly. In fact, David and all those who are with him are outside of God’s geographical will, so we should expect that God’s punishment will extend to all of them. For over a year, these men have collected things, provisions and women from their raids on the surrounding heathen. It is not clear at any point that God told David to do this. So here is where the chickens come home to roost. David and all of his men will appear to lose it all at their return to their camp in Ziklag.


1Samuel 30:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

shelishîym (םי.ש̣לש) [pronounced sheli-SHEEM]

third, a third part, a third time; chambers [of the third story]

masculine/feminine adjective/ordinal numeral with the definite article

Strong’s #7992 BDB #1026


Translation: ...on the third day:.. I separated this from the rest of this verse simply because we have two sets of English translations: one has David and his men arriving on the second day, the other on the third (or so it seems). Since David and his men arrive in Ziklag after marching for two days, they arrive on the third day. So, a correct translation would have after two days or on the third day. I would assume that this would have been their march from Aphek down to Ziklag. This is following a march from Ziklag to Aphek with a night’s rest in between.


What follows in vv. 1b–2 is parenthetical. This passage tells us what has happened. In v. 3, the author will restate v. 1a and then tell us what David and his men saw, having given us the background as to what happened in their absence. V. 4 will then tells us what the men did upon entering their camp.


1Samuel 30:1c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳ămâlêqîy (י.ק̤לָמֲע) [pronounced ģuh-maw-lay-KEE]

transliterated Amalekite

proper noun gentis with the definite article

Strong’s #6003 BDB #766

pâshaţ (טַשָ) [pronounced paw-SHAHT]

to spread out; to strip, to plunder, to unclothe; to flay, to remove the skin; in war, it is used to indicate a vicious attack, along the lines of flaying the skin off an animal

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #6584 BDB #832

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional/relational preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

negeb (ב ג נ) [pronounced ne-GHEBV]

south, south-country; often transliterated Negev or Negeb

masculine singular noun

Strong's #5045 BDB #616

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional/relational preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

tsiqelag (ג-לק̣צ) [pronounced tzihke-LAHG]

transliterated Ziklag

Proper noun; location

Strong’s #6860 BDB #862


Translation: ...the Amalekites had [begun to] plunder the negeb and Ziklag... The negeb is a designation of the southern portion of Judah as well as that which is south of Judah. These Amalekites, possibly even observing David’s raiding parties, decide to get in on this action themselves. So they began to plunder the souther region and this southern region included Ziklag.


I want to remind you that we discussed Ziklag briefly when Achish handed it over to David and recall that this was actually significantly south of Gath. Achish did not give David the next city over, but put David about 20 miles south of Gath. Although we observed the exchange between David and Achish, it was never clear why Achish put David this far south. It is possible that this was a city which Achish had control over, but it was too far south to constantly oversee.

 

Barnes: This indicates that Aphek was three days’ march from Ziklag, say about 50 miles, which agrees very well with the probable situation of Aphek. From Ziklag to Shunem would not be less than 80 or 90 miles. Footnote


As an aside, we should deal with a possible contradiction here. In 1Sam. 27:8–9, David attacks the Amalekites, among others, takes all of their things, and does not leave anyone alive in their camp. So, how is it that the Amalekites are able to strike David’s camp if he has already killed them all? There are three possible options here. The first possibility is that David struck the Amalekite camp while the Amalekites were out plundering another city themselves. Therefore, their camp would be vulnerable, and easy to plunder. It is possible that their attack on David is payback. The second possible explanation is, Saul, when he attacked and plundered the Amalekites way back in 1Sam. 15, allowed his men to take some of the things which belonged to the Amalekites. Even though they were supposed to destroy all of the Amalekites, they got their eyes on the possessions of the Amalekites and the Amalekites scattered in several directions. Therefore, what we have here is a different group of Amalekites than those who were struck by David. The 3rd possibility is, even though Saul struck one centralized group of Amalekites and David struck a particular encampment of them, there were Amalekite settlements or encampments all over the Negev (southern Judah and southern Philistia). Any one of these three explanations makes sense, so there is no reason to assume that there is a contradiction here.


1Samuel 30:1d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâkâh (ה ָכ ָנ) [pronounced naw-KAWH]

to smite, to assault, to hit, to strike, to strike [something or someone] down, to defeat

3rd person masculine plural Hiphil imperfect

Strong #5221 BDB #645

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

tsiqelag (ג-לק̣צ) [pronounced tzihke-LAHG]

transliterated Ziklag

Proper noun; location

Strong’s #6860 BDB #862


Translation: ...and they struck Ziklag... While attacking various portions of southern Judah, the Amalekites came upon a city which was unfortified and had no men: Ziklag. David and all of his men (maybe a couple remained behind; however, there is no evidence of that) were off with Achish, doing that which was inappropriate. When Achish summoned David, David should have told him, “I realize we are in your debt; but I cannot fight against my own people Israel.” Prior to that, David should not have lied about fighting against Israel in the first place. We may reasonably suppose that Achish asked David to join him based upon these supposed raids against his fellow Israelites. So, David’s lies had led him into the murky situation. As I mentioned in the preface, the further you get away from God, the murkier or murkier your world becomes. Moral choices no longer are black and white, but become very difficult calls.


You will recall that King Saul originally struck the Amalekites as God had told him to, but he did not wipe them all out as God told him to. Apparently, while Saul’s men got caught up in taking their possessions, many of them escaped. This is apparently a large group of them who became very mobile after that. I don’t know if their observation of David and his plundering suggested to them that they should do the same, or if this was just a very common practice in the ancient world. However, we will see that David will recover so much plunder from them, that we can reasonably deduce that the Amalekites had been striking city after city, camp after camp, for some time now.


Also, don’t forget, the Amalekites had been struck by David as well (1Sam. 27:8). No doubt this was payback and no doubt that the Amalekites watched David’s camp carefully, waiting for any sign of weakness.

 

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown comment: While the strength of the Philistine forces was poured out of their country into the plain of Esdraelon, the Amalekite marauders seized the opportunity of the defenseless state of Philistia to invade the southern territory. Of course, David's town suffered from the ravages of these nomad plunderers, in revenge for his recent raid upon their territory. Footnote

 

Clarke: These were, doubtless, a traveling predatory horde, who, availing themselves of the war between the Philistines and the Israelites, plundered several unprotected towns, and among them Ziklag. It is likely they had not heard of what David did to some of their tribes, else they would have avenged themselves by slaying all they found in Ziklag. Footnote


Personally, I would not be surprised had they known what David had done—and the kidnaping of their women and children was more of a practical consideration rather than one of vengeance. They had no idea that David would return this quickly from the war between the Philistines and the Israelites—I imagine that they had spies set up to watch his camp for an opportunity like this. Gill suggests that the distance is 88 miles. Footnote My Bible atlas has this at closer to 50 miles, Footnote which is more in line with the geography that we are given as well as the time line of David’s march.


1Samuel 30:1e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

sâraph (ףַרָ) [pronounced saw-RAHF]

to suck in, to absorb, to drink in, to swallow down; to absorb or consume [with fire], to burn; to bake [bricks]

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #8313 BDB #976

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

esh (ש ֵא) [pronounced aysh]

fire, lightning, supernatural fire; presence of Yehowah, the attendance of a theophany

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #784 BDB #77


Translation: ...and burned it with fire. These Amalekites hate Israel, and they have a reason to. God had instructed Israel to destroy the Amalekites. Israel had struck them several times; David had as well. The mutual hatred between these two peoples would survive for centuries, even to the time of Esther and the Persian displacement of Israel (and when those times are recalled today, Jews will still hiss the evil man Haman, who sought to destroy every Jews in Persia).


Several commentators attribute this attack to the Amalekites taking vengeance on David specifically for his attacks against them (1Sam. 27:8). We do not really know how closely tied these Amalekites are to one another. That is, was there any direct connection between these various roving bands of Amalekites? When David struck a camp, he would wipe them all out. Therefore, it is not necessarily so that these Amalekites are striking David because of what he has done to another faction of them.


By the way, if you had any doubts about whether David should live there or not, what do you think now? God has allowed the Amalekites to burn down where David and his men were living—doesn’t that tell you something?


And so they take captive the women who [are] in her from small [or, young] as far as great. They did not kill a man and so they carry off and so they go their way.

1Samuel

30:2

They also took away captive the women who [were] in Ziklag [lit., her], both small and great, [and] they killed no one. They carried [them] away and went on their way.

The Amalekites however did not kill anyone but kidnaped all of the women and children from Ziklag.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so they take captive the women who [are] in her from small [or, young] as far as great. They did not kill a man and so they carry off and so they go their way.

Peshitta                                 And they had taken captive all the people who were in them, both the small and the great; and they put to death the men of war; and they took the spoil and went on their way.

Septuagint                             And as to the women and all things that were in it, great and small, they killed neither man nor woman, but carried them captives, and went on their way.

 

Significant differences:           The Hebrew lacks and all, which is found in the LXX. The Peshitta presents an entirely different story. According to the Peshitta, David apparently left some men behind and the Amalekites killed all of them, and then took the spoil (which apparently included the women from the camp). None were killed in the LXX or MT versions. The Latin, by the way, is in agreement with the MT.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       ...and had taken away the women and children.

The Message                         They captured all the women, young and old. They didn't kill anyone, but drove them like a herd of cattle.

NLT                                        They had carried off the women and children and everyone else but without killing anyone.

REB                                       They had taken captive all the women, young and old. They did not put any to death, but carried them off as they continued their march.

TEV                                       ...and captured all the women; they had not killed anyone, but had taken everyone with them when they left.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Although they captured the young and old women who were there, they killed no one. Instead, they had taken the women and other prisoners and gone away.

JPS (Tanakh)                        They had taken the women in it captive, low-born and high-born alike; they did not kill any, but carried them off and went their way.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Updated Emphasized Bible   ...and had taken captive the women and all [as per the Septuagint] who were there │from the small to the great│. They had not put anyone to death, but they had driven them out and gone their way.

HCSB                                    They also had kidnapped the women and everyone in it from the youngest to the oldest. They had killed no one but had carried them off as they went on their way.

WEB                                      ...and had taken captive the women and all who were therein, both small and great: they didn't kill any, but carried them off, and went their way.

Young's Updated LT              ...and they take captive the women who are in it; from small unto great they have not put any one to death, and they lead away, and go on their way.


What is the gist of this verse? The Amalekites did not kill any of the inhabitants of David’s camp; they carried all of them away captive.


1Samuel 30:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâbâh (הָבָש) [pronounced shawb-VAW]

to lead away captives, to take captive

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7617 BDB #985

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

nâshîym (םי.שָנ) [pronounced naw-SHEEM]

women, wives

feminine plural noun; irregular plural of Strong’s #802

Strong’s #802 BDB #61

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #88


Translation: They also took away captive the women who [were] in Ziklag... The Amalekites, like any group of male soldiers, are going to take an interest in the women. When they find a camp filled with women, it is just like they struck gold. Realize that when God told Israel that they had to completely destroy a people, this was not always an easy thing to do. However, I hope you can see by this incident alone that it was necessary for Saul to have destroyed all of the Amalekites.


The perks of a soldier were the things which belonged to their conquered enemies—including their women. As we know, David and his men did not set up a farming community; they went out and attacked others and took from them. David had two wives and apparently many of his men chose wives as well, probably from the people that they conquered in battle. So, when the Amalekites came across a camp with material possessions and women and few if any men, this was a great find for them.


1Samuel 30:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, away from, out from, out of, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

qâţôn (ןטָק or ןֹט ָק) [pronounced kaw-TOHN]

small, insignificant; a word particularly used for youth, younger

masculine singular adjective

Strong’s #6995 & #6996 BDB #882

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳ad (דַע) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

Together, min...wa ׳ad (דַע ַו ן ̣מ) mean from...to or both...and; as in from soup to nuts or both young and old.

gâdôwl (לדָ) [pronounced gaw-DOLE]

great in quantity, great in magnitude and extent, mighty, vast, unyielding, immutable; great things, significant and astonishing [or mind-blowing] things

adjective often used as a substantive

Strong’s #1419 (& #1431) BDB #152


Translation:... [lit., her], both small and great,... This is a little more difficult to interpret. It does not say young and old; although it could be taken to read young and great. My take on this was, the Amalekites took everyone there; from the small, young children to the wives of David, who were obviously of a royal bend. They would have occupied the largest tent with the most stuff. The idea is to contrast the smallest children with the royal wives of David, and to indicate that the Amalekites took all of them captive.


1Samuel 30:2c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to kill, to cause to die, to put to death, to execute

3rd person plural, Hiphil perfect

Strong's #4191 BDB #559

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35


Translation: ...[and] they killed no one. What Israel did was quite unusual among the people of that time—destroying an entire population along with all of their things. What we find here was more standard among the heathen. Since there were few if any men, these Amalekites took everything. This was their payday, the things which they took when they plundered another people. Killing a woman or a child was like burning your paycheck.

 

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown comment: But their apparent clemency did not arise from humane considerations. It is traceable to the ancient war usages of the East, where the men of war, on the capture of a city, were unsparingly put to death, but there were no warriors in Ziklag at the time. The women and boys were reserved for slaves, and the old people were spared out of respect to age. Footnote In the case of David’s camp, I do not believe that we are dealing with any old people. David’s leading of this band of men probably continued for a period of roughly 10 years, or perhaps less.


1Samuel 30:2d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâhag (גַהָנ) [pronounced naw-HAHG]

to bring, to lead, to urge on a course, to drive [animals] along, to drive away, to lead away [as a captive]

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5090 BDB #624

I would expect a feminine plural suffix here, but I don’t find that in the Greek or the Hebrew.

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

dereke (ר) [pronounced DEH-reke]

way, distance, road, journey, manner, course

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #1870 BDB #202


Translation:....They carried [them] away and went on their way. This was the movement of the Amalekites into the southern areas of Judah and Philistia. They destroyed David’s camp in Ziklag and took off with all of their things. It does not appear as though these Amalekites had any permanent home since the attack of Saul in 1Sam. 15. Apparently they would take whatever they found with them and retire temporarily to a new encampment.


And so comes in David and his men unto the encampment and behold, consumed in the fire. And their women and their sons and their daughters had been taken captive.

1Samuel

30:3

So David and his men came to the encampment and, observe, [it had been] consumed by fire. Also, their women, sons and daughters had been taken away captive.

When David and his men approached their encampment, they saw that it had been burned to the ground and that their women and children had been taken away captive.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so comes in David and his men unto the city and behold, consumed in the fire. And their women and their sons and their daughters had been taken captive.

Septuagint                             And David and his men came into the city, and, behold, it was burnt with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters were carried captive.

 

Significant differences:           None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       When David and his men came to Ziklag, they saw the burned-out ruins and learned that their families had been taken captive.

The Message                         By the time David and his men entered the village, it had been burned to the ground, and their wives, sons, and daughters all taken prisoner.

NLT                                        When David and his men saw the ruins and realized what had happened to their families,...

TEV                                       When David and his men arrived, they found that the town had been burned down and that their wives, sons, and daughters had been carried away.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         By the time David and his men came to the town, it had been burned down, and their wives, sons, and daughters had been taken captive.

HCSB                                    When David and his men arrived at the town, they found it burned down. Their wives, sons, and daughters had been kidnapped.

JPS (Tanakh)                        When David and his men came to the town and found it burned down, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive,...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Young's Updated LT              And David comes in—and his men—unto the city, and lo, burnt with fire, and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters have been taken captive.


What is the gist of this verse? When David and his men arrived at their encampment, they could see that it had been burned to the ground and that their women and children had been taken.


1Samuel 30:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

men; inhabitants, citizens; companions, soldiers, companions

masculine plural noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional/relational preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

׳îyr (רי ̣ע) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine singular noun

Strong's #5892 BDB #746


Translation: So David and his men came to the encampment... Even though the verb is singular, this is a very common approach in the Hebrew. Actually, it is David who enters into the city; and his men are then added as sort of an afterthought. It is his leadership which is being emphasized here.


Even thought some translators may have rendered this city, we really don’t know if David and his men had anything set up which resembled a city. My guess is, the most they had set up was semi-permanent tents. However, bear in mind that David’s idea was probably to wait Saul out while living in Philistia. For all he knew, this could take several years. Therefore, there may have been more permanent structures here. On the other hand, David and his men had been going out and raiding other groups of people in this general area, so they may not have devoted a lot of time to settling in yet. After all, they had only been in this site for a little over a year.


This also picks up the narrative from v. 1a. If you will recall, vv. 1b–2 were parenthetical. What had happened while David was gone is told to us in those verses, something which David pieced together later. This now tells us what David and his men saw as they entered into their camp.


1Samuel 30:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

sâraph (ףַרָ) [pronounced saw-RAHF]

to suck in, to absorb, to drink in, to swallow down; to absorb or consume [with fire], to burn; to bake [bricks]

feminine singular, Qal passive participle

Strong’s #8313 BDB #976

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

esh (ש ֵא) [pronounced aysh]

fire, lightning, supernatural fire; presence of Yehowah, the attendance of a theophany

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #784 BDB #77


Translation: ...and, observe, [it had been] consumed by fire. What these men find shocks them and shakes them to their very souls. I don’t believe that David or his men thought too deeply about what they had been doing. They had lied to Achish about who they were attacking; they became allied with Achish, a Philistine king, as opposed to being allied with Israel; and when called to go to war with Achish, they were so obligated. In other words, what they had been doing was wrong, and they did not seem to give thought to this.


Therefore, let us examine...

How Did David Get Himself into this Mess?

1.    David left Israel, and went to Achish, king of Gath.

2.    David made an alliance with Achish and was given a place to live (Ziklag).

3.    David, in order to feed and clothe his men, raided nearby heathen groups and stole their food, supplies and women.

4.    David told Achish that he was raiding Israeli camps.

5.    Therefore, when Achish asked David to join him, he was obligated to.

6.    David could not tell Achish that he could not fight against Israel because he had supposedly been fighting against Israel since moving to Philistine territory.

7.    Since David was allied with Achish, he was obligated to join him in battle against the enemies of Achish, which including the Israelites.

8.    In attacking the camps around him, David had pissed off the neighboring heathen. They were not pissed off at Achish or Israel—they were upset with David.

9.    At the first opportunity, the Amalekites, a group which David had previously plundered, took the opportunity to invade and destroy David’s campsite.

10.  It appears as though they happened upon this camp by happy coincidence. They were moving against certain areas in southern Judah and this just happened to be one of them. As has been discussed, it is possible that the Amalekites had been watching David’s campsite.

11.  It is unclear whether they knew this was David or not; however, it is reasonable to assume that when they came upon this site, plundering it brought them great joy, as they were able to avenge themselves against David and his small army.

12.  This camp was of course not protected by men because David and his men were off with Achish.

So, as you see, David, by a series of missteps, has put himself into this situation. Everything which happened to David is just what we would expect.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


1Samuel 30:3c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâshîym (םי.שָנ) [pronounced naw-SHEEM]

women, wives

feminine plural noun; irregular plural of Strong’s #802; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #802 BDB #61

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bath (ת ַ) [pronounced bahth]

daughter; village

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #1323 BDB #123

shâbâh (הָבָש) [pronounced shawb-VAW]

led away as captives, taken away captive

3rd person plural, Niphal perfect

Strong’s #7617 BDB #985


Translation: Also, their women, sons and daughters had been taken away captive. As mentioned, one of the primary reasons for an attack was to take away those things which belong to the loser. These greedy Amalekites wanted everything that David and his men had.

 

Edersheim aptly describes what David and his men came to find: It was the third day when the Hebrews reached their Philistine home. But what a sight greeted them here! Broken walls, blackened ruins, and the desolateness of utter silence all around! The Amalekites had indeed taken vengeance for David’s repeated raids upon them (1Sam. 27:8). They had made an incursion into the Negeb, or south country, and specially upon Ziklag. In the absence of its defenders, the place fell an easy prey. After laying it waste, the Amalekites took with them all the women and children, as well as the cattle, and any other booty on which they could lay hands. It was a terrible surprise...[for] David and his men. Footnote


And so lifts up David and the people who [were] with him their voice and so they weep until that [there is] not in them strength to weep.

1Samuel

30:4

Then David and the people who [were] with him lifted up their voices and they wept until [there] was no more strength in them to weep.

David and his men then cried until they had no more strength in them to cry.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so lifts up David and the people who [were] with him their voice and so they weep until that [there is] not in them strength to weep.

Septuagint                             And David and his men lifted up their voice, and wept till there was no longer any power within them to weep.

 

Significant differences:           None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       They started crying and kept it up until they were too weak to cry any more.

The Message                         David and his men burst out in loud wails—wept and wept until they were exhausted with weeping.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Then David and his men cried loudly until they didn't have the strength to cry anymore.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

ESV                                       Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep.

Young's Updated LT              And David lifts up—and the people who are with him—their voice and weep, until that they have no power to weep.


What is the gist of this verse? David and his men all cry until they are without the ability to cry any more. .


1Samuel 30:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâsâ (אָָנ) [pronounced naw-SAW]

to lift up, to bear, to carry

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5375 (and #4984) BDB #669

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

qôwl (לק) [pronounced kohl]

sound, voice, noise; loud noise, thundering

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #6963 BDB #876


Translation: Then David and the people who [were] with him lifted up their voices... David and these men had functioned for over a year thinking that there were no consequences for their actions. David was out of fellowship much of the time and he did not appear to give God’s directives any consideration. What I think happened was: David had hit a stride as a leader. He had a lot of problems in Israel with Saul, but as a leader, he was commanding a motivated and well-run military unit; therefore, he gave little thought to the spiritual aspects of his life, as his life seemed to be on the right track. Now, don’t get me wrong—perhaps David should have continued to attack the heathen groups that he was attacking. The point is, he was in the wrong place, he was lying, and he was to the point that he was willing to take his men and fight against the armies of the Living God. As we have discussed before, David is clearly out of God’s plan. Therefore, it is only a matter of time before God holds him accountable for this.


What we will find in this chapter is something which we have not seen for awhile: the Ephod of God. David asks for God to give him direction, something which has not been a part of his life since he left Israel. In vv. 6b–7, it will be clear that David is getting back into fellowship, which certainly tells us that he has not been in fellowship for awhile.


1Samuel 30:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

bâkâh (הָכָ) [pronounced baw-KAW]

to weep, to cry, to bewail

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1058 BDB #113

׳ad (דַע) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

Together, ׳ad and ăsher mean until that, until. Generally used of an event which occurred in the past.

êyn (ןי̤א) [pronounced ān]

nothing, not, [is] not; not present, not ready; expresses non-existence, absence or non-possession; there is no [none, no one, not]

particle of negation; substantive of negation

Strong’s #369 BDB #34

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #88

kôach ( ַחֹכ) [pronounced KOE-ahkh]

strength, power, ability

masculine singular substantive

Strong’s #3581 BDB #470

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

bâkâh (הָכָ) [pronounced baw-KAW]

to weep, to cry, to bewail

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #1058 BDB #113


Translation: ...and they wept until [there] was no more strength in them to weep. For a year, David and his men had enjoyed a respite from Saul. They could settle in. Many of them had women. All of them had possessions which they had taken as the spoil of war. Life was good to them. All of a sudden, every important material possession along with their women were gone. Seemingly, their world had completely and totally fallen apart.


Application: David has experienced a spiritual setback which has sent him into an emotional spiral. However, we are going to see that he does not linger there. He does not allow circumstances to overwhelm him. Well, first, he will—he will cry until he can no longer cry—but then he will get up, dust himself off, and move ahead spiritually. We may be the poorest excuse on this planet for human beings; however, we can always get up, dust ourselves off, and depend upon God for direction, guidance and support (unless we are under the sin unto death, of course).


Application: This does require some positive volition on our parts. That is, we don’t pick ourselves off the ground and say, “God, use me” nor do we walk to the nearest Sunday school and offer our services. Let me give you an analogous situation: someone has been living on the streets, shooting heroin and drinking huge quantities of alcohol, and then one day he sobers up. That person just can’t walk on over to NASA the next day and say, “I am ready to serve man and become an astronaut.” There is some training and some growth involved here. It is the same for the Christian life—a new believer or a recovered reversionist does not suddenly walk from their lives of sin to a pulpit (which is literally done in some churches). We begin with the basics: we get into fellowship by naming our sins to God and we get on Bible doctrine on a daily basis. In the analogy which I presented, this is the addict getting clean and going to college (or receiving training).


David is not a new believer. He has grown spiritually for a long time and he took a hiatus in Ziklag. So David is not starting from zero. Nevertheless, as we will see in v. 6b, David will strengthen himself in God—this means, rebound, doctrine and probably prayer.


And a pair of wives of David had been taken captive: Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail a wife of Nabal, the Carmelite.

1Samuel

30:5

Also David’s two wives had been taken captive: Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail, the widow [lit., wife] of Nabal the Carmelite.

Also, David’s two wives had been taken: Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, the widow of Nabal.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Peshitta                                 And a pair of wives of David had been taken captive: Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail a wife of Nabal, the Carmelite.

Septuagint                             And both the wives of David were carried captive, Achinaam, the Jezraelitess, and Abigaia the wife of Nabal the Carmelite.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David's two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail, had been taken captive with everyone else.

The Message                         David's two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail widow of Nabal of Carmel, had been taken prisoner along with the rest.

NLT                                        David’s two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel, were among those captured.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         The Amalekites also captured David's two wives, Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail (who had been Nabal's wife) from Carmel.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HCSB                                    David's two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had also been kidnapped.

MKJV                                     And David's two wives had been seized, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail, the former wife of Nabal of Carmel.

Young's Literal Translation    And the two wives of David have been taken captive, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail wife of Nabal the Carmelite;.


What is the gist of this verse? David’s two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail, had been taken captive as well.


1Samuel 30:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shetayîm (ם̣יַ ׃ש) [pronounced sheTAH-yim]

two, two of, a pair of, a duo of

feminine numeral construct

Strong’s #8147 BDB #1040

nâshîym (םי.שָנ) [pronounced naw-SHEEM]

women, wives

feminine plural construct; irregular plural of Strong’s #802

Strong’s #802 BDB #61

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

shâbâh (הָבָש) [pronounced shawb-VAW]

led away as captives, taken away captive

3rd person plural, Niphal perfect

Strong’s #7617 BDB #985


Translation: Also David’s two wives had been taken captive:... We are told back in 1Sam. 27:3 that each man set up a household when living in Gath, indicating that they were no longer all bunking together in the same cave. David’s household included these two wives, both taken hostage by the Amalekites.


1Samuel 30:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ăchîynô׳am (ם -עֹני.ח ֲא) [pronounced uh-khee-NOH-ģam]

my brother is delight, and is transliterated Ahinoam

proper noun

Strong’s #293 BDB #27

Yizere׳êlîyth (תי.ל̤ערז̣י) [pronounced yize-re-ģay-LEETH]

God will sow; that which God planted; it is transliterated Jezreelitess

gentilic adjective; feminine form with the definite article

Strong’s #3159 BDB #283

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ăbîygayil (ל̣י-גי.בֲא) [pronounced ab-vee-GAH-yil]

my father is joy (or, joyous); or my father’s joy; and is transliterated Abigail

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #26 BDB #4

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular construct

Strong's #802 BDB #61

Nâbâl (לָבָנ) [pronounced naw-BAWL]

foolish, stupid; impious, wicked; and is transliterated Nabal

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #5037 BDB #615

karemelîy (תי.למר-) [pronounced kare-mel-EE]

garden, plantation and is transliterated Carmelite

gentilic adjective; masculine form

Strong’s #3761 BDB #502

Interestingly enough, Carmelite is in the masculine form here, although it is in the feminine form in 1Sam. 27:4.


Translation: ...Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail, the widow [lit., wife] of Nabal the Carmelite. These are David’s two wives, both named in almost exactly this same way in 1Sam. 27:4, where we covered them in more detail. The only difference between the two passages is, Carmelite is in the masculine form here and in the feminine form in 1Sam. 27:4.

 

Matthew Henry comments: The mention of David's wives, Ahinoam and Abigail, and their being carried captive, intimates that this circumstance went nearer his heart than any thing else. Note, It is no disparagement to the boldest and bravest spirits to lament the calamities of relations and friends. Footnote


A reasonable question is, why do we have this verse? We have already been told that all of the women and children had been taken captive—isn’t this redundant? We should ask ourselves two things when we come across a passage like this: why did the author include it and then why did God the Holy Spirit include it? Scripture is a melding of the work of men, who wrote in accordance with their own vocabulary, their own emotions, their own literary style, their own background while we carried along by God the Holy Spirit. The words of Scripture are the words of the authors that wrote them as well as being God-breathed.


I believe that David wrote the book of Samuel, although he certainly used some source material; and the first dozen or so chapters were probably written by Samuel. Therefore, David, as the author, is going to include this information about his wives because this had a powerful impact upon him. He had two wives whom he loved and was devastated by this turn of events himself. He was not untouched by this tragedy.


Now, from the divine side: David has been out of God’s geographical will and out of fellowship as well for some time now. God had to get David’s attention, and this is how He did it. Suddenly, David had sunk to the lowest depths and, on top of that, he will be blamed for this situation. What is clear is, David must either be destroyed by this turn of events or he must emerge as a great leader. In this narrative, God the Holy Spirit makes it clear to us when David gets back into fellowship with God and how this turns everything around.

 

Matthew Henry makes some additional comments: 1. This trouble came upon them when they were absent. It was the ancient policy of Amalek to take Israel at an advantage. 2. This trouble met them at their return. Note, when we go abroad [by getting out of fellowship] we cannot foresee what evil tidings may meet us when we come home again. The going out may be very cheerful, and yet the coming in be very doleful. Do not boast to yourself of tomorrow, nor of tonight either, for you do not know what a day, or even a portion of a day, may bring forth (Prov. 27:1). If, when we come off a journey, we find our home in peace, and not laid waste as David here found his, let the Lord be praised for it. Footnote


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David's Soldiers Turn Against Him/David Turns to God for Guidance


And so she presses to David greatly for spoke the people to stone him for was bitter a soul all the people a man upon his sons and upon his daughters. And so strengthens himself David in Yehowah his Elohim.

1Samuel

30:6

And it distressed David greatly for the people spoke to stone him because all the people were embittered [in] soul; each [one] because of his sons and because of his daughters. So David strengthened himself in Yehowah his Elohim.

David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him for all the people were bitter in their souls because of their sons and daughters. So David strengthened himself in Jehovah his God.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so she presses to David greatly for spoke the people to stone him for was bitter a soul all the people a man upon his sons and upon his daughters. And so strengthens himself David in Yehowah his Elohim.

Septuagint                             And David was greatly distressed, because the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, each for his sons and his daughters: but David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.


Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David was desperate. His soldiers were so upset over what had happened to their sons and daughters that they were thinking about stoning David to death. But he felt the LORD God giving him strength,...

The Message                         And suddenly David was in even worse trouble. There was talk among the men, bitter over the loss of their families, of stoning him. David strengthened himself with trust in his GOD.

NLT                                        David was now in serious trouble because his men were very bitter about losing their wives and children, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the Lord his God.

REB                                       David was in a desperate position because the troops, embittered by the loss of their sons and daughters, threatened to stone him.

David sought strength in the Lord his God,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         David was in great distress because the people in their bitterness said he should be stoned. (They were thinking of their sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.)

JPS (Tanakh)                        David was in great danger, for the troops threatened to stone him; for all the troops were embittered on account of their sons and daughters.

But David sought strength in the Lord his God.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HCSB                                    David was in a difficult position because the troops talked about stoning him, for they were all very bitter over the loss of their sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.

Young's Updated LT              And David has great distress, for the people have said to stone him, for the soul of all the people has been bitter, each for his sons and for his daughters; and David does strengthen himself in Jehovah his God.


What is the gist of this verse? The soldiers were upset over losing their children here, and determined to stone David, as their leader, for this turn of events. David is very upset over these same things and over the people turning against him, so he turns to God and strengthens himself in God.


1Samuel 30:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

tsârar (רַרָצ) [pronounced tsaw-RAHR]

to press, to compress; to bind up, to bind together; to lay hold of; to shut up; to oppress, to persecute, to treat with hostility; intransitive meanings: to be distressed [stressed, in anguish]

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect; probably a homonym

Strong’s #6887 BDB #864 and #865

David is not the subject of the verb for two reasons: the verb is a 3rd person feminine singular (which I have confirmed in the Hebrew) and there is a preposition preceding David.

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

meôd (דֹא ׃מ) [pronounced me-ODE]

exceedingly, extremely, greatly, very

adverb

Strong’s #3966 BDB #547


Translation: And it distressed David greatly... Until now, David was probably feeling pretty good as a leader; he felt as though he had guided his men safely away from Saul and that he had pulled the wool over the eyes of Achish; but suddenly, David fell to rock bottom. His world had been taken from him; his leadership was under attacked; he was greatly stressed. No song and dance, no lie, no moving from here to there would solve this situation that he found himself in. If David were a boxer, he would have been soundly floored with an unexpected blow to the head. He is not knocked out, but he is reeling.


1Samuel 30:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

çâqal (לַקָס) [pronounced saw-KAHL]

to throw stones, to stone, to overwhelm with stones; possibly to heap stones on the dead [as a disgrace]

Qal infinitive construct with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5619 BDB #709

Keil and Delitzsch make a case for the latter interpretation; however, that just does not make any sense in this context. Footnote


Translation: ...because the people spoke to stone him... His soldiers were very upset. It is interesting; throughout most of the previous chapters, these are called David’s men. However, through this portion of the chapter, they are simply called the people, the companions. There is no personal pronoun attached. These men are mad at David and they want to vent their anger against him. So they speak of stoning him, which behavior is not atypical for Israelites (compare Ex. 17:4 Num. 14:10).


I want you to notice something here: David is distressed more than anyone else (or, let’s say, he has more reason to be upset than anyone else). Not only has he suffered the loss of his wives, but his soldiers have turned on him. When you have great authority, you also take on great responsibilities.

 

As put by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown: David was greatly distressed, not only on his own personal account (1Sam. 30:5), but on account of the vehement outcry and insurrectionary threats against him for having left the place so defenseless that the families of his men fell an unresisting prey to the enemy. Under the pressure of so unexpected and widespread a calamity, of which he was upbraided as the indirect occasion, the spirit of any other leader guided by ordinary motives would have sunk. Footnote


Application: You might think you need to be in power; that you need to be in charge; that you know how to do it better than anyone who is over you. In truth, we are all lucky that you are not in charge of anything. If all you associate with authority is being able to do things differently and being able to tell others what they should be doing, then you don’t have the first clue about authority.


These men held David responsible for the events which transpired, as well they should. Now, executing David may be entirely improper, but realize, we are dealing with a mob here. This is a group of men who have just lost their wives and children and the only person they have to blame is David—he is the only person right there that they can deal with. So things could turn ugly.


Don’t misunderstand in this—I am not saying that these soldiers are justified in what they want to do. There is talk of stoning David, and, if David cannot turn things around quickly, he will be taken out of this world by a mob execution (not a reference to the Cosa Nostra). The things a mob can do exhibit the ugliest, lowest forms of human behavior. I have observed mob behavior at a jail before; I have seen it on television with police versus demonstrators (on both sides). Many of us have observed riots on television in various cities where portions of a city are burned and destroyed and looted. We have seen it over and over again in our history where men have been lynched by a mob, apart from a formal trial. I have witnessed firsthand mob behavior on a picket line. I have read about the rape of murder of two girls performed by a mob of young boys. I have even seen mob behavior in a group of parents at school.


Let me give a concrete, day-to-day illustration. As a teacher, I was a difficult, exacting teacher. I expected a lot from my students and even more from my honors students. One year, about the 3rd or 4th day of school, a small mob of parents showed up in the counselors office demanding that their kids be moved out of my class. Their children—honors students—had been in my class for only one or two days Footnote that’s it—and these parents were hysterical. The counselors refused to deal with them as a mob, and we later dealt with the parents one set at a time, along with their kids. Two daughters in particular (from what I could tell) had set this in motion and manipulated their parents into gathering other parents. When all was said and done, these two girls remained in my class, both actually did quite well; but, not only had their parents undermined my authority to a great degree (which took some work to gain back), but they undermined their own authority by being so easily manipulated into a mob-type action. Since this mob was dispersed early on, all was not lost. However, I would have been able to take these kids further intellectually had the parents not allowed themselves to be manipulated by their children into becoming a mob. By the way, unless these parents learned from their evil actions, I don’t know of any good which came out of this mob behavior. I did not lower my expectations and I don’t feel as though I got the full cooperation of the students for a few days because of all this.


In the past, what happened was, if I seemed to be too difficult a teacher for a student, the parents would come in to talk (after setting an appointment, by the way—they would not just barge in demanding changes). They would not impugn my character or teaching methods and they would not request a transfer to an easier teacher. Our discussion would center on what we could all do in order to help their son or daughter to do well in my class. That meant, what could they do, what could their son or daughter do, and what would I be willing to do. In those days, we did not talk of lowering my expectations, we did not speak of moving the child to an easier teacher; we spoke of bringing their child up to my expectations, and the parents were willing to do their part in order to achieve this. Throughout the years, I have had easily a hundred students who were concerned about their grades and who worked hand-in-hand with me and their parents to excel. From an academic perspective, these are the students who got the most out of my classes. I recall one year, the highest grade I had in a set of classes was made by a young lady, a basketball player, who was very concerned at the beginning of the course about her grade and about whether she could even pass my class. She went from this kind of concern to the highest grade of, if I recall correctly, about 80 students.


Application: Do not ever get caught up in a mob of any sort. When your volition submits to the volition of the mob, you may do things that go against everything that you believe. Now, I realize that most of you will never be caught up in a lynch mob or a mob which destroys public and private property. However, this is not the only kind of mob there is. When you are involved in a group of people who shout down the opposition or make demands as a group, all apart from discussion, debate and reflection; then you are part of a mob subject to mob dynamics and behavior. Furthermore, I can guarantee you that you are out of fellowship.


Application: We live in a country where assembly and protest are a part of our tradition; and I am not saying that you cannot get involved in this march or that demonstration. Although I do not personally believe in political solutions, let’s just put that aside for a moment and assume you are going to become a part of some march or some demonstration. You have to remain in fellowship the entire time, and the moment you see mob behavior being exhibited (e.g., shouting down the opposition; any destruction of personal property; any trampling of the individual rights of another), then you separate from that mob. We are not here to make Satan’s world a nicer world to live in. God did not call us to make a paradise out of this world. God did not call us to turn this world into a Garden of Eden. None of this is going to happen. God called us to evangelize and to learn the Word of God and to spread the Word of God.


1Samuel 30:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

mârâh (ה ָר ָמ) [pronounced maw-RAWH]

to be bitter; to be disobedient, to be rebellious; to resist, to oppose, to rebel, to rebel against, to be contentious

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #4784 BDB #598

I have 3 different Hebrew Bibles; every single one of them has the word mârâh. However, all of the English language reference books I have reference the next word...

mârar (רַרָמ) [pronounced maw-RAHR]

to flow, to drop; to be sad, to grieve, to cry [with tears of sadness]; to embitter, to make bitter

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #4843 BDB #600

nephesh (שפ נ) [pronounced NEH-fesh]

soul, life, living being, desire

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #5315 BDB #659

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766


Translation: ...for all the people were embittered [in] soul;... David’s soldiers were embittered in their souls. All they could think is, they lost all that they had and David was the cause. These men were ready to kill David then and there. Remember, this is a group of men who are not the kind who just go along with whoever is in power. When faced with the situation they faced that day, they were ready to end David’s life, if for no other reason than personal satisfaction.


By the way, this phrase is key in understanding the motivation of these men. They are motivated by mental attitude sins. They have not thought this through; they have not weighed the options; they have not stopped to think that maybe they are to blame as well. They are bitter over what has happened and they want a scape goat. They want David to suffer as they are suffering.


1Samuel 30:6d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over; on the ground of, because of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, with, by, besides, in addition to, to, toward, together with, in the matter of, concerning, as regards to

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

I would expect to find a yodh between the suffix and the bên to indicate that bên is plural; but I do not find that in my Hebrew texts. The Greek confirms that this is plural. Rotherham Footnote informs us that this is written son but read sons. Again, this is one of those many cases where the text was probably corrupted, but no one dared change the text when later copied.

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over; on the ground of, because of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, with, by, besides, in addition to, to, toward, together with, in the matter of, concerning, as regards to

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

bath (ת ַ) [pronounced bahth]

daughter; village

feminine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #1323 BDB #123

According the Owen, this is a 1st person singular suffix; however, in my Hebrew Bibles, it is the 3rd person masculine singular suffix. The Greek confirms this.


Translation: ...each [one] because of his sons and because of his daughters. The reason these men were so upset was because all of their sons and daughters were gone. As far as they knew, their children had been killed. Nothing can cause a parent more pain than to think his children had been killed. David, as their leader and guide, was responsible for this in their eyes—and to some extent, he was.

 

Matthew Henry summarizes this first portion of v. 6: The mutiny and murmuring of David's men against him (1Sam. 30:6): David was greatly distressed, for, in the midst of all his losses, his own people spoke of stoning him, 1. Because they looked upon him as the occasion of their calamities, by the provocation he had given the Amalekites, and his indiscretion in leaving Ziklag without a garrison in it. Thus apt are we, when we are in trouble, to fly into a rage against those who are in any way the occasion of our trouble, while we overlook the divine providence, and have not that regard to the operations of God's hand in it which would silence our passions, and make us patient. 2. Because now they began to despair of that preferment which they had promised themselves in following David. They hoped that in this to have been all princes; and now to find themselves all beggars was such a disappointment to them as made them grow outrageous, and threaten the life of him on whom, under God, they had the greatest dependence. What absurdities will not ungoverned passions plunge men into? This was a sore trial to the man after God's own heart, and could not but go very near him. Saul had driven him from his country, the Philistines had driven him from their camp, the Amalekites had plundered his city, his wives were taken prisoners, and now, to complete his woe, his own familiar friends, in whom he trusted, whom he had sheltered, and who did eat of his bread, instead of sympathizing with him and offering him any relief, lifted up the heel against him and threatened to stone him. Great faith must expect such severe exercises. Footnote


1Samuel 30:6e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

châzaq (ק ַז ָח) [pronounced khaw-ZAHK]

to be confirmed, to be established; to strengthen oneself, to take courage; to show oneself to be strong or energetic; to aid, to assist

3rd person masculine singular, Hithpael imperfect

Strong’s #2388 BDB #304

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #88

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods or God; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Translation: ...So David strengthened himself in Yehowah his Elohim. Here is another turning point in David’s life. He can go nowhere else but to God for strength and encouragement. We are not 100% certain of the mechanics here, as none are given. No doubt, David did confess his personal sins to God; whether he prayed or read from the Law or read from his psalms, or even wrote a psalm, we do not know. However, David did have enough doctrine in his soul to faith-rest Footnote at this point.


Now look back on v. 5: I had posed the question, why did David and why did God the Holy Spirit include the fact that David’s two wives had been taken? Let me give you a better answer now: this indicates that David was in the exact same situation has his men. He lost his wives as well. He had reason himself to be upset and irrational. He had reason to react as his men did (possibly even to the point of taking his own life in despair); but David does not. David strengthens himself in God. David reacts to the pressures of life as he should—by strengthening himself in God.


Now might be a good time to examine some related Scripture:

Strengthening Oneself in the Midst of Tragedy with God’s Word

Citation

Scripture

Psalm 18:6

In my distress I called on Jehovah and I cried to my God; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry went before Him, into His ears.

Psalm 27:1–3

Jehovah is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Jehovah is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the evildoers, my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat my flesh, they stumbled and fell. If an army should camp against me, my heart shall not fear. Though war rises against me, in this I am trusting.

Psalm 40:1–2

Waiting I have waited on Jehovah; and He turned to me and heard my cry. And He drew me up from the pit of tumult, out of the miry clay; He lifted my feet on a rock; He directed my steps.

Psalm 42:5

O my soul, why are you cast down and moan within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet thank Him for the salvation of His presence.

Psalm 56:3–4

The day I am afraid I will trust in You. In God I will praise His Word; in God I have trusted; I will not fear; what will flesh do to me?

Psalm 56:11

In God I have trusted; I will not fear; what will man do to me? Although it appears as though David may have written Psalm 56 at this time, he wrote it when he first met the King of Gath and had been seized by Achish’s castle guard (1Sam. 21 compared with Psalm 56 inscription).

Psalm 62:1–8

Only to God is my soul silent; from Him comes my salvation.

He alone is my rock and my salvation, my strong tower; I shall not be greatly moved.

Until when will you break in against a man? You will shatter him, all of you, like a bowing wall, a tottering fence.

Surely, they plotted to cast him down from his excellent dignity; they delight in lies; they bless with their mouth, but they curse in their inward parts. Selah.

Only be silent to God, O my soul, for my hope comes from Him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation, my strong tower; I shall not be shaken.

On God is my salvation and my glory; my strong rock, my refuge is in God.

Trust in Him at every time, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.

Rom. 8:31

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

2Cor. 1:9–10

But we ourselves have the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust on ourselves, but on God, the One raising the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver; in whom we have hope that He will still deliver us.

Heb. 13:6

(Psalm 118:6)

So that we may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?"

By the way, these are good Scriptures to keep somewhere in case you find yourself in a difficult situation.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index

 

As Matthew Henry points out: Those that have taken the Lord for their God may take encouragement from their relation to him in the worst of times. It is the duty and interest of all good people, whatever happens, to encourage themselves in God as their Lord and their God, assuring themselves that he can and will bring light out of darkness, peace out of trouble, and good out of evil. Footnote


Although I do not want to break up this narrative, at the end of this chapter, I believe we will go to Psalm 118 and 143 to attempt to capture David’s feelings at this point in time. I don’t know if either psalm was written around this time (or even if David wrote Psalm 118); but they are indicative of David’s situation at least.


Notice the contrast between David and his men. All had been struck by the same fate. All the married men lost their wives and children; David lost two wives. All were grieved and cried until they could cry no more. But here is where the similarity ends—David’s men sought to take this out on a scapegoat. They could blame David (which is not completely unfair) and they could execute him; or mutiny against him. Now, think about this: where would this get them? How would this solve anything? Once David was stoned to death, what would be their next move? These men did not think past that. They had their grief and their anger. They had exercised their grief and now, they wanted to exercise their anger. However, when all is said and done, if they stoned David, they will now be without a leader, and less likely able to recover their families. David, on the other hand, not only faces grief, but faces being killed by his own men. His situation is even more bleak. However, as we are often forced to do under great pressure, David looked to God. Recall that, sometimes, the only way God can get your attention is to put you under great pressure; plunge you into great pain; make you face tremendous difficulties. There is no telling how long David would have continued in this way—out of God’s geographical will, out of fellowship—as long as things went well. He has a good life here. He and his men had their families. They raided various heathen groups and took all of their food and possessions. They were no longer threatened by Saul. This meant that David remained out of fellowship for a long time. God had to get David’s attention: God first put David in a morally ambiguous situation, for which David had nothing he could do to extricate himself from this situation; then God had the Amalekites raid David’s camp and take away the women and children. Sometimes, God has to act with great drama to get our attention. Most of us, if life was good, if we got whatever we wanted in life, then we would give little or no thought to God.


Application: Don’t make God have to get your attention through some terrible tragedy. Stay in fellowship and keep on learning the Word of God. If you get so caught up in life that you forget your relationship to God, then expect something horrendous to go wrong in order to get your attention. You may lose your job, you may lose your savings, your home may be flooded, a family member may get a terrible disease. There are enough trials and tribulations that we will go through in this life. Don’t add to these by shutting God out of your life. God might be disciplining you and God might be testing you; but, in either case, God is right there.


And so says David unto Abiathar the priest, son of Ahimelech, “Bring please to me the Ephod.” And so brings Abiathar the Ephod unto David.

1Samuel

30:7

David then said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, “Please bring the Ephod to me.” So Abiathar brought the Ephod to David.

David then said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, “Please bring the Ephod to me.” So Abiathar brought the Ephod to David.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says David unto Abiathar the priest, son of Ahimelech, “Bring please to me the Ephod.” And so brings Abiathar the Ephod unto David.

Septuagint                             And David said to Abiathar the priest the son of Achimelech, Bring near the ephod.

 

Significant differences:          The Alexandrian LXX, the Latin Vulgate, the Peshitta and the MT all contain the second sentence So Abiathar brought the Ephod to David. This sentence is missing from the LXX.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       ...and he said to the priest, "Abiathar, let's ask God what to do." Abiathar brought everything he needed to get answers from God, and he went over to David.

.

The Message                         He ordered Abiathar the priest, son of Ahimelech, "Bring me the Ephod so I can consult God." Abiathar brought it to David.

.

REB                                       ...and told Abiathar the priest, son of Abimelech, to bring the ephod. When Abiathar had brought the ephod,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         David told the priest Abiathar, Ahimelech's son, "Please bring me the priestly ephod." So Abiathar brought David the ephod.

.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Keil and Delitzsch (revised)   David said to the priest Abiathar son of Ahimelech, “Bring the ephod up to me.” When Abiathar brought up the ephod to David,...

Young's Updated LT              And David says unto Abiathar the priest, son of Ahimelech, `Bring near, I pray you, to me the ephod;' and Abiathar brings near the ephod unto David,

.


What is the gist of this verse? For the first time since 1Sam. 23:9, David calls for Abiathar the priest to bring the ephod near to him.


1Samuel 30:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional/relational preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

ebeyâthâr (רָתָיב∵א) [pronounced ebe-yaw-THAWR]

the Great One is father; my father is great; transliterated Abiathar

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #54 BDB #5

kôhên (ן ֵהֹ) [pronounced koh-HANE]

priest

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #3548 BDB #463

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

ăchîymeleke (∵ל∵מי.ח ֲא) [pronounced uh-khee-MEH-lek]

brother of Melek or brother of a king and is transliterated Ahimelech

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #288 BDB #27


Translation: David then said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech,... After David had rebounded and then prayed to God and/or studied God’s Word, he needed guidance. One of the wonderful things about David is, he observes no miracles, God does not speak to David directly; but he still looks to God for guidance. David goes to God through an intermediary, the young priest Abiathar, who will make it possible for David to know God’s will.


In case you don’t recall, Saul executed all of the priests at Nob (at least, those in line for the High Priesthood) and only Abiathar got away (1Sam. 22). He escaped to David and brought with him the Ephod of God (1Sam. 23:6). Interestingly enough, the last time that we know David called for the Ephod was 1Sam. 23:9—although, it is possible that he asked for it since then, there are no recorded circumstances where David actually made use of the Ephod. On the other hand, that does not mean that David has been out of fellowship since 1Sam. 23—we have a number of incidents where David chose to do the right thing by Saul. Our first inkling that David is out of fellowship is when he moves to Philistia—which state of dis-fellowship, he is about to rectify.


I hope that you are struck with the contrast between this chapter and 1Sam. 28. In that chapter, Saul could not communicate with God in any way, so he went to a medium and called for Samuel to come back from the grave to help guide him. Samuel does not really guide Saul, per se, but just tells him what will come to pass. David goes to a priest, who represents Jesus Christ, and the priest guides David in what to do. One of the significant differences between David and Saul is, when David made a mistake, he was willing to admit it and move on; when David received direction from God, he followed that direction. When Saul made a mistake, he rationalized it; when God told him what to do, sometimes Saul did it, sometimes he did it half way, and sometimes he just did not do what God mandated that he do.


1Samuel 30:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

nâgash (שַגָנ) [pronounced naw-GASH]

bring near, bring here

2nd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperative (with a voluntative hê)

Strong's #5066 BDB #620

nâ (אָנ) [pronounced naw]

please, I pray you, I respectfully implore (ask, or request of) you, I urge you

particle of entreaty

Strong's #4994 BDB #609

êphôwd (דפ̤א) [pronounced ay-FOHD]

is transliterated ephod

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #646 BDB #65


Translation: ...“Please bring the Ephod to me.” Recall that the Ephod was part of the priest’s outfit which apparently seemed to give a yes or no answer to whomever inquired of God through it. Most agree that these were shoulder pads and whichever one lit up indicated which answer God indicated.


Please recall that we examined the Doctrine of the Ephod (PDF version) in 1Sam. 23:6.


By the way, you will notice a marked difference between Saul and David when it came to the Ephod. Saul called for the priest and the Ephod in 1Sam. 14:18, but then he never asked any questions. He was not really that concerned with being guided by God. Instead, he makes a stupid vow. David will call for the Ephod and he will ask of God what he should do and then he will do whatever God requires him to do.


Application: Now, maybe you are in difficult circumstances right now and your comment is, well, hell, if I had an ephod, I’d damn sure know what to do as well! You have the completed canon of Scripture. Access today to outstanding Bible teaching is as easy as finding a drink of water. God’s Word is capable of guiding you; a good teacher, through the teaching of God’s Word, is every bit as good the having the Ephod of God. If you don’t know this, then you do not know the Word of God.


One commentator (Matthew Henry Footnote ) asks why David did not consult the Ephod before joining up with Achish in Aphek. I hope for you, this is a simple answer: David was out of fellowship—he is not going to ask God’s guidance when he is out of fellowship. Now, his conscious thinking is probably not, “I’m out of fellowship, so I am not going to ask God what to do.” His conscious thinking is probably, “Well, yeah, I should join up with Achish; how can I refuse my host?” To consult God is not on the forefront of David’s thinking until v. 6b of this chapter.


1Samuel 30:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâgash (שַגָנ) [pronounced naw-GASH]

to bring near, to bring here; to cause to draw near, to cause to approach

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong's #5066 BDB #620

ebeyâthâr (רָתָיב∵א) [pronounced ebe-yaw-THAWR]

the Great One is father; my father is great; transliterated Abiathar

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #54 BDB #5

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

êphôwd (דפ̤א) [pronounced ay-FOHD]

is transliterated ephod

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #646 BDB #65

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional/relational preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: So Abiathar brought the Ephod to David. Abiathar rescued the Ephod when Saul came and massacred the priests at Nob. He escaped with his life and the Ephod and knew to come to David.


This also tells us something that we would have assumed: Abiathar accompanied David to Aphek to meet up with Achish. Even though he was a very young man (my guess is early or mid-teens), David took with him all young men who could fight. We are never told a cut off age; my guess is somewhere around 12–14 would have been the cut off age between a child and a very young adult (depending upon the circumstances).


Now, bear in mind, David and his men have been together for perhaps ten years. This is also an estimation. Although it is possible that some of these men came to David with families, there is no mention of that. However, just as David did, we may assume that these men got married as they were on the run from Saul. Therefore, the cut off age between children and adults was an easy call here. All of the children would have been under 10 years of age; Abiathar would have probably been a young adult.


As an aside, about 20 years in the future, Abiathar will have a son, Ahimelech, whom he will name after his father; and this son will be old enough to assume some adult duties (2Sam. 8:17); so it is even possible that Abiathar has, over these past vew years, gotten married and it is even possible that he has fathered a child by this time.


And so inquires David in Yehowah to say, “I pursue after the band [of soldiers] the this; will I overtake them?”


And so he says to him, “Pursue for an overtaking you will overtake and a rescuing you will rescue.”

1Samuel

30:8

David then inquired of Yehowah, saying, “I will pursue after this detachment [of soldiers]; will I overtake them?”


And he said to him, “Pursue [them] for you will [definitely] overtake [the marauders] and you will [definitely] rescue [the captives].”

David then asked Jehovah, “If I pursue these marauders, will I overtake them?”


And Abiathar said to him, “Pursue them, for you will overtake the marauders and you will rescue the people.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so inquires David in Yehowah to say, “I pursue after the band [of soldiers] the this; will I overtake them?” And so he says to him, “Pursue for an overtaking you will overtake and a rescuing you will rescue.”.

Septuagint                             And David enquired of the Lord, saying, “Should I pursue after this troop? Will I overtake them?” And he said to him, “Pursue, for you shalt surely overtake them, and you shalt surely rescue the captives.” [with the word troop, there is this inscrutable footnote: The Greek is borrowed from the Hebrew].

 

Significant differences:          The first Hebrew sentence of David’s is a phrase and not a question in the Hebrew; both phrases of David are questions in the Greek and the Peshitta.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Then David asked the LORD, "Should I go after the people who raided our town? Can I catch up with them?" "Go after them," the LORD answered. "You will catch up with them, and you will rescue your families."

NLT                                        The David asked the Lord, “Should I chase them? Will I catch them?”

And the Lord told him, “Yes, go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Then David asked the LORD, "Should I pursue these troops? Will I catch up with them?" "Pursue them," the LORD told him. "You will certainly catch up with them and rescue the captives."

HCSB                                    ...and David asked the LORD: "Should I pursue these raiders? Will I overtake them?" The LORD replied to him, "Pursue them, for you will certainly overtake them and rescue the people."


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                And David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them? The Lord answered him, Pursue; for you shall surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.

Updated Emphasized Bible   And David inquired of Yahweh, saying,

Should I pursue this troop? Will I overtake it?

And he said to him:

Pursue, for you will ║overtake║ and you will ║rescue║.

Young's Updated LT              and David asks Jehovah, saying, “I pursue after this troop—do I overtake it?” And He says to him, “Pursue, for you do certainly overtake, and do certainly deliver.”

.


What is the gist of this verse? David tells God that he will pursue those who attacked his camp; he asks if he will overtake them. God answers, saying, “Pursue them and you will overtake them and deliver your people.”


1Samuel 30:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâal (לַאָש) [pronounced shaw-AHL]

to ask [petition, request, inquire]; to demand; to question, to interrogate; to ask [for a loan]; to consult; to salute

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7592 BDB #981

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55


Translation: David then inquired of Yehowah, saying,... You will notice that David, after strengthening himself in God, also goes to God, through the priest, to find out exactly what we should do. Actually, this is interesting, as the English translations seem like that is what David is doing—asking at least two questions. However, I would take issue with their translations. However, so far, we are fine—David goes to God and inquires of Him. At this point, pretty much all of these translations are in agreement.


It is quite interesting that David’s inquiries are directed toward God here and in 1Sam. 23. We would expect, with having a resource like that, that David would go to God over and over for answers. However, this does not appear to be the case. David inquires of God in 1Sam. 23 and in this chapter. Of course we would not expect David to ask God what he should do in the previous few chapters because he is out of God’s geographical will and out of fellowship. However, even in the chapters when being pursued by Saul, David did not inquire of God (at least, we have no record of that).


You might think, “I’d check with God every single day to figure out what to do.” Not necessarily so. Going to the Ephod for answers was one of the ways that getting divine viewpoint. Today, we would go to the Word of God. Do you go to the Word of God daily? If so, then maybe you would have gone to the Ephod daily as well. However, just because you consult a fortune teller every month or so does not mean that you would inquire of God as often. In fact, many don’t want to know because they don’t really want to obey God.


Let me so bold as to be your ephod for a moment or two: that sin you are thinking about doing? Don’t do it. That sin you committed? Confess it to God. Going to Bible class tonight? The ephod says, do it. Is there no Bible class tonight? Listen to an MP3 file or a tape of a good Bible teacher. Or, if you happen to fall asleep when you do that, then get up an hour earlier tomorrow and listen to the teaching of the Word of God. Do you see how easy it is?


Okay, you have a major, life-altering decision to make apart from going to Bible class and apart from committing some sin—Paul tells you what to do: don’t do anything. If you are a slave, do not seek your freedom; if you have been freed, do not seek to be enslaved again. Are you married? Don’t divorce. Are you single? Do not get married. The key here is, get enough doctrine under your belt before you begin making the big decisions. You may be surprised to find how easy these decisions are to make, once you know the Word of God.


1Samuel 30:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

râdaph (ףַדָר) [pronounced raw-DAHF]

to pursue, to follow after; to chase with hostile intent, to persecute

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7291 BDB #922

achêr (ר̤ח-א) [pronounced ah-KHEHR]

another, following, other as well as foreign, alien, strange

adjective/substantive

Strong’s #312 BDB #29

gedûwd (דד) [pronounced geDOOD]

troop, band [of soldiers], division, detachment; an incision, cutting [of the skin]; furrow [of a field]

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #1416 (& #1417–1418) BDB #151

A detachment of soldiers cut through or break up their enemies. Although Strong lists these as homonyms, they are really the same Hebrew word.

zeh (הז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

demonstrative adjective with a definite article

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260


Translation: ... “I will pursue after this detachment [of soldiers];... Note that the first thing that David says is not really a question. He does not ask God if he should pursue the marauders who overran his camp; he says that he is going to do it. At this point, his own life is not as important as doing what is right. Even if David knew his plan was doomed, he would not shake his head, go to his soldiers, and tell them it was hopeless, so they are not going. David is pursuing these Amalekites. That is a given. Honor requires certain things of a man. For instance, honor requires that Saul lead his troops into battle, even though they will lose. Saul does have some semblance of honor and he will go into battle against the Philistines (actually, this is taking place coterminously with David’s situation).


At this point, David really has no choice but to pursue the marauders who hit his camp. There is no alternative; if he tried to convince his men to remain there (something he would never do), they would stone him first and then pursue the Amalekites. However, David himself would pursue these Amalekites even if it were just him, as they ran off with his two wives. His personal safety is not really an issue; the idea of asking the question, “Should we pursue these men?” is ludicrous. This is why it is not framed as a question in the Hebrew or in my translation.


1Samuel 30:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hă ( ֲה) [pronounced heh]

interrogative particle which acts almost like a piece of punctuation, like the upside-down question mark which begins a Spanish sentence. The verb to be may be implied.

Strong’s #none BDB #209

nâsag (ג-ָנ) [pronounced naw-SAHG]

to reach, to overtake

1st person singular, Hiphil imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5381 BDB #673


Translation: ...will I overtake them?” David asks but one question (at least, there is only one question that we find here); will he catch up to this band of marauding Amalekites? I should add, at this point, he does not really know who his attackers are. He does not know if they are Amalekites or what.


1Samuel 30:8d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

râdaph (ףַדָר) [pronounced raw-DAHF]

to pursue, to follow after; to chase with hostile intent, to persecute

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong’s #7291 BDB #922


Translation: ...And he said to him, “Pursue [them]... God answers David, “Pursue them.” That is an order. This imperative may be why most English versions present David’s first phrase as a question.


Here is where some interpretation comes in. First of all, when it reads he said to him, this is Abiathar speaking to David. Secondly, what we know about the Ephod is limited. However, there is no indication that it could talk and there is no indication that the priest could freely interpret the responses. My educated guess is, David either asked three questions, which I do not believe to be the case; or, the priest took what David said and asked the questions himself. “Should David pursue the ones who invaded the camp? Will David over take them? Will David rescue the women and children?” At the very least, Abiathar asked the latter two questions as the first action was a given.


Essentially, what we find here is the questions combined with the answers. Going with this interpretation, Abiathar, the priest asks, “Should David pursue these marauders?” and the Ephod flashes back a yes answer. Or, even more likely based upon his two questions which follow, that are implied, Abiathar encouraged David here to pursue the Amalekites. In other words, my thinking is that, pursue is an order by Abiathar, indicating that the results of David’s pursuit would be good, which Abiathar determined by the answers he received to the two questions which are implied (“Will David overtake the marauders and will he recover that which belongs to the Israelite band?”).


Now, recall that there are two stones, one on each shoulder, and my guess is one indicated yes and the other indicated no. Somehow they lit up and that provided the answer. Whether it was a reflection of the sun through the stone, I do not know.


You may wonder, why don’t we know how this worked exactly? God did not design our dispensation to be depended upon an Ephod. As God completed His Word, He also weaned man from signs, miracles, and direct contact. God has placed everything we need to know in His Word. God does not want someone attempting to recreate the Ephod of old. He does not want us to go to some priest like a fortune teller to determine what we should do tomorrow or the next day. God expects us to be guided by the filling of the Spirit and by His Word.


Application: Pretty much all you need in order for God to guide you is the filling of the Holy Spirit and the daily intake of His Word. Everything else will take care of itself.


1Samuel 30:8e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

nâsag (ג-ָנ) [pronounced naw-SAHG]

to reach, to overtake

Hiphil infinitive absolute

Strong’s #5381 BDB #673

nâsag (ג-ָנ) [pronounced naw-SAHG]

to reach, to overtake

2nd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #5381 BDB #673

The infinitive absolute has four uses: ➊ when found alone, it sometimes acts as an English gerund, so that we may add ing to the end of the verb; ➋ When found directly before its verbal cognate, it serves to intensify or strengthen the action or the meaning of the verb which follows; ➌ When it follows its cognate verb, it emphasizes the duration or the continuation of the verbal idea; and, ➍ it is sometimes used as a substitute for a finite verb form. Footnote The second use is what we have here and in the next phrase.


Translation: ...for you will [definitely] overtake [the marauders]... Abiathar asks, “Will David overtake these men?” The response is a definite yes. The combination of a Hiphil infinitive absolute and a Hiphil imperfect indicates that this will definitely occur. Although we might literally render this, for overtaking, you will over take; but the doubling of the verb gives great emphasis to the verb. Abiathar tells David that, without a doubt, he would catch up to those to invaded his encampment.


1Samuel 30:8f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâtsal (ל ַצ ָנ) [pronounced naw-TSAHL]

to snatch away, to deliver, to rescue, to snatch out of danger, to preserve

Hiphil infinitive absolute

Strong’s #5337 BDB #664

nâtsal (ל ַצ ָנ) [pronounced naw-TSAHL]

to snatch away, to deliver, to rescue, to snatch out of danger, to preserve, to recover

2nd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #5337 BDB #664


Translation: ...and you will [definitely] rescue [the captives].” Abiathar also asked the most important question of all, “Will the women and children be rescued” and God answers in the affirmative. The addition of the infinitive absolute of the verb indicates that the answer God gave them was clear and unequivocal.


Now, the forms of the verbs that we find are in agreement with the scenario that I presented. Abiathar asked God only two questions: “Will David overtake the marauders? Will David recover our possessions?” Abiathar received two strongly affirmative answers to this, through the use of the Ephod (the mechanics of which we are unaware). Because these answers are so clearly affirmative, Abiathar enthusiastically tells David to pursue the marauding band. This is not a response to a question; the morphology of the verb is entirely different; this is more of encouragement from Abiathar.


Again, apart from bringing the Ephod, Abiathar is not even mentioned in this narrative. However, I have assumed that all of the conversation between God and David went through Abiathar, and there is really no reason to assume otherwise. The exact mechanics of this are consistently left fuzzy and incomplete throughout Scripture so that we do not make any attempt to try to reproduce what we find here.


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David and His Soldiers Pursue the Amalekites; Some Lack the Strength to Continue


And so goes David and six hundred a man who [were] with him and so the come as far as the wady of Besor and the remaining ones remained.

1Samuel

30:9

So David and his 600 men [lit., the 600 men with him] went and they got as far as Brook Besor and some men [lit., those left behind] stayed [there].

So David and his 600 men went as far as the Brook Besor, where 200 of his men remained.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so goes David and six hundred a man who [were] with him and so the come as far as the wady of Besor and the remaining ones remained.

Septuagint                             So David went, he and the six hundred men with him, and they come as far as the brook Bosor, and the superfluous ones stopped.

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David led his six hundred men to Besor Gorge, but two hundred of them were too tired to go across. So they stayed behind, while David and the other four hundred men crossed the gorge. [vv. 9–10 are combined].

The Message                         David went, he and the six hundred men with him. They arrived at the Brook Besor, where some of them dropped out.

NLT                                        So David and his six hundred men set out, and they soon came to Besor Brook.

TEV                                       So David and his six hundred men started out, and when they arrive at Besor Brook, some of them stayed there.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         So David and his 600 men went to the Besor Valley, where some were left behind.

JPS (Tanakh)                        So David and the six hundred men with him set out, and they came to the Wadi Besor, where a halt was made by those who were to be left behind.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HCSB                                    David and the 600 men with him went as far as the Wadi Besor, where 200 who were to remain behind would stop.

MKJV                                     So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those who were left behind stayed.

Young's Updated LT              And David goes on, he and six hundred men who are with him, and they come in unto the brook of Besor, and those left have stood still.


What is the gist of this verse? David got his men to go in pursuit of the marauders, but some of them stopped at the brook Besor.


1Samuel 30:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

he, it

3rd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shêsh (ש̤ש) [pronounced shaysh]

six

masculine form of numeral

Strong’s #8337 BDB #995

mêâh (ה ָא ֵמ) [pronounced may-AW]

one hundred

feminine plural numeral

Strong’s #3967 BDB #547

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85


Translation: So David and his 600 men [lit., the 600 men with him] went... All of the men were adamant about pursuing those who took their wives and children. However, they had recently gone on a forced march into Israel to join up with Achish, so many of these men are rather exhausted at this point. We’ve discussed the mileage; they have gone about 100 miles in just a few days.


1Samuel 30:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

׳ad (דַע) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

nachal (לַחַנ) [pronounced NAHKH-al]

brook, torrent

masculine singular construct

Strong's #5158 BDB #636

Besôwr (ר) [pronounced beSOHR]

possibly tidings, reward; and is transliterated Besor

proper noun location

Strong’s #1308 BDB #143


Translation: ...and they got as far as Brook Besor... The Brook (or Wadi) Besor is a meandering wadi which extends all the way from the Mediterranean Sea in southern Judah 3/4ths of the way toward the bottom third of the Dead Sea. Beer-sheba and Hormah are two cities found near the end of this brook.


It is over 20 miles for David and his men to travel from Ziklag up to Gath. To join Achish and the Philistines troops in Aphek, that was an additional 30 mile march. Then they returned back to Ziklag. Brook Besor is another 10 miles south of Ziklag. Barnes tells us: Thought to be the stream of the Wady Sheriah which enters the sea a little south of Gaza. Footnote Jamieson, Fausset and Brown tell us: [The Brook Besor is] now Wady Gaza, a winter torrent, a little to the south of Gaza. The bank of a stream naturally offered a convenient rest to the soldiers, who, through fatigue, were unable to continue the pursuit. Footnote Keil and Delitzsch say: The brook Besor is supposed to be the Wady Sheriah, which enters the sea below Ashkelon (see v. Raumer, Pal. p. 52). Footnote Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge tells us: This brook or torrent, it is evident from the circumstances of the history, must be in the south-west part of Judea, and must empty itself into the Mediterranean Sea. In the more particular situation of it writers are not agreed. Some suppose it to be between Gaza and Rhinocorura; but Jerome places it between Rhinocorura and Egypt. It is supposed by some to be the same as the river of the wilderness (Amos 6:14), and the river of Egypt (Joshua 15:4).. By this time the men are completely exhausted. Some are unable to go any further.


David and his men were obviously able to track the Amalekites who had attacked their camp. Traveling with so many prisoners really did not allow them to cover their tracks nor were they able to move very fast.


1Samuel 30:9c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

yâthar (רַתָי) [pronounced yaw-THAHR]

those remaining, the ones left over, those left behind

masculine plural, Niphal participle

Strong’s #3498 BDB #451

The Greek uses the following adjective instead to describe these men:

perissos (περισσός, ή, όν)

extraordinary, remarkable; abundant, profuse, superfluous, unnecessary; superior, surpassing, more eminent [remarkable, excellent]

masculine plural adjective

Strong’s #4053

׳âmad (ד ַמ ָע) [pronounced ģaw-MAHD]

to take a stand, to stand, to remain, to endure, to withstand

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #5975 BDB #763


Translation: ...and some men [lit., those left behind] stayed [there]. Given that these men had, in the past several days, marched 100 miles or so, it is reasonable to suppose that many of them were now exhausted. In the Hebrew, these are the ones who remained behind; in the Greek, these are the superfluous troops.

 

Keil and Delitzsch tell us: As Ziklag was burnt down, of course they found no provisions there, and were consequently obliged to set out in pursuit of the foe without being able to provide themselves with the necessary supplies. Footnote


In the culture I am in, we are consumers; too much is often not enough. In Scripture, we find the manna principle: God gives us just enough—not too little and not too much. Such an approach to war is also prudent, as we have seen several times in Scripture. David does not need all of his troops. These men who are completely exhausted are not going to further the cause. In fact, what could reasonably happy is, they would be killed because of their exhaustion, giving the Amalekite troops encouragement. After all, much of warfare is psychological. Once the Amalekites give up in their souls, they have lost the war. Killing some of David’s men who are too exhausted to fight would encourage the Amalekites in battle. Therefore, leaving some of these men behind was prudent on the part of David.


Furthermore, I want you to observe the decisions which David makes as we go further into this chapter. In the previous few chapters, David seemed to be in rather murky water. There were times that we wondered, just what is the right thing for David to do? There was often no clear answer, because he had gotten further and further from God. However, he will dig himself out of this pit in this chapter. Without reading ahead, let me suggest to you that David’s decisions as a leader at this point are going to be correct. He first strengthened himself in God; he then asked guidance from the priest by means of the Ephod; and now he is leaving troops behind who will not be able to improve their chances of victory.


By the way, notice that there is no concern expressed on the part of David. He does not decide that all of his men will need to stay behind; he is not thrown into a panic because of third of his men are unable to move ahead. David already knows the outcome—he and his men will overcome the Amalekites and they will recover their families and their possessions.


And so pursues David—he and four hundreds a man. And so takes a stand two hundred a man who were exhausted from passing over a brook of the Besor.

1Samuel

30:10

So David pursued [them]—he and 400 men. The 200 men who were exhausted from crossing the brook Besor remained.

David and 400 of his men continued the pursuit while the other 200 remained behind, as they were too exhausted from crossing over Brook Besor.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so pursues David—he and four hundreds a man. And so takes a stand two hundred a man who were exhausted from passing over a brook of the Besor.

Peshitta                                 And David continued the pursuit with 400 men; then the 200 men who were left behind rose up and kept guard, that the raiders might not cross the brook of Besor.

Septuagint                             And he pursued them with four hundred men; and there remained behind two hundred men, who tarried on the other side of the brook Bosor.

 

Significant differences:          The MT sounds as though all these men have crossed the brook Besor. In the LXX, it sounds as though they remain on the other side—that is, they did not cross over. The Peshitta adds a whole new dimension to this—these men are not too tired, but they are left there to stand guard. Since the Peshitta text is so different from the MT and the LXX (both which are thought to be more accurate) and because the Peshitta text seems to offer an explanation to make these 200 men look good, we should reject that reading as being accurate. Furthermore, later on in this chapter, the 400 men complain about the 200 staying behind. Had they stayed behind with a function, e.g. guarding the ravine, that would make little sense.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David led his six hundred men to Besor Gorge, but two hundred of them were too tired to go across. So they stayed behind, while David and the other four hundred men crossed the gorge. [vv. 9–10 are combined].

The Message                         David and four hundred men kept up the pursuit, but two hundred of them were too fatigued to cross the Brook Besor, and stayed there.

NJB                                        David then continued the pursuit with four hundred men, two hundred staying behind who were too exhausted to cross the torrent of Besor.

NLT                                        But two hundred of the men were too exhausted to cross the brook, so David continued the pursuit with his four hundred remaining troops.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         David and 400 men went in pursuit, while 200 men who were too exhausted to cross the Besor Valley stayed behind.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HCSB                                    They stopped because they were too exhausted to cross the Wadi Besor. David and 400 of the men continued in pursuit.

Young's Updated LT              And David pursues, he and four hundred men (and two hundred men stand still who have been too faint to pass over the brook of Besor).


What is the gist of this verse? 200 men can go no further and remain at brook Besor; David continues the pursuit with the remaining 400.


1Samuel 30:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

râdaph (ףַדָר) [pronounced raw-DAHF]

to pursue, to follow after; to chase with hostile intent, to persecute

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7291 BDB #922

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

he, it

3rd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

areba׳ (עַרַא) [pronounced ahre-BAHĢ]

four

masculine singular noun; numeral

Strong’s #702 BDB #916

mêâh (ה ָא ֵמ) [pronounced may-AW]

one hundred

feminine plural numeral

Strong’s #3967 BDB #547

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35


Translation: So David pursued [them]—he and 400 men. David and 400 of his men continued the pursuit. There was no need to bring along those who were too tired.


1Samuel 30:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âmad (ד ַמ ָע) [pronounced ģaw-MAHD]

to take a stand, to stand, to remain, to endure, to withstand

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5975 BDB #763

mâthayim (ם̣י -תאָמ) [pronounced maw-thah-YIM]

two hundred

feminine dual numeral

Strong’s #3967 BDB #547

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

pâgar (ר-ָ) [pronounced paw-GAHR]

to be exhausted, to lack strength, to be weak, to have become weak, to faint

3rd person plural, Piel perfect

Strong’s #6296 BDB #803

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, away from, out from, out of, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

׳âbar (ר ַב ָע) [pronounced ģawb-VAHR]

to pass over, to pass through, to pass on, to pass, to go over, to cross, to cross over

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #5674 BDB #716

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

nachal (לַחַנ) [pronounced NAHKH-al]

brook, torrent

masculine singular construct

Strong's #5158 BDB #636

Besôwr (ר) [pronounced beSOHR]

possibly tidings, reward; and is transliterated Besor

proper noun location

Strong’s #1308 BDB #143


Translation: The 200 men who were exhausted from crossing the brook Besor remained. It sounds to me as though all of the men crossed over the brook Besor but that 200 of them were too winded to continue after that. This is because of the min preposition, which could be rendered from, on account of, since, beyond. Every prepositional translation of min into the English indicates that they did cross over the brook, as opposed to what we find in the LXX and in most English translations. If this was to read to cross over the brook Besor, then we would have found the lâmed preposition plus the Qal infinitive construct of to pass over.


Some commentators (Gill) have these men waiting by the stuff and standing guard while David and the other 400 continue the pursuit. There was no stuff to stand guard over. Their camp had been gutted and then burned to the ground. They did not have any supplies apart from those they carried off to war when they met up with Achish. Furthermore, they had no specific function as guards at brook Besor, as the remaining 400 will later complain about the 200 (1Sam. 30:22–23).


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An Abandoned Egyptian Servant Leads David to the Amalekite Raiders


And so they find a man of Egypt in the field and so they bring him unto David. And so give to him bread and so he eats. And so cause him to drink waters.

1Samuel

30:11

They found an Egyptian [lit., a man of Egypt] in an open field so they brought him to David. They gave him bread that he ate. Then they gave him [some] water.

When they found an Egyptian in the field, they brought him to David. They first gave him bread to eat, and then some water.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so they find a man of Egypt in the field and so they bring him unto David. And so give to him bread and so he eats. And so cause him to drink waters.

Septuagint                             And they find an Egyptian in the field, and they take him, and bring him to David; and they give him bread and he ate, and they caused him to drink water.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Some of David's men found an Egyptian out in a field and took him to David. They gave the Egyptian some bread, and he ate it. Then they gave him a drink of water,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (the Tanakh)                   They came upon an Egyptian in the open country and brought him to David. They gave him food to eat and water to drink;...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HCSB                                    They found an Egyptian in the open country and brought him to David. They gave him some bread to eat and water to drink.

MKJV                                     And they found an Egyptian in the field and brought him to David and gave him bread, and he ate. And they made him drink water.

Young's Updated LT              And they find a man, an Egyptian, in the field, and take him unto David, and give to him bread, and he eats, and they cause him to drink water.


What is the gist of this verse? David and his men cam across and Egyptians, apparently half dead in a field, and they revive him with bread and water.


1Samuel 30:11a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

mâtsâ (א ָצ ָמ) [pronounced maw-TSAW]

to attain to, to find, to detect, to happen upon, to come upon, to find unexpectedly, to discover

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #4672 BDB #592

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Mitserîy (י .רצ ̣מ) [pronounced mitse-REE]

Egyptian, of Egypt; a Mitsrite, or inhabitant of Mitsrajim

gentilic adjective

Strong’s #4713 BDB #596

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

sâdeh (ה∵דָ) [pronounced saw-DEH]

field, land, country, open field, open country

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #7704 BDB #961


Translation: They found an Egyptian [lit., a man of Egypt] in an open field... It is to be expected that there would be some attrition among the Amalekites. Apparently there was an Egyptian slave who traveled with them who became ill and was left behind. David’s men come across this Egyptian.


Application: Do what is right, and God will take care of the rest. It was right for David to strengthen himself in the Word and then to ask direction from God. It was right for him to leave the 200 behind without pronouncing any sort of penalty upon them. Therefore, God placed in his way and Egyptian who would guide them to the Amalekite raiders.


1Samuel 30:11b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

lâqach (חַקָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

to take, to take from, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize, to take possession of; to send after, to fetch, to bring; to receive

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional/relational preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: ...so they brought him to David. It is clear that David was the decision maker. He made the decisions. It is also clear that, despite his men’s initial reactions to this crisis (they wanted to stone David), they still looked to him for leadership. They bring the Egyptian to David to determine what they should do next. It is apparent that this man is a slave, as one of David’s first questions to him will be, “To whom do you belong?” (1Sam. 30:13b).


Just so you know, there are other options. They could have left this man there in the field to die of starvation as they continued their pursuit. They could have executed this man in anger; they could have kept food from him and provided him only with water until he gave them the information that they were after. They could have given him water and tortured him for information. However, David was allowed to make the decision as to how this man should be treated.


1Samuel 30:11c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lechem (םחל) [pronounced LEH-khem]

literally means bread; used more generally for food

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3899 BDB #536

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âkal (ל ַכ ָא) [pronounced aw-KAHL]

to eat; to devour, to consume, to destroy

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #398 BDB #37


Translation: They gave him bread that he ate. Note this approach: there is no torture here; they do not trade bread for information. They allow this man to eat first. Now, it is probable that he is so near death that, he might not be any help to them in that state. However, also recall that time is of the essence here. David and his men need to find these Amalekites as quickly as possible. And, again, they do not know, at this point, that these are Amalekites that they are pursuing. Now, even though this man is identified in the narrative as an Egyptian, we do not know if that was apparent to David and his men to begin with. The Egyptian will identify himself as an Egyptian, which would suggest that, when he is initially discovered, his racial background is not known.


1Samuel 30:11d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâqâh (הָקָש) [pronounced shaw-KAW]

to give drink to, to furnish drink, to cause to drink; to water [cattle, land]; to irrigate [land]

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #8248 BDB #1052

mayim (ם̣יַמ) [pronounced MAH-yim]

water, waters

masculine plural noun

Strong's #4325 BDB #565

Owen who lists this as the pausal form; however, I see no difference between the pausal form and the vocabulary form. We find the same word used without any slight changes in v. 12, where it is not said to be in the pausal form.


Translation: Then they gave him [some] water. Now, we tend to think chronologically and see him being fed bread first and then water, even though it seems as though the opposite would be a better approach. However, the Hebrew mind does not think chronologically; therefore, it is possible this man received the water first and then the bread.


You will note that what David does is in agreement with Scripture that had not even been written yet: Prov. 25:21–22: If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you shall heap coals of fire upon his head, and Jehovah shall reward you. Rom. 12:20–21: Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him. If he thirsts, give him drink. For in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Also take note that there is no gray area in the life of David; he is doing exactly what he should be doing. He left the 200 men behind without pronouncing judgment against them. He helps to revive this Egyptian slave with bread and water. Remaining in fellowship and growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ eliminates a great deal of the gray area in our lives.


You may recall that our approach with the gospel should be in a similar fashion. If we come across someone who is hungry or in need, we do not tell them, “Be warm, be full.” We first give them the food they need and then give them the gospel.


And so they give to him a piece of a fig-cake and two of raisin clusters and so he eats and so returns his spirit unto him, for he had not eaten bread and he had not drunk water three of days and three of nights.

1Samuel

30:12

They also gave him a piece of fig-cake and two raisin clusters that he ate, and his spirit returned to him, for he had not eaten bread nor drunk water for three days [Hebrew, and three nights].

They also gave him a piece of fig-cake and two raisin clusters, which he ate, as he began to be revived (as he had not eaten or drunk for three days).


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so they give to him a piece of a fig-cake and two of raisin clusters and so he eats and so returns his spirit unto him, for he had not eaten bread and he had not drunk water three of days and three of nights.

Septuagint                             And they give him a piece of a cake of figs, and he ate, and his spirit is established in him; for he had not eaten bread, and had not drunk water three days and three nights.

 

Significant differences:          In the Hebrew, his spirit returned to him; in the Greek, his spirit is established in him. Furthermore, the Hebrew verb is imperfect (incomplete) action and the Greek is aorist (punctiliar) action. Essentially, there is not a fundamental difference which would cause our understanding to be different depending upon which ancient manuscript we followed (the Peshitta is in agreement with the Hebrew, by the way).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       ...some dried figs, and two handfuls of raisins. This was the first time in three days he had tasted food or water. Now he felt much better.

The Message                         They gave him a piece of fig cake and a couple of raisin muffins. Life began to revive in him. He hadn't eaten or drunk a thing for three days and nights!


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         They gave him a slice of fig cake and two bunches of raisins. After he had eaten, he revived. (He hadn't eaten any food or drunk any water for three whole days.)


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins. And when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him. For he had eaten no bread nor drunk water for three days and three nights....he was also given a piece of pressed fig cake and two cakes of raisins. He ate and regained his strength, for he had eaten no food and drunk no water for three days and three nights

Young's Updated LT              And give to him a piece of a bunch of dried figs, and two bunches of raisins, and he eats, and his spirit returns unto him, for he has not eaten bread nor drunk water three days and three nights.


What is the gist of this verse? David sees that this man is more than brought to; he gives him dried figs and raisins. The slave had not eaten for three days and three nights.


1Samuel 30:12a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pelach (ח-ל∵) [pronounced PEH-lakh]

a piece, a part [cut off], a slice; millstone

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #6400 BDB #812

Owen lists this as a masculine singular construct, but I believe that to be a mistake.

debêlâh (הָל̤ב) [pronounced debvay-LAW]

fig-cake, a lump of pressed figs, a cake of pressed figs

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #1690 BDB #179

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shenîy (י.נ∵ש) [pronounced sheh-NEE]

second, the second; When only two items are named, it can be rendered [the] other

adjective singular numeral singular ordinal construct

Strong’s #8145 BDB #1041

tsimmûwqîym (םי.ק̣צ) [pronounced tzim-moo-KEEM]

raisin clusters, a bunch of raisins, clusters of dried grapes; cakes of grapes

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #6778 BDB #856


Translation: They also gave him a piece of fig-cake and two raisin clusters... You will notice the treatment that the Israelites give this Egyptian. They do not revive him with bread and water and promise him the figs and raisins; they give him bread, water, and then fig cakes and raisin clusters. He is receiving excellent treatment from the David’s men.


Don’t misunderstand me here. I am not saying that there is no place for interrogation techniques, to put it euphemistically. However, I am pointing out that David and his men saw to the needs of this man first before interrogating him. It will be made clear that they could look at him and determine that he is a slave and they probably deduced that he was a slave of the marauders who had hit their camp (either purchased sometime earlier or taken in another raid against another camp).


Application: There are many different kinds of missions, and one would expect that in a country like ours with religious freedom. However, believing in Jesus Christ is a matter of free will. Therefore, there should never be any sort of arm-twisting in order to present the gospel. That is, one should not promise food if one comes to a service first. When a man is destitute and hungry, you feed him, and then present the gospel to him. James seemed to indicate this when he said If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and if one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled, but you do not give them those things which are needful to the body, what good is it? (James 2:15–16).


1Samuel 30:12b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âkal (ל ַכ ָא) [pronounced aw-KAHL]

to eat; to devour, to consume, to destroy

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #398 BDB #37

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shûwb (בש) [pronounced shoobv]

to return, to turn, to turn back, to reminisce, to restore something, to bring back something, to revive, to recover something, to make restitution

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7725 BDB #996

kathistêmi (καθίστημι) [pronounced kath-IHS-tay-mee]

to set [place, put] [one over a thing; one to administer an office]; to appoint [put in charge, ordain]; to set down, to constitute, to declare

3rd person singular, aorist active indicative

Strong’s #2525

rûwach (ַחר) [pronounced ROO-ahkh]

wind, breath, spirit, apparition

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #7307 BDB #924

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional/relational preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39


Translation: ...that he ate, and his spirit returned to him,... This man was left behind for a reason. He was probably sick to begin with. Apparently, he was left behind without any provisions as well, give you an idea as to how barbarous the Amalekites were. This Egyptian gratefully received this food, and as he ate, his spirit returned to him. That is, whatever had been wrong with him seemed to improve considerably. More than likely, he simply had a serious cold or flu. The time of rest followed by food took care of this.


1Samuel 30:12c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

âkal (ל ַכ ָא) [pronounced aw-KAHL]

to eat; to devour, to consume, to destroy

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #398 BDB #37

lechem (םחל) [pronounced LEH-khem]

literally means bread; used more generally for food

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3899 BDB #536

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

shâthâh (הָתָש) [pronounced shaw-THAW]

to drink [actually or metaphorically]; to drink together [at a banquet]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #8354 BDB #1059

mayim (ם̣יַמ) [pronounced MAH-yim]

water, waters

masculine plural noun

Strong's #4325 BDB #565

shelôshâh (הָשֹלש) [pronounced shiloh-SHAW]

a three, a trio, a triad, a threesome

feminine numeral construct

Strong’s #7969 BDB #1025.

Owen lists this simply as a feminine numeral, but it does appear to be in the construct form.

yâmîym (םי.מָי) [pronounced yaw-MEEM]

days, a set of days; time of life, lifetime; a specific time period, a year

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shelôshâh (הָשֹלש) [pronounced shiloh-SHAW]

a three, a trio, a triad, a threesome

feminine numeral construct

Strong’s #7969 BDB #1025.

Owen lists this simply as a feminine numeral, but it does appear to be in the construct form.

lêylôwth (תלי̤ל) [pronounced lay-LOHTH]

nights

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3915 BDB #538


Translation: ...for he had not eaten bread nor drunk water for three days [Hebrew, and three nights]. This tells us that the Amalekites had been at that very spot within three days. What probably happened was the young man fell sick, and then his master abandoned him after one or two days, possibly during which the young man had not eaten. Therefore, the Amalekites could have been there within the past two days. This Egyptian slave would have been on foot himself, and left behind when he was unable to keep up with the Amalekites.


Let me suggest the scenario that this slave, traveling with the Amalekites, does not eat during the night (which is normal) and wakes up ill. He moves along as best he can with the Amalekites, but he is ill and cannot take in any food. Because of his inability to keep up, the Amalekites abandon him part way through that day. He lays in a field for the rest of that day, a night, a full day, a night, and David and his men discover him the next day. That would give us three days and three nights without food and water, and two days and two nights in the open field, left to die. I offer this, not as definitively what happened, but more as a suggestion.


This gives us an idea as to the timing here. It took David 2–3 days to march from Aphek back to their camp in Ziklag. By the time they arrive, the Amalekites had invaded their camp and had made off with all their women and children, and had left two or more days previous (my guess is the Egyptian was not left with any provisions, which would make the Amalekite attack against David occur right about the time the Philistine leaders tell Achish to send David home).


Although it is possible that the Amalekites just happened to come across David’s camp when it was unguarded; however, I believe that they had a guard set up to watch David’s camp. As soon as David had gone far enough away from his camp to make his camp completely vulnerable, then the Amalekites attacked. On the other hand, it could have just simply been lucky timing for the Amalekites to come across David’s camp at just the right moment. In any case, the Amalekites struck David’s encampment while David and company are in Aphek.


And so says to him David, “To whom [are] you and where from here [are] you?”


And so he says, “A young man of Egypt [am] I; a servant to a man of an Amalekite. And so leaves me my adonai for I was weak the day three.

1Samuel

30:13

Then David said to him, “To whom [do] you [belong] and from where [did] you [come]?”


And he answered, “I [am] a young man of Egypt, the servant of an Amalekite [lit., servant to a man of Amalek]. My adonai [or, master, lord] abandoned me when I became sick three days ago.

Then David inquired of him, “To whom do you belong and from where did you come?”


And he answered, “I am a young man originally from Egypt, but now the servant of an Amalekite. My lord abandoned me when I became sick three days ago.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says to him David, “To whom [are] you and where from here [are] you?” And so he says, “A young man of Egypt [am] I; a servant to a man of an Amalekite. And so leaves me my adonai for I was weak the day three.

Septuagint                             And David said to him, “Whose are you? And from where are you?” And the young man the Egyptian said, “I am the servant of an Amalekite; and my master left me, because I was taken ill three days ago.

 

Significant differences:          The LXX begins the quotation of the young man a little later. The problem could be the construct (young man is in the construct state, attaching it to Egyptian). This is all clear in the MT, but may not have been as clear when the LXX translators were translating from only Hebrew consonants. In either case, the difference between the readings is not significant (the Peshitta agrees with the Hebrew text).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       “Who is your master?” David asked. “And where do you come from?” “I'm from Egypt,” the young man answered. “I'm the servant of an Amalekite, but he left me here three days ago because I was sick.

The Message                         David said to him, “Who do you belong to? Where are you from?” “I'm an Egyptian slave of an Amalekite,” he said. “My master walked off and left me when I got sick—that was three days ago.

TEV                                       David asked him, “Who is your master, and where are you from?”

“I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite,” he answered. “My master left me behind three days ago because I got sick.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God”s Word                         David asked him, “To whom do you belong? Where do you come from?” “I'm an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite,” the young man answered. “My master left me behind because I got sick three days ago.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Then David asked him, “To whom do you belong and where are you from?” “I am an Egyptian boy,” he answered, “the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I fell ill three days ago.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HCSB                                    Then David said to him, "Who do you belong to? Where are you from?" "I'm an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite man," he said. "My master abandoned me when I got sick three days ago.

Young”s Updated LT             And David says to him, “Whose are you? And from where are you?” And he says, “I am an Egyptian youth, a servant to a man, an Amalekite, and my lord forsakes me, for I have been sick three days.


What is the gist of this verse? David briefly interrogates this man, asking him who he belongs to and where he came from. The young slave tells David that he is an Egyptian youth, servant to an Amalekite. His lord abandoned him and he has been sick for three days.


1Samuel 30:13a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who, whom; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

attâh (הָ-א) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61


Translation: Then David said to him, “To whom [do] you [belong]... David leads the interrogation, and, as a matter of observation, note that it is congenial but to the point. David's first question is, "To whom do you belong?" It is obvious that this man is a slave and it may even be clear to what group of people. There may be a visible brand on this slave's neck or head or hand. I don't know that he would be wearing clothes that could be recognized as those of a slave.


Also recall, David and his men do not know who the raiding marauders are. It will not be known until this Egyptian slave begins to speak that David was hit by some Amalekites.


1Samuel 30:13b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êy (י̤א) [pronounced āy]

where

adverb; with a suffix, the verb to be may be implied

Strong’s #335 BDB #32

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, away from, out from, out of, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

zeh (הז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

demonstrative adjective

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260

Together, mizzeh (ה∵ ̣מ) [pronounced miz-ZEH], mean from here, hence. With the adverb êy (י̤א) [pronounced āy], this combination is, literally where from here; but it means from where.

attâh (הָ-א) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun; pausal form

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

I mentioned the pausal form before, and noted in the previous verse that I saw no reason for the pausal form because it was not different. However, here, the first vowel point is different (it is lengthened from a to â). Bear in mind that would be the interpretation of a Masorite writing two millennia later based upon the tradition of Scripture readings. On the other hand, this is a likely place to pause.


Translation: ...and from where [did] you [come]?" David is not interested in this man's national origin (which is how this question will be answered at first). David is more interested in where this man has been lately. Of course, David and his men already believe this man to be an Amalekite slave, joined to those who raided their camp; however, they do not know this for a fact.


1Samuel 30:13c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654

Mitserîy (י .רצ ̣מ) [pronounced mitse-REE]

Egyptian, of Egypt; a Mitsrite, or inhabitant of Mitsrajim

gentilic adjective

Strong’s #4713 BDB #596

ânôkîy (י.כֹנָא) [pronounced awn-oh-KEE]

I, me

1st person singular personal pronoun (sometimes a verb is implied)

Strong’s #595 BDB #59

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

׳ămâlêqîy (י.ק̤לָמֲע) [pronounced ģuh-maw-lay-KEE]

transliterated Amalekite

proper noun gentis with the definite article

Strong’s #6003 BDB #766


Translation: And he answered, “I [am] a young man of Egypt, the servant of an Amalekite [lit., servant to a man of Amalek]. The young Egyptian answers both of David's questions: he is a young man from Egypt and he belonged to an Amalekite. It was obvious to David that he was a slave. At this point, by the way, David knows for the first time that the raiders which hit his camp are Amalekites.


1Samuel 30:13d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âzab (בַזָע) [pronounced ģaw-ZABV]

to loosen ones bands; to let go [one from being in bonds]; to leave [forsake, desert]; to leave off, to cease from [anything]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect; with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5800 BDB #736

âdôwn (ןד ָא) [pronounced aw-DOHN]

lord, master, owner, superior, sovereign

masculine singular noun with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #113 BDB #10


Translation: ...My adonai [or, master, lord] abandoned me... We do not know if these are all of David's questions, or whether he had asked additional questions. Given that his master had abandoned him, and given that these Jews had just fed him and brought him back to life, this young Egyptian was beholden to them. He probably knew that these were Jews and the men whose camp they had just raided. First thing is that me must disassociated himself from his master, which he could do honestly and accurately. His master did abandon him, although we are not clear on the exact time frame. No matter what, the furthest away the Amalekites could be in terms of time is three days; and, as has been discussed, even less time may have transpired.

 

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown: Old and home-born slaves are usually treated with great kindness. But a purchased or captured slave must look to himself; for, if feeble or sick, his master will leave him to perish rather than encumber himself with any additional burden. This Egyptian seems to have recently fallen into the hands of an Amalekite, and his master having belonged to the marauding party that had made the attack on Ziklag, he could give useful information as to the course taken by them on their return. Footnote


Bear in mind that these Amalekites are now richer than they have ever been. They had greater wealth at this time than at any previous time in their history. David will spread their wealth to a dozen cities after he recovers it. So, there is no reason why this slave could not have been taken care of. They had the resources to do so. Furthermore, they had camels on which this man could have been carried (1Sam. 30:17) and, as we will also find out, they will just stop and party with their booty (well, that came out sounding wrong). So, there is no reason why they could not have let the slave continue with them. However, again recall that, his illness could spread as well. The main reason we know that this slave was left behind as a matter of cruelty as opposed to protecting the camp against catching his illness is, they leave him behind without food and water, something they could well afford, given their present state of prosperity. That is a clear indication of the heartlessness of these Amalekites. This Egyptian slave was tossed aside as they might a broken CD player. So, if David will be able to spread their wealth to a dozen cities, yet they cannot afford to leave behind a couple bottles of Evian and a ham sandwich or two, we may reasonably deduce that these are a very cruel and heartless people.


Recall the verse in Romans, He causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him. Do you see how that applies here? God uses the cruelty of the Amalekites against them. It is their own cruelty and heartlessness which will seal their fate. This is a perfect example of God taking the evil in the hearts of men and working it altogether for good.

 

As John Wesley writes: God by his providence so ordering it, that he was not one of that cursed race of the Amalekites, who were to be utterly destroyed, but an Egyptian, who might be spared. Left me - In this place and condition: which was barbarous inhumanity: for he ought, and easily might have carried him away with the prey which they had taken. But he paid dear for this cruelty, for this was the occasion of the ruin of him and all their company. And God by his secret providence ordered the matter thus for that very end. So that there is no fighting against God, who can make the smallest accidents serviceable to the production of the greatest effects. Footnote


By the way, as an aside, you may want to point out that David is cruel and heartless—when he attacked the encampments of heathen, he killed every man, woman and child. This is true—there is no indication that David did any of that by God’s command. Recall, a believer can do anything an unbeliever can do. You cannot always look at a person’s life and say, “That man is a believer.” When out of fellowship, we imitate unbelievers.


1Samuel 30:13b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

châlâh (ה ָל ָח) [pronounced chaw-LAW]

to be worn down in strength, to be weak, to be infirm; to be sick, to become sick; to be pained

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #2470 BDB #317

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

shelôshâh (הָשֹלש) [pronounced shiloh-SHAW]

a three, a trio, a triad, a threesome

feminine numeral

Strong’s #7969 BDB #1025.


Translation: ...when I became sick three days ago. Kîy can be used as an explanatory or a temporal conjunction; here, it seems to work either way. This Egyptian's master abandoned him when he was no longer useful. We almost must be aware that, when someone becomes ill, anyone associated with him could become ill as well. Therefore, being put out from the Amalekite raiding party could have been standard operating procedure. We do not know when this man was left behind. He was sick for three days and he had not eaten for three days (that is a sign to me that I am ill, when I have not eaten for more than 6 hours). He had to develop and show symptoms of his illness. Therefore, I suspect that he was abandoned 1 or 2 days previous. Therefore, the Jews are not necessarily 3 days behind the Amalekites. They could only be one day behind them.

 

Matthew Henry: Observe, his master's cruelty to him. He had got out of him all the service he could, and when the lad fell sick, probably being over-toiled with his work, he barbarously left him to perish in the field, when he was in no such haste but he might have put him into some of the carriages, and brought him home, or, at least, have left him wherewithal to support himself. That master has the spirit of an Amalekite, not of an Israelite, that can thus use a servant worse than one would use a beast. The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. This Amalekite thought he should now have servants enough of the Israelite-captives, and therefore cared not what became of his Egyptian slave, but could willingly let him die in a ditch for want of necessaries, while he himself was eating and drinking (1Sam. 30:16). Justly did Providence make this poor servant, that was thus basely abused, instrumental towards the destruction of a whole army of Amalekites and his master among the rest; for God hears the cry of oppressed servants. Further observe David's compassion to him. Though he had reason to think he was one of those that had helped to destroy Ziklag, yet, finding him in distress, he generously relieved him, not only with bread and water (1Sam. 30:11), but with figs and raisins (1Sam. 30:12). Footnote


I believe that God judges a nation partially based upon, how does it treat its helpless. Again and again, Jesus showed compassion towards the hopeless and the helpless of Judah and Samaria. He spoke harshly against those who would cause a child to stumble. This Egyptian slave is seen as expendable. We have no idea how many years of service that he has put in for his master, but at this point in time, he is seen as worthless as a slave, and he was cast aside. This very heartlessness which cast this man aside seals the fate of the Amalekites. They had tremendous material prosperity; however, they saw no reason to waste any of it on a sick slave—and that would prove to be their own undoing.


Now, I personally have problems with our welfare system today, as I do with almost any government run program. I have seen too many people who needed government assistance not receive it; and I have seen a huge number of people who did not need government assistance, receive it. I knew a woman with cancer, too debilitated to work, with four children—the government did not help her at all when it came to her housing. However, I know another family whose kids had three or four of those tiny motorcycles for kids in the garage (along with a lot of other material things), and the government subsidized their rent, paying about 80% of it every single month. Our helpless should receive some kind of help, be it from churches or from the government; those who are unable to provide for themselves should be helped. What I see in many of our government programs function as today is they mobilize and bribe a large voting block at worst; at best, they guide certain people to expect hand-outs from the government from the earliest age.


My point in this is, simply because you live in a nation where there is a large welfare system, even if you are a liberal, this does not give you the option to ignore human suffering and human need. There are a large number of organizations throughout the United States which deal with those in need; and a great many volunteers. I am not offering an argument for or against institutionalized (state or federal run welfare systems); however, I am indicating that there will always be a place for private organizations as well. If you know of such a private organization which provides a clear delineation of the gospel, then you should support it.


We [even] we plundered a Negeb of the Cherethite and against the that to Judah and against a Negeb of Caleb and Ziklag we burned in the fire.”

1Samuel

30:14

We [even] we plundered the southern [portion] of the Cherethite and against that which [pertains] to Judah and against the southern portion of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire.”

We have attacked the southern portions of the Cherethites, Judah and Caleb; furthermore, we burned down Ziklag.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       We [even] we plundered a Negeb of the Cherethite and against the that to Judah and against a Negeb of Caleb and Ziklag we burned in the fire.”

Septuagint                             And we made an incursion on the south of the Chelethite, and on the parts of Judea, and on the south of Chelub, and we burnt Sekelac with fire."

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       We had attacked some towns in the desert where the Cherethites live, in the area that belongs to Judah, and in the desert where the Caleb clan lives. And we burned down Ziklag."

The Message                         We had raided the Negev of the Kerethites, of Judah, and of Caleb. Ziklag we burned."

NAB                                       We raided the Negeb of the Cherethites, the territory of Judah, and the Negeb of Caleb; and we set Ziklag on fire."

NLT                                        We were on our way back from raiding the Kerethites in the Negev, the territory of Judah, and the land of Caleb, and we had just burned Ziklag."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         We raided the portion of the Negev where the Cherethites live, the territory of Judah, the portion of the Negev where Caleb settled, and we burned down Ziklag."

JPS (Tanakh)                        We had raided the Negeb of the Cherethites, and [the Negeb] of Judah, and the Negeb of Caleb; we also burned down Ziklag."


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HCSB                                    We raided the south country of the Cherethites, the territory of Judah, and the south country of Caleb, and we burned down Ziklag."

Young's Literal Translation    We pushed to the south of the Cherethite, and against that which is to Judah, and against the south of Caleb, and Ziklag we burned with fire."


What is the gist of this verse? The Egyptian confesses that his Amalekite owners (and he as well) burned down Ziklag, after raiding southern Judah, southern Caleb and the Cherethites in the south.


1Samuel 30:14a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ănachenûw (נח-נֲא) [pronounced uh-NAHKH-noo]

we

1st person plural pronoun

Strong’s #587 BDB #59

pâshaţ (טַשָ) [pronounced paw-SHAHT]

to spread out; to strip, to plunder, to unclothe; to flay, to remove the skin; in war, it is used to indicate a vicious attack, along the lines of flaying the skin off an animal

1st person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #6584 BDB #832

negeb (ב ג נ) [pronounced ne-GHEBV]

south, south-country; often transliterated Negev or Negeb

masculine singular construct

Strong's #5045 BDB #616

Kerêthîy (י.ת̤ר) [pronounced keray-THEE]

executioners; life guardsmen; and is transliterated Cherethite, Cherethites

gentilic adjective; singular collective, with the definite article

Strong’s #3774 BDB #504


Translation: We [even] we plundered the southern [portion] of the Cherethite... The Egyptian servant does not pull any punches. He does not say, “My master and his army raided these places;” he says, “We, even we, raided these places.” Had Saul answered this question, knowing that he was facing those whose camp he just raided, he would have hemmed and hawed at this point; blamed others; claimed it was not his idea. A slave in the same situation might say, “This was the fault of my masters; they are completely to blame here.” But this Egyptian does not do that. He emphatically states, we raided the Cherethites, Judah and the Calebites.


This is the first time in Scripture that we have come across the Cherethites. They will be mentioned again, but primarily as soldiers in David’s army (2Sam. 15:18 20:7). It appears as though an entire unit of David’s army are Cherethites (2Sam. 8:18 1Kings 1:38, 44). The lexicons and several sources closely associate the Cherethites with the Philistines; as if a particular group or offshoot of Philistines, or as a kindred tribe of people, no doubt because they are closely associated in Ezek. 25:15 Zeph. 2:5. Given the other areas attacked by the Amalekites, the Cherethites would be living in southwest Canaan.

 

Barnes suggests: 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. Footnote Clarke adds: The יתרכ (kerethi), without the points, might be read Creti, were not only at this time Philistines, but that they were aborigines of Crete, from which they had their name Cherethites or Cretans. Footnote


1Samuel 30:14b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun with the definite article

Strong's #834 BDB #81

This combination of ׳al and ăsher (with the definite article) mean to [the place] which [that].

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397


Translation: ...and against that which [pertains] to Judah... They also raided portions of Judah which were in that general area. It is ironic that the very area which David had claimed to have attacked was actually being attacked by the Amalekites at around the same time period.


It is interesting that Simeon was sort of blended into Judah, as Simeon actually occupies that general area. However, even the foreigners see it as belonging to Judah. If you will recall, God gave a great deal to Judah, and then said that Simeon could occupy a portion of that area.


1Samuel 30:14c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

negeb (ב ג נ) [pronounced ne-GHEBV]

south, south-country; often transliterated Negev or Negeb

masculine singular construct

Strong's #5045 BDB #616

Keleb (ב∵ל∵) [pronounced KEH-lebv]

dog; transliterated Caleb

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3612 BDB #476


Translation: ...and against the southern portion of Caleb;... The descendants of Caleb had established themselves as a separate clan in southern Judah (see Joshua 14:13 15:13); and this raiding party attacked them as well.

 

Clarke more specifically says: Somewhere about Kirjath-arba, or Hebron, and Kirjath-sepher; these being in the possession of Caleb and his descendants. Footnote


You may ask, why were these Amalekites so successful in their attacks against southern Judah, given that the Judahites, historically, seem to be the best military men? I would assume that Saul had most of these men in his army, as we know that as Saul wandered around, he drafted any man who seemed to be a good military prospect. Therefore, I would assume that the best men from southern Judah were with Saul. Furthermore, Saul had kept his army quite busy. He took little or no time off. If he was not fighting the various heathen threats, then he had his army out after David.


1Samuel 30:14d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

tsiqelag (ג-לק̣צ) [pronounced tzihke-LAHG]

transliterated Ziklag

Proper noun; location

Strong’s #6860 BDB #862

sâraph (ףַרָ) [pronounced saw-RAHF]

to suck in, to absorb, to drink in, to swallow down; to absorb or consume [with fire], to burn; to bake [bricks]

1st person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #8313 BDB #976

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

esh (ש ֵא) [pronounced aysh]

fire, lightning, supernatural fire; presence of Yehowah, the attendance of a theophany

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #784 BDB #77


Translation: ...and we burned Ziklag with fire.” Again, this Egyptian servant does not mince words nor does he shift any blame onto others. We burned Ziklag with fire. Here, the emphasis is upon the settlement of Ziklag.


Notice that David will not flip out; David will not lose his temper or his control. A lesser man in dealing with this situation may have said, “I don’t need to hear anything else; you have condemned yourself to death!” and then killed him. Recall that David’s own men were ready to kill David (v. 6); how much more they would have liked to kill this man who says, “We burned Ziklag with fire.” David, on the other hand, recognizes the position of this man and the constraints that he was under—he was probably ordered, along with the other slaves, to set fire to Ziklag. Had he personally been involved, it would have been under coercion, and David at no time becomes upset over this. David is focused on what is important, which is to get the return of his camp’s women and children.


Application: As believers, we often lose our focus. Satan continually wants to point us toward the wrong things. We must function in the light of eternity; we must look toward those things which have eternal consequences. We are instructed not to sue other believers; but some of us do. That means you are not focusing on God’s plan for your life. Satan wants you to spend the next several years out of fellowship, chasing after a few dollars. When you act, think about the consequences; look at your actions in the light of eternity. Note David’s approach here; he is focused on that which matters; he is much less concerned with revenge or placing blame on this man.


And so says to him David, “Will you take me down unto the band the this?”


And so he says, “Swear to me by Elohim if you kill me and so if you deliver me in a hand of my adonai, and I will take you down unto the band the this.”

1Samuel

30:15

Then David said to him, “Will you take me down to this detachment [of soldiers]?”


He answered, “Swear to me by Elohim that you will not kill me nor deliver me into the hand of my adonai [or, master] and I will take you down to this detachment [of soldiers].”

Then David asked, “Will you take us down to these soldiers?”


He answered, “Swear to me by God that you will neither kill me nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will take you to these soldiers.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                         And David said to him: “Can you bring me to this company?” And he said: “Swear to me by God, that you will not kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring you to this company.” And David swore to him.

Masoretic Text                       And so says to him David, “Will you take me down unto the band the this?” And so he says, “Swear to me by Elohim if you kill me and so if you deliver me in a hand of my adonai, and I will take you down unto the band the this.”.

Septuagint                             And David said to him, “Will you bring me down to this troop?” And he said, “Swear now to me by God, that you wilt not kill me, and that you wilt not deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring you down upon this troop.”

 

Significant differences:          None, apart from hand being in the plural in the Greek rather than in the singular, as we have in the Hebrew. The Latin Vulgate says that David did swear to him (which is also found in the next verse of the Peshitta—this is not found in the Greek or Hebrew, however).


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       "Will you take me to those Amalekites?" David asked. "Yes, I will, if you promise with God as a witness that you won't kill me or hand me over to my master."

The Message                         David asked him, "Can you take us to the raiders?" "Promise me by God," he said, "that you won't kill me or turn me over to my old master, and I'll take you straight to the raiders."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God”s Word                         "Will you lead me to these troops?" David asked him. He answered, "Take an oath in front of God that you won't kill me or hand me over to my master, and I'll lead you to these troops."


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

MKJV                                     And David said to him, Can you bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear to me by God that you will neither kill me nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring you down to this company.

Young”s Updated LT             And David says unto him, “Do you bring me down unto this troop?” and he says, “Swear to me by God—you do not put me to death, nor do you shut me up into the hand of my lord—and I bring you down unto this troop.


What is the gist of this verse? David asks the Egyptian slave to take them to the Amalekites; the Egyptian asks for specific assurances.


1Samuel 30:15a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional/relational preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Note the change of preposition from v. 13a. David first spoke to him; and here, after telling him everything, David speaks unto him. David is showing this man great respect.

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

hă ( ֲה) [pronounced heh]

interrogative particle which acts almost like a piece of punctuation, like the upside-down question mark which begins a Spanish sentence. The verb to be may be implied.

Strong’s #none BDB #209

yârad (ד ַר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAHD]

to cause to go down, to cause to come down, to bring down

2nd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #3381 BDB #432

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional/relational preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

gedûwd (דד) [pronounced geDOOD]

troop, band [of soldiers], division, detachment; an incision, cutting [of the skin]; furrow [of a field]

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #1416 (& #1417–1418) BDB #151

A detachment of soldiers cut through or break up their enemies. Although Strong lists these as homonyms, they are really the same Hebrew word.

zeh (הז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

demonstrative adjective with a definite article

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260


Translation: Then David said to him, “Will you take me down to this detachment [of soldiers]?” David has been nothing but cordial to this man; however, with the change of prepositions, David is showing this Egyptian servant a great deal of respect. This servant makes no attempt to minimize his involvement in what has happened; he offers no excuses. Had this been Saul, half of the chapter would have been devoted to saying how he was forced as a slave to participate and that he really did not want to, but he had no choice. And, if Saul were doing the interrogation, his approach would have been from a position of arrogance. Furthermore, once he had the information that he wanted, he would have probably killed this young man. Neither David nor the young man are self-justifying or self-promoting.


David also has an interesting approach here. He does not ask the servant to bring us down to the Amalekites; he asks him to bring me down to the Amalekites. They are speaking to one another in a very personal and civil manner.


1Samuel 30:15b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

shâbva׳ (עַבָש) [pronounced shawb-VAHĢ]

to swear, to imprecate, to curse, to swear an oath, to take a solemn oath, to swear allegiance

2nd person masculine singular, Niphal imperative with the voluntative hê

Strong's #7650 BDB #989

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods or God; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Translation: He answered, “Swear to me by Elohim... I could take several approaches here: (1) David’s faith is well-known throughout the land, and even this servant knows enough about David to know that an oath by God will be sufficient; (2) the servant is hoping that David will have some religious affiliation, and that this is a general reference, which could be delivered to any religious person;(3) an oath from David is better than no oath at all; or (4) this Egyptian sought David to take an oath under his God, this giving the young man great assurance, regardless of his own beliefs. Footnote Since this word can be rendered God or gods, we really don’t know how this man meant it.

 

Gill’s explanation: The Targum reads, by the Word of the Lord; but it is highly probable this man had no notion of Jehovah, and his Word, or of the true God; only that there was a God, and that an oath taken by him was solemn, sacred, and inviolable, and might be trusted to and depended on. Footnote Or, perhaps, better than obtaining no oath at all.


1Samuel 30:15c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

îm (ם ̣א) [pronounced eem]

if, though; lo, behold; oh that, if only; when, since, though when (or, if followed by a perfect tense which refers to a past event)

primarily an hypothetical particle

Strong's #518 BDB #49

When following an oath, either stated or implied, îm, by itself, functions as an emphatic negative.

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to kill, to cause to die, to put to death, to execute

2nd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #4191 BDB #559

Owen incorrectly identifies this as a Qal stem (which would be translated to die, to perish).


Translation: ...that you will not kill me... As mentioned, with an oath, the word if can be rendered that...not. This Egyptian servant will ask for two things: first, he asks David not to kill him. The Egyptian slave connects this request with an oath.


1Samuel 30:15d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

îm (ם ̣א) [pronounced eem]

if, though; lo, behold; oh that, if only; when, since, though when (or, if followed by a perfect tense which refers to a past event)

primarily an hypothetical particle

Strong's #518 BDB #49

When following an oath, either stated or implied, îm, by itself, functions as an emphatic negative.

çâgar (רַג ָס) [pronounced saw-GAHR]

to deliver over, to deliver over for imprisonment, to deliver up (when followed by el)

2nd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5462 BDB #688

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

hand

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

âdôwn (ןד ָא) [pronounced aw-DOHN]

lord, master, owner, superior, sovereign

masculine singular noun with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #113 BDB #10


Translation: ...nor deliver me into the hand of my adonai [or, master]... The second thing that the Egyptian servant asks is that David not deliver him over to the hands of his lord, his master. This is an interesting request, as, one would expect that David would slaughter these Amalekites. However, let’s see this from the perspective of this Egyptian slave. He has been extremely sick and out of it for about three (or more) days. He has not eaten for three days. We do not know if he knows exactly who David is, although he might reasonably surmise that David and his men are Jews. Therefore, this slave may not really know what David intends to do. Since we have been with David all of this time, we know exactly what he is going to do. We have no questions about that; however, this young Egyptian man does not have our perspective. On the other hand (I am arguing with myself now, which I often do); this young man has been a part of raiding parties which have killed Jews and he is speaking to a band of Jews; so an attack by them against his former master is a logical outcome. This leads me to one of two conclusions: (1) this young man is still out of it; he does not fully comprehend that David will attack and kill his former master and his camp; so he asks not to be killed and not to be returned to his master—two reasonable requests from a man who is not completely cognizant of what is going on. (2) This young man is very cognizant of what is going on; he might get David’s assurances not to kill him, and then David hand him over to his master, who will kill him before David kills his master (in this way, David, whose character he does not know, would be fulfilling his agreement with him, and still having him killed). Personally, I lean toward this young man as still being out of it. He knows only two things: he does not want to be killed and he does not want to be returned to his master.


Now, all of that being said, the slave does not know that David is nearly bound by the Law of God to provide him protection: Deut. 23:15–16: You shall not deliver to his master the servant who has escaped from his master to you. He shall live with you, among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of your gates, where it seems good to him. You shall not oppress him. This slave did not escape his master and come to Israel, as an expression of positive volition; however, one might argue that God placed him there in David’s path, in part for David and, in part, for the slave himself.


Application: One may wonder how does a life-threatening illness fit into God’s plan? Why does God allow us to fall into an horrendous illness from which there appears to be no recovery? This young Egyptian slave is certainly made ill by God in order for David to rescue his wives and the families of his soldiers. Furthermore, we may guess that this was not simply some miscellaneous slave, but one with some positive volition toward God. Therefore, by the association with David and his men, this slave might have a relationship with Jehovah Elohim, the God of Israel.


Application: I must admit that, from time to time, things happen to me which I am unappreciative of, to say the least. However, in looking back, I can see how these things, which I saw as problems and obstacles, led me and guided me to where I am today. I cannot guarantee that you will always know why this or that has happened to you; and, if you are sorely lacking in doctrine, then you probably will not know until after you have died. However, in all that happens to us, what we see as good or bad, all has a purpose in God’s plan—of that, we may be assured.


1Samuel 30:15e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

yârad (ד ַר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAHD]

to cause to go down, to cause to come down, to bring down

1st person singular, Hiphil imperfect with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #3381 BDB #432

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional/relational preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

gedûwd (דד) [pronounced geDOOD]

troop, band [of soldiers], division, detachment; an incision, cutting [of the skin]; furrow [of a field]

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #1416 (& #1417–1418) BDB #151

A detachment of soldiers cut through or break up their enemies. Although Strong lists these as homonyms, they are really the same Hebrew word.

zeh (הז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

demonstrative adjective with a definite article

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260


Translation: ...and I will take you down to this detachment [of soldiers].” The young servant responds to David in kind—he could have answered, “I will bring your army down to my former detachment” but instead, he says, “I will bring you, David, down to the Amalekites.”


It is interesting that, in this historical account, we do not have David’s assurances to the young man. We may reasonably assume that David did swear to him, and probably by Jehovah, that he would not harm him or give him over to his master. However, what we will see next is David and this young man approaching the encampment of the Amalekites.

 

Clarke: At the conclusion of this verse, the Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic add, that David swore to him. This is not expressed in the Hebrew, but is necessarily implied. Footnote


Again, the Amalekites did not just go to some miscellaneous place. The master did not tell the slave, “Hey, if you feel better, catch up with us here” (as Gill and Wesley both suggest Footnote ). Nor did this slave overhear where these Amalekites were going to stop and party. It is more reasonable that they will return to an encampment where they have been staying, given the huge amount of booty that they had already collected. That is, they could not very well carry all of the things which they had so far acquired into battle every time, so there had to be a place where they kept these things. Furthermore, the Amalekite soldiers would want to return to enjoy their possessions. So a particular encampment (which might change every few months) is where they would be.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


David's Army Slaughters the Amalekites and Recovers their Women and Property


And so he leads him down and behold dispersed men upon faces of all of the land, eating and drinking and celebrating in all the spoil the great which they had taken from a land of Philistines and from a land of Judah.

1Samuel

30:16

He [the Egyptian servant] led him [David] down and, observe, [there were] men dispersed over all the land, eating and drinking and celebrating with all the great plunder which they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.

So the Egyptian servant led David down [to where the Amalekites were camped], and they observed men scattered about eating, drinking and celebrating all of the great plunder which they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he leads him down and behold dispersed men upon faces of all of the land, eating and drinking and celebrating in all the spoil the great which they had taken from a land of Philistines and from a land of Judah.

Peshitta                                 And David swore to him. And when he had brought him down, behold, they were scattered upon the ground, eating and drinking and rejoicing because of all the great spoil that they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.

Septuagint                             So be brought him down there, and behold, they were scattered abroad upon the surface of the whole land, eating and drinking, and feasting by reason of all the great spoils which they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Juda.

 

Significant differences:          None, except the Peshitta and the Arabic Footnote begin by telling us that David did swear to him.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       He led David to the Amalekites. They were eating and drinking everywhere, celebrating because of what they had taken from Philistia and Judah.

The Message                         He led David to them. They were scattered all over the place, eating and drinking, gorging themselves on all the loot they had plundered from Philistia and Judah.

NLT                                        So the Egyptian led them to the Amalekite encampment. When David and his men arrived, the Amalekites were spread out across the fields, eating and drinking and dancing with joy because of the vast amount of plunder they had taken from the Philistines and the land of Judah.

TEV                                       And he led David to them.

The raiders were scattered ll over the place, eating, drinking, and celebrating because of the enormous amount of look they had captured from Philistia and Judah.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God”s Word                         The Egyptian led him to them. They were spread out all over the land, eating, and drinking. They were celebrating because they had taken so much loot from Philistine territory and from the land of Judah.

JPS (Tanakh)                        So he led him down, and there they were, scattered all over the ground, eating and drinking and making merry because of all the vast spoil they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

HCSB                                    So he led him, and there were the Amalekites, spread out over the entire area, eating, drinking, and celebrating because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and the land of Judah.

Young”s Updated LT             And he brings him down, and lo, they are spread out over the face of all the earth, eating, and drinking, and feasting, with all the great spoil which they have taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah.


What is the gist of this verse? This Egyptian servant leads David to the camp of the Amalekites, where they are partying and feasting, enjoying all that they had taken from the Philistines and from Judah.


1Samuel 30:16a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yârad (ד ַר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAHD]

to cause to go down, to cause to come down, to bring down, to lead down

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #3381 BDB #432

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

nâţash (ש-טָנ) [pronounced naw-TASH]

to allow to; to leave [forsake], to let go of, to let alone in the sense of to disperse, to be spread out, to let run wild

masculine plural, Qal passive participle

Strong’s #5203 BDB #643

For some words, I have to, in part, scrap what I find in BDB and in Gesenius, and begin from scratch. There were so many meanings for this word (8 sets of Qal meanings alone) that I went back, looked at all of the passages where this word is found, and then tried to determine a smaller set of meanings which would work. The original use of this verb seems to be to allow to (Gen. 31:28), but it appears to have taken on a similar but different set of meanings in later literature.

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl]

upon, against, above

preposition

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, ׳âl and pânîym mean upon the face of, facing, in front of, before (as in preference to), in addition to, overlooking

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #776 BDB #75


Translation: He [the Egyptian servant] led him [David] down and, observe, [there were] men dispersed over all the land,... The Egyptian knows right where the Amalekites are camped. This suggests that there was a place where they essentially lived, just as David and his men did. This would have been their primary camp, and, as I have suggested before, they may have moved this camp from time to time.

 

The verb here was a bit of a struggle, but the idea was, these Philistines were on break. They were let loose to do whatever they wanted to do. Remember, they had just taken hundreds of women from David’s camp, so it was time for some R and R. What they had in mind was really private entertainment. They had food, they had alcohol, they had women. They were let loose to let loose.


A reasonable question is, how did this Egyptian slave know where to find the Amalekites? The answer to that is quite simple: these Amalekites did not simply go to some miscellaneous spot in southern Canaan to party. They did not just stop anywhere to hang out and enjoy their booty; they had a specific area which they occupied and, as we will see later in this chapter, they have so many things gathered there from their attacks, that David will not be able to use it all himself and he will distribute it to the elders in a dozen cities. So they lived in a specific area, and the Egyptian slave knew where this was. He also knew that it was their custom to return to this place after each raid.


If you have studied the last several chapters with me, you realize that I have the kind of mind that questions the behavior and actions of the men that we observe, simply because I like all things to fall into a logical place. I do believe the historical narratives which we study are completely true in all respects, but I will still play the devil’s advocate and question, what about this; what about that? I may not unearth any great spiritual mysteries and I may not uncover some nugget of minutiae which explains an important aspect of this or that doctrine—but I hope to show that these narratives are logical, reasonable and without contradiction. When I come to something which I cannot explain, I will admit to it. When I come up with an explanation which I don’t care for; I will admit to that as well. Almost every year of my teaching career, I taught geometry, and from a logical, progressive perspective. Such a daily approach for the greater part of my life cannot help but cause my mind to think in this way; furthermore, in looking back at my interests in college, and those courses which stimulated me, the courses steeped in logic appealed to me the most (which included Political Science and one particular professor). In other words, that is also my intellectual predisposition. My approach to Scripture, while not necessarily unique, tends to be extremely methodical and logical—much more so than what we find in the average pulpit.

 

I want to remind you how much God’s grace played a factor in these events. You will recall how God extradited David from his personal dilemma of showing proper loyalty to Achish without warring against his own people. Gill comments: By the dismissal of David from the army of the Philistines, he was not only delivered from a sad plight he was in, either of acting an ungrateful part to Achish, or an unnatural one to Israel; but also, by the pressing charge of Achish to get away as early as possible in the morning, he came time enough to rescue the prey the Amalekites had taken at Ziklag his city, as in the following chapter; and the providence of God in this affair is further observable, as by some represented, since if David had stayed in the camp of the Philistines, it would not have been so easy for him, on the death of Saul, to have got from them, and succeed in the kingdom, as he could and did from Ziklag. Footnote


1Samuel 30:16b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

âkal (ל ַכ ָא) [pronounced aw-KAHL]

to eat; to devour, to consume, to destroy

masculine plural, Qal active participle

Strong’s #398 BDB #37

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shâthâh (הָתָש) [pronounced shaw-THAW]

to drink [actually or metaphorically]; to drink together [at a banquet]

masculine plural, Qal active participle

Strong’s #8354 BDB #1059


Translation: ...eating and drinking... Now, this is ironic. Remember the Egyptian slave who is observing them? They left him behind with no food or water, even though they apparently had an excess of it. Just what he had not done for three days, they were doing continually (compare this to vv. 11–12). Do you see the irony here? Had they let him remain with a little food and water, he might have recovered and he may have even been gone by the time David and his men came across him. Had the Amalekites waited or simply carried him along, they might have eluded David (they had camels upon which this slave could have been transported). However, these Amalekites, with an overabundance of food and drink, could not bear to leave any of it behind and could not bear to be slowed down by this sick Egyptian servant. The observing angels must have laughed at their short-sightedness and the irony of all this.


1Samuel 30:16c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

châgag (ג-גָח) [pronounced khaw-GAHG]

to move in a circle, to dance, to reel to be giddy, to feast; to celebrate [often, a feast or a feast day]

masculine plural, Qal active participle

Strong’s #2287 BDB #290

This is the same word often translated to keep a solemn feast (Deut. 16:15). When we find this word used apart from the Law, it is a word of celebration, movement, dancing. I think what find over and over again in the KJV in the Law is an asceticizing of this word (compare Ex. 23:14 Lev. 23:39, 41 Num. 29:12); so instead of this referring to keeping (or observing) a solemn feast; this should, instead, refer to the celebration of a feast-day.

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

Literally, in all. Although I don’t have this in the lexicons, it is rendered by the most literal translations as among all, through all, throughout all, with all.

shâlal (ל ָל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LAWL]

booty, spoil, plunder, recompense, reward

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #7998 BDB #1021

gâdôwl (לדָ) [pronounced gaw-DOLE]

great in quantity, great in magnitude and extent, mighty, vast, unyielding, immutable; great things, significant and astonishing [or mind-blowing] things

masculine singular adjective; with the definite article

Strong’s #1419 (& #1431) BDB #152


Translation: ...and celebrating with all the great plunder... Over and over again we find the verb in this phrase rendered to observe a solemn feast (Ex. 23:14 Lev. 23:39, 41 Num. 29:12 Deut. 16:15 Zech. 14:15–16, 18–19 Mal. 2:7). Do you think these Amalekites are solemnly observing a religious feast prayerfully thanking their gods for their plunder? Hell no! They are eating, drinking, singing, dancing, carousing. They have food, alcohol and women. This is the good life. There is no ascetic observance going on here; they are feasting and partying. This should indicate that when we find this verb earlier in the Law it does not refer to a solemn festival but to a grand celebration. The feast days found in the Law demand celebration rather than a quiet ascetic observance. We are redeemed by God; that redemption deserves some celebration on our part. Remember our Lord’s first miracle? He turned the water at a wedding feast into wine. Footnote That speaks of celebration not of a quiet somber get together of boring religious types.

 

Keil and Delitzsch: This Egyptian then conducted David, at his request, when he had sworn that he would neither kill him nor deliver him up to his master, down to the hostile troops, who were spread over the whole land, eating, drinking, and making merry, on account of all the great booty which they had brought out of the land of the Philistines and Judah. Footnote Jamieson, Fausset and Brown: Believing that David and all his men of war were far away, engaged with the Philistine expedition, they deemed themselves perfectly secure and abandoned themselves to all manner of barbaric revelry. Footnote


1Samuel 30:16d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun with the definite article

Strong's #834 BDB #81

lâqach (חַקָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

to take, to take from, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize, to take possession of; to send after, to fetch, to bring; to receive

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, away from, out from, out of, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land

feminine singular construct

Strong's #776 BDB #75

Pelishetîy (י. ש ̣ל) [pronounced pe-lish-TEE]

transliterated Philistines

masculine plural gentilic adjective (acts like a proper noun) with the definite article

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814


Translation: ...which they had taken from the land of the Philistines... Here is one of the reasons that the Cherethites are seen as a Philistine offshoot. These Amalekites attacked Judah and Caleb in the land of Judah; therefore, when they plundered the land of the Philistines, the remaining people for them to plunder would have been the Cherethites (v. 14). Therefore, logic would dictate that they either lived in the land of the Philistines or that they were an offshoot of the Philistines.


Also bear in mind that the Philistines were coterminously at war with Israel—therefore, this group cannot be simply be a part of Philistia. It is likely that they either were an offshoot of the Philistines or had a treaty with the Philistines.


However, let me present the case for the other side: David was living in Philistia; therefore, when these Amalekites went through Philistia, they came across David’s camp in Ziklag. Therefore, the Cherethites could have lived in southern Judah as well. Now, given that they will be a part of David’s army in the future, either situation could be true—they could be an offshoot of the Philistines or a small tribe of people who had a treaty with Israel.


1Samuel 30:16e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, away from, out from, out of, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land

feminine singular construct

Strong's #776 BDB #75

Yehûwdâh (הָדהי) [pronounced yehoo-DAW]

possibly means to praise, to be praised; and is transliterated Judah

masculine proper noun/location

Strong’s #3063 BDB #397


Translation: ...and from the land of Judah. These Amalekites also had attacked the land of Judah, attacking Judah, Simeon (probably) and Caleb. Coming across David’s camp was a bonus. Although some of the mechanics are not given to us, it is very likely that these Amalekites sent spied throughout the land, located suitable targets, and then struck. Whether they came across David’s camp at the right time—or came across it at the wrong time, and kept an eye on it for later—we don’t know. In any case, they struck David’s camp with perfect timing—they just did not know the consequences of their actions.


In v. 14, the Egyptian slave told David the people which these Amalekites had struck: the Cherethites, the Judahites, the Calebites and David’s camp. In this verse, we are told they struck (the southern) portions of Philistia and Judah. The Judahites and the Calebites live in southern Judah and Ziklag is in southern Philistia. Because the Cherethites are closely associated with the Philistines throughout Scripture (Ezek. 25:16 Zeph. 2:5), we may reasonably assume that they live in southern Philistia as well.


And so strikes them down David from the twilight and until the evening to [the] morrow. And had not escaped in them a man for if four hundreds a man, young men who mounted [and rode] upon the camels and so they flee.

1Samuel

30:17

David struck them down from twilight until the next evening [lit., until the evening with respect to the morrow]. Not a man from [lit., in] them escaped except for 400 men—young men who mounted camels and escaped.

David and his men began to kill the Amalekites that evening and continued killing them until the next evening. None of them escaped except for 400 young men who mounted their camels and escaped.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts: