1 Samuel Chapter 30  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: 1 Samuel 30
1Sa 30:1(top)
1Sa 30:2

“both young and old.” The Hebrew is more literally, “little and big.”

1Sa 30:3(top)
1Sa 30:4(top)
1Sa 30:5

“And David’s two wives.” Although David will take more wives later, the text makes it clear that at this time he only had two wives.

“Ahinoam the Jezreelitess.” This is the “Jezreel” of Judah, not the Jezreel in the Jezreel Valley. This Jezreel is in south-central Judah, not far from Maon, Ziph, and Carmel (cp. Josh. 15:56; 1 Sam. 25:43; 27:3; 30:5; 2 Sam. 2:2; 3:2; see commentary on Josh. 15:56).

1Sa 30:6

“but David found strength in Yahweh his God.” This seems to be a turning point in the life of David. He had lost energy and resolve when he was being chased by Saul month after month, and finally became so discouraged that he went to the Philistine king Achish, king of Gath, and sought refuge in the Philistine country on the coast of Israel. In the year and four months he was there he had to hide how he felt and lie about his activities, which were bloody and merciless; killing every man, woman, and child in village after village, as he made raids from his base in Ziklag. Now Ziklag has been burned and the women and children have been captured by the Amalekites, and his own men—who were no doubt weary of the duplicitous and even shameful lifestyle they were living—spoke of stoning him. But David showed his true self and found strength in Yahweh, and things turned around for him. He and his men fought the Amalekites and got back all their stuff as well as all the plunder that the Amalakites had gotten from raiding. Then due to the timing of the death of Saul, went to Hebron and was crowed king over the Judeans. Then, after a two-year civil war, was crowned king over all Israel.

1Sa 30:7(top)
1Sa 30:8

“overtake, yes, overtake, and will rescue, yes, rescue.” The Hebrew doubles the verbs “overtake” and “rescue,” using the figure of speech polyptoton for emphasis (see commentary on Gen. 2:16). God’s answer to David’s question is emphatic, punchy, and to the point.

1Sa 30:9

“came to the brook Besor.” The brook Besor in the southern Negev is not a deep ravine or a deep stream, and it is easy to cross. However, it is a distinct boundary as one travels south, and the men who were exhausted felt they could go no further.

1Sa 30:10

“so faint.” The travel had no doubt been tiring, but in this context “faint” could also refer to physical exhaustion combined with mental discouragement. The men were already tired and mentally fatigued, and they had no idea how far the Amalekites had gone with their families or even if they were still alive, so they just could not muster the strength to go on.

1Sa 30:11(top)
1Sa 30:12

“a slice of pressed figs and two clusters of raisins.” David’s men were traveling light and fast through the arid regions of the Negev, and light fare such as raisins and pressed figs would have been the kind of food they had with them (cp. 1 Sam. 25:18; 2 Kings 20:7).

“for three days and three nights.” Without water in the Negev for three days and nights must have meant that this Egyptian was on the point of death. So it was a blessing from God for him to be found and saved, and a blessing from God for David and his men to find him and get help from him.

1Sa 30:13

“I am a young servant.” The young man was likely a slave.

1Sa 30:14

“Cherethites.” In this case, the “Cherethites” are people from Crete, in this case, the Philistines. The Philistines and Amalakites were enemies.

“the Negev of Caleb.” Caleb was given the city of Hebron, so the Negev of Caleb would be the Negev to the south of Hebron.

1Sa 30:15(top)
1Sa 30:16(top)
1Sa 30:17

“the evening breeze.” The Hebrew reads nesheph, the word for “breathe.” Here it refers to the late afternoon or evening “breath,” that is, breeze. The sun heats up the land during the day and the air begins to rise. By evening, there is a very regular breeze off the Mediterranean Sea, a breath of cool air, if you will. Here, David killed the Amalekites from the “breath” (the evening breeze) until the next evening. That must have been quite a feat and required dependence on God, because David and his men were already tired, and to fight for 24 solid hours takes a huge amount of willpower and endurance.

“400 young servants.” It is possible that these servants—likely slaves—got away on camels because they were made to watch over the camels while their Amalekite lords ate and drank. Also, David may well have let them go rather than pursuing them because he knew that they were servants or slaves and were not willingly a part of the Amalekite fighting force. Perhaps with the camels for collateral, these slaves could begin a new life for themselves out from under their Amalekite lords.

1Sa 30:18

“and David rescued his two wives as well.” The fact that the text says that David rescued all that the Amalekites had taken should have included his wives, so why are they specifically mentioned? Part of the reason would be that David has already been anointed king over Israel, and even though he has been a king in exile, he is still the anointed king. The wives of the king had to be carefully watched over because if they had children, those children could claim to be descendants of the king and try to usurp the throne, just as David’s son Absalom did. So specifically mentioning that David recovered his wives removes any doubt that any child of theirs would legitimately be David’s.

1Sa 30:19(top)
1Sa 30:20

“they drove them.” That is, David’s men drove them.

“the other livestock.” The “other livestock” seems to be the livestock that David and his men had originally.

“and they said, ‘This is David’s spoil.’” It is David’s men who recognize his leadership and what he has done for them and want him to take the flocks and herds that were the Amalekites as his own spoil, and they got their own flocks and herds back.

1Sa 30:21

“who were made to stay at the brook Besor.” The text is unclear if the people were made to stay behind at Besor by their exhaustion or by David. It is quite possible that David saw that they could not really effectively travel or fight and that they would be more of a liability than an asset and had them stay behind for their own good and the good of the army that was fit to fight.

1Sa 30:22

men of Belial.” This is a designation of sons of the Devil. [For more on sons of Belial, see commentary on 1 Sam. 2:12. For more on the unforgivable sin and children of the Devil, see commentary on Matt. 12:31].

“me.” The text is singular, “me.” The men of Belial speak as if everyone was in agreement with them that those left behind would get nothing. This is a tactic of the Devil and his followers, to make it seem like “everybody” is doing something even if in reality it is only a small number. Inflating numbers and trying to include people to make the numbers seem bigger is a trick of the Devil to get people to feel badly if they are not “part of the crowd.” The Devil knows that people do not generally want to be alone or different, so he often falsely inflates numbers to get people to join his evil cause who would not join if they thought that others were not joining. No doubt there were many among the 400 men who went with David who thought that the spoil should be evenly shared, but the men of Belial ignore that fact and include them in the “me” without their permission. The desire to be part of a group rather than be alone, even if being alone is the right thing to do, is why God has in the Law of Moses, “You must not follow a crowd to do evil” (Exod. 23:2).

“so that he may lead them away and depart.” The men of Belial are happy to divide the group and send away those who were too exhausted to fight. The Devil is always trying to cause division and weaken the group. In this record we see the heart of God exemplified in David, and the heart of the Devil exemplified in his children, the men of Belial. David fought to include the ones who had been left behind and keep the group together and respecting one another, while the men of Belial attempted to sow division, promote hard feelings and bitterness, and divide the group.

1Sa 30:23(top)
1Sa 30:24(top)
1Sa 30:25(top)
1Sa 30:26

“to his friends, to the elders of Judah.” David had made the elders of Judah his friends. The word translated “friends” can be very generic, and not refer to “friends” the way we do in English. It can simply refer to people around, “neighbors” or “fellows.”

1Sa 30:27

“Jattir.” A city of priests in southern Judah (Josh. 21:14).

1Sa 30:28

“Eshtemoa.” A city of priests in southern Judah (Josh. 21:14).

1Sa 30:29(top)
1Sa 30:30(top)
1Sa 30:31(top)

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