Add parallel Print Page Options

Trouble on David’s Return to Ziklag

30 When David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had raided the Negev[a] and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and set it on fire. They took the women in it captive, from young to old.[b] They did not kill anyone. Instead, they carried them off and went on their way. David and his men came to the town, and it had been burned down. Their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him lifted their voices and cried until they had no more strength left to cry. David’s two wives, Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, Nabal’s former[c] wife, had been captured. David was in great danger[d] because all the people were bitter because of their sons and daughters, and they were talking about stoning him. But David found strength[e] in the Lord his God.

David Pursues the Amalekites

David told Ahimelech’s son Abiathar the priest, “Bring me the ephod.”[f] So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. David inquired of the Lord: “Shall I pursue this raiding party?[g] Will I overtake them?”

The Lord[h] told David,[i] “Pursue them! You will definitely overtake them and rescue the captives.”[j] So David and 600 men who were with him set out. They came to the Wadi[k] Besor where those who were left behind stayed. 10 David and 400 men continued the pursuit,[l] while the 200 men who were too exhausted to cross over the Wadi[m] Besor remained there.[n]

An Egyptian Leads David to the Amalekites

11 They found an Egyptian man in the field, and they took him to David. They gave him food to eat and provided water for him. 12 They gave him part of a fig cake and two bunches of raisins. After he had eaten, he revived,[o] since he had neither eaten food nor had he drunk water for three days and three nights. 13 David told him, “To whom do you belong and where are you from?”

The Egyptian[p] replied, “I’m a young Egyptian man, the slave of an Amalekite man. My master abandoned me, because I got sick three days ago. 14 We raided the Negev[q] of the Cherethites, the territory that belongs to Judah,[r] and the Negev[s] of Caleb, and we set Ziklag on fire.”

15 David asked him, “Will you take me to this raiding party?”[t]

He said, “Swear to me by God that you won’t kill me or turn me over to my master, and I’ll take you to the raiding party.”[u]

David Defeats the Amalekites

16 The Egyptian[v] led him to the camp,[w] and there the Amalekites[x] were spread out over the whole area, eating, drinking, and celebrating with the great amount of spoil they had taken from the territory belonging to the Philistines and to Judah. 17 David struck them down from twilight until the evening of the next day, and not one of them escaped except for 400 young men who mounted camels and fled. 18 David rescued everyone whom the Amalekites[y] had captured, including[z] his two wives. 19 Nothing of theirs was missing, whether small or large, sons or daughters, spoil, or anything that they had taken for themselves—David brought back everything. 20 David took all the rest of[aa] the sheep and cattle, driving them ahead of their rescued livestock.[ab] People said about all this,[ac] “This is David’s spoil.”

David Divides the Spoil

21 David came to the 200 men who were too exhausted to follow him[ad] and who had been left at the Wadi[ae] Besor. They came out to meet David and the people who were with him. As David approached the people, he asked them how they were doing.[af] 22 At this point, all the wicked and worthless men of the group who had gone with David answered, “Because they didn’t go with us, we won’t give them any of the spoil that we recovered, except that each person may take his wife and his children and go.”

23 David said, “No, you won’t do this, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us. He guarded us and gave the raiding party[ag] that came against us into our hand. 24 Who will listen to you in this matter? Indeed, the share of those who went down into battle and the share of those who stayed with the supplies will be the same. They’ll share alike.” 25 From that day forward he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel, and it remains[ah] to this present[ai] day.

David Shares the Spoil with the People of Judah

26 David came to Ziklag, and he sent some of the spoil to the elders of Judah, and to his friends, telling them, “Look, this is a gift for you from the spoil of the enemies of the Lord 27 in Bethel, Ramoth-negev, Jattir, 28 Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, 29 Rachal, in the Jerahmeelite towns, in the Kenite towns, 30 in Hormah, Bor-ashan, Athach, 31 Hebron, and for all those places where David and his men had frequented.”


  1. 1 Samuel 30:1 I.e. the southern region of Israel; cf. Josh 10:40
  2. 1 Samuel 30:2 Lit. from small to great
  3. 1 Samuel 30:5 The Heb. lacks former
  4. 1 Samuel 30:6 Or greatly distressed
  5. 1 Samuel 30:6 Or strengthened himself
  6. 1 Samuel 30:7 The ephod was a type of vest worn by the priest and was used to determine God’s will.
  7. 1 Samuel 30:8 Or band
  8. 1 Samuel 30:8 Lit. He
  9. 1 Samuel 30:8 Lit. him
  10. 1 Samuel 30:8 Lit. and you will definitely rescue
  11. 1 Samuel 30:9 I.e. a seasonal stream or river that channels water during rain seasons but is dry at other times
  12. 1 Samuel 30:10 Lit. pursued
  13. 1 Samuel 30:10 I.e. a seasonal stream or river that channels water during rain seasons but is dry at other times
  14. 1 Samuel 30:10 The Heb. lacks there
  15. 1 Samuel 30:12 Lit. his spirit revived
  16. 1 Samuel 30:13 Lit. He
  17. 1 Samuel 30:14 Or the southern region
  18. 1 Samuel 30:14 Lit. what belongs to Judah
  19. 1 Samuel 30:14 Or the southern region
  20. 1 Samuel 30:15 Or band
  21. 1 Samuel 30:15 Or band
  22. 1 Samuel 30:16 Lit. He
  23. 1 Samuel 30:16 Lit. him down
  24. 1 Samuel 30:16 Lit. they
  25. 1 Samuel 30:18 Lit. whom Amalek; i.e., those who lived in the town of Amalek
  26. 1 Samuel 30:18 Lit. captured, and David rescued
  27. 1 Samuel 30:20 The Heb. lacks the rest of
  28. 1 Samuel 30:20 Lit. ahead of those livestock
  29. 1 Samuel 30:20 Lit. about them
  30. 1 Samuel 30:21 Lit. David
  31. 1 Samuel 30:21 I.e. a seasonal stream or river that channels water during rain seasons but is dry at other times
  32. 1 Samuel 30:21 Or he greeted them
  33. 1 Samuel 30:23 Or band
  34. 1 Samuel 30:25 The Heb. lacks and it remains
  35. 1 Samuel 30:25 The Heb. lacks present

Bible Gateway Sponsors