1 Samuel 30:1
And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;
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(1) On the third day—That is, on the third day after King Achish, in consequence of the remonstrances of the Philistine chieftains, had dismissed David and his contingent from the ranks of the Philistine army. This dismissal could hardly have taken place at Shunem, in the Esdraelon (Jezreel) Vale, for Shunem is some ninety miles distant from Ziklag. The division of Achish had marched from Gath with David; and somewhere in Philistia, after the whole force had been gathered into one, the scene which resulted in David’s services being dispensed with took place.

The Amalekites had invaded the south.—This was partly in retaliation for the late raids of David in the Amalekite country, partly because Amalek had heard that, owing to the Philistine and Israelite armies having left the southern districts for the central part of Canaan, all the south country was left unguarded. “The south,” that is, “the Negeb,” or the dry land-all the southern part of Judea; it included also a part of the Arabian Desert.

And smitten Ziklag.—This was an act of vengeance, Ziklag being the city of that famous Israelite chieftain David, who had done so much damage to Amalek, and who had treated the captives with such cruelty. While other parts of the south were simply plundered, Ziklag was marked for utter destruction was sacked and burned.

1 Samuel 30:1-2. The Amalekites had invaded the south — Namely, the southern part of Judah, and the adjacent country. This, probably, they had done to revenge themselves for David’s invading their country, mentioned 1 Samuel 27:8. And smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire — Which they might easily do when David and his men were absent, and but a small, if any, guard left in the place. And had taken the women captives — And among the rest David’s two wives. They slew not any, but carried them away — Toward their own country. Being a poor and very covetous people, they doubtless intended to sell them for slaves, and make money of them. How great must have been the surprise, and how inexpressible the grief of David and his men, when they came to the town, to find it utterly desolated, and burned down to the ground, and all the persons and property left therein taken away!

30:1-6 When we go abroad in the way of our duty, we may comfortably hope that God will take care of our families in our absence, but not otherwise. If, when we come off a journey, we find our abode in peace, and not laid waste, as David here found his, let the Lord be praised for it. David's men murmured against him. Great faith must expect such severe trials. But, observe, that David was brought thus low, only just before he was raised to the throne. When things are at the worst with the church and people of God, then they begin to mend. David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. His men fretted at their loss, the soul of the people was bitter; their own discontent and impatience added to the affliction and misery. But David bore it better, though he had more reason than any of them to lament it. They gave liberty to their passions, but he set his graces to work; and while they dispirited each other, he, by encouraging himself in God, kept his spirit calm. Those who have taken the Lord for their God, may take encouragement from him in the worst times.On the third day - This indicates that Aphek was three days' march from Ziklag, say about 50 miles, which agrees very well with the probable situation of Aphek (1 Samuel 4:1 note). From Ziklag to Shunem would not be less than 80 or 90 miles.

The Amalekites, in retaliation of David's raids 1 Samuel 27:8-9, invaded "the south" of Judah Joshua 15:21; but owing to the absence of all the men with David there was no resistance, and consequently the women and children were carried off as prey, and uninjured.


1Sa 30:1-5. The Amalekites Spoil Ziklag.

1. Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag—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.The Amalekites in David’s absence spoil Ziklag, and carry away the people and his two wives captives, 1 Samuel 30:1-6. David asking counsel is encouraged by God to pursue them, 1 Samuel 30:7-10. By the means of an Egyptian, who was left behind, he is brought to the enemies, and recovereth all the spoil, and spoileth them, 1 Samuel 30:11-20; makes an order for the dividing the prey, 1 Samuel 30:21-25; sendeth presents to his friends, 1 Samuel 30:26-31.

On the third day, to wit, after David’s departure from Achish; for Ziklag was at a great distance from the camp and place of fight, as appears from 2 Samuel 1:2; and David’s men being all footmen, could make but slow marches.

The Amalekites; the remainders of that people who lived near those parts where David had destroyed their brethren, 1 Samuel 27:8,9.

The south, to wit, the southern part of Judah, and the adjacent parts. See below, 1 Samuel 30:14.

Smitten Ziklag, i.e. sacked and spoiled it.

And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag, on the third day,.... Either from their departure from thence, when they went out with Achish, or rather from the time of their leaving Achish, and the camp of the Philistines; so long they were upon their march homewards, see 2 Samuel 1:1; and no wonder, if it was the distance of eighty eight miles; see Gill on 1 Samuel 29:11,

that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag; the southern parts of the land of the Philistines, and of Judah, as appears from 1 Samuel 30:14; taking the opportunity of the Philistines being gone into the land of Israel, and particularly of David's absence from Ziklag, to whom they bore a grudge for his invasion, destruction, and spoil of them not long ago, see 1 Samuel 27:8,

and smitten Ziklag, and burnt it with fire; not that they smote the inhabitants of it, there were no men in it, and the women and children they carried captive; but they demolished the buildings in it, pulled down the houses after they had rifled them, and burnt them with fire, that David and his men might dwell there no more.

And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on {a} the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and {b} smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire;

(a) After that he departed from Achish.

(b) That is, destroyed their city.

Ch. 1 Samuel 30:1-6. Sack of Ziklag in David’s absence

1. on the third day] After leaving the Philistine army. Evidently he had not accompanied them far beyond the frontier. See note on 1 Samuel 29:2.

the Amalekites] Possibly they had got information of David’s absence, and took the opportunity to make reprisals for his raids on them (1 Samuel 27:8).

the south, and Ziklag] The Negeb or “south country” is the technical name for the district between the hills of Judah and the actual desert. It is a series of rolling hills, clad with scanty herbage here and there. In places there is fine upland pasture, but not a tree nor a shrub to relieve its bareness. See Tristram, Land of Israel, pp. 360–373. In this district Ziklag was situated.

Verse 1. - On the third day. David evidently could not have gone with the Philistines As far as to Shunem; for, as noticed in the previous chapter, it would have been impossible to march back to Ziklag in so short a time. But as he had gone first to Gath, where no doubt Achish collected his vassals, and then marched northwards with the army for two days, he must altogether have been absent from Ziklag for some little time. The Amalelkites. Doubtless they were glad to retaliate upon David for his cruel treatment of them; but, besides, they lived by rapine, and when the fighting men of Philistia and of Judaea were marching away to war, it was just the opportunity which they wished of spoiling the defenceless country. The south. I.e. the Negeb, for which see 1 Samuel 27:10. It was the name especially given to the southern district of Judah, whence these freebooters turned westward towards Ziklag. They would probably not dare to penetrate far into either territory. The word for invaded is the same as in 1 Samuel 27:8, and implies that they spread themselves over the country to drive off cattle and booty, but with no intention of fighting battles. 1 Samuel 30:11 Samuel 30:1-4 form one period, which is expanded by the introduction of several circumstantial clauses. The apodosis to "It came to pass, when," etc. (1 Samuel 30:1), does not follow till 1 Samuel 30:4, "Then David and the people," etc. But this is formally attached to 1 Samuel 30:3, "so David and his men came," with which the protasis commenced in 1 Samuel 30:1 is resumed in an altered form. "It came to pass, when David and his men came to Ziklag ... the Amalekites had invaded ... and had carried off the wives ... and had gone their way, and David and his men came into the town (for 'when David and his men came,' etc.), and behold it was burned ... . Then David and the people with him lifted up their voice." "On the third day:" after David's dismission by Achish, not after David's departure from Ziklag. David had at any rate gone with Achish beyond Gath, and had not been sent back till the whole of the princes of the Philistines had united their armies (1 Samuel 29:2.), so that he must have been absent from Ziklag more than two days, or two days and a half. This is placed beyond all doubt by 1 Samuel 30:11., since the Amalekites are there described as having gone off with their booty three days before David followed them, and therefore they had taken Ziklag and burned it three days before David's return. These foes had therefore taken advantage of the absence of David and his warriors, to avenge themselves for David's invasions and plunderings (1 Samuel 27:8). Of those who were carried off, "the women" alone expressly mentioned in 1 Samuel 30:2, although the female population and all the children had been removed, as we may see from the expression "small and great" (1 Samuel 30:3, 1 Samuel 30:6). The lxx were therefore correct, so far as the sense is concerned, in introducing the words καὶ πάντα before בּהּ עשׁר. "They had killed no one, but (only) carried away." נהג, to carry away captive, as in Isaiah 20:4. Among those who had been carried off were David's two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail (vid., 1 Samuel 25:42-43; 1 Samuel 27:3).
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