1 Samuel 30:9
So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed.
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(9) So David went.—Immediately on receiving the answer of the Urim, David started in rapid pursuit. The “six hundred” by no means represented his present force; but these were probably the old band of veteran soldiers, whose speed and endurance he could depend upon—men tried, no doubt, by many a weary night march, by many a rough, wild piece of work. A large contingent even of these veterans could not stand the forced march of their leader on this occasion.

In the words “for two hundred abode behind,” the narrator anticipated what is told in 1Samuel 30:10. It is a proleptical expression, arising from the vivacious description of David’s rapid march with four hundred men (Lange). The Vulg. paraphrases, or rather seeks to amend the text here: “and certain tired ones stayed.” The Syriac changes the text into “David left two hundred men;” these men who had fallen out of the rapid march were gathered together, and kept the baggage and everything that could be left behind at the encampment at the brook Besor. It is to be supposed that owing to the hurried departure, but scanty provision for the forced march was made, hence the falling out through weariness in the course of the rapid advance. The brook Besor cannot be identified with certainty; and Raumer (Palestine) supposes it to be the Wady Shariah, which falls into the sea below Askelon.

1 Samuel 30:9-10. Where those that were left behind stayed — Those that were left to look after the stuff, 1 Samuel 30:24; who were so tired, that they were not able to march any further. David pursued, he and four hundred men — A small number for such an attempt; but David was strong in faith, giving God the glory of his power and faithfulness.

30:7-15 If in all our ways, even when, as in this case, there can be no doubt they are just, we acknowledge God, we may expect that he will direct our steps, as he did those of David. David, in tenderness to his men, would by no means urge them beyond their strength. The Son of David thus considers the frames of his followers, who are not all alike strong and vigorous in their spiritual pursuits and conflicts; but, where we are weak, there he is kind; nay more, there he is strong, 2Co 12:9,10. A poor Egyptian lad, scarcely alive, is made the means of a great deal of good to David. Justly did Providence make this poor servant, who was basely used by his master, an instrument in the destruction of the Amalekites; for God hears the cry of the oppressed. Those are unworthy the name of true Israelites, who shut up their compassion from persons in distress. We should neither do an injury nor deny a kindness to any man; some time or other it may be in the power of the lowest to return a kindness or an injury.Besor - Thought to be the stream of the Wady Sheriah which enters the sea a little south of Gaza. 9. came to the brook Besor—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. No text from Poole on this verse.

So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him,.... Encouraged by the oracle of the Lord:

and came to the brook Besor; which Adrichomius (q) places in the tribe of Simeon; it is thought to be near Gaza. Aristaeus (r) speaks of brooks that flowed by Gaza and Ashdod, places that belonged to the Philistines; some take it to be the river of the wilderness in Amos; see Gill on Amos 6:14,

where those that were left behind stayed: or a part of them were left, as the Targum; all the six hundred came to this brook, but two hundred of them were left here, 1 Samuel 30:10 shows, and stayed here till the rest returned; for this is not to be understood of any that were left behind at Ziklag, for all came from thence to this brook.

(q) Theatrum Terrae Sanct. p. 133. (r) Hist. 72. Interpret. p. 41.

So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed.
9. the six hundred men] For a rapid pursuit a small force of picked men was most suitable. Cp. 1 Samuel 27:2. No doubt by this time he had a much larger force at his command.

the brook Besor] The Heb. word is nachal, which means a ravine, or torrent-bed, with a stream at the bottom. The brook Besor is mentioned here only, and has not been identified with certainty. Perhaps it was the Wady es Sherîah, which runs down to the sea a few miles south of Gaza.

Verses 9, 10. - Having obtained this favourable answer, David starts in pursuit with his old band of 600 men. So rapid was his march that one third of these dropped out of the ranks, so that the newcomers from Manasseh would have been useless, nor had they lost wives or children. The brook (or rather "torrent") Besor practically remains unidentified, as the site of Ziklag is unknown; but possibly it is the Wady-es-Sheriah, which runs into the sea a little to the south of Gaza. As there was water here, those that were left behind stayed. Hebrew, "the stragglers stayed." It seems also to have been wide enough to cause some difficulty in crossing, as it is said that these 200 were too faint, or tired, to go over the torrent Besor. From ver. 24 we find that David also left with them as much as possible of his baggage. Stragglers had no doubt been falling out for some time, but would here be rallied, and obtain rest and refreshment. 1 Samuel 30:9David was greatly distressed in consequence; "for the people thought ('said,' sc., in their hearts) to stone him," because they sought the occasion of their calamity in his connection with Achish, with which many of his adherents may very probably have been dissatisfied. "For the soul of the whole people was embittered (i.e., all the people were embittered in their souls) because of their sons and daughters," who had been carried away into slavery. "But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God," i.e., sought consolation and strength in prayer and believing confidence in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:7.). This strength he manifested in the resolution to follow the foes and rescue their booty from them. To this end he had the ephod brought by the high priest Abiathar (cf. 1 Samuel 23:9), and inquired by means of the Urim of the Lord, "Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake it?" These questions were answered in the affirmative; and the promise was added, "and thou wilt rescue." So David pursued the enemy with his six hundred men as far as the brook Besor, where the rest, i.e., two hundred, remained standing (stayed behind). The words עמדוּ והנּותרים, which are appended in the form of a circumstantial clause, are to be connected, so far as the facts are concerned, with what follows: whilst the others remained behind, David pursued the enemy still farther with four hundred men. By the word הנּותרים the historian has somewhat anticipated the matter, and therefore regards it as necessary to define the expression still further in 1 Samuel 30:10. We are precluded from changing the text, as Thenius suggests, by the circumstance that all the early translators read it in this manner, and have endeavoured to make the expression intelligible by paraphrasing it. These two hundred men were too tired to cross the brook and go any farther. (פּגר, which only occurs here and in 1 Samuel 30:21, signifies, in Syriac, to be weary or exhausted.) 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. The brook Besor is supposed to be the Wady Sheriah, which enters the sea below Ashkelon (see v. Raumer, Pal. p. 52).
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