David’s Victory over the Amalekites
1Then it happened when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had made a raid on the Negev and on Ziklag, and had overthrown Ziklag and burned it with fire; 2and they took captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great, without killing anyone, and carried them off and went their way. 3And when David and his men came to the city, behold, it was burned with fire, and their wives and their sons and their daughters had been taken captive. 4Then David and the people who were with him lifted their voices and wept until there was no strength in them to weep. 5Now David’s two wives had been taken captive, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite. 6Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.
7Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, “Please bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8And David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I pursue this band? Shall I overtake them?” And He said to him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them, and you shall surely rescue all.” 9So David went, he and the six hundred men who were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those left behind remained. 10But David pursued, he and four hundred men, for two hundred who were too exhausted to cross the brook Besor, remained behind.
11Now they found an Egyptian in the field and brought him to David, and gave him bread and he ate, and they provided him water to drink. 12And they gave him a piece of fig cake and two clusters of raisins, and he ate; then his spirit revived. For he had not eaten bread or drunk water for three days and three nights. 13And David said to him, “To whom do you belong? And where are you from?” And he said, “I am a young man of Egypt, a servant of an Amalekite; and my master left me behind when I fell sick three days ago. 14“We made a raid on the Negev of the Cherethites, and on that which belongs to Judah, and on the Negev of Caleb, and we burned Ziklag with fire.” 15Then David said to him, “Will you bring me down to this band?” And he said, “Swear to me by God that you will not kill me or deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring you down to this band.”
16And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing because of all the great spoil that they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. 17And David slaughtered them from the twilight until the evening of the next day; and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men who rode on camels and fled. 18So David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and rescued his two wives. 19But nothing of theirs was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that they had taken for themselves; David brought it all back. 20So David had captured all the sheep and the cattle which the people drove ahead of the other livestock, and they said, “This is David’s spoil.”
The Spoils Are Divided
21When David came to the two hundred men who were too exhausted to follow David, who had also been left at the brook Besor, and they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him, then David approached the people and greeted them. 22Then all the wicked and worthless men among those who went with David answered and said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away and depart.” 23Then David said, “You must not do so, my brothers, with what the LORD has given us, who has kept us and delivered into our hand the band that came against us. 24“And who will listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.” 25And so it has been from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.
26Now when David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the spoil to the elders of Judah, to his friends, saying, “Behold, a gift for you from the spoil of the enemies of the LORD: 27to those who were in Bethel, and to those who were in Ramoth of the Negev, and to those who were in Jattir, 28and to those who were in Aroer, and to those who were in Siphmoth, and to those who were in Eshtemoa, 29and to those who were in Racal, and to those who were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to those who were in the cities of the Kenites, 30and to those who were in Hormah, and to those who were in Bor-ashan, and to those who were in Athach, 31and to those who were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were accustomed to go.”