The Amalekites Attack Ziklag
1 As soon as David and his men arrived at Ziklag on the third day, they saw that the Amalekites had attacked Ziklag. The Amalekites invaded the Negev area, attacked Ziklag, and burned the city. 2 They took all the women in Ziklag, both young and old, as prisoners. They didn’t kill anyone; they only took them as prisoners.
3 When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found the city burning. Their wives, sons, and daughters were all gone. The Amalekites had taken them. 4 David and the other men in his army cried loudly until they were too weak to cry anymore. 5 The Amalekites had taken David’s two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, who had been the wife of Nabal from Carmel.
6 All the men in the army were sad and angry because their sons and daughters were taken as prisoners. The men were talking about killing David with stones. This upset David very much, but he found strength in the LORD his God. 7 David said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod.” So Abiathar brought it.
8 Then David prayed to the LORD. “Should I chase the people who took our families? Will I catch them?”
The Lord answered, “Chase them. You will catch them, and you will save your families.”
David Finds an Egyptian Slave
9-10 David took the 600 men with him and went to Besor Ravine. About 200 of his men stayed there because they were too weak and tired to continue. But David and the other 400 men continued to chase the Amalekites.
11 David’s men found an Egyptian in a field and took him to David. They gave the Egyptian some water to drink and some food to eat. 12 The Egyptian had not had any food or water for three days and nights, so they gave him a piece of fig cake and two clusters of raisins. He felt better after eating.
13 David asked the Egyptian, “Who is your master? Where do you come from?”
The Egyptian answered, “I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. Three days ago I got sick, and my master left me behind. 14 We had attacked the Negev area where the Kerethites* Kerethites Or “people from Crete.” These were one of the groups of Philistines. Some of David’s best soldiers were Kerethites. live. We also attacked Judah and the Negev area where Caleb’s people live. We burned Ziklag.”
15 David asked the Egyptian, “Will you lead me to the people who took our families?”
The Egyptian answered, “If you make a special promise before God, I will help you find them. But you must promise that you will not kill me or give me back to my master.”
David Defeats the Amalekites
16 The Egyptian led David to the Amalekites. They were lying around on the ground, eating and drinking. They were celebrating with the many things they had taken from the Philistines and from Judah. 17 David attacked them and killed them. They fought from sunrise until the evening of the next day. None of the Amalekites escaped, except for 400 young men who jumped onto their camels and rode away.
18 David got back everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. 19 Nothing was missing. They found all the children and old people, all their sons and daughters, and all their valuables. They got back everything the Amalekites had taken. David brought everything back. 20 He took all the sheep and cattle. His men led these animals to the front of the group and said, “This is David’s prize.”
All Men Will Share Equally
21 David came to the 200 men who had stayed at Besor Ravine. These were the men who were too weak and tired to follow David. They came out to meet him and the soldiers who went with him. They greeted David and his army as they approached. 22 There were some troublemakers in the group who went with David who started complaining, “These 200 men didn’t go with us, so we why should we give them any of the things we took. These men get nothing but their own wives and children.”
23 David answered, “No, my brothers. Don’t do that! Think about what the LORD gave us. He let us defeat the enemy that attacked us. 24 No one will listen to what you say. The share will be the same for the man who stayed with the supplies and for the man who went into battle. Everyone will share alike.” 25 David made this an order and rule for Israel. This rule continues even today.
26 When David got to Ziklag, he sent some of the things he took from the Amalekites to his friends, the leaders of Judah. David said, “Here is a present for you that we took from the LORD’S enemies.”
27 David sent some of the gifts to the leaders in Bethel, Ramoth in the Negev, Jattir, 28 Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, 29 Racal, the cities of the Jerahmeelites and the cities of the Kenites, 30 Hormah, Bor Ashan, Athach, 31 and Hebron, and to all the other places where David and his men had stayed.
*30:14 Kerethites Or “people from Crete.” These were one of the groups of Philistines. Some of David’s best soldiers were Kerethites.