The Philistines Reject David
1Now the Philistines had gathered all their forces at Aphek. And the Israelites were encamped by the spring that is in Jezreel. 2As the lords of the Philistines were passing on by hundreds and by thousands, and David and his men were passing on in the rear with Achish, 3the commanders of the Philistines said, “What are these Hebrews doing here?” And Achish said to the commanders of the Philistines, “Is this not David, the servant of Saul, king of Israel, who has been with me now for days and years, and since he deserted to me I have found no fault in him to this day.” 4But the commanders of the Philistines were angry with him. And the commanders of the Philistines said to him, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place to which you have assigned him. He shall not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become an adversary to us. For how could this fellow reconcile himself to his lord? Would it not be with the heads of the men here? 5Is not this David, of whom they sing to one another in dances,
‘Saul has struck down his thousands,
and David his ten thousands’?”
6Then Achish called David and said to him, “As the Lord lives, you have been honest, and to me it seems right that you should march out and in with me in the campaign. For I have found nothing wrong in you from the day of your coming to me to this day. Nevertheless, the lords do not approve of you. 7So go back now; and go peaceably, that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines.” 8And David said to Achish, “But what have I done? What have you found in your servant from the day I entered your service until now, that I may not go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?” 9And Achish answered David and said, “I know that you are as blameless in my sight as an angel of God. Nevertheless, the commanders of the Philistines have said, ‘He shall not go up with us to the battle.’ 10Now then rise early in the morning with the servants of your lord who came with you, and start early in the morning, and depart as soon as you have light.” 11So David set out with his men early in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. But the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
David's Wives Are Captured
1Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire 2and taken captive the women and all1 who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way. 3And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. 5David's two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul,2 each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
7And David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8And David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?” He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.” 9So David set out, and the six hundred men who were with him, and they came to the brook Besor, where those who were left behind stayed. 10But David pursued, he and four hundred men. Two hundred stayed behind, who were too exhausted to cross the brook Besor.
11They found an Egyptian in the open country and brought him to David. And they gave him bread and he ate. They gave him water to drink, 12and they gave him a piece of a cake of figs and two clusters of raisins. And when he had eaten, 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?” He said, “I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite, and my master left me behind because I fell sick three days ago. 14We had made a raid against the Negeb of the Cherethites and against that which belongs to Judah and against the Negeb of Caleb, and we burned Ziklag with fire.” 15And David said to him, “Will you take 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 take you down to this band.”
David Defeats the Amalekites
16And when he had taken him down, behold, they were spread abroad over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. 17And David struck them down from twilight until the evening of the next day, and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men, who mounted camels and fled. 18David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and David rescued his two wives. 19Nothing was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken. David brought back all. 20David also captured all the flocks and herds, and the people drove the livestock before him,3 and said, “This is David's spoil.”
21Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow David, and who had been left at the brook Besor. And they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. And when David came near to the people he greeted them. 22Then all the wicked and worthless fellows among the men who had gone with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may lead away his wife and children, and depart.” 23But David said, “You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us. He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that came against us. 24Who would listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage. They shall share alike.” 25And he made it a statute and a rule for Israel from that day forward to this day.
26When David came to Ziklag, he sent part of the spoil to his friends, the elders of Judah, saying, “Here is a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of the Lord.” 27It was for those in Bethel, in Ramoth of the Negeb, in Jattir, 28in Aroer, in Siphmoth, in Eshtemoa, 29in Racal, in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, in the cities of the Kenites, 30in Hormah, in Bor-ashan, in Athach, 31in Hebron, for all the places where David and his men had roamed.
Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.