David Destroys the Amalekites
1On the third day David and his men arrived in Ziklag. The Amalekites had attacked the people of the Negev Desert. They had also attacked Ziklag and burned it. 2They had captured the women and everyone else in Ziklag. They had taken as prisoners young people and old people alike. But they didn’t kill any of them. Instead, they carried them off as they went on their way.
3David and his men reached Ziklag. They saw that it had been destroyed by fire. They found out that their wives and sons and daughters had been captured. 4So David and his men began to weep out loud. They wept until they couldn’t weep anymore. 5David’s two wives had been captured. Their names were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail from Carmel. Abigail was Nabal’s widow. 6David was greatly troubled. His men were even talking about killing him by throwing stones at him. All of them were very bitter because their sons and daughters had been taken away. But David was made strong by the Lord his God.
7Then David spoke to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek. He said, “Bring me the linen apron.” Abiathar brought it to him. 8David asked the Lord for advice. He said, “Should I chase after the men who attacked Ziklag? If I do, will I catch up with them?”
“Chase after them,” the Lord answered. “You will certainly catch up with them. You will succeed in saving those who were captured.”
9David and his 600 men came to the Besor Valley. Some of them stayed behind there. 10That’s because 200 of them were too tired to go across the valley. But David and the other 400 continued the chase.
11David’s men found an Egyptian in a field. They brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat. 12They gave him part of a cake of pressed figs. They also gave him two raisin cakes. After he ate them, he felt as good as new. That’s because he hadn’t eaten any food for three days and three nights. He hadn’t drunk any water during that time either.
13David asked him, “Who do you belong to? Where do you come from?”
The man said, “I’m from Egypt. I’m the slave of an Amalekite. My master deserted me when I became ill three days ago. 14We attacked the people in the Negev Desert of the Kerethites. We attacked the territory that belongs to Judah. We attacked the people in the Negev Desert of Caleb. And we burned Ziklag.”
15David asked him, “Can you lead me down to the men who attacked Ziklag?”
He answered, “Make a promise to me in the name of God. Promise that you won’t kill me. Promise that you won’t hand me over to my master. Then I’ll take you down to them.”
16He led David down to where the men were. They were scattered all over the countryside. They were eating and drinking and dancing wildly. That’s because they had taken a large amount of goods from those they had attacked. They had taken it from the land of the Philistines and from the people of Judah. 17David fought against them from sunset until the evening of the next day. None of them escaped except 400 young men. They rode off on camels and got away. 18David got everything back that the Amalekites had taken. That included his two wives. 19Nothing was missing. Not one young person or old person or boy or girl was missing. None of the goods or anything else the Amalekites had taken was missing. David brought everything back. 20He brought back all the flocks and herds. His men drove them on ahead of the other livestock. They said, “Here’s what David has captured.”
21Then David came to the 200 men who had been too tired to follow him. They had been left behind in the Besor Valley. They came out to welcome David and the men with him. As David and his men approached, he asked them how they were. 22But some of the men who had gone out with David were evil. They wanted to stir up trouble. They said, “The 200 men didn’t go out into battle with us. So we won’t share with them the goods we brought back. But each man can take his wife and children and go home.”
23David replied, “No, my friends. You must not hold back their share of what the Lord has given us. He has kept us safe. He has handed over to us the men who attacked us. 24So no one will pay any attention to what you are saying. Each man who stayed with the supplies will receive the same share as each man who went down to the battle. Everyone’s share will be the same.” 25David made that a law and a rule for Israel. It has been followed from that day until now.
26David reached Ziklag. He sent some of the goods to the elders of Judah. They were his friends. He said, “Here’s a gift for you. It’s part of the things we took from the Lord’s enemies.”
27David sent some goods to the elders in Bethel, Ramoth Negev and Jattir. 28He sent some to the elders in Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa 29and Rakal. He sent some to the elders in the towns of the Jerahmeelites and Kenites. 30He sent some to the elders in Hormah, Bor Ashan, Athak 31and Hebron. He also sent some to the elders in all the other places where he and his men had wandered around.