David’s Victory over the Amalekites
1Now it happened when David and his men came [home] to Ziklag on the third day, [they found] that the Amalekites had made a raid on the Negev (the South country) and on Ziklag, and had overthrown Ziklag and burned it with fire; 2 and they had taken captive the women [and all] who were there, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off [to be used as slaves] and went on their way. 3 When David and his men came to the town, it was burned, and their wives and their sons and their daughters had been taken captive. 4 Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until [a]they were too exhausted to weep [any longer]. 5 Now David’s two wives had been captured, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite. 6 Further, David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all of them were embittered, each man for his sons and daughters. But David felt strengthened and encouraged in the Lord his God.
7 David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, “Please bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought him the ephod. 8 David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue this band [of raiders]? Will I overtake them?” And He answered him, “Pursue, for you will certainly overtake them, and you will certainly rescue [the captives].” 9 So David went, he and the six hundred men who were with him, and came to the brook Besor; there those [who could not continue] remained behind. 10 But David pursued [the Amalekites], he and four hundred men, for two hundred who were too exhausted to cross the brook Besor stayed behind.
11 They found an Egyptian [who had collapsed] in the field and brought him to David, and gave him bread and he ate, and they gave him water to drink, 12 and they gave him a piece of a fig cake and two clusters of raisins; and when he had eaten, his [b]energy returned, for he had not eaten bread or had any water to drink for three days and three nights. 13 David said to him, “To whom do you belong, and where are you from?” He said, “I am a young man from Egypt, a servant of an Amalekite; and my master abandoned me [as useless] 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.” 15 Then David said to him, “Will you take me down to this band [of raiders]?” And he said, “Swear to me by God that you will not kill me or turn me over to the hand of my master, and I will bring you down to this band.”
16 When he brought David down, the Amalekites had disbanded and spread 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. 17 Then David [and his men] struck them down [in battle] from twilight until the evening of the next day; and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men who rode camels and fled. 18 So David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and rescued his two wives. 19 Nothing of theirs was missing whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken; David recovered it all. 20 So David captured all the flocks and herds [which the enemy had], and [the people] drove those animals before him and said, “This is David’s spoil.”
The Spoils Are Divided
21 David came to the two hundred men who were so exhausted that they could not follow him and had been left at the brook Besor [with the provisions]. They went out to meet David and the people with him, and when he approached the people, he greeted them. 22 Then all the wicked and worthless men among those who went with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will give them none of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may take his wife and children away and leave.” 23 David said, “You must not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us. He has kept us safe and has handed over to us the band [of Amalekites] that came against us. 24 And who will listen to you in regard to this matter? For as is the share of him who goes down into the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the provisions and supplies; they shall share alike.” 25 So from that day forward he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.
26 When David came to Ziklag, he sent part of the spoil to the elders of Judah, his friends, saying, “Here is a blessing (gift) for you from the spoil of the enemies of the Lord: 27 For those in Bethel, Ramoth of the Negev, Jattir, 28 Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, 29 Racal, the cities of the Jerahmeelites, the cities of the Kenites, 30 Hormah, Bor-ashan, Athach, 31 Hebron, and for [those elders in] all the places where David himself and his men were accustomed to go.”