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Raid on Amalek

30 Now it came to pass, when David and his men returned to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had made a raid on the Negev and on Ziklag, and had attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire; taking the women in it captive, young and old, without killing anyone, but carried them off as they went their way. So when David and his men came to the town, behold, it was burned with fire—and their wives, their sons and their daughters had been taken captives. Then David and the troops with him lifted up their voice and wept until they there was no more strength in them to weep. Even David’s two wives were taken captive—Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s widow.

So David was in a serious bind, for the troops were calling for his stoning, for all the troops were bitter of soul, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in Adonai his God. Then David said to Abiathar the kohen son of Ahimelech, “Please bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. David inquired of Adonai saying, “Should I pursue after this raiding band? Shall I overtake them?”

He answered him, “Pursue! For you will surely overtake and you will surely rescue!” So David went, he and the 600 men with him, and came to the Wadi Besor, where those left behind remained— 10 for 200 men stayed behind because they were too exhausted to cross Wadi Besor. Yet David pursued, he and the other 400 men.

11 Then they found an Egyptian in the open field and brought him to David, gave him bread to eat and water to drink, 12 and they also gave him a piece of fig cake and two cakes of raisins. When he had eaten, his spirit came back to him, for he had eaten no bread and drunk no water for three days and three nights. 13 Then David asked him, “To whom do you belong? Where are you from?”

“I am a young Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite,” he said. “My master abandoned me three days ago because I fell sick. 14 We made a raid in the Negev of the Cherethites, and on Judah, and on the Negev of Caleb; also we burned Ziklag with fire.”

15 Then David asked him, “Will you lead me to this raiding band?”

“Swear to me by God that you won’t kill me or deliver me into my master’s hands,” he said, “and I will lead you to this marauding band.” 16 So he led him down, and behold, they were scattered over all the area, eating, drinking and feasting because of all the great spoil that they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. 17 David attacked them from the twilight until the evening of the next day. None of them escaped, except 400 young men who rode on camels and fled.

18 So David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and rescued his two wives. 19 There was nothing of theirs missing, whether young or old, sons or daughters, spoils or anything else that had been carried off—David recovered everything. 20 David took all the flocks and the herd that they had driven ahead of the other cattle, so they said, “This is David’s spoil.”

21 When David reached the 200 men—who had been too exhausted to follow David and were left at Wadi Besor—they came out to meet David and to meet the men with him, so David approached these people and greeted them. 22 But all the wicked men and worthless fellows among those who accompanied David said, “Because they did not accompany us, we shouldn’t give them any of the spoil that we’ve recovered, except every man may take his wife and his children and leave.”

23 “You must not do so, my brothers with what Adonai has given us,” David said. “It is He who has protected us and gave into our hands the raiding band that attacked us. 24 Who would listen to you in this matter? The share of him who went down to the battle is to be the same as that of him who remained by the baggage. They will share alike.” 25 So it has been from that day forward—he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.

26 When David arrived at Ziklag, he sent some of the spoil to the elders of Judah, to his friends, saying, “Look, a blessing for you from the spoil of the enemies of Adonai,” 27 to those in Beth-el, Ramoth-Negev, Jattir, 28 Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, 29 Racal, to those in the towns of Jerahmeelite, to those in the towns of the Kenites, 30 Hormah, Bor-ashan, Athach, 31 Hebron and to all the places where David and his men had roamed.