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David’s Battle with the Amalekites

30 When David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had come to fight in the Negev and Ziklag. They had destroyed Ziklag, and burned it with fire. They took the women and all who were in it, without killing anyone. They carried them out and went on their way. David and his men came to the city and saw that it was burned. Their wives and sons and daughters had been taken away. Then David and the people with him cried out in a loud voice until they had no more strength to cry. David’s two wives had been taken away, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail who had been the wife of Nabal of Carmel. And David was very troubled because the people talked about killing him with stones. For all the people were very angry in their sorrow for their sons and daughters. But David got his strength from the Lord his God.

David said to Abiathar the religious leader, son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the linen vest.” So Abiathar brought the linen vest to David. Then David asked the Lord, “Should I go after this army? Should I meet them in battle?” The Lord said to him, “Go after them, for you will catch them for sure. And you will be sure to save all the people.” So David and the 600 men who were with him went out and came to the river of Besor. There those stayed who were left behind. 10 But David kept going after them, with 400 men. For 200 were too tired to cross the river of Besor and stayed behind.

11 They found an Egyptian in the field and brought him to David. They gave him bread and he ate, and he was given water to drink. 12 They gave him a piece of a fig loaf and two vines of dried grapes. When he had eaten, his spirit returned to him. For he had not eaten bread or drunk water for three days and three nights. 13 David said to him, “To whom do you belong? Where are you from?” And he answered, “I am a young man of Egypt, a servant of an Amalekite. My owner left me behind when I became sick three days ago. 14 We had gone to fight in the Negev of the Cherethites, and in the land of Judah, and in the Negev of Caleb. We burned Ziklag with fire.” 15 Then David said to him, “Will you take me down to his army?” And he said, “Promise me by God that you will not kill me or give me to my owner, and I will bring you down to this army.”

16 When he had taken David down, he saw the soldiers spread over all the land. They were eating and drinking and dancing because of all the good things they had taken from the land of the Philistines and the land of Judah. 17 And David killed them from the evening until the evening of the next day. None of them got away, except 400 young men who ran away on camels. 18 David took back all that the Amalekites had taken, and saved his two wives. 19 Nothing was missing, small or large, sons or daughters, food or anything that had been taken. David returned with all of it. 20 And he took all the sheep and cattle. The people drove those animals in front of him, and said, “This is what belongs to David.”

21 David came to the 200 men who had been too tired to follow him and had been left at the river of Besor. They went out to meet David and the people who were with him. David came near the people and said hello to them. 22 Then all the sinful men of no worth who had gone with David said, “They did not go with us. So we will not give them anything of what we have taken, except for each man’s wife and children. Each man may take them and go.” 23 David said, “You must not do so with what the Lord has given us, my brothers. He has kept us safe and has given us the army that came against us. 24 Who would listen to you about this? The share of those who stay by our things will be the same as the share of those who go to the battle. They will share alike.” 25 He made it a law for Israel from that day to this.

26 When David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the things he had taken in battle to the leaders of Judah, his friends. He said, “See, here is a gift for you from what was taken from those who hate the Lord. 27 It is for those in Bethel, Ramoth of the Negev, Jattir, 28 Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, 29 and Racal. It is for those in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, the cities of the Kenites, 30 Hormah, Borashan, Athach, 31 Hebron, and all the places where David and his men have gone many times.”