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1 Samuel 29:1--31:13

Context
David Is Rejected by the Philistine Leaders

29:1 The Philistines assembled all their troops 1  at Aphek, while Israel camped at the spring that is in Jezreel. 29:2 When the leaders of the Philistines were passing in review at the head of their units of hundreds and thousands, 2  David and his men were passing in review in the rear with Achish.

29:3 The leaders of the Philistines asked, “What about these Hebrews?” Achish said to the leaders of the Philistines, “Isn’t this David, the servant of King Saul of Israel, who has been with me for quite some time? 3  I have found no fault with him from the day of his defection until the present time!” 4 

29:4 But the leaders of the Philistines became angry with him and said 5  to him, “Send the man back! Let him return to the place that you assigned him! Don’t let him go down with us into the battle, for he might become 6  our adversary in the battle. What better way to please his lord than with the heads of these men? 7  29:5 Isn’t this David, of whom they sang as they danced, 8 

‘Saul has struck down his thousands,

but David his tens of thousands’?”

29:6 So Achish summoned David and said to him, “As surely as the Lord lives, you are an honest man, and I am glad to have you 9  serving 10  with me in the army. 11  I have found no fault with you from the day that you first came to me until the present time. But in the opinion 12  of the leaders, you are not reliable. 13  29:7 So turn and leave 14  in peace. You must not do anything that the leaders of the Philistines consider improper!” 15 

29:8 But David said to Achish, “What have I done? What have you found in your servant from the day that I first came into your presence until the present time, that I shouldn’t go and fight the enemies of my lord the king?” 29:9 Achish replied to David, “I am convinced that you are as reliable 16  as the angel of God! However, the leaders of the Philistines have said, ‘He must not go up with us in the battle.’ 29:10 So get up early in the morning along with the servants of your lord who have come with you. 17  When you get up early in the morning, as soon as it is light enough to see, leave.” 18 

29:11 So David and his men got up early in the morning to return 19  to the land of the Philistines, but the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

David Defeats the Amalekites

30:1 On the third day David and his men came to Ziklag. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They attacked Ziklag and burned it. 20  30:2 They took captive the women who were in it, from the youngest to the oldest, but they did not kill anyone. They simply carried them off and went on their way.

30:3 When David and his men came to the city, they found it burned. 21  Their wives, sons, and daughters had been taken captive. 30:4 Then David and the men 22  who were with him wept loudly 23  until they could weep no more. 24  30:5 David’s two wives had been taken captive – Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail the Carmelite, Nabal’s widow. 30:6 David was very upset, for the men 25  were thinking of stoning him; 26  each man grieved bitterly 27  over his sons and daughters. But David drew strength from the Lord his God.

30:7 Then David said to the priest Abiathar son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 30:8 David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Should I pursue this raiding band? Will I overtake them?” He said to him, “Pursue, for you will certainly overtake them and carry out a rescue!”

30:9 So David went, accompanied by his six hundred men. When he came to the Wadi Besor, those who were in the rear stayed there. 28  30:10 David and four hundred men continued the pursuit, but two hundred men who were too exhausted to cross the Wadi Besor stayed there.

30:11 Then they found an Egyptian in the field and brought him to David. They gave him bread to eat and water to drink. 30:12 They gave him a slice of pressed figs and two bunches of raisins to eat. This greatly refreshed him, 29  for he had not eaten food or drunk water for three days and three nights. 30:13 David said to him, “To whom do you belong, and where are you from?” The young man said, “I am an Egyptian, the servant of an Amalekite man. My master abandoned me when I was ill for three days. 30:14 We conducted a raid on the Negev of the Kerethites, on the area of Judah, and on the Negev of Caleb. We burned Ziklag.” 30  30:15 David said to him, “Can you take us down to this raiding party?” He said, “Swear to me by God that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to this raiding party.”

30:16 So he took David 31  down, and they found them spread out over the land. They were eating and drinking and enjoying themselves because of all the loot 32  they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. 30:17 But David struck them down from twilight until the following evening. None of them escaped, with the exception of four hundred young men who got away on camels. 33  30:18 David retrieved everything the Amalekites had taken; he 34  also rescued his two wives. 30:19 There was nothing missing, whether small or great. He retrieved sons and daughters, the plunder, and everything else they had taken. 35  David brought everything back. 30:20 David took all the flocks and herds and drove them in front of the rest of the animals. People were saying, “This is David’s plunder!”

30:21 Then David approached the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to go with him, 36  those whom they had left at the Wadi Besor. They went out to meet David and the people who were with him. When David approached the people, he asked how they were doing. 30:22 But all the evil and worthless men among those who had gone with David said, “Since they didn’t go with us, 37  we won’t give them any of the loot we retrieved! They may take only their wives and children. Let them lead them away and be gone!”

30:23 But David said, “No! You shouldn’t do this, my brothers. Look at what the Lord has given us! 38  He has protected us and has delivered into our hands the raiding party that came against us. 30:24 Who will listen to you in this matter? The portion of the one who went down into the battle will be the same as the portion of the one who remained with the equipment! Let their portions be the same!”

30:25 From that time onward it was a binding ordinance 39  for Israel, right up to the present time.

30:26 When David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the plunder to the elders of Judah who were his friends, saying, “Here’s a gift 40  for you from the looting of the Lord’s enemies!” 30:27 The gift was for those in the following locations: 41  for those in Bethel, 42  Ramoth Negev, and Jattir; 30:28 for those in Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, 30:29 and Racal; for those in the cities of the Jerahmeelites and Kenites; 30:30 for those in Hormah, Bor Ashan, Athach, 30:31 and Hebron; and for those in whatever other places David and his men had traveled.

The Death of Saul

31:1 Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel. The men of Israel fled from the Philistines and many of them fell dead on Mount Gilboa. 31:2 The Philistines stayed right on the heels 43  of Saul and his sons. They 44  struck down Saul’s sons Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malki-Shua. 31:3 Saul himself was in the thick of the battle; 45  the archers 46  spotted him and wounded him severely.

31:4 Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and stab me with it! Otherwise these uncircumcised people will come, stab me, and torture me.” But his armor bearer refused to do it, because he was very afraid. So Saul took his sword and fell on it. 31:5 When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his own sword and died with him. 31:6 So Saul, his three sons, his armor bearer, and all his men died together that day.

31:7 When the men of Israel who were in the valley and across the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned the cities and fled. The Philistines came and occupied them.

31:8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip loot from the corpses, they discovered Saul and his three sons lying dead 47  on Mount Gilboa. 31:9 They cut off Saul’s 48  head and stripped him of his armor. They sent messengers to announce the news in the temple of their idols and among their people throughout the surrounding land of the Philistines. 31:10 They placed Saul’s armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths 49  and hung his corpse on the city wall of Beth Shan.

31:11 When the residents of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 31:12 all their warriors set out and traveled throughout the night. They took Saul’s corpse and the corpses of his sons from the city wall of Beth Shan and went 50  to Jabesh, where they burned them. 31:13 They took the bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh; then they fasted for seven days.

1 tn Heb “camps.”

2 tn Heb “passing by with respect to hundreds and thousands.” This apparently describes a mustering of troops for the purpose of inspection and readiness.

3 tn Heb “these days or these years.”

4 tn Heb “from the day of his falling [away] until this day.”

5 tn Heb “and the leaders of the Philistines said.”

6 tn Heb “so that he might not become.”

7 tn Or perhaps, “our men.” On this use of the demonstrative pronoun see Joüon 2:532 §143.e.

8 tn Heb “in dances.”

9 tn Heb “it is good in my eyes.” Cf. v. 7.

10 tn Heb “your going forth and your coming in.” The expression is a merism.

11 tn Heb “camp.”

12 tn Heb “eyes.”

13 tn Heb “good.”

14 tn Heb “go.”

15 tn Heb “and you must not do evil in the eyes of the leaders of the Philistines.”

16 tn Heb “I know that you are good in my eyes.”

17 tc The LXX and a couple of Old Latin mss include here the following words: “and you shall go to the place that I have appointed you. Don’t place an evil thing in your heart, for you are good before me.”

18 tn Heb “when you get up early in the morning and you have light, go.”

19 tc Heb “to go in the morning to return.” With the exception of Origen and the Lucianic recension, the Old Greek tradition lacks the phrase “in the morning.” The Syriac Peshitta also omits it.

20 tn The Hebrew text adds “with fire.”

21 tn Heb “and David and his men came to the city, and look, it was burned with fire.”

22 tn Heb “people.”

23 tn Heb “lifted up their voice and wept.”

24 tn Heb “until there was no longer in them strength to weep.”

25 tn Heb “people.”

26 tn Heb “said to stone him.”

27 tn Heb “for bitter was the soul of all the people, each one.”

28 tn Heb “stood.” So also in v. 10.

29 tn Heb “his spirit returned to him.”

30 tn The Hebrew text adds “with fire.”

31 tn Heb “him”; the referent (David) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

32 tn Heb “because of all the large plunder.”

33 tn Heb “who rode on camels and fled.”

34 tn Heb “David.” The pronoun (“he”) has been substituted for the proper name in the translation for stylistic reasons.

35 tn Heb “there was nothing missing to them, from the small even unto the great, and unto sons and daughters, and from loot even unto all which they had taken for themselves.”

36 tn Heb “David.” The pronoun (“him”) has been substituted for the proper name in the translation for stylistic reasons.

37 tc Heb “with me.” The singular is used rather than the plural because the group is being treated as a singular entity, in keeping with Hebrew idiom. It is not necessary to read “with us,” rather than the MT “with me,” although the plural can be found here in a few medieval Hebrew mss. See also the LXX, Syriac Peshitta, and Vulgate, although these versions may simply reflect an understanding of the idiom as found in the MT rather than a different textual reading.

38 tc This clause is difficult in the MT. The present translation accepts the text as found in the MT and understands this clause to be elliptical, with an understood verb such as “look” or “consider.” On the other hand, the LXX seems to reflect a slightly different Hebrew text, reading “after” where the MT has “my brothers.” The Greek translation yields the following translation: “You should not do this after the Lord has delivered us.” Although the Greek reading should be taken seriously, it seems better to follow the MT here.

39 tn Heb “a statute and a judgment.” The expression is a hendiadys.

40 tn Heb “blessing.”

41 tn This sentence is not in the Hebrew text. It is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.

42 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

43 tn Heb “stuck close after.”

44 tn Heb “the Philistines.”

45 tn Heb “and the battle was heavy against Saul.”

46 tn Heb “the shooters, men with the bow.”

47 tn Heb “fallen.”

48 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Saul) has been specified in the translation for clarity (likewise in the following verse).

49 sn The Semitic goddess Astarte was associated with love and war in the ancient Near East. See the note on the same term in 7:3.

50 tc The translation follows the MT, which vocalizes the verb as a Qal. The LXX, however, treats the verb as a Hiphil, “they brought.”



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