25 July. David defeats the Amalekites who had raided Ziklag
“On the third day, when David and his men arrived at Ziklag, he found that the Amalekites had raided Southern Judah and Ziklag, attacking Ziklag and burning it. They captured the women and everyone, young and old, but they had not killed anyone. They had only taken them away...”
“Then David and his army cried loudly until they were too weak to cry any more… The men in the army were threatening to kill David with stones, which greatly upset David. Each man was sad and angry because his sons and daughters had been captured, but David found strength in the LORD his God.”
“David said to Abiathar the priest, ‘Bring me the holy robe.’ Then David asked the LORD, ‘Should I chase the people who took our families? Will I catch them?’ The LORD answered, ‘Chase them. You will catch them, and you will succeed in saving your families.’”
“David and the 600 men with him came to the Besor Ravine, where some of the men stayed. David and 400 men kept up the chase. The other 200 stayed behind because they were too tired to cross the ravine.”
“They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave the Egyptian some water to drink and some food to eat. And they gave him a piece of a fig cake and two clusters of raisins. Then he felt better, because he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and nights.”
“David asked him, ‘Who is your master? Where do you come from?’ He answered, ‘I’m an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. Three days ago my master left me, because I was sick. We had attacked the southern area of the Kerethites, the land of Judah and the southern area of Caleb. We burned Ziklag, as well.”
“David asked him, ‘Can you lead me to the people who took our families?’ He answered, ‘Yes, if you promise me before God that you won’t kill me or give me back to my master. Then I will take you to them.’”
“So the Egyptian led David to the Amalekites. They were lying around on the ground, eating and drinking and celebrating with the things they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from Judah. David fought them from sunset until the evening of the next day. None of them escaped, except 400 young men who rode off on their camels. David got his two wives back, and everything the Amalekites had taken. Nothing was missing.”
“David brought back everyone, young and old, sons and daughters. He recovered the valuable things and everything the Amalekites had taken. David took all the sheep and cattle, and his men made these animals go in front, saying, ‘They are David’s prize.’…”
“When David arrived in Ziklag, he sent some of the things he had taken from the Amalekites to his friends, the elders of Judah. He said, ‘Here is a present for you from the things we took from the LORD’s enemies.’ David also sent some things to the leaders in Bethel, Ramoth in the southern part of Judah, Jattir, … Hebron and to the people in all the other places where he and his men had been.”
(1 Samuel 30:1-31)
David and his 600 Hebrew mercenaries had been sent back to Ziklag by their employer, Achish, the Philistine king of Gath, before the start of the battle against the Israelites in the Vale of Jezreel (see 1 Samuel 29:1-11).
When David and his men arrived at their home base three days later, they discovered it had been attacked by the Amalekites in their absence and burnt down. All their wives and children had been captured by the Amalekites and marched back to their home land south of Judah.
David and his men were heartbroken. They cried so much that it made them weak, and some even blamed David for their misfortune. David, however, “found strength in the LORD his God” (1 Samuel 30:6), and decided to consult God before deciding what action to take.
David asked Abiathar the priest to bring the linen priestly robe (see Exodus 28:6-7) which included the Urim and Thummim used to determine God’s will (see Exodus 28:30 & 1 Samuel 14:36-42). David used this ritual to confirm that God would bless his efforts if he set out immediately to recover the people and the treasures that had been seized.
David pursued the Amalekite raiding party across the Negev Desert beyond the Besor Ravine (see 17 on the map on 8 July) and attacked them immediately when he reached their camp at sunset. David recovered everything that the Amalekites had taken – including his two wives.
Conscious that the Philistines would have attacked – and maybe defeated – Saul by this time, David made sure that he boosted his popularity among the people of Judah and Israel by returning much of the booty that had been taken from them by the Amalekite raiders.
The photo (by Mark A Wilson) shows the Nahal Paran, a seasonally dry ravine in the Negev Desert in the region where the Amalekites lived.
You can read more about David and Saul @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/30-israel-becomes-a-kingdom-under-saul-and-david/saul-is-killed-by-the-philistines-at-mt-gilboa/