We made an invasion on the south of the Cherethites, and on the coast which belongs to Judah, and on the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)We made an invasion. . . .—The Egyptian, who apparently was a man of education, accurately describes to David the nature and scope of the Amalekite raid, which had closed with so signal a disaster to the inhabitants of his city of Ziklag. Taking advantage of the war between Israel and Philistia, and of the northerly march of the troops of both countries, Amalek made a swift and sudden descent upon the south country. The Cherethites were a Philistine people dwelling in the south, and along the sea-coast.·Some have supposed that the name “Crēthites” which represents the Hebrew more accurately—came originally, as the name seems to indicate, from the island of Crete. Capthor, the home of the Philistines (Amos 9:7), not improbably is identical with Crete. The whole question of the history of this singular Philistine people, who were certainly not indigenous to Canaan, but who were settlers in it at a comparatively recent date, and who gave their name “Palestine” to the whole land, is most obscure.
Before the arrival of Israel in Canaan the Philistines held a very strong position on the southern coast, and not long before Samson’s time they had been strengthened by fresh arrivals from Crete and other western regions, and from this date rapidly gained power and influence, and at more than one period disputed the supremacy with the Hebrew race, whom they threatened to supplant altogether.
We hear subsequently of the Cherethites mentioned in the passage under the command of Benaiah, as a portion of King David’s body-guard. This troop or regiment of Philistines was first, no doubt, enrolled during his residence at Ziklag. He retained this body of foreigners, of course continually recruited, about his person all through his reign. Such a body-guard, made up of foreigners, has always been a favourite practice among sovereigns. The Scottish archers and the corps of Swiss Guards, at different periods of the French monarchy, and, on a larger scale, the Varangian guard of the Greek emperors of Constantinople in the tenth century, are good examples of this preference for foreigners in the case of the body-guards of the sovereign.
And upon the coast which belongeth to Judah.—The eastern portion of the Negeb or south country, reaching from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea.
And upon the south of Caleb.—One district of the Negeb or south country was given to Caleb, the companion of Joshua, as a reward for his faith and his courage. His portion, which was called Caleb after the famous chieftain, included all the country and villages round about Hebron, which became subsequently a city of the priests.
And we burned Ziklag with fire.—This act, which closed the reign of Amalek, was intended as a piece of stern revenge for the late incursion of David into their country, and for the cruelties practised on the captives.1 Samuel 30:14. Upon the south of the Cherethites — That is, of the Philistines; for it is explained, 1 Samuel 30:16, to have been the land of the Philistines. Hence it appears that the Amalekites were enemies to the Philistines. So that David did not act against the interests of his benefactor, Achish, in making incursions upon those people. And upon the south of Caleb — We read nowhere else of this land; but, in all probability, it was that south part of Judah which was given to Caleb, and which his posterity inherited, Joshua 14:13.1 Samuel 30:16. In David's reign the body-guard commanded by Benaiah consisted of Cherethites and Pelethites (Philistines?) and a picked corps of six hundred men of Gath commanded by Ittai the Gittite. It would seem from this that the Cherethites and Philistines were two kindred and associated tribes, like Angles and Saxons, who took possession of the seacoast of Palestine. The Philistines, being the more powerful, gave their name to the country and the nation in general, though that of the Cherethites was not wholly extinguished. Many persons connect the name Cherethite with that of the island of Crete. The Cherethites, i.e. the Philistines, as is manifest from 1 Samuel 30:16, who are so called Zephaniah 2:5.
And upon the coast which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb: this is added by way of explication: q.d. that part of the south of Judah which belongs to Caleb’s posterity, Joshua 14:13. 1 Samuel 30:16; See Gill on Zephaniah 2:5,
and upon the coast which belongeth to Judah; the south of Judah, where David pretended he had been, and had spoiled, and which was now actually done by the Amalekites, 1 Samuel 27:10,
and upon the south of Caleb; that part of the tribe of Judah which belonged to Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and his posterity, and which was the southern part of it, Joshua 15:19,We made an invasion upon the south of the Cherethites, and upon the coast which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. the Cherethites] Evidently a tribe of Philistines living on the southern border of Philistia, as the spoil is said in 1 Samuel 30:16 to have been taken “out of the land of the Philistines.” Cp. 2 Samuel 8:18 (note); Ezekiel 25:16; Zephaniah 2:5. The name may possibly be connected with Crete,
coast] Border. See on ch. 1 Samuel 5:6.
the south of Caleb] Joshua’s faithful companion received Hebron for his inheritance (Joshua 14:13), and when he ceded the city to the priests for a city of refuge, retained the surrounding land in his own possession (Joshua 21:11-12; cp. 1 Samuel 25:3). Apparently he gave his name to part of the Negeb (1 Samuel 30:1), which was known as the Negeb of Caleb.Verse 14. - The Cherethites. The interest in this people arises from David's bodyguard having been composed of foreigners bearing the name of Cherethim and Pelethim. We here find the Cherethim inhabiting the southern portion of the land of the Philistines, and such was still the case in the days of Zephaniah (Zephaniah 2:5, and compare Ezekiel 25:16). As David retained Ziklag (1 Samuel 27:6), he appears to have chosen the men who were to guard his person from this neighbourhood, having probably been struck by their stature and martial bearing when dwelling among them. Hence it is probable that the Pelethim were also a Philistine race. Whether the Cherethim and the Philistines generally came from Crete to Palestine is a very disputed question, but they were certainly not indigenous, but immigrants into Canaan. Caleb. Upon the settlement of the Israelites in Canaan, Hebron with a large district in the south of Judah was assigned to Caleb the Kenezite, who with his clan had been incorporated into the tribe of Judah. Though the town was afterwards assigned to the priests, the whole country round remained subject to Caleb (Joshua 21:11, 12), and continued to bear his name. Evidently the Amalekites, beginning on the east, had swept the whole southern district of Judah before entering the country of the Philistines, where they no doubt burnt Ziklag in revenge for David's cruel treatment of them. 1 Samuel 30:7.). This strength he manifested in the resolution to follow the foes and rescue their booty from them. To this end he had the ephod brought by the high priest Abiathar (cf. 1 Samuel 23:9), and inquired by means of the Urim of the Lord, "Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake it?" These questions were answered in the affirmative; and the promise was added, "and thou wilt rescue." So David pursued the enemy with his six hundred men as far as the brook Besor, where the rest, i.e., two hundred, remained standing (stayed behind). The words עמדוּ והנּותרים, which are appended in the form of a circumstantial clause, are to be connected, so far as the facts are concerned, with what follows: whilst the others remained behind, David pursued the enemy still farther with four hundred men. By the word הנּותרים the historian has somewhat anticipated the matter, and therefore regards it as necessary to define the expression still further in 1 Samuel 30:10. We are precluded from changing the text, as Thenius suggests, by the circumstance that all the early translators read it in this manner, and have endeavoured to make the expression intelligible by paraphrasing it. These two hundred men were too tired to cross the brook and go any farther. (פּגר, which only occurs here and in 1 Samuel 30:21, signifies, in Syriac, to be weary or exhausted.) As Ziklag was burnt down, of course they found no provisions there, and were consequently obliged to set out in pursuit of the foe without being able to provide themselves with the necessary supplies. The brook Besor is supposed to be the Wady Sheriah, which enters the sea below Ashkelon (see v. Raumer, Pal. p. 52).
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