1 Samuel 30:17
And David smote them from the twilight even to the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode on camels, and fled.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) From twilight even unto the evening of the next day.—Keil thinks the fighting went on from the evening twilight till the evening of the next day. Bishop Hervey, in the Speaker’s Commentary, with greater probability, supposes that “the twilight is the morning twilight, as the contrast between twilight and evening rather suggests.” David thus arrived at night, and finding his enemies eating and drinking, put off his attack until the morning dawn or twilight, when they would be still sleeping after their debauch. Although thus taken by surprise, their great numbers and their natural bravery enabled them to prolong the fierce struggle all through the day, and when the shades of evening were falling four hundred (we read) of the young men, a body of fugitives equal to David’s own force, managed to get clear of the rout and escape. The number of slain on this occasion must have been very great.

30:16-20 Sinners are nearest to ruin, when they cry, Peace and safety, and put the evil day far from them. Nor does any thing give our spiritual enemies more advantage than sensuality and indulgence. Eating and drinking, and dancing, have been the soft and pleasant way in which many have gone down to the congregation of the dead. The spoil was recovered, and brought off; nothing was lost, but a great deal gained.The Cherethites - Here used as synonymous with Philistines 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. 1Sa 30:16-31. And Recovers His Two Wives and All the Spoil.

16. they were spread abroad upon all the earth—Believing that David and all his men of war were far away, engaged with the Philistine expedition, they deemed themselves perfectly secure and abandoned themselves to all manner of barbaric revelry. The promise made in answer to the devout inquiries of David (1Sa 30:8) was fulfilled. The marauders were surprised and panic-stricken. A great slaughter ensued—the people as well as the booty taken from Ziklag was recovered, besides a great amount of spoil which they had collected in a wide, freebooting excursion.

From the twilight: the word signifies both the morning and evening twilight. But the latter seems here intended, partly because their eating, and drinking, and dancing was more customary and proper work for the evening than for the morning; and partly because the evening was more convenient for David, that the fewness of his forces might not be discovered by the day-light.

Object. It is not likely that David would fall upon the Amalekites before his men, who had been tired with a long and hasty march, were refreshed.

Answ. Nor is it said that he did. It is probable that when he came near them, he reposed himself and his army in some secret place, whereof there were many in those parts, for a convenient season; and then marched on so as to come to them at the evening time. And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day,.... As there are two twilights, the twilight of the morning, and the twilight of the evening; this is differently understood some take it for the twilight of the morning, and that it was night when David came to them, and let them alone till they were drunk and asleep, and then early in the morning fell upon them, and smote them until the evening; so Josephus (s) relates it; but others take it to be the twilight of the evening, and that he fell upon them that night, and continued the slaughter of them to the evening of the next day, with which agrees the Targum; nay, some take the next day, or the morrow, to be that which followed after the two evenings; so that this slaughter was carried on to the third day:

and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men that rode upon camels, and fled; that sort of camels called dromedaries, according to Josephus (t), and which were very swift, and much used by the Arabians, near whom these people dwelt, see Isaiah 60:6.

(s) Antiqu. l. 6. c. 4. sect. 6. (t) Ibid.

And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening {i} of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled.

(i) Some read, and to the morrow of the two evenings, that is, three days.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. And David smote, &c.] He reached the neighbourhood of their camp in the evening, and found them scattered about in disorder, carousing over the spoil. As soon as the morning began to dawn he attacked them (cp. 1 Samuel 11:11), and the fight lasted till nightfall. After the first surprise, the Amalekites made a stubborn resistance.

the evening of the next day] The battle can scarcely have lasted two whole days. If the reading is right, the phrase the evening towards the morrow may denote the evening with which the next day commenced, Jewish days being reckoned from sunset to sunset, so that the fight lasted from early dawn till past sunset.

young men] Perhaps servant, as in 1 Samuel 16:18. The Amalekites were famous for camels. Cp. Jdg 7:12; 1 Samuel 15:3.Verse 17. - From the twilight. It has been debated whether this means the evening or the morning twilight; but the words which follow, "unto the evening of the next day," literally, "of (or for) their morrow," seem to prove that it was in the evening that David arrived. Moreover, in the morning they would not have been feasting, but sleeping. David probably attacked them at once, and slew all within reach until nightfall. The next morning the battle was renewed; but as David had but 400 men, and the Amalekites covered a large extent of country, and probably tried to defend themselves and their booty, it was not till towards the next evening that the combat and the pursuit were over. As they would need pasture and water for their cattle, they had evidently broken up into detachments, which had gone each into a different place with their herds. The pursuit must have been prolonged to a considerable distance, as no more than 400 young men escaped, and even they only by the aid of their camels. On their further march they found an Egyptian lying exhausted upon the field; and having brought him to David, they gave him food and drink, namely "a slice of fig-cake (cf. 1 Samuel 25:18), and raisin-cakes to eat; whereupon his spirit of life returned (i.e., he came to himself again), as he had neither eaten bread nor drunk water for three days."
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