1 Samuel 30:20
And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drove before those other cattle, and said, This is David's spoil.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) The flocks and the herds, which they drave.—In the English translation the word “which,” inserted in italics, obscures the sense; the literal reading is, “And David took all the flocks and the herds; they drove them before their cattle, and said, this is David’s spoil.” David took, no doubt, by popular acclamation as his share of the plunder, all the flocks and herds belonging to the Amalekites, mostly acquired, no doubt, in the late raid; these were driven in front of “those cattle” thus particularising the cattle of Ziklag belonging to David’s own people. Of course, this plunder went back to the original Israelitish owners. The drovers, as they marched behind the vast herds of Amalekite cattle, sung of the prowess of their leader in words long remembered, “See all this. This is David’s spoil.” It was “these herds”—numerically, probably very great—that David distributed among the friendly cities of the south. (See 1Samuel 30:26; 1Samuel 30:31.) All the other plunder of the camp—arms, accoutrements, ornaments, jewels, camels’ cloths, &c.—was divided, as Bishop Hervey well suggests, among the little army. David’s motive in choosing the sheep and oxen (for his warriors certainly the least desirable part of the Amalekite possession) is evident from 1Samuel 30:26-31. They were the most acceptable presents he could make to his friends in Judah.

1 Samuel 30:20. David took all the flocks — Which had been taken by the Amalekites from the Philistines and others. Which they drave before those other cattle — His soldiers drave them before those cattle that belonged to Ziklag, which the Amalekites had taken from David and his men. And said, This is David’s spoil — Not that he claimed it all to himself. But the soldiers, who lately were so incensed against him that they spake of stoning him, now, upon his success, magnify him, and triumphantly celebrate his praise; and say, concerning this spoil, David purchased it by his valour and conduct, and he may dispose of it as he pleaseth.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 meaning is, "and David took all the sheep and oxen which the Amalekites drove" (i. e. had in their possession) "before that acquisition of cattle" (namely, before what they took in their raid to the south), "and they" (the people) "said, This is David's spoil." This was his share as captain of the band (compare Judges 8:24-26). All the other plunder of the camp - arms, ornaments, jewels, money, clothes, camels, accoutrements, and so on - was divided among the little army. David's motive in choosing the sheep and oxen for himself was to make presents to his friends in Judah 1 Samuel 30:26-31. 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.

All the flocks and the herds, to wit, which the Amalekites had taken from the Philistines, or others.

Before those other cattle; before those which belonged to Ziklag.

This is David’s spoil, i.e. the soldiers, who lately were so incensed against David, that they spake of stoning him; now upon this success magnify him, and triumphantly celebrate his praise; and say concerning this spoil, David purchased it by his valour and conduct, and he may dispose of it as he pleaseth. And David took all the flocks, and the herds,.... Which they had taken from the land of the Philistines, or which belonged to the Amalekites properly:

which they drave before those other cattle; which had been carried from Ziklag; first went the spoil taken from other places, and then those taken from David and his men, or what was found at Ziklag. Abarbinel supposes the meaning to be this, that the herds were driven before the flocks, that the oxen were led out first, and then the sheep followed, as being the weaker sort, and more easily to be driven, and carried off; but the former sense seems best:

and said, this is David's spoil; either the whole of it, it being owing to him that it was got or brought back; or this may respect some peculiar part of it made a present of to him; or it may design what the Amalekites had taken from others, which was at the disposal of David, as distinguished from what was taken from Ziklag, and was restored, or to be restored to the proper owners: it may be taken in the first and more general sense, as being the song, or the burden of the song, sung by David's men as they returned with the spoil, giving him all the honour of it, of whom, but a little before, they talked of stoning.

And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David's {k} spoil.

(k) Which the Amalekites had taken from others, and David from them, besides the goods of Ziklag.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. This verse as it stands admits of no satisfactory explanation. It is best to follow the Vulgate, with which the Sept. in the main agrees, and read, And he took all the flocks and the herds, and drave them before him: and they said, This is David’s spoil: i.e. he not only recovered his own property, but took a rich booty besides, which his men drove off with shouts of triumph. The number of places to which he sent presents (1 Samuel 30:26-31) shews how large it must have been.Verse 20. - This verse, which is made unintelligible in the A.V. by the insertion of the unauthorised word which, is really free from difficulty. After David, as related in vers. 18, 19, had recovered the cattle carried oft by the Amalekites, he also took all the flocks and herds belonging to them; and his own men "made these go in front of that body of cattle, and said, This is David's spoil," i.e. they presented it to him by acclamation. It was this large booty which he distributed among his friends (vers. 26-31). DAVID ENACTS A LAW FOR THE DIVISION OF THE SPOIL (vers. 21-25). When David asked him whence he had come (to whom, i.e., to what people or tribe, dost thou belong?), the young man said that he was an Egyptian, and servant of an Amalekite, and that he had been left behind by his master when he fell sick three days before ("to-day three," sc., days): he also said, "We invaded the south of the Crethites, and what belongs to Judah, and the south of Caleb, and burned Ziklag with fire." הכּרתי, identical with כּרתים (Ezekiel 25:16; Zephaniah 2:5), denotes those tribes of the Philistines who dwelt in the south-west of Canaan, and is used by Ezekiel and Zephaniah as synonymous with Philistim. The origin of the name is involved in obscurity, as the explanation which prevailed for a time, viz., that it was derived from Creta, is without sufficient foundation (vid., Stark, Gaza, pp. 66 and 99ff.). The Negeb "belonging to Judah" is the eastern portion of the Negeb. One part of it belonged to the family of Caleb, and was called Caleb's Negeb (vid., 1 Samuel 25:3).
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