1 Samuel 30:22
Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart.
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(22) Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial.—The scene here related chronicles an act of greed and of heartless covetousness—an act that has been many times repeated in the world’s history. The wise compiler of the book chose it as part of the memoirs of David, which were to be preserved in the sacred volume, because it was another authoritative declaration on the part of the beloved king respecting a question which would crop up again and again on the conclusion of a campaign. The chronicler was justified in his selection, for this famous decision of David continued in force until the time of the Maccabees. (See 2 Maccabees 8:28-30.) A somewhat similar law was enacted by Moses. (See Numbers 31:27.) The dispute arose thus: The victorious troop with their enormous booty quickly re turned to the brook Besor, where the 200 that had broken down on the rapid march had been left to guard the baggage. David salutes these with all kindly courtesy; but the harmony which prevailed in the little camp is speedily broken owing to the highhanded claims of the 400 who had actually taken part in the rescue. These refused to share the booty with their comrades who had been left behind, only proposing just to restore to them their wives and those things of their own which had been recovered from the Amalekites. David, however, refused to listen to these iniquitous claims, and decided that all the fighting part of the force, and those men who had stayed behind and guarded the baggage at the brook Besor, should share alike.

30:21-31 What God gives us, he designs we should do good with. In distributing the spoil, David was just and kind. Those are men of Belial indeed, who delight in putting hardships upon their brethren, and care not who is starved, so that they may be fed to the full. David was generous and kind to all his friends. Those who consider the Lord as the Giver of their abundance, will dispose of it with fairness and liberality.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. 21. David came to the two hundred men, which were so faint that they could not follow—This unexpected accession of spoil was nearly proving an occasion of quarrel through the selfish cupidity of some of his followers, and serious consequences might have ensued had they not been prevented by the prudence of the leader, who enacted it as a standing ordinance—the equitable rule—that all the soldiers should share alike (see Nu 31:11; see on [254]Nu 31:25). Then answered all the wicked men; when those two hundred men required or expected a part of the spoil; and they gathered from David’s words and carriage that he intended to give it to them.

Wicked men and men of Belial; so he calls them, for their covetousness, and injustice, and churlishness to their brethren; by which expressions we may judge how heinous and odious those sins are in God’s sight.

Because they went not with us; which was from their impotency; not by choice or design. Herein therefore was their iniquity and unreasonableness, they would punish them for no fault. Then answered all the wicked men, and men of Belial, of those that went with David,.... Who were ill natured men, and of covetous dispositions, as what is called their answer shows; and it seems by that as if the two hundred men had moved that they might have their share in the spoil, or that David had given some intimation that they should:

and said, because they went not with us, we will not give, them ought of the spoil that we have recovered: which was very unreasonable not to let them have what was before their own which was recovered; and indeed it was but right they should have their share in the spoil that was taken which was of others, as will appear hereafter: but they were of opinion and were come to a resolution, they should have no more:

save to every man his wife and his children; which was very unkind and ungenerous:

that they may lead them away, and depart; but whither? Ziklag was burnt, the land of Israel they would not return unto, where they must fall a sacrifice to Saul; these men cared not where they went, so that they were rid of them, that they might not have any share with them in the spoil.

Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his {l} wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart.

(l) Under these are understood the cattle and goods, which belonged to every man.

21–25. The division of the spoil

22. Then answered, &c.] Then answered every wicked man and every worthless man … Because they went not with me. Each spoke for himself, in the true spirit of selfishness.This Egyptian then conducted David, at his request, when he had sworn that he would neither kill him nor deliver him up to his master, down to the hostile troops, who were spread over the whole land, eating, drinking, and making merry, on account of all the great booty which they had brought out of the land of the Philistines and Judah.
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