1 Samuel 30:26
And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil to the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD;
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(26) He sent of the spoil.—To have made it worth while to have sent presents to all the places enumerated below, the spoil of the Amalekites captured on this occasion must have been enormous. One special circumstance connected with the history besides leads us to this conclusion. Although these desert Arabs were surprised and attacked at a terrible disadvantage after a debauch, they seem (so great evidently was their numbers) to have held their ground from early morning until evening, and then 400 managed to escape on their swiftest camels. It was not improbably the main division of the great tribe, and they had with them the bulk of their flocks and herds, besides what they had just captured in their raid in southern Canaan. No doubt the cities to whom rich gifts of cattle were sent were those places where, during his long wanderings, he and his followers had been kindly received and helped.

1 Samuel 30:26. He sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah — Partly in gratitude for their former favours to him; and partly in policy to engage their affections to him. Behold a present for you — In the Hebrew, a blessing. So he calls the present, because it was a token that he wished all prosperity to them, who had been kind to him in his banishment, and had helped to maintain and protect him. Of the spoil of the enemies of the Lord — The success of David in this pursuit of the Amalekites, will, upon examination, appear so extraordinary that it is not easy to account for it, otherwise than from the peculiar superintendence of Providence over David and his concerns. Indeed, the interposition of Providence is seen in every circumstance of this adventure; the number, the perseverance, the issue. That they might not think their number did the work, God reduced them to four hundred, as he did Gideon’s company to three, Judges 7. Many others have been as fortunate in surprising, and as successful in slaughtering their enemies; but to have strength both for the slaughter and pursuit, for so many hours together, is altogether extraordinary. But what is yet more remarkable is, that he should recover all the captives unhurt, out of the hands of a people so abandoned, and so execrable as the Amalekites! We have intimated that these Amalekites, being poor, spared their captives from a prospect of profiting greatly by the sale of them. Others, however, perhaps with as much reason, think they only respited their cruelty to execute it to more advantage at their leisure. How beautiful a contemplation is it to observe the signal goodness of God and malignity of man co-operating to the same end! See Delaney. 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. 26. when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil to the elders of Judah—This was intended as an acknowledgment to the leading men in those towns and villages of Judah which had ministered to his necessities in the course of his various wanderings. It was the dictate of an amiable and grateful heart; and the effect of this well-timed liberality was to bring a large accession of numbers to his camp (1Ch 12:22). The enumeration of these places shows what a numerous and influential party of adherents to his cause he could count within his own tribe [1Sa 30:27-31]. Partly in gratitude for their former favour to him; and partly in policy to engage their affections to him now when he apprehended Saul’s death near.

The enemies of the Lord; he intimates, that though he was fled to the Philistines, yet he employed not his forces against the Israelites, as, no doubt, Saul’s courtiers and soldiers reported that he designed; but only against God’s enemies. And when David came to Ziklag,.... Perhaps with an intention to rebuild it, and make it still the place of his residence; and it is possible there might be some houses that escaped flames, and if not, tents might be pitched until the city was rebuilt, and it appears that he continued there some time:

he sent of the spoil to the elders of Judah: of that part of it which belonged to himself as a general:

even to his friends; such as had been kind to him when he sojourned among them; so that this was a piece of gratitude, as well as of policy in him, to make his way to the throne the easier, he perceiving the time drawing on for the expiration of the kingdom in the family of Saul; and besides, some in those parts he sent of the spoil to might have been sufferers by the Amalekites, so that it was but a point of justice to restore to them what had been taken from them; for they had invaded the south of Judea, and took spoils from thence, 1 Samuel 30:14; it was to his friends in those parts he sent, not to the inhabitants of Ziph and Keilah, which were places in the tribe of Judah; but these having attempted to betray him, were not entitled to his favours, though they were not the objects of his vengeance:

saying, behold, a present for you, of the spoil of the Lord's enemies; or a "blessing" (z), which he sent them with a good will, wishing health and happiness to them; which they might without hesitation receive, seeing it was not the spoil of private enemies, or of what was taken from them in a way of private revenge, but the spoil of the enemies of the Lord, his and their common enemies; nor need they scruple eating and enjoying it, though the spoil of those that cursed the Lord, Abarbinel observes, since this they had with the blessing of the Lord.

(z) "benedictio", Pagninus, Montanus.

And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD;
26–31. The presents sent to the elders of Judah

26. he sent of the spoil, &c.] In gratitude for the assistance he had received from them during his wanderings, and to secure their good will when Saul’s death should open the way for him to the throne. On the elders see at 1 Samuel 8:4.

a present] Lit. a blessing, as in 1 Samuel 25:27.

the spoil of the enemies of the Lord] Since Israel was Jehovah’s people, the enemies of Israel were the enemies of His kingdom and His cause, and every war against them was a holy war. Cp. 1 Samuel 18:17, 1 Samuel 25:28.Verse 26. - The elders of Judah. The spoil taken from the Amalekites and assigned to David must have been very large, as it was worth distributing so widely. He did not, however, send to all the elders of Judah, but to such only as were his friends. A present. Hebrew, "a blessing" (see on 1 Samuel 25:27). 1 Samuel 30:20 is obscure: "And David took all the sheep and the oxen: they drove them before those cattle, and said, This is David's booty." In order to obtain any meaning whatever from this literal rendering of the words, we must understand by the sheep and oxen those which belonged to the Amalekites, and the flocks taken from them as booty; and by "those cattle," the cattle belonging to David and his men, which the Amalekites had driven away, and the Israelites had now recovered from them: so that David had the sheep and oxen which he had taken from the Amalekites as booty driven in front of the rest of the cattle which the Israelites had recovered; whereupon the drovers exclaimed, "This (the sheep and oxen) is David's booty." It is true that there is nothing said in what goes before about any booty that David had taken from the Amalekites, in addition to what they had taken from the Israelites; but the fact that David had really taken such booty is perfectly obvious from 1 Samuel 30:26-31, where he is said to have sent portions of the booty of the enemies of Jehovah to different places in the land. If this explanation be not accepted, there is no other course open than to follow the Vulgate, alter לפני into לפניו, and render the middle clause thus: "they drove those cattle (viz., the sheep and oxen already mentioned) before him," as Luther has done. But even in that case we could hardly understand anything else by the sheep and oxen than the cattle belonging to the Amalekites, and taken from them as booty.
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