1 Samuel 30:3
So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.
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(3) And behold, it was burned with fire.—A terrible reception for David and his free lances, on their return from their ill-omened expedition with the great Philistine army, to find only the charred and smoking ruins of their homes; not one of all their dear ones, whom they had left behind—as they thought in security—left to tell the story of the disaster. It was the Egyptian slave who had fallen sick, and, in consequence, had been deserted, and whom they came upon in the course of the pursuit, who gave them the details, and told them the story of the invasion, and described the route taken by the marauding force on their return to their country.

30:1-6 When we go abroad in the way of our duty, we may comfortably hope that God will take care of our families in our absence, but not otherwise. If, when we come off a journey, we find our abode in peace, and not laid waste, as David here found his, let the Lord be praised for it. David's men murmured against him. Great faith must expect such severe trials. But, observe, that David was brought thus low, only just before he was raised to the throne. When things are at the worst with the church and people of God, then they begin to mend. David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. His men fretted at their loss, the soul of the people was bitter; their own discontent and impatience added to the affliction and misery. But David bore it better, though he had more reason than any of them to lament it. They gave liberty to their passions, but he set his graces to work; and while they dispirited each other, he, by encouraging himself in God, kept his spirit calm. Those who have taken the Lord for their God, may take encouragement from him in the worst times.On the third day - This indicates that Aphek was three days' march from Ziklag, say about 50 miles, which agrees very well with the probable situation of Aphek (1 Samuel 4:1 note). From Ziklag to Shunem would not be less than 80 or 90 miles.

The Amalekites, in retaliation of David's raids 1 Samuel 27:8-9, invaded "the south" of Judah Joshua 15:21; but owing to the absence of all the men with David there was no resistance, and consequently the women and children were carried off as prey, and uninjured.

3. David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire—The language implies that the smoke of the conflagration was still visible, and the sacking very recent. No text from Poole on this verse.

So David and his men came to the city,.... Or however to the place where it had stood, and where it now lay in ruins:

and, behold, it was burnt with fire; the whole city was laid in ashes:

and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives; as it appeared afterwards; for upon their first coming they knew not but they were all destroyed; and which they might reasonably suppose from their former treatment of them, unless there were any left upon the spot which could inform them how things were, which does not appear, and which must make their distress the greater.

So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their {c} wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.

(c) For those only remained in the city, when the men were gone to war.

1 Samuel 30:31 Samuel 30:1-4 form one period, which is expanded by the introduction of several circumstantial clauses. The apodosis to "It came to pass, when," etc. (1 Samuel 30:1), does not follow till 1 Samuel 30:4, "Then David and the people," etc. But this is formally attached to 1 Samuel 30:3, "so David and his men came," with which the protasis commenced in 1 Samuel 30:1 is resumed in an altered form. "It came to pass, when David and his men came to Ziklag ... the Amalekites had invaded ... and had carried off the wives ... and had gone their way, and David and his men came into the town (for 'when David and his men came,' etc.), and behold it was burned ... . Then David and the people with him lifted up their voice." "On the third day:" after David's dismission by Achish, not after David's departure from Ziklag. David had at any rate gone with Achish beyond Gath, and had not been sent back till the whole of the princes of the Philistines had united their armies (1 Samuel 29:2.), so that he must have been absent from Ziklag more than two days, or two days and a half. This is placed beyond all doubt by 1 Samuel 30:11., since the Amalekites are there described as having gone off with their booty three days before David followed them, and therefore they had taken Ziklag and burned it three days before David's return. These foes had therefore taken advantage of the absence of David and his warriors, to avenge themselves for David's invasions and plunderings (1 Samuel 27:8). Of those who were carried off, "the women" alone expressly mentioned in 1 Samuel 30:2, although the female population and all the children had been removed, as we may see from the expression "small and great" (1 Samuel 30:3, 1 Samuel 30:6). The lxx were therefore correct, so far as the sense is concerned, in introducing the words καὶ πάντα before בּהּ עשׁר. "They had killed no one, but (only) carried away." נהג, to carry away captive, as in Isaiah 20:4. Among those who had been carried off were David's two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail (vid., 1 Samuel 25:42-43; 1 Samuel 27:3).
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