1 Samuel 30:11
Now his men found an Egyptian in the field and brought him to David. They gave the man water to drink and food to eat--
David in Three SituationsC. Bradley, M. A.1 Samuel 30:1-31
Christian BeneficenceJohn Johnston.1 Samuel 30:11-13
The Outcast ServantHelen Plumptre.1 Samuel 30:11-13
An Egyptian SlaveB. Dale 1 Samuel 30:11-20
1 Samuel 30:11-20. (SOUTH OF THE BROOK BESOR.)
I was reminded of the poor Egyptian whom David found half dead, and brought to life again by giving him 'a piece of cake of figs and two clusters of raisins' to eat, and water to drink, by an incident which occurred to me when crossing the plain of Askelon. Far from any village, a sick Egyptian was lying by the road side in the burning sun, and apparently almost dead with a terrible fever. He wanted nothing but 'water! water!' which we were fortunately able to give him from our traveling bottle; but we were obliged to pass on and leave him to his fate, whatever that might be (Thomson, 'The Land and the Book'). How the "young man of Egypt" became "slave to an Amalekite" is not stated, but it is probable that he fell into his hands in some marauding expedition, like the Hebrew women and children in the raid on Ziklag. His condition was an involuntary, hard, and degrading one. He was -


1. Indifference and contempt. His worth as a man created in the image of God was disregarded (as is generally the case in the odious institution of slavery). He was treated as the absolute property of his master, "an animated tool" (Aristotle), and when deemed no longer useful, thrown away.

2. Injustice. Every claim in return for his services was ignored. He was entirely at the mercy of his master, and unprotected by any law (such as existed among the Hebrews).

3. Inhumanity. "My master left me three days agone because I fell sick" (ver. 13). He might have been easily carried forward on one of the camels (ver. 17), but the Amalekites were hard and cruel, and he was left to perish with hunger or to be devoured by wild beasts. "He that is higher than the highest regardeth" (Ecclesiastes 5:8), and the meanest slave cannot be despised and neglected with impunity.


1. Out of compassion and desire to save his life by every means in their power.

2. In fulfilment of the law of God, which required that kindness should be shown to the poor, the stranger, and the slave. "Love ye therefore the stranger, for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Deuteronomy 10:19; Deuteronomy 23:7, 15, 16).

3. With appreciation of the service he might render (ver. 15). The more helpless any one is, the more urgent his claim to assistance; yet no one is so helpless but that he may be capable of requiting the kindness shown to him. Slavery among the Hebrews differed widely from slavery among other ancient and modern peoples (1 Samuel 25:10; Ewald, Ginsburg, 'Ecclesiastes,' p. 283; 'Ecce Homo'). "By Christianising the master the gospel enfranchised the slave. It did not legislate about mere names and forms, but it went to the root of the evil, it spoke to the heart of man. When the heart of the master was filled with Divine grace and was warmed with the love of Christ the rest would soon follow. The lips would speak kind words, the hands would do liberal things" (Wordsworth, 'Com. on Philemon').


1. From gratitude for the benefit received. No human heart is wholly insensible to the power of kindness.

2. Under a solemn assurance of protection. After his abandonment by his master he could have no scruple concerning his right to his continued service, if any such right ever existed; but experience had made him fearful and suspicious of men, and therefore he said, "Swear unto me by God," etc. (ver. 15). He had a sense of religion, and believed that Divine justice would avenge the violation of an oath, though it should be taken to a slave.

3. With efficient and faithful performance of his engagements. He not only gave David the information he sought, but guided him to the camp of the enemy, and contributed to a result which repaid him a hundredfold (ver. 18).


1. Cares for the lowliest. "Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any" (Job 36:5). "Neither doth God respect any person" (2 Samuel 14:14).

2. Often makes use of the feeblest instrumentality for the chastisement of the "wicked in great power."

3. And for the promotion of the welfare of the people of God, and the establishment of his kingdom. What a rich harvest may spring from a single act of kindness toward even the most despised!

"He prayeth well who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.
He prayeth best who loveth best
All things both great and small:
For the dear God who loveth us
He made and loveth all"

(Coleridge) = -D.

And they found an Egyptian in the field.
The debasing influence of prosperity and success, and the humanising tendency of disaster and distress, were never more strikingly contrasted than in the portion of sacred history to which the words that have now been read turn our attention. It exhibits to us, on the one hand, a most painful instance of savage cruelty and neglect, in the midst of triumph and gladness; and presents, on the other, a pleasing example of tenderness and sympathy in the season of sorrow and depression. With the exception of one circumstance, the case of this Egyptian youth is one which is daily presented to us, and makes constant appeals to our sympathy and beneficence. The exception to which I allude, is one for which we can never be sufficiently grateful to Him who appoints the bounds of our habitation. In this land of freemen, slavery is never added to the miseries of the wretched, and, in the gloomiest hour of poverty and distress, the consciousness of freedom is left to console the sufferer. But in this single, though invaluable, exception, the sufferings of this young Egyptian have many parallel in this vale of tears. The union of poverty and disease is one of the most common forms of human wretchedness; its bitterness may be estimated without any effort of fancy, and its anguish painted without the aid of the imagination. Poverty and sickness are presented to us so often in melancholy union, that, to describe them, is not to draw upon the fancy, but to copy the sad original.

1. The first and most obvious consideration that calls us to the exercise of humanity and mercy, is our own liability to those very ills which claim our sympathy and relief. Poverty and sickness are not exclusively incident to any particular individuals, among the children of men. They imply the absence of the frailest and most perishable blessings of our lot.

2. In the next place, you are aware that compassion to the afflicted poor is enjoined by the authority of the Gospel. The Divine author of Christianity was anointed to proclaim glad tidings to the poor, and the poor and the sorrowful were his constant care His whole life was one grand act of benevolence; and whether we think of the purity of His motives, or the extent of His designs of good, or His indefatigable labours or His painful sufferings in the cause of humanity, we have before us a pattern of charity and mercy, the most affecting and instructive. And with His conduct, His doctrine most beautifully coincides. It breathes peace and good. will to man; and it enforces on all His followers the same love which He Himself manifested to the sons of men.

3. I entreat you to remember, that our neglect of exercises of mercy to the afflicted will be the ground of that sentence which in the day of our last account will be pronounced upon us all. In terms which the simplest understanding may comprehend, but which no heart can hear without the deepest awe, the Judge of all has assured us that in that hour when we shall stand before Him, the most searching inquiries will be made concerning our conduct to the child of want.

(John Johnston.)

You have here a lively picture of Satan's cast off servant, "And they found an Egyptian in the field." Unable any longer go be actively employed for his master, he is left go linger out a miserable existence. Never shall one of Christ's happy servants say, "My master left me." David now finds that he had been feeding a former enemy, that this man was one of the company who had pillaged and destroyed Ziklag: but never was any David a loser by ministering to an enemy. This Egyptian is now become his guide, and leads him to the spot where the Amalekites were feasting upon what they had carried off from Ziklag. "And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth." Having been three days without any pursuers, they conclude that all is now safe, and as if the world were their own, they are spread abroad upon all the earth. Do you know the set time when sinners are to be destroyed? It is just when they say, "Peace and safety" (1 Thessalonians 5:3), when they feel most secure, and in an hour when they think not. So was it with these miserable revellers. Oh! when David's Lord comes upon His enemies like a mighty man — when He comes to recover all the spoil, when He brings the solemn charge, "Ye have robbed God" — when all is restored to its rightful owner, then shall judgment return to righteousness, and all the upright in heart shall follow it (Psalm 94:15). Do you think David could forget his two hundred faint soldiers? Not if David had any of the mind which is in Christ. No, the first act is to return to them, and salute them, or ask them how they did. But all who follow David are not like David: they would "thrust the weak with side and shoulder," and fain have all themselves. Oh! when you feel this greedy, covetous spirit, this rising fear, and jealous eye, lest another, whom you do not think so deserving, should get as much as you, remember it is the mark of an unclean animal, it is the feature of the children of Belial. Very different is the language of David and his true followers. "Then said David, Ye shall not do so," etc. Lovely law! worthy of King David, and of David's Lord! Yea, blessed be the God of all grace, "it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day." She that tarrieth at home still divides the spoil — her God reckons it her act, if it is only in her heart; yea, he graciously says, "The desire of a man is his kindness" (Proverbs 19:22). They shall part alike! the same Christ, the same Comforter, the same free gift, the same heaven. Neither did David forget any of his former friends. All who had ministered be him in his straits and difficulties shall find that he is not forgetful, nor ungrateful. To all places whither he and his men ware wont to haunt, is a present sent. "For God is not unrighteous go forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward His name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister" (Hebrews 6:10).

(Helen Plumptre.)

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