1 Samuel 30:9 MEANING

1 Samuel 30:9
(9) So David went.--Immediately on receiving the answer of the Urim, David started in rapid pursuit. The "six hundred" by no means represented his present force; but these were probably the old band of veteran soldiers, whose speed and endurance he could depend upon--men tried, no doubt, by many a weary night march, by many a rough, wild piece of work. A large contingent even of these veterans could not stand the forced march of their leader on this occasion.

In the words "for two hundred abode behind," the narrator anticipated what is told in 1 Samuel 30:10. It is a proleptical expression, arising from the vivacious description of David's rapid march with four hundred men (Lange). The Vulg. paraphrases, or rather seeks to amend the text here: "and certain tired ones stayed." The Syriac changes the text into "David left two hundred men;" these men who had fallen out of the rapid march were gathered together, and kept the baggage and everything that could be left behind at the encampment at the brook Besor. It is to be supposed that owing to the hurried departure, but scanty provision for the forced march was made, hence the falling out through weariness in the course of the rapid advance. The brook Besor cannot be identified with certainty; and Raumer (Palestine) supposes it to be the Wady Shariah, which falls into the sea below Askelon.

Verses 9, 10. - Having obtained this favourable answer, David starts in pursuit with his old band of 600 men. So rapid was his march that one third of these dropped out of the ranks, so that the newcomers from Manasseh would have been useless, nor had they lost wives or children. The brook (or rather "torrent") Besor practically remains unidentified, as the site of Ziklag is unknown; but possibly it is the Wady-es-Sheriah, which runs into the sea a little to the south of Gaza. As there was water here, those that were left behind stayed. Hebrew, "the stragglers stayed." It seems also to have been wide enough to cause some difficulty in crossing, as it is said that these 200 were too faint, or tired, to go over the torrent Besor. From ver. 24 we find that David also left with them as much as possible of his baggage. Stragglers had no doubt been falling out for some time, but would here be rallied, and obtain rest and refreshment.

30:7-15 If in all our ways, even when, as in this case, there can be no doubt they are just, we acknowledge God, we may expect that he will direct our steps, as he did those of David. David, in tenderness to his men, would by no means urge them beyond their strength. The Son of David thus considers the frames of his followers, who are not all alike strong and vigorous in their spiritual pursuits and conflicts; but, where we are weak, there he is kind; nay more, there he is strong, 2Co 12:9,10. A poor Egyptian lad, scarcely alive, is made the means of a great deal of good to David. Justly did Providence make this poor servant, who was basely used by his master, an instrument in the destruction of the Amalekites; for God hears the cry of the oppressed. Those are unworthy the name of true Israelites, who shut up their compassion from persons in distress. We should neither do an injury nor deny a kindness to any man; some time or other it may be in the power of the lowest to return a kindness or an injury.So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him,.... Encouraged by the oracle of the Lord:

and came to the brook Besor; which Adrichomius (q) places in the tribe of Simeon; it is thought to be near Gaza. Aristaeus (r) speaks of brooks that flowed by Gaza and Ashdod, places that belonged to the Philistines; some take it to be the river of the wilderness in Amos; see Gill on Amos 6:14,

where those that were left behind stayed: or a part of them were left, as the Targum; all the six hundred came to this brook, but two hundred of them were left here, 1 Samuel 30:10 shows, and stayed here till the rest returned; for this is not to be understood of any that were left behind at Ziklag, for all came from thence to this brook.

(q) Theatrum Terrae Sanct. p. 133. (r) Hist. 72. Interpret. p. 41.

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