First Samuel 30 Commentary
Understanding your wife’s shopping lingo is important in avoiding a budget overrun. She might find a good dress and then ask if you also like it. The question is a budget approval request and not just a mere opinion poll. “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” It’s not a plain information extraction exercise. David is asking the LORD to intervene.
The events in this chapter appear quite natural given the nature of the times we are reading about. But the more we think about these events, the more we become suspicious.
The LORD appears to have allowed the Amalekites free passage into Ziglag but ensured they never destroyed any life. The four hundred exhausted men defeated the Amalekites and recovered everything. The four hundred young Amalekite men who escaped were actually good enough to resist David’s four hundred exhausted men. This is a miracle.
Could this be a sign that David’s absence from Israel means disaster back home in Israel? Is the complete recovery signaling a need to restore Israel’s fortunes by the new king? Whether by inference or not, we know this recovery was important in David’s mind as he prepared to establish his throne.
This chapter is highlighted by three acts of generosity by David. The Egyptian slave is saved. The soldiers that had remained behind due to exhaustion are treated fairly. The elders of Judah receive gifts from David. The last one resembles today’s politics but it still reflects the heart of David.
It is the grateful Egyptian slave who leads David on his way to victory. The soldiers appreciate David’s sense of justice. The troops can trust a leader who rules with authority and justice. The elders of Judah would be the first to install David as King over the tribe of Judah. The LORD has appointed generosity to advance man’s cause. Men who seek goodness rather than greatness end up with greatness in the process.
This chapter and the three acts of kindness show us how the LORD may lead one to his destiny. An act of kindness may lie in a critical path to one’s destiny. The recovery mission was okayed by the word of the LORD via the Urim and Thummim. The LORD spoke again by directing David to the raiding party. But the second message was wrapped and hidden. It needed an act of kindness to unlock it. Attending to a nearly dead Egyptian man might be considered time-wasting when there is an urgent rescue operation. In the economy of the LORD, generosity can be a huge and indispensable capital.
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