1. Now by the time David and his men reached Ziklag three days later, the Amalekites had raided the Negeb and Ziklag; they had sacked Ziklag and burnt it down.
2. They had taken the women prisoner, and everyone who was there, both small and great. They had not killed anyone, but had carried them off and gone away.
3. When David and his men arrived, they found the town burnt down and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive.
4. Then David and the people with him wept aloud till they were too weak to weep any more.
5. David's two wives had been captured: Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail widow of Nabal of Carmel.
6. David was in great trouble, since the people were talking of stoning him; the people all felt very bitter, each man for his own sons and daughters. But David took courage from Yahweh his God.
7. To the priest Abiathar son of Ahimelech, David said, 'Bring me the ephod.' Abiathar brought the ephod to David.
8. David then consulted Yahweh, 'Shall I go in pursuit of these raiders? Will I overtake them?' The answer was, 'Go in pursuit; you will certainly overtake them and rescue the captives.'
9. David accordingly set off with the six hundred men who were with him and reached the torrent of Besor.
10. David then continued the pursuit with four hundred men, two hundred staying behind who were too exhausted to cross the torrent of Besor.
11. Out in the country they found an Egyptian and brought him to David. They gave him some bread to eat and some water to drink;
12. they also gave him a piece of fig cake and two bunches of raisins; he ate these and his spirits revived -- he had had nothing to eat or drink for three days and three nights.
13. David then said to him, 'Whose man are you and where do you come from?' He replied, 'I am a young Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite; my master abandoned me because I fell sick three days ago.
14. We raided the Negeb of the Cherethites, and the Negeb of Judah, and the Negeb of Caleb too, and we burnt Ziklag down.'
15. David said, 'Will you guide me to these raiders?' He replied, 'Swear to me by God not to kill me or hand me over to my master, and I will guide you to these raiders.'
16. He guided him to them, and there they were, scattered over the whole countryside, eating, drinking and celebrating, on account of the enormous booty which they had brought back from the territory of the Philistines and the territory of Judah.
17. David slaughtered them from dawn until the evening of the following day. No one escaped, except four hundred young men who mounted camels and fled.
18. He rescued everything that the Amalekites had taken -- David also rescued his two wives.
19. Nothing of theirs was lost, whether small or great, from the booty or sons and daughters -- everything that had been taken from them; David recovered everything.
20. They captured the flocks and herds as well and drove them in front of him. 'This is David's booty,' they shouted.
21. When David reached the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow him and whom he had left at the torrent of Besor, they came out to meet David and the party accompanying him; David approached with his party and greeted them.
22. But all the rogues and scoundrels among the men who had gone with David began saying, 'Since they did not go with us, we shall not give them any of the booty which we have rescued, except that each of them can have his wife and children. Let them take them away and be off.'
23. But David said, 'Do not behave like this, brothers, with what Yahweh has given us; he has protected us and has handed over to us the raiders who attacked us.
24. Who would agree with you on this? No: As the share of the man who goes into battle, so is the share of the man who stays with the baggage. They will share alike.'
25. And from that day on, he made that a rule and custom for Israel, which obtains to the present day.
26. When David reached Ziklag, he sent parts of the booty to the elders of Judah, town by town, with this message, 'Here is a present for you, taken from the booty of Yahweh's enemies':
27. to those in Bethel, to those in Ramoth of the Negeb,
28. to those in Jattir, to those in Aroer, to those in Siphmoth, to those in Eshtemoa,
29. to those in Carmel, to those in the towns of Jerahmeel, to those in the towns of the Kenites,
30. to those in Hormah, to those in Borashan, to those in Athach,
31. to those in Hebron and to all the places which David and his men had frequented.