1. David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day, but the Amalekites had just raided the Negeb and Ziklag, storming it and burning it to the ground.
2. They had taken captive the women and all who were in the city, young and old. They killed no one but carried them off when they left.
3. When they reached the town, David and his men found it burned to the ground and their wives, sons and daughters taken captive.
4. Then David and those with him wept aloud until they could weep no more.
5. David's two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, widow of Nabal of Carmel had also been taken captive.
6. Now David was greatly distressed because the people were talking of stoning him; for they were embittered because of what had happened to their sons and daughters. But David found strength in Yahweh his God.
7. David told Abiathar the priest, son of Ahimelech, to bring him the ephod. So Abiathar brought the ephod to David
8. who then consulted Yahweh, "Shall I go after these raiders? Can I overtake them?" The answer was, "Go after them for you shall surely overtake them and recover the captives."
9. David set out with his six hundred men and they reached the brook of Besor. There, two hundred men stayed behind, for they were too exhausted to cross the brook,
10. and David continued the chase with four hundred men.
11. They found an Egyptian in the open country and brought him to David. They gave him food, which he ate, and water to drink.
12. They gave him a piece of fig cake and two pieces of raisin cake. The Egyptian ate and recovered his strength, for he had been three days and three nights without eating or drinking.
13. David then questioned him, "To whom do you belong, and where do you come from?" He answered, "I am an Egyptian, slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me because I fell sick three days ago.
14. We raided the Negeb of the Cherethites, the territory of Judah and the Negeb of Caleb and set Ziklag on fire."
15. David then asked him, "Will you lead me to this raiding band?" He replied, "Swear to me by God that you will neither kill me nor deliver me into the hands of my master and I will lead you to this raiding band."
16. So the Egyptian led David to the raiding band whom they found scattered all over the ground, eating, drinking, dancing and feasting with the spoils they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.
17. David fought them from early morning to the evening of the following day, allowing no one to escape except four hundred young men who mounted their camels and fled.
18. David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken and rescued his two wives.
19. Nothing and no one was missing, small or great, son or daughter, booty or anything the Amalekites had taken. David brought back everything.
20. He then gathered flocks and herds and the people drove them before him, saying, "These are David's spoils!"
21. David reached the two hundred men who had been too tired to follow him, and were left behind at the Besor brook. These men came to meet David and those who were with him. David then drew near and greeted them.
22. But the malicious and worthless people among those who had accompanied David said, "Since they did not come with us, we shall not share the booty with them; let each of them take his wife and children and leave."
23. But David said, "My brothers, you shall not do that after what Yahweh has given us. He has protected us and delivered into our hands the band that raided us.
24. Who would agree to what you have said? The share of those who go down to battle and of those who remain with the baggage shall be the same; they shall share alike."
25. From that day to the present, this has been a statute and custom for Israel.
26. When David arrived in Ziklag, he sent part of the booty to the elders of Judah, to each of his friends, saying, "This is a gift to you from the booty of Yahweh's enemies:
27. to those in Bethel, in Ramoth-negeb, in Jattir,
28. in Aroer, in Sipmoth, in Eshtemoa,
29. in Racal, in the Jerahmeelite cities, in the Kenite cities,
30. in Hormah, in Borashan,
31. in Athach, in Hebron, and in all the places where David and his men had stayed.