For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2001 James Melough



In 1 Samuel chapter 30 we have the record of David’s recovery of the city of Ziklag; and here, as so often in Scripture, beyond the earthly victory achieved by one of His servants, God bids us see a symbolic picture of the great victory won at Calvary by His perfect Servant, the Lord Jesus Christ.

It was to a ruined Ziklag, whose inhabitants had been carried away captive by the Amalekites, that David came on the third day, verse 1.  Here we have a picture of the world to which Christ came two thousand years ago.  It too was a ruin, desolated by Satan, of whom the Amalekite is but a type.  The captivity of the inhabitants of the city is an OT foreshadowing of humanity’s spiritual bondage.

David’s weeping, verse 3, surely recalls the Lord’s weeping at the grave of Lazarus; and over Jerusalem, Lk 19:41, “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it.”

“And David’s two wives were taken captives,” verse 5.  May we not see in these two women, dear to the heart of David, the representatives of the two great divisions of humanity, Jew and Gentile, dear to the heart of Christ?

“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him,” verse 6.  Who will fail to see in David’s distress a foreshadowing of the Lord’s anguish in Gethsemane, where, “... being in an agony he prayed the more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground,” Lk 22:44; or at Calvary when He cried out, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Mt 27:46.

David’s distress was related to an evil intention that was not fulfilled, “The people spake of stoning him,” but didn’t.  Christ’s was related to an evil intention carried out, “Let him be crucified,” Mt 27:22.  “And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha .... they crucified him,” Mt 27:33-35.

“But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God .... And David inquired at the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them?” vv.6-8.  David’s refusal to act apart from the Word of God reminds us of the perfect obedience of Christ.  He never took a step, never uttered a word contrary to the Father’s will.  His obedience was, “unto death, even the death of the cross,” Php 2:8; His statement, “I thirst,” as He hung on the cross, being, “that the scripture might be fulfilled,” Jn 19:28.

God’s response to David’s inquiry was, “Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all,” verse 8.  The same assurance accompanied Christ on His way to Calvary.  Scripture foretold His victory.

The inability of the two hundred to follow David over the brook Besor, reminds us that when the Lord engaged the forces of darkness, He was alone, for, “They (the disciples) all forsook him, and fled,” Mk 14:50.  And to emphasize in the type that it was Christ alone Who won the victory, it is recorded that though four hundred men did accompany David, exactly the same number of the enemy escaped, vv.10,17.

The feasting and dancing of the Amalekites, verse 16, is also significant, reminding us that when the Lord won the victory at Calvary it was while the human accomplices of the powers of darkness kept the feast of Passover and rejoiced in His death.

In v.17 the Divine Artist adds yet another significant brush stroke by recording that, “David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day,” this reference to darkness reminding us that Calvary’s victory was won while there was darkness over all the land from the sixth to the ninth hour, Mt 27:45.

The completeness of the victory, and the recovery of more than had been lost, are the symbolic reminders that the type had its perfect fulfillment at Calvary.  That work needs no repetition.  Satan has received his death wound.  His present activity represents the death throes of a foe who has but a short time left.  And man has been restored, not to the precarious bliss of Eden, lost once by disobedience, and which could be lost again were man simply restored to the perfection of Adam’s untried innocence.  The bliss secured for man by means of Calvary’s cross is eternal, in heaven, and beyond possibility of forfeiture.

The picture isn’t yet complete however, for if, in a victorious David, we have a portrait of Christ, in the faint and feeble two hundred with whom he shared the spoil at the brook Besor, we have a picture of ourselves.  Since David’s crossing Besor once to the battle represents Christ’s death; his victorious return crossing represents the Lord’s resurrection.  Besor means Good Tidings.  It speaks of the water of life, the good tidings of the Gospel to helpless sinners; which brings them into the presence of the resurrected Christ Who has secured for them every blessing that grace can bestow.

“As his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike,” verse 24. This is the OT foreshadowing of Ro 8:16-17, “We are ... heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.”  His victory is ours.


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough