David and his men were looking for the robbers who had taken their wives and children away. Some of the men found a slave from Egypt, and they took him to David.
We would not expect that David and the slave spoke the same language. Perhaps David had someone to translate; perhaps they expressed themselves by means of actions.
The account that the slave gave was very sad. He had a cruel master, who was one of the robbers. He was with his master when the robbers attacked a series of towns across the region. He helped to rob those towns but, as a slave, he gained no benefit. The robbers had attacked towns in both Israel and Philistia. The people called Kerethites belonged to Philistia; they later became loyal to David (2 Samuel 15:18). Judah was in the south of Israel; Calebís family owned land there at Hebron (Joshua 14:13-15). Ziklag was the town in Philistia where Davidís men were living with their families.
The slave had assisted his master in all these attacks. However, his master did not reward him or even care about him. When the slave became ill, his master left him to die.
David asked the slave whether he could lead him to the robbersí camp. It would be a very large camp; there were many hundreds of robbers, in addition to all their prisoners. The slave knew where to find it; that was the information that David needed.
However, the slave was very afraid. He had served a very cruel master; he did not expect to receive any kindness from David. So the slave did not ask for any reward when he took David there. He just asked David not to kill him, and not to hand him over to his former master. He never wanted to serve such a cruel master again. He probably thought that it was better to die than to serve such a wicked man.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.