Philistia’s army was carrying out a very important battle against Israel. The leaders of Philistia had ordered every man from Philistia who could fight to go into the centre of Israel. They had to march for three days to get to their camp there.
Their plan to fight a great battle in the centre of Israel was clever. It seemed likely that they would defeat Israel. However, the plan had serious risks. They had left their country without anyone to defend it.
On the south side of both Philistia and Israel, there was a desert. One of the groups of people that lived in that desert was called the Amalekites. The Amalekites were a very serious problem for everyone in that region. For a long time, they had acted as robbers whenever they saw an opportunity. God sent Saul to attack them in 1 Samuel chapter 15, but they continued to be a problem. David too had fought against them in order to help the people in southern Israel (27:8).
Ziklag was a town in Philistia, near the border with Israel. When David decided to live in Philistia, King Achish offered the town to David and his men. At this time, David was the leader of a group of 600 men. They all brought their wives and children to Ziklag and they made their homes there.
Achish had ordered David and his men to join Philistia’s army in central Israel. When they arrived, Philistia’s leaders would not allow them to join its army. So David’s men all marched back again. However, when they arrived back, Ziklag was nothing more than a heap of burning rubbish. When there was nobody to defend the town, the Amalekites had cruelly and fiercely attacked it.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.