16 He led David down, and there they were, scattered over the countryside, eating, drinking and revelling because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from Judah. 17 David fought them from dusk until the evening of the next day, and none of them got away, except four hundred young men who rode off on camels and fled. 18 David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. 19 Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back. 20 He took all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock, saying, “This is David’s plunder.”
21 Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow him and who were left behind at the Besor Valley. They came out to meet David and the men with him. As David and his men approached, he asked them how they were.22 But all the evil men and troublemakers among David’s followers said, “Because they did not go out with us, we will not share with them the plunder we recovered. However, each man may take his wife and children and go.”
23 David replied, “No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the Lord has given us. He has protected us and delivered into our hands the raiding party that came against us. 24 Who will listen to what you say? The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.” 25 David made this a statute and ordinance for Israel from that day to this.
26 When David reached Ziklag, he sent some of the plunder to the elders of Judah, who were his friends, saying, “Here is a gift for you from the plunder of the Lord’s enemies.”
27 David sent it to those who were in Bethel, Ramoth Negev and Jattir; 28 to those in Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa 29 and Rakal; to those in the towns of the Jerahmeelites and the Kenites; 30 to those in Hormah, Bor Ashan, Athak 31 and Hebron; and to those in all the other places where he and his men had roamed.
After David is sent home from war he discovers that his village has been plundered, all the women and children have been carried off. So David enquires of the Lord and is told to go after the plunderers. David and his men catch up with the plundering party and retrieve all of their possessions; it seems that they get a lot more than they originally had. The part that interests me today is these evil men in David’s camp who don’t feel that they should share the loot with those who were too week to keep up. This is “the way of the world” the strong will survive at the expense of the weak. However, David puts an end to it and makes a decree that the spoils of war should be shared. This is how I know that David is back on the track, he goes against his nature… to grow his own wealth…his inherent greed and he adopts a principle that looks more like the heart of God than the way of the world. There will always be people with us who are out to advance themselves, to grow their personal wealth and status at the expense of others. This is something we can learn – the way of God is not the way of man…and our call is to follow His way.
As the world remembers Nelson Mandela I am struck by how famous or popular this man was. When I think about it he was not famous for the struggle or for his intellect or wealth. He is famous because against all the odds he did not give into his base human instincts and seek revenge, he did not use his fame, or his status to accumulate personal wealth. He forgave; he was full of grace and compassion. He was never too important to stop and speak to children even if it put himself at personal risk… sounds like somebody else we know… seems like the world knows a good thing when they see it. May his legacy live on in the generations to come.