4 Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. 5 David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.
7 And David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8 And David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I pursue after this band? Shall I overtake them?” He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Sa 30:4–8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
4–8 Weeping aloud is an understandable reaction when the situation seems hopeless (see comment on 11:4). But the abject sorrow of David and his men (v. 4) would soon be replaced by confident expectation as a result of the Lord’s assurance of victory (v. 8). David mourns the (apparent) loss of his two wives (v. 5), Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel (see comment on 15:12; 25:3, 43), whom he had moved to Ziklag after Achish had assigned the town to him (cf. 27:3–6).
Added to David’s grief is the fact that he is “greatly distressed” (v. 6) because his men blame him for their plight. Pointing to an earlier parallel where Saul is pictured as being “in great distress” (see 28:15 and comment), Brueggemann (First and Second Samuel, 201) comments: “Both David and Saul are portrayed as persons in deep crises of leadership, and both are deeply at risk. What interests us is the difference of response.… Saul seeks refuge in a medium,” while David inquires of the Lord.
In the meantime, however, David’s men consider “stoning him”—a much more serious threat than the later frivolous action of Shimei (even though the same Heb. verb is used; cf. 2 Sa 16:6, 13). Convinced that they will never see their children again, the men are “bitter in spirit” (v. 6; cf. 1:10, “in bitterness of soul”; 2 Ki 4:27, “in bitter distress”). While in 22:2 people who were “discontented” (the same Heb. in all these cases) flocked to David’s leadership, here his men are so distraught that they cannot think clearly and are prepared to do him harm.
David’s spiritual discernment now comes to the fore: He “found strength” (v. 6) in the right Person (cf. similarly Ezr 7:28, “took courage”; Da 10:19). Concerning the last sentence in v. 6, Brueggemann (First and Second Samuel, 202) observes that it “anticipates Paul’s wondrous two-sided statement of Philippians 2:12–13: ‘Work out your own salvation … for God is at work.’ David counts heavily on God’s being at work. At the same moment David is boldly at work on the rescue mission.” Although the Hebrew phrase translated “had no strength” in v. 4 is not from the same root, the contrast is nonetheless striking. By using the expression “the Lord his God,” the narrator emphasizes David’s intimate relationship with the One who from the beginning has always been “with him” (see 16:18 and comment).
As at Keilah, so also at Ziklag David says to Abiathar the priest (v. 7), “Bring me the ephod” (see comments on 23:6, 9; also 22:20), which David then uses to inquire of the Lord (v. 8; see comments on 23:2, 4; also comments on 14:36, 41–42). When the rejected Saul inquired of the Lord, no answer came (28:6); when the “man after [God’s] own heart” (13:14) does the same, the Lord answers specifically and with precision (as here; cf. also 23:2, 4). “The contrast between Saul going to the necromancer in 1 Samuel 28 and David easily consulting YHWH in 1 Samuel 30 is heightened through the narrative proximity of these two events” (Brettler, 83).
In this case David asks whether he should “pursue” the Amalekite raiders and, if so, whether he would be able to “overtake” them. The Lord’s response is immediate, clear, and full of encouragement: David is commanded to “pursue,” he will “certainly overtake” (infinitive absolute plus finite verb), and in addition—the divine bonus—he will “succeed in the rescue” (again, infinitive absolute plus finite verb). True to his promise, the Lord makes sure that David “has recovered” everything, including the captives and plunder (vv. 18, 22; “recovered” is from the same Heb. verb as “rescue” in v. 8).
30:6 distressed … embittered. Arriving home to the reality of their great tragedy caused David immense distress and provoked the wickedness of his men to entertain the treasonous idea of stoning him. Having not inquired of the Lord before his departure to support Achish in battle, David was in need of God’s getting his attention. strengthened himself in the Lord his God. This was the key to David being a man after God’s heart (cf. 1Sa 13:14; Ac 13:22).
30:6 But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God, and God comforts and strengthens him. Rather than despairing, David turns to God in prayer and worship (cf. Ps. 56:3–4).
30:6 David through the strength of God acts as deliverer, prefiguring Christ the deliverer of captives (Luke 4:18–19).
30:6 spoke of stoning him They perceived that David’s plan to beguile the Philistines caused their loss.
Yahweh his God Here, Yahweh is called David’s God. In contrast, Saul refers to Yahweh as Samuel’s God (compare 15:15, 21, 30).
This is the book’s final comparison between righteous David and wicked Saul. Saul disregarded the Law while David obeyed it. Saul inquired of a dead prophet while David inquired of Yahweh Himself. Saul consulted a medium while David consulted a priest. Saul received a message of death and destruction while David receives a message of life and victory.
 Youngblood, R. F. (2009). 1, 2 Samuel. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Samuel–2 Kings (Revised Edition) (Vol. 3, pp. 281–282). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (1 Sa 30:6). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 538). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (1 Sa 30:6). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.