10/27/23 By Tim Buck

As we pray for Israel’s captives to be set free,
I Samuel 30 is a great chapter to study

The Bible tells us what David and his ‘mighty men’ did when their city was attacked and their families were stolen!

By God’s mercies, four Israeli hostages have been recently released by Hamas.

But 220 Israelis – babies, children, young people, the elderly and even Holocaust survivors – are still being held captive in Gaza by the bloodthirsty and exceedingly wicked Hamas terrorists.

While it’s easy to lose hope, as Christians and supporters of Israel, we need to be strong.

We need to remember that “nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)

We need to faithfully and unceasingly intercede on behalf of Israel’s hostages, praying for the Lord to grant them supernatural comfort and calm while they are held in the labyrinth of tunnels in Gaza.

And that the Lord will supernaturally rescue each and every captive and restore them to their families and friends – quickly and unharmed.

I Samuel chapter 30, is a wonderful passage to meditate on and pray through, verse by verse.


Because it tells the hopeful and encouraging story of Israelites going to war to get their hostages back.

And the Lord granting them tremendous favor and success.


Flyers reading “Kidnapped” and showing Israelis taken hostage are posted on a public notice board, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, October 14, 2023.


The biblical account focuses on the ancient city of Ziklag.

At that time, Ziklag was the home of David and his “mighty men” and their immediate families and extended families.

Located right on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, we see that “the Amalekites had made a raid on the Negev and on Ziklag, and had overthrown Ziklag and burned it with fire.” (I Samuel 30:1). How ironic that Gaza still remains a stronghold of anti-Israel hatred today!

What’s more, the Amalekites “took captive the women and all who were in” Ziklag, “both small and great” and “carried them off and went their way.”

When David and his men returned to the city after fighting other enemies of Israel, they found their home city “burned with fire, and their wives and their sons and their daughters had been taken captive.” (I Samuel 30:3).

The emotional toll on the men was real and devastating.

“Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept until there was no strength in them to weep” any longer. (I Samuel 30:4)

This is how Israel is feeling right now.

They are grieving and exhausted from grief.

Their sorrow threatens to paralyze and immobilize, but they cannot let it.

What’s more, David’s men were not just grief-stricken.

They were also furious – and they blamed David.

The text indicates that “David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters.” (I Samuel 30:6)

This is also happening in Israel.

People are furious with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior government, military, and intelligence officials because they feel not just let down but betrayed.


Families of Israelis held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza hold up photographs of their abducted family members, at “Hostage Square”, outside the Art Museum of Tel Aviv, October 24, 2023.






What makes the story so inspiring is what David – our hero and the future king of a unified Kingdom of Israel – does next.

Though he, too, has been personally affected and deeply grieved, he doesn’t let himself wallow in tears or self-pity.

Instead, the text tells us that “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” (I Samuel 30:6)

It doesn’t say how, but it’s not hard to figure out.

David turned to worship to get his focus off of himself onto the God, who does miracles.

David turned to prayer for wisdom to know what to do next.

And David began reading the Word of God – studying it, meditating on it, memorizing it, immersing himself in it – as he remembered all the truths he himself had written about in the Psalms.

“I will meditate in Your precepts and regard your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.”
Psalm 119:15-16


Because he knew that the word of God revives the heart, the soul, and the body.

Revive me according to Your word,” David wrote in Psalm 119:25.

This is my comfort in affliction, that Your word has revived me.” (Psalm 119:50)

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. You are good and do good…It is good for me that I was afflicted that I may learn Your statutes.” (Psalm 119:67, 71)

Seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous ordinances. Those who love Your law have great peace.” (Psalm 119:164-165)


Once David’s own body, mind, and soul was stronger because he had drawn close to the Lord and let the God of Israel supernaturally grant him revival and refreshment, David then began to ask God for wisdom on what to do next.

The text is clear: “David inquired of the Lord, saying, ‘Shall I pursue this band [of Amalekite terrorists]? Shall I overtake them?’”

David didn’t just go race off consumed with blinding rage and immense grief.

That would have been foolish, and potentially disastrous.

Rather, David sought the Lord’s counsel.

David asked the Lord whether there was any point pursuing the enemy, or whether it was simply too late.

And the Lord answered.

“Pursue,” God commanded David. “For you will surely overtake them [the Amalekite enemy], and you will surely rescue all [of the Israelite hostages].”

So, David obeyed the command of the Lord.

The text tells us that “David went, he and the 600 men who were with him” and they pursued the enemy. (I Samuel 30:9)


Released Israeli hostage Yocheved Lifshitz speaks to press at the Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv, October 24, 2023.


When David and his men got to a brook called “Besor,” he realized that 200 of his men were simply too exhausted – emotionally and physically – to continue.

So, he and 400 men continued on, while the rest stayed by the brook and guarded the supplies and baggage.

Soon, they came across an Egyptian who providentially provided precise and critical intelligence at a critical moment in the operation.

He provided David information on where the enemy was hiding, and where the hostages actually were being held.

Immediately, David led his warriors to the place where the enemy was camped.

Then David and his men “slaughtered” the enemy throughout the morning to night, and, by the grace of God, “David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken.” (I Samuel 30:17-18)

Every single member of the Amalekite terrorist force was killed.

And every single Israelite that had been taken captive by the Amalekites was supernaturally rescued.

This is our prayer for Israel today.

May Israel’s leaders strengthen themselves in the Lord – in worship, prayer, and the Scriptures – and then seek the Lord’s wisdom and direction.

May the Lord hear those prayers and grant Israeli leaders critical intelligence at a critical time.

May the Lord grant a massive and decisive victory over their enemies.

And bring back all the hostages, quickly and unharmed.

Pray the Israeli’s will rally together and refuse to surrender.

Instead, may they look to the life and example of David.

And pray to the same God to whom David appealed:

Lord, please be merciful to Israel.

Strengthen and revive them, according to Your Word.

And grant your people success in rescuing every single hostage being held by Hamas in Gaza today, just as you did thousands of years ago.

In the great and mighty and merciful name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I pray.