Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 30:1
On the third day - This indicates that Aphek was three days' march from Ziklag, say about 50 miles, which agrees very well with the probable situation of Aphek (Sa1 4:1 note). From Ziklag to Shunem would not be less than 80 or 90 miles.
The Amalekites, in retaliation of David's raids Sa1 27:8-9, invaded "the south" of Judah Jos 15:21; but owing to the absence of all the men with David there was no resistance, and consequently the women and children were carried off as prey, and uninjured.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 30:7
Abiathar had continued to abide with David, ever since he joined him at Keilah Sa1 23:6. On inquiry of the Lord by the ephod, see Jdg 1:1 note. The answers were evidently given by the Word of the Lord in the mouth of the high priest (compare Joh 11:51).
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 30:9
Besor - Thought to be the stream of the Wady Sheriah which enters the sea a little south of Gaza.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 30:12
Three days and three nights - Indicating that at least so long a time had elapsed since the sack of Ziklag.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 30:14
The Cherethites - Here used as synonymous with Philistines Sa1 30:16. In David's reign the body-guard commanded by Benaiah consisted of Cherethites and Pelethites (Philistines?) and a picked corps of six hundred men of Gath commanded by Ittai the Gittite. It would seem from this that the Cherethites and Philistines were two kindred and associated tribes, like Angles and Saxons, who took possession of the seacoast of Palestine. The Philistines, being the more powerful, gave their name to the country and the nation in general, though that of the Cherethites was not wholly extinguished. Many persons connect the name Cherethite with that of the island of Crete.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 30:20
The meaning is, "and David took all the sheep and oxen which the Amalekites drove" (i. e. had in their possession) "before that acquisition of cattle" (namely, before what they took in their raid to the south), "and they" (the people) "said, This is David's spoil." This was his share as captain of the band (compare Jdg 8:24-26). All the other plunder of the camp - arms, ornaments, jewels, money, clothes, camels, accoutrements, and so on - was divided among the little army. David's motive in choosing the sheep and oxen for himself was to make presents to his friends in Judah Sa1 30:26-31.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 30:27
Bethel - i. e. Bethuel Ch1 4:30, quite in the south near Beer-sheba, Hormah, and Ziklag; or Bethul Jos 19:4, one of the cities of the Simeonites.
South Ramoth - Rather, "Ramoth of the South country" Sa1 27:10; Sa1 30:1, Sa1 30:14, so-called to distinguish it from Ramoth-Gilead, one of the Simeonite cities Jos 19:8. Shimei, the Ramathite Ch1 27:27, who was over David's vineyards, was evidently a native of this Ramath. See below Sa1 30:28.
Jattir - "In the mountains" of Judah, and one of the priests' cities, is identified with 'Attir, ten miles south of Hebron.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 30:28
Aroer - Not Aroer on the Arnon, but (if rightly written) some town in Judah, not elsewhere named.
Siphmoth, Rachal Sa1 30:29, and Athach Sa1 30:30, are unknown and not elsewhere mentioned; but Zabdi the Shiphmite Ch1 27:27, who was over David's wine-cellars, was evidently a native of the first-named place. It is a remarkable proof of the grateful nature of David, and of his fidelity to his early friendships, as well as a curious instance of undesigned coincidence, that we find among those employed by David in offices of trust in the height of his power so many inhabitants of those obscure places where he found friends in the days of his early difficulties. Ezri the son of Chelub, Shimei the Ramathite, and Zabdi the Shiphmite, as well as Ira and Gareb, and Ittai, and Hezrai, and many others, were probably among these friends of his youth.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 30:30
Chor-ashan - Perhaps the same as Ashan Jos 15:42, in the Shephelah of Judah, inhabited by Simeonites, and one of the priests' cities Ch1 4:32; Ch1 6:59.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 30:31
Hebron - Now El-Khulil (see Gen 23:2). Hebron was a city of refuge Jos 20:7, and one of the cities of the Kohathites Jos 21:11. It lies twenty miles south of Jerusalem.