In I Samuel 27:8-9 (NIV), David raided and killed the men and women of the Shur region:

Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites. (From ancient times these peoples had lived in the land extending to Shur and Egypt.)

Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish.

Is there any reason or justification for this, and was he punished if this was an act of murder?

  • This was common practice in the Ancient near east, and the Israelites generally treated their neighbors the same way they treated them. see Judges 1:6-8. Furthermore, the reason david did it is stated there in Samuel verse 11.
    – bach
    Jun 11, 2017 at 20:04
  • It is unclear whether the Geshurites and the Gezirites were enemies of the philistines or their allies. If they were their allies (perhaps they were even hired by the philistines as mercenaries) David merely avenged the blood of his comrades that fell in combat while fighting the philistines (1 Samuel 17). If they were their enemy then David was merely doing service to Achish. However, verse 11 in 1 Samuel 27 suggests that they were the allies of the philistines.
    – bach
    Jun 11, 2017 at 20:24

1 Answer 1


This is one of those areas where if you read it closely you will see its a pretty commonsense type of thing.

Because of persecution from Saul, David had to leave his homeland. He went to live with the Philistines ( his old enemies). To convince the Philistines that he was on their team he would say ohhh i went and attacked Southern Judah today! thats where i got all these things you can see this in (1 sam 27:10).

This appeased the King of his new home Achish. Kind of like, i know your serious because you have begun attacking your own people, i will trust you.

But the whole time David was ACTUALLY attacking his enemies, not the people of Judah like he told the king. He would kill everyone sort of like a "dead men tell no tales/leave no witnesses" sort of thing. The idea being that because no one was left alive, there would be no one to say "Hey David attacked us, and not Judah like he told the king!"

In this way David was able to survive outside of the Kingdom of Israel where he was persecuted by Saul, yet continue his Military Campaign against Israels enemies.

If you read it slowly and watch the names it makes sense (its easy to skip over all the names in the old testament i know).

  • you just rewrote verse 11 and lengthened it?
    – bach
    Jun 29, 2017 at 1:21
  • None of this is a quote of scripture, i just gave the verse address to reference where it is in the Text. This is just an explanation in common language of whats going on in the text
    – L1R
    Jun 29, 2017 at 17:02
  • This is a correct answer,it is in the text +1 Dec 30, 2017 at 20:01
  • 1
    I love clear, straightforward and no-nonsense responses. It seems rare these days. May 24, 2019 at 10:41

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