1 Samuel 16:16

16 Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.”

1 Samuel 16:16 in Other Translations

KJV
16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.
ESV
16 Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well."
NLT
16 Let us find a good musician to play the harp whenever the tormenting spirit troubles you. He will play soothing music, and you will soon be well again.”
MSG
16 O master, let us help. Let us look for someone who can play the harp. When the black mood from God moves in, he'll play his music and you'll feel better."
CSB
16 Let our lord command your servants here in your presence to look for someone who knows how to play the harp. Whenever the evil spirit from God [troubles] you, that person can play the harp, and you will feel better."

1 Samuel 16:16 Meaning and Commentary

1 Samuel 16:16

Let our Lord now command thy servants which are before thee,
&c.] Meaning either themselves, or some of a more inferior rank, who were in some post and office at court, waiters there, such as yeomen of the guards:

to seek out a man who is a cunning player on the harp:
a musical instrument much in use in those days:

and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee;
when in a melancholy mood, and Satan takes the advantage of it to distress and terrify, to spread the gloom, and stir up evil passions, and promote distraction and confusion:

that he shall play with his hand:
upon the harp, that being not an instrument of wind, but of hand music:

and thou shalt be well:
music being a means of cheering the spirits, and removing melancholy and gloomy apprehensions of things, and so of restoring to better health of body and disposition of mind; and that music has such an effect on the bodies and minds of men is certain from observation and experience in all ages. Music has been found to be medicine to various diseases, not only for the curing of the bite of vipers, and of the tarantula, but for easing the pains of the sciatica, and for helping persons labouring under the disorders of the frenzy {k}; and Pythagoras used to compose the mind, and remove the perturbations of it, by the use of the harp F12, the thing here advised to.


FOOTNOTES:

F11 A. Gell. Noct. Attic. l. 4. c. 13. Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 2. c. 17. Vid. Philostrat. Vit. Apollon. Tyan. l. 5. c. 7.
F12 Seneca de Ira, l. 3. c. 9.

1 Samuel 16:16 In-Context

14 Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him.
15 Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you.
16 Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.”
17 So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.”
18 One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the LORD is with him.”

Cross References 1

  • 1. ver 23; S 1 Samuel 10:5,6; 2 Chronicles 29:26-27; Psalms 49:4; 1 Samuel 18:10; 1 Samuel 19:9; 2 Kings 3:15