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1 Samuel 16:23

23 Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.

Read 1 Samuel 16:23 Using Other Translations

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.
And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him.
And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp. Then Saul would feel better, and the tormenting spirit would go away.

What does 1 Samuel 16:23 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
1 Samuel 16:23

And it came to pass, when the [evil] spirit from God was upon
Saul
See ( 1 Samuel 16:14 1 Samuel 16:15 ) though the word evil is not in the text here; wherefore Abarbinel thinks that this here was the Spirit of God, which stirred up in him thoughts of divine things, put him in mind of what God had said, that he had rejected him from being king, and had rent the kingdom from him; and this filled him with grief and trouble, and he became melancholy:

that David took an harp, and played with his hands;
upon it; and, as Josephus F18 says, at the same time sung hymns and psalms; made use both of vocal and instrumental music:

so Saul was refreshed, and was well;
became cheerful, his grief was removed, his black and gloomy apprehensions of things were dispersed, and he was cured of his melancholy disorder for the present:

and the evil spirit departed from him:
at least for a while; he had his fits and intervals; of the effects of music in a natural way, (See Gill on 1 Samuel 16:16), though no doubt the music of David was more than natural, being attended with the power and blessing of God, in order to raise his fame and credit at court.


FOOTNOTES:

F18 Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 6. c. 8. sect. 2.)
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