1 Samuel 16

1 The Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you continue to feel sorry for Saul? I have rejected him as king of Israel. Fill your container with olive oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse who lives in Bethlehem, because I have chosen one of his sons to be king."
2 But Samuel said, "If I go, Saul will hear the news and will try to kill me." The Lord said, "Take a young calf with you. Say, 'I have come to offer a sacrifice to the Lord.'
3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice. Then I will tell you what to do. You must appoint the one I show you."
4 Samuel did what the Lord told him to do. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the older leaders of Bethlehem shook with fear. They met him and asked, "Are you coming in peace?"
5 Samuel answered, "Yes, I come in peace. I have come to make a sacrifice to the Lord. Set yourselves apart to the Lord and come to the sacrifice with me." Then he set Jesse and his sons apart to the Lord, and he invited them to come to the sacrifice.
6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab, and he thought, "Surely the Lord has appointed this person standing here before him."
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, "Don't look at how handsome Eliab is or how tall he is, because I have not chosen him. God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart."
8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and told him to pass by Samuel. But Samuel said, "The Lord has not chosen this man either."
9 Then Jesse had Shammah pass by. But Samuel said, "No, the Lord has not chosen this one."
10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass by Samuel. But Samuel said to him, "The Lord has not chosen any of these."
11 Then he asked Jesse, "Are these all the sons you have?" Jesse answered, "I still have the youngest son. He is out taking care of the sheep." Samuel said, "Send for him. We will not sit down to eat until he arrives."
12 So Jesse sent and had his youngest son brought in. He was a fine boy, tanned, and handsome. The Lord said to Samuel, "Go, appoint him, because he is the one."
13 So Samuel took the container of olive oil and poured it on Jesse's youngest son to appoint him in front of his brothers. From that day on, the Lord's Spirit worked in David. Samuel then went back to Ramah.
14 But the Lord's Spirit had left Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.
15 Saul's servants said to him, "See, an evil spirit from God is troubling you.
16 Give us the command to look for someone who can play the harp. When the evil spirit from God troubles you, he will play, and you will feel better."
17 So Saul said to his servants, "Find someone who can play well and bring him to me."
18 One of the servants said, "I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem play the harp. He is brave and courageous. He is a good speaker and handsome, and the Lord is with him."
19 Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse, saying, "Send me your son David, who is with the sheep."
20 So Jesse loaded a donkey with bread, a leather bag full of wine, and a young goat, and he sent them with his son David to Saul.
21 When David came to Saul, he began to serve him. Saul liked David and made him the officer who carried his armor.
22 Saul sent a message to Jesse, saying, "Let David stay and serve me because I like him."
23 When the evil spirit from God troubled Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then the evil spirit would leave him, and Saul would feel better.

1 Samuel 16 Commentary

Chapter 16

Samuel sent to Bethlehem to Jesse. (1-5) David is anointed. (6-13) Saul troubled with an evil spirit, is quieted by David. (14-23)

Verses 1-5 It appears that Saul was grown very wicked. Of what would he not be guilty, who durst think to kill Samuel? The elders of Bethlehem trembled at Samuel's coming. It becomes us to stand in awe of God's messengers, and to tremble at his word. His answer was, I come peaceably, for I come to sacrifice. When our Lord Jesus came into the world, though men had reason to fear that his errand was to condemn the world, yet he gave full assurance that he came peaceably, for he came to sacrifice, and he brought his offering with him; A body hast thou prepared me. Let us sanctify ourselves, and depend upon His sacrifice.

Verses 6-13 It was strange that Samuel, who had been so disappointed in Saul, whose countenance and stature recommended him, should judge of another man by that rule. We can tell how men look, but God can tell what they are. He judges of men by the heart. We often form a mistaken judgment of characters; but the Lord values only the faith, fear, and love, which are planted in the heart, beyond human discernment. And God does not favour our children according to our fond partiality, but often most honours and blesses those who have been least regarded. David at length was pitched upon. He was the youngest of the sons of Jesse; his name signifies Beloved; he was a type of God's beloved Son. It should seem, David was least set by of all the sons of Jesse. But the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. His anointing was not an empty ceremony, a Divine power went with that instituted sign; he found himself advanced in wisdom and courage, with all the qualifications of a prince, though not advanced in his outward circumstances. This would satisfy him that his election was of God. The best evidence of our being predestinated to the kingdom of glory, is, our being sealed with the Spirit of promise, and experience of a work of grace in our hearts.

Verses 14-23 Saul is made a terror to himself. The Spirit of the Lord departed from him. If God and his grace do not rule us, sin and Satan will have possession of us. The devil, by the Divine permission, troubled and terrified Saul, by the corrupt humours of his body, and passions of his mind. He grew fretful, peevish, and discontented, and at times a madman. It is a pity that music, which may be serviceable to the good temper of the mind, should ever be abused, to support vanity and luxury, and made an occasion of drawing the heart from God and serious things. That is driving away the good Spirit, not the evil spirit. Music, diversions, company, or business, have for a time often been employed to quiet the wounded conscience; but nothing can effect a real cure but the blood of Christ, applied in faith, and the sanctifying Spirit sealing the pardon, by his holy comforts. All other plans to dispel religious melancholy are sure to add to distress, either in this world or the next.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO FIRST SAMUEL 16

In this chapter Samuel is ordered to anoint a king among the sons of Jesse of Bethlehem, 1Sa 16:1-5 all whose sons were made to pass before him, excepting David, 1Sa 16:6-10 who being then with his father's sheep, was sent for and was anointed, 1Sa 16:11-13, after which the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and he became melancholy, and it was advised to seek out a musician for him, and David was mentioned to him as a proper person, 1Sa 16:14-18 upon which he was sent for, and acted as a musician to Saul, and also became his armourbearer, which was the first rise of him, 1Sa 16:19-23.

1 Samuel 16 Commentaries