1 Samuel 16:2

2 But Samuel asked, “How can I do that? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.” “Take a heifer with you,” the LORD replied, “and say that you have come to make a sacrifice to the LORD .

1 Samuel 16:2 Meaning and Commentary

1 Samuel 16:2

And Samuel said, how can I go?
&c.] Which argues weakness of faith in Samuel, and fear of man, and a diffidence in and distrust of divine power; for otherwise he that sent him on such an errand could protect him:

if Saul hear it, he will kill me;
should hear that Samuel went and anointed another king, it would so enrage him, that he would either immediately lay hands on him, and put him to death, or order him to be put to death; and indeed were it not that this was done by the command of God, he would deserve to die; it being an overt act of treason to anoint another king:

and the Lord said, take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to
sacrifice to the Lord;
a peace offering, which might be done any where in those unsettled times, the ark being at one place, and the tabernacle at another; and might be offered upon a private altar, and by a private person; and as it seems Samuel used to sacrifice at different places; see ( 1 Samuel 7:9 ) ( 11:15 ) . Ben Gersom relates it as the sense of one of their Rabbins in his age, that there was a person slain in those parts, not known by whom he was slain; and so Samuel is ordered to take an heifer to fulfil the law in ( Deuteronomy 21:1-9 ) and therefore Saul would make no inquiry into his reason of going thither with an heifer, and this is commended both by him and Abarbinel.

1 Samuel 16:2 In-Context

1 Now the LORD said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.”
2 But Samuel asked, “How can I do that? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.” “Take a heifer with you,” the LORD replied, “and say that you have come to make a sacrifice to the LORD .
3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you which of his sons to anoint for me.”
4 So Samuel did as the LORD instructed. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town came trembling to meet him. “What’s wrong?” they asked. “Do you come in peace?”
5 “Yes,” Samuel replied. “I have come to sacrifice to the LORD . Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then Samuel performed the purification rite for Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice, too.