1 Samuel 16

1 And the LORD said to Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thy horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Beth-lehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.
2 And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul shall hear [it], he will kill me. And the LORD said, Take a heifer with thee, and say, I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.
3 And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint to me [him] whom I name to thee.
4 And Samuel did that which the LORD spoke, and came to Beth-lehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably?
5 And he said, Peaceably: I have come to sacrifice to the LORD: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice.
6 And it came to pass when they had come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD'S anointed [is] before him.
7 But the LORD said to Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the hight of his stature; because I have refused him: for [the LORD seeth] not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this.
9 Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this.
10 Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, The LORD hath not chosen these.
11 And Samuel said to Jesse, Are here all [thy] children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said to Jesse, Send and bring him: for we will not sit down till he hath come hither.
12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he [was] ruddy, [and] also of a beautiful countenance, and a good appearance. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this [is] he.
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose, and went to Ramah.
14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.
15 And Saul's servants said to him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.
16 Let our lord now command thy servants, [who are] before thee, to seek a man [who is] a skillful player on a harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he will play with his hand, and thou wilt be well.
17 And Saul said to his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring [him] to me.
18 Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Beth-lehemite, [that is] skillful in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD [is] with him.
19 Wherefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, Send to me David thy son, who [is] with the sheep.
20 And Jesse took an ass [laden] with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent [them] by David his son to Saul.
21 And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armor-bearer.
22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favor in my sight.
23 And it came to pass, when the [evil] spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took a harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

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