1 Samuel 16

Listen to 1 Samuel 16
1 Yahweh said to Samuel, How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from being king over Israel? fill your horn with oil, and go: I will send you to Jesse the Beth-lehemite; for I have provided me a king among his sons.
2 Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. Yahweh said, Take a heifer with you, and say, I am come to sacrifice to Yahweh.
3 Call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do: and you shall anoint to me him whom I name to you.
4 Samuel did that which Yahweh spoke, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, Come you peaceably?
5 He said, Peaceably; I am come to sacrifice to Yahweh: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. He sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice.
6 It happened, when they had come, that he looked at Eliab, and said, Surely Yahweh's anointed is before him.
7 But Yahweh said to Samuel, "Don't look on his face, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him: for [Yahweh sees] not as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but Yahweh looks at the heart."
8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, Neither has Yahweh chosen this.
9 Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. He said, Neither has Yahweh chosen this.
10 Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. Samuel said to Jesse, Yahweh has not chosen these.
11 Samuel said to Jesse, Are here all your children? He said, There remains yet the youngest, and, behold, he is keeping the sheep. Samuel said to Jesse, Send and get him; for we will not sit down until he come here.
12 He sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful face, and goodly to look on. Yahweh said, Arise, anoint him; for this is he.
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers: and the Spirit of Yahweh came mightily on David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.
14 Now the Spirit of Yahweh departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from Yahweh troubled him.
15 Saul's servants said to him, See now, an evil spirit from God troubles you.
16 Let our lord now command your servants who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp: and it shall happen, when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he shall play with his hand, and you shall be well.
17 Saul said to his servants, Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me.
18 Then answered one of the young men, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Beth-lehemite, who is skillful in playing, and a mighty man of valor, and a man of war, and prudent in speech, and a comely person; and Yahweh is with him.
19 Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.
20 Jesse took a donkey [laden] with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son to Saul.
21 David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armor bearer.
22 Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Please let David stand before me; for he has found favor in my sight.
23 It happened, when the [evil] spirit from God was on Saul, that David took the 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