1 Samuel 16

1 Samuel 16

David Anointed King

16 The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” Samuel did what the LORD commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.

David in Saul’s Service

Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the LORD tormented him. And Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold now, a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.” So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me.” One of the young men answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the LORD is with him.” Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.” And Jesse took a donkey laden with bread and a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them by David his son to Saul. And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer. And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.” 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.


1 Samuel 16 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Samuel loved Saul. He wanted so badly to see him live a fruitful life. But there are moments when God asks us to move on. The time for mourning is over. God had a greater plan.

What do we do when the people we’ve invested in decide to disconnect? It would have been easy for Samuel to doubt God’s plan. It seemed like a dead end. But in that moment, God was firm and steady. Get up Samuel! I have a greater plan.

That greater plan was David.

It is important to note that the text does not indicate David was anointed King over Israel at this time.

“David was anointed (*mšḥ) three times in his life: by Samuel (1Sa 16:13) here at Bethlehem, by the men of Judah to be “a king over the house of Judah” (2Sa 2:4), and by the elders of Israel to be “a king over Israel” (2Sa 5:3).” -NIC Old Testament

New International Commentary – Old Testament

Scripture states that David was filled with the Holy Spirit from that day forward. In the very next verse, we learn that the Holy Spirit departs from Saul, and an evil spirit is sent to torment him. This begs the question, why? Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit when he was anointed as king but he sinned and the Spirit left him. However, we know in future chapters that David will also sin but the Holy Spirit remains. So, what is the difference here?

First, I think that this clearly illustrates the necessity of obedience in our lives. Saul and David were both sinners, however, Saul consistently served himself and David consistently served God. They were moving in opposite directions. It is possible for someone to experience the Spirit of God in their life, yet, choose to follow a path of sin to destruction. Some would argue this point, but I find it difficult to reconcile any other way. The foremost concern regarding Saul, as presented by the writer of 1 Samuel, is that he refused to obey God. God’s reasoning to Samuel was that Saul “turned his back from following Me.”

So, what about David’s sin? Is there a double standard here?

The difference between these two men is found in their response to confrontation. Let me say that again. The difference between the man who followed God and the one who had God’s Spirit removed was found in how each of them responded to the confrontation by God! Nobody wants to be confronted these days. Everyone is offended. And yes, it’s a problem in the church too. When Samuel confronted Saul, he defended himself. He cut corners and called it obedience. He blamed the people and even built a monument of himself. There was no ownership. There was no sorrow. Saul was unteachable.

When Nathan confronted David, he repented. He genuinely confessed his sin and mourned over his choices. David lost a lot. He would have wives taken, relatives and children would die, and his family would live in constant turmoil. But God did not remove His Spirit from David because his heart was truly repentant.

One of the most underrated attributes of a fruitful leader is being teachable. If we stubbornly refuse to have an open heart to our own sinful ways, we will never grow into the leader God has called us to be.

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