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16
Samuel Anoints David to Be Israel's King
1The Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you be filled with sorrow because of Saul? I have refused to have him as king over Israel. Fill your animal horn with olive oil and go on your way. I am sending you to Jesse in Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king."
2But Samuel said, "How can I go? Saul will hear about it. Then he'll kill me."
The Lord said, "Take a young cow with you. Tell the elders of Bethlehem, 'I've come to offer a sacrifice to the Lord.' 3Invite Jesse to the sacrifice. Then I will show you what to do. You must anoint for me the one I point out to you."
4Samuel did what the Lord said. He arrived at Bethlehem. The elders of the town met him. They were trembling with fear. They asked, "Have you come in peace?"
5Samuel replied, "Yes, I've come in peace. I've come to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. Set yourselves apart to him and come to the sacrifice with me."
Then he set Jesse and his sons apart to the Lord. He invited them to the sacrifice.
6When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab. He thought, "This has to be the one the Lord wants me to anoint for him."
7But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider how handsome or tall he is. I have not chosen him. I do not look at the things people look at. Man looks at how someone appears on the outside. But I look at what is in the heart."
8Then Jesse called for Abinadab. He had him walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, "The Lord hasn't chosen him either."
9Then Jesse had Shammah walk by. But Samuel said, "The Lord hasn't chosen him either."
10Jesse had seven of his sons walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said to him, "The Lord hasn't chosen any of them." 11So he asked Jesse, "Are these the only sons you have?"
"No," Jesse answered. "My youngest son is taking care of the sheep."
Samuel said, "Send for him. We won't sit down to eat until he arrives."
12So Jesse sent for his son and had him brought in. His skin was tanned. He had a fine appearance and handsome features.
Then the Lord said, "Get up and anoint him. He is the one."
13So Samuel got the animal horn that was filled with olive oil. He anointed David in front of his brothers. From that day on, the Spirit of the Lord came on David with power. Samuel went back to Ramah.
David Serves Saul
14The Spirit of the Lord had left Saul. And an evil spirit that was sent by the Lord terrified him.
15Saul's attendants said to him, "An evil spirit that was sent by God is terrifying you. 16Give us an order to look for someone who can play the harp. He will play it when the evil spirit that was sent by God comes on you. Then you will feel better."
17So Saul said to his attendants, "Find someone who plays the harp well. Bring him to me."
18One of the servants said, "I've seen someone who knows how to play the harp. He is a son of Jesse from Bethlehem. He's a brave man. He would make a good soldier. He's a good speaker. He's very handsome. And the Lord is with him."
19Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse. He said, "Send me your son David, the one who takes care of your sheep."
20So Jesse got some bread and a bottle of wine. The bottle was made out of animal skin. He also got a young goat. He loaded everything on the back of a donkey. He sent all of it to Saul with his son David.
21David went to Saul and began to serve him. Saul liked him very much. David became one of the men who carried Saul's armor.
22Saul sent a message to Jesse. It said, "Let David stay here. I want him to serve me. I'm pleased with him."
23When the evil spirit that was sent by God would come on Saul, David would get his harp and play it. That would help Saul. He would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.
16
Samuel Is Sent to Bethlehem.
1#a. [16:1] Ru 4:17–22; 1 Kgs 1:39; 1 Chr 11:3; Is 11:1; Mt 2:6; Lk 2:4. The Lord said to Samuel: How long will you grieve for Saul, whom I have rejected as king of Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for from among his sons I have decided on a king.#David is anointed two more times after Saul’s death (2 Sm 2:4; 5:3). In 17:28, his brother Eliab is not aware of David’s selection. These repetitions and inconsistencies reflect the final editor’s use of multiple sources. 2But Samuel replied: “How can I go? Saul will hear of it and kill me.” To this the Lord answered: Take a heifer along and say, “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.” 3Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I myself will tell you what to do; you are to anoint for me the one I point out to you.#b. [16:3] 1 Sm 9:13, 22, 24.
Samuel Anoints David.
4Samuel did as the Lord had commanded him. When he entered Bethlehem, the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and asked, “Is your visit peaceful, O seer?” 5He replied: “Yes! I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. So purify yourselves and celebrate with me today.” He also had Jesse and his sons purify themselves and invited them to the sacrifice.#c. [16:5] 1 Sm 9:12–13; 20:26; Ex 19:10; Jb 1:5. 6As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the anointed is here before the Lord.” 7But the Lord said to Samuel: Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. God does not see as a mortal, who sees the appearance. The Lord looks into the heart.#d. [16:7] 1 Sm 10:23–24; 1 Kgs 11:4; 1 Chr 28:9; Prv 15:11; Jer 17:10; 20:12; Lk 16:15; Acts 1:24. 8#e. [16:8–11] 1 Sm 17:12–13; 1 Chr 2:13–15. Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him before Samuel, who said, “The Lord has not chosen him.” 9Next Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” 10In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any one of these.” 11Then Samuel asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” Jesse replied, “There is still the youngest, but he is tending the sheep.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Send for him; we will not sit down to eat until he arrives here.”#f. [16:11] 1 Sm 17:15, 28, 34; 2 Sm 7:8; Ps 78:70–71. 12Jesse had the young man brought to them. He was ruddy, a youth with beautiful eyes, and good looking. The Lord said: There—anoint him, for this is the one!#g. [16:12] 1 Sm 9:2. 13Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers, and from that day on, the spirit of the Lord rushed upon David. Then Samuel set out for Ramah.#h. [16:13] 1 Sm 10:6; 11:6; Jgs 3:10; 9:9; Sir 46:13.
David Wins Saul’s Approval.
14#These verses explain Saul’s loss of divine favor and David’s rise to power. By approving the young man, Saul identifies David as his legitimate successor. Of the two traditions in the Hebrew text about David’s entry into Saul’s service, the Greek translation retains only the one found in vv. 14–23; 17:1–11, 32–54. An evil spirit from the LORD: Saul’s erratic behavior is attributed to a change in the Lord’s relationship with him. Cf. Jgs 9:23, where the Lord puts an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem. #i. [16:14] 1 Sm 18:10–11. The spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and he was tormented by an evil spirit from the Lord. 15So the servants of Saul said to him: “Look! An evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16If your lordship will order it, we, your servants here attending to you, will look for a man skilled in playing the harp. When the evil spirit from God comes upon you, he will play and you will feel better.” 17Saul then told his servants, “Find me a good harpist and bring him to me.” 18#j. [16:18] 1 Sm 18:12, 14, 28; 2 Sm 5:10; 17:8; Jn 3:2. One of the servants spoke up: “I have observed that a son of Jesse of Bethlehem is a skillful harpist. He is also a brave warrior, an able speaker, and a handsome young man. The Lord is certainly with him.”
David Made Armor-Bearer.
19Accordingly, Saul dispatched messengers to ask Jesse to send him his son David, who was with the flock. 20Then Jesse took five loaves of bread, a skin of wine, and a young goat, and sent them to Saul with his son David.#k. [16:20] 1 Sm 9:7–8; 10:3–4; 16:1; 17:17–19. 21Thus David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul became very fond of him and made him his armor-bearer.#l. [16:21] 1 Sm 18:2. 22Saul sent Jesse the message, “Let David stay in my service, for he meets with my approval.” 23Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take the harp and play, and Saul would be relieved and feel better, for the evil spirit would leave him.