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Samuel Goes to Bethlehem
1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve for Saul, when I have rejected him as king over Israel? #Samuel’s horn was a receptacle for olive oil, which he would use to anoint a new king.Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have chosen a king for Myself among his sons.”2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? When Saul hears about it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer from the herd with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’3 You shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do [after that]; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate.”4 So Samuel did what the Lord said, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and said, “Do you come in peace?”5 And he said, “In peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” He also consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
6 So it happened, when they had come, he looked at Eliab [the eldest son] and thought, “Surely the Lords anointed is before Him.”7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks #Lit with the eyes.at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass before Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.”9 Next Jesse had Shammah pass by. And Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen him either.”10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen [any of] these.”11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” Jesse replied, “There is still one left, the youngest; he is tending the sheep.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Send word and bring him; because we will not sit down [to eat the sacrificial meal] until he comes here.”
David Anointed
12 So Jesse sent word and brought him in. Now he had a ruddy complexion, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. The Lord said [to Samuel], “Arise, anoint him; for this is he.”13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed David in the presence of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah.
14 Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented and terrified him.15 Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you.16 Let our lord now command your servants who are here before you to find a man who plays skillfully on the harp; and when the evil spirit from God is on you, he shall play the harp with his hand, and you will be well.”17 So Saul told his servants, “Find me a man who plays well and bring him to me.”18 One of the young men said, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a brave and competent man, a warrior, discerning (prudent, eloquent) in speech, and a handsome man; and the Lord is with him.”19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the flock.”20 Jesse took a donkey [loaded with] bread and a jug of wine and a young goat, and sent them to Saul with David his son.21 Then David came to Saul and attended him. Saul loved him greatly and [later] David became his armor bearer.22 Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Please let David #Lit stand before me.be my attendant, for he has found favor in my sight.”23 So it came about that whenever the [evil] spirit from God was on Saul, David took a harp and played it with his hand; so Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would leave him.
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1 # Ps 151.4. One day he said, “Samuel, I've rejected Saul, and I refuse to let him be king any longer. Stop feeling sad about him. Put some olive oil#16.1 olive oil: See the note at 9.16. in a small container#16.1 small container: Hebrew “horn”; animal horns were sometimes hollowed out and used as containers. and go visit a man named Jesse, who lives in Bethlehem. I've chosen one of his sons to be my king.”
2Samuel answered, “If I do that, Saul will find out and have me killed.”
“Take a calf with you,” the Lord replied. “Tell everyone that you've come to offer it as a sacrifice to me, 3then invite Jesse to the sacrifice.#16.3 sacrifice: A sacrifice often involved a dinner where the meat from the sacrificed animal would be served. When I show you which one of his sons I have chosen, pour the olive oil on his head.”
4Samuel did what the Lord told him and went to Bethlehem. The town leaders went to meet him, but they were terribly afraid and asked, “Is this a friendly visit?”
5“Yes, it is!” Samuel answered. “I've come to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. Get yourselves ready#16.5 Get yourselves ready: The people of Israel sometimes had to perform certain ceremonies to make themselves acceptable to God. to take part in the sacrifice and come with me.” Samuel also invited Jesse and his sons to come to the sacrifice, and he got them ready to take part.
6When Jesse and his sons arrived, Samuel noticed Jesse's oldest son, Eliab. “He has to be the one the Lord has chosen,” Samuel said to himself.
7 # Ps 151.5. But the Lord told him, “Samuel, don't think Eliab is the one just because he's tall and handsome. He isn't the one I've chosen. People judge others by what they look like, but I judge people by what is in their hearts.”
8Jesse told his son Abinadab to go over to Samuel, but Samuel said, “No, the Lord hasn't chosen him.”
9Next, Jesse sent his son Shammah to him, and Samuel said, “The Lord hasn't chosen him either.”
10One by one, Jesse told all seven of his sons to go over to Samuel. Finally, Samuel said, “Jesse, the Lord hasn't chosen any of these young men. 11#Ps 151.1. Do you have any other sons?”
“Yes,” Jesse answered. “My youngest son David is out taking care of the sheep.”
“Send for him!” Samuel said. “We won't start the ceremony until he gets here.”
12Jesse sent for David. He was a healthy, good-looking boy with a sparkle in his eyes. As soon as David came, the Lord told Samuel, “He's the one! Get up and pour the olive oil on his head.”#16.12 olive oil on his head: See the note at 9.16.
13Samuel poured the oil on David's head while his brothers watched. At that moment, the Spirit of the Lord took control of David and stayed with him from then on.
Samuel returned home to Ramah.
David Plays the Harp for Saul
14The Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord was terrifying him. 15“It's an evil spirit from God that's frightening you,” Saul's officials told him. 16“Your Majesty, let us go and look for someone who is good at playing the harp. He can play for you whenever the evil spirit from God bothers you, and you'll feel better.”
17“All right,” Saul answered. “Find me someone who is good at playing the harp and bring him here.”
18“A man named Jesse who lives in Bethlehem has a son who can play the harp,” one official said. “He's a brave warrior, he's good-looking, he can speak well, and the Lord is with him.”
19Saul sent a message to Jesse: “Tell your son David to leave your sheep and come here to me.”
20Jesse loaded a donkey with bread and a goatskin full of wine,#16.20 wine: Wine was sometimes kept in bottles made of goatskin sewn up with the fur on the outside. then he told David to take the donkey and a young goat to Saul. 21David went to Saul and started working for him. Saul liked him so much that he put David in charge of carrying his weapons. 22Not long after this, Saul sent another message to Jesse: “I really like David. Please let him stay with me.”
23 # Ps 151.2. Whenever the evil spirit from God bothered Saul, David would play his harp. Saul would relax and feel better, and the evil spirit would go away.