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CHAPTER 16.
1And the Lord said to Samuel. How It long wilt thou mourn for Saul, whom I have rejected from reigning over Israel? fill thy horn with oil, and come, that I may send thee to Isai the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. 2And Samuel said: How shall I go? for Saul will hear of it, and he will kill me. And the Lord said: Thou shalt take with thee a calf of the herd, and thou shalt say: I am come to sacrifice to the Lord. 3And thou shalt call Isai to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou art to do, and thou shalt anoint him whom I shall shew to thee. 4Then Samuel did as the Lord had said to him. And he came to Bethlehem, and the ancients of the city wondered, and meeting him, they said: Is thy coming hither peaceable? 5And he said: It is peaceable: I am come to offer sacrifice to the Lord, be ye sanctified, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Isai and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice. 6And when they were come in, he saw Eliab, and said: Is the Lord's anointed before him? 7And the Lord said to Samuel: Look not on his countenance, nor on the height of his stature: because I have rejected him, nor do I judge according to the look of man: for man seeth those things that appear, but the Lord beholdeth the heart. 8And Isai called Abinadab, and brought him before Samuel. And he said: Neither hath the Lord chosen this. 9And Isai brought Samma, and he said of him: Neither hath the Lord chosen this. 10Isai therefore brought his seven sons before Samuel: and Samuel said to Isai: The Lord hath not chosen any one of these. 11And Samuel said to Isai: Are here all thy sons? He answered: There remaineth yet a young one, who keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said to Isai: Send, and fetch him, for we will not sit down till he come hither. 12He sent therefore and brought him Now he was ruddy and beautiful to behold, and of a comely face. And the Lord said: Arise, and anoint him, for this is he. 13Then 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: and Samuel rose up, and went to Ramatha. 14But the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. 15And the servants of Saul said to him: Behold now an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. 16Let our lord give orders, and thy servants who are before thee will seek out a man skilful in playing on the harp, that when the evil spirit from the Lord is upon thee, he may play with his hand, and thou mayest bear it more easily. 17And Saul said to his servants: Provide me then some man that can play well, and bring him to me. 18And one of the servants answering, said: Behold I have seen a son of Isai the Bethlehemite, a skilful player, and one of great strength, and a man fit for war, and prudent in his words, and a comely person: and the Lord is with him. 19Then Saul sent messengers to Isai, saying: Send me David thy son, who is in the pastures. 20And Isai took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid of the flock, and sent them by the hand of David his son to Saul. 21And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him exceedingly, and made him his armourbearer. 22And Saul sent to Isai, saying: Let David stand before me: for he hath found favour in my sight. 23So whensoever the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, David took his harp, and played with his hand, and Saul was refreshed, and was better, for the evil spirit departed from him.
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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.