1 Samuel 16

1 The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for 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 a king for myself amongst his sons.” 2 Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” The LORD said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. 3 Call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. You shall anoint to me him whom I name to you.” 4 Samuel did that which the LORD spoke, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5 He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” He sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice. 6 When they had come, he looked at Eliab, and said, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.” 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t look on his face, or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for I don’t see as man sees. For man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “the LORD has not chosen this one, either.” 9 Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. He said, “the LORD has not chosen this one, either.” 10 Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.” 11 Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your children here?” He said, “There remains yet the youngest. Behold, he is keeping the sheep.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down until he comes here.” 12 He sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with a handsome face and good appearance. The LORD said, “Arise! Anoint him, for this is he.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the middle of his brothers. Then the LORD’s Spirit came mightily on David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. 14 Now the LORD’s Spirit departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD 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 in front of you to seek out a man who is a skilful player on the harp. Then when the evil spirit from God is on you, he will play with his hand, and you will be well.” 17 Saul said to his servants, “Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me.” 18 Then one of the young men answered, and said, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is skilful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the LORD 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 loaded with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a young goat, and sent them by David his son to Saul. 21 David came to Saul, and stood before him. 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 When the spirit from God was on Saul, David took the harp, and played with his hand; so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

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.

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