1 Samuel 16 Meaning and Commentary

1 Samuel 16 Meaning and Commentary

1 Samuel 16

“The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”

4 Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”

5 Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” 9 Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.

15 Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.”

17 So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.”

18 One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.”

19 Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 20 So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul.

21 David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers. 22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him.”

23 Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.”

1 Samuel 16 Meaning

1 Samuel 16 tells the story of how God chose David, the youngest son of Jesse, to be the king of Israel. It emphasizes that God does not look at outward appearances, but rather at the heart. This verse teaches us that God values our character and integrity more than our physical attributes or societal status.

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1 Samuel 16 Commentary and Explanation

In 1 Samuel 16 we see the Lord’s plan unfolding in unexpected ways. This chapter provides us with valuable insights into God’s sovereignty, His criteria for choosing leaders, and the importance of looking beyond outward appearances.

As we begin this chapter, we recall the previous chapter where King Saul’s disobedience led to God’s rejection of him as king. Now, the Lord sends Samuel on a secret mission to anoint a new king from the house of Jesse. This is a significant shift in the story, as God is raising up a new leader to replace Saul.

We notice an important principle here: God looks at the heart. When Samuel arrives in Bethlehem, he encounters Jesse and his sons. The first son, Eliab, appears to be the ideal choice because of his impressive stature and appearance. However, God reminds us of His unique perspective, saying, “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” (1 Samuel 16:7).

This verse echoes throughout Scripture, emphasizing the idea that God values inner qualities such as faith, obedience, and a heart that seeks Him. It reminds us of passages like Proverbs 3:5-6, which encourage us to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our understanding.

In this chapter, we also learn about the role of the anointing with oil as a symbol of God’s chosen leadership. David, the youngest son, is anointed by Samuel, and the Spirit of the Lord comes mightily upon him. This anointing anticipates David’s future as the king of Israel, foreshadowing the coming of the Messiah, who would also be anointed by the Spirit (Isaiah 61:1).

Moreover, we should consider the significance of the Spirit’s role in David’s life. It empowered him for the tasks ahead and reminded us of the empowering of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers, as seen in Acts 2:38.

Another critical aspect of this chapter is David’s introduction to the court of King Saul. David’s skill as a harpist and his excellent character endear him to Saul, illustrating that God’s favor is upon him. This is reminiscent of Proverbs 22:29, which tells us that those who are skilled in their work will stand before kings.

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1 Samuel 16 teaches us profound lessons about God’s sovereignty, His preference for hearts that seek Him, and the importance of obedience. We see how God’s chosen leaders may not always match our human expectations, but they are the ones who possess the qualities that truly matter in His eyes. This chapter sets the stage for David’s rise to prominence and ultimately points us to the greater King, Jesus Christ, who embodies all the qualities of a God-chosen leader and Savior.

Context of 1 Samuel 16

The context of 1 Samuel 16 is the transition of power from Saul to David. Saul, the first king of Israel, had disobeyed God and His commands, leading to his downfall. God had rejected Saul as king and sought out a new leader. In this chapter, Samuel is sent by God to anoint David as the future king, signifying the end of Saul’s reign.

Lessons From 1 Samuel 16

  1. Our character matters to God: Rather than being concerned with our outward appearance or worldly success, God focuses on the condition of our hearts. He desires us to have a heart that seeks after Him, that is humble, obedient, and faithful.
  2. Comparison is futile: When Samuel saw Eliab, he immediately assumed that he was the chosen one. However, God reminds Samuel not to judge based on outward appearances. We should also remember not to compare ourselves to others, as our worth and value come from God alone.
  3. God’s ways are different from ours: Samuel expected the next king to come from among Jesse’s sons, but God chose the youngest and least expected one. This is a reminder that God’s plans and choices may not align with our human understanding. We must trust in His wisdom and timing.

Final Thoughts

The story of David’s anointing teaches us the importance of having a heart that aligns with God’s desires. God sees beyond our external appearance and looks deep into our hearts. He desires our love, obedience, and faithfulness.

Let us strive to cultivate a heart like David’s, one that seeks after God and is willing to follow His commandments. May we not be swayed by the world’s standards of success, but rather focus on pleasing God, knowing that He is the ultimate authority in our lives.

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