1Sa 16:1-10. Samuel Sent by
God to Bethlehem.
1. the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou
mourn for Saul—Samuel's grief on account of Saul's rejection,
accompanied, doubtless, by earnest prayers for his restitution, showed
the amiable feelings of the man; but they were at variance with his
public duty as a prophet. The declared purpose of God to transfer the
kingdom of Israel into other hands than Saul's was not an angry menace,
but a fixed and immutable decree; so that Samuel ought to have sooner
submitted to the peremptory manifestation of the divine will. But to
leave him no longer room to doubt of its being unalterable, he was sent
on a private mission to anoint a successor to Saul (see on 1Sa 10:1). The immediate designation of a king was of
the greatest importance for the interests of the nation in the event of
Saul's death, which, to this time, was dreaded; it would establish
David's title and comfort the minds of Samuel and other good men with a
right settlement, whatever contingency might happen.
I have provided me a king—The language
is remarkable, and intimates a difference between this and the former
king. Saul was the people's choice, the fruit of their wayward and
sinful desires for their own honor and aggrandizement. The next was to
be a king who would consult the divine glory, and selected from that
tribe to which the pre-eminence had been early promised (Ge 49:10).
2. How can I go?—This is another
instance of human infirmity in Samuel. Since God had sent him on this
mission, He would protect him in the execution.
I am come to sacrifice—It seems to
have been customary with Samuel to do this in the different circuits to
which he went, that he might encourage the worship of God.
3. call Jesse to the sacrifice—that is,
the social feast that followed the peace offering. Samuel, being the
offerer, had a right to invite any guest he pleased.
4. the elders of the town trembled at his
coming—Beth-lehem was an obscure town, and not within the
usual circuit of the judge. The elders were naturally apprehensive,
therefore, that his arrival was occasioned by some extraordinary
reason, and that it might entail evil upon their town, in consequence
of the estrangement between Samuel and the king.
5. sanctify yourselves—by the
preparations described (Ex 19:14, 15). The elders were to sanctify
themselves. Samuel himself took the greatest care in the sanctification
of Jesse's family. Some, however, think that the former were invited
only to join in the sacrifice, while the family of Jesse were invited
by themselves to the subsequent feast.
6-10. Samuel said, Surely the Lord's anointed is
before him—Here Samuel, in consequence of taking his
impressions from the external appearance, falls into the same error as
formerly (1Sa 10:24).
1Sa 16:11-14. He Anoints
11. There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold,
he keepeth the sheep—Jesse having evidently no idea of
David's wisdom and bravery, spoke of him as the most unfit. God, in His
providence, so ordered it, that the appointment of David might the more
clearly appear to be a divine purpose, and not the design either of
Samuel or Jesse. David having not been sanctified with the rest of his
family, it is probable that he returned to his pastoral duties the
moment the special business on which he had been summoned was done.
12. he was ruddy, &c.—Josephus says that David was ten, while most modern
commentators are of the opinion that he must have been fifteen years of
13. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed
him—This transaction must have been strictly private.
14-18. The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul,
and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him—His own gloomy
reflections, the consciousness that he had not acted up to the
character of an Israelitish king, the loss of his throne, and the
extinction of his royal house, made him jealous, irritable, vindictive,
and subject to fits of morbid melancholy.
19. Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said,
Send me David—In the East the command of a king is
imperative; and Jesse, however reluctant and alarmed, had no
alternative but to comply.
20. Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a
bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them … unto Saul—as
a token of homage and respect.
21. David came to Saul—Providence thus
prepared David for his destiny, by placing him in a way to become
acquainted with the manners of the court, the business of government,
and the general state of the kingdom.
became his armour-bearer—This choice,
as being an expression of the king's partiality, shows how honorable
the office was held to be.
23. David took an harp, and played with his hand:
so Saul was refreshed, and was well—The ancients believed
that music had a mysterious influence in healing mental disorders.