(1Sa 16:4-13 ESV) 4 Samuel did what the LORD commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5 And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
Why were the elders of the city afraid of Samuel?
(1Sa 7:10 ESV) 10 As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the LORD thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were routed before Israel.
Samuel was a judge and a prophet — and brought victory to Israel more than once. And a man who could, by the power of God, defeat the Philistines, was no one to be trifled with.
(1Sa 16:6) When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.”
7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “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.”
8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.”
9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.”
10 And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.” 11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?”
And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.”
And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.”
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.
A few thoughts —
Anointing — notice that the ceremony for making a man king is an anointing. The Hebrew word for “anoint” is mashach. Meshiach is “anointed one,” and it’s a metaphor for “king.” We transliterate it very imprecisely “Messiah” (the transliterated Greek for a Hebrew word).
The Greek word is “Christos,” which we fail to translate. We write “Christ.” If we were to translate it literally, we’d say “Anointed One.” But the idiom is “King.” “Jesus Christ” is “Jesus the King” or “King Jesus.”
Of course, Christians also receive an anointing —
(2Co 1:21-22 ESV) 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
(Act 10:36-38 ESV) 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
And so, when we see David being anointed by God’s own prophet, we witness a picture of what Jesus received — and we received — at baptism: the anointing of the Holy Spirit, which means, among many other things, the receipt of God’s Spirit.
Therefore, we should hardly be surprised to read that the Spirit “rushed” upon David as he was anointed.
“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.”
If we are to be like God, how can we learn to judge as God judges? The political process certainly seems to prove that looks matter — a lot — to Americans.
* Have you ever decided how to vote based on the looks of a candidate?
* Is it okay to hold beauty pageants and judge our daughters by appearance?
David Plays for Saul
(1Sa 16:14-21 ESV) 14 Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the LORD tormented him. 15 And Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold now, a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.” 17 So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me.”
18 One of the young men answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, 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 And Jesse took a donkey laden with bread and a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them by David his son to Saul. 21 And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer.
Why did Saul suffer from an evil spirit?
(Mat 12:43-45 ESV) 43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”
Jesus parable isn’t an exact parallel, but it makes the point well enough. If the house is empty (God’s Spirit left Saul), someone will eventually move in.
Christians are given the Holy Spirit. What can we do that might invite an evil spirit in? How do we make sure there’s no room for evil spirits?
(1Sa 16:21-1 ESV) 21 And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer. 22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.” 23 And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him.
Most literally, the armor bearer carried the king’s armor. In those days, only a few men would have owned armor, which was extremely expensive, and the Israelites were an agrarian people living in the infertile hills of Palestine. It was also heavy. So that the king would have strength to fight, the armor bearer carried the heavy equipment until it was needed.
But the word carries a weightier meaning. The armor bearer would be a personal servant of the king and would fight alongside him, especially to protect him from attack as he fought. It was a position of great trust.
Now, David had been anointed to Saul’s throne. He was perfectly positioned to kill Saul himself or to let someone else do it. His job was to protect the king! And yet he was highly motivated to see Saul dead. And, in those days as today, assassination was a very effective way to become a king — and to enjoy the power, prestige, wealth, and women that go with the job.