Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, June 16th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 16

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

Verse 1

How long. It seems his tears were not soon dried up, as he lamented the fall of one whom he had formerly so much admired, and perceived what evils would ensue. (Salien) --- He had hoped that the decree might have been revokable. But God now convinces him of the contrary, by ordering him to go and anoint a successor. --- Horn. Such vessels were formerly very common, and were used to contain liquor, and instead of cups, 3 Kings i. 39. (Horace, ii. Sat. 2.) The ancient silver cups, at Athens, resembled horns. (Atheneus xi. 7.) But the northern nations, particularly Denmark, &c., used horns to drink, as the Georgians still do. The rims are ornamented with silver, &c. (Pliny, [Natural History?] xi. 37.) (Chardin) (Calmet) --- A fragile vile was not used, but a horn, to denote the duration and abundance of David’s reign. (Rupert) (Menochius)

Verse 2

Of the herd. Hebrew, "a heifer in thy hand." (Haydock) --- Females might be employed as peace-offerings, Leviticus iii. 1. --- Lord. This was one, though not the principal reason. No one doubted but that he might lawfully offer sacrifice, at a distance from the tabernacle, as he was guided by God. The Jews allow that prophets have this privilege, and may dispense with the ceremonial law, (Grotius) when they act by God’s authority, as we ought to believe they do, as long as there is no proof to the contrary. (Haydock)

Verse 3

Sacrifice, to partake of the feast, (Menochius) which must be consumed in two days, or thrown into the fire, Leviticus vii. 16. (Calmet)

Verse 4

Wondered. Hebrew, "trembled," being full of consternation, (Haydock) as the prophet did not now stir much from home; and fearing lest he had some bad news to impart, or had incurred the king’s displeasure, (Calmet) unless he came to punish some of the people at Bethlehem. (Menochius)

Verse 5

Sanctified, prepared by aspersions, washing, and continence, Exodus xix 14. What sorts of uncleanness excluded from the feast, are specified, Leviticus xxii. (Menochius) --- Samuel arrived in the evening, and announced that sacrifice would be offered the ensuing morning. (Tirinus)

Verse 6

Him. Hebrew, "surely the Lord’s anointed is in his presence." This he spoke by his own spirit, judging from the comeliness of Eliab. (Calmet) --- But the beauty of Saul’s body had concealed a deformed soul. (Haydock)

Verse 7

Rejected, or not chosen. (Menochius) --- God had positively rejected this eldest son, as his pride seems to have been the greatest, chap. xvii. 28. (Haydock) --- Heart. This is one of God’s perfections. Glorified saints see man’s heart in his light, for their own and our advantage, (St. Gregory, Mor. xii. 11.; St. Augustine) as the prophets have sometimes done, 3 Kings xiv. (Worthington)

Verse 10

Seven. David was absent. Isai had eight sons, chap. xvii. 12. Yet only seven are mentioned, 1 Paralipomenon ii. 13. Perhaps one of those whom he produced on this occasion, might be a grandson, or one is omitted in Chronicles [Paralipomenon]. (Calmet)

Verse 11

Young son, (parvulus,) "a little one;" (Haydock) or the youngest, who might be about 15, (Calmet) or 28. (Seder. olam. iii.) (Menochius)

Verse 12

Ruddy, like the spouse, Canticle of Canticles v. 10. Some explain it of his hair. So Alexander [the Great] is said to have had reddish or golden locks. --- Behold. Hebrew, "with the beauty of the eyes."

Verse 13

Brethren. Some say, without informing him, (Calmet) or them, (Menochius) what the unction meant. If he told the brothers, he would no doubt take the necessary precautions to keep it secret, as the whole family would have been in imminent danger, if the transaction had come to the ears of Saul, ver. 2. Josephus says, that Samuel only informed Isai in private: and David’s brothers treated him with no peculiar distinction. Whence it is inferred, that they had not been present when he was anointed. Some witnesses seem, however, to have been requisite, as the title of David to the regal dignity depended on this ceremony, and none were more interested than his own family to assert his pretensions. He now had a right to the kingdom, but not the possession; being like a son expecting his father’s estate as his future right, of which, as yet, he cannot dispose. (Calmet) --- Came upon, to make him prosper. (Menochius) --- Hebrew, "came with prosperity; (Septuagint) impetuosity." God endued him with all those graces which might render him fit to command. (Calmet) --- So David prays himself, "with a princely spirit confirm me;" (Psalm l. 14.) or, strengthen me with a perfect spirit. Salien observes, that he did not now receive the spirit of charity, as if he had hitherto been in enmity with God, (chap. xiii. 14.) but he began to advance in virtue with more rapid strides, while Saul became every day more criminal and abandoned to the devil. (Haydock) --- David received the spirit of fortitude and of prophecy, of which Saul had formerly had some experience, when he was first elevated to that high dignity, chap. x. He was changed into a new man, and adorned with all that could render a king most glorious. Though he returned to his wonted occupations, the spirit of the Lord enabled him to destroy wild beasts, as in play, (Ecclesiasticus xlvii. 3.) and to compose and sing many of those divine canticles [the Psalms] which we still admire. (Salien, the year of the world 2969.) --- Whether he composed all the Psalms, as St. Chrysostom endeavours to prove, (præf.) we shall examine hereafter. (Haydock)

Verse 14

From the Lord. An evil spirit, by divine permission, and for his punishment, either possessed or obsessed him. (Challoner) --- We no longer behold in Saul any generous sentiments. He falls a prey to melancholy, anger, suspicion, and cruelty. "He was seized with an illness, inflicted by the devil, says Josephus, ([Antiquities?] vi. 9.) so that he seemed to be choking; nor could the physicians discover any other means to alleviating his distress, except by employing some person skilled in music.... David alone could bring the king ot his right senses, by singing hymns with the sound of the harp. Wherefore Jesse consented that his son should remain with the king, since he was so much delighted with his company." (Haydock) --- The Jews, and many Christians, suppose that Saul’s illness was melancholy, or "madness," as St. Chrysostom calls it. It was inflicted by an evil, or even by a good angel, as the minister of God’s vengeance, (Exodus xi. 4.; Calmet) who punished his former pride and rebellion, by reducing him to so mean a condition. (Haydock) --- St. Augustine and Ven. Bede suppose, that the evil spirit troubled him by God’s permission. (Worthington)

Verse 16

Easily. The effects which have been produced by music are truly surprising, if we may believe what the ancients have related. Our music may not at present be so striking, or we may keep a greater restraint upon our passions, and moderate the exterior demonstrations of our sentiments more than they did. (Calmet) --- But, in the present case, there was probably some miraculous interference. (Haydock) --- The disciples of Pythagoras lay a great stress on music, to calm the passions, (Quintil. ix. 4.; Menochius) or to rouse them. (p. 439.) (Haydock) --- It may also frequently contribute to restore health. (Gallien, &c.) See chap. x. 10., and 4 Kings iii. 15. (Calmet) --- but God made it so efficacious here, to shew the virtue of David, and the injustice of Saul. (Worthington) --- Thus, by the prayers of the Church, the devil is expelled. (Theodoret) (Tirinus)

Verse 18

Him. Some think that this took place before David’s victory over Goliath; others believe, that David was only made armour-bearer to Saul, after that event. We must not disturb the order of the sacred historian without some cogent reason: and the courtiers might already have heard of David’s prowess and virtue, of which he gave such evident proofs, after he was confirmed by the Holy Spirit, ver. 13. (Calmet)

Verse 20

Laden. So Chaldean. (Menochius) --- Literally, plenum, "full of." (Haydock) --- Septuagint, "a gomor," which they seem to have read instead of the Hebrew chamor, "an ass of bread," as Sosibius says, "he eats three asses’ of panniers of loaves." (Calmet) --- Protestants supply, "laden."

Verse 21

Bearer. This was an honourable office. (Haydock) --- Cyrus had been employed by his grandfather Astyages in the same capacity, before he came to the empire. (Atheneus xiv.) (Calmet)

Verse 22

Sight. He had sent him back, as people of a melancholy temper are often hard to please; (Menochius) and before David married Michol, he did not remain with the king, but only came when his presence was deemed necessary. (Calmet)

Verse 23

Departed from him. Chased away by David’s devotion. (Challoner) --- The melody of David’s harp, as some of the Fathers remark, represent that sweet and engaging demeanour, which should distinguish the peaceful ministers of the gospel,...whether they strive to allay the rage, or dispel the fears of a troubled mind." (Reeves) --- Nothing can equal the divine harmony of those sublime truths which are contained in the Psalms of David, and nothing can so powerfully contribute to drive away the spirit of pride from our hearts, and awaken them to the voice of heaven. (St. Augustine) --- Some of these truths might make some passing impression even on the mind of Saul; and the devil could not bear to hear the praises of God. (Haydock)

Verse 35


Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/1-samuel-16.html. 1859.
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