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David Anointed by Samuel
v. 1. And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Samuel had yielded to excessive grief over the condition of affairs, for his anxiety concerning the welfare of Israel and his worry over Saul's hardness of heart had put him out of sympathy with God's hidden ways; hence the reproof. Fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse, the Bethlehemite; for I have provided me a king among his sons, Jehovah had looked them over and chosen one of them.
v. 2. And Samuel said, How can I go? If Saul hear it, he will kill me, since he would consider the act as treachery and revolt, believing himself still to be the rightful king of Israel. And the Lord said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the Lord, for apparently it was nothing unusual for the prophet to hold divine services in various parts of Israel, especially now that Shiloh was desecrated.
v. 3. And call Jesse to the sacrifice, inviting him to take part in the sacrificial meal as his own special guest, and I will show thee what thou shalt do, give him immediate directions, reveal His will at the time; and thou shalt anoint unto Me him whom I name unto thee. This involved no falsehood, but its chief object was to conceal the main reason of Samuel's coming from such as had no authority to know of it.
v. 4. And Samuel did that which the Lord spake, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably? Samuel had evidently held visitations from time to time and earnestly rebuked any wrongs and evil conditions which he found.
v. 5. And he said, Peaceably, he had no special occasion to rebuke them; I am come to sacrifice unto the Lord; sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice, the celebration being intended to strengthen the people's fellowship with Jehovah. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, addressing this admonition to them in particular, so they would be sure to wash themselves and put on clean garments, and called them to the sacrifice, as his own special guests.
v. 6. And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, the first-born, and, being impressed by his appearance and bearing, said, Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him, this thought immediately arose in his heart.
v. 7. But the Lord said unto Samuel, giving an answer to his spirit, Look not on his countenance or on the height of his stature, on the fact that he was a handsome, stalwart young man; because I have refused him; for the Lord seeth not as man seeth, He has different standards of judgment; for man looketh on the outward appearance, judging from what he can see, but the Lord looketh on the heart, judging by the disposition of the soul, proving the heart and the reins. This is a general truth which applies to the relation of God to men at all times. God, knowing the inward thoughts of men, is unfailing in His judgment.
v. 8. Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel, for the purpose of careful inspection. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this.
v. 9. Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this.
v. 10. Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel, that is, a total of seven, including the three oldest. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath not chosen these.
v. 11. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. As the youngest he had to stand back and take charge of the chores, while his older brothers made ready to go to the sacrificial feast. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him; for we will not sit down, literally, "surround," namely, the table, to partake of the meal, till he come hither.
v. 12. And he sent and brought him in. Now, he was ruddy, said of the red color of his hair, which is unusual in the Orient, and withal of a beautiful countenance, with bright eyes and a clear look, and goodly to look to, handsome and stalwart of body as well. And the Lord said, announcing His decision to the thoughts of Samuel, Arise, anoint him; for this is he, chosen by the Lord in spite of his youth.
v. 13. Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brethren, they were witnesses of the solemn act; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward, he received a special endowment with gifts and powers for his royal calling, so that he was gradually led forward to full development, to complete fitness for his life's work. So Samuel rose up and went to Ramah, back to his home. It is probable that the significance of the ceremony was not made known to the other sons of Jesse, who may have been under the impression that David was simply to be regarded as a pupil of the great prophet. But the Lord's will went forward in due time. It happens quite often that the Lord chooses men for His work who are without honor before men. But just such instruments He fills with His Spirit, making them fit to perform the work of their high calling.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany