Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 16:14

Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord terrorized him.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Demons;   Holy Spirit;   Insanity;   Reprobacy;   Satan;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Error;   Forsaken;   Holy Spirit;   Home;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Sin;   Sin's;   Sin-Saviour;   Spirit;   Stories for Children;   Transgression;   Wicked, the;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Devil, the;   Diseases;   Music;   Titles and Names of the Devil;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Jesse;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - David;   Disease;   Evil;   King;   Samuel, books of;   Saul, king of israel;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - David;   Demon;   Disease;   Evil;   Holy Spirit;   Psalms, Theology of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Prayer;   Easton Bible Dictionary - David;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Anoint;   Holy Spirit, the;   Samuel, the Books of;   Saul;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Affliction;   Devil;   Samuel, Books of;   Saul;   Spirit;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Bethlehem;   David;   Evil;   Evil Spirits;   Samuel, Books of;   Saul;   Sin;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Demon, Demoniacal Possession, Demoniacs;   Exorcism;   Freedom of the Will;   Madness;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Jesse ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Music;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Kingdom of christ of heaven;   Kingdom of god;   Kingdom of heaven;   Saul;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Da'vid;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Spirit;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Affliction;   Angel;   David;   Holy Spirit;   Jesse;   Psalms, Book of;   Samuel, Books of;   Saul;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Demonology;   Exorcism;   Samuel, Books of;   Satan;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul - He was thrown into such a state of mind by the judgments of God, as to be deprived of any regal qualities which he before possessed. God seems to have taken what gifts he had, and given them to David; and then the evil spirit came upon Saul; for what God fills not, the devil will.

An evil spirit from the Lord - The evil spirit was either immediately sent from the Lord, or permitted to come. Whether this was a diabolic possession, or a mere mental malady, the learned are not agreed; it seems to have partaken of both. That Saul had fallen into a deep melancholy, there is little doubt; that the devil might work more effectually on such a state of mind, there can be but little question. There is an old proverb, Satan delights to fish in troubled waters; and Saul's situation of mind gave him many advantages.

The theory of Dr. Scheuchzer, in his Physica Sacra, on the malady of Saul, is allowed to be very ingenious. It is in substance as follows: Health consists in a moderate tension of the fibres, which permits all the fluids to have an entire freedom of circulation, and to the spirits, that of diffusing themselves through all the limbs; on the contrary, disease consists in tensions of the fibres morbidly weak or morbidly strong. This latter seems to have been the case of Saul; and as the undulations of the air which convey sound communicate themselves to and through the most solid bodies, it is easy to suppose that by the modulations of music all the fibres of his body, which were under the influence of the morbidly increased tension, might be so relaxed as to be brought back into their natural state, and thus permit the re-establishment of a free and gentle circulation of the fluids, and consequently of the animal spirits, and thus induce calmness and tranquillity of mind. I believe this theory to be correct, and I should find no difficulty to amplify and to illustrate the subject. Even a skillful playing upon the harp was one means to bring a disordered state of the nervous and fibrous system into a capacity of affording such uninterrupted tranquillity to the mind as to render it capable of receiving the prophetic influence; see the case of Elisha, 2 Kings 3:14, 2 Kings 3:15. It has been said: -

"Music hath charms to sooth the savage breast."

This has been literally proved: a musician was brought to play on his instrument while they were feeding a savage lion in the tower of London; the beast immediately left his food, came towards the grating of his den, and began to move in such a way as to show himself affected by the music. The musician ceased, and the lion returned to his food; he recommenced, and the lion left off his prey, and was so affected as to seem by his motions to dance with delight. This was repeatedly tried, and the effects were still the same.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16:14". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-samuel-16.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Samuel 16:14

But the Spirit departed from Saul.

Temptations driving to God

Saul was rejected from being king, and the Spirit of God taken from him, and at the same time an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him, terrified or seized him suddenly. How startling this is! But, observe, it is not an evil spirit of the Lord. Evil spirits are not of God. Their evil is opposed to His will. He is wholly and unchangeably opposed to evil. No man can say when he is tempted of evil--I am tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted of evil, neither tempteth He any man. But when a man chooses and cleaves to sin, clings to his own way, and persists in rebellion against God, he opens his mind to evil spirits and evil influences of all sorts. Even the natural world radiates influences which to a being like man are not ell good, are sometimes even directly evil. The cunning, deceit, treachery and cruelty of some animals has a malign influence, The influences of nature, bland and stern, present subtle and powerful temptations. Over against the influences for evil, often inextricably intertwined with them, are the influences for good. Men feel that the drift and tendency of things is toward goodness, that the constitution of things favours righteousness. And over all things and every heart the Spirit of God broods, seeking to bring order out of chaos and life out of death. To moral beings belongs the prerogative of resisting and repelling influences, or welcoming and absorbing them. But how was this evil spirit from the Lord? It was permitted by God as a punishment. But this is not all; the terror, pain and strife raised by the evil spirit were meant by God as a force to constrain Saul to turn and cry to God for help. Saul was delivered up to this evil spirit that he alight know that it was an evil and bitter thing to depart from God. Had the rebellious Saul, sick, laden and tortured by evil, cried to God, he would have been heard, and would have become a better man than he ever was, a new man. Though he might not have been a king, he would have been a true child of God, a spiritual king and priest.

I. Men must either have the Holy Spirit of God, or an evil spirit. God loves to dwell in the human heart. That is His chosen temple. The sky is vast. Its canopy is thick with worlds. But God does not choose that temple. Man rears lofty piles, and spends labour and art on them, lavishes beauty and splendour which are precious as evidences of love and reverence: but God’s chosen temple is not there. His temple is in the lowly heart, in the bosom of the meanest of the sons of men who cries out for the living God. That temple may be stained and defiled, haunted with unclean things; but if there is penitence and faith in God’s Son, God will come in and Himself cleanse the house. God abides in the soul, fills it and gladdens it. But if man will not have God, he cannot shut the door of his heart against other visitors. It is the nature of a spirit to come into contact with spirit, as it is the nature of the body to come into contact with matter, and either attract or repel it. Spirit cannot isolate itself from spirit, any more than matter can from matter. But the spirit can decide whether it will ally itself with the good or the evil. Whosoever receives the Infinite Spirit into his soul takes the one way of shutting out evil of every kind. Exclusion of God is not emptiness, it is most positive, active, and decided evil. Men that will not have God are really claiming kindred with evil spirits, and opening their heart to be inhabited by them. Man is like a house situated between two winds. On the one side comes the wind from a dreary, bleak desert, laden with fog and disease, blowing across foul and rotten things. The other side of the house fronts the sunlight and winds that blow from the wide, fresh sea and over gardens, orchards, and blooming fields. Everyone must decide on which side he is going to open. Both doors cannot be shut. You can only get the dismal, fatal door shut by opening wide the door that looks to the sea of eternity and the sunshine of God. The wind blowing in through this open door keeps that door of ruin about.

II. The stress of inward temptation and trouble is often peculiarly fitted and evidently intended to drive men to God. Of temptations and troubles which have this adaptation in a marked degree may be mentioned first--

1. Melancholy. Saul’s was a very conspicuous and overmastering melancholy. Melancholy is essentially the feeling of loneliness, the sense of isolation, of having a great burden of existence to bear. It is the soul’s fear and shrinking and chill in the vast solitude of its house. It has driven many souls to God. Such haunted souls can scarcely escape an earnest look at life. They are continually incited to seek a medicine for their malady. They cannot rest in a formal, superficial religion, but must get into the very secret of God. So the melancholy man may become the most joyous of religious men.

2. A feeling of the vanity of existence is another great temptation and trouble. This is not melancholy; for men who have this feeling may be merry enough. To be followed, as many are, by the thought that life is a poor game at best, without substance, not worth the trouble that men take with it--this must take earnestness out of life, and make men mockers. It is a sore disease thus to live on the very surface of things, and feel as if one were only playing a part. Many are infected with the tendency. What does this feeling of emptiness and vanity point to? What is the voice that comes from it but this--Escape to the one substance and reality which alone gives substance and reality to life.

3. The mystery of life weighs on others. The sense of weakness and ignorance in the midst of a vast system of forces; the feeling of chaos that rules in the moral world and human life; the black tragedy of so many lives; the calamities, wars, inconceivable woes of millions; the disappointment, chagrin, disease, crime, and ruin everywhere--these press on some minds at times with immense weight. That is what Wordsworth calls. “the weight and mystery of all this unintelligible world.” There are men to whom these questions are inevitable, rushing upon them like beasts of prey, or stretching like thunderclouds between them and the sun. Where is relief from such thoughts to be found? Where but in the belief in infinite goodness and wisdom lying behind all, can any thinking soul find rest?

4. The gloom and desolation of doubt and unbelief constrain and impel men to turn to God. It sometimes happens that men who have long hovered round religion, making it an object of curiosity and speculation and debate, rather than matter of heart and life, fall gradually away from all belief. Even those who have never speculated, but only maintained a careless attitude towards religion, drift in this direction. But here a state of feeling arises which they had not dreamt of. Though they never had any earnestness in religion, yet the kind of belief they had gave them comfort and threw a certain meaning into life. Now they feel lonely without a Father in Heaven. The whole aspect of things has grown bare. They are no longer sure of right. The cord that tied things together has been taken away. Then comes the period of decay when all types lessen and lower down to the original blank. And certainly, if the fortunes of the human race are bound up with the history of the sun, nothing else can he looked for. Since all suns and worlds are like flowers that blossom and then wither, the doom of beings dependent on them cannot be different if there is no God and Father, there is no escape from this conclusion. If there is no eternal home, where He gathers souls beyond the reach of evanescent systems, this is the prospect. There is no other outlook, if we cannot turn to Him and say, “Doubtless thou art our Father: Thy name is from everlasting.” See you not how men are being taught by this loneliness and utter desolation what an evil and bitter thing it is to depart from God? Do you not see how the feeling of orphanhood, uncertainty, barrenness, coldness, and hopelessness are constraining the heart to cry out for the living God.

5. Fierce temptations to evil drive many souls to God. (J. Leckie, D. D.)

An evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.--

Saul troubled by an evil spirit

We see, especially in the history of Saul, the awful progress of the soul, from the gradual changes that take place in him, while in his successive trials evil prevails over the Spirit of grace and opportunities of good. There is also a sort of natural goodness about him that rivets our interest; so that from the very feeling of a common nature we are partly inclined to forget his crimes in his miseries. Scripture always speaks to us in history and life what it enjoins us in word and precept: our Lord says, “Hold fast, that no man take thy crown,” and here before our eyes we see the choice and the crown transferred from one to another, and we see the reasons why--and the effect. Let us not put away from us this account of Saul as belonging to another state of things, for whatever it may speak to kings and nations, it is full of a home lesson for the heart of each. For may not each of us in the home of his own heart have an evil spirit that troubleth him? It may be so with many in various degrees who think not of it. The cares which most suffer are from this source. What is envy, covetousness, impatience, the plague of the heart, but this, that a man has in some degree, perhaps in years long past, sinned in this way; and so, not having repented, given place to an evil spirit that troubles and keeps him from God? This may be the case, and yet for awhile he may have much comfort in religion, as Saul had in the harp of David; Church music may in like manner soothe him and raise him up as it were to Heaven; or it may be impressive sermons; or even the study of God’s holy Word; so much so that under the influence of these the evil spirit may depart, and he may be refreshed, nay, more, he may find rest in Christ. But this is not enough, unless he press forward earnestly, and give no place to such an inmate in his breast any more. Scripture reveals to us that there is in such eases a spiritual being, a living person, who takes possession of the mind. And I would particularly call attention to the expression of the text, “an evil spirit from the Lord.” Now, although this is an awful expression, yet it is also full of instruction and comfort, as everything must be which reminds us that we are in the hands of God; as we noticed in the history of Pharaoh. When we trace in our very disquietudes and sorrows the indications of an evil spirit that troubles us, this teaches us where our health is. That this evil spirit is from God is no proof that we are given up of Him. For, indeed, even David himself when he numbered the people had an evil spirit from God, allowed to bring upon him that temptation and its consequent misery. He can touch no one but as permitted of God; and that permission may be for various reasons: he was allowed to tempt Job for his greater perfection; through the false prophets he deluded Ahab to bring upon him God’s judgment; he troubled Saul with gloom and pride on his departing from God; he tempted Judas that he might go to his own place; he prompted David to sin from which he speedily recovered by repentance. In like manner he is allowed to tempt us; and it is indeed sometimes, as in the case of Saul and of David, a judgment upon us for some fault on our part, or some secret unbelief or pride of heart, but we are thus by this expression of the text taught to go to God for help. We cannot be too often urged in every way to do this. When you find in yourself any ill-will, any worldly disappointment or envious sadness, go to Him at once in earnest prayer, entreating Him to remove from you the power and guilt of that sin which has allowed the evil spirit to disquiet you. When you have thus done all in your power, then again the lesson of Saul and David will come in for your guidance, warning you not to take things into your own hands from impatience and distrust of God, but to wait patiently upon Him. He will have the remedy and deliverance to be entirely His own doing. He only wants your faith and confidence in Himself. And His word is “Be still then, and know that I am God.” (Isaac Williams, B. D.)

“An evil spirit from the Lord”

All great painters and poets whose works are of the first order have availed themselves of the force of contrast--that there should be a dark background to set forth some beautiful and radiant object. The Bible excels in its use of this striking method of laying emphasis.

I. the dawn of a fair promise. “Samuel cried unto the Lord” for Saul, if haply he might arrest the terrible and imminent consequences of his sin. But he was made aware that prayer would not avail. It seemed as though Saul had already made the fatal choice, and had committed the sin which is unto death, and concerning which we have no encouragement to pray. The summons of the hour was, therefore, not to prayer, but to action. The Spirit of God bade Samuel go to Bethlehem, and among the sons of Jesse discover and anoint the new king.

II. An overcast afternoon. We have morning with David; afternoon with Saul. Here youth; there manhood, which has passed into prime. Here the promise; and there the overcast meridian of a wrecked life. You will notice that, whereas it is said that the Spirit of God descended upon David, we are told that “The Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul.” That does not necessarily mean that all the religious life of Saul had become extinct, but that the special faculty and power by which he had been prepared for his kingly work was withdrawn from him. It is abundantly sure that the work which a man does in this world is not wrought only by the force of his genius, the brilliance of his intellect, or by those natural gifts with which God may have endowed him, but by a something beyond and behind all these--a spiritual endowment which is communicated by the Spirit of God for special office, and which is retained so long as the character is maintained. So Saul lost the special enducement of power which had enabled him to subdue his enemies and to order his kingdom. Secondly, we have the mysterious power of opening our nature to the Holy Spirit of God, who is the medium of communicating all the virtue, the energy, and the life of God; filling spirit, soul, and body; quickening the mind, warming the heart, elevating and purifying the whole moral life. We have also the awful alternative power of yielding ourselves to the evil spirits, or demon spirits, of which the spiritual sphere is full. It is affirmed that “an evil spirit from the Lord” troubled Saul. To interpret this aright we must remember that, in the strong, terse Hebrew speech, the Almighty is sometimes said to do what He permits to be done. And surely such is the interpretation here. When, therefore, we read that an evil spirit “from the Lord” troubled Saul, we must believe that, as Saul bad refused the good and gracious influences of the Holy Spirit, and definitely chosen the path of disobedience, there was nothing for it but to leave him to the working of his own evil heart.

III. The lurid gleams of an overcast sky. In 2 Samuel 21:2, you have this: “The king”--that is, David--“called the Gibeonites--(now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Ammorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah).” Saul was smarting under Samuel’s words, writhing under the sentence of deposition, and his soul was stirred to neutralise, if possible, the Divine verdict, so as to still keep the favour of God. It was true, and Saul knew it well, that he had failed in one distinct call to obedience; he had kept the choice of the spoil for himself--but why should he not, by excessive zeal in other directions, win back his lost inheritance? Now there were two such commandments which seem to have occurred to him. The one enacted that when the children of Israel entered the Land of Promise they should destroy all the people of the land. The Gibeonites, however, succeeded in securing that they should be excepted, because they had made a covenant with Joshua, and Joshua had sworn to them (Joshua 9:1-27). The Gibeonites, therefore, had lived amongst the children of Israel for many centuries, and had become almost an integral part of the nation. But in his false zeal for God Saul seems to have laid ruthless hands upon these peaceable people. Secondly, there was on the statute book a very drastic law against necromancers and witches, and it was commanded that these should be exterminated from the land (Exodus 22:18). Therefore, Saul turned his hand against them. In his heath he still believed in them. In order to show his zeal for God, and to extort the reversal of his sentence, he began to exterminate them. But as his edicts went forth, there was rottenness in his heart. While on the one hand, therefore, there was this outburst of lurid zeal for God, his own heart was becoming more and more enervated and evil. Do not we know this in our own experience? When one has fallen under the condemnation of conscience, the heart has endeavoured to whisper comfort to itself by saying, “I will endeavour to redeem my cause by an extravagance of zeal.” We have plunged into some compensating work to neutralise the result of failure. It is zeal, but it, is false, it is zeal, but it is strange fire; it is zeal, but it is self-originated; it is zeal, but it is only for self and not for God; it, is zeal, but it is zeal for the letter, for the tradition, for the external form--it is not the zeal of the man who is eaten up and devoured by a passionate love for the Son of God and for the souls He has made. (F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Samuel 16:14". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-samuel-16.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

THE REMARKABLE PROLEPSIS OF EVENTS TO COME

"Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him, And Saul's servants said to him, "Behold now, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre; and when the evil spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well." So Saul said to his servants, "Provide for me a man who can play well, and bring him to me." 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." Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, "Send me David your son, who is with the sheep." And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a skin of wine and a kid, and sent them by David his son to Saul And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer. And Saul sent to Jesse, Saying, "Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.." And whenever the evil 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 evil spirit departed from him."

"This paragraph is not intended as a detailed sequel to 1 Samuel 16:1-13. It is a panoramic picture of events to be detailed in the next few chapters."[11] Bible students should not be confused by this. This type of historical writing is found frequently in the Bible, especially in the Book of Revelation. Once this is understood by believers, the shouts of critics about `contradictions' `duplicate accounts,' etc. appear in their true character as absolutely unfounded. Philbeck's allegation that we have, "Two accounts of David's introduction to Saul,"[12] is due solely to a failure to appreciate the prolepsis.

"An evil spirit from the Lord tormented him" (1 Samuel 16:14). In no sense whatever is God the author of evil; but this verse reflects the prevailing Oriental viewpoint that `everything which happens is in harmony with God's permissive will.' In a sense, of course, this is true. One often hears the expression, "The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord"! Whatever happened to Saul, it was the will of God. It is also possible to view this verse as relating a punishment which Saul deserved and which God visited upon him.

The subject of demon possession is a vast one; and we have written many comments upon it in our N.T. series; and there are far too many unknown factors evident in human behavior today to support any intelligent denial that demon possession may still exist. One thing, however, is certain. Demonic forces may not afflict men without God's permission.

"And David came to Saul and entered his service" (1 Samuel 16:21). "This is a summary of developments that, "undoubtedly covered several weeks or months."[13] It is impossible to view this paragraph as a chronological arrangement of events in an orderly sequence. It was written to give a quick glance at what would take place in David's future. "O.T. authors not infrequently pursue a theme to its ultimate consequences, and then return to fill in the details";[14] and there is a lot of that in Samuel.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16:14". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-samuel-16.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul,.... As a spirit of prophecy as at first, as a spirit of wisdom and prudence in civil government, and as a spirit of fortitude and courage, as the Targum:

and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him; the reverse of the former, which by the permission of God, and as a punishment to him for his sins, came upon him; he seemed to be a demoniac, as Josephus representsF9Antiqu. l. 6. c. 8. sect. 2. him, as if possessed with the devil; by whom he was almost suffocated and strangled, as well as was distracted in his counsels, and became weak and foolish; lost all courage and greatness of mind, was timorous and fearful, and alarmed by everything, and was full of envy, suspicion, rage, and despair.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16:14". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-samuel-16.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an e evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

(e) The wicked spirits are at God's commandment to execute his will against the wicked.
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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16:14". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-samuel-16.html. 1599-1645.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

(14) ¶ But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

We turn to a very awful contrast in this account of Saul. Reader! what can equal that distress of soul which ariseth from the Lord's withdrawing his Holy Spirit. Man is then open and exposed to all the fiery darts of the enemy. Lord I would pray both for myself and reader; take not, oh! take not thine Holy Spirit from us.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16:14". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/1-samuel-16.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

Departed — God took away that prudence, and courage, and alacrity, and other gifts wherewith be had qualified him for his public employment.

From the Lord — That is, by God's permission, who delivered him up to be buffeted of Satan.

Troubled — Stirred up in him unruly and tormenting passions; as envy, rage, fear, or despair. He grew fretful, and peevish, and discontented, timorous and suspicious, frequently starting and trembling.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16:14". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-samuel-16.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Samuel 16:14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

Ver. 14. But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul.] He lost his royal abilities and achievements; he that was before in bellis acer et victor, factus est imbellis, ignavus, iners, nec quidquam praeclare gessit. (a) And the like befell Henry IV of France after that he turned Papist once. Bonus Orbi, but afterwards Orbus Boni, as they wittily anagrammatised his name Borbonius.

And an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.] Or, Terrified him, scared him, vexed him. That old man-slayer - permittente Deo aut immittente - assaulted him, and perhaps possessed him, tormented his mind and body, working upon his melancholy and discontent, which is the devil’s bath, and casting him into fits of frenzy and fury. He had preferred his own reason, saith a grave interpreter, (b) before God’s directions in the business of the Amalekites, and so made an idol of his own wisdom and reason: and now God deprives him of the use of his reason, and breaks, as it were, this his idol in pieces.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16:14". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-samuel-16.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 16:14

Saul, self-willed and capricious, had shown himself unfit for his position, so the Spirit of God was taken from him, and an evil spirit from the Lord terrified or troubled him.

Notice:—

I. Men must either have the Spirit of God or an evil spirit. (1) God loves to dwell in the human heart. That is His chosen temple. The sky is vast, and its canopy is thick with worlds, but that is not the temple that God seeks. The earth is beautiful and sublime, but God does not choose that temple. Man rears lofty piles, but God's chosen temple is not there. His temple is in the lowly heart, in the bosom of the meanest of the sons of men who cries out for God. (2) But if man will not have God, he cannot shut the door of his heart against other visitors. Spirit cannot isolate itself from spirit, any more than matter can from matter. But the spirit can decide whether it will ally itself with the good or the evil. If God is not received, evil spirits enter, being invited by the sympathies and affinities of the soul. Man is like a house situated between two winds. Every one must decide to which side he is going to open. Both doors cannot be shut. You can only get the dismal, fatal door shut by opening wide the door that looks to the sea of eternity and the sunshine of God. The wind blowing in through this open door keeps the door of ruin shut.

II. The stress of inward temptation and trouble is often peculiarly fitted and evidently intended to drive men to God.

Of temptations and troubles which have this adaptation in a marked degree may be mentioned first: (1) Melancholy. Saul's was a very conspicuous and overmastering melancholy. Melancholy is essentially the feeling of loneliness, the sense of isolation, of having a great burden of existence to bear. It is the soul's fear, and shrinking, and chill in the vast solitude of its house. It has driven many souls to God. (2) A feeling of the vanity of existence is another great temptation and trouble. This is the cause of much feebleness of purpose, and want of principle, and bitterness, and cynicism. There is no remedy for it but in faith in God and an eternal future. (3) The mystery of life weighs on others—what Wordsworth calls "the weight and mystery of all this unintelligible world." When the night of mystery comes down and closes round us, let us press close to Christ. (4) The gloom and desolation of doubt and unbelief constrain men to turn to God. (5) Fierce temptations to evil drive many souls to God.

J. Leckie, Sermons Preached at Ibrox, p. 244 (see also Contemporary Pulpit, vol. iv., p. 25).


References: 1 Samuel 16:14.—Phillips Brooks, Twenty Sermons, p. 297; F. W. Hook, Parish Sermons, p. 44; I. Williams, Characters of the Old Testament, p. 171; R. D. B. Rawnsley, A Course of Sermons for the Christian Year, p. 281. 1 Samuel 16:14-23.—W. M. Taylor, David King of Israel, p. 13.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16:14". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/1-samuel-16.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Samuel 16:14. The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul Or, as the word might have been rendered, had departed from Saul. But what spirit? Not the prophetic spirit which he received according to Samuel's prediction, which ceased instantly when his prophesying was ended: not the spirit to render him incapable of transgressing; for that he never had, and therefore could never lose it. No: God was no longer with him, to prosper and guide him; but left him, as the effect of his disobedience, to that evil, melancholy, jealous, envious, malicious, murderous spirit, which afterwards possessed him, and seems never wholly to have left him. And this evil spirit of jealousy, hatred, and cruelty, will in the nature of things banish the spirit of a sound mind, moderation, equity, and every princely virtue, introduce an almost perpetual gloom, and dispose those who are under the unhappy influence of it, to the most unwarrantable and criminal excesses.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16:14". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-samuel-16.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

God took away that prudence, and courage, and alacrity, and other gifts and assistances of God’s Spirit, wherewith he had qualified him for the management of his public employment.

An evil spirit; properly so called; for what need is there of forsaking the proper signification of the word? It is evident, both from Scripture and experience, that God hath permitted some men to be really acted and disquieted by the devil; and why not Saul as well as others?

From the Lord, i.e. by God’s permission or judgment, delivering him up to Satan.

Troubled him; stirred up in him unruly and tormenting passions; as envy, rage, fear, despair, and the like.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16:14". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-samuel-16.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

DAVID’S INTRODUCTION TO THE COURT OF SAUL, 1 Samuel 16:14-23.

14.The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul — The divine influences of which he had been made a partaker at the beginning of his career (see 1 Samuel 10:10; 1 Samuel 11:6) were withdrawn from him, and God no longer inspired him to noble enterprises.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16:14". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-samuel-16.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

1 Samuel 16:14. The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul — Which came upon him when he was first made king, and continued with him till this time, but which God now took away, depriving him of that prudence, courage, and alacrity, and other gifts wherewith he had qualified him for his public employment. An evil spirit from the Lord — That is, by God’s permission, who delivered him up to be buffeted by Satan. Troubled him — Stirred up in him unruly passions, such as envy, rage, fear, or despair. Hence he grew fretful, peevish, and discontented, timorous and suspicious, frequently starting and trembling, as the Hebrew word here used seems to import. He therefore became very unfit for business, being sometimes melancholy, or furious and distracted, and always full of anxiety and solicitude of mind.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16:14". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-samuel-16.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16:14". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-samuel-16.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

But. This marks and introduces the later episode, placed here in order to bring out and connect the contrast of the Spirit"s departing from Saul and coming on David. See notes on 17. and 1 Samuel 18:12.

evil : always. Hebrew. ra"a" (App-44.), in this connection.

spirit. Hebrew. ruach. App-9.

troubled = terrified.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16:14". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-samuel-16.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

An evil spirit from the Lord troubled him, [ w

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-samuel-16.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.
the Spirit
11:6; 18:12; 28:15; Judges 16:29; Psalms 51:11; Hosea 9:12
evil spirit
The evil spirit was either sent immediately from the Lord, or permitted to come; but whether this was a diabolic possession, or a mere mental malady, is not agreed: it seems to have partaken of both. That Saul had fallen into a deep melancholy, there is little doubt; and that an evil spirit might work more effectually on such a state of mind, there can be little question. His malady appears to have been of a mixed kind, natural and diabolical: there is too much of apparent nature in it to permit us to believe it was all spiritual; and there is too much of apparently supernatural influence, to suffer us to believe it was all natural.
18:10; 19:9,10; Judges 9:23; 1 Kings 22:22; Acts 19:15,16
troubled
or, terrified.
Reciprocal: Numbers 27:18 - a man;  Deuteronomy 28:28 - GeneralJudges 6:34 - the Spirit;  Judges 16:20 - the Lord;  1 Samuel 16:23 - the evil spirit;  1 Samuel 17:31 - sent for him;  1 Samuel 26:19 - stirred;  2 Samuel 7:15 - as I took;  Psalm 36:3 - he hath

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16:14". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-samuel-16.html.