1 Samuel
Chapter 16

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1 And the Lord said vnto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourne for Saul, seeing I haue reiected him from reigning ouer Israel? Fill thine horne with oile, and goe, I will send thee to Iesse the Bethlehemite: for I haue prouided mee a King among his sonnes.

2 And Samuel said, How can I goe? if Saul heare it, he will kill mee. And the Lord said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the Lord.

3 And call Iesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt doe: and thou shalt anoynt vnto mee him whom I name vnto thee.

4 And Samuel did that which the Lord spake, and came to Bethlehem: and the elders of the towne trembled at his comming, and said, Commest thou peaceably?

5 And hee said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice vnto the Lord: sanctifie your selues, and come with me to the sacrifice: and he sanctified Iesse, and his sonnes, and called them to the sacrifice.

6 And it came to passe when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lords anointed is before him.

7 But the Lord said vnto Samuel, Looke not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature, because I haue refused him: for the Lord seeth not, as man seeth; For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

8 Then Iesse called Abinadab, and made him passe before Samuel: and he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this.

9 Then Iesse made Shammah to passe by: and he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this.

10 Againe Iesse made seuen of his sonnes to passe before Samuel; and Samuel said vnto Iesse, The Lord hath not chosen these.

11 And Samuel saide vnto Iesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the yongest, and behold, he keepeth the sheepe. And Samuel said vnto Iesse, Send, and fetch him: for we will not sit downe, till hee come hither.

12 And he sent, and brought him in: now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautifull countenance, and goodly to looke to: And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.

13 Then Samuel tooke the horne of oile, and annointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came vpon Dauid, from that day forward: So Samuel rose vp and went to Ramah.

14 But the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an euil spirit from the Lord troubled him.

15 And Sauls seruants said vnto him, Behold now, an euill spirit from God troubleth thee.

16 Let our lord now command thy seruants which are before thee, to seeke out a man, who is a cunning player on an harpe: and it shall come to passe when the euill spirit from God is vpon thee, that hee shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.

17 And Saul said vnto his seruants, Prouide mee now a man, that can play well, and bring him to me.

18 Then answered one of the seruants, and said, Behold, I haue seene a sonne of Iesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of warre, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the Lord is with him.

19 Wherefore Saul sent messengers vnto Iesse, and said, Send me Dauid thy sonne, which is with the sheepe.

20 And Iesse tooke an asse laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by Dauid his sonne vnto Saul.

21 And Dauid came to Saul, and stood before him: and hee loued him greatly, and hee became his armour bearer.

22 And Saul sent to Iesse, saying, Let Dauid, I pray thee, stand before me: for hee hath found fauour in my sight.

23 And it came to passe, when the euill spirit from God was vpon Saul, that Dauid tooke an harpe, and played with his hand: So Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the euill spirit departed from him.

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Commentary for 1 Samuel 16

Samuel sent to Bethlehem to Jesse. (1-5) David is anointed. (6-13) Saul troubled with an evil spirit, is quieted by David. (14-23)1-5 It appears that Saul was grown very wicked. Of what would he not be guilty, who durst think to kill Samuel? The elders of Bethlehem trembled at Samuel's coming. It becomes us to stand in awe of God's messengers, and to tremble at his word. His answer was, I come peaceably, for I come to sacrifice. When our Lord Jesus came into the world, though men had reason to fear that his errand was to condemn the world, yet he gave full assurance that he came peaceably, for he came to sacrifice, and he brought his offering with him; A body hast thou prepared me. Let us sanctify ourselves, and depend upon His sacrifice.

6-13 It was strange that Samuel, who had been so disappointed in Saul, whose countenance and stature recommended him, should judge of another man by that rule. We can tell how men look, but God can tell what they are. He judges of men by the heart. We often form a mistaken judgment of characters; but the Lord values only the faith, fear, and love, which are planted in the heart, beyond human discernment. And God does not favour our children according to our fond partiality, but often most honours and blesses those who have been least regarded. David at length was pitched upon. He was the youngest of the sons of Jesse; his name signifies Beloved; he was a type of God's beloved Son. It should seem, David was least set by of all the sons of Jesse. But the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. His anointing was not an empty ceremony, a Divine power went with that instituted sign; he found himself advanced in wisdom and courage, with all the qualifications of a prince, though not advanced in his outward circumstances. This would satisfy him that his election was of God. The best evidence of our being predestinated to the kingdom of glory, is, our being sealed with the Spirit of promise, and experience of a work of grace in our hearts.

14-23 Saul is made a terror to himself. The Spirit of the Lord departed from him. If God and his grace do not rule us, sin and Satan will have possession of us. The devil, by the Divine permission, troubled and terrified Saul, by the corrupt humours of his body, and passions of his mind. He grew fretful, peevish, and discontented, and at times a madman. It is a pity that music, which may be serviceable to the good temper of the mind, should ever be abused, to support vanity and luxury, and made an occasion of drawing the heart from God and serious things. That is driving away the good Spirit, not the evil spirit. Music, diversions, company, or business, have for a time often been employed to quiet the wounded conscience; but nothing can effect a real cure but the blood of Christ, applied in faith, and the sanctifying Spirit sealing the pardon, by his holy comforts. All other plans to dispel religious melancholy are sure to add to distress, either in this world or the next.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for 1 Samuel 16

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