In 1 Sam 16-1-23 we begin with the command to anoint a new king over Israel. Samuel is still upset over the rejection of Saul and the Lord tells him “enough.” He tells Samuel to fill his horn with oil and go to Jesse in Bethlehem (“house of bread”). This was common oil and not the oil that was used in the Mishkan. God has selected a king for himself and he tells Samuel to go to Bethlehem.
Samuel wondered if going there to anoint a new king was a good idea because “When Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” But the Lord said to take a heifer with him and say, “I have come to sacrifice to Yehovah.” This was allowed in those days because the Ark was in one place and the Mishkan in another (Mishnah, Zevachim 14.4-8). So we learn that this anointing was to be a secret (v 2). Seeing Samuel arrive at Bethlehem, the elders of the city were afraid that something was wrong, or that some sort of judgment was coming (v 4).
God was not going to allow his work to end because of the death or the failure of a man. Satan wanted Samuel trapped in mourning over the past but Yehovah wanted Samuel to move on. God was providing for a king after his own heart, not a king who went after his own heart like Saul. The first king Saul (a picture of the False Messiah) was a king that the people wanted (Saul means “desired”), but now the Lord was choosing a king “for myself” (v 1). He will be his king (like Yeshua).
Samuel asks the elders to come with him to the sacrifice. This was not just to watch, but a ceremonial meal was going to be a part of this. He also invited Jesse and his sons to the meal. Samuel looks at the oldest son Eliab (“father is God”) and the Lord tells Samuel to not look at his appearance or the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. This was the mistake Israel made with Saul. God does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (v 7). The Scriptures say that the Messiah was not beautiful in appearance “that we should be attracted to him” (Isa 53.2). The Lord did not choose any of the seven sons of Jesse.
Spiritually, the seven sons allude to the seven thousand years of God’s plan. There is no person who is able to reign over the Kingdom of God except Yeshua. We see this concept in Rev 5.1-7 which is the coronation of Yeshua in Heaven on Rosh Ha Shanah. David will be a picture of this concept. Then Samuel asks, “Are these all the children?” Samuel thinks he has a problem. Did he hear the Lord correctly? He was told to go to the house of Jesse and anoint one of his sons, but has gone over seven sons and has not found the one. Then Samuel is told that there is one son missing who is tending the sheep, and he is the youngest. Samuel tells Jesse to send for that son, for “we will not sit down (to eat) until he comes hear.” The sacrifice was a Korban Shelem and part of it was eaten in a ceremonial meal.
We should not be surprised that the Lord had the youngest son in mind. It is often the younger is the heir over the eldest (Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, Joseph over Reuben, Ephraim over Manasseh, Yeshua over Adam, etc). He often chooses “not many wise according to the flesh, not many noble are called” (1 Cor 1.26). We may be despised in our family or among others, and not seen as the “intellectual” but being rejected by man often means we are “beloved” (the meaning of David) by Yehovah.
So, David is tending the sheep. Many of God’s leaders were shepherds. It was a profession that gave the shepherd the time to think, look at creation, care for the helpless little creatures under his care against the wolves. A shepherd had to put his trust in God because there was much danger. A wolf attack could decimate a whole flock in minutes. Many times the Lord has us “tending the sheep” on a lonely hill. Sometimes it seems nobody even knows you exist, but you aren’t waiting, you are being trained.
So, 1 Sam 16.12-13 says David is brought to Samuel. David is described as “ruddy with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance.” But he did not look like Saul (1 Sam 9.2). David looked nice but he was no movie star like Saul. You did not look at David and say, “Now there is a born leader.” Samuel is told to “arise” and anoint David because he is the one. He is the one Samuel was speaking about to Saul when he said, “Yehovah has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and he has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you” (1 Sam 15.28).
We don’t know how old David was here. Josephus says he was ten, and others say he was about 15, so he was somewhere in that range. So, the question is, “Where did David get his heart?” The answer is simple, and it is one that we should keep in mind. David had a heart after the Lord’s own heart because he spent time with the Lord. But, someone got him started. Psa 86.16 and Psa 116.16 refers to his mother as a maidservant. He learned to serve from his mother. This may also be a reference to his great grandmother Ruth the Moabitess.
So, Samuel anointed David (v 13) but only God and Samuel knew what was really happening, judging from the actions of David, Jesse and his brothers. Nobody dared to think that this was David’s anointing to be king over Israel. But God knew and he had been preparing David’s heart for years. The Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) came upon David from that day forward and this was the real anointing as king. After this was completed, Samuel arose and went home to Ramah.
Why didn’t God depose Saul and enthrone David right away? Well, Samuel was probably thinking, “I don’t know why you chose this kid, so you will have to be the one to put him on his throne. In other words, God was going to have to be the one to do it, not Samuel. Meanwhile, the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) departed from Saul and a distressing spirit began to trouble him (v 14). Saul had the Ruach Ha Kodesh but did not follow his leading, so it was like the Lord said, “You don’t want or need my Spirit, then you are on your own. Saul would crumble under the pressure of being a king and leading the nation.
Today, Saul would probably be diagnosed as someone who was mentally ill, but his problem was not psychological, it was spiritual. Saul’s servants came up with a brilliant idea. Music would help Saul to feel God’s peace and presence. God created music and it can be used for good (1 Sam 10.5-10…prophecies were sung). Saul had been helped before. SO a musician was suggested, and his name was David, the son of Jesse. He was a skillful musician and a warrior. He was articulate and a handsome man. But above all, “Yehovah is with him.”
So, in 1 Sam 16.19-23 we learn that Saul sends messengers to get David, and David enters the court of Saul. David had gone back to the sheep and did not understand the significance of what Samuel’s anointing meant yet. David did not have to manipulate himself into the palace, God opened the way for him. We also learn that Saul took to David immediately, and David became Saul’s armor bearer, a very trusted position. Saul had asked Jesse to let David stay with him, and whenever the evil spirit would come upon Saul, David would play his music for him and Saul would be better, and the evil spirit would depart. This was more than natural. The music had the blessing of God in order to raise the fame and influence of David in Saul’s court.
We will pick up here in Part 13.