Scripture reading – 1 Samuel 16

Samuel’s Commission to Anoint a New King (1 Samuel 16:1-5)

The LORD came to Samuel and asked, “How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?” (1 Samuel 16:1) Waiting no longer, the LORD commanded Samuel, “Fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Beth-lehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons” (1 Samuel 16:1). 

Samuel’s response was insightful, for he feared Saul’s spirit toward him was such that his life was threatened (1 Samuel 16:2). Nevertheless, the LORD commanded Samuel to go. Under the proposition that he would offer sacrifices, the prophet was commanded to invite Jesse, the father of eight sons, to come (1 Samuel 16:2b-3). Though no explanation was recorded, the news that Samuel was coming to Bethlehem caused the city’s leaders to tremble. Perhaps they feared the prophet was bringing word of the LORD’s judgment (1 Samuel 16:4).


Samuel’s Examination and David’s Anointing to Be King (1 Samuel 16:6-13)

As instructed, Jesse invited his sons, except the youngest, to stand before the prophet (1 Samuel 16:5-6).  Samuel learned the LORD’s standard for a king would not be that of the people when Saul was chosen to be king of Israel. When Samuel examined Jesse’s eldest son, the LORD instructed him, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

After considering the other sons of Jesse and understanding that the LORD refused them, Samuel asked Jesse: “Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither” (1 Samuel 16:11). 

Obeying the prophet’s instructions, Jesse sent for his youngest son, whom the Scriptures described as “ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to” (1 Samuel 16:12). While we do not have a portrait of David, we are given some insight into his physical appearance. “Ruddy” indicated he was probably red-headed, with a pleasing countenance and handsome physical features. Yet, David’s physical appearance had not endeared him to the LORD. Unlike men who look upon the outward façade of leaders, Samuel was told, “The LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). 

Who was David? He was “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). Although he was the youngest of eight sons, and his experience was that of a shepherd, it was David’s character that moved the LORD to make him king. Summoned by the prophet, David left his sheep and stood before Samuel. The prophet “took the horn of oil [a symbol of the Holy Spirit], and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:13). 

Saul’s Anxiety and Melancholy (1 Samuel 16:14-23)

While the “Spirit of the LORD” rested on David (1 Samuel 16:13), His Spirit sadly “departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him” (1 Samuel 16:14). Fear and anxiety gripped the king’s heart. To calm his spirit, the king’s servants suggested a musician be sought who was “a cunning player on an harp…one who could play when the king was taken in an “evil spirit” (1 Samuel 16:15). 

In the providence of God’s sovereignty, the man chosen was David. When Saul looked upon him, we read that he “loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer” (1 Samuel 16:21-23).

Closing thoughts:

God had orchestrated that David would be the king’s musician, thus setting the stage for a shepherd boy to live in the king’s court, be schooled in the role of the king, and understand government (1 Samuel 16:14-23).

Questions to consider:

1) What did Samuel fear when the LORD commanded him to anoint another man to be king? (1 Samuel 16:2)

2) Why did Samuel believe Jesse’s oldest son was the obvious choice to be king? (1 Samuel 16:6)

3) What did God command when Samuel saw Davide? (1 Samuel 16:12)

4) What occurred when Samuel anointed David with oil? (1 Samuel 16:13)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone). You may also email your request to

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization.

%d bloggers like this: