O T¹ 16:1-13. David's call and anointing by God. T² 16:14-23. Episode. Inserted here to show contrast between David and Saul. T² 17:1–27:4. David opposed by Saul. An earlier episode (17:1–18:9), see Structure there.
T¹ l 1-3. Yahaveh's provision of David. m 4,5. Samuel's arrival. l 6-12. Yahaveh's choice of David. m 13. Samuel's anointing.
1 Samuel 16)
1: And the Lord (Yahaveh) said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? (note here Yahaveh's sovereignty. God doesn't beat around the bush) fill your horn with oil, and go, I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided Me a king among his sons.” (Note Yahaveh sovereignty in this choice of the youngest. It is this choice that makes David the "man after Yahaveh's heart"; not David's personal character or conduct)
2: And Samuel said, “How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me.” (Saul's jealousy would have killed him) And the Lord said, “Take a heifer in your hand, and say, ‘I am come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ (covert activity is ok IF necessary and done according to God's will)
3: And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew you what you shall do: and you shall anoint to Me him whom I name to you.”
4: And Samuel did that which the Lord spoke, and came to Bethlehem (= house of bread. Birthplace of Christ. No accident!). And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, “Do you come peaceably?”
5: And he said, “Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice to the Lord: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons (he had 8 sons and 2 daughters, Zeruiah [mother of Abishai, Joab, and Asahel] and Abigail [mother of Amasa]. David is the 8th here [vv.10,11], but called the 7th in 1 Chron.2:15. One son must have died shortly after this, or been the son of a concubine, or died without issue and so not reckoned in the genealogy. Samuel is history, Chronicles is genealogy), and called them to the sacrifice.
6: And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab (= God is my Father. He was the eldest, strong & tall), and said, “Surely the Lord's anointed is before him.”
7: But the Lord said to Samuel, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord sees not as man looks to; for man looks to the outward appearance, but the Lord looks to the heart (= mind. God knows what you think. Cp. 1 Chron. 28:9. Ps. 7:9. Jer. 11:20; 17:10; 20:12).
8: Then Jesse called Abinadab (= father of nobility), and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this.”
9: Then Jesse made Shammah (= astonishment. Probably Smimeah. 2 Sam. 13:3; 12:21) to pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this.”
10: So, Jesse made seven (#7 = spiritual completeness. See v.5) of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.”
11: And Samuel said to Jesse, “Have the young men finished passing by?” And he said, “There remains yet the least (see note on v.5), and, behold, he keeps the sheep” (the symbol of our People. Saul lost his father's asses [9:3,4,20]). And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and fetch him: for we will not sit round till he come to this place.”
12: And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy (sun-tanned, ruddy complected), a stripling (see 17:56), with handsome eyes, with noble mien. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him: for this is he.”
13: Then Samuel took the horn of oil (symbolic of truth), and anointed him in the midst of his brethren (3 anointings of David [#3 = divine perfection]: (1) by Samuel, here; (2) by "men of Judah" [2 Sam. 2:4]; and (3) by the "elders of Israel" [2 Sam.5:3]): and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David (= beloved) from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.
T² n 14,15. Evil spirit troubled Saul. o 16-. Harper recommended. p -16. Recovery promised. o 17-22. Harper successful. n 23. Evil spirit departing from Saul.
14: But (this marks and introduces the later episode here in order to bring out and connect the contrast of the Spirit's departing from Saul and coming on David. See 17:1 and 18:12) the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit (they do exist) from the Lord troubled him. (not OF Yehovah, but from Yehovah, i.e. it was sent to him)
15: And Saul's servants said to him, “Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubles you. (Saul's servants not in communion with the Lord (Yahaveh), the Covenant God)
16: Let our lord now command your servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a skillful player on an harp (= kinnor, an instrument of many strings. Symbol of 10 northern tribes: example - When princes Diana died, in her funeral procession the flag which covered her had on it the harp of David):
and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon you, that he shall play with his hand, and you shall be well.”
17: And Saul said to his young men (as in 14:1. Perhaps Saul's body-gaurd; possibly fellow-pupils of Samuel of Naioth), “Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me.”
18: Then answered one of the young men, and said, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is skillful in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in speech, and a comely person (beautiful, outstanding), and the Lord is with him.”
19: Wherefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, “Send me David your son, which is with the sheep.”
20: And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a skin-bottle of wine, and a kid of the goats, and sent them by David his son to Saul. (Always send a gift to the king at a time like this)
21: And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and Saul loved David greatly; and he became his armourbearer (a place of total trust. Stands behind).
22: And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David, I pray you, stand before me; for he has found favor in my sight.” (Enlistment of son, see 8:11)
23: And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took a harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him. (It was not only the harp: evil cannot stay in the presence of an anointed one, unless that person allows it)