Contact: David Parham 940-322-4343

Website: Internet Bible Studies

I Samuel Menu

















Ball23A0.gif (3556 bytes)


I Samuel Chapter 16

Introduction: We continue our study on Samuel this week. In last weekís lesson, we studied about the battle that Saul waged with the Amalekites. He was instructed to utterly destroy the nation, but came back with King Agag alive along with many cattle that he told Samuel were brought to offer as a burnt offering to God. The lesson we learned from this encounter was that God wants us to obey him rather than to offer sacrifices. Due to his disobedience, Samuel informed Saul that the kingship would be removed from him.

  1. Godís Command Concerning David

1 Sam 16:1 And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.

1 Sam 16:2 And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the LORD said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the LORD.

God speaks to Samuel regarding his mourning for Saul. Chapter 15 closed with Samuel pouring out his heart to God asking for God to reconsider Saul, but once again, God reiterates that he has rejected Saul from reigning over Israel. There are few instances in the bible where God changed his mind when He made a serious decision. When Jonah preached to the people of Nineveh, and they repented in sack cloth and ashes, God spared the people. But this was due to the change in the people. Saul had been given several chances, and God was now going to give this kingdom to a new king. Samuel is instructed to go to the house of Jesse and God would identify to him who the new king would be. We learn from this incident that we should not mourn over failures to the extent that we halt the work of the Lord. Sometimes we must get up and go on, and learn from the mistakes of the past and do our best to not repeat them. But wallowing in self pity or being so discouraged that we are of little value helps no one. We have to keep a clear focus and follow Godís commands. It was now time for Samuel to arise and anoint Godís man over Israel. Samuel questions God in verse 2 and says that Saul will probably kill him if he finds out what he is doing. God gives him a simple solution to just take a heifer with him and if questioned, just say that he was come to sacrifice to the Lord. Being a prophet and priest of the Lord, Samuel was expected to perform the priestly functions, and this involved offering sacrifices.

1 Sam 16:3 And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee.

1 Sam 16:4 And Samuel did that which the LORD spake, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably?

1 Sam 16:5 And he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the LORD: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice.

Samuel was to offer the sacrifice, and to call Jesse to come up to it. When he arrived at the house of Jesse, God would tell him what to do. Sometimes when God has a job for us, we may not be told everything about it. But by faith, we have to forth and trust God in the matter. Samuel was a man of faith and normally did what God asked without question. That is pleasing to God.

Rom 14:16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:

Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Rom 14:18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

Rom 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

Rom 14:20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.

Rom 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

Rom 14:22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

Rom 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

The last part of verse 23 is what I want to emphasize. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. We need to be people of faith and be pleasing to our heavenly father.

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Samuelís job was to come and anoint the one God named unto him. Verse 4 shows the effect that Samuel coming to Bethlehem had on the people. The elders greatly feared this prophet of the Lord. Samuel was obedient to the word of the Lord, and he tells the elders that he has come in peace. They should sanctify themselves and come to the sacrifice. The incident with Jesseís family was no doubt private. Samuel sanctified both Jesse and his sons and called them unto the sacrifice.


II. Jesseís Sons Come Before Samuel

1 Sam 16:6 And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord's anointed is before him.

1 Sam 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, 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.

The purpose of having Jesseís sons pass before Samuel was for God to point out to him who the man was that God had chosen to be Israelís next king. Verse 7 may be one of the most outstanding verses in the bible. We need to realize this, and be cautious in how we judge others also. Man has a strong tendency to look on the outward appearance. But it says in verse 7 that God is not interested in our outward beauty, but looks on the heart. Samuel was certain that Eliab, Jesseís oldest son, was surely the anointed one. But God said he was not the one chosen.

Matthew Henry pointed out that Eliab had many of the physical qualities that Saul possessed when he was chosen to be king of Israel.

Eliab, the eldest, was privately presented first to Samuel, probably none being present but Jesse only, and Samuel thought he must needs be the man: Surely this is the Lordís anointed, v. 6. The prophets themselves, when they spoke from under the divine direction, were as liable to mistake as other men; as Nathan, 2 Sa. 7:3. But God rectified the prophetís mistake by a secret whisper to his mind: Look not on his countenance, v. 7. It was strange that Samuel, who had been so wretchedly disappointed in Saul, whose countenance and stature recommended him as much as any manís could, should be so forward to judge of a man by that rule. When God would please the people with a king he chose a comely man; but, when he would have one after his own heart, he should not be chosen by the outside. Men judge by the sight of the eyes, but God does not, Isa. 11:3. The Lord looks on the heart, that is, (1.) He knows it. We can tell how men look, but he can tell what they are. Man looks on the eyes (so the original word is), and is pleased with the liveliness and sprightliness that appear in them; but God looks on the heart, and sees the thoughts and intents of that. (2.) He judges of men by it. The good disposition of the heart, the holiness or goodness of that, recommends us to God, and is in his sight of great price (1 Pt. 3:4), not the majesty of the look, or the strength and stature of the body. Let us reckon that to be true beauty which is within, and judge of men, as far as we are capable, by their minds, not their mien. 1

1 Sam 16:8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this.

1 Sam 16:9 Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this.

1 Sam 16:10 Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The LORD hath not chosen these.

1 Sam 16:11 And Samuel said unto 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.

Each of the sons present at the sacrifice from Jesseís house pass by, and none of the seven sons was the chosen man. In verse 11, Samuel questions Jesse if all of his children were present. He says all but the youngest who was home taking care of the sheep. Samuel tells him to go and fetch David and bring him to the sacrifice.


III. David is Anointed to be King

1 Sam 16:12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.

1 Sam 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

Jesse sends someone to fetch David, and he is brought in. David did not look the part of a king. It says he was young and ruddy, but had a beautiful countenance and was good to look upon. God immediately instructs Samuel to rise and anoint David as Godís choice to replace King Saul. Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst off his brethren. He pours the oil on Davidís head, anointing him king before all those present including his father and his brothers. Samuel then went back to Ramah and left this large family in Bethlehem with a deep secret to guard. Iím sure there was a lot of happiness in the family, but we find later that there was jealousy among the brothers over David being chosen.


IV. David In Saulís Court

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

1 Sam 16:15 And Saul's servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.

1 Sam 16:16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.

Verse 14 says that the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord come upon him and troubled him. God used this evil spirit to bring David into Saulís court. The spirit of the Lord departing from Saul was in direct response to Saulís disobedience of the Lordís command. When the spirit of the Lord is not followed, God is grieved. And when this happens, many times we are troubled. It should be clear that the evil spirit was not Ďfrom Godí but was an evil spirit that God allowed to be used to possess Saul to carry out the intentions of the Lord. Saulís servants recognize something is wrong. And they suggest that they call a player of the harp to come and play soothing music to the king. This music would possibly comfort Saul when the evil spirit came upon him. Saul tells them to find a man who could do this.

1 Sam 16:17 And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me.

1 Sam 16:18 Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him.

1 Sam 16:19 Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep.

Saul tells them to provide him a man who could play the harp well and perhaps sooth him from the torment of the evil spirit. The servants suggest a son of Jesse who could play the harp very well. Not only was he a cunning player of the harp, but also a mighty valiant man who could fight in war, and was a comely person whom the Lord had his presence. Nothing speaks higher of another than to be associated with the Heavenly Father. Oh that we might all live such that others know there is a difference in our lives. In the notes, it mentions that verse 18 says ďA Man of warĒ which meant he was able bodied and able to fight, because David was too young to be in Saulís army at this time. Of all the characteristics mentioned about David, none were as important as the one saying that the spirit of the Lord was with him.

1 Sam 16:20 And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Saul.

1 Sam 16:21 And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer.

1 Sam 16:22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight.

1 Sam 16:23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

Saul sends for David, and he comes. Saul accepts him, and is very impressed with the young man. He said that David loved him greatly, and he became his armourbearer. Saul sent a message to Jesse asking that he let David come and stand before him so that he might play the harp when the evil spirit came upon him. It says when the evil spirit came upon Saul, David played the harp and it refreshed Saul and it caused the spirit to depart from him.

J. Vernon McGee had some comments about Saul at this point of his life.

I believe Saul was completely taken over by Satan. His servants noted that he had this mental malady, this spiritual sickness. It is said that music has power to tame the savage beast. Saulís servants suggested a contest to find who was the best musician. David was a musician and was an unusual person in many ways. He is brought into the palace. God looks at the inner man when He chooses someone for a particular office or task. Saul is now forsaken of God, and David is brought into court to play upon his harp. Although it is not yet known, Israel has a new king. 2


Internet Bible Studies are prepared and distributed free of charge. The lessons may not be sold without consent. If you have questions or wish to discuss the lessons, or possibly need help in finding Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, contact David Parham at 940-322-4343.


Prov 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


e-mail at:



Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Each act spreads, and many will be blessed.


1Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henryís Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.

2J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.