1 Samuel 16:1-13
16:1 The Lord said to Samuel [Israel’s first prophet (1 Sam. 3:20-21) and last judge (1 Sam. 7:15)], “How long [a prophetic rebuke] will you mourn [see 15:35] for Saul [perhaps over his loss of the kingdom, his disobedience, or for him personally], since I have rejected him as king over Israel [see 1 Sam. 15:26]? Fill your horn with oil [read Ex. 30:22-25 regarding preparation of anointing oil] and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse [of the tribe of Judah; see Ruth 4:12, 18-22] of Bethlehem [his hometown in Judah]. I have chosen [seen; Saul was the people’s choice; David was God’s choice; 1 Sam. 13:14] one of his sons to be king [see Ps. 75:6-7].”
16:2 But Samuel [understandably afraid] said, “How can I go [Samuel wanted to know how he might anoint David without attracting attention]? Saul will hear about it and kill me.” The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice [presumably a fellowship offering; cf. Lev. 3:1] to the Lord.’
16:3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I [emphatic] will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate [see Deut. 17:15].”
16:4 Samuel [obediently] did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled [quaked with fear] when they met him [perhaps because they had heard about the recent execution of Agag, the Amalekite king (see 15:33) or because they thought he had come to punish some wrong or sin]. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”
16:5 Samuel [reassuringly] replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated [ceremonial cleansing often accompanied by putting on fresh garments to heighten the symbolism; see Gen. 35:2-3; Ex. 19:10-14] Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
16:6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab [David’s oldest brother (17:28); name means: “My God Is Father”] and thought [surely this guy is “king material”], “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before [in the presence of] the Lord.”
16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height [as in case of Saul; 1 Sam. 9:2], for I have rejected [as a choice for king, not as an individual] him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at [people are usually deceived by what their eyes tell them]. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart [godliness, attitude, character].”
16:8 Then Jesse called Abinadab [Jesse’s second oldest son; name means: “My (Divine) Father Is Noble”] and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.”
16:9 Jesse then had Shammah [Jesse’s third oldest son; name probably means: “Heard by God”] pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.”
16:10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass [probably in the order of their birth] before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these [God is never ignorant of what we are best suited for].”
16:11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest [or smallest; this “nobody” was really a “somebody” in God’s eyes],” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep [no one thought David possessed any kingly qualities, yet God would use David’s skills as a shepherd for eternal purposes].” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
16:12 So [at Samuel’s request] he sent and had him brought in [see Ps. 78:70-72]. He was ruddy [red or auburn-haired; handsome with a reddish complexion], with a fine appearance [literally, beautiful eyes] and handsome features [pleasant to look at]. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.”
16:13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed [Heb. mashach from which we get our word Messiah] him [oil symbolized anointing with the Holy Spirit] in the presence of his brothers [witnesses], and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David [first mention of his name in the books of Samuel; name means: “Beloved of the Lord”] in power. Samuel then went to Ramah [and David returned to sheep field].