1 Samuel 16:1-13 - David's Anointing As King and His Service in Saul's Court

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We enter now into a study of the life of David, “the man after God’s own heart.”  As Saul is a picture of the carnal life, so David is a picture of the spiritual life of the believer who walks by faith in the Lord.  It is true that David sinned.  Unlike Saul, however, David confessed his sins and sought to restore his fellowship with God.  

Picture a king sitting upon his throne, ruling over a nation and people he had governed for years. But unknown to him, some distance away, a young boy is about to be secretly anointed to replace him, a young boy who was to become the future king of the nation. And not only is a secret anointing taking place, but this young boy would soon be serving in the royal court at the very feet of the king he would someday replace.  And the king would be totally unaware that the young boy was the future anointed king.  This is a picture of the shift of power, the highest power of a nation being secretly transferred from a ruling king over to a young boy who was destined to become king.

This is the story unfolded in this present chapter of God's Holy Word.  Because of disobedience, King Saul was destined to be removed as king of Israel by the hand of God's judgment.  But the work of God among the Israelites and upon this earth was to go on.  And to carry on the work of God, God had chosen a young boy who had a heart "after God's own heart" (13:14).  This young boy was to become the future king of God's people.  From the day of David's secret anointing to the end of Saul's life, David would be a threat to Saul's claim to the throne.  And Saul would seek to kill David time and again.  This is played out in the remaining chapters of this great book.

A.                 The mission of Samuel to anoint a new king: Conquering grief and sorrow (v.1-5).

Remember that the Lord had rejected Saul and promised to raise up another king, “a man after God’s own heart” (13:14), and who was better than Saul (15:28).  This was a specific reference to David, and now it was time to anoint him as king.  As mentioned, Saul was still king and would continue ruling for many more years. But here the Lord commissions Samuel to secretly anoint a young boy who was to be the future king of the nation.  From this point on, the story focuses upon the jealousy of Saul toward David and his many attempts to kill the future king of Israel. 

1.                  The LORD'S rebuke of Samuel (v.1).

a)                  He had grieved over His rejection of Saul far too long.

(1)                 Because of Saul’s disobedience the kingdom had been torn from him, and it was Samuel’s duty to inform Saul of this (15:22-23, 26, and 28).
(2)                 From the beginning Saul had appeared to have all that he needed to be a successful king:
(a)                 He had humility, was respectful, bold and courageous (9:1-27; 10:1-27; 11:1-15)
(b)                He had been chosen by the Lord Himself, giving him a new and changed heart (9:15-17; 10:9-15).      
(c)                 Outwardly—from all appearances—no man had more to offer than Saul.

(3)                 It Was Time For Samuel To Snap Out Of His Mourning Over Saul.
(a)                 Surely, Satan wanted Samuel to remain trapped in mourning over the tragedies of the past.  He wanted Samuel stuck there, unable to move on with the LORD.  But there are times when God tells us to simply move on. 

This is what God told Moses at the shores of the Red Sea: Why do you cry to Me?  Tell the children of Israel to go forward (Exodus 14:15).  It was time for Samuel to go forward.

When Israel lost the battle to Ai because of sin in the camp, Joshua mourned with his face to the earth, "So the Lord said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you. Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the Lord God of Israel: “There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.”" (Joshua 7:10-13, NKJV)

(b)                Many times we may be down and not really feel like doing anything.  There comes a time when the Lord says, “get up and go.” 
(c)                 We need to be like Daniel, even though he was sick for days from the visions that God had given him, “he arose and went about the king’s business” (Daniel 8.27) 

b)                  “Fill your horn with oil and go.” 

(1)                 Oil is a metaphor for the Holy Spirit.  Before we get up and go, the Lord wants us filled: 

The Lord Jesus Himself was filled with the Spirit: “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness," (Luke 4:1, NKJV)

Joy is described as the oil of joy “To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. " (Isaiah 61:3, NKJV)

Joy is also describes as the oil of gladness "You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” (Psalm 45:7, NKJV)

2.                  The protest of Samuel (v.2a).

a)                  He feared that if he went to Bethlehem Saul would kill him (v.2a)

(1)                 When God leads there is no reason to fear. 

3.                  The LORD's solution (v.2b-3).

a)                  He was to go for the purpose of offering a sacrifice to prevent Saul from being suspicious.

(1)                 Traveling to Bethlehem to offer sacrifice would prevent the arousal of suspicion. As a levitical judge, it was the common practice of Samuel to travel from place to place for the purpose of holding court to deal with legal matters and to offer sacrifice to atone for unsolved murder cases (Deuteronomy 21:1-9).
(2)                 When Saul was chosen (9:2) in the eyes of the Hebrews he looked like a king (outward appearance).  However, he lacked faith, character & everything he needed to be a successful king. 
(3)                 As Saul was beautiful in the beginning, but in the end all his ugliness came out.

b)                  To invite Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice (v.3a).

(1)                 In the present situation, the Lord instructed Samuel to invite Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice (1 Samuel 16:3). At some point during the sacrifice, the Lord would indicate which son was to be anointed as the king.

c)                  To anoint the son indicated by God (v.3b).

(1)                 Davids first anointing symbolized God’s recognition & ordination (2:10)
(2)                 The following two anointings (2 Sam. 2:7; 5:3) were to establish David as king publicly for the benefit of Judah and Israel respectively.

4.                  The obedience of Samuel (v.4a)

a)                  Samuel obeyed, did exactly what the Lord commanded.

5.                  The fear of Bethlehem's officials (v.4b-5)

a)                  They feared Samuel had come to execute judgment (v.4b).

(1)                 When Samuel arrived in Bethlehem, the officials feared that he had come to hold court and to execute some judgment. And they were apparently unaware of any criminal action that required his presence (7:15-16; Deuteronomy 21:1-9).

We read back in chapter 7 saying that "Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. He used to go annually on circuit to Bethel and Gilgal and Mizpah, and he judged Israel in all these places. “(1 Samuel 7:15-16; see Deut.21:1-9)

(2)                 I am sure that the Elders heard of Samuel’s execution of King Agag (15:33).  Samuel assured them he had come to offer sacrifice.

b)                  Samuel charged them to consecrate themselves (v.5a).

(1)                 The word consecrate means “to sanctify” to set one apart spiritually and ceremonially or ritually.
(2)                 The cleansing or washing, both of the outward garments and the inner man always preceded the worship of God:

The Outward: "Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes…” "So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes." (Exodus 19:10, 14, NKJV)

The Inward: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9, NKJV)

(3)                 A person sanctified or consecrated himself by taking a bath, putting on clean clothes, abstaining from sex, and avoiding contact with any dead body (Exodus 19:10, 14; Leviticus 7:19-21; 15:2-33; Numbers 19:1-22; Deuteronomy 23:10-11)
(4)                 However, more important than the outward rituals of cleansing oneself, a person was to seek the Lord for spiritual cleansing, confessing and repenting of his sins.
(5)                 The outward acts of sanctification or cleansing were merely symbols of inner cleansing.
(a)                 John the Baptist warned the Pharisees and Sadducees of this (Matt.3:1-12).
(b)                Jesus Himself warned the Pharisees as well (Matt 23:25-28).
(c)                 Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32)
(d)                Parable of the Fig Tree (Luke 13:6-9).

The Psalmist writes, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." (Psalm 1:1-3, NIV)

c)                  Samuel consecrated Jesse and his sons (v.5b)

(1)                 At some point Samuel visited Jesse in order to become acquainted with him and his family. And he invited Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice.

B.                The secret anointing of David: Being empowered by God's Spirit (v.6-13).

There was the secret anointing of David and the coming of the Holy Spirit upon him.  When the Spirit of God came upon David, it was a symbol that he was equipped and empowered by God to become the future leader of Israel.  Keep in mind that this was a secret anointing:

1.                  The choice of Samuel (v.6-7a).

a)                  He chose the firstborn (v.6).

(1)                 When Jesse and his sons first arrived at the worship service, Samuel's attention was immediately drawn to the oldest son, Eliab. 
(2)                 The young man was tall and attractive, with a charismatic personality (1 Samuel 16:7). Samuel thought that surely this was God's choice.

b)                  He was rebuked by God: God had not chosen Eliab to be king (v.7a).

(1)                 Samuel made the mistake of evaluating the men by their physical gifts (see 10:24).

2.                  The basic qualification of God for service: Not physical appearance, but the heart (v.7b)

a)                  Don’t judge a book by its cover.

(1)                 Man usually looks at the outward things, but the Lord looks at the heart of a person.  The Lord judges a person by his heart and his heart alone.

The Lord Jesus said "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”  (John 7:24, NKJV)

From the heart flow the issues of life, "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. “  (Proverbs 4:23, NKJV)

God had to correct Samuels focus.  The Lord says that "He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. “  (Psalm 147:10, NKJV)

God is the one who raises up someone, not man: "For exaltation comes neither from the east Nor from the west nor from the south.  But God is the Judge: He puts down one, And exalts another.  “(Psalm 75:6-7, NKJV)

Paul writes about our calling saying "For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.”  (1 Corinthians 1:26-29, NKJV)

For the Ladies"Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.  “(Proverbs 31:30, NKJV)

b)                  For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Luke writes in hisGospel saying, "Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him.  And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts.  For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”  (Luke 16:14-15, NKJV)

3.                  The choice of the father Jesse: He brought each of his seven sons before Samuel (v.8-10)

a)                  Abinadab: Was rejected (v.8)

b)                  Shammah was rejected (v.9)

c)                  All seven sons brought by Jesse were rejected (v.10)

4.                  The choice of the LORD: The youngest son (v.11-12).

It was the youngest son, a son who was considered by his father not even to be eligible or qualified to be the future king:

a)                  Samuel was perplexed: Asked Jesse if he had any other sons (v.11a)

b)                  David, the youngest, had been left tending the sheep (v.11b).

(1)                 As the baby of the family, David had very little status, but he was faithful to his father and to the Lord. 
(2)                 Matthew 25:21 illustrates David’s life:

David began as a servant and became a ruler; he was faithful with a few sheep & then inherited a whole nation.  “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’" (Matthew 25:21, NKJV)

c)                  Samuel immediately sent for David (v.12a).

(1)                 When he arrived, he was seen to have striking features. 
(2)                 He was "ruddy" which means that he had a healthy bronze complexion.  And he was good looking with piercing, bright eyes.  

d)                  The LORD identified David as His choice to be king (v.12b).

(1)                 As soon as David walked into Samuel's presence, the Lord immediately identified David as His choice to be king.
(2)                 But keep in mind why he was God's choice:
(a)                 Not because of his striking physical features, but because of his heart.  He was a young boy with a heart "after God's own heart" (13:14), and his heart was to make him a better man than Saul (15:28).
(b)                David was the eighth son, & eight is the number of new beginning. 

5.                  The secret anointing of David (v.13).

a)                  He was anointed in the presence of his brothers (v.13a).

(1)                 Remember that this secret anointing was totally unknown to King Saul. 
(2)                 David was anointed in the presence of his brothers and apparently no one else.

b)                  He was equipped, empowered by the Spirit of the LORD (v.13b).

(1)                 While he was being anointed, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him.
(2)                 Note what Scripture says: the Spirit of the Lord remained on him from that day forward.  God's Spirit never left David.

Listen to the heart of David when confesses his sin, this is a man after God’s heart: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.  Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.  “(Psalm 51:10-13, NKJV)

c)                  The Spirit of God Empowers Us.

(1)                 The greatest gift in the entire world is the gift of God's Spirit.  When we approach God through Christ, God places His own Spirit in us, in the very core of our being.  We become indwelt by God's Spirit.  It is God's Spirit who convicts and saves and gives us assurance of salvation. He guides, teaches, protects, and provides the necessities of life for us, meeting all our needs.
(2)                 What more could a person ask?  It is the Spirit of God who empowers us to conquer all the trials and temptations of life, which enables us to live a victorious and triumphant life day by day.

Jesus said "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.  The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”  (John 6:63, NKJV)

Again, Jesus says "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”  (John 14:17, NKJV)

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”  (John 14:26, NKJV)

"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”  (John 16:13, NKJV)

The Spirit gives us power, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”“  (Acts 1:8, NKJV)

Listen to what Paul writes in Romans:"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”  (Romans 8:11, NKJV)

Listen to this promise: "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”  (Ezekiel 36:27, NKJV)

d)                  Note that David’s name is not even mentioned until after he was anointed (v.13).

e)                  David Lived To Please God (13:14)

(1)                 Saul was a man after Israel’s heart.  He was all about image and prestige and the things men look at. But God will now give Israel a man after His own heart, and raise that man up to be king. 
(2)                 It would be easy to say that the kingdom was taken from Saul because of his sin. And on one level, that was certainly the case.  But it was more than that.  After all, didn’t David sin also?  Yet God never took the kingdom from David and his descendants.  Because the issue was bigger than an incident of sin, the issue was being a man after God’s own heart.
(3)                 “As for David, though he was not without his failings, - and those foul ones too, some of them, - yet for the main, his heart was upright, not rotten, as Saul’s was.”  (Trapp)

f)                   What Then Does It Mean To Be A Man After His Own Heart?—We can discover this by looking at the man who was not a man after His own heart and comparing him to the man who was a man after His own heart. 

(1)                 A Man After God’s Heart Honors The Lord—Saul was more concerned with his will than God’s will.  David was a man after God’s heart in the way that he knew God’s will was most important.  Even when David didn’t do God’s will, he still knew God’s will was more important than his own was.  All sin is a disregard of God, but David sinned more out of weakness and Saul more out of a disregard for God.
(2)                 A Man After God’s Heart Enthrones God As King—For Saul, Saul was king.  For David, the LORD God was king.  Both David and Saul would have thought sacrifice important before the battle.  But David thought it was important because it pleased and honored God.  Saul thought it was important because it might help him win a battle.  For Saul, God would help him achieve his goals.  For David, God Himself was the goal. 
(3)                 A Man After God’s Heart Has A Soft, Repentant Heart—When Saul was confronted with his sin, he offered excuses.  When David was confronted with his sin, he simply said I have sinned against the LORD (2 Samuel 12:13). 
(4)                 A Man After God’s Heart Loves Other People.  Saul became increasingly bitter against people and lived more and more unto himself.  David was a man after God’s own heart in the way that he loved people.  When David was down and out, he still loved and served those who were even more down and out than himself (1 Samuel 22:1-2).

g)                  The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart.

(1)                 God was looking for this kind of man, and God found this man in an unlikely place.  In fact, at this time, he wasn’t a man at all!  God is still looking for men and women after His own heart.
(2)                 When we think of a man after His own heart, many of us think that this is a title reserved for a few “super-spiritual” folks.  It isn’t for us.  We want these kinds of people around us, but we never think we can be one of them.  We aren’t spiritual enough.  But look at David: a warrior who killed hundreds of men with his own hands, a fugitive, a traitor, a man who had seasons of backsliding, an adulterer, and a murderer.  Yet he could be called a man after His own heart.  If David can have our sins, then we can have his heart.  We can love God and pursue Him with the kind of focus and heart David had.
(3)                 Let’s make sure that we don’t finish as Asa did (2 Chron.16:1-14)!

C.                The beginning of David's preparation to be king: A picture of God's sovereignty (v.14-23)

1.                  The removal of God's Spirit from Saul (v.14-17).

a)                  The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul (v.14a).

(1)                 What a tragic contrast: the Spirit comes upon David, but departs from Saul

b)                  An evil spirit was permitted by God (v.14b).


c)                  The advice of Saul's attendants – a false peace (v.15-16).

(1)                 To find a harpist who could soothe Saul when he was tormented by an evil spirit (spiritually, mentally, and emotionally).
(2)                 Saul’s servants dealt with the symptoms not with the cause
(3)                 Music could never change Saul’s sinful heart, he might “feel better” but it would be a false peace
(4)                 Many will seek a false peace in their life in order to deal with their problems.
(5)                 Some will even push God out of their lives like those in chapter 5
(6)                 Saul’s men should have prayed for Saul’s heart to get right with God. 

d)                  Saul agreed and ordered that a musician be found (v.17)

2.                  The introduction of David's name to Saul (v.18-19)

a)                  One of Saul's attendants knew about David, his qualifications and abilities (v.18)

b)                  Saul was impressed and sent for David (v.19).

(1)                 Already we see David’s abilities being recognized, yet David was not promoting himself.

Proverbs says "Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men." (Proverbs 22:29, NKJV)

Peter writes in his epistle "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time," (1 Peter 5:6, NKJV)

3.                  The beginning of David's service in Saul's court (v.20-23)

a)                  Jesse sent a gift to Saul along with his son David (v.20)

b)                  Saul was impressed with David (v.21-22)

(1)                 He made David one of his armor-bearers (v.21)
(2)                 He asked Jesse to allow his son to become a permanent member of his court (v.22).
(3)                 David did not remain permanently at court (17:15): “But David went back and forth from Saul to feed his father’s sheep.”
(4)                 David visited the court when needed, but did not neglect his responsibilities at home.
(5)                 What humility!  Here is a gifted boy, chosen to be king, anointed of God, yet he still cares for the sheep and works as a servant!  No wonder God was able to use David.

4.                  David played the harp for Saul (v.23).

a)                  He played when some mental disturbance-the evil spirit-came upon him (v.23a)

b)                  He was able to soothe, bring relief to King Saul (v.23b)

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