1 Samuel 16:   “The Selection And Anointing Of David As King


Jim Bomkamp

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1.     INTRO:


1.1.     In our last study, we looked at chapter 15 of the book.


1.1.1.  We saw Saul lead the children of Israel to have a resounding victory over the Amelekites.  However, before going to the battle Samuel told Saul that his army was being commanded by the Lord to kill of the Amalekites every man, woman, child, and animal, and that they were to save none of the spoils of the battle for themselves.  However, Saul’s army allowed the Amalekite king to survive and they took some of the best of the Amalekite’s animals and spoils for themselves.  Then, because of Saul’s rebellion in not following the Lord’s commands in this battle, Samuel tells Saul that his kingship has been taken away from him and given to a man after God’s own heart.


1.1.2.  We concentrated in that study on Samuel’s words to Saul, as he told him that the kingdom had been taken away from him by the Lord, and how that before the Lord that it is more important for us that we obey the Lord than that we make sacrifices:   “Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice.”


1.2.                     In out study today, we are going to look at chapter 16. 


1.2.1.  In this study we are going to see how that the Lord guides Samuel to David who will be the next king over Israel.


1.2.2.  We will see that David has none of the qualities for a leader which people valued in that day (nor in our day for that matter), as had been the case with Saul, who turned out to be a great big flop as a king.


1.2.3.  We will see that the Lord tells Samuel that David is a man after his own heart, and that the Lord looks upon the heart when He selects His leaders.


1.2.4.  We will discuss what it was about David’s life and writings that demonstrate that he was a man after God’s own heart.  We can see much about how that David was a man after God’s own heart from his own writings, including the following:      David longed more than anything to spend time alone with the Lord.           Psalm 42:1-2, “1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?      David was always meditating day and night upon God’s word.           Psalm 1:1-2, “1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.      David sought to honor and glorify the Lord with all of his life.           Psalm 2:11, “11 Worship the Lord with reverence And rejoice with trembling.      David desired to obey the Lord with all of his heart, mind, strength, and soul.           Psalm 1:1-2, “1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.           Psalm 86:11-12, “11 Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. 12 I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your name forever.      David trusted the Lord always placing his faith in the Lord’s promises to him.           Psalm 26:1-5, “1 Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, And I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. 2 Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my mind and my heart. 3 For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth. 4 I do not sit with deceitful men, Nor will I go with pretenders. 5 I hate the assembly of evildoers, And I will not sit with the wicked.      David, with few exceptions, inquired of the Lord and His will before he acted.  He didn’t presume upon the Lord.           Psalm 27:4, “4 One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord And to meditate [inquire] in His temple.      David allowed the Lord to discipline him and he never turned away from the Lord because of the fiery difficulties and trials the Lord put him through in that process.           Psalm 38:1-15, “1 O Lord, rebuke me not in Your wrath, And chasten me not in Your burning anger. 2 For Your arrows have sunk deep into me, And Your hand has pressed down on me. 3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation; There is no health in my bones because of my sin. 4 For my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me. 5 My wounds grow foul and fester Because of my folly. 6 I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long. 7 For my loins are filled with burning, And there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am benumbed and badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart. 9 Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You. 10 My heart throbs, my strength fails me; And the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me. 11 My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague; And my kinsmen stand afar off. 12 Those who seek my life lay snares for me; And those who seek to injure me have threatened destruction, And they devise treachery all day long. 13 But I, like a deaf man, do not hear; And I am like a mute man who does not open his mouth. 14 Yes, I am like a man who does not hear, And in whose mouth are no arguments. 15 For I hope in You, O Lord; You will answer, O Lord my God.      David was committed to being a man of his word and honorable in all of his character.           Psalm 37:37, “37 Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright; For the man of peace will have a posterity.


1.2.5.  The Lord had His troubles with David just as He has his troubles with all of us, and we will later in our studies read about David’s sin that he committed with Bathsheba.


1.2.6.  We will concentrate in this study upon the fact that even today the Lord is looking for a man or woman who is after His own heart.  What a full and meaningful life of challenge the Lord has for each person who commits his life to being a man or a woman who is after God’s own heart.  In a diary entry, Jim Elliot, the Auca Indian martyr, wrote, “God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life, that I may burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like You, Lord Jesus.”  Wurmbrand, was a man who was tortured in prison by brutal guards, and he said that he had learned from his guards.  How? “As they allowed no place for Jesus in their hearts. I decided I would leave not the smallest place for Satan in mine.”


1.2.7.  As we consider King David throughout our study of 1 and 2 Samuel, remember that David, the man after God’s own heart, in scripture is a type of Jesus Christ.  As we go through these books we can and will see many parallels in his life with that of Jesus Christ.


2.     VS 16:1  - 1 Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.” -  The Lord tells Samuel to quit grieving over Saul’s rejection as king and to go to Jesse the Bethlehemite and anoint one of his sons as king


2.1.                     Notice here yet another indication of just how taken Samuel was with Saul and how that he so wanted Saul to succeed as king.  Because of his grieving over Saul, Samuel is just moping around and not accomplishing anything.


2.2.                     I think that we Christians can sometimes be like Samuel on this day.  Instead of going about serving the Lord and being faithful to Him as we should, we can sometimes be living in the past, or even caught up in bitterness and unforgiveness towards others and mourning for the failures of the past.


2.2.1.  The Lord tells us in those times to live for Him today and to not look back. 


2.2.2.  We ought to have the attitude of the apostle Paul in Phil. 3:7-15 towards those things of the past in our lives, “7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you.


2.3.                     Kings in the Old Testament times were anointed with oil before the Lord by the prophets when they were called to office, and thus the Lord tells Samuel to fill up his horn with oil and go and anoint one of Jesse’s sons as king.


3.     VS 16:2-3  - 2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? When Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 “You shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate to you.” -  Samuel is concerned about his own life and safety as the Lord commands him to go to Bethlehem and anoint a new king


3.1.                     We have to understand the geography to really appreciate Samuel’s concern on this day.  The problem with going to the house of Jesse and anointing one of his sons as king over Israel is that to go to Bethlehem Samuel would have to travel right through Gibeah, Saul’s hometown, and Saul might suspect that Samuel is up to no good if Samuel comes through town acting suspiciously.


3.2.                     The Lord tells Samuel that the way to calm Saul’s suspicions is simply to state that you are going to make a sacrifice to the Lord.  Then, when you go to make the sacrifice invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and at that point in time the Lord would tell Samuel what he should do.


4.     VS 16:4-5  - 4 So Samuel did what the Lord said, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and said, “Do you come in peace?” 5 He said, “In peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” He also consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. -  Samuel comes to Bethlehem and the elders of the city come trembling to meet him


4.1.                     When Samuel came to the city of Bethlehem to complete this sacrifice, the people of the city of Bethlehem were afraid of what Samuel was up to.  Perhaps they thought that Samuel might be recruiting an army for king Saul, or perhaps that since Saul had replaced him as leader over Israel that he might even be plotting an insurrection against Saul and that he intended to recruit them to join him.


4.2.                     Samuel told the elders of the city along with Jesse and his sons to “consecrate” themselves to the Lord and come to the sacrifice.  This meant that they were to wash up and put on fresh clothes.  People were not to come to a sacrifice in Israel if they had become ceremonially unclean.


5.     VS 16:6-7  - 6 When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” -  When Samuel sees Jesse’s son Eliab he thinks that this son surely must be the Lord’s choice to rule over Israel


5.1.                     It is interesting here to observe that Samuel, the godly and faithful man that he was, still had not learned the lesson that outward appearances do not fit someone for service for the Lord.  In other words, he still hadn’t really learned anything from Saul’s rejection as king over Israel.  He still thought that he should be looking for a man who was like Saul in external appearance:  tall, dark, handsome, a commanding man who could make decisions (except perhaps for when it came to doing the right thing).


5.1.1.  This revelation also shows that even prophets, judges, and priests were not always discerning and that unless the Lord worked in their hearts and minds and led them that they would make very wrong decisions and choices in their lives and leading of God’s people.


5.1.2.  From the gospels we learn that even in Jesus’ day the Jewish religious leaders were concerned only about outward appearances, and not the inward state of a person’s heart and motives.


5.2.                     The Lord tells Samuel that the He doesn’t look at the outward appearance of people, but that when He picks and raises up His leaders that He looks at their hearts.


5.2.1.  So many times the church has made this same mistake of looking to outward appearances in raising up its leaders.  I have seen several famous musicians, athletes, and actors come to Christ and then the church which was instrumental in their decision for Christ try to immediately place these people in high profile ministries only to have these people fail miserably and in many cases fall completely away from the Lord.  The leaders in these churches thought that now that this famous individual has come to Christ that because of the person’s outward appearance and fame that the Lord would use him or her in a high profile ministry.      These church leaders didn’t realize that the Lord first has to do an incredible work in a person’s heart and He has to give a person a specific gifting and calling in order for a person to be used effectively in ministry.


5.2.2.  In 1 Cor. 1:26-28, Paul wrote about how that it was true in his day that of the leaders that the Lord raised up that there not many who were known by the world for having any greatness of their own, “26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are.


5.2.3.  I mentioned these same things when we were first introduced to king Saul early in the study of this book.  I mentioned then that we in the church need to beware of being taken by the appearance of any supposed pastor or Christian leader because of his good looks, nice looking clothes, commanding sound in his voice, the outward signs of success in his ministry, etc.      After that study, one of our guys came up to me and told me that he was glad that we in our church don’t have to worry about having a good looking pastor!


6.     VS 16:8-10  - 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” 9 Next Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” 10 Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” -  Each of the sons of Jesse assembled on this day passed in front of Samuel however the Lord told Samuel that He had not chosen any of these


6.1.                     Jesse brought to the sacrifice his favorite seven sons, however there was one son that was so insignificant from Jesse’s perspective that he didn’t even invite him to this feast.  This was David, the Lord’s choice for king over Israel. 


6.2.                     We see that those who are insignificant in the sight of men are many times very significant in the sight of God.


6.3.                     David was a very unique man in comparison with his brothers and for these reasons his father considered him the least significant of his eight sons and unworthy to attend this sacrifice: 


6.3.1.  He was the youngest son.


6.3.2.  He had a light, possibly red, complexion, had beautiful eyes, and was handsome.


6.3.3.  He was a dreamer and was always thinking and meditating about the heavens.


6.3.4.  He was a musician who was skillful at playing the harp.


6.3.5.  He was a shepherd boy who loved his sheep and took good care of them.


6.4.                     The Lord would later use David’s imagination, creative abilities, and musical talent when David would write many of the Psalms and hymns for worship.  David also would later build stringed instruments for worship of the Lord.


6.5.                     As David was faithful to tend his sheep, the Lord was teaching him lessons to prepare him to be a shepherd of His people.  David saw himself as the Lord’s sheep and under the care of the great shepherd himself, and thus David would write that wonderful Psalm 23 about the care he had received from the Lord as His sheep, “1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


7.     VS 16:11-14  - 11 And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are these all the children?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” 12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is he.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah.  14 Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord terrorized him. -  Samuel asks Jesse if these are all of his sons, and Jesse tells Samuel that there is one more son however he is out tending the sheep


7.1.                     Samuel anointed David with oil as the new king of Israel, however afterwards very little changed:


7.1.1.  David was surely told by Samuel that he would be the new king, however David would not assume rule as king for another 32 or so years.      Before David would assume his duties as king over Israel the Lord had many lessons to teach him and much character to work into him through the many trials and difficulties that he would have to face.


7.1.2.  David’s father and brothers most likely did not understand what this anointing by Samuel meant.


7.1.3.  No one in Israel besides those at this event knew about this anointing by Samuel.


7.1.4.  Saul would continue to rule as king for now (actually many more years), however he was not God’s man and not following the Lord.  He would over time be given more and more over to evil.


7.1.5.  It is a scary prospect however that anyone who likewise turns away in his heart from following the Lord with all of his heart will over time be given more and more over to evil.


7.2.                     We see here that after being anointed as king that the Holy Spirit came upon David enabling him to be where the Lord wanted him to be as king over God’s people.


8.     VS 16:15-23  - 15 Saul’s servants then said to him, “Behold now, an evil spirit from God is terrorizing you. 16 “Let our lord now command your servants who are before you. Let them seek a man who is a skillful player on the harp; and it shall come about when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he shall play the harp with his hand, and you will be well.” 17 So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me now a man who can play well and bring him to me.” 18 Then one of the young men said, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, and a handsome man; and the Lord is with him.” 19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David who is with the flock.” 20 Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread and a jug of wine and a young goat, and sent them to Saul by David his son. 21 Then David came to Saul and attended him; and Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor bearer. 22 Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David now stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.” 23 So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him. -  David is hired to play the harp whenever the demon would terrorize king Saul


8.1.                     Just as the Spirit of God came upon David enabling him to be the king God intended him to be, the Spirit of God simultaneously left king Saul since he was now being rejected as the king over Israel.


8.2.                     It is incredible to see how that the Lord works behind the scenes in people’s lives to bring about His own purposes.  Here David has been chosen and anointed by the Lord to be king over Israel, and the Lord provides a way from David to be right there within the king’s palace so that he can get a clear glimpse of the inner workings of kingdom, see the many needs in the nation, and learn the things that he as a leader over God’s people should and should not do.         


8.3.                     Saul has no idea that David has been chosen and anointed by the Lord to be the next king or he never would have allowed David into his palace and minister to him.


8.4.                     Notice here that David was already known not only for being skilled at playing the harp, but also for being a ‘mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech,’ and of course, for being ‘a handsome man.’


8.4.1.  Evidently, word had gotten out about how that David had with his bare hands killed the lion and the bear who had attacked his sheep (1 Sam. 17:34).


8.5.                     Even though David had already been chosen and anointed as king over Israel, he never-the-less had to learn to be faithful in the little things before he would be given more responsibilities.


8.5.1.  God calls all of us to be faithful right where we are, in the small things of our life, and it is not until we have been proven faithful with what God has given us now that He shall promote us to greater things in His service. 


8.5.2.  We will see in our study through this book David learning lesson after lesson through the many fiery trials he encounters as the God prepares him before he enters his reign as king.


8.6.                     David as a type of Jesus Christ had to suffer humiliation before he could ascend to the throne and in the same way the Lord Jesus Christ, before He could ascend to the right hand of God, first came and humbled Himself by taking on human flesh and being found in the flesh He was obedient and humbled Himself even unto death, death upon a cross.


8.7.                     We see here how that David gained favor with king Saul, for Saul loved him and made him his armor bearer.


8.8.                     I want to make one more analogy.  It is interesting to me that when Saul is demonized by a demon that the people’s response is to find someone to play music so that Saul will feel in a better mood and the demon will flee away from him.  Why didn’t the people encourage Saul to repent and confess his sins before the Lord and in this way cause the demon to depart from his life.  This is what he really needed to do, isn’t it?


8.8.1.  The analogy here is that this is similar to how the church often reacts to people and to situations.  Instead of leading people to get their lives right with the Lord when they have problems, they look other places for their help.  Many times, for instance, they send a person to the mental health professionals who in a manner of speaking “play the harp” to help the person feel better about themselves.  However in these situations, what we in the church need to do is to lead people into relationship with the Lord and to get their lives right with the Lord, and allow the blood of Jesus to cleanse them of their sins.




9.1.                     As we think about king David and how that he was God’s man, a man after God’s own heart, (as was mentioned earlier) the Lord today is looking for men and women after His own heart.  Are you a man or woman who is after His own heart?


9.2.                     Is your life given completely over to the Lord and consecrated solely for Him and His use and purposes for your life?


9.3.                     Do you desire to spend time with the Lord, glorify and honor the Lord, obey the Lord, inquire of His will in all areas of your life, and meditate upon His word night and day as did king David?


9.3.1.  Today, why don’t you commit yourself and your life to the Lord and make it your life’s goal to also be a man or woman after God’s own heart?


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