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David Is Anointed

16 Then Yahweh said to Samuel, “How long[a] will you mourn about Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel! Fill up your horn with oil and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have chosen a king for myself among his sons.” But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears, he will kill me.” Yahweh said, “You must take a heifer from the herd with you,[b] and you must say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to Yahweh.’ You will invite Jesse to the sacrifice and I will make known to you what you must do. You will anoint for me the one whom I tell you.”

So Samuel did what Yahweh said. He came to Bethlehem, and the elders of the city came trembling to meet him. They said, “Have you come in peace?”[c] He said, “I come in peace. I have come to sacrifice to Yahweh. Sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” So he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they came,[d] he[e] saw Eliab and said, “Surely his anointed one is before Yahweh!” But Yahweh said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For God does not see what man sees, for a man looks on the outward appearance,[f] but Yahweh looks on the heart.”[g] Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel, and he said, “This one also Yahweh has not chosen.” So Jesse made Shammah pass before Samuel, but he said, “Yahweh also has not chosen this one.” 10 And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, “Yahweh has not chosen any of these.”

11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?”[h] And he said, “The youngest still remains, but look, he is shepherding the flock.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him, for we cannot sit down[i] until he comes here.” 12 So he sent and brought him. Now he was ruddy with beautiful eyes and of handsome[j] appearance. And Yahweh said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. Then the Spirit of Yahweh rushed upon David from that day on.[k] Then Samuel got up and went to Ramah.

Saul in Torment

14 Now the Spirit of Yahweh departed from Saul and an evil spirit from Yahweh tormented him. 15 So the servants of Saul said to him, “Look please, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Please, let our lord command your servants who are before you! Let them seek a man skilled in playing on the lyre. When[l] the evil spirit from God is upon you, he can play on it[m] and you will feel better.”[n] 17 So Saul said to his servants, “Please select a man who plays a stringed instrument well[o] and bring him to me.”

18 One of the servants answered and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is skillful in playing a stringed instrument, a brave man, a warrior, prudent in speech, and handsome.[p] And Yahweh is with him.” 19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me David your son who is with the sheep.” 20 And Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread and a skin of wine and one young goat[q] and sent them to Saul by the hand of David his son. 21 So David came to Saul and entered his service.[r] He[s] loved him greatly and he became Saul’s armor bearer.[t] 22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Please let David stand before me, because he has found favor in my sight.”[u] 23 So whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the stringed instrument and play it with his hand. Then it would bring relief[v] for Saul; he would feel better[w] and the evil spirit would depart from him.


  1. 1 Samuel 16:1 Literally “Until when”
  2. 1 Samuel 16:2 Literally “in/with your hand”
  3. 1 Samuel 16:4 Literally “Is your coming peace?”
  4. 1 Samuel 16:6 Literally “And it happened at their coming”
  5. 1 Samuel 16:6 That is, Samuel
  6. 1 Samuel 16:7 Literally “sees as far as the eyes”
  7. 1 Samuel 16:7 Literally “sees as far as the heart”
  8. 1 Samuel 16:11 Literally “Are the boys finished?”
  9. 1 Samuel 16:11 Literally “turn”; for “sit down” see HALOT 739 s.v. 2.c
  10. 1 Samuel 16:12 Literally “good”
  11. 1 Samuel 16:13 Literally “and forward”
  12. 1 Samuel 16:16 Literally “And it will happen that
  13. 1 Samuel 16:16 Literally “with his hand”
  14. 1 Samuel 16:16 Literally “and it will be good for you”
  15. 1 Samuel 16:17 Literally “doing well to play a stringed instrument”
  16. 1 Samuel 16:18 Literally “a hero of ability, a man of war, discerning of word, and a man of appearance”
  17. 1 Samuel 16:20 Literally “kid of a goat”
  18. 1 Samuel 16:21 Literally “stood before him”
  19. 1 Samuel 16:21 That is, Saul
  20. 1 Samuel 16:21 Literally “he became for him a carrier of weapons”
  21. 1 Samuel 16:22 Literally “in my eyes”
  22. 1 Samuel 16:23 Literally “it would be relieved”
  23. 1 Samuel 16:23 Literally “it would be good for him”