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The Anointing Of David: His Rise, His Successes And His Preservation By YHWH Until The Death Of Saul (16-31).
Commencing with his anointing this second half of the book traces David’s introduction to the court, his rise to be a powerful general and subsequent victories against the Philistines, his coming under the suspicion of Saul, his flight from Saul and struggles for survival, (along with a band of men whom he builds up who will be the foundation of his future success), his magnanimity towards Saul as YHWH’s ‘anointed’ when he has him at his mercy, all finally leading up to Saul’s death fighting against the Philistines.
SECTION 3. 16:1-20:42. The Rise And Preservation of David.
There is a certain irony in what follows. The people had chosen a king in order that they might find security in him, but their security is now to be revealed as resting in a war leader by the name of David, on whom YHWH has poured out His Spirit as He did on the judges of old. So it turns out that they are after all still dependent on YHWH to provide them with a war leader, and this is because of the failure of their king who cannot, for example, cope even with Goliath, as a result of the fact that the Spirit of YHWH is no longer on him. How much wiser they would have been to continue to trust in YHWH and look only to Him. When we think that we know better than God it can only result in disillusionment.
A). The Rise Of David (16:1-18:4).
a Samuel Anoints David As The Prospective King And The Spirit Of YHWH Comes Mightily On Him (1 Samuel 16:1-13).
b Saul’s Psychiatric Problems Result In The Introduction Of David To Saul’s Court As The Son Of Jesse.
c Goliath And The Philistines Challenge Israel (1 Samuel 17:1-19).
d David Is Appalled That An Uncircumcised Philistine Dares To Defy The Armies Of The Living God (1 Samuel 17:20-30).
e David Offers To Fight Goliath And Is Accepted As Saul’s Champion (1 Samuel 17:31-39).
d David Challenges Goliath For Daring To Defy The Armies Of The Living God (1 Samuel 17:40-50).
c The Philistines Are Routed (17:51-54).
b Saul Enquires Into David’s Antecedents (1 Samuel 17:53-58).
a Jonathan, The Heir Apparent, Gives To David His Own Armour Out Of His Love For Him (1 Samuel 18:1-4).
Note that in ‘a’ David is anointed by Samuel thus coming under covenant to YHWH and the Spirit of YHWH comes on him, and in the parallel David is accepted by Jonathan, the heir apparent, and comes under covenant to Jonathan the king’s son. In ‘b’ Saul’s court is introduced to David’s antecedents, and in the parallel Saul seeks to know his antecedents. In ‘c’ Goliath and the Philistines challenge Israel, and in the parallel Goliath is routed. In ‘d’ David is appalled that Goliath dare defy the living God, and in the parallel David challenges Goliath for daring to defy the living God. Centrally in ‘’e’ David is accepted as Saul’s champion.
The Anointing of David As Prospective King Over Israel. The Spirit Of YHWH Comes Mightily On Him (1 Samuel 16:1-13 ).
It is a sad reflection on what Saul’s reign had become that the elders of Bethlehem were apprehensive at the thought of the arrival of Samuel. This suggests that there were murmurings among the people at this time against Saul’s behaviour, with a good deal of political support being thrown behind Samuel, so much so that the elders did not know quite what Samuel’s intentions were in coming to Bethlehem. Samuel was still a power in the land religiously speaking and it is quite probable that Saul, while still fearing Samuel as a prophet, had made known what would happen to anyone who sought to use his name to cause an uprising.
Saul would undoubtedly have been feeling very bitter against Samuel, and we are shortly to learn that things had got worse than that, and that his rejection by Samuel and YHWH had so affected him that it had caused deep clinical depression to develop, and probably even schizophrenia. The dopamine content of his brain became unstable, and he began to manifest symptoms such as violent mood swings, paranoia and delusion.
It will be noted that 1 Samuel 16:1 and 1 Samuel 16:13 act as an inclusio for this passage. In verse 1 Samuel is to fill a horn with oil in order to approve one of Jesse’s sons as king, and in verse 13 Samuel takes the horn of oil and anoints David in the midst of his brothers.
a And YHWH said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing 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 provided for myself a king among his sons” (1 Samuel 16:1).
b And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hear it, he will kill me.” And YHWH said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, I am come to sacrifice to YHWH. And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you will do, and you will anoint unto me him whom I name to you” (1 Samuel 16:2-3).
c And Samuel did what YHWH said, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the city came to meet him apprehensively (trembling), and said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably. I am come to sacrifice to YHWH. Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice (1 Samuel 16:4-5).
d And it came about, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, “Surely YHWH’s anointed is before him.” But YHWH said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance (countenance), or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him, for YHWH does not see as man sees, for man looks on the outward appearance, but YHWH looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:6-7).
d Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has YHWH chosen this one” (1 Samuel 16:8).
d Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has YHWH chosen this one” (1 Samuel 16:9).
d And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “YHWH has not chosen these” ’(1 Samuel 16:10).
c And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your children here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and, see, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and fetch him, for we will not sit down until he come here” (1 Samuel 16:11).
b And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and with it all of a beautiful appearance, and handsome (goodly) to look on.” And YHWH said, “Arise, anoint him. For this is he” (1 Samuel 16:12).
a Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers, and the Spirit of YHWH came mightily on David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah (1 Samuel 16:13).
Note that in ‘a’ Samuel is to take with him his horn anointing oil, and in the parallel he uses it to anoint David. In ‘b’ YHWH will show him whom to anoint, and in the parallel He shows him David. In ‘c’ he calls Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice, and in the parallel they may not partake of the sacrifice until David comes, who should also have been invited. Centrally in ‘d’ we have the selection process, with each being rejected because they are not YHWH’s chosen.
1 Samuel 16:1
‘ And YHWH said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing 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 provided for myself a king among his sons.” ’
It would seem that Samuel mourned Saul’s fall from grace for some considerable time. He had nothing further to do politically, and had plenty of time to think over and watch the consequences of Saul’s failure. And to him it seemed a tragedy. Moreover the fact that Saul had become suspicious of possible rivals for his throne is suggested by Samuel’s fear that if he was even suspected of anointing someone to replace Saul it was quite likely that Saul would act rapidly and have him put to death. Thus he had much to mourn and to grieve over.
So when YHWH called him to task because of his mourning, asking him how long he was going to carry on with it in view of the fact that He, YHWH Himself, had rejected Saul from being king over Israel, he found himself at a standstill. Then YHWH told him what he had to do which was positive. He must fill his horn with oil and go and see Jesse in Bethlehem (‘house of bread’), where YHWH had provided for Himself a replacement for Saul.
“Jesse, the Bethlehemite.” He was the grandson of 1sa the Moabitess, and of the house of Judah (1 Samuel 4:18-22).
1 Samuel 16:2
‘ And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hear it, he will kill me.” And YHWH said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, I am come to sacrifice to YHWH.” ’
Samuel, who was aware of Saul’s present moods and disposition, was not enamoured with the suggestion. He knew that if even a hint of his doing such a thing reached Saul’s ears he himself would become the victim. It was better not to get involved with possible rivals to Saul’s throne. It is a significant indication of Saul’s downward slide that even Samuel feels that he is not safe.
YHWH, however, assured him that there would be no problem. All he had to do was arrange for a sacrifice in Bethlehem to YHWH. This kind of thing was expected of him from time to time and would cause no suspicion, especially as he could genuinely say that he had received a word from YHWH to do it. The suggestion was not one which involved deceit. The sacrifice was to be a genuine one. It was to be an offering of praise and thanksgiving. But only Samuel knew the depths of the praise and thanksgiving that was due because the anointed of YHWH was to be revealed.
The fact that YHWH had revealed Himself to him and had told him to do it puts this sacrifice into the class of Exodus 20:24 sacrifices. It does not therefore indicate that Samuel felt able to offer sacrifices anywhere, although of course YHWH did record His Name before Samuel in many places..
1 Samuel 16:3
“ And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you will do, and you will anoint unto me him whom I name to you.”
Then he was to call Jesse to participate in the sacrifice, at which point He Himself would tell him what he had to do. It was at this point that he would then be required to anoint the person whom YHWH named to him.
1 Samuel 16:4
‘ And Samuel did what YHWH said, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the city came to meet him apprehensively (trembling), and said, “Do you come peaceably?” ’
However, when Samuel did arrive in Bethlehem, no doubt having made his purpose of sacrificing there widely known, the elders of the city met him rather apprehensively. This may have been because they were aware that when Samuel offered special sacrifices it usually indicated that there was trouble expected from the Philistines, or it may have been that they were expecting a prophetic rebuke for some failing in Bethlehem that Samuel knew of. But in view of the link with Samuel’s own fear in verse 2 it may well suggest that Saul’s reign had become somewhat more tyrannous as he grew more and more suspicious. Thus they may have feared that the sacrifice was to be a signal by Samuel to arouse men to civil war, something which could only bring Saul’s wrath down on Bethlehem. Possibly Saul’s actions taken against any town about which there were rumours had become well known. (We only have to think of what he was later willing to do to the innocent priests at Nob to recognise what he was capable of doing - 22:11-19).
1 Samuel 16:5
‘ And he said, “Peaceably. I am come to sacrifice to YHWH. Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice.’
But Samuel assured them that he had come with peaceful intentions that should not give them any concern. All they had to do was prepare themselves for participation in the sacrificial feast by sanctifying themselves. They would do this by washing their clothes and possibly themselves (Genesis 35:2; Exodus 19:10; Exodus 19:14), and presumably also by abstaining from sexual relations which could render them unclean (1 Samuel 21:4; Leviticus 15:16-18). At the same time he sanctified Jesse and his sons and called them to join them at the sacrifice. This participation in the sanctification of this particular family provided him with a good reason for being in Jesse’s house, and later returning to eat with them. What follows could have taken place at this time of ‘sanctifying’, or alternatively at the sacrificial meal following the offering of the sacrifices.
1 Samuel 16:6
‘ And it came about, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, “Surely YHWH’s anointed is before him.” ’
“When they were come” may mean, when they had come to Samuel to be sanctified, or it may mean when they had come for the sacrificial meal after sacrificing, for the anointing would certainly seem to have taken place in private. Eliab (‘God is father’), the eldest, was the first to meet Samuel and one look at him suggested to Samuel that this was the one who was to be YHWH’s anointed (he was probably the Elihu of 1 Chronicles 27:18). He was a strapping fellow and appeared a suitable choice.
1 Samuel 16:7
‘ But YHWH said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance (countenance), or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him, for YHWH does not see as man sees, for man looks on the outward appearance, but YHWH looks on the heart.”
Samuel was to learn a lesson that day, and that was that while men looked at the outside and the general appearance, YHWH looked at the heart. If the heart was right YHWH could do the rest. Thus while Eliab was both tall and handsome, he was not the one. We can in fact compare this description of Eliab with the previous description of Saul (1 Samuel 9:2). Here we have described man’s choice for a king. But the difference was that this time YHWH was determined to give to the people someone whose heart is right. This time they were not to have ‘a king like the nations’.
1 Samuel 16:8
‘ Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has YHWH chosen this one.” ’
The second son to come up for inspection was Abinadab (‘my father is willing’). But Samuel recognised that YHWH had not chosen him.
1 Samuel 16:9
‘ Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has YHWH chosen this one.” ’
The third son to pass before him was Shammah. The individual mention of three sons indicates the completeness of the search. We should also note that these were the three sons of fighting age in the family (17:13). But still this was not YHWH’s choice.
1 Samuel 16:10
‘ And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “YHWH has not chosen these.” ’
In the end seven sons passed before him, the seven indicating divine completeness. But still YHWH’s chosen had not been found. We can now imagine Jesse getting a little disheartened as each son was rejected and even Samuel must have been getting puzzled.
1 Samuel 16:11
‘ And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your children here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and, see, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and fetch him, for we will not sit down until he come here.” ’
Once he had had to reject all Jesse’s sons who were present he knew instinctively that there must be another son. For he knew that YHWH would not have misled him. So he turned to Jesse and asked him whether all his sons were there. The reply came that the only one that was left was the youngest who was looking after the sheep. So Samuel declared that he must be fetched, and that they would not sit down for their meal until he had arrived.
1 Samuel 16:12
‘ And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and with it all of a beautiful appearance, and handsome (goodly) to look on.” And YHWH said, “Arise, anoint him. For this is he.” ’
So Jesse sent for his youngest son and brought him in. He was ‘ruddy’ probably means that he had reddish hair which was unusual for Israelites, for they usually had black hair. He was also radiant and handsome. But what was most important was that YHWH said, ‘Arise and anoint him, for this is he.’ Here was the chosen one of YHWH.
1 Samuel 16:13
‘ Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers, and the Spirit of YHWH came mightily on David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.’
So Samuel took his horn of oil and anointed David in the midst of his brothers. We are not told whether they knew what the significance was of what he was doing. Perhaps only Jesse knew, for it was not after all something that could be allowed to get out. But all that really mattered was that YHWH knew. David himself may simply have seen it as a sign of God’s promised blessing. Samuel could tell him later of its full significance.
But the most important thing was that as a result ‘the Spirit of YHWH came mightily on David from that day forward’. In this lies the explanation for all his future exploits about to be outlined. From this day on he was totally God’s man, and God accompanied him in all that he did, and arranged for him to receive the training necessary for him to be a good and effective king. David may well have felt nothing, and not even have known that it had happened. It was the future that would bring it out.
Then, his responsibility fulfilled, Samuel returned to Ramah. He had no real appreciation of quite what he had accomplished, but he knew that the future was now secure. It was all left in the hands of YHWH.
Saul’s Serious Medical Condition Results In David Being Introduced Into Court Circles (1 Samuel 16:14-23 ).
Sadly for Saul the Spirit of YHWH had departed from him. YHWH had now rejected him as king, and the Spirit no longer came on him. Thus there was no special divine help for him as he fought the Philistines. Fortunately for Israel, however, YHWH would provide another who did have the Spirit of YHWH on him, and that was David.
Even more sadly for Saul ‘an evil spirit from YHWH troubled him’. In the light of the New Testament we can tend to read back to this what we learn about evil spirits from there. But in fact possession by evil spirits is rarely if ever depicted in the Old Testament among the Israelites because those Israelites about whom we have details did not on the whole indulge in idol worship. Certainly Saul did not. It is therefore quite probable that this ‘evil spirit from YHWH’ originally refers to a medical condition whereby his own ‘spirit’ was affected. We can compare the similar situation in Judges 9:23. There we read that ‘God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem’ with the result that they dealt treacherously. In context this does not appear to refer to spirit possession, and it must seriously be questioned whether it refers to more than a general ‘spirit’ of distrust that set the parties against each other. Thus it is probable that we are to see the same thing here.
That it was ‘from YHWH’ is, of course, true because in the end all disease and sensitivity of spirit comes from YHWH, but the idea of a satanic spirit coming from YHWH seems unlikely, even though we do discover later that even Satan acts under YHWH’s control, although not directly (2 Samuel 24:1 with 1 Chronicles 21:1). However, even then it is not something brought out by the author of Samuel. That is left to the Chronicler. In fact having spent a considerable period of my life with those who have suffered from clinical depression and schizophrenia what I read about in these narratives bears all the marks of those diseases.
Yet it may be that we cannot totally wholly dismiss the idea of evil spirits at work for in 18:10 we read that, ‘an evil spirit from God (the elohim) came mightily on Saul, and he prophesied’. That certainly at first sight suggests a malignant spiritual force at work, although not one that permanently possessed him. It is not like the evil spirits of the New Testament. On the other hand it may simply indicate that in his clinically depressed state he became so utterly distraught because of an evil disposition that YHWH put in him that for a while that he babbled to himself. The whole question is necessarily a difficult one in view of the sparsity of references to evil spirits in the Old Testament.
I must admit that there was a time when I was younger that I felt a little uncomfortable with the fact that Saul could really have behaved in the irrational way that is described in later chapters, for at first some of the incidents do appear to be a little far-fetched. For example we may ask, would Saul really have hurled a spear at his own firstborn son? Today, however, I have no difficulty whatsoever in believing them, for I have seen similar things with my own eyes, and in these cases it is often those nearest to the person, who are seen as plotting against them, who suffer the most. How Saul behaved was precisely how we could expect an untreated schizophrenic to behave. In such cases paranoia, delusion and rash actions, appearing outwardly to come from someone who at other times is in their right mind. These are all typical of certain types of schizophrenia, and the intensity of feeling and emotion can look very much like a person possessed by a spirit.
Note again the inclusio represented in 1 Samuel 16:14 and 1 Samuel 16:23, in 1 Samuel 16:14 the Spirit of YHWH departs from Saul and in 1 Samuel 16:23 when the Spirit-possessed David plays the evil spirit departs from him. In both the ‘evil spirit’ is troubling him.
a Now the Spirit of YHWH departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from YHWH troubled him (1 Samuel 16:14).
b And Saul’s servants said to him, “See now, an evil spirit from God troubles you. Let our lord now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skilful player on the harp, so it will be, when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he will play with his hand, and you will be well” (1 Samuel 16:15-16).
c And Saul said to his servants, “Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me” (1 Samuel 16:17).
d Then one of the young men answered, and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skilful in playing, and a brave man (a mighty man of valour), and a warrior-like man, and prudent in speech, and a comely person and YHWH is with him.” Which was the reason that Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the sheep” (1 Samuel 16:18-19).
c And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them to Saul by David his son. And David came to Saul, and stood before him, and he loved him greatly, and he became a close servant of his (‘the bearer of his things’) (1 Samuel 16:20-21).
b And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David, I pray you, stand before me, for he has found favour in my sight” (1 Samuel 16:22).
a And so it was that, when the spirit from God was on Saul, David took the harp, and played with his hand, so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him (1 Samuel 16:23).
1 Samuel 16:14
‘ Now the Spirit of YHWH departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from YHWH troubled him.’
The fact of the Spirit of YHWH having departed from Saul, and of his having been rejected as king by both YHWH and Samuel, would have been quite sufficient to trigger off clinical depression and schizophrenia if he were prone to it. The experience must have been extremely traumatic for him. And thus Saul found himself with his spirit being affected in a way that was unfortunate (‘an evil’ for him) and not good. The movement of dopamine in his brain became unbalanced, and he began to behave in strange ways. Compare the way ‘evil’ is used in Amos 3:6, ‘Shall there be evil on a city, and YHWH has not done it?’ (Compare Jeremiah 19:15; Jeremiah 21:10; Jeremiah 25:29; Jeremiah 39:16).
1 Samuel 16:15
‘ And Saul’s servants said to him, “See now, an evil spirit from God troubles you.” ’
Saul’s behaviour made his servants realise that he was ill in spirit and they described it in terms of ‘an evil spirit from God’ (compare Judges 9:23). In their eyes everything came from God. Thus this had to be true of whatever was disturbing Saul. It should, however, be noted that no attempt was made to seek an exorciser, or even to go to the sons of the prophets. They do not appear to have considered this a malignant spirit, but rather as something that affected his thoughts and behaviour at certain times.
1 Samuel 16:16
“ Let our lord now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skilful player on the harp, so it will be, when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he will play with his hand, and you will be well.”
His servants then suggested to Saul that he seek out a man skilled in music so that he could play for him when he was going through a bad patch, and assured him that if he did so it would make him well. The ancients had a great belief in the healing power of music, especially for those who were of unsound mind, and the fact that the music did seemingly help Saul serves to confirm that this was an illness and not spirit possession.
1 Samuel 16:17
‘ And Saul said to his servants, “Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me.” ’
Acknowledging the wisdom of their words Saul called on his servants to find such a musician, one who could ‘play well’, so that they could bring him to the court in order that that he might play for him.
1 Samuel 16:18
‘ Then one of the young men answered, and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skilful in playing, and a brave man (a mighty man of valour), and a warrior-like man, and prudent in speech, and a comely person and YHWH is with him.” ’
David’s reputation as a musician and a composer of songs had clearly got around, (he is later called ‘the sweet Psalmist of Israel’ - 1 Samuel 23:1) so that one of the young men who served Saul was able to tell him of David. His words of recommendation need not be interpreted literally but may be seen as being deliberately exaggerated, with the aim of making David acceptable to Saul, for he would know that Saul liked to have men such as the one described around him, while he might despise a David who was only a mere shepherd. David had certainly proved his valour in watching over his sheep, and he feared no one, and that reputation would clearly have spread around as such things always do. Here we learn also that he spoke wisely, was socially acceptable and had a genuine love for YHWH so that all recognised him as someone who truly knew YHWH.
1 Samuel 16:19
‘ Which was the reason that Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.” ’
And this was the reason why Saul decided to send for a shepherd boy to be his personal musician. Little did he realise the status of the one for whom he was sending. But the readers and hearers who were in the know would see in this the hand of YHWH. He had already begun to prepare David for what lay ahead. So all unconscious of this fact Saul sent to Jesse and asked that his son might come to court to play for him.
1 Samuel 16:20
‘ And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them to Saul by David his son.’
Honoured by the request Jesse sent a handsome present along with David so as to make him acceptable to the king. It was normal in those days to honour a king in this way. The content of the gift reflected the nature of Saul’s kingship, rustic and practical (like his palace/fortress as revealed by archaeology) rather than ostentatious and vainglorious.
1 Samuel 16:21
‘ And David came to Saul, and stood before him, and he loved him greatly, and he became a close servant of his (‘the bearer of his things’).’
The result was that David came to Saul, and he ‘stood in his presence’ as befitted a subject to a king. (You did not sit in a king’s presence). And he was so pleasing to Saul that he made him one of his close servants. The words for ‘armour-bearer’ or ‘bearer of stuff’ is used elsewhere of close servants, even those who did not carry armour. They were the ‘bearers of his stuff’ (compare the use of the word in 1 Samuel 17:22; Genesis 31:37; Genesis 43:11; Genesis 45:20; etc). Saul would have a number of ‘bearers of his stuff’, as did Joab later (2 Samuel 18:15). Nor must we take too literally that ‘he loved him greatly’. What this is indicating is that he was pleased enough with him to make him one of a number of close servants.
1 Samuel 16:22
‘ And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David, I pray you, stand before me, for he has found favour in my sight.” ’
That is why Saul sent to Jesse and requested that David might stay at the court permanently and stand before him as one of his young men, because David had won his favour.
1 Samuel 16:23
‘ And so it was that, when the spirit from God was on Saul, David took the harp, and played with his hand, so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.’
And the result was that whenever the ‘spirit from God’ (compare Judges 9:23) came on Saul, David would take his harp and play for him. And the result was that Saul’s spirit would be refreshed and become well and his evil mood would pass away. This all points to a psychiatric illness rather than to the world of evil spirits.
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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16". "Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany