The Lord sends Samuel to the house of Jesse (son of Ruth and Boaz) to anoint one of his sons as the new king. When Samuel arrives, he is sure that the tall one, Eliab, must be the one. But God tells him that he is not, and that He does not judge man by appearance, but by their heart. After going through all of Jesse’s sons, he finds that the least likely, David (the youngest, who is tending the sheep) is actually the one. Once again, we find it to be the case that God often uses the one we least expect for His work.
Samuel anointed him in verse 13 and “the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward.” Then, verse 14 tells us that “the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul,” making a significant statement of the rejection and shift of favor. Some commentators take the meaning of the “harmful spirit” that tormented Saul as being a mental disorder. Others see it as more demonic. Either way, Saul clearly is irrational at many times from this point forward. By God’s providence, his servants suggest music to soothe him, and they just happen to know of a skillful musician with a lyre – David, who becomes favored in Saul’s court for this, as well as becoming Saul’s armor-bearer.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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