I Samuel 16:14-23

The Arrival of David in the Court of Saul (1 Samuel – 16:14-23) As noted above, the two halves of Chapter 16 are linked together in various ways and therefore constitute a literary unit. First, David being “seized” (in the Hebrew) by the spirit of Yahweh (vs. 13) and Saul’s request to “send” (the same Hebrew word) David to him links both halves. Second, God’s choice of a king undergirds both halves. Finally, the transfer of power from David to Saul – in relationship to each other – ties both halves together [2]. While these facts tie together the two halves literarily, I want to comment only on the irony in the second half of this chapter. I want to comment on the irony embedded in the statement “an evil spirit from the Lord” and the irony of God’s choice of David. Irony – “An evil spirit from the Lord” How ironic that a holy God would choose to use an evil spirit. Before you throw up your hands in protest, note the following: 1) The normal translation “an evil spirit from the Lord” is not adequate for the Hebrew original. It is probably better translated “the spirit of Yahweh which brings forth disaster” [3]. 2) As David M. Howard, Jr. has noted: “This was a tragic and momentous occasion for Saul: It is the only time in the OT that YHWH’s spirit is said specifically to have left someone, and we see in 18:12 that Saul understood the import of this. He had forfeited the presence of YHWH Himself.” [1] And like a vacuum, something always rushes in to fill in the space. In this case, a spirit of evil – no longer restrained by the Spirit of God – rushes into the vacuum Saul’s loss of favor has created [2]. 3) That God uses alien spirits to serve Him is taken for granted in the OT. Everything ultimately was attributed to Him. Or stated a different way: “Saul’s evil bent was by the permission and plan of God” [3]. Practical Application – Walking in faith and obedience – being in God’s favor – protects us from our own sinful nature and evil...

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1 Samuel 16:1-13

The Anointing of David (1 Samuel – 16:1-13) What caused the city elders to be terrified (vs. 4) at the unexpected visit of Samuel? Did they think that this was a disciplinary visit? Had Samuel gotten wind of some injustice or wickedness in their community? Did they think this put the city in a dangerous position? Everyone knew of the big, falling-out between Samuel and Saul. If they received Samuel, would Saul take revenge on the city? Did they just react to Samuel’s seriousness? No one knows for sure what they were thinking. They were just plain terrified! Fortunately, Samuel calms their fears by telling them that he came in peace. He came to sacrifice to the Lord. He instructs them to consecrate themselves and come to the feast with him (vs. 5). There is still something hidden here. No one in the city dreamed that Samuel had come to anoint one who would rule God’s kingdom in this world. But even Samuel lacked the whole story. God had only told him that he would find the one from among Jesse’s sons. Just like the city elders, Samuel was a spectator in God’s choice of a new king. That is the theme of Chapter 16 – God’s choice. [1] The Hope in God’s Choice (vs. 1) Saul’s failure (“for Saul”) weighed heavily on Samuel. Wherever he went, it followed him like a dark cloud. It could have been sorrow over Saul’s rebellion and rejection. It could have been mourning that this sin could result in Israel’s disintegration. In either case, the grief prompted God to ask: “How long will you go on mourning for Saul?” (vs. 1) Fortunately, God’s orders answer Samuel’s grief and fears. “Fill your horn with oil and go; I want to send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have seen among his sons a king for me.” Or as The New-England Primer states for the letter “S” – “Samuel anoints whom God appoints.” [2] There it is – God’s answer. I have found for me a king [3]. God has a plan for a new beginning. The true King never loses control. God’s answer, God’s choice spells H-O-P-E. Practical...

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