Samuel is appointed to anoint one of the sons of Jesse king,
ver. 1 - 5.
The elder sons are passed by, and David anointed, ver. 6 - 13.
Saul growing melancholy is eased by David's music, ver. 14 - 23.
1: Mourn - And pray for his restitution, which the following words
imply he did. Oil - Which was used in the inauguration of kings. But
here it is used in the designation of a king; for David was not actually
made king by it, but still remained a subject. And the reason of this
anticipation was the comfort of Samuel, and other good men, against
their fears in case of Saul's death, and the assurance of David's
title, which otherwise would have been doubtful. I have provided - This
phrase is very emphatical, and implies the difference between this and the
former king. Saul was a king of the people's providing, he was the
product of their sinful desires: but this is a king of my own providing, to
fulfil all my will, and to serve my glory.
4: Trembled - Because it was strange and unexpected to them, this
being but an obscure town, and remote from Samuel, and therefore they
justly thought there was some extraordinary reason for it.
Peaceable - The Hebrew phrase, comest thou in peace, is as much as
to say (in our phrase) is all well?
5: He sanctified - It seems evident that there was something peculiar
in Jesse's invitation. For first, both he and his sons were invited,
whereas the others were only invited for their own persons. Secondly, the
different phrase here used, that he sanctified these, when he only bade
the other sanctify themselves; argues a singular care of Samuel in
their sanctification. Which makes it probable, that the rest were only to
join with them in the act of sacrificing; but these, and only these, were
invited to feast upon the remainders of the sacrifices.
6: Before him - That is, in this place where God is now present.
For it is observable, that not only the sacrifice is said to be offered, but
even the feast upon the remainders of it is said, to be eaten before the
Lord, (De 12:7), that is, before or near his altar, where God was
present in a special manner. This I take to be the person I am sent to
anoint: wherein yet be was mistaken, as other prophets sometimes were, when
they hastily spake their own thoughts, before they had consulted God.
10: Seven - There are but seven named, (1Ch 2:13-15), because
one of them was either born of a concubine: or, died immediately after this
11: Keepeth sheep - And consequently is the most unfit of all my sons
for that high employment. Either therefore he did not understand David's
wisdom and valour, or he judged him unfit, by reason of his mean education.
And God so ordered it by his providence, that David's choice might
plainly appear to be God's work, and not Samuel's, or Jesse's.
David signifies beloved: a fit name for so eminent a type of the
Beloved Son. It is supposed, David was now about twenty years old.
If so, his troubles by Saul lasted near ten years: for he was thirty
years old when Saul died. Samuel having done this went to Ramah.
He retired to die in peace, since his eyes had seen the salvation, even the
sceptre brought into the tribe of Judah.
13: Anointed him - David's brethren saw David's unction, yet
did not understand, that he was anointed to the kingdom; but were only told
by Samuel, that he was anointed to some great service, which hereafter
they should know. Thus Jesse only, and David, understood the whole
business, and his brethren were able to attest to that act of Samuel's
anointing him, which, with other collateral evidences, was abundantly
sufficient to prove David's right to the kingdom, if need should be.
The spirit, &c, - That is, he was immediately endowed with extraordinary
gifts of God's Spirit, as strength, and courage, and wisdom, and other
excellent qualities which fitted him for, and put him upon noble attempts.
14: Departed - God took away that prudence, and courage, and alacrity,
and other gifts wherewith be had qualified him for his public employment.
From the Lord - That is, by God's permission, who delivered him up to be
buffeted of Satan. Troubled - Stirred up in him unruly and tormenting
passions; as envy, rage, fear, or despair. He grew fretful, and peevish,
and discontented, timorous and suspicious, frequently starting and
16: Be well - And the success confirms their opinion. For although
music cannot directly have an influence upon an evil spirit to drive him
away; yet, because the devil, as it seems, had not possession of him, but
only made use of the passions of his mind, and humours of his body to molest
him: and because it is manifest, that music hath a mighty power to qualify
and sweeten these, and to make a man sedate and chearful; it is not strange,
if the devil had not that power over him when his mind was more composed,
which he had when it was disordered; as the devil had less power over
lunaticks in the decrease, than in the increase of the moon:(Mt 17:15,18). And seeing music prepared the Lord's prophets for the
entertainment of the good Spirit, as (2Ki 3:15). Why might it not
dispose Saul to the resistance of the evil spirit? And why might not the
chearing of his heart, in some measure strengthen him against those
temptations of the devil, which were fed by his melancholy humour?
And by this means, David without any contrivance of him or his friends,
is brought to court, soon after he was anointed to the kingdom. Those whom
God designs for any service, his providence will concur with his grace, to
prepare and qualify them for it.
18: Prudent - Wonder not, that David was so suddenly advanced,
from a poor shepherd, to so great a reputation; for these were the effects
of that Spirit of the Lord which he received when he was anointed.
The Lord, &c. - That is, directs and prospers all his undertakings.
20: Sent him - This present, though in our times it would seem
contemptible, yet was very agreeable to the usage of those times, and to the
condition of Jesse, which was but mean in the world. And it seems to
have been the custom of those times, (as it is yet in the eastern countries)
when they made their appearance before princes, or great persons, to bring a
21: Stood before him - That is, waited upon him. And he loved
him greatly - So there was something good in Saul still: he had not
lost all, tho' he had lost the kingdom. Armour - bearer - He had that place
conferred upon him, though we do not read that he ever exercised it; for
it seems he was gone back to his father upon some occasion not related;
and had abode with him some considerable time before the war described,(1Sa 17:1-53 ), happened.
23: Departed - Namely, for a season. And the reason of this success,
may be, partly natural, and partly, supernatural, respecting David; whom
God designed by this means to bring into favour with the king, and so to
smooth the way for his advancement.