Christian Churches of God
Samuel Anoints David
(Edition 1.0 20060816-20060816)
In this paper we see Saul is rejected as King and God’s Spirit leaves him. Samuel anoints David and the Spirit of the Lord comes upon David in power. We also see David triumph over Goliath, the Philistine giant. Chapters 86-88 of The Bible Story Volume IV by Basil Wolverton, published by Ambassador College Press have been adapted to form the basis of this paper.
Samuel Anoints David
Saul is rejected as King
One day Samuel came to see Saul about a most urgent matter.
"I have a message for you from the Lord," Samuel told Saul when they were alone. "As the one who anointed you king of Israel and who directed and advised you in many matters, you must believe me and act on what I am about to tell you."
Samuel then reminded Saul of how the Amalekites had so cruelly treated the Israelites when they had come up from Egypt over four hundred years previously (Ex. 17:8-14), and of God's promise to Israel that after the people were settled in Canaan, Israel would return to the land of Amalek to destroy the whole nation (Deut. 25:17-19).
"God has chosen this time to punish that nation," Samuel explained. "As king of Israel, it's your duty to take an army down to the land of this enemy and totally destroy all the cruel Amalekites, including women and children. No one within sight is to be left alive. No animal is to be taken as booty. Camels, donkeys, cattle and sheep are all to be destroyed!" (1Sam.15:1-3).
So Saul summoned his fighting force – two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men from Judah. Saul went to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the ravine. Then his army moved southward through the territories of Judah and Simeon (vv. 4-5).
Saul delayed his march to contact the leaders of the Kenites – people who had descended from a desert tribe of the Sinai Peninsula. When the Israelites were on their way up from Egypt, the Kenites helped them when they needed guidance across a desert region. The guide was Hobab (SHD 2246, cherished), a Kenite (1Chro. 2:55, of the sub-tribe of Kayin, of Midian) who helped lead them through the desert (Num. 10:29-32). Hobab was the son of Reuel or Raguel (meaning a friend of God, Ex. 2:18; 18:12; Jdg. 4:11), Moses' father-in-law, who was also called Jethro. Because the Kenites liked the Israelites, many of these people went with the Israelites into Canaan, where they were given land with the tribe of Judah (Jdg. 1:16; cf also Gen. 15:19; Num. 24:21; 1Sam 27:10; 30:29) with a branch in the north (Jdg. 4:11). There they lived just north of the Amalekites. There was considerable intermingling of the two peoples.
"We are moving against the Amalekites," Saul informed the Kenites. "Your people have been our friends ever since we came up from Egypt, so we are warning you now to separate from the Amalekites at once. Any of you who are with them when we attack might accidentally be killed along with our enemy!"
Within hours most of the Kenites had quietly departed from the country of the Amalekites (v.6). Then Saul attacked the Amalekites and killed them all except for the king, Agag. Saul and his army also spared the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs – everything that was good (vv. 7-9).
But Saul had been plainly told not to spare any Amalekite or anything that belonged to them. This disobedience was about to result in grave trouble for him.
God chooses David
While Saul and his soldiers were on their way back, following their triumph over the Amalekites, Samuel received a message from the Lord.
"Samuel, I am not pleased with the man I set on the throne of Israel," the Lord informed him. "He has rebelled. He refused to carry out all the things he was plainly told to do on this mission."
Samuel was grieved at this report. He was so sad that he spent all night praying that God would give Saul another opportunity to overcome his wilful ways (vv.10-11).
As dawn approached Samuel went to meet Saul, but he was told that Saul had gone to Carmel and there he had a monument erected in his own honour and then went on down to Gilgal (v.12).
When Samuel finally reached him, Saul said, “May God's blessing be on you. I have carried out the Lord’s instructions”.
"Then what are the many animal sounds that I am now hearing?" Samuel said.
"Oh, those are the herds my men brought back from the Amalekites," Saul answered. "They picked out the very best animals to bring back to sacrifice to God, and we totally destroyed the rest" (vv. 13-15).
"Stop!” Samuel said. "Just last night the Lord spoke to me. He reminded me that he had chosen you as Israel's leader when you had a humble attitude and thought of yourself as of little worth. But he is not pleased with you now because you more and more ignore his instructions and take matters into your own hands. You were sent to destroy ALL the Amalekites and ALL their belongings. Why haven't you obeyed?"
"But I did obey," Saul argued. "I saw that all the Amalekites were destroyed except their ruler, whom I brought back as proof of our victory. It was my men who insisted on bringing back the livestock for sacrificing to God."
"With God, obedience comes before burnt offerings and sacrifices," Samuel sternly reminded the king. "Disobedience is as bad as witchcraft in God's sight, and stubbornness such as yours is as evil as the worship of heathen idols! What your conduct adds up to is rebellion against God. Now I must tell you that God is rejecting you as king of Israel!" (vv. 16-23).
Saul stared unhappily at Samuel. He knew that the old prophet spoke the truth. Saul said, “I have sinned. I disobeyed the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them. Now I beg you to forgive my sin and go with me so that I may worship God."
Samuel replied, "I will not go with you. You have rejected the work of the Lord and He has rejected you as king over Israel" (vv. 24-26).
Samuel turned to leave and Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe and it tore.
Samuel said to Saul. "Just as my coat was torn from me, so shall the kingdom of Israel be torn from you at this time. Besides, the rulership shall be turned over to one of your neighbours – to one better than you – and God does not change His mind" (vv. 27-29).
Saul begged the prophet to go back with him so as to honour him before his people and the elders of Israel. So Samuel went back with Saul and Saul worshipped before God (vv. 30-31).
Then Samuel demanded that Agag, the Amalekite king, be brought before him. Agag came confidently before Samuel thinking he had escaped death.
Samuel said to Agag, "As your sword had made many women childless, so your mother will become childless!"
Samuel put Agag to death before the Lord at Gilgal, which is what Saul had refused to do (vv.32-33).
At this point some readers – particularly parents who are reading this account to their children – will be horrified at the bloody ending of Agag. But it should be pointed out that the Bible is the source of this account. It shows human nature as it really is. No part of the Bible should be kept from anyone, though many falsely believe that some areas of the Scriptures are unfit to read. That sort of thinking has helped to develop and promote the hundreds of so-called Christian sects that exist today. None of these churches can rightfully claim to be God's churches unless they teach ALL of the Bible as God inspired, and observe and keep ALL of God's rules for the right way of living.
Meanwhile, Samuel returned to Ramah and Saul went to his home in Gibeah. Until the day Samuel died he did not go to see Saul again, though he mourned for Saul. And the Lord was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel (vv. 34-35).
God did not make an error by making Saul king that He needed to be sorry about. God knows everything that is going to happen and He saw Saul’s heart and the need to make a change in the leadership. If a leader of God’s people does not obey God then he forfeits his right to rule. Even though Samuel cut off all contact with Saul he did not cease to pray and mourn for him. We also should pray for our leaders even though they sin.
"How long must you go on feeling sorry for Saul?" the Lord inquired of Samuel. "You know he is no longer king in my eyes, so forget about him. Fill your horn with olive oil for anointing and go to Bethlehem. I will send you to a man called Jesse. I have chosen one of his sons to be king."
God is now about to fulfil the promise made to the tribe of Judah.
"But Saul is very angry with me," Samuel told the Lord. "If I should be picked up by his men and if they should find out why I am going to Bethlehem, they would probably kill me."
"Don't be concerned," the Lord answered. "Take a young cow with you, and if anyone asks you questions, explain that you are taking the heifer for a sacrifice. When you arrive in Bethlehem, request that Jesse and his sons go with you to sacrifice. After that I shall let you know what to do" (1Sam.16:1-3).
Samuel did what the Lord said. When he reached Bethlehem the elders of the city trembled when they met him.
"We trust that you come on some mission of peace."
"I do," Samuel answered. I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Prepare yourselves as you should for sacrificing and come and join me."
Samuel then consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
When they got there Samuel saw Jesse’s son, Eliab, and he was greatly impressed by the size and the appearance of Eliab. He concluded at once that this was the man whom God had picked as the next leader of Israel (vv. 4-6).
But the Lord said to Samuel, "Don't try to determine what a man is like by his appearance only. I judge men by what is in their minds and hearts. This is not the man I have chosen to succeed Saul."
Jesse called in another son, Abinadab, who also impressed Samuel. But again the Lord told him that Abinadab wasn't the one. A third son, named Shammah, was brought in. Samuel was told not to anoint him either. Four more young men appeared, but Samuel was told that none of them was the right one.
"Are these all of your sons?" Samuel asked Jesse.
"I have another son, David, but he is my youngest and he is out taking care of our sheep."
Samuel said, "Send for him. We won't sit down until I see this David" (vv. 7-11).
A little later young David came in. Samuel noticed that he was the smallest of Jesse's sons, though with a fine appearance and handsome features.
"This is the one; rise up and anoint him,” the Lord said to Samuel. So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed David in the presence of his father and brothers. Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah (vv. 12-13).
At the same time a change was taking place in Saul. He became more irritable and worried. He had growing periods of depression, and suspected those about him as spies. The Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him (v.14).
David meets King Saul
Saul didn't fully realise that God had withdrawn from him that wonderful peace and soundness of mind that God gives to people who obey His Laws.
Saul's servants were so concerned over their master's behaviour that they suggested that he use music to bring him out of his periods of depression.
They said, “Let us search for someone who can play the harp. He will play when the evil spirit from the Lord comes upon you, and you will feel better" (vv.15-16).
Saul then told his servants to find someone who plays well.
One of his servants said, "I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the harp, He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and he is handsome. And the Lord is with him” (vv. 17 18).
Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep”.
So Jesse loaded a donkey with provisions of wine and bread, and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul (vv.19-20).
Then David entered Saul’s service. Saul liked him very much and Saul sent messengers to ask Jesse to let David remain in his service.
Whenever the evil spirit came upon Saul, David would play the harp and Saul would feel better. And the evil spirit would leave Saul (vv. 21-23). Here we see that David had power over the demons through the Holy Spirit.
Not long after David had grown out of his teens, the Philistine army gathered their forces for war against Israel. They camped at Ephes Dammin, between Socoh and Azekah. Saul and his army assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and were ready to meet the Philistines in battle. The Philistines were on one hill and the Israelites on another, with the valley between them (1Sam. 17:1-3).
A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall and had a bronze helmet on his head and wore heavy bronze armour. Added to all this were a large sword and spear. The spear shaft was like a pole, and the head on it was sharpened iron weighing more than eighteen pounds. The armoured man with the giant walked a few feet ahead with Goliath's shield. It was his task to protect the larger man from arrows, stones and spears (vv. 4-7).
Goliath stood and shouted to the Israelites. “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me we will become your subjects. But if I kill him you will be our subjects.”
Saul and his officers, who had been anxiously watching and listening, glanced at each other in fear. Here was a miserable situation that surely wasn't fair to the Israelites. It was embarrassing to Saul, who knew he was no match for the giant, although Israel's leader was a very tall, strong and skilful soldier. There was no one else among Saul's troops who could possibly stand up to the challenger (vv. 8-11).
It would have been easy for the Israelites to storm down the slopes and do away with Goliath by surrounding and attacking him, but such action would bring the Philistine army charging down into the valley. The Israelites were ready to defend their country in the event of an attack. But they didn't intend to provoke a battle that might mean their defeat.
For forty days the Philistine came out every morning and evening (v.16).
Meanwhile, David had continued the peaceful pursuit of herding sheep. He went back and forth from Saul to Bethlehem to tend his father’s sheep. His three oldest brothers were in Saul's army, and inasmuch as the camping troops depended to some extent on food from their families, David's father prepared to send some special provisions to his sons (vv. 12-15.)
"I'm sending you to the army camp with some things for your brothers and to see how they are faring," Jesse told David. "I'll hire a neighbour to take care of your flock tomorrow."
Next morning before sunrise David set out with a donkey loaded with a bushel of roasted grain, ten large flat loaves of bread and ten tasty cheeses.
David came to the camp at a time when the soldiers were shouting battle cries as Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. David left his things with the keeper of supplies and ran to the battle lines and to greet his brothers (vv. 17-22).
About this time Goliath stepped out of his lines and shouted his usual challenge. David heard how the giant challenged the Israelites and added his usual insults. The Israelites ran back in fear.
David learned that this had been going on for weeks, and that Saul had offered various rewards to Goliath's slayer, including great wealth, freedom from taxes and his daughter in marriage (vv. 23-25).
David then asked what would be done for the man who killed the Philistine and removed the disgrace from Israel. He said, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the army of the living God?”
Embarrassed at David's conduct, Eliab, his oldest brother, accused him of coming just to see a battle, and told him to go back home to his sheep. So David turned and spoke to another man and asked the same things. Eventually the matter was reported to Saul and he sent for David (vv. 26-32).
David said to Saul, "There's no more reason for anyone to fear this Philistine. I'll go down and fight him now."
David understood God’s purpose and he knew that with the Holy Spirit nothing could prevail against the armies of the living God.
"I admire your courage, young man," Saul told him, "but you would have no chance of coming out alive in a contest with this mountain of a man. You are young and untrained. He has been a professional soldier for years. "
David explained. "I herd sheep for my father, and once I killed a grown bear that had stolen a lamb. At another time a lamb was taken by a lion. I killed the powerful beast with my bare hands!"
"God made it possible for me to save both lambs by giving me the ability to slay both the lion and the bear. God will also help me slay the defiant, heathen Philistine who has defied the armies of the living God!"
Then Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you” (vv. 33-37).
Saul insisted that David put on his special armour for protection. Aides quickly outfitted him, even giving him Saul's very fine sword. But the metal equipment was heavy and David was not used to wearing them, so he took them off.
David took the staff he usually carried and chose five smooth stones from the stream and he slipped into the small shepherd's bag he wore attached to his belt along with his sling. Then he approached the Philistine (vv. 38-40).
David’s staff symbolised the rulership of Messiah and the power given to him through the Holy Spirit. The five smooth stones symbolised the five Churches of God, which make it into the Kingdom of God. The stones were selected from a stream representing the living waters of the Holy Spirit. The shepherd’s bag represents the protection of Messiah.
Meanwhile Goliath, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy and he hated him.
David against Goliath
Goliath said to David, “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?” And he cursed David by his gods.
"Come a little closer to me, he said, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field” (vv. 41-44).
David shouted to Goliath, "You have come here to fight with only the help of your sword and spear. You have only your armour and shield to protect you. I come here in the name of the mighty Lord, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have foolishly defied for the last forty days. You trust in your sword, spear, and shield. I trust in the living God. This day the Lord will hand you over to me and I’ll bring you to the ground and cut off your head! Then the birds and the beasts will have more food than they can eat, because today they'll feast on the carcasses of thousands of your fellow soldiers as well as on your own! All who see this thing or hear of it will realise that battles aren't decided by the plans of men and the strength of their armies. The battle is the Lord’s and he decides who shall win, and he will give you all into our hands" (vv. 45-47).
The Philistine moved forward to attack David and David ran to meet him. David took a stone out of his bag and slung it at the Philistine and it struck him on the forehead.
The giant's spear was never thrown. The stone sank into his forehead and he fell face down on the ground.
David rushed to the fallen giant. He took Goliath's weighty sword from the scabbard. After David killed the giant he cut off his head with the sword (vv. 48-51).
[Note: The story of David and Goliath contains much symbolism which is explained in the paper David and Goliath (No. 126).]
When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead they turned and ran. Then Saul’s army rushed forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the road.
When the Israelites returned from chasing the Philistines they took provisions and arms left in the Philistine camp, and destroyed everything they couldn't use (vv. 52-53).
Hours before, when David had gone out against Goliath, Saul had asked Abner, next in command of the Israelite army, if he knew who the young man was and from where he had come. Abner had assured Saul that he had no idea who David was.
When David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him to Saul. David was still holding the giant’s head.
“Whose son are you?” Saul asked David.
"I am David, the youngest son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem," David answered (vv. 54-58).
From that day, Saul kept David with him and he did not return to his father’s house (1Sam. 18:2). He played music to soothe Saul in his troubled times also.
In the days that followed, David and Saul's son, Jonathan, became close friends. Jonathan honoured David by presenting him with some of his costly military clothing and weapons. David was useful and well liked, particularly by Jonathan, and Saul made him an administrative officer of rank in his army. That didn't mean he was to start out by commanding men in battle, but that he had other duties of a lighter nature that nevertheless afforded him great respect. And he would be quickly trained to lead troops into battle (1Sam. 18:1, 3-5).
Then an incident took place that destroyed Saul's friendliness toward David. It was part of God's plan to eventually move David into power as king of Israel.
When the men returned home after David had killed the Philistine hero, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing. As they danced they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands”.
Saul was very angry. The crowd applauded David's name more than Saul’s. From that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David (1Sam. 18:6-9).
Next morning Saul awakened to find that he was in the same miserable condition that had bothered him in former times. He was wretched and depressed. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the harp as he usually did.
This was the first time that David's playing upset the Israelite leader instead of soothing him. All he could think of at the moment was how to get rid of the younger man. He seized the spear he often kept with him, and sent it hurtling toward David. But David eluded him twice (vv. 10-11).
Saul plots against David
Saul was afraid of David because the Lord was with him and had left Saul. So he sent David away from him and made him the commander of a thousand of his trained soldiers.
As the months passed, David proved himself an exceptionally capable leader of the troops given to his command. He conducted himself wisely at all times, at the same interval growing in favour with his soldiers and the people, to Saul's envy. David had success in everything he did because the Lord was with him (vv.12-16).
Saul said to David, "I will give you my older daughter, Merab for your wife. Of course from then on I'll expect you to serve me bravely and fight the battles of the Lord."
But Saul was thinking to himself that the Philistines would kill David and he would not have to raise his hand against him.
David said, "I am not from a wealthy or famous family. Who am I that I should become the king’s son-in-law?"
Saul had expected that David would eagerly accept his older daughter, and that the younger man's obligation to Saul would mean so much exposure in battle that David would soon be killed by the Philistines. When the time came for Merab to be given to David, she was given to another man instead.
David wasn't disappointed. Michal, Saul's younger daughter, was the one to whom he was more attracted, and Michal loved David.
Saul was happy when he heard the news that it was Michal whom David preferred and he started plotting again (vv. 17-21).
“Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law”, Saul said to David.
Saul instructed his servants to casually let David know that he was so well liked by Saul and those about him that it was hoped by all that he would soon marry Michal (v. 22).
They repeated Saul’s words to David but David
gave his usual answer, that he was a poor man and little known.
David's remarks were carried to Saul, who decided that the only obstacle to David's marriage to Michal was the inability of David and his family to contribute the costly gifts that would ordinarily be expected from the groom and his parents.
"As soon as the opportunity presents itself," Saul told his servants, "mention to David that I want no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on my enemies.” Again, it was Saul’s plan that the Philistines would kill David (vv. 23-25).
When David heard these things he was pleased to become the king’s son-in-law. So with his men David went out and killed two hundred Philistines (twice as many as required) and brought their foreskins back and presented them to the king. Then Saul gave Michal in marriage to David.
The Philistines continued to go out to do battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name became well known (v. 30, NIV).
When Saul realised that the Lord was with David he became more afraid of him and David remained his enemy for the rest of his days.
Saul’s dislike and fear of David led him to attempt to take David’s life whenever he saw the opportunity, but he does not succeed as we will see in the next study paper: Saul Tries to Kill David (No. CB90).
Other sources of Reference:
The New International Study Bible