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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

1 Samuel 16

 

 

Verses 1-13

THIRD DIVISION

The Decline Of Saul’s Kingdom, And The Elevation Of David. From Saul’s Rejection To His Death

1 Samuel 16-31

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FIRST SECTION

Early History of David, the Anointed of the Lord

1 Samuel 16

I. Choice and Anointing of David as King through Samuel. Chap: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

1And the Lord [Jehovah] said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided[FN1] me a king 2 among his sons. And Samuel said, How can I go? If Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the Lord [Jehovah] said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come 3 to sacrifice to the Lord [Jehovah]. And call Jesse to the sacrifice,[FN2] and I will show thee what thou shalt do; and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name 4 unto thee. And Samuel did[FN3] that which the Lord [Jehovah] spake, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town [city][FN4] trembled at his coming [went 5 tremblingly to meet him], and said, Comest thou peaceably [in peace]?[FN5] And he said, Peaceably [In peace]; I am come to sacrifice unto the Lord [Jehovah]; sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.[FN6] And he sanctified Jesse and 6 his sons, and called them to the sacrifice. And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab and said, Surely the Lord’s [Jehovah’s] anointed Isaiah 7 before him. But [And] the Lord [Jehovah] said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance [appearance],[FN7] or [nor] on the height of his stature, because [for] I have refused him; for the Lord [Jehovah] seeth[FN8] not as man seeth, for man looketh 8 on the outward appearance, but the Lord [Jehovah] looketh on the heart. Then [And] Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, 9Neither hath the Lord [Jehovah] chosen this [him]. Then [And] Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the Lord [Jehovah] chosen this10[him]. Again, [And] Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And 11 Samuel said unto Jesse,[FN9] The Lord [Jehovah] hath not chosen these. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children [the young men]? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said 12 unto Jesse, Send and fetch him, for we will not sit down till he come hither. And he sent and brought him in. Now [And] he was ruddy,[FN10] and [om. and] withal of a beautiful countenance [with beautiful eyes withal], and goodly[FN11] to look to13[at]. And the Lord [Jehovah] said, Arise, anoint him, for this is Hebrews 11Then [And] Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren. And the Spirit of the Lord [Jehovah] came upon David from that day forward. So [And] Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1 Samuel 16:1, exhibiting Samuel in deep grief for Saul, connects itself immediately with 1 Samuel 15:35. We find him here in the same sorrow in which we left him. Samuel mourned for Saul in view of the great gifts of grace which he had received, but had nullified and lost by his disobedience and impenitence, in view of the Lord’s honor, which he had violated, and in view of the people, for whom he had by his conduct turned God’s blessing into a curse. Samuel’s grief was an expression of the same love which drove him to intercession for Saul and at the same time filled him with holy anger ( 1 Samuel 15:11). It was sorrow for Saul’s rejection, but there was not (Brenz, Tremellius) connected with it prayer for the restoration of Saul to his former relation to God and for the renewal of his kingdom, of which nothing is said.—The question: How long? contains a divine reproof, indicating (so the words: “seeing I have rejected him from being king over Israel”) that Samuel by his deep, long-continued grief over Saul’s condition (a lamentable one under all circumstances and evermore) was out of sympathy with God and God’s decrees and ways, which are clearly announced in these words and in 1 Samuel 15:35. Calvin: “The excellent prophet here displays something of human weakness. Samuel here looked on a vessel made by the invisible hand of God Himself utterly broken and minished, and his emotion thereat shows his pious and holy affection,—yet he is not without sin; not at all that the feeling is evil, but because it is excessive.” From his own sad thoughts and feelings Samuel is directed through the Spirit of the Lord to the thoughts and the will of the Lord in respect to the Theocracy, as organ of which Saul is rejected. [Comp. the similar dealing with Elijah, 1 Kings 19—Tr.]. The Lord commands him to enter into His ways, which are to lead to the choice and consecration of another as instrument of the royal authority of God over His people. The divine command is: Go and anoint one of the sons of Jesse the Bethlehemite, whom I have chosen to be king over Israel.—This command presupposes an exact acquaintance on Samuel’s part with Jesse and his house, and the presence in his family of the conditions necessary for the theocratic kingdom. That the family was a wealthy one is certain from 1 Samuel 16:11. That true godliness and piety reigned in it appears from Samuel’s acquaintance and intercourse with it, and the sacrifice which he held in the house.

1 Samuel 16:2. Heretofore Samuel had grieved for Saul—now he fears him: How can I go? if Saul hear it he will slay me.—This protest against the plain direction of the voice of God rests naturally on the fact that Saul was still, notwithstanding the divine sentence of rejection, rightful king of Israel, and would regard the designation of another to the office (if it could not be kept concealed from him) as an act of treachery and revolt, even though Samuel should plead the divine command in his justification. “He will kill me,”—to explain these words, therefore, we need not suppose that the evil spirit had already driven Saul to madness. Even if that were the case, Saul might in his seasons of quiet also resolve to slay the betrayer of the kingdom.—This fear of Samuel is overborne by inspired direction as to what he is to do to conceal the act; he is to go to hold a sacrificial feast, and so announce himself. This divine command supposes that Samuel did not confine his circuits to certain holy places ( 1 Samuel 7:16) where the people appeared in large Numbers, but visited other places to hold public divine service, and that Jesse consequently could not be surprised at his appearing in Bethlehem for such a purpose. Berl. Bib.: “People must have been accustomed to Samuel’s coming to this place and the other to sacrifice, which was very proper for a prophet, especially at the time when Shiloh was desecrated.” This throws a new light on Samuel’s combination of priestly work with prophetical.—No shade of untruthfulness rests on this command. As Saul’s anointing ( 1 Samuel 10:16) was concealed, so David’s anointing also Isaiah, according to the divine will, yet to remain a secret. Samuel was to keep this secret. Its concealment behind the sacrifice was not a lie.[FN12] Calvin: “It is to be observed that he practiced no simulation, but said what was true, namely, that he had come to sacrifice; but he put fraud on no one, he deceived no one, he used no bad arts, but conformed to the divine command, because it was not meet to publish God’s design, when as yet God wished it to be concealed;—here lurked no falsehood, and the end was good, unconnected with fraud or treachery, but God wished David’s anointing to be carefully kept as a secret deposit, so to speak, and a pledge.”

1 Samuel 16:3. The performance of the divine commission in the sacrificial feast. Three directions are to be distinguished: 1) Samuel is to invite Jesse to the sacrificial meal; it is a slain-offering (זֶבַח) that is spoken of, with which was connected a feast; he is to be associated with Jesse in the feast in the narrower circle of the family. “Call in the sacrifice” is construct. prœgn. for “call to take part in the sacrifice;” 2) Samuel is to await direction from above. “I will tell thee what thou shalt do.” This exhibits the specifically divine factor (of which Samuel is to be organ) in the choice of the new king of Israel; 3) He is to anoint as king him whom God shall name.

1 Samuel 16:4. And Samuel did, etc. The troubled condition of soul which could not accept God’s thoughts and ways disappeared before the strict obedience of the will, which bowed before the Lord’s will. The elders of Bethlehem came tremblingly to meet him with the question: Comest thou in peace? (The Sing. וַיֹּאמֶר “said,” because one spoke in the name of all. Comp. Judges 8:6; Numbers 32:25). This question does not mean “Has a misfortune occurred, as the cause of thy coming?” nor does it express fear of punishment for some special misdoing (in the pillaging) in the Amalekite war, but it is the involuntary utterance of the fear which Samuel’s sudden, unexpected appearance produced; for though he no longer formally held the office of Judges, he yet appeared here and there (as formerly in his judicial circuits) to make unexpected visitation and exercise his watch-office as prophet. On such occasions it was his principal care to administer earnest rebuke, and to remove the evil that he found. To this refers the fright of the elders at meeting him, and the question whether he came in peace or for good?

1 Samuel 16:5. He answers the question in the affirmative and so quiets the Bethlehemites, declares the purpose of his coming to be to institute a sacrifice for the people of Bethlehem, and directs them to sanctify themselves and take part with him in the sacrifice. The “sanctifying” means the consecration of the person to the service of God by washing the body and putting on clean garments as symbol of the cleansing of the soul for communion with the holy God. Comp. Genesis 35:2; Exodus 19:10; Exodus 19:22. (The same pregnant construction here as in 1 Samuel 16:3). While directing the elders to take part in the offering, Samuel gives a special invitation to Jesse and his sons (by the same direction, to sanctify themselves) to partake of the sacrificial meal with him. [It is to be observed that the Heb. text here makes no difference between the invitation to Jesse’s family and the general invitation to the elders. The Sept. and the Chald. make the former refer to the sacrifice and the latter to the sacrificial meal. It seems that there was a special meeting with Jesse and his sons, but it is not so stated in the text. After 1 Samuel 16:5, indeed, nothing more is said of the sacrifice, the narrative taking this for granted, and going on to the main occurrence.—Tr.].—After the ark was removed from the Tabernacle and Shiloh had thus ceased to be the place of worship and sacrifice for Israel, there were several places where altars for sacrifices were erected. The offering of the sacrifice is here to be put after 1 Samuel 16:5, and not (Then.) after the words “in the midst of his brethren” 1 Samuel 16:13, for the “coming” in 1 Samuel 16:6 refers to the feast, as appears from the words in 1 Samuel 16:11, “we will not sit down,” and from the general connection. Samuel thought (lit, said) that Jesse’s eldest Song of Solomon, Eliab, was surely the Lord’s anointed.

1 Samuel 16:7. The difference is sharply stated between the divine thoughts and human judgment according to human standards. The voice of God inwardly teaches Samuel two things: 1) in respect of Eliab’s person, he is not to infer from his imposing exterior that he was the chosen of the Lord. With this humbling correction, which connects itself with 1 Samuel 16:1-2, he is taught2) a general truth respecting the difference between divine and human modes of thought and judgment: Not what man sees—to which we must supply the words “sees the Lord.” This ellipsis is not so hard as to require us to suppose (Then.) that these words have fallen out of the text. The thought naturally fills itself out from what precedes. The ground of the truth, that human judgment and divine judgment are not the same but different, is now declared.—For man looks on the eyes, but the Lord looks on the heart, that Isaiah, man judges according to the outward appearance,—the expression “the eyes” is not (with Sept.) to be exchanged for “countenance,” but to be retained as signifying the outward appearance, which concentrates itself in the eyes, in contrast with the heart or the centre of the inner life, whence springs man’s will and his whole spiritual frame. Not according to the agreeable appearance which commends itself to the eyes, but according to the moral worth hidden in the depths of the heart, according to the disposition of soul that pleases Him does the Lord Judges, who proveth the heart and the reins.[FN13]

1 Samuel 16:8. The same decision is announced with reference to the second Song of Solomon, Abinadab. And so 1 Samuel 16:9 as to the third, Shammah. Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel’s decision, according to the voice of God within him, is always negative. The “he said” in 1 Samuel 16:8-9 refers to Samuel, and = “he thought.” We are, therefore, not thence to suppose that Samuel had communicated to Jesse the object of his mission. It is not till 1 Samuel 16:10 that the words “to Jesse” are added, expressly indicating an address of Samuel to him: the Lord hath not chosen these. It does not, however, follow, even from these words, that Samuel made Jesse a sharer in the divine secret. According to the following narrative none of the family (David’s father and brothers), know anything of David’s high destiny. That address to Jesse is merely a negative declaration that the divine selection, with which Samuel was concerned, and which in the absence of express intimation of its nature, might refer to the prophetic office, rested on none of these seven sons. Samuel’s word was by reason of its indefiniteness a riddle, whose solution Jesse was to attain only from the following development of the history of his youngest son.

1 Samuel 16:11. To Samuel’s question whether these are all the young men, Jesse answers that the youngest yet remains.[FN14] The prophet of the Lord is not satisfied with the presentation of the seven sons; he bids the father send for the youngest, before they sit down to the sacrificial meal. נָסֹב = “we will not surround,” namely, the table, we will not sit around it to eat till he come. So De Wette, Ewald, Maurer. The explanation: “we will not turn about, namely, to proceed to something else, but will remain here waiting” (Then, Bött.) does not suit the situation as given by the context.

1 Samuel 16:12. David’s appearance, ruddy, of the color of the hair, red hair being regarded in the East (as contrasting with the usual black color) as especially beautiful. עִם (as 1 Samuel 17:42; Ecclesiastes 2:16) used adverbially = “at the same time,” “withal;beautiful of eyes and good, pleasing in appearance. In this youngest son were united the beauty of the oldest, and that which is well-pleasing to the Lord, what “the Lord looks on,” a heart and mind after the will and good pleasure of the Lord ( 1 Samuel 16:7). And so the divine decision is announced to Samuel: Arise, anoint him, for this is he. He is thus freed from all doubts and suspicions. Sure of his course, Samuel ( 1 Samuel 16:13) performs the ceremony of anointing David (the object and meaning of the act being still an enigma to Jesse and his other sons) in the midst of his brethren or from among [Germ. unter] his brethren; the Heb. preposition (בְּקֶרֶב) may mean either. Thenius adopts the latter on the ground that the brothers had gone away, but this is not required by the narrative. Samuel’s words in the second half of 1 Samuel 16:11 rather imply that they were all there. [Abarbanel and Philippson also adopt this view of the word, “among” his brethren, that Isaiah, “he alone of his brethren,” because this better explains their after ignorance.—Tr.]. In any case the special significance, which God designed this anointing to have, was hidden from them. Anointing was always a symbol of the divine impartation of the Spirit from above on the Anointed. The impartation began immediately for David: The Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.—This could not have happened, if the religious-ethical conditions had not been present in David’s heart. This impartation of the Spirit was (along with the general gift of the divine Spirit) the special endowment with gifts and powers for the special theocratic royal calling, to which David was chosen and consecrated by this anointing according to divine decree and will. The word “from that day forward” denotes the continuity of the impartation of the Spirit to David’s inner life, and indicates its unbroken development under the guidance of the divine Spirit to full fitness and capacity for the royal calling. Keil properly calls attention to the fact that nothing is here said of any explanatory word of Samuel touching this point, as in Saul’s anointing, 1 Samuel 10:1. Whether David was now informed by Samuel of the meaning of the act is uncertain. Most probably he was not informed, since it was performed in the presence of the brothers, and its object was (according to the will of God) to remain concealed from them and the people. [It seems likely that a royal destiny for David would be the last thing in the minds of his brothers, for his higher intellectual and spiritual gifts were apparently at this time unknown to them. Gradually the course of events led them and the people (so Abigail 1 Samuel 25:30) and probably Saul ( 1 Samuel 28:17) to look on David as Saul’s successor, and David would receive intimations concerning his destiny from Samuel. There Isaiah, therefore, no serious difficulty in understanding the silence of the brothers in the succeeding history.—Tr]. Samuel went to Ramah. That David was in constant communication with him (and perhaps with the prophetic school there) is quite certain from the following history. Comp19, 20 sq. In this intercourse with the prophet of the Lord he learned the meaning of Samuel s enigmatical Acts, and, under the progressive occupation and enlightenment of his inner life by the Spirit from above, received the knowledge of the duties of his royal calling and the preparation to fulfill them. For the present his election and anointing to be king of Israel remained a divine secret.

HISTORICAL AND THEOLOGICAL

1. The affairs of the kingdom of God go their way without break or halt according to God’s high thoughts and decrees, though human sin and its attendant judgment (as in Saul’s case), or human weakness (as in Samuel’s immediate grief for Saul) may seem to hinder the plans of the divine wisdom. “In the history of Israel the concealing curtain of human purpose and action is lifted, and the thus unveiled, all-moving and all-guiding hand of Him of whom it is written, ‘He worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will’ ( Ephesians 1:11), appears therein” (F. W. Krummacher, David, p1). But it is also precisely by human sin and foolishness that the history of God’s kingdom under the guidance of the divine wisdom and providence receives new occasions and impulses to wider and higher development according to the aims which God sets before Himself.

2. Samuel’s grief for Saul, transgressing the bounds set by God and thus displeasing to Him, is easily explicable psychologically not merely from natural human feeling, but also from Samuel’s theocratic calling and prophetic official interest. Considered from this point of view also it is not in conflict with Samuel’s immovable prophetic opposition to Saul and his sentence of rejection, but is at the same time the most striking refutation of the false conception of Samuel’s relation to Saul in this prophetic-judicial bearing towards him, which makes the latter a pitiable sacrifice to priestly jealousy and one-sidedness (see the literature in Winer, to which is to be added M. Dunker, Geschichte des Alterthums I.).

3. The concealing of the truth, when there is no design to deceive, when its utterance is required by no duty, and when the interests of the moral order of the world and of the kingdom of God are in no wise injured, is far from being untruthfulness, much less falsehood; it is rather duty and obedience to the divine will.

4. The beginnings of David’s theocratic life, as they present themselves in his election and calling to be king of Israel, have their roots (when we look back in the light of the divine history of revelation) in the consecrated ground of a family in Judah distinguished in history for piety and godliness, which belonged with its traditions to the shepherd-city of Bethlehem. The family whence Jesse sprang was from the beginning one of the most prominent in the tribe of Judah. One of its ancestors, Nahshon, stood at the head of the whole tribe in the march through the wilderness ( Ruth 4:20; Numbers 1:7; Numbers 2:3). “How remarkably the noblest and loveliest theocratic piety was nourished in this family, even in the degenerate times of the Judges, appears in the history of Ruth and Boaz; the latter a type of theocratic integrity, the former a truly consecrated flower of heathendom turning longingly to the light of divine revelation in Israel” (Kurtz in Herz. III, 299). Jesse, the son of Obed, was the grandson of this Boaz. His intimacy with Samuel speaks for his piety and that of his family. David was the noblest scion of this family, far excelling his brothers ( 1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Samuel 16:10) in heart-piety and theocratic feeling. His posture of heart, which stood the divine test and was well-pleasing to God, was the fruit of the piety of his father’s house, whence sprang the humble, consecrated disposition[FN15] in which, after his anointing, he ripened more and more in soul under the guidance of God’s Spirit to his high calling of theocratic royalty, coming by manifold experiences to a constantly clearer knowledge of this calling, and so guided by the Lord that not only the riddle of his dumb consecration was ever approaching solution, but also “from the course of events (connected with Samuel’s former words to Saul) others, as Jonathan, and even Abigail, concluded that David was destined to be king, 1 Samuel 23:17; 1 Samuel 20:30” (v. Gerl.).—But also, when we look forward in the light of divine Revelation, the early part of David’s consecrated life contains many typical elements as factual prophecies or prefigurations of the future. His shepherd-life,[FN16] continued after he was anointed, in which on the one hand self-consecrated he immerses himself in the contemplation of God’s revelation in nature and in His word, and on the other hand must be ready at any moment to meet the greatest dangers and exhibit boldness and prowess ( 1 Samuel 17:34-37), presents on these two sides types of his religious life as king, the Spirit of God developing on the basis of this double natural ground two sides of his character, which not merely co-exist, but are interwoven with each other: 1) intensively the innermost concentration and immersion of his thoughtful, meditative heart into the depths of God’s revelation of His power, grace, and wisdom in nature, word, history, and into the depths of the sinful human heart, whence sprang in his psalms partly the inspired praise of God with furtherance and deepening in every direction of the knowledge of God, partly advance in the knowledge of the natural grace-lacking condition of the human heart; 2) extensively his admirable energy and heroic courage in the life of conflict, which he had evermore to lead. In the hiddenness of his royal calling from the people, the gradual ripening of his inner life for his office and the lowliness of the sphere whence he was raised to the throne, he is a type of Christ who, sprung from him according to the flesh, and by the prophets called “Son of David” and “Sprout of Jesse” ( Isaiah 11:1; Isaiah 11:10), passes his holy youth in privacy, gradually develops therein for his Messianic calling, and then at the end of this divine-human development steps forth from the lowliness of a natural-human life as the king of Israel, who completes in his person and work God’s revelations for the establishment of His kingdom on earth, and therein enters on the war of subjugation against the ungodly world. From David’s quiet anointing in the modest family-circle at Bethlelem to be King David, up to the birth, in the obscurity of a stall at Bethlehem, of the “Son of David,” the “King of the Jews,” there is an unbroken series of divine Revelation, the beginning and end of which are bound together by the descent of the Saviour of the world from the Tribe of Judah “according to the flesh.” And as heathendom entered the principal line of the tribe of Judah (whence came Jesse’s house and David) in three distinguished women,[FN17] thus sharing in the derivation of the Messiah from Jesse’s family,—and so the impulse implanted (by the fundamental blessing, Genesis 12:3) in the seed of Abraham towards union with heathendom, which takes mostly a thoroughly perverted direction in all Israel’s early history, showed itself in this family (consciously or unconsciously) in a normal and truly theocratic way—so we see, at the end of this development of the kingdom of God in Israel which goes from Bethlehem to Bethlehem, heathendom approaching in Bethlehem the new-born king of the Jews (having a natural right in Him because of its natural God-ordained share in His incarnation) in order to pay Him its homage. [This last statement expresses a parallelism, not a typical relation. That certain heathen women accepted the God of Israel, and that certain heathen astronomers believed in the divinely-sent king of the Jews are both facts illustrative of the promise to Abraham, but we cannot call them type and antitype, since they express not an essential principle, but a concomitant phenomenon of the fact of redemption. So the numerous cases in which God raised His servants from low to high position (as in David’s life) are illustrations of a mode of divine action, and thus parallel to our Lord’s history, but the relation of the events in the Old and New Covenants is not that of type and antitype, since they express an incidental and not an essential spiritual principle. David, as prophet and king, is a type of the true prophet and king, and his experiences as a spiritual-minded man answer to the experiences of the man Jesus; but we cannot apply the term typical (without an unworthy lowering of its meaning) to all the outward resemblances between their lives.—Tr.]

5. The word: “Man looks on the eyes, God looks on the heart,” like that other: “Obedience is better than sacrifice” ( 1 Samuel 15:22) refers to the right condition of heart in a truly pious, humble disposition towards God the Lord. As we see clearly the difference between God’s word and man’s, between God’s thoughts and man’s, when Samuel says to himself “this or that one is the chosen one,” and the Spirit from above says to his heart “no,” and points him to one of whom he had not thought,—so we see according to their different standards the difference between divine and human judgment. The natural man judges according to the outward and visible; God, who proves and knows the heart and the reins ( Psalm 139:1-2; Psalm 44:22, 21]), judges according to the character of the heart and the direction of the will, according to the disposition of soul.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1 Samuel 16:1. Berlenb. Bible: We may indeed have compassion upon every one who is wretched because of his sin; but when God’s rejection is seen in continual hardening, that man must be given over to God’s righteous judgment.—God demands in the souls He sets apart for Himself and for the guidance of others, such a dying to all things, that He does not allow them to regard any other interest than His, whatever reason may be alleged.—Schlier: The Lord reproves Samuel, who had indeed meant well, but had not thought rightly; even a Samuel had to subject himself to God’s will, and with his whole mind and life send himself forward in God’s ways.

1 Samuel 16:2 sqq. Starke: Faint-heartedness and feebleness is found even in the best saints, Matthew 8:26.—[Henry: From this it appears1. That Saul was grown very wicked2. That Samuel’s faith was not very strong.—Tr.]—S. Schmid: In doubtful, trying and perilous circumstances it is best to ask God for counsel.—Cramer: A wise man is silent until he sees his time; but a fool cannot wait for the time, Ecclesiastes 20:7; Ecclesiastes 3:7; Genesis 37.; Judges 16:16.—J. Lange: There is a great difference between an untruth, when one says what is false, and silence, when one prudently keeps to himself what it is not necessary for others to know, 1 Samuel 10:15-16.—[We are not bound to tell everything unless we profess to be so doing, or the person asking has such peculiar relations to us as to warrant his expecting it. From failing to distinguish between deception and concealment, some persons condemn concealment and many justify deception. See an excellent discussion, with particular reference to this passage, in Thornwell’s “Discourses on Truth.”—Tr.]—Berl. Bible: Samuel speaks the truth, though he does not speak all the truth, but partly conceals and partly reveals, according to his present design.

1 Samuel 16:5. J. Lange: So too the worthy appropriation of the atonement of Christ unto salvation must, according to the evangelical covenant of grace, be made with real inner purification, Isaiah 1:16.

1 Samuel 16:6. S. Schmid: Human Wisdom of Solomon, however great, may yet be easily deceived accordingly even the wisest men must take care not to be too hasty in deciding.

1 Samuel 16:7. Cramer: God looks not at the outward work, but at the heart, and judges according to what His eyes see, Isaiah 11:3; Acts 10:34.—Berl. Bible: Men decide only according to the appearance, and so are commonly deceived; but the Lord looks to the depths of the heart, its most delicate movements, and our character, which is all clear to Him, and better known than we are to ourselves, Psalm 7:10; Psalm 139.; Hebrews 4:12-13.—True, deep-grounded humility of heart is the only “appearance” in man that pleases God ( Isaiah 57:15); to this He looks as the ground of all virtues, for in it His fear has place. But where there is hidden pride, the fear of God is easily neglected.—[W. M. Taylor: We must not undervalue attention to the symmetrical discipline of the physical frame. Yet muscularity is not Christianity, and bodily beauty is not holiness. The character, therefore, ought to be the principal object of attention.—Tr.]—Osiander: Christians too must not be judged by the outward walk, since commonly, through the infirmities of their flesh, they have a bad appearance, while hypocrites, on the contrary, make a good show in their life, 2 Timothy 3:5; Matthew 7:15; Romans 2:20.—[This is true as regards a mere plausible exterior; but Christians should be judged by their actions, Matthew 7:20.—Tr.]

1 Samuel 16:9 sqq. S. Schmid: God knows how to try, often and long, the patience of believers to their good, that He may confirm them in their faith and patience.

[Scott: Nor does He favor our children according to our fond partialities; but often most honors and blesses those who have been the least regarded.—Tr.]

1 Samuel 16:13. Cramer: Christians are temples and dwellings of the Holy Ghost, 1 Corinthians 6:19.—S. Schmid: When we have done our duty as commanded by God, we have to leave the rest to God’s government, Matthew 10:23.

1 Samuel 16:1-13. F. W. Krummacher: Call and anointing of the shepherd-youth: 1) By what this was occasioned, 2) How it was performed.—[ 1 Samuel 16:7. Henry: “The Lord looketh on the heart.” 1. He knows the heart2. He judges of men by the heart.—Tr.]—J. Disselhoff (The History of King David, 14sermons): The secret of the choice: 1) The Lord does not choose those who by peculiar gifts of nature are distinguished above others, but2) He chooses those who faithfully profit by the greater or less measure of God’s grace which is granted them, 3) Who show this faithfulness by pure zeal and obedience in the labor entrusted to them, and4) Those who even after some success in their labor do not boastfully press themselves forward, but remain in silent humility and quiet seclusion till the Lord brings them forth.

[ 1 Samuel 16:1. Remedies for improper mourning: 1) Submission to the will of God (“I have rejected him”); 2) Diligence in present work for God (“fill thy horn and go”); 3) Hope that God will bring a better future (“I have provided me a king”).

1 Samuel 16:4. Why do men so shrink from religious teachers?

1 Samuel 16:6-12. Difficulty of selecting men for important positions: 1) Causes: a) Intrinsic difficulty of properly estimating character. b) Management of partial friends2) Lessons: a) To avoid haste in deciding. b) To make diligent inquiries. c) To seek special Divine guidance.

1 Samuel 16:12. The youth of David. Handsome, energetic, brave, talented and accomplished, of good family, devout—faithfully pursuing an humble calling which developed manliness, and trusting God for the unknown future—O the glorious possibilities of youth! (Comp. Kitto, “Saul and David,” p197 sqq, Maurice, “Prophets and Kings,” p38 sq.)—Tr.]

Footnotes:

FN#1 - 1 Samuel 16:1. Literally “seen.” For similar use of ראה see Genesis 22:8; Deuteronomy 33:21.—Tr.]

FN#2 - 1 Samuel 16:3. Chald. has “sacrificial meal,” perhaps simply as a connected fact, perhaps to avoid apparent infringement on priestly functions. Vulg. has victimam, other VSS. as Heb.—Tr.]

FN#3 - 1 Samuel 16:4. Sept.: “all that the Lord spake to him.”—Tr.]

FN#4 - 1 Samuel 16:4. It is better to give a uniform rendering to עִיר, the distinction between “town” and “city” not being found in Heb.—Tr.]

FN#5 - 1 Samuel 16:4. Literally: “is thy coming peace? and he said, peace.” Sept. inserts at the end of the verse the words “O Seer.”—Tr.]

FN#6 - 1 Samuel 16:5. Sept.: “and rejoice with me to-day,” probably a free reference to the festive character of the sacrificial meal; so Chald has “meal” instead of “sacrifice.”—Tr.]

FN#7 - 1 Samuel 16:7. מַרְאֵהוּ, Sept. ὄψιν, Erdmann “gestalt,” properly the whole personal appearance. Vulg. vultum, whence perhaps Eng. A. V. Luther, “gestalt.”—Tr.]

FN#8 - 1 Samuel 16:7. These words wanting (but understood) in the Hebrews, are found in the Sept. “God seeth,” and are for clearness better retained. Chald. and Syr. omit as Heb.; Vulg. supplies the words: ego judico.—Tr.]

FN#9 - 1 Samuel 16:10. Sept. (Vat. but not Alex.) omits “unto Jesse.” perhaps (Wellhausen) because Jesse was supposed not to know Samuel’s purpose. In 1 Samuel 16:6 Samuel’s “said” is equivalent to “thought.”—Tr.]

FN#10 - 1 Samuel 16:12. This word אַדְמנִֹי is found only here, 1 Samuel 17:42 and Genesis 25:25, and in the two last passages seems to refer to the color of the skin. The ancient VSS. do not decide. Chald. and Syr. use same word here as in Genesis 25:25; Vulg. rufus, Sept. πυῥῤάκης. Some moderns render “red-haired.” Levy renders the Chald. “red-eyed.”—Tr.]

FN#11 - 1 Samuel 16:12. Sept.: “goodly in appearance to the Lord,” and “for he is good,” to preserve the moral aspect of the act in reference to 1 Samuel 16:7.—Tr.]

FN#12 - On the obvious political reason for this secresy see Bib. Comm. and Wordsworth in loco.—Tr.]

FN#13 - See Psalm 7:9; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Luke 16:15.—Tr.]

FN#14 - In 1 Chronicles 2:13-15 only seven sons of Jesse are mentioned; one may have died in youth. The Syr. and Arab. write Elihu ( 1 Chronicles 27:18) as seventh and David as eighth.—Tr.]

FN#15 - That is to say, the instruction and example of his father’s house was God’s means of developing this disposition in him. Piety is never inherited, but is always the direct creation of the Holy Spirit of God ( John 3:6).—Tr.]

FN#16 - The care of the flocks, perhaps an honorable occupation in earlier times (Jacob, Moses), was in later times usually given to inferiors, as servants and younger children.—Tr.]

FN#17 - Tamar ( Genesis 38), Rahab ( Matthew 1:5). Ruth ( Ruth 4:13), to which some add Bathsheba (or, Bathshua), but this is uncertain.—Tr.]


Verses 14-23

II. The Darkening of Saul’s Mind by the Evil Spirit, and David’s First Appearance at the Court of Saul as Harpist

1 Samuel 16:14-23

14But [And] the Spirit of the Lord [Jehovah] departed from Saul, and an evil 15 spirit from the Lord [Jehovah] troubled him. And Saul’s servants said unto him, 16Behold now, an evil spirit from God[FN18] troubleth thee. Let our lord now command—thy servants which [om. which] are before thee, to [and let them, or they will] seek out[FN19] a man who is a cunning player[FN20] on a [the] harp; and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and 17 thou shalt be well. And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that 18 can play well,[FN21] and bring him to me. Then answered one of the servants [And one of the young men answered] and said, Behold I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing 4 and a mighty valiant man and a man of war and prudent in matters[FN22] and a comely person, and the Lord [Jehovah] is with 19 him. Wherefore [And] Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send [ins. to] 20me David thy Song of Solomon, which is with the sheep. And Jesse took an ass[FN23] laden with bread, and a bottle [skin] of wine, and a kid,[FN24] and sent them by David his Song of Solomon 21unto Saul. And David came to Saul, and stood before him, and he loved him 22 greatly, and he became his armor-bearer. And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let 23 David, I pray thee, stand before me, for he hath found favor in my sight. And it came to pass, when the evil[FN25] spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an [the] harp, and played with his hand, so [and] Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1 Samuel 16:15. Observe the sharp contrast between the statement in 1 Samuel 16:13 : “the Spirit of the Lord came upon David,” and that which here immediately follows: The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul.—The Spirit is meant which Saul received in consequence of his anointing, and by which he became another man, that Isaiah, a man full of great royal thoughts, courage of faith and inspiration. The cause of the departure of the divine Spirit from him, as given in the narrative, was his rejection by the Lord, and his persistent, impenitent pride and disobedience of heart towards the Lord.—Berl. Bib.: “No doubt Saul took his rejection to heart, and, instead of yielding humbly to God’s righteous judgment and bowing beneath God’s mighty hand, gave himself up to displeasure and discontent at God’s holy ways, and was therefore given over to the power of an evil spirit, which vexed him and sometimes even drove him to madness.”—And an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him; literally, fell upon him and frightened him (בִעֵת), Psalm 18:5. The narrator means to describe Saul’s condition as one of anxiety and terror, which was produced in him by an evil spirit. This spirit (called in 1 Samuel 16:23 also the evil spirit), Isaiah, according to the narrative, not the condition itself of gloomy melancholy and torturing anguish, but an objective power, which produced it. It is a wicked spiritual power, which came upon him as the opposite of the good, holy spirit which he had once possessed, and goaded him to rage and madness ( 1 Samuel 18:10-11), finding its occasion in the conflict within his soul and in the passionateness of his nature, which, after the Spirit of the Lord left him, was unbridled. It came on Saul from the Lord; that Isaiah, the Lord gave him over to the power and might of this spirit as punishment for his disobedience and defiant self-will; for this reason this spirit is called in 1 Samuel 16:15-16 “an evil spirit of God,” and in 1 Samuel 16:23 simply “a spirit of God;” that Isaiah, one that came from God. [It seems clear that the evil spirit here cannot be resolved into simple melancholy without doing violence to the narrative (so the demons of the N. T.). Reasons for melancholy and madness may be found in Saul’s life and character (see the pathological and psychological aspects of his case treated by Kitto, Maurice, Krummacher, Ewald, and others), but over and above these the narrative speaks, as Erdmann says, of an objective spiritual wicked power, which had strange control over him. This possession by the spirit was in accordance with psychological conditions, yet distinct from them, and was controlled by the almighty God of Israel. We have here the proof of the belief in evil spirits by the Israelites many centuries before the exile, a belief very general, no doubt, though not as fully developed here as in “Job.”—Tr.]—The servants of Saul speak of this cause of his mental condition in order ( 1 Samuel 16:16) to counsel him to let them find a skilful harpist, that he may be healed by the strains of music of his suffering of soul. Saul having commanded this ( 1 Samuel 16:17), one of the young men of the court ( 1 Samuel 16:18) mentioned the son of Jesse, whom he himself knew. In order to induce Saul to call him to court, he describes him at length, as not merely a harpist, but also what would especially recommend him to Saul, a valiant man, a man of war, an eloquent man [or prudent—Tr.], a comely person, with whom the Lord is. All these characteristics appear clearly in David’s history; their combination in this description shows that the young man was well acquainted with him. His beauty of person has already been mentioned in 1 Samuel 16:12. He had showed his bravery and warlike spirit, if not in battle, yet in conflict with ravenous beasts for his herd ( 1 Samuel 17:34 sq.) His piety and communion with the Lord, the culminating point of the description, has already been referred to in 1 Samuel 16:12-13. His eloquence is a new feature and characterizes the future psalmist.

1 Samuel 16:19. The message to Jesse to send his son to court.

1 Samuel 16:20. Jesse is soon ready. He sends his son with presents appropriate to a herdsman and countryman. From this it appears that it was still customary to bring presents as a sign of obedience and subjection, see on 1 Samuel 10:4. The Heb. text, in spite of its difficulty, is to be retained; render: an ass laden with bread. הֲמוֹד, not, as Sept, חֹמֶד, “since bread was not reckoned by measures” (Keil). Clericus: “an ass laden with bread, with a skin of wine and with a kid, so that David might have nothing to carry.” Maur.: “an ass laden with bread,” &c. Compare the ἄρτων τρεῖς ὄνους (= τριῶν ὄνων φορτίον) [three asses of bread = a load of three asses] of the tragic poet Sosibius.

1 Samuel 16:21. So David came to Saul and stood before him; that Isaiah, served him. Becoming fond of him, Saul retained him and placed him among his armor-bearers, entrusted him, therefore, with a military service, informing Jesse ( 1 Samuel 16:22) that his son would remain with him.

1 Samuel 16:23. David’s playing had the effect of relieving, freeing Saul from his suffering, so that he became well again; when he heard the music, the evil spirit departed from him. The power of musical sounds over Saul was such that his gloomy mood vanished. Many illustrations from heathen writers of the wholesome effect of music on the mind are given by Cleric, Grot, and Bochart, in the Hieroz., p. I, 1, II, c44 (I, p 511 sqq. ed. Rosenmüller). [Bochart also inquires whether David’s songs to Saul were sacred or secular (see Browning’s poem “Saul”), and how music had power over the evil spirit. See Kitto, “Saul and David,” p 202 sq.—On the nature of the instrument which David used, the harp, kinnor, see on 1 Samuel 10:5, and the Bib-Dictionaries and books on Archæology. Whether the kinnor was played with the hand or with a plectrum (either would suit the statement in 1 Samuel 16:23) is uncertain.—Tr.]

HISTORICAL AND THEOLOGICAL

1. To be rejected by the Lord for continued disobedience and hardness of heart against the chastening and guidance of His Spirit, is identical with the departure from the heart of the Spirit of God, which can dwell and be efficient only where heart and will are turned to the light from above. But when the Spirit of God departs from the Prayer of Manasseh, he is not simply left to himself, but, as Saul’s example shows, his heart becomes the abode of the evil spirit. Theodoret: “Where the divine spirit departs, the wicked spirit comes in his place. This should teach us to pray with David: Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.” Man is governed either by the Spirit from above or by the spirit from beneath; there is no third course. For he is as little isolated in the invisible as in the visible world; he must be part of the organism of the one or the other of the invisible worlds; he belongs either to the kingdom of light or to the kingdom of darkness; he is guided either by the Spirit of the Lord or by the evil spirit, according as he decides for a permanent attitude of heart and direction of will to this side or that. But Saul’s example teaches still more, namely, the divine causality in the position of the rejected man under the power of the evil spirit: He gives the apostate, reprobate man into the power of the evil spirit, permits the latter to control him; when man by continued conscious opposition to Him renders His Spirit inefficacious He righteously punishes him by giving him over to the evil spirit, who must serve God, and can do nothing except the Lord, who is almighty over all spirits, give him a field within the moral order of the world, in which, for the execution of His punitive justice, even the power of the evil one must be subservient to Him. Therefore the wicked spirit is here called a spirit “from the Lord.”[FN26]—The consequence of the possession of the inner life by the evil spirit is not merely its sunderance and derangement (there being of necessity conflict partly between the divine nature of the soul and its indwelling ungodly inclinations and passions, and partly among these last themselves), but at the same time the filling of the heart with wicked thoughts, dark melancholy, and the spirit of hatred, the perversion and dedication of the natural noble gifts of the spirit and heart (so richly possessed by Saul) to the service of the kingdom of evil. But in all this there is presupposed as back-ground not a merely physical suffering, but a corresponding ethical determination of the inner life against God. “There is much suffering and melancholy which has its origin in purely bodily sickness; as soon as the sickness ceases, the melancholy also ceases. But there is also to-day much heaviness of mind, which has its ground in the kingdom of darkness” (Schlier.).[FN27]

2. The counter-picture to Saul, who is controlled by the evil spirit, is David, under the guidance and discipline of the Spirit of God from his anointment on. His divinely-bestowed natural gift of poetry and music is not merely sanctified and consecrated by the Spirit of the Lord, but also powerfully developed and intensified, and by the Lord’s ordination taken into the service of His merciful love; for this love is seen in that He makes David’s art alleviate Saul’s sufferings, and in the depth of Saul’s soul makes the chords of the godlike man resound in the demon-possessed nature and drown its tones. The power to set forth the Beautiful as the Harmonious in music is a natural gift of God’s grace, which, employed in the service of sin and of the kingdom of darkness, robs music of its divine nobility and misuses it for the furtherance of the kingdom of evil in the human heart and in the world; but, on the other hand, (as in David’s case), developed according to its God-implanted laws, and under the guiding discipline of God’s Spirit, checks and expels the power of evil, rouses again the nobler feelings of human nature (created by and for God), and restores at least for a time the disturbed harmony of the life of the soul. David’s harp playing before Saul is the prelude to the harpings and songs which flowed from the heart of the future royal singer.

3. With the beginning of his service at the court of Saul, David, under the wonderful guidance of God’s hand, whence he had through Samuel received the royal anointing, enters on the path of inner and outer development till he ascends the throne. It was the way of external cultivation and preparation for the representative side of the kingdom by the experiences and knowledges which he gained at the royal court concerning all that pertained to the fulfilment of the royal calling, but also, what is far more important, a way of deep suffering, which must needs have served to try and tempt, but also to purify, prove and confirm him, and establish his inner life in communion with his God; from this school of suffering, whose experiences afterwards resound throughout his Psalm, he comes forth as a man who has been educated from shepherd-boy to king.

[Helps in the study of David’s life: Chandler’s Life of David (abounds in illustrations from classic antiquity, and is polemical against Bayle); Ewald’s History of Israel; Stanley’s Jewish Church (brilliant in description); Schlier’s Saul and Krummacher’s David (devotional); Stähelin’s David (strictly scientific); F. D. Maurice, Prophets and Kings of O. T. (fresh and clear); Kitto’s Saul and David (in Daily Bib. Illust.); W. M. Taylor’s David, 1875 (excellent); Graetz, Geschichte der Juden; Apocrypha relating to David in Fabricius, Codex Pseud. Vet. Test., Tom. I.; Legends concerning him in Koran, Suras ii, xxxviii.; Weil’s Biblical Legends of the Mussulmans; Baring-Gould’s Legends of O. T. Characters. See also Josephus, Antiquities VI:8–VII:15; Wilberforce’s Heroes of Hebrew History; and Articles in the Dictionaries of Herzog, Smith, Fairbairn, and Ersch and Grube. Voltaire and Bayle deal with David’s life in an unworthy spirit.—Tr.]

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

1 Samuel 16:14. Calvin: As God grants His gifts richly to those who serve Him in the obedience of faith, so He withdraws them again from those who are slothful in employing them, that we may not believe God is under obligation to us. God does indeed distribute His gifts richly and abundantly, but He also demands from us the right use of them, that they may subserve His aims. Whoever, then, does not give back to God what He has received from Him, will certainly soon lose it.—Cramer: He who will not let himself be ruled by the Spirit of God, drives it out; and where that is driven out, there is no third state possible, but the evil spirit goes in again, Luke 11:23 sq.

1 Samuel 16:15-16. Schmid: We should have compassion even upon those who by their sins have drawn on themselves God’s chastisement, and should give them counsel as to how their case may be bettered.—[ 1 Samuel 16:18. David was a brave soldier and a famous musician. There is a very unwise notion abroad in America that to perform well on musical instruments is something effeminate. But the Hebrews thought not Song of Solomon, nor did the Greeks, nor do the Germans.—Tr.]

1 Samuel 16:19. Osiander: God gradually, more and more, draws His people forward and exalts them; yea, He leads them by degrees from one ground to another even unto eternal life.

1 Samuel 16:23. Cramer: Only God’s word and believing prayer can drive out Satan with his assaults, Ephesians 6:17-18.—Schlier: There is a wonderful power in song and the harp over the human heart; how much sorrow and anguish retreat before it—how much of the power of darkness is broken; where song and the harp dwell in the fear of God, there the power of evil spirits gives way, there the good spirits come, hell is silent, heaven comes down.—F. W. Krummacher: We ask, “Did the harmonies banish the demon?” No! But the higher mood into which the king was brought by them sufficed at least to give the affliction less room for working on his mind, while against a full, clearly conscious life of faith on Saul’s part, the power of the evil spirit would have been utterly wrecked.—Schlier: Thoroughly better would it have been for him if he had been converted—if he had earnestly repented. But of repentance Saul would know nothing; he let himself be cheered, but he would not turn about. If our sins give to the kingdom of darkness power over us, then we must repent. He who chooses to persevere in sin and cannot acknowledge his guilt, should not wonder forsooth if he finds no peace. Evil conscience, evil guest. No peace, nor any rest! But the word stands fast forever that the Lord makes the upright to prosper.—Wuert. Summary: The mourning of this world and the heaviness proceeding from an evil conscience can be relieved by no harping nor any diversion, if forgiveness of sins is not earnestly sought and gained, and the heart is not truly bettered.

1 Samuel 16:13-23. J. Disselhoff: The anointing of the chosen one: 1) Whom the Lord chooses for His servant, He causes before His work to be anointed with power from on high; 2) The anointing does not at once give the throne, but it first leads into lowliness; 3) The anointing does not annihilate natural gifts and powers, but sanctifies them and fits them for the service of the Lord.

1 Samuel 16:14-23. F. W. Krummacher: The harper: 1) How David came to Saul; 2) What he experienced at the king’s court.

1 Samuel 16:14. Man is under the dominion either of the holy or of the evil spirit: 1) Statement of this truth. 2) Indication of the opposite consequences in the two cases3) Application of the solemn warnings therein contained.

[ 1 Samuel 16:21. “And he loved him greatly.” 1) Saul, with all his faults, a loving man. Comp. 1 Samuel 24:16. 2) David an eminently lovable youth. Some of the qualities which made him such are indicated in 1 Samuel 16:18 : handsome, accomplished, brave and soldierly, prudent, pious. (Highly creditable to a youth to gain the love of old men.) 3) The Lord loved David, and caused his fellowmen to love him. 1 Samuel 16:13; 1 Samuel 16:18. Comp. Genesis 39.

1 Samuel 16:17-22. Example of the young harper David: 1) Improvement of youthful leisure a preparation for the work of life2) Something in itself unimportant often the providential occasion of great results. But note: a) It can only be the occasion; the causes must together be as great as the effect. b) There must be disciplined character, or occasions will be in vain3) A youth leaving home for scenes of temptation is safe if “the Lord is with him.” (Comp. W. M. Taylor, David, Sermon III.)

Robert Browning’s finest poem is on “Saul,” depicting his madness, and the effect of David’s harp and song.—Tr.]

Footnotes:

FN#18 - 1 Samuel 16:15. The Heb. text here uniformly designates the source of righteous influence as “the Spirit of Jehovah,” and the source of evil influence as “evil spirit,” “evil spirit of God,” or “evil spirit from Jehovah,” the significance of the last preposition being obvious; except in 1 Samuel 16:23, where it is “spirit of God,” and Sept, Chald, Syr, Arab, and Eng. A. V. there insert “evil;” in 1 Samuel 19:9 it is “evil spirit of Jehovah,” and there Sept. writes “God,” instead of Jehovah, Chald. and Eng. A. V. insert “from” before “Jehovah,” and Arab omits the divine name. Elsewhere throughout the Old Testament the Divine Spirit is called either “Spirit of God” or “Spirit of Jehovah.”—Tr.]

FN#19 - 1 Samuel 16:16. This clause is difficult in the Hebrews, and varies in the ancient VSS. Chald. follows the Heb.; Sept. takes עֲבָדֶיךָ as subject, omits אֲדנֵֹנו and renders: “let thy servants now say before thee and seek,” where “say” for “speak” is not tolerable (we should expect דבר instead of אמר); Vulg.: “let our lord command, and thy servants who are before thee will seek,” where לְפָנֶיךָ is made to qualify “servants” (so in Eng. A. V.), contrary to usage, which demands that it stand after a verbal conception; Syr. omits the speech of the servants in 1 Samuel 16:15, and goes on in 1 Samuel 16:16 : “thy servants are before thee, let them seek.” As the Heb. now stands, the words עב׳ לפ׳ must form a separate clause; but the construction is thus harsh. If we could omit לִפ׳ (which, however, is sustained by all the VSS.), an easy reading would be given: “let our lord now command, and thy servants will seek.”—The use of the second pers. suffix when the verb is in the third pers, though not the usual construction, occurs elsewhere, as 2 Samuel 14:11.—Tr.]

FN#20 - 1 Samuel 16:16. The partcp. as complement of the verb “to know.” See Ew, Gr. § 285, e, and Ges. § 142, 4.—Tr.]

FN#21 - 1 Samuel 16:17-18. Infin. as complement, Ges. § 142.—Tr.]

FN#22 - 1 Samuel 16:18. Or, “in speech,” as in margin of Eng. A. V.; but “affairs” seems to suit the connection better Chald. “counsel,” Vulg, Syr. and Erdmann “word.” In Isaiah 3:3 לחשׁ is “enchantment,” though the phrase is rendered by Jewish commentators “clever in discourse” (Philippson). Comp. 1 Samuel 18:14.—Tr.]

FN#23 - 1 Samuel 16:20. Sept. “omer” or “homer” (γομόρ), on which Wellh. rightly says that bread was not reckoned by measure; he proposes to read a numeral here instead of חֲמוֹר, since bread was usually counted by loaves. But we may follow the ancient VSS, which render “ass-load of bread.”—Tr.]

FN#24 - 1 Samuel 16:20. Fully: “a kid of the goats.”—Tr.]

FN#25 - 1 Samuel 16:23. See note 1 on 1 Samuel 16:15.—Tr.]

FN#26 - On the relation of the spiritual influence on Saul to the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit as taught in the N. T, see Hodge’s Theol., II, 660 sq. (especially666).—Tr.]

FN#27 - On the possibility of demoniac possession at the present day, and on the general subject of the power of evil spirits in the ancient and modern world, see Mr. R. S. Poole’s Art. “Magic” in Smith’s Bib. Dict.—Tr.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/1-samuel-16.html. 1857-84.

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