Reading about the disobedient Israelites and arrogant Saul brings me down! Enter David, son of Jesse…
Samuel is mourning Saul, but God tells him to get some oil and go anoint the next king. Samuel hesitates because the current king still lives! He would be risking his life. But Samuel trusts and heads to his next assignment, despite the risk.
It’s interesting that his own father does not consider David to be king-worthy. All Jesse’s sons are present for Samuel to evaluate – except David. Samuel asks Jesse if these are ALL his sons. I love Jesse’s answer:
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”
Jesse’s like, “Well, ya there’s one more, but it’s just David. Why would you even ask about him? He’s out there somewhere…” Wouldn’t you bring all your sons before Samuel if Samuel asked you to bring all your sons?
God judges the heart. He selects the weak for positions of honor. He does not consider height or appearance, but seeks hearts that are after Him.
So Samuel anoints David as the next king.
Wait…what about the current king? What are we to do about him?
Well, isn’t it a strange coincidence that King Saul somehow randomly recruits David to play the lyre for him? No coincidence. God is at work. His will is going to be accomplished. There’s nothing anyone can do about it.
Lastly, it’s noteworthy to point out something in verse 23. Did you catch it?
“Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.”
In the first part of the verse, it says “the spirit from God” and in the last part, “the evil spirit would leave”.
Seems God is the one sending the evil spirit. Upon researching this a bit, you’ll find that it is inconsistent with God’s character to directly send evil spirits. Although He does punish people for their disobedience (and Saul is clearly disobedient to God), so some have suggested God simply allowed the evil spirit, not directly sent it.
I tend to think this is more a matter of linguistics. The word used for “evil spirit” here is the word rauch, which has a wide range of translations, including air (i.e., breath or wind); the vital principle of life or animating force; the rational mind where thinking and decision-making occurs; the Holy Spirit of God (Gesenius, 1847, pp. 760-761) and disposition of mind or attitude (Harris, et al., 1980, 2:836).
Furthermore, the word used for “evil” here is , which is translated “bad,” “unhappy,” or “sad of heart or mind” (Gesenius, p. 772).
Could it be that Saul was suffering from his own bad attitude? There have been many times I’ll sit and listen to music to chase away a bad mood.
The bottom line is this: God has intervened and suddenly David, a small shepherd boy whose own father considers him simply that, is now God’s anointed and finds himself somehow inexplicably in service as the king’s own armor-bearer.
Coincidence? I think not…
Stay tuned, it’s just starting to get good!