Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

David was anointed to be king three times.

July 5, 2009

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  • Revised Common Lectionary

Commentary on 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10

Author Headshot

Ralph W. Klein

The first time, he was anointed by the prophet Samuel, secretly, and at God’s direction (1 Samuel 16:1 — 13). That divine designation and election was prior and most important, but David was also anointed king by a decision of the people.  First it was Judah where David served as a kind of mini-king for seven and a half years (2 Samuel 2:1-4). It was only one tribe, but it was a beginning.

Those first years as king were troubled times.  The eleven other tribes followed after the death of Saul’s surviving son, Ishbaal, who carried on a kind of civil war with David.

But during those troubled times, the house of David grew stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul grew constantly weaker. Finally, Saul’s son  Ishbosheth was assassinated by two of his own officers. These daring men thought they would be rewarded for their treachery by David, who instead ordered their execution (2 Samuel 4:1-12).

All the tribes of North Israel had no other option but to turn to David. So they all took the humbling trip to Hebron and began negotiations.

They first acknowledged that David was kinfolk: “We are your bone and flesh” (2 Samuel 5:1). Secondly, they recognized his considerable achievements.  “Even when Saul was our king,” they observed, “you were the one who led Israel in battle.” Third, they recognized in him Yahweh’s own choice: “Yahweh said to you: it is you who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you who shall be ruler over Israel” (2 Samuel 5:2).

The word shepherd in antiquity was a synonym for king. When we hail Yahweh as shepherd in the twenty-third psalm, that title has royal overtones. “Ruler” also is a technical term, meaning something like “king-designate.”  The one who designates David as king is Yahweh. All that is needed now is the acclamation of the people.

For the next stage of the ritual, David made a covenant with them (2 Samuel 5:3). Elsewhere we speak of the covenant that Yahweh made with David (2 Samuel 23:5).

We are not told what obligations this covenant involved, but it would have likely included judging the people with righteousness and the poor with justice (Psalm 72:2), or defending the cause of the poor and giving deliverance to the needy (Psalm 72:4). David also would be responsible for their economic well-being (Psalm 72:16). All this was done with Yahweh as a witness.

Now it was the people’s turn to act in this ritual, and they are represented by the traditional elders of the community. They anointed David king over Israel (2 Samuel 5:3).

The Bible nowhere explains the exact significance of anointing, and whether it is kings or priests who are anointed.  Some customs in neighboring countries suggest that anointing was itself an act of covenant making. The people too were expressing their loyalty, acknowledging David as king and agreeing to their responsibilities, such as taxes, state work projects, and military service.

In any case, the kings of Israel were always anointed. Elsewhere in the Old Testament, the word ‘anointed’ is always modified. The person anointed is the ‘anointed of Yahweh,’ or ‘my anointed,’ or ‘his anointed.’  The possessive pronouns always refer to Yahweh. When later kings are anointed, this no doubt stood as an indication of Yahweh’s choice and the people’s faithfulness. Needless to say, this was not always a perfect relationship.

David ruled for forty years altogether, seven and one half in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. In verses 6-8, David captured Jerusalem, which previously had remained the city of the Jebusites. Located outside the tribal territories, much like Washington, D.C., Jerusalem was literally the City of David. The choice of Jerusalem as capital did not favor one tribe over another.

According to verse 10, David went from strength to strength. In the polls? In military victories? In moral and ethical conduct? Well, yes and no. The writer probes for a deeper analysis: “It was because Yahweh, the God of the heavenly armies, was with him.” This literal translation boldly expresses the power of David’s God.

The short sentence “I am with you” is at the heart of the good news in the Bible. Moses thought up five excuses in Exodus 3-4 about why he should not be the leader in the Exodus. Then God said, “I will be with you” (Exodus 3:12), or “I will be with your mouth” when Moses had tried the lame excuse that he did not know how to talk (Exodus 4:12). Jeremiah had argued that he was only a teenager and therefore could not be a prophet.  God countered, “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you” (Jeremiah 1:8). In Matthew’s description of the significance of Jesus, he drew on the old word in Isaiah 7:14, “They shall name him Emmanuel, which means, ‘God is with us'” (cf. Matthew 1:23). And the last word of Jesus in that Gospel is: “And remember, I am with you to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Why is “I am with you” so important? It means that David and all of us later royal and priestly children of God are never alone. However sinful and however lacking in confidence we might be, God is not ashamed to hang around with David, Bathsheba, or us. There is an implicit word of forgiveness in this simple sentence.

Finally, “I am with you” is a word of empowerment. Whether it is the ability to trust, to carry out our day to day vocations, or to face all the challenges of life — including our mortality — God’s “I am with you” means that we have the promise of strength and encouragement to do what we have to do.

How do we know that God is with us? It all starts with our naming at our baptism. Ralph or Marilyn or whoever, you have been marked with the cross of Christ forever. It is Christ’s real presence in the Supper that says to us in ways that we can taste, touch, and smell, “I am with you.”

It is in the assurance of Christian brothers and sisters, in their words of encouragement and forgiveness, and by their witness that we hear God is with us. It is through the frequent use of the Means of Grace that we know God is indeed with us, and we are God’s children. Was God ever more with us than when Jesus was extended for us on the cross?

When a new king arose after Saul, there was the excitement we all feel at the beginning of a new administration, the excitement of our first job, our first love, or each new day. But this excitement is not born just from newness or from refreshment after sleep. It is the excitement that in this new day or new venture that God is with us.

Those words alone were enough for David. They are also enough for us.

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1. Samuel Anoints David as King (1 Samuel 15-16)

We begin David's story not with Jesse his father, but with Saul, Israel's first king. Samuel the prophet had anointed Saul (1 Samuel 10:1) and the Holy Spirit had come upon him (10:6, 10). He ruled from his home town of Gibeah and helped deliver Israel from the threat of the Philistine attacks.

Saul's First Disobedience (13:8-14)

While Saul was a reasonably effective military leader, it became clear that his love for the Lord wasn't strong, nor was he very careful about obedience to God's direction through the prophet Samuel. The prophet had told him to wait as long as seven days for Samuel to offer a sacrifice to the Lord, before the army went into battle with the Philistines (13:8-13). But the prophet didn't come within that time -- and Saul's troops were beginning to go home -- so Saul offered the sacrifice himself. Just then Samuel appeared and told him,

"You acted foolishly. You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD's command." (13:13-14)

Saul's Second Disobedience (1 Samuel 15:1-21)

The second time Saul disobeys the command of the Lord concerned the Amalekites, an arch enemy of Israel. This was a tribe that had attacked the children of Israel in the wilderness as they were escaping from Egypt under Moses (Exodus 17:8-16). Saul was told to attack the Amalekites and "totally destroy [9] everything that belongs to them," including their cattle (15:2-3). But Saul fails to obey fully. He preserves all the Amalekites' cattle!

The word of the Lord comes to Samuel at night:

"I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions." (1 Samuel 15:11a)

God isn't just looking at Saul's disobedient actions. He also sees Saul's heart that prompts this kind of disobedience -- and is grieved!

Samuel goes to meet Saul at Gilgal, after he has returned from the battle with the Amalekites. Saul greets him with the words, "The LORD bless you! I have carried out the LORD's instructions." But Samuel replies, "What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?" (15:13-14).

Saul now begins to excuse himself. "The soldiers brought the cattle," he says, then adds "... to sacrifice them to the Lord, of course."

To Obey Is Better than Sacrifice (15:22-23)

Now Samuel pronounces a terrible judgment from the Lord, one from which we can learn much!

"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king." (15:22-23)

Let's look carefully at the words in this passage.

Delight ( ḥēpeṣ ). [10] So often we're not interested in really pleasing the Lord, but in just getting by, and perhaps obeying the letter (rather than the spirit) of the law. Those who love the Lord seek to delight and please him. Those who merely give intellectual assent to him don't really care. God looks at the heart (as we see in 16:7b).

Obedience ( shāma ʿ ). [11] Obedience is a reliable sign of actual love for God. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command" (John 14:15). It's pretty simple actually.

Voice of the LORD . [12] God can speak in many ways, for example, through prophets, through Scripture, and through pastors. In this case, Samuel had specifically prefaced his command: "Listen now to the message from the LORD" (15:1). We are responsible to obey what God says to us -- in any form.

Rebellion [13] is doing what we decide to do rather than what God tells us. We excuse ourselves by our difficult circumstances, as did Saul. We may fool ourselves, but God is not amused. Obedience is doing what God tells us to do. Rebellion is doing it our way.

The sin of divination, witchcraft . [14] Notice carefully that the text doesn't say that rebellion is witchcraft! It says that rebellion is like witchcraft. I think the NRSV catches the proper sense: "For rebellion is no less a sin than divination." It is just as bad as witchcraft. Baldwin notes:

"Obstinate resistance to God exalts self-will to the place of authority, which belongs only to God. That is why it is as bad as divination (by evil spirits), and tantamount to idolatry, for another god, self, has usurped his place." [15]  

Arrogance, stubbornness . [16] Rebellion goes hand in hand with arrogance against God. We think we know better than God, so we do it our way instead of his -- often with tragic results.

God has appointed Saul king to reign over Israel on God's behalf. God is the great suzerain; Saul is his vassal king. But by his rebellion, self will, and arrogance, Saul has disqualified himself to reign for God. He will be replaced!

Dear friend, have you rebelled against God's word and against the commands of Jesus? How long will you remain in rebellion? Jesus took your sin of rebellion on himself when he died on the cross. But you must repent of this sin if you want Jesus to take it away.

What follows is the first discussion question of this lesson series. Think deeply about the questions. If you go to the trouble of writing down your answers, it will help you form your answer carefully and thoughtfully. Then click on the web address (URL) following the question to post your answer on an online forum and read others'answers. Grasping spiritual lessons at the heart-level is the whole point of studying the Life of David. Do it!

Q1. (1 Samuel 15:22-23). What is rebellion? In what way is rebellion as bad as witchcraft or occult practices? What does rebellion have to do with arrogance? What can we do when we find rebellion against God in our hearts? What happens if we do nothing?

Samuel Leaves Saul (15:34-35)

At Saul's begging, Samuel doesn't shun Saul publicly, but appears alongside the king so he won't lose face. However, this is the last time the two are together. This chapter closes on a sad note:

" 34 Then Samuel left for Ramah, but Saul went up to his home in Gibeah of Saul. 35 Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the LORD was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel." (15:34-35)

Samuel "mourned" (NIV, KJV), "grieved" (NRSV) for Saul (15:35a; 16:1). The Lord "was grieved/sorry" (NIV, NRSV), "repented" (KJV) that he had appointed Saul (15:35b). Both words are the same in Hebrew: ʾ ābal , "mourn, lament." The word is also used to describe mourning rites for the dead. [17]

The lesson of this chapter is that we are to seek to please the Lord. That is what it means to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children.... Live as children of light ...   and find out what pleases the Lord." (Ephesians 5:1, 8b, 10)

Samuel Is Sent to Bethlehem (16:1-2)

Samuel loves Saul, and sees Saul's failure as his own failure. But God won't let him mope about the pain of the past. God gives Samuel a new mission.

"The LORD said to Samuel, 'How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected [18] him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.'" (16:1)

As Samuel gets ready for his trip, he takes a hollowed out ram's horn, [19] fills it with olive oil, [20] and plugs it so the oil won't splash out on his journey. Previously, Samuel had used oil from a flask or vial [21] to anoint Saul king (10:1), after which the Holy Spirit came upon him (10:6, 9-10) and the Lord changed him into a different man (10:6). This mission is a similar king-making assignment.

Samuel tells the Lord, anointing a new king while the reigning king is still alive is dangerous -- as if God didn't know. In the New Testament, Ananias expressed his fear to the Lord concerning his mission to commission Saul of Tarsus in Damascus (Acts 9), but God knew the danger. Saul had his fears, too, but rather than talking to the Lord about it, he had improvised -- and disobeyed (13:7-14). In this case, God instructs Samuel to make a sacred sacrifice the reason for his visit (16:2b).

Notice God's words to Samuel: "I have chosen one of [Jesse's] sons to be king" (16:1d). "Chosen" (NIV), "provided for" (NRSV, KJV) is rā ʾeh , "see, look at, inspect." The word has several connotations, one of which is "to provide," usually of God's provision, such as God providing the lamb for Abraham on Mt. Moriah (Genesis 22:8, 14). As in English, to "see to" something is to "provide" it. [22] We worry about the failures of the past, but our God is our Provider, Yahweh Yireh (Jehovah Jireh) -- from this same Hebrew root word: rā ʾeh. God has already provided for our needs and our future; we just need to go forward fearlessly following his direction.

Finding the King God Has Provided (16:3-11)

God tells Samuel to go to Bethlehem.

"Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate." (16:3)

"Indicate" (NIV), "name" (NRSV, KJV) is ʾ āmar . The root idea of this extremely common word is "to say," rather than "to name." Wouldn't it be nice if God would say everything ahead of time, complete with names, times, and places? Certainly, God can do this -- and occasionally does. But that isn't usually the way he works. He takes us one step at a time -- probably so we don't run on ahead of him and improvise on our own! And that is how he led Samuel on this occasion. Samuel is told the father's name is Jesse. But the son is yet to be revealed.

Samuel has Jesse bring forward all his sons. When Samuel sees the firstborn, Eliab, he is sure he sees kingly material in this handsome man. But the Lord rebukes him inwardly -- certainly not aloud!

" 6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, 'Surely the LORD's anointed is now before the LORD.' 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart. [23] '" (16:6-7)

This scene sounds like us. We're so used to judging by means of our physical sight and our social experience that it's easy to get it wrong when it comes to spiritual things. We need spiritual sight and discernment so we can see the heart. Samuel has natural instincts, but is mature enough to listen to the Holy Spirit and hear God's voice, to base his actions on what he hears from God.

Samuel goes through all the sons without God giving him the internal go-ahead. "Is there another son?" he asks. "Oh, the youngest," says Jesse, "but I didn't think he was important enough to bring to the feast."

Yet David, the youngest and least important in the family, is the one God has chosen.

Q2. (1 Samuel 16:3-12) How does this story teach us the importance of listening carefully to God's voice? What is our instinctive way of discerning? How is God teaching us to discern? How do we learn to listen to the Spirit?

A Handsome Young Man (16:12a)

Here's one of the few physical descriptions we have of David.

"He was ruddy, with a fine appearance [24] and handsome features. [25] " (16:12a)

We're not really sure what "ruddy" [26] refers to. It may have referred to his red-tinted hair, or his reddish-brown or bronze complexion. [27]

  David is a good-looking young man, which, I'm sure, makes it easier for him to lead and for people to follow. He looks like a hero -- God made him that way. It's ironic, however, since God had just rebuked Samuel for looking on the outward appearance, for thinking he can "tell a book by its cover." But David's soul is beautiful, too -- he is a man who loves the Lord and is "a man after God's own heart" (Acts 13:22; 1 Samuel 13:14).

Anointing and the Holy Spirit (16:12b-13)

" 12b Then the LORD said, 'Rise [28] and anoint him; he is the one.' 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward." (16:12b-13)

Old Samuel has been sitting, waiting. But now, when the boy appears, God says to Samuel's spirit, "This is the one!" So Samuel gets up and pours oil on the boy's head anointing him. "Anoint" is māshaḥ , from which we get the English word "Messiah" ( māshîaḥ ) or "anointed one." [29] Anointing was known elsewhere in the ancient Near East among the Hittites and Egyptians, [30] and perhaps in the city-states of Canaan, but apparently not Assyria and Babylon. [31] Fleming says,

"The effect of anointing was not just symbolic. Anointing oil was a pungent and durable perfume. Its fragrance persisted and its oil produced a permanent stain upon clothes." [32]

The anointing is significant politically. It designates David as the king-to-be and thus is dangerous for both Samuel and David. David is anointed twice more for political purposes by the men of Judah (2 Samuel 2:4a) and later by the elders of Israel (2 Samuel 5:3). But Samuel's anointing is much more significant spiritually than any political anointing! The narrator records:

"From that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power." (16:13)

God's Spirit comes upon David. The phrase, "came in power" (NIV), "came mightily" (NRSV, NASB) uses the verb ṣālaḥ , "rush," [33] "be strong, effective, powerful." [34]

True, we see similar wording at Saul's anointing, where Samuel tells him that the Spirit will come upon him with power (10:6). But the simultaneous anointing and coming of the Holy Spirit upon David becomes the paradigm for the gift of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. For example:

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me...." (Luke 4:18)

 "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

"God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power...." (Acts 10:38)

"He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." (2 Corinthians 1:21b-22)

 Indeed, twice the term "anointing" is substituted for "Holy Spirit" (1 John 2:20, 27).

In some Christian circles, the term "an anointing" refers to a powerful ability to speak or minister. But, dear friends, whether we feel it or not, the Holy Spirit has come upon all Christian believers to give us power. According to our faith, so be it unto us.

When the Holy Spirit comes in power upon David it empowers him. The young man had been a harp-player and songwriter. Now he becomes an anointed, prophetic songwriter and the "sweet singer of Israel" (2 Samuel 23:1). The boy who has courageously defended his flock against the lion and the bear, now becomes the mighty warrior who defends his country against giants and Philistines (17:37). The young man who has shepherded his father's flock to find green pastures and still waters (Psalm 23:2), now becomes the shepherd [35] of a nation as its king -- all by the powerful Holy Spirit who has come upon him.

"I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel." (2 Samuel 7:8)

Q3. (1 Samuel 1:13) What is the significance of Samuel anointing David? What is the significance of the Holy Spirit coming upon David? How does this explain his success? How is the Holy Spirit upon us vital for our own success as disciples?

The Holy Spirit Comes upon David and Leaves Saul (16:14)

The Spirit who comes powerfully upon David is the same Spirit who simultaneously leaves Saul.

"Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him." (16:14)

This verse raises two questions:

Both of these questions trouble our theology. I don't have any quick answers, only possible explanations.

First, the Holy Spirit leaving Saul has nothing to do with his salvation, as it might under the New Covenant. In the Old Testament, the Spirit comes to empower a person to do a task for God. In the New Testament, on the other hand, the presence of the Spirit is both empowering and the essential element of salvation, the agent of regeneration so that we might truly be born anew. We do know that after his sin, David refused to take the Holy Spirit's presence for granted. He prays in Psalm 51, the great penitential psalm,

"Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me." (Psalm 51:11)

In the same way that the Holy Spirit had left Saul, supernatural strength had left Samson during the period of the Judges. Delilah says,

"'The Philistines are upon you, Samson!' When he awoke from his sleep, he thought, 'I will go out as at other times, and shake myself free.' But he did not know that the LORD had left him." (Judges 16:20)

For the Holy Spirit's power to leave us because of our persistent sin and disobedience is a sobering matter indeed. Let us strive not to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).

Second, we wonder how God can send an evil spirit, since James tell us: "God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone" (James 1:13).

This is difficult. We cannot entirely avoid the difficulty, though we must realize the Bible teaches that both good and trouble can come from God (Job 2:10a, NIV), both prosperity and disaster (Isaiah 45:7).

Observe that that the term "evil spirit," which is used in the Gospels to designate a demon, doesn't necessarily refer to an "evil spirit" in this context. "Evil" is ra ʿ , an adjective that can have a wide range of meaning, ranging from misery to moral evil. Here it should be seen in the sense of "injurious." [36] Bergen comments:

 "It is possible -- and perhaps preferable -- to interpret the text not to mean that the Lord sent a morally corrupt demon, but rather another sort of supernatural being -- an angel of judgment (cf. 2 Kings 19:35) -- against Saul that causes him to experience constant misery." [37]

Paul says that God judges rebellion by giving people fully over to their sin and its fruits (Romans 1:24-26). As we'll see in succeeding chapters, the torment Saul experiences seems to include fear and paranoia that prompt violent and irrational actions. [38]

David Plays for Saul (16:14-23)

King Saul's servants prescribe music to help calm him when these fearful spells come upon him. One servant recalls David's musical ability:

 "I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the harp. He is a brave man [39] and a warrior. [40] He speaks well [41] and is a fine-looking man. [42] And the LORD is with him." (16:18)

Here's a fine musician described in heroic terms. Plus, "the Lord is with him." How could Saul resist that kind of recommendation!

David plays the kinnôr , "a musical instrument having strings and a wooden frame," commonly associated in the Bible with joy and gladness. [43] The harp is an ancient instrument. The first illustration we have of the harp is from 3300-3000 BC in a rock etching at Megiddo. [44] The Canaanite version of this had two arms with a box-shaped body. It was also the main instrument in the second temple orchestra. [45] The fundamental difference between a lyre and a harp is that in a harp, the strings enter directly into the hollow body of the instrument, whereas on a lyre, the strings pass over a bridge, which transmits the vibrations of the strings to the body of the instrument, just as is the case with a modern guitar.

Saul summons David from the sheep fields to become a court musician and general equipment-bearer when he isn't singing. [46] His music does seem to help -- for a while.

"Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him." (16:23)

What is the shepherd singer doing in the house of the king? What does God have in mind? As the story unfolds, it seems that God wants David in Saul's court to be exposed to the nuts and bolts of governing, to learn the art of leadership from that nation's leaders. It is a kind of apprenticeship for the future king of Israel.

It also may have been a time for writing songs. In the sheep fields David doesn't have the opportunity to write down the lyrics to his songs. In the court, David has that ability. Eventually, the collection of his songs fill nearly half the Psalter.

Q4. (1 Samuel 16:14-23) From Saul's perspective, why is David summoned to court? From God's perspective, what seem to be the reasons for this service in Saul's court? What things tend to prevent us from learning from God in the midst of the circumstances in which we find ourselves? What might make us more teachable?

Discipleship Lessons

As disciples who are eager to learn from the Lord, this passage contains several lessons for us:

Father, sometimes I'm so impatient! Forgive me. Help me to listen. Help me to obey, even if I don't understand what in the world you are doing. Fill me with your precious Holy Spirit and help me not to grieve Him. I yield myself to you to do your work in and through me in my present circumstances. I trust you, Lord! In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry." (1 Samuel 15:22-23a)

"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7b)

"So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power." (1 Samuel 16:13)

[9] "Totally destroy" here and in 15:8, 9, 15, 18, 20, and 21 is the Hebrew word ḥāram . The basic meaning is the exclusion of an object from the use or abuse of man and its irrevocable surrender to God. The word is related to an Arabic root meaning "to prohibit, especially to ordinary use." The word "harem," meaning the special quarters for Muslim wives, comes from it. It is related also to an Ethiopic root, meaning "to forbid, prohibit, lay under a curse." Surrendering something to God meant devoting it exclusively to the service of God or putting it under a ban for utter destruction. Usually ḥāram means a ban for utter destruction, the compulsory dedication of something which impedes or resists God's work, which is considered to be accursed before God (Leonard J. Wood, ḥāram , TWOT #744a).

[10] Ḥēpeṣ is the noun, "delight, pleasure." The basic meaning of the verb is to feel great favor towards something, "to experience emotional delight." In the case of the verb ḥāpēṣ , the object solicits favor by its own intrinsic qualities. The subject is easily attracted to it because it is desirable. Other parallel stems don't connote the degree of emotional involvement as this verb stem (Leon J. Wood, ḥāpēṣ , TWOT #712b).

[11] "Obeying" (15:22a) and "to obey" (15:22b) is shāmaʿ , "hear, listen to, obey." Shāmaʿ has the basic meaning "to hear." This is extended in various ways, generally involving an effective hearing or listening: 1) "listen to," "pay attention," 2) "obey" (with words such as "commandment" etc.), 3) "answer prayer," "hear," 4) "understand" and 5) "hear critically," "examine (in court)." The derived stems have appropriately modified meanings (Hermann J. Austel, shāmaʿ , TWOT #2412).

[12] "Voice" is kôl , "voice, sound, noise.... Kôl primarily signifies a sound produced by the vocal cords, actual or figurative ( Kwl , TWOT #1998a).

[13] "Rebellion" is the noun merî , from the verb mārâ "be rebellious against, disobedient towards." In the Hiphil stem the verb has the meaning, "to provoke (by defiance)" (Victor P. Hamilton, mārâ , TWOT #1242a).

[14] "Divination" (NIV, NRSV), "witchcraft" (KJV) is qesem , "Divination, witchcraft, sorcery, fortunetelling, omen, lot, oracle, decision." The exact meaning of this variety of occultism is unknown. Shaking or flinging down arrows, consulting seraphim, and hepatoscopy (looking at the liver) may be subcategories of qesem (Robert L. Alden, qāsam , TWOT #2044a).

[15] Baldwin, 1 and 2 Samuel , p. 115.

[16] "Arrogance" (NIV), "stubbornness" (NRSV, KJV), "insubordination" (NASV) is the verb pāṣar , "push, press" (TWOT #1801), "urge someone strongly" (Holladay 295).

[17] J. Barton Payne, TWOT #6.

[18] "Rejected" is māʾas , "reject, despise." God rejects men who do not listen to him (Hosea 9:17). However, he will never reject them totally, for that would break his covenant (Leviticus 26:44) (Walter C. Kaiser, TWOT #1139).

[19] "Horn" is qeren , "Our word primarily denotes the horn(s) of various animals -- ram, wild oxen" (Leonard J. Copes, TWOT #2072a).

[20] "Oil" is shemen , "oil," generally olive oil, whether pure or prepared for various uses such as perfume or ointment. A synonym is yiṣhār , which also means "olive oil." Shemen is the general word for olive oil in its various uses, while yiṣhār refers to the fresh product. It is regularly associated with 'new wine'and 'grain'in reference to the produce of the land. Shemen played an important symbolic function in various consecration ceremonies. Thus kings and priests were anointed with oil, symbolizing the rich blessing of God (Hermann J. Austel, TWOT #2410c).

[21] "Flask" (NIV), "vial" (NRSV, KJV) is pak .

[22] Robert D. Culver, rāʾeh , TWOT #2095.

[23] "Heart" is the noun lēbāb , "heart, understanding, mind" Concrete meanings of lēb referred to the internal organ and to analogous physical locations. However, in its abstract meanings, 'heart'became the richest biblical term for the totality of man's inner or immaterial nature. In biblical literature it is the most frequently used term for man's immaterial personality functions as well as the most inclusive term for them since, in the Bible, virtually every immaterial function of man is attributed to the "heart" (Andrew Bowling, TWOT #1071a).

[24] "Fine appearance" (NIV), "beautiful eyes" (NRSV, NASB), "beautiful countenance" (KJV) uses two words: yāpeh , "fair, beautiful" + ʿayin , "eye" or "look, appearance." Holladay 271, meanings 1 and 2. Esthetically, yāpeh denotes "beauty as to outward appearance," used to describe women (Sarah, Rachel, Tamar, and Abishag) as well as men (Joseph and Absalom) (Paul R. Gilchrist, yāpeh , TWOT #890a).

[25] "Handsome features" (NIV), "handsome" (NRSV), "goodly to look at" (KJV) also consists of two words, ṭôb , "good" + roʾî , "looking, appearance" (Robert D. Culver, TWOT #2095f). While ṭôb means generally, "good," esthetic or sensual goodness may be denoted. It describes the beauty, or desirability of women. English idiom prefers "handsome" when the term describes men. (Andrew Bowling, ṭôb , TWOT #793a).

[26] "Ruddy" is ʾadmônî , "red, ruddy," from the same root ( ʾdm ) as Adam and Edom. (Leonard J. Coppes, TWOT #26h).

[27] Baldwin ( 1 and 2 Samuel , p. 122) speculates that, "ruddy implied light-skinned by comparison with his compatriots."

[28] "Rise/arise" is qûm , "rise, arise, stand." Our root refers essentially to the physical action "rising up" (Leonard J. Coppes, TWOT #1999).

[29] Māshaḥ could refer in everyday usage to such acts as rubbing ( māshaḥ ) a shield with oil (Isaiah 21:5), painting a house (Jeremiah 22:14), or applying oil to the body (Amos 6:6). Here it refers to ceremonial induction into leadership offices, an action that involved the pouring of oil from a horn upon the head of an individual (Victor P. Hamilton, TWOT #1225).

[30] "In Egyptian culture it was the custom to anoint vassal kings, i.e., minor kings who owed allegiance to the great king of Egypt; in this light we may see the king of Israel as not a king in his own right, but a vassal of Yahweh, who is envisaged as the true king of Israel" (D.F. Payne, I and II Samuel , (Daily Study Bible; Westminster, 1982), p. 50, cited in Bergen, 1 and 2 Samuel , p. 127).

[31] Franz Hesse, chriō , TDNT 9:497.

[32] Daniel E. Fleming, "Anointing," DOTHB 33.

[33] Sālaḥ , TWOT #1916.

[34] Sālaḥ , Holladay 306.

[35] The term "shepherd" was widely used metaphorically throughout the ancient Near East to describe the office of king (e.g., Isaiah 44:28; Jeremiah 6:3; 49:19).

[36] Baldwin, 1 and 2 Samuel , p. 122.

[37] Bergen, 1 and 2 Samuel , p. 182.

[38] "Torment" (NIV, NRSV), "trouble" (KJV) is bāʿat , "to be overtaken by sudden terror, to terrify" (Elmer A. Martens, TWOT #265). J. Hoftijzer sees this as "an experience of extreme fear and incapacitation" (cited by Bergen, 1 and 2 Samuel, p. 182, fn. 36).

[39] "Brave man" (NIV), "man of valor" (NRSV), "mighty valiant man" (KJV) is two words: gibbôr hayil -- gibbôr, "mighty, strong, valiant, mighty man," the heroes or champions among the armed forces (John N. Oswalt, gibbôr, TWOT #310b) and hayil ,  "might, strength, power; able, valiant, virtuous, valor; army, host, forces; riches, substance, wealth; etc." (Carl Philip Weber, hayil , TWOT #624a).

[40] "Warrior" (NIV, NRSV), is two words, literally, "man of war" (KJV). The second word is milḥāmâ , "battle, war," from lāham , "to fight, do battle" (TWOT #1104c). This seems to be an exaggeration or statement of strength and potential, since at this point, David hadn't fought in any war.

[41] "Speaks well" (NIV), "prudent in speech" (NRSV), "prudent in matters" (KJV) is two words, literally, "discern ( bîn ) between words/things/matters ( dābār )."

[42] "Fine-looking man" (NIV), "man of good presence" (NRSV), "comely person" (KJV) uses the word "man" with tōʾar , "shape, form, beautiful, comely, fair, favored, goodly, resemble, visage" (Ronald F. Youngblood, TWOT #2491a).

[43] Tremper Longman III, How to Read the Psalms (InterVarsity Press, 1998), pp. 97-98.

[44] Michael Levy, "The Ancient Biblical Lyres."

[45] Foxvog and Kilmer, Daniel A. Foxvog and Ann D. Kilmer, "Music," ISBE 3:440-442, John N. Oswalt, knr , TWOT #1004a.

[46] "Armor-bearer" is two words: nāśāʾ , "bear, carry" and kelî , a general word, referring to the equipment, containers, tools, etc., appropriate to a given service or occupation. Depending on the context it can be translated, "armor, bag, carriage, furniture, instrument, jewels, sacks, stuff, thing, tools, vessel, weapons" (John N. Oswalt, TWOT #982g). Here the word doesn't seem to refer to a specific military role, but a court attendant who carried the king's possessions wherever he wanted to go.

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3 Truths We Learn about God from Samuel Anointing David

3 Truths We Learn about God from Samuel Anointing David

The story of Samuel anointing David as the future King of Israel is one of the most pivotal stories in the Old Testament. From the story of when Samuel anoints David, we can learn 3 profound lessons about God and the way He works among humanity.

The story is found in 1 Samuel 16 and begins with Samuel the prophet grieving the loss of relationship with Saul. The prophet felt deep regret that he had ever anointed Saul as King because Saul no longer followed God whole heartedly. As Samuel was grieving, the LORD spoke to him and called him to fill his horn with oil and to go and anoint one of the sons of Jesse as the new King over Israel.

When Samuel arrived, Jesse brought in each of his sons, starting with the oldest, however, none of them were the LORDs anointed. Finally, Samuel asked Jesse, if he had any other sons. Jesse hesitated and then told Samuel that he had just one more who was out tending the sheep. David was the youngest of Jesse’s sons and it’s almost as if Jesse was thinking, “Surely the youngest wouldn’t be anointed to be king!” However, sure enough, when David came in, the LORD spoke to Samuel and told him to anoint young David, as the next King of Israel.

David went on to be the greatest of all Israel’s king and actually, was in the lineage of Jesus. The prophets predicted that the Messiah would come from David’s roots. In fact, Jesus was called the “Son of David.” When the blind man, Bartimaeus, sat by the side of the road and yelled, “Jesus, Son of David have mercy on me” he likely knew that Jesus was the promised Messiah ( Mark 10:47 ). The word Messiah means “anointed one.” When Samuel anoints David, he provided a picture of the coming Messiah.

David was a man after God’s own heart. Though He was not perfect like Jesus, His life and message pointed to the coming Messiah.  He wrote many of the Psalms, which were prophetic pictures of Christ ( Psalm 22 , Psalm 110 ).

As we reflect on the story of when Samuel anoints David, we learn some profound truths about God and how He works in our lives. Here are 3 lessons we can learn about God from when Samuel anointing David:

1. We Learn that God Values Small and Insignificant

Particularly, here in the West, we value, large and significant. We tend to think bigger is always better. However, God values what is seemingly small and insignificant. When Jesse lined his sons up, the older more advanced sons were not the ones that God chose. They were likely more gifted in leadership and had more experience. However, God chose the youngest and the least inexperienced.

Our tendency is to believe God values the most talented and those with the greatest gifts. However, God places a premium on small and insignificant. We see this all throughout Jesus’ teachings.

Jesus told the story of the mustard seed and compared it to His kingdom ( Matthew 13:31-32 ). Though the mustard seed is tiny it has the potential to grow wildly. Jesus said, even if we have faith as tiny as a mustard seed He will honor that faith and through it do great things.

Another example is the story of the little boy’s lunch. When a crowd of over 5,000 gathered to hear Jesus preach, the disciples wondered how on earth they would feed all those people. Jesus took a little boy’s lunch; 5 loaves and 2 fishes. A seemingly tiny snack lunch became a banquet when placed in Jesus almighty hands. The principle is clear. God values the small and insignificant. In His hands, multiplication goes beyond what we can imagine. Little becomes much.

The next time you feel your faith is insignificant or your gifts are inadequate, remember Samuel anointing David. Though he was the youngest and seemingly the most insignificant, when yielded to God he became one of the greatest and most mighty of all Israel’s kings. Place your little in God’s hands and watch how He expands it for His glory.

2. We Learn That God Not Only Calls, He also Empowers

Oil in the Bible is often symbolic of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us, sets us apart and equips and empowers us to do the will of the Father. Throughout the Old Testament, priests and kings alike were anointed with oil to symbolize the setting apart and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. When Samuel takes his flask of oil and anoints David to be the future king, it is symbolic of the holy and honored calling God is placing on David’s life. From David on, every King of Israel was anointed with oil as symbol of the holy and honored calling God was placing on their lives. It also symbolized the fact that the Holy Spirit would empower them to do the job that God had called them to. From David on, every King of Israel was anointed with oil.

Samuel likely anointed David when David was just a teenager. Imagine how inadequate David likely felt as he considered the call to be king.  However, God didn’t just call David, He promised to equip and empower David. From the moment Samuel anointed David, the Holy Spirit empowered David ( 1 Samuel 16:13 ).

In your life and mine, God will sometimes call us to seemingly impossible tasks. Perhaps it is stepping into a leadership position for which we feel ill equipped. Or, maybe it’s raising a special need’s child. God often calls us to roles or tasks beyond our ability.  In those moments feelings of inadequacy can overwhelm. However, we must remember that what God calls us to do, He empowers us to do. Just as Samuel anointed David with oil, to symbolize the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, so He empowers us with the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised that He would send the advocate to help us in every area of life ( John 14:15-17 ). We can trust His promise even when the task feels impossible.

3. We Learn God Is Never in a Hurry

David was likely anointed when a teenager but ultimately waited many years to become king. Most Bible scholars believe David waited at least 17 years before he became King. In Psalm 13 we see David crying out to God in prayer , “How long, O LORD, how long?” ( Psalm 13:1 ). Yet, those years of waiting were crucial to David’s development.

We live in an impatient culture. Consequently, for most of us, waiting is very challenging. Yet, it is part of God’s plan for our lives. Author, Andrew Murray, wrote these profound words, “God is unwearied patience” (Daily in His Presence). I love that! We are an impatient people however, God is eternally patient and accomplishes what concerns us according to His timetable.  While we wait for God to do as He promised, He is developing our character and setting the stage for His perfect plan. If David had become king at only 17, He might have made many foolish choices. God needed to work in David’s life to shape his character and set the stage for His almighty plan. Learning to wait for God’s timing while simply enjoying His presence is part of our maturing process.

The next time it feels like God is taking forever to fulfill His promise, stop and reflect. How is God shaping your character? How might He be setting the stage for the perfect fulfillment of His plan? How can you cooperate with His timing?

The story of Samuel anointing David as king is one of the most profound in the Bible. David points us to Christ who would come as the ultimate Anointed One – the Messiah. As we study how Samuel anoints David, we are reminded that God values the small and seemingly insignificant, God calls us to do challenging works but He also empowers us to do those works and finally, God is never in a hurry, He takes His time.

Sources: Andrew Murray, Daily in His Presence,  (New York, NY; Multnomah a Division of Random House, 2004), September 30 Devotional Reading

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Waiting for god’s time—david anointed king of israel, ten more years as king in waiting.

At times, God does not reveal the schedule for fulfillment of his promise but expects the recipient to follow the schedule. David was anointed king of Israel but did not know how or when he will become king. He accepted the anointing as God’s promise and became king later following God’s schedule, though the schedule was not revealed to him or any other person. We begin a study series to follow the life of David as king in waiting , focused on understanding God’s purpose for human interactions and relationships while waiting for fulfillment of his promise.

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We continue the study series on The King and the People whereby we seek to understand God’s purpose for relationships between people and their government. The current study begins a sub series on the life of David as king in waiting . David became the king of Israel at the age of 30, approximately ten years after he was anointed. He accepted the anointing as God’s promise, though the anointing did not provide any information on how or when he would become king. Also, he understood that he would have to follow God’s schedule, though God did not reveal the schedule to him or any person, not even Prophet Samuel that anointed David. Therefore, David would wait for God to fulfill his promise in his way and at his time.

anointed david as king

We follow David’s life during the period to understand the events he encountered, how he responded in the events, and the outcome of each event. Our study will identify events that contributed positively toward his becoming king and those that appeared to contribute negatively. David’s life during the period teaches us that waiting for God’s time means working with God . His response in several events made positive impact among the people and built his reputation as a potential future leader.

Furthermore, we see David’s experience during the period as a manifestation of Human Relationship with God Regarding Work , where we discuss the understanding that God defines a mission for every person, divides the mission into task increments, and provides the person guidance to proceed with and complete the task on time. Each task, if completed, leads to a miracle and ushers in the next task. To receive and complete the tasks, one needs to stay connected to God by praying continually and living in the image of God. The study series will show that when David interacted with people in accordance with the principles of living in the image of God (e.g., see Keeping Watch by Living in the Image of God ), the outcome of the event contributed positively toward his preparation to become king.

In this bible study, we discuss the anointing of David to understand that God provided the anointing as promise to David but withheld the timetable for fulfillment of the promise. Also, we discuss a need of king Saul that opened opportunity for David to begin service in Saul’s army, thereby ushering him onto a step to begin training for leadership of Israel.

The Anointing of David

God instructed Prophet Samuel to go and anoint a son of Jesse to become the next king of Israel [1 Samuel 16:1]: “Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” He revealed to Samuel later that David was the chosen son. Because Saul was still occupying the throne, making a new king would require a transition (transfer of authority) from Saul to the new king and Saul needed to be involved somehow in the transition. However, God did not inform Samuel about any transition and Samuel feared for his life if Saul should find out he anointed another person to be king. In response, God instructed Samuel to arrange for a sacrifice there and perform the anointing during the sacrifice [1 Samuel 16:2–3]: “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.” Therefore, Samuel arranged for sacrifice there to disguise the anointing from Saul and other members of the public. Thus, God withheld his plan for the transition, and with it his timetable for David becoming king. He did not reveal the plan or schedule to any person, not even Prophet Samuel.

anointed david as king

Therefore, Samuel anointed David king in a private family ceremony. He was the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons. God chose him because his heart showed him well suited to be king: “…People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” [1 Samuel 16:7]. David was anointed but was not told how or when he will become king. In hindsight, based on the events of his life as king in waiting and the effects of the events on his transition to kingship, we can surmise that God wanted more life experience for David as part of his and Israeli people’s preparation for his kingship. Because the schedule was not revealed to him or any person, he responded to the events as he naturally would. Therefore, we can learn from his responses to understand the positives and negatives and apply the understanding to our everyday life as we wait for fulfillment of God’s promise.

For example, we can learn based on David’s experience that implementation of God’s calling may often include a period of preparation. David was called to be king but first will undergo a period of preparation of approximately ten years that included several events to grow his experience and reputation among the people of Israel.

David Enters Military Service Under Saul

David was brought to provide palliative care to Saul because Saul was being tormented by an evil spirit. Saul’s attendants had appealed to him to let them find someone that can play harp for him [1 Samuel 16:16]: “Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.” Saul approved and David was invited based on his reputation as a brave man that played the harp and radiated Godliness: “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him” [1 Samuel 16:18].

anointed david as king

David was effective in caring for the king [1 Samuel 16:23]: “And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.” He recognized when Saul needed care and provided service (played his harp) diligently to alleviate the need. Recognizing a need and providing service diligently to alleviate the need are key aspects of living in the image of God as Christ taught through the parable of the Good Samaritan ( Love through Compassion—Parable of the Good Samaritan ). David’s diligence and care became the foundation for his reputation with Saul and other observers.

Saul loved David and made him his armorbearer. Thus, David entered military service under Saul and played the harp for him as palliative care when needed. As we see in subsequent studies under this series, David’s entry into military service provided opportunity for him to grow his reputation as a potential leader for Israel.

Summary of What We Learned

At times, God does not reveal the schedule for fulfillment of his promise but expects the recipient to follow the schedule. For example, David was anointed king of Israel but did not know how or when he will become king. He accepted the anointing as God’s promise and became king later following God’s schedule, though the schedule was not revealed to him or any other person. We begin a study series to follow the life of David as king in waiting , focused on understanding God’s purpose for human interactions and relationships while waiting for fulfillment of his promise.

The current study discusses the anointing of David to understand that God provided the anointing as promise to David but withheld the timetable for fulfillment of the promise. Also, the study discusses a need of king Saul that opened opportunity for David to begin service in Saul’s army, thereby ushering him onto a step to begin preparation for leadership of Israel.

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Please watch this bible study on video at VIDEO_LINK , listen to or download the audio at AUDIO_LINK . You can also download a PDF copy of the PowerPoint presentation from PDF_LINK .

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    David Anointed King · So he sent and brought him in. Now he wasruddy,withbright eyes, and good-looking. And the · Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed

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    So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel

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  7. 3 Truths We Learn about God from Samuel Anointing David

    When Samuel takes his flask of oil and anoints David to be the future king, it is symbolic of the holy and honored calling God is placing on

  8. Waiting for God's Time—David Anointed King of Israel

    Therefore, Samuel anointed David king in a private family ceremony. He was the youngest of Jesse's eight sons. God chose him because his heart

  9. 1 Samuel 16:13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in

    So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David. Samuel

  10. Why was king David anointed three times, and had to wait ...

    3.) 2 Samuel 5:3, David was anointed to be accepted as king as king of Israel by the elders of Israel. The first anointing can be termed