1 Samuel 16:23
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
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.

New Living Translation
And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp. Then Saul would feel better, and the tormenting spirit would go away.

English Standard Version
And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him.

New American Standard Bible
So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him.

King James Bible
And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Whenever the spirit from God troubled Saul, David would pick up his lyre and play, and Saul would then be relieved, feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.

International Standard Version
Whenever an evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the lyre and play it. Relief would come to Saul and he would be better, because the evil spirit would leave him.

NET Bible
So whenever the spirit from God would come upon Saul, David would take his lyre and play it. This would bring relief to Saul and make him feel better. Then the evil spirit would leave him alone.

New Heart English Bible
It happened, when the spirit from God was on Saul, that David took the harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Whenever God's spirit came to Saul, David took the lyre and strummed a tune. Saul got relief [from his terror] and felt better, and the evil spirit left him.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And it came to pass, when the [evil] spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took the harp, and played with his hand; so Saul found relief, and it was well with him, and the evil spirit departed from him.

New American Standard 1977
So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took a harp and played with his hand; so Saul was refreshed and was better, and the evil spirit departed from him.

King James 2000 Bible
And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took a harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

American King James Version
And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was on Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

American Standard Version
And it came to pass, when the evil'spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took the harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

Douay-Rheims Bible
So whensoever the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, David took his harp, and played with his hand, and Saul was refreshed, and was better, for the evil spirit departed from him.

Darby Bible Translation
And it came to pass, when the [evil] spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took the harp, and played with his hand; and Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

English Revised Version
And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took the harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

Webster's Bible Translation
And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took a harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

World English Bible
It happened, when the [evil] spirit from God was on Saul, that David took the harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

Young's Literal Translation
And it hath come to pass, in the spirit of sadness from God being on Saul, that David hath taken the harp, and played with his hand, and Saul hath refreshment and gladness, and the spirit of sadness hath turned aside from off him.
Study Bible
David Serves Saul
22Saul sent to Jesse, saying, "Let David now stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight." 23So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him.
Cross References
1 Samuel 16:14
Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him.

1 Samuel 16:22
Saul sent to Jesse, saying, "Let David now stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight."

1 Samuel 18:10
Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and he raved in the midst of the house, while David was playing the harp with his hand, as usual; and a spear was in Saul's hand.

2 Kings 3:15
"But now bring me a minstrel." And it came about, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.
Treasury of Scripture

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was on Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

the evil spirit

1 Samuel 16:14,16 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit …

Saul

1 Samuel 18:10,11 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God …

Matthew 12:43-45 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through dry …

Luke 11:24-26 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through dry …

(23) David took an harp, and played with his hand.--"The music," beautifully writes F. D. Maurice, "was more than a mere palliative. It brought back for the time the sense of a true order, a secret, inward harmony, an assurance that it is near every man, and that he may enter into it. A wonderful message, no doubt, to a king or a common man, better than a great multitude of words, a continual prophecy that there is a deliverer who can take the vulture from the heart, and unbind the sufferer from the rock. . . . As the boy minstrel played, the afflicted monarch was refreshed, and the dark clouds rolled away."

"He is Saul, ye remember in glory--ere error had bent

The broad brow from the daily communion, and still, though

much spent

Be the life and the bearing that front you, the same God did

choose

To receive what a man may waste, desecrate, never quite

lose."--BROWNING: Saul.

And the evil spirit departed from him.--Many instances besides those recorded above (see note to 1Samuel 16:16) might be quoted of the beneficial effects of music and singing upon a disturbed spirit, or on a mind diseased. The holy Elisha, we are told, when "disturbed in spirit," would call for a minstrel, and after listening to the sweet, soothing strains, would write and speak his prophetic utterances.

In modern times a well-known instance of this strange power over a troubled spirit is that of Philip V. of Spain, who, we are told, was restored from the deepest melancholy and depression by the sweet voice and words of Farinelli. Luther speaks of this power of music over the sick and weary soul as "one of the fairest and most glorious gifts of God, to which Satan is a bitter enemy, for it removes from the heart the weight of sorrow and the fascination of evil thoughts." Basil's words on this subject are worth quoting:--"Psalmody is the calm of the soul, the repose of the spirit, the arbiter of peace. It silences the wave, and conciliates the whirlwind of our passions. It is an engenderer of friendship, a healer of dissension, a reconciler of enemies. It repels demons, lures the ministry of angels, shields us from nightly terrors, and refreshes us in daily toil."

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul,.... See 1 Samuel 16:14 though the word evil is not in the text here; wherefore Abarbinel thinks that this here was the Spirit of God, which stirred up in him thoughts of divine things, put him in mind of what God had said, that he had rejected him from being king, and had rent the kingdom from him; and this filled him with grief and trouble, and he became melancholy:

that David took an harp, and played with his hands; upon it; and, as Josephus (r) says, at the same time sung hymns and psalms; made use both of vocal and instrumental music:

so Saul was refreshed, and was well; became cheerful, his grief was removed, his black and gloomy apprehensions of things were dispersed, and he was cured of his melancholy disorder for the present:

and the evil spirit departed from him: at least for a while; he had his fits and intervals; of the effects of music in a natural way; see Gill on 1 Samuel 16:16, though no doubt the music of David was more than natural, being attended with the power and blessing of God, in order to raise his fame and credit at court.

(r) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 6. c. 8. sect. 2.) 23. David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well—The ancients believed that music had a mysterious influence in healing mental disorders. 16:14-23 Saul is made a terror to himself. The Spirit of the Lord departed from him. If God and his grace do not rule us, sin and Satan will have possession of us. The devil, by the Divine permission, troubled and terrified Saul, by the corrupt humours of his body, and passions of his mind. He grew fretful, peevish, and discontented, and at times a madman. It is a pity that music, which may be serviceable to the good temper of the mind, should ever be abused, to support vanity and luxury, and made an occasion of drawing the heart from God and serious things. That is driving away the good Spirit, not the evil spirit. Music, diversions, company, or business, have for a time often been employed to quiet the wounded conscience; but nothing can effect a real cure but the blood of Christ, applied in faith, and the sanctifying Spirit sealing the pardon, by his holy comforts. All other plans to dispel religious melancholy are sure to add to distress, either in this world or the next.
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