|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:1-5 It appears that Saul was grown very wicked. Of what would he not be guilty, who durst think to kill Samuel? The elders of Bethlehem trembled at Samuel's coming. It becomes us to stand in awe of God's messengers, and to tremble at his word. His answer was, I come peaceably, for I come to sacrifice. When our Lord Jesus came into the world, though men had reason to fear that his errand was to condemn the world, yet he gave full assurance that he came peaceably, for he came to sacrifice, and he brought his offering with him; A body hast thou prepared me. Let us sanctify ourselves, and depend upon His sacrifice.
Verses 3-5. - Call Jesse to the sacrifice. The word used is zebach, and means a sacrifice followed by a feast, at which all the elders of the town, and with them Jesse and his elder sons, would be present by the prophet's invitation. It is plain that such sacrifices were not unusual, or Saul would have demanded a reason for Samuel's conduct. As the ark remained so long in obscurity at Kirjath-jearim, and the solemn services of the tabernacle were not restored until Saul at some period of his reign removed it to Nob, possibly Samuel may have instituted this practice of occasionally holding sacrifices, now at one place and now at another, to keep alive a sense of religion in the hearts of the people; and probably on such occasions he taught them the great truths of the law, thus combining in his person the offices of prophet and priest. Nevertheless, the elders of the town trembled at his coming. More literally, "went with trembling to meet him." Very probably such visitations often took place because some crime had been committed into which Samuel wished to inquire, or because the people had been negligent in some duty. And though conscious of no such fault, yet at the coming of one of such high rank their minds foreboded evil. He quiets, however, their fears and bids them sanctify themselves; i.e. they were to wash and purify themselves, and abstain from everything unclean, and put on their festal garments (Exodus 19:10; and comp. 1 Samuel 21:5). It is added, He sanctified Jesse and his sons, i.e. he took especial care that no legal impurity on their part should stand in the way of the execution of his errand.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And call Jesse to the sacrifice,.... His family, both him and his sons, to partake of the peace offerings; as every offerer had a right to invite his friends, and whomsoever he pleased, to eat of those parts of them which belonged to him, as a feast before the Lord:
and I will show thee what thou shall do; when Jesse and his family were with him:
and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee; that is, anoint him to be king over Israel, whom he should point out so plainly to him, as if he called him by name.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. call Jesse to the sacrifice—that is, the social feast that followed the peace offering. Samuel, being the offerer, had a right to invite any guest he pleased.
1 Samuel 16:3 Parallel Commentaries
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