And Samuel said to Jesse, Are here all your children? And he said, There remains yet the youngest, and, behold, he keeps the sheep. And Samuel said to Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come here.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Are here all thy children?—For a moment the prophet is uncertain. The command from the Eternal Friend to come and anoint “the son of Jesse of Bethlehem” had been definite, but the sons of Jesse had passed before him, and no sign had been vouch-safed to him indicating that God had chosen one of these youths of whom the father was so fond; so the seer asks, “Are these all thy children?”
There remaineth yet the youngest.—Why David was kept in the background is uncertain. He, clearly, was different to the stalwart band of elder brothers who were grouped round their father. Although fair to look on, his beauty was of a very different type to that of his brothers, probably, compared with Saul and his own brothers, little of stature, with reddish-brown hair and a fair complexion. His father and the men in the village thought less of him than of his dark, tall brothers: at all events, Jesse thought him of too little account to present to Samuel. But, as so often, God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and in a moment Samuel saw that in the ruddy shepherd boy—small of stature, and held of little account in his father’s house—he beheld the future king of Israel.1 Samuel 16:11. Behold, he keepeth sheep — And consequently is the most unfit of all my sons for that high employment. Either, therefore, he did not understand David’s wisdom and valour, or he judged him unfit, by reason of his mean education. And God so ordered it by his providence, that the choice of David might plainly appear to be God’s work, and not Samuel’s or Jesse’s. David signifies beloved; a fit name for so eminent a type of God’s beloved Son. It is supposed David was now about twenty years old. If so, his troubles by Saul lasted near ten years; for he was thirty years old when Saul died. Samuel, having done this, went to Ramah. He retired to die in peace, since his eyes had seen the salvation, even the sceptre brought into the tribe of Judah.
11. There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep—Jesse having evidently no idea of David's wisdom and bravery, spoke of him as the most unfit. God, in His providence, so ordered it, that the appointment of David might the more clearly appear to be a divine purpose, and not the design either of Samuel or Jesse. David having not been sanctified with the rest of his family, it is probable that he returned to his pastoral duties the moment the special business on which he had been summoned was done.He keepeth the sheep; and consequently is the most unfit of all my sons for that high employment. Either therefore he did not thoroughly understand David’s great wisdom and valour, or he judgeth him unfit, by reason of his mean education. And God so ordered it by his providence, that David’s choice might plainly appear to be God’s work, and not Samuel’s or Jesse’s design.
We will not sit down, to wit, to the feast.
Quest. How could David be admitted to this feast, being, as it seems, not sanctified with the rest of his brethren?
Answ. 1. It is not strange if the prophet, by God’s direction, dispensed with the ordinary rule, in a person so extraordinary, both for his piety and the dignity to which he was chosen.
2. It is not affirmed that David did sit down with them to the feast, but only that they would not do so till he came. And when he was come, and Samuel had done what he intended with him, David, for aught we know, might depart, and the rest sit down to the feast; for David was not now actually raised to any higher degree, but returned to his former employment; as we read below, 1 Samuel 16:19.
and he said, there remaineth yet the youngest; or, "the little one" (c); not of a little diminutive stature, for he was a mighty man, a man of strength, courage, and valour, 1 Samuel 16:18 or of a puerile age, for the Jews say (d) he was now twenty nine years of age; but that is not likely, he hardly exceeded more than twenty, or was so much; thereabout he might be; but he is so called because he was the youngest son, as we render it:
and, behold, he keepeth the sheep: and from following them, he was taken and anointed king; see Psalm 78:70. Some of the greatest of men have been taken from rustic employment, as Moses, Gideon, Saul, and others:
and Samuel said unto Jesse, send and fetch him; out of the field by a messenger:
for we will not sit down till he come hither; that is, at table, to eat of that part of the peace offerings which belonged to the offerer Samuel, and which he had invited Jesse and his sons to partake of.And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)11. we will not sit down] We will not sit round the table for the sacrificial feast.Verses 11, 12. - Are here all thy children? The word literally is lads, na'arim. The elder sons must have been nearly or quite grown up, but David was probably a mere boy, and as such had not been thought worthy of an invitation, but had been left with the servants keeping the sheep. The prophet now orders him to be summoned, and marks his value in God's sight by saying, We will not sit down till he come hither. The verb literally means, we will not surround, i.e. the table, though at this time the Jews did sit at meals, instead of reclining on couches, as in the days of Amos and our Lord. We gather, moreover, from Samuel's words that the selection of the son that was to be anointed took place while the preparations were being made for the feast. At the prophet's command David is fetched from the flock, which was probably near the house, and on his arrival the prophet sees a ruddy boy, i.e. red-haired, correctly rendered in the Vulgate rufus, the colour loved by all painters of manly beauty, and, from the delicacy of complexion which accompanies it, especially admired in the East, where men are generally dark-haired and sallow-faced. Moreover, he was of a beautiful countenance. The Hebrew says, "with beautiful eyes," and so the Syriac and Septuagint rightly. He was also goodly to look to, i.e. to look at. These last words give the general idea of the beauty of his face and person, while his bright hair and delicate complexion and the beauty of his eyes are specially noticed in the Hebrew. Exodus 19:10, Exodus 19:22). The expression, "Come with me to the sacrifice," is constructio praegnans for "Come and take part in the sacrifice." "Call to the sacrifice" (1 Samuel 16:3) is to be understood in the same way. זבח is the slain-offering, which was connected with every sacrificial meal. It is evident from the following words, "and he sanctified Jesse and his sons," that Samuel addressed the general summons to sanctify themselves more especially to Jesse and his sons. For it was with them that he was about to celebrate the sacrificial meal.
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