1 Samuel 16:13
Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the middle of his brothers: and the Spirit of the LORD came on David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) Anointed him in the midst of his brethren.—The history here simply relates the bare fact that the young shepherd was anointed in the presence of his brethren. No words of Samuel on this occasion are recorded; we are left, therefore, uncertain whether any reason was given for the choice of David, or any explanation of this peculiar anointing. It would seem most probable that Samuel kept silence for the present respecting the high destinies of the boy standing before him, and that he merely anointed him as one chosen to be his assistant in the sacrifice he was about to offer, stating probably that the Spirit of the Lord had directed him thus to associate the young son of Jesse with himself, and to adopt him in some way as a pupil in his prophetic school. From this time forward much of David’s time was doubtless spent in Samuel’s company. From him he received his training in poetry and music, for which he subsequently became distinguished; from the wise seer, too, the future king derived those early lessons of wisdom and learning which enabled him later to fill so nobly the great position for which he was thus early marked out. David was, before everything, Samuel’s pupil, and the last years of that long and memorable career of the prophet were spent in moulding the life of Israel’s greatest king.

And the Spirit of the Lord came upon David . . . (14) But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul.—This “Spirit of the Lord” which on the day of his anointing by Samuel came upon the shepherd boy, was the “Holy Ghost, or good Spirit of God,” and is clearly and formally opposed to those evil spirits which (to use the words of Bishop Pearson) “must be acknowledged persons of a spiritual and intellectual subsistence, as the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. Now, what those evil spirits from the Lord were is apparent from the sad example of Ahab, concerning whom we read, There came out a spirit and stood before the Lord, and said, I will entice him; and the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? and he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail; go out, and do even so. From whence it is evident that the evil spirits from God were certain persons—even bad angels—to which the one good Spirit as a person is opposed, departing from him to whom the other cometh” (Bishop Pearson, Creed, Art. 8).

The effect of this descent of the Spirit of the Lord upon David was that the shepherd boy grew up into a hero, a statesman, a scholar, and a wise, far-sighted king. The effect of the departure of the Spirit from Saul was that from that hour the once generous king became a prey to a groomy melancholy, and a victim to a torturing jealousy of others, which increased as time went on, and which goaded him now and again to madness, ruining his life, and marring utterly the fair promise of his early years.

16:6-13 It was strange that Samuel, who had been so disappointed in Saul, whose countenance and stature recommended him, should judge of another man by that rule. We can tell how men look, but God can tell what they are. He judges of men by the heart. We often form a mistaken judgment of characters; but the Lord values only the faith, fear, and love, which are planted in the heart, beyond human discernment. And God does not favour our children according to our fond partiality, but often most honours and blesses those who have been least regarded. David at length was pitched upon. He was the youngest of the sons of Jesse; his name signifies Beloved; he was a type of God's beloved Son. It should seem, David was least set by of all the sons of Jesse. But the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. His anointing was not an empty ceremony, a Divine power went with that instituted sign; he found himself advanced in wisdom and courage, with all the qualifications of a prince, though not advanced in his outward circumstances. This would satisfy him that his election was of God. The best evidence of our being predestinated to the kingdom of glory, is, our being sealed with the Spirit of promise, and experience of a work of grace in our hearts.The Spirit ... came upon David - The exact phrase used of the Judges and Saul. See 1 Samuel 10:6, note; Judges 3:10, note; Judges 6:34, note; Judges 11:29, note; Judges 14:18, note; Judges 15:14, note. 13. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him—This transaction must have been strictly private. In the midst of his brethren: according to this translation, his brethren were present at this act, and knew that David was anointed king. But this seems, to some, neither consistent with Samuel’s design of secrecy, nor with Eliab’s scornful words concerning him after this, 1 Samuel 17:28. But to this others reply, that David’s brethren saw David’s unction, but did not particularly understand that he was anointed to the kingdom; but were only told by Samuel at he was anointed to some great service, which hereafter they should know, but at present it was fit to be concealed. Thus Jesse only and David understood the whole business, and his brethren were able to attest to that act of Samuel’s anointing him, which, with other collateral evidences, was abundantly sufficient to prove David’s right to the kingdom, if need should be. And this seems fairly to accord and explain the matter. But the words may be otherwise translated out of the Hebrew, that he anointed him out of the midst of his brethren, i.e. he selected him from amongst the rest of his brethren to be king; as Christ is said to be raised from the midst of his brethren. And whereas the Hebrew word is bekereb, in the midst, not mikkereb, out of the midst; it is confessed that the preposition beth, in, is oft used for min, of, or out of, as hath been formerly showed by many instances; and so it may be here. And further, the place may be thus rendered, that Samuel anointed him, being taken out of the midst of his brethren; and so these words may be added, to signify that Samuel took him out from the rest of the company, and privately anointed him; Jesse only being present at the action. And thus there is an ellipsis of a verb or particle, which is frequent; as Genesis 12:15, The woman was taken (i.e. was taken and carried) into Pharaoh’s house; and many such places.

The Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward, i.e. he was immediately endowed with extraordinary gifts of God’s Spirit, as strength, and courage, and wisdom, and magnanimity, and other excellent qualities, which fitted him for and put him upon noble attempts; for which he presently grew famous, even whilst he lived a private life. See below, 1 Samuel 16:18 17:34, &c. Then Samuel took the horn of oil,.... Out of his pocket, which he brought along with him by the direction of God:

and anointed him in the midst of his brethren; not in the presence of them, they sitting around, or standing by and seeing the ceremony performed; which is not consistent with the secrecy with which Samuel was directed to manage this affair, and which was necessary to observe, to keep it from the knowledge of Saul; and with Eliab's treatment of David afterwards, who would never have addressed him in the manner he did, had he known that he was anointed king, 1 Samuel 17:28 but the sense is, according to Kimchi and Abarbinel, that he was selected out of them, and separated from them, and privately anointed by Samuel, and at most only his father Jesse present; wherefore some observe, that the words may be rendered, "anointed him from the midst of his brethren" (h); that is, he took him apart from them, and anointed him:

and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward; not as a spirit of grace and holiness, which probably had come upon him before this time; but a spirit of prophecy, as did on Saul after his unction; and which particularly showed itself in music and poetry, in which he immediately became very eminent, and he was taken notice of for it, and which was the means of bringing him into Saul's court; and a spirit of wisdom and prudence, in civil as well as in sacred things; and a spirit of fortitude, as the Targum, of strength of body, and courage and valour of mind; whereby he was enabled to encounter with the lion and bear, and get the mastery of them; which, with all other gifts of the spirit fitting him for government, he was now endowed with, and which continued with him:

so Samuel rose up and went to Ramah his native place, and where he resided; that is, after the festival of the peace offerings, to which Jesse and his sons were invited; for the anointing seems to be before that.

(h) So Pool, Patrick, &c.

Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. in the midst of his brethren] This can only mean “in the presence of his brethren.” As in the subsequent history they do not seem to have any idea of their brother’s high destiny, the true significance of the act appears to have been concealed from them. Whether it was made clear even to Jesse and David himself may be doubted. They may have supposed that Samuel had selected David for a pupil in his prophetic school. See 1 Samuel 19:18 ff.

the spirit of the Lord came upon David] As upon Saul at the first (1 Samuel 10:6). For “came upon” see note on 1 Samuel 11:6. The special supernatural preparation for his office began from that hour.

David] The name means “beloved” or “darling,” and was probably given to him as the youngest of the family.Verse 13. - Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren. Did he or they understand the meaning of the act? We think not. Certainly Eliab (1 Samuel 17:28) had no idea of any special greatness being in store for his brother. Most probably both Jesse and his sons regarded David as simply selected to be trained in Samuel's schools; and there can be little doubt that he was so trained. Samuel gave unto David that which Saul had not received - long and careful training; and David profited by it, and at Naioth in Ramah perfected his skill, not only in reading and writing, but in poetry and music. Saul and David were both men of extraordinary natural ability; but the one is always shy, awkward, and with all the defects of an uneducated man; while David is altogether the contrary. But Samuel gave his youthful pupil something better than accomplishments - he carefully educated him in the law of God, and led his mind onward to all that was good. It was Samuel's last and crowning work. Prophecy and monarchy were both of his institution, as orderly elements of the Jewish state; he also trained the man who more nearly than any other approached unto the ideal of the theocratic king, and was to Israel the type of their coming Messiah. It was Samuel's wisdom in teaching his young men music which gave David the skill to be the sweet singer of the sanctuary; and we may feel sure also that when David arranged the service of the house of God, and gave priests and Levites their appointed duties (1 Chronicles 23-26.), the model which he set before him was that in which he had so often taken part with Samuel at Ramah. As Eliah, Abinadab, and Shammah were but lads (ver. 11), David must have been very young, and many years have elapsed between his anointing and his summons to Saul's presence and combat with Goliath; and they were thus well spent in the prophet's company, whence at, proper intervals he would return to his father's house and resume his ordinary duties. The Spirit of Jehovah came upon David from that day forward (comp. 1 Samuel 10:6, 9). In modern language we should say that David's character grew and developed nobly, both intellectually and morally. With far more ethical truth the Israelites saw in the high qualities which displayed themselves in David's acts and words the presence and working of a Divine Spirit. It was a "breathing of Jehovah" which moved David onward, and fostered in him all that was morally great and good, just as it was "the breath of God" which at the creation moved upon the face of the waters to call this earth into being (Genesis 1:2). Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. His mission was over, and he returned to his ordinary duties; but, doubtless, first he made arrangements that David should in due time follow him thither, that he might be trained for his high office under Samuel's direct influence and control. DAVID'S INTRODUCTION TO KING SAUL (vers. 14-23). When they came, sc., to the sacrificial meal, which was no doubt held in Jesse's house, after the sacrifice had been presented upon an altar, and when Samuel saw the eldest son Eliab, who was tall and handsome according to 1 Samuel 16:7, "he thought (lit. he said, sc., in his heart), Surely His anointed is before Jehovah," i.e., surely the man is now standing before Jehovah whom He hath chosen to be His anointed. But Jehovah said to him in the spirit, "Look not at his form and the height of his stature, for I have rejected him: for not as man seeth (sc., do I see); for man looketh at the eyes, and Jehovah looketh at the heart." The eyes, as contrasted with the heart, are figuratively employed to denote the outward form.
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