1 Samuel 16:20
And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son to Saul.
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(20) And Jesse took an ass.—It was and is ever customary in the East to acknowledge obedience and subjection with a present. Jesse, the sheik of Bethlehem, would thus be expected on sending his son to the court of Saul to acknowledge his sovereign by some token of homage.

The nature of Jesse’s gifts shows how simple and primitive were the customs of the Hebrew people at that time.

1 Samuel 16:20. Jesse took bread, a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them — This present, though in our times it would seem contemptible, yet was very agreeable to the usage of those ages, and to the condition of Jesse, which was but mean in the world. And it was usual in those days not to come before a prince without a present, as a token of respect.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.A mighty valiant man ... - David's reputation for courage, skill, discretion, and manly beauty, was already great. Since "the Spirit of the Lord came upon him," his natural qualities and powers had been greatly enhanced. His feat of killing the lion and the bear (see the marginal references) had been performed, like Samson's feats of strength Judges 14:6, Judges 14:19; Judges 15:14, under the same supernatural influence, and was probably more or less known. 20. Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them … unto Saul—as a token of homage and respect. This present, though in our times it would seem contemptible, yet was very agreeable to the usage of those times, and to the condition of Jesse, which was but mean in the world. And it seems to have been the custom of those times, as it is yet in the eastern countries (when they made their appearance before princes or great persons, to bring a present: see Genesis 32:20 43:25,26, and elsewhere); to which civil custom that religious precept seems consonant, Exodus 23:15 Deu 16:16. None shall appear before me empty. And he might send it, partly as a testimony of his respect to his sovereign, and partly to gain David favour and acceptance with him, being sensible that he was going into a place and state of hazard; but knowing Saul’s furious temper, he durst not refuse to send him; and he sent him the more willingly, because this seemed a most likely means to accomplish God’s promise of the kingdom, and to prepare him for it. And Jesse took an ass laden with bread,.... Laden with a load of bread, as the Targum; with as much as it could carry, or was used to carry; the Septuagint version is, an omer of bread, which was as much as a man could eat in one day; and, according to Kimchi and Ben Melech, it may be interpreted an heap of bread, agreeably to the use of the word in Judges 15:16, and a bottle of wine; or a skin of wine, a leather bag or sack, which held more than our bottles; the Targum is, a flagon of wine:

and a kid; of the goats, as the same Targum:

and sent them by David his son unto Saul; some think that Jesse suspected that Saul had known the secret of David's being anointed, and was fearful that he had a design upon his life, and therefore sent this present by his son to pacify him, and ingratiate him unto him; but rather he sent it as a token of respect and subjection to his sovereign, and according to the custom of those times, when men used to carry presents when they waited upon princes, and indeed in their common visits; and do in the eastern countries to this day; See Gill on 1 Samuel 9:7.

And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Saul.
20. And Jesse took, &c.] Cp. 1 Samuel 10:4; 1 Samuel 10:27. The character of the presents offered to the King shews the simplicity of the manners of the age. They were “the natural produce of the well known vines, and corn-fields, and pastures of Bethlehem.”David's Introduction to the Court of Saul. - 1 Samuel 16:14. With the rejection of Saul on the part of God, the Spirit of Jehovah had departed from him, and an evil spirit from Jehovah had come upon him, who filled him with fear and anguish. The "evil spirit from Jehovah" which came into Saul in the place of the Spirit of Jehovah, was not merely an inward feeling of depression at the rejection announced to him, which grew into melancholy, and occasionally broke out in passing fits of insanity, but a higher evil power, which took possession of him, and not only deprived him of his peace of mind, but stirred up the feelings, ideas, imagination, and thoughts of his soul to such an extent that at times it drove him even into madness. This demon is called "an evil spirit (coming) from Jehovah," because Jehovah had sent it as a punishment, or "an evil spirit of God" (Elohim: 1 Samuel 16:15), or briefly "a spirit of God" (Elohim), or "the evil spirit" (1 Samuel 16:23, compare 1 Samuel 18:10), as being a supernatural, spiritual, evil power; but never "the Spirit of Jehovah," because this is the Spirit proceeding from the holy God, which works upon men as the spirit of strength, wisdom, and knowledge, and generates and fosters the spiritual or divine life. The expression רעה יהוה רוּח (1 Samuel 19:9) is an abbreviated form for יהוה מאת רעה רוּח, and is to be interpreted according.
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