1 Samuel 16:3
And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do: and you shall anoint to me him whom I name to you.
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(3) And thou shalt anoint.—From very early times the ceremony of anointing to important offices was customary among the Hebrews. In the first instance, all the priests were anointed (Exodus 40:15; Numbers 3:3), but afterwards anointing seems to have been reserved especially for the high priest (Exodus 29:29). Prophets also seem occasionally to have been anointed to their holy office. Anointing, however, was the principal ceremony in the inauguration of the Hebrew kings. It belonged in so especial a manner to the royal functions that the favourite designation for the king in Israel was “the Lord’s anointed.” In the case of David, the ceremony of anointing was performed three times—(1) on this occasion by Samuel, when the boy was set apart for the service of the Lord; (2) when appointed king over Judah at Hebron (2Samuel 2:4); (3) when chosen as monarch over all Israel (2Samuel 5:3). All these official personages, the priest, the prophet, and peculiarly the king, were types of the great expected Deliverer, ever known as the “Messiah,” “the Christ,” “the Anointed One.”

Wordsworth curiously considers these three successive unctions of David figurative of the successive unctions of Christ: conceived by the Holy Ghost in the Virgin’s womb; then anointed publicly at his baptism; and finally, set at God’s right hand as King of the Universal Church in the heavenly Jerusalem.

1 Samuel 16:3-4. Call Jesse to the sacrifice — To the feast upon the sacrifice, to which they might invite their neighbours and friends. The elders trembled at his coming — Because it was strange and unexpected to them, this being but an obscure town, and remote from Samuel, and therefore they justly thought there was some extraordinary reason for it. They might fear lest he came to denounce some judgment against them, or to shun Saul’s displeasure, in which case it might have been dangerous for them to entertain him. Peaceably — The Hebrew phrase, Comest thou in peace? was as much as to say, (in our phrase,) Is all well?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.It was the purpose of God that David should be anointed at this time as Saul's successor, and as the ancestor and the type of His Christ. It was not the purpose of God that Samuel should stir up a civil war, by setting up David as Saul's rival. Secrecy, therefore, was a necessary part of the transaction. But secrecy and concealment are not the same as duplicity and falsehood. Concealment of a good purpose, for a good purpose, is clearly justifiable. There is therefore nothing in the least inconsistent with truth in the occurrence here related. Compare Exodus 7:16; Exodus 8:1; Exodus 9:13. 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. Call Jesse to the sacrifice, i.e. invite him to the feast, which, after the manner, was made of the flesh of the sacrifice; and it belonged to Samuel, as the offerer of the sacrifice, to invite whom he pleased.

Whom I name, i.e. whom I shall describe, as it were, by name. 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.

And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee.
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. After Saul had prayed, Samuel directed him to bring Agag the king of the Amalekites. Agag came מעדנּת, i.e., in a contented and joyous state of mind, and said (in his heart), "Surely the bitterness of death is vanished," not from any special pleasure at the thought of death, or from a heroic contempt of death, but because he thought that his life was to be granted him, as he had not been put to death at once, and was now about to be presented to the prophet (Clericus).
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