But the LORD said to Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Samuel 16:7-8. The Lord said unto Samuel — By a secret inward suggestion. Look not on his countenance — All have not a noble spirit who have a noble aspect, as appeared by Saul; which should have prevented Samuel’s concluding so hastily from Eliab’s appearance that he was the person whom God had chosen. Neither hath the Lord chosen this — God suggested to him, as he did concerning the former that this was not the man of his choice.The Lord spake by secret inspiration.
The height of his stature; whereby thou wast once deceived in Saul, 1 Samuel 10:23,24, and therefore shouldst not now be deceived a second time.
Man looketh on the outward appearance; men value men by their outsides.
The Lord looketh on the heart; God esteems of men by the goodness of their hearts, and hath now proceeded by that rule in the choice of a king, and would have done so before, if the people’s sinful desires had not provoked him to give them a bad king.
look not on his countenance; which was comely and majestic:
or on the height of his stature; which was like that of Saul's; and because the Lord had chosen him, who was superior to the people in this respect, Samuel thought he meant to have such an one now anointed king:
because I have refused him; or it is not my pleasure that he should be king; though Ben Gersom thinks this refers to Saul, that the Lord had rejected him, though of an high stature, and therefore Samuel should not look out for such a person to be king; and Abarbinel refers it to the height of stature itself, that God had rejected that, and laid it aside as a qualification of a king, or as a rule to judge of a proper person to be a king; but no doubt it respected Eliab:
for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; man only sees what is without, but the Lord sees what is within; only the outward visible form of the body is seen by man, but the inward qualifications and endowments of the mind are seen by the Lord:
for man looketh on the outward appearance; the comeliness of a man's person, the majesty of his countenance, the height of his stature, and size of his body, things which recommended men to be kings among the nations of the world; See Gill on 1 Samuel 9:2, or "to the eyes" (a); the liveliness, and briskness, and sharpness of them, thereby to judge of the sagacity and penetration of the mind, as physiognomists do; who guess at the disposition of men by them, when they are small or great, watery or dry, of this or the other colour (b):
but the Lord looketh on the heart; and knows what is in that, what wisdom and prudence, justice and integrity, mercy and goodness, and other princely qualifications are in that. The Jewish writers conclude from hence that the heart of Eliab was not right; it may be, full of wrath, pride, envy, &c. which disqualified him for government.But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. for [the Lord seeth] not as man seeth] The words in brackets are rightly supplied in the Sept. For the thought see 1 Chronicles 28:9; Luke 16:15; Acts 1:24, &c. God first gave the people a king of stately stature and majestic appearance, such as they would have chosen for themselves (1 Samuel 10:24): now He will choose “a man after His own heart” on the true ground of his inner moral worth.1 Samuel 16:1. The words in which God summoned Samuel to proceed to the anointing of another king, "How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, whom I have rejected, that he may not be king over Israel?" show that the prophet had not yet been able to reconcile himself to the hidden ways of the Lord; that he was still afraid that the people and kingdom of God would suffer from the rejection of Saul; and that he continued to mourn for Saul, not merely from his own personal attachment to the fallen king, but also, or perhaps still more, from anxiety for the welfare of Israel. He was now to put an end to this mourning, and to fill his horn with oil and go to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for the Lord had chosen a king from among his sons.
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