New International Reader's Version

1 Samuel 16

Samuel Anoints David to Be Israel’s King

1The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you be filled with sorrow because of Saul? I have refused to have him as king over Israel. Fill your animal horn with olive oil and go on your way. I am sending you to Jesse in Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

But Samuel said, “How can I go? Suppose Saul hears about it. Then he’ll kill me.”

The Lord said, “Take a young cow with you. Tell the elders of Bethlehem, ‘I’ve come to offer a sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice. Then I will show you what to do. You must anoint for me the one I point out to you.”

Samuel did what the Lord said. He arrived at Bethlehem. The elders of the town met him. They were trembling with fear. They asked, “Have you come in peace?”

Samuel replied, “Yes, I’ve come in peace. I’ve come to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. Set yourselves apart to him and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he set Jesse and his sons apart to the Lord. He invited them to the sacrifice.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab. He thought, “This has to be the one the Lord wants me to anoint for him.”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider how handsome or tall he is. I have not chosen him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outside of a person. But the Lord looks at what is in the heart.”

Then Jesse called for Abinadab. He had him walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord hasn’t chosen him either.” Then Jesse had Shammah walk by. But Samuel said, “The Lord hasn’t chosen him either.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said to him, “The Lord hasn’t chosen any of them.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these the only sons you have?”

“No,” Jesse answered. “My youngest son is taking care of the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him. We won’t sit down to eat until he arrives.”

12 So Jesse sent for his son and had him brought in. He looked very healthy. He had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, “Get up and anoint him. This is the one.”

13 So Samuel got the animal horn that was filled with olive oil. He anointed David in front of his brothers. From that day on, the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully on David. Samuel went back to Ramah.

David Serves Saul

14 The Spirit of the Lord had left Saul. And an evil spirit sent by the Lord terrified him.

15 Saul’s attendants said to him, “An evil spirit sent by God is terrifying you. 16 Give us an order to look for someone who can play the harp. He will play it when the evil spirit sent by God comes on you. Then you will feel better.”

17 So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays the harp well. Bring him to me.”

18 One of the servants said, “I’ve seen someone who knows how to play the harp. He is a son of Jesse from Bethlehem. He’s a brave man. He would make a good soldier. He’s a good speaker. He’s very handsome. And the Lord is with him.”

19 Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse. He said, “Send me your son David, the one who takes care of your sheep.” 20 So Jesse got some bread and a bottle of wine. The bottle was made out of animal skin. He also got a young goat. He loaded everything on the back of a donkey. He sent all of it to Saul with his son David.

21 David went to Saul and began to serve him. Saul liked him very much. David became one of the men who carried Saul’s armor. 22 Saul sent a message to Jesse. Saul said, “Let David stay here. I want him to serve me. I’m pleased with him.”

23 When the evil spirit sent by God would come on Saul, David would get his harp and play it. That would help Saul. He would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.

New Living Translation

1 Samuel 16

Samuel Anoints David as King

1Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.”

But Samuel asked, “How can I do that? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

“Take a heifer with you,” the Lord replied, “and say that you have come to make a sacrifice to the Lord. Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you which of his sons to anoint for me.”

So Samuel did as the Lord instructed. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town came trembling to meet him. “What’s wrong?” they asked. “Do you come in peace?”

“Yes,” Samuel replied. “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then Samuel performed the purification rite for Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice, too.

When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to step forward and walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “This is not the one the Lord has chosen.” Next Jesse summoned Shimea,[a] but Samuel said, “Neither is this the one the Lord has chosen.” 10 In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 11 Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.”

“Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.”

12 So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes.

And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.”

13 So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.

David Serves in Saul’s Court

14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and the Lord sent a tormenting spirit[b] that filled him with depression and fear.

15 Some of Saul’s servants said to him, “A tormenting spirit from God is troubling you. 16 Let us find a good musician to play the harp whenever the tormenting spirit troubles you. He will play soothing music, and you will soon be well again.”

17 “All right,” Saul said. “Find me someone who plays well, and bring him here.”

18 One of the servants said to Saul, “One of Jesse’s sons from Bethlehem is a talented harp player. Not only that—he is a brave warrior, a man of war, and has good judgment. He is also a fine-looking young man, and the Lord is with him.”

19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse to say, “Send me your son David, the shepherd.” 20 Jesse responded by sending David to Saul, along with a young goat, a donkey loaded with bread, and a wineskin full of wine.

21 So David went to Saul and began serving him. Saul loved David very much, and David became his armor bearer.

22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse asking, “Please let David remain in my service, for I am very pleased with him.”

23 And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp. Then Saul would feel better, and the tormenting spirit would go away.

Footnotes

  1. 16:9 Hebrew Shammah, a variant spelling of Shimea; compare 1 Chr 2:13; 20:7.
  2. 16:14 Or an evil spirit; also in 16:15, 16, 23.