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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 16


1 The LORD said to Samuel: "How long will you grieve for Saul, whom I have rejected as king of Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen my king from among his sons."


But Samuel replied: "How can I go? Saul will hear of it and kill me." To this the LORD answered: "Take a heifer along and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.'


Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I myself will tell you what to do; you are to anoint for me the one I point out to you."


Samuel did as the LORD had commanded him. When he entered Bethlehem, the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and inquired, "Is your visit peaceful, O seer?"


He replied: "Yes! I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. So cleanse yourselves and join me today for the banquet." He also had Jesse and his sons cleanse themselves and invited them to the sacrifice.


As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought, "Surely the LORD'S anointed is here before him."


But the LORD said to Samuel: "Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart."


Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him before Samuel, who said, "The Lord has not chosen him."


Next Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said, "The LORD has not chosen this one either."


In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, "The LORD has not chosen any one of these."


Then Samuel asked Jesse, "Are these all the sons you have?" Jesse replied, "There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep." Samuel said to Jesse, "Send for him; we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here."


Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them. He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold and making a splendid appearance. The LORD said, "There-anoint him, for this is he!"


Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David. When Samuel took his leave, he went to Ramah.


2 The spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and he was tormented by an evil spirit sent by the LORD.


So the servants of Saul said to him: "Please! An evil spirit from God is tormenting you.


If your lordship will order it, we, your servants here in attendance on you, will look for a man skilled in playing the harp. When the evil spirit from God comes over you, he will play and you will feel better."


Saul then told his servants, "Find me a skillful harpist and bring him to me."


3 A servant spoke up to say: "I have observed that one of the sons of Jesse of Bethlehem is a skillful harpist. He is also a stalwart soldier, besides being an able speaker, and handsome. Moreover, the LORD is with him."


Accordingly, Saul dispatched messengers to ask Jesse to send him his son David, who was with the flock.


Then Jesse took five loaves of bread, a skin of wine, and a kid, and sent them to Saul by his son David.


Thus David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul became very fond of him, made him his armor-bearer,


and sent Jesse the message, "Allow David to remain in my service, for he meets with my approval."


Whenever the spirit from God seized Saul, David would take the harp and play, and Saul would be relieved and feel better, for the evil spirit would leave him.



1 [1] The anointing here prepared for is unknown to David's brother Eliab in the next chapter ( 1 Sam 17:28), and David is twice anointed after Saul's death ( 2 Sam 2:4; 5:3).

2 [14] An evil spirit sent by the LORD: the Lord permitted Saul to be tormented with violent fits of rage.

3 [18] Of the two traditions which describe the coming of David into Saul's service, the oldest Greek translation retains only the one comprised in 1 Sam 16:14-23; 17:1-11, 32-54. This effort at consistency is not in accord with the character of the rest of the book; see note on 1 Sam 8:1. Though square brackets are used in this edition to indicate the passages lacking in the oldest translation, this is meant only to help the reader follow one account at a time. Both are equally a part of the inspired text, as are also the various amplifications and retouchings of the narrative given within brackets in 1 Sam 18; 19.

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