Shmuel 1-Chapter 16: The anointing of David as king

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Chapter 16: The anointing of Dovid as king

1. Hashem instructs Shmuel to anoint Dovid as king:

  • Hashem said to Shmuel: Until when will you mourn over Shaul. I have despised Shaul from being king over Israel. Now, fill your horn with oil and go. I will send you to Yishaiy, who lives in Beis Lechem, as I have seen a king from amongst his sons.
  • Shmuel fears being killed and is told to bring a sacrifice: Shmuel responded to G-d: How can I go, as Shaul will hear [that I am coming to anoint a new king in his place[1]] and come to kill me. Hashem responded to Shmuel: Take with you a young calf and say that you have arrived to bring an offering to G-d. You should invite Yishaiy to the slaughtering, and I will inform you that which you shall do, and you will anoint for Me the person whom I tell you.

2. Shmuel arrives in Beis Lechem to bring the offering and anoint Dovid as king:

  • Shmuel did all that G-d had instructed him and arrived to Beis Lechem. The elders of the city came to greet him with trepidation and greeted him in peace. Shmuel said to them: I have come to make an offering to G-d. Sanctify yourselves and come with me to bring the sacrifice. Yishaiy and his sons were invited to sanctify themselves, and they were called to the offering.
  • Shmuel thinks to anoint Eliav as king and Hashem rejects him: When they arrived, Shmuel saw Eliav and said certainly I am standing opposite the anointed one. Hashem told Shmuel: Do not look at the appearance and at the persons height, as I have despised him [i.e. Eliav from being king, being that he has a disposition to get angry[2]]. Man [even if he is a prophet like Shmuel[3]] does not see [what I G-d can see]. Man sees the outside appearance of what is visible to the eye, while Hashem sees the heart.
  • Avinadav is rejected: Yishaiy called [his next son] Avinadav and he passed him before Shmuel, and Shmuel said “Also this son Hashem has not chosen.”
  • All seven sons are rejected: Yishaiy had all seven of his sons pass before Shmuel, and Shmuel said to Yishaiy that Hashem has not chosen these.
  • Another son is inquired on: Shmuel said to Yishaiy: Have you no more children? Yishaiy responded that he has another young son who is a shepherd. Shmuel said to Yishaiy: Send him and bring him here, as I will not budge from here [to eat[4]] until he arrives.
  • Dovid arrives: They sent for him and brought him. He was a red head with very beautiful eyes and a good appearance. Hashem then said: Get up and anoint him, as he is the one.

3. Dovid is anointed king and receives the spirit of Hashem:

  • Shmuel took the flask of oil and anointed Dovid amongst his brothers.
  • The spirit of G-d [i.e. bravery[5]] rested on Dovid from that day and on.
  • Shmuel then got up and traveled to Ramasa.

4. Shaul has an evil spirit befall him:

  • The spirit of G-d left Shaul and an evil spirit [of fear and trepidation[6]] fell upon him by G-d. The servants of Shaul said to him that an evil spirit of G-d has permeated him.
  • A harp is played for Shaul to revive his spirits: They told him that he should search for amongst his servants who know how to play the harp, and when he goes through his G-d sent evil moods the person can play the instrument and calm him down. So, Shaul told his servants that they should find him a man who knows how to play musical instruments well and bring him to him. One of the lads [i.e. Doeg Haedomi[7]] said [with intent to enter jeoulsy in the heart of Shaul against Dovid[8]]: I saw amongst the sons of Yishai from Beis Lechem a person who knows to play instruments, and he is a brave warrior. He is smart and of good appearance, and G-d is with him.
  • Dovid is brought to play the harp for Shaul: Shaul sent emissaries to Yishaiy and ask him to send him Dovid his son who works as a shepherd of the flock. So Yishaiy took a donkey and prepared it with bread a jug of wine and one goat and sent it in the hands of Dovid his son towards Shaul. Dovid arrived to Shaul and stood before him and he loved him very much, and he became his weapon carrier. Shaul then sent a message to Yishai telling him that he requests that Dovid stand before him, as he is found favor in his eyes. And it was that the [evil[9]] spirit from G-d resided on Shaul, and Dovid took the harp and played it with his hand, and it gave Shaul much benefit and banished the evil spirit from upon him.


[1] Ralbag 16:2

[2] Rashi 16:7

[3] Rashi 16:7

[4] Rashi 16:11

[5] Rashi 16:13

[6] Metzudas Tziyon 16:14

[7] Rashi 16:18

[8] Rashi 16:18

[9] Radak 16:23

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