Samuel (and God) anointed David

Posted Oct 10, 2018

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Daily Scripture

1 Samuel 16:1-13

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long are you going to grieve over Saul? I have rejected him as king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and get going. I’m sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem because I have found my next king among his sons.”

2 “How can I do that?” Samuel asked. “When Saul hears of it he’ll kill me!”

“Take a heifer with you,” the Lord replied, “and say, ‘I have come to make a sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will make clear to you what you should do. You will anoint for me the person I point out to you.”

4 Samuel did what the Lord instructed. When he came to Bethlehem, the city elders came to meet him. They were shaking with fear. “Do you come in peace?” they asked.

5 “Yes,” Samuel answered. “I’ve come to make a sacrifice to the Lord. Now make yourselves holy, then come with me to the sacrifice.” Samuel made Jesse and his sons holy and invited them to the sacrifice as well.

6 When they arrived, Samuel looked at Eliab and thought, That must be the Lord’s anointed right in front.

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Have no regard for his appearance or stature, because I haven’t selected him. God doesn’t look at things like humans do. Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the Lord sees into the heart.”

8 Next Jesse called for Abinadab, who presented himself to Samuel, but he said, “The Lord hasn’t chosen this one either.” 9 So Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said, “No, the Lord hasn’t chosen this one.” 10 Jesse presented seven of his sons to Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord hasn’t picked any of these.” 11 Then Samuel asked Jesse, “Is that all of your boys?”

“There is still the youngest one,” Jesse answered, “but he’s out keeping the sheep.” “Send for him,” Samuel told Jesse, “because we can’t proceed until he gets here.”

12 So Jesse sent and brought him in. He was reddish brown, had beautiful eyes, and was good-looking. The Lord said, “That’s the one. Go anoint him.” 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him right there in front of his brothers. The Lord’s spirit came over David from that point forward. Then Samuel left and went to Ramah.

Reflection Questions

God sent Samuel to anoint Israel’s NEXT king with Saul still king, no doubt treason in Saul’s eyes. Saul looked kingly (cf. 1 Samuel 10:23-24); so did Jesse’s first son Eliab. Samuel figured Eliab was God’s choice as the next king. But God wanted a true king on the inside, not just one who looked regal. David’s early life as the youngest of eight brothers must have been painful. His father didn’t value David enough to include him among “his sons” to meet Samuel; didn’t even use his name in verse 11. But Jesse’s opinion didn’t limit God. Today millions know about David who never heard of Eliab, Abinadab or Shammah.

  • Due to Psalm 23 (which David likely wrote) and Jesus' calling himself the good shepherd (cf. John 10), we assign a certain “halo” to shepherds. But in David’s day (and much of the Middle East today), shepherds had very low social status. Have you ever (years ago or 10 minutes ago) felt that you’re not valued, that nothing about you is anything the world needs? How does the story of God choosing David, the left-out kid brother, speak to you?
  • The Hebrew historian wrote that after Samuel anointed David, “The Lord’s spirit came over David from that point forward.” The same history told of some awful mistakes David made. Tradition connected both the serene Psalm 23 and the deeply remorseful Psalm 51 with David’s name. How have you learned the need to daily renew your loyalty to God? What makes it vital for you, like David, to remember that even when you badly miss the path, God always offers mercy and a fresh start?


Lord God, you make beautiful things out of the dust. You worked through Samuel to call forth the potential and talent no one else had seen in David. I place my life in your hands. Make of me all that you can, to your glory. Amen.

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Wendy Connelly

Wendy Connelly

Wendy Connelly, M.Div., is a podcaster (, motivational speaker and online entrepreneur whose ministry is to help women and moms become more confident, mentally-fit and joyful versions of themselves. She loves coaching clients, teaching classes and webinars about psychology and spirituality, and experiencing new adventures with her husband, Mark, and their two kids.

Today’s passage about the prophet Samuel choosing David as the anointed among his brothers is so much more than the story of the least, the misfit, the underdog. It is the story of the human heart.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “God doesn’t look at things like humans do. Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the Lord sees into the heart.”

I’ve spent a good deal of time surrounded by highly capable and intelligent people. Shining winners in the game of life. I’ve also worked with people who are less capable, who might not have the credentials and training and elusive je ne sais quoi. The ones who never quite learned how to play the game. When I’m given the choice between working with a highly confident, capable person whose heart isn’t in the right place, versus a less confident and capable person who is trustworthy, well-intentioned, and whose heart is forged in gold, I’ve learned from hard experience: always weigh the heart. 

Do you ever feel unworthy? Less-than-capable? Like the misfit that never gets chosen? If you do, first, I want you to question whether this is really true. Sometimes we’re just playing “victim”—I speak from experience: I’ve spent some time perfecting this art, and recovering from it. But sometimes we do fall short of measuring up to some set standard or qualification: we don’t have the degree, we aren’t as powerful and charismatic, we have some handicap or impairment or baggage that we think disqualifies us. And sometimes, in the sight of the world, it does.

But never in God’s sight. Golden-Hearted One, the power set in motion when God anointed you is so far beyond your limited vision that you have no idea what you are truly capable of.

“Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the Lord sees into the heart.”

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