20 December 2014

1 Samuel 16:10-13

“The LORD said, ‘Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.” (vv. 12-13)

Psalm: Psalm 24


Anyone who has ever had to stand in line and wait to be picked for a team knows what a horrible experience it is, but in this story there's no indication that Jesse's sons even had any idea what their identity parade was for.

Samuel the prophet just told them all to stand there, sanctified them, eventually chose the kid brother who wasn't even in the line-up … and anointed him for kingship! They must have been shocked by the whole thing, but especially by the runt of the litter being elevated to such a position.

It's not at all uncommon in the Old Testament, of course. On one other occasion Joseph with his coat of many colours is chosen for high office above his brothers (Genesis 37).

But the choosing of David is more than just the story of this one family from Bethlehem. It's the moment the blessing of God and the support of Samuel shift from Saul, who is still king, to the shepherd boy and the beginning of a family line that reaches down to the king of kings, Jesus, who will be acclaimed as the Son of David.

Much later, in our reading of the New Testament we find Paul summing up the whole story in a synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia: "Then they asked for a king; and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. When he had removed him, he made David their king. In his testimony about him he said, 'I have found David, son of Jesse, to be a man after my heart, who will carry out all my wishes.' Of this man's posterity God has brought to Israel a Saviour, Jesus, as he promised." (Acts 13:21-23)

To Ponder

  • Would you want to be selected like David, or would you rather stay among the crowd? Why?
  • Being anointed was a mark of God's favour. How do you recognise God's call on people today? And on yourself?


Bible notes author

The Revd Gareth Hill

Gareth Hill is a Methodist minister with a particular interest in pioneer ministry and fresh ways of being Church. He is​ in circuit ministry in the Winchester, Eastleigh & Romsey Circuit in the Southampton District and has pastoral charge of six churches in Romsey and on the edge of the New Forest.