The first story about DavidSecond king of Israel, David united the northern and southern kingdoms. More depicts him as God’s chosen messiahThe Messiah was the one who, it was believed, would come to free the people of Israel from bondage and exile. In Jewish thought the Messiah is the anticipated one who will come, as prophesied by Isaiah. In Christian thought Jesus of Nazareth is identified... More.
This crucial passage plays a key role in the narrative. Its pivotal position as the central chapter in 1 SamuelThe judge who anointed the first two kings of Israel More suggests a number of corollaries:
- The story is framed by Samuel’s “horn of oil” used to anointTo anoint is to pour oil, water, or other substances on a person's head in a ritual fashion. In the Old Testament the prophet Samuel anointed David; and in Luke's gospel Jesus declared that he was anointed by the Spirit to bring good news to... More David (vv. 1, 13).
- Following the anointing, David receives the “spirit of the LORD” (v. 13).
- The next verse states that the spirit of the Lord departed from SaulThe first king of Israel More and was replaced by an evil spirit from the Lord, which tormented him (v. 14).
- From this point on, David will be the central character in the story, not Samuel or Saul.
- Thus, this chapter marks the transition from Saul to David, even though David will not become king for many chapters.
The elaborate process by which David is anointed–the procession of Jesse’s seven sons before Samuel–serves to build dramatic tension as each of the sons is rejected. The suspense is relieved upon hearing of Jesse’s youngest son, though we do not hear his name until after the anointing. There is, however, a more important reason for its inclusion. The process also serves to emphasize that David will be king solely because of God’s choice: God provided David (v. 1) and indicated (“named” in NRSV) that David was the one (vv. 3, 12), in addition to rejecting Jesse’s other sons (vv. 7-10).
God’s choice of the youngest son is also theologically significant. In addition to being another of the “reversals” introduced in Hannah’s song (chapter 2), this counterintuitive move is an Old Testament staple. Seth over CainThe elder son of Adam and Eve, Cain murdered his brother Abel. More (who had murdered AbelThe second son of Adam and Eve who was murdered by Cain. More), IsaacSon born to Abraham and Sarah in fulfillment of God's promise More over IshmaelThe son of Abraham and the Egyptian woman Hagar More, JacobThe son of Isaac and Rebekah, renamed Israel, became the father of the twelve tribal families More over EsauSon of Isaac and Rebekah and the older twin brother of Jacob More, Ephraim over Manasseh, MosesProphet who led Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land and received the law at Sinai More over AaronMoses' brother and spokesman, and Israel's first high priest. More, and SolomonThird king of Israel who was known for wisdom and building the first Temple More over Adonijah, are just a few of the most important instances of younger sons whom God chooses to use. When this is coupled with the insight that God uses what is weak, and whose power is made perfect in weakness, as well (see 2 Corinthians 12:9-10), the connections to JesusJesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God's saving act for humanity More the “Christ” (Greek for “messiah” or “anointed one”) become clear.