7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
David secretly anointed: 16:1-13. Samuel is now sent to Bethlehem to make a sacrifice, with the hidden purpose of anointing another to replace Saul on the throne (1). God’s choice will be a man whose heart is in turn with the Lord. The youngest son of a man named Jesse is selected, and David is anointed with oil in a private family ceremony. Even his brothers apparently do not grasp the significance of Samuel’s act (13, cf. 17:28).
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah. 14. But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.
David court musician: 16:14-23. Saul’s emotional instability now expresses itself in deep depressions (14, 15). David is recommended to help him, and comes to Gibeah to play his harp. This brings Saul some relief (23). David is liked and given the honor of serving as one of Saul’s armor bearers.
Distressing spirit from the Lord: this affliction has been understood in various ways: 1. demon possession as a divine punishment. 2. demonic attack or influence. 3. an evil messenger, like the one sent to entice Ahab or 4. a spirit of discontent created by God in Saul’s heart. Whatever it was, it was immediately noticed by Saul’s servants.
Whatever Saul’s problem was, we know that this happened to him when the Spirit of the Lord departed from him. This is contrasted by what happened to David.
Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.
In Hebrew, “came upon” means “rushed upon.” David was empowered by God’s Holy Spirit for the work of ruling God’s people, just as Saul had been. David means “beloved.”