Listening for God's Voice
Beginning the Journey (for new Christians).
1, 2, and 3 John
1 & 2 Thessalonians
1 & 2 Timothy
2 Peter, Jude
7 Last Words of Christ
Christ Powered Life (Rom 5-8)
David, Life of
Glorious Kingdom, The
Jesus and the Kingdom
Lamb of God
Names of God
Names of Jesus
Rebuild & Renew: Post-Exilic Books
Sermon on the Mount
Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau (American painter, 1837-1922), 'The Shepherd David' (1895), oil on canvas, 60.5 x 40.4 inches, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC.
We begin David's story not with Jesse his father, but with Saul, Israel's first king. Samuel the prophet had anointed Saul (1 Samuel 10:1) and the Holy Spirit had come upon him (10:6, 10). He ruled from his home town of Gibeah and helped deliver Israel from the threat of the Philistine attacks.
While Saul was a reasonably effective military leader, it became clear that his love for the Lord wasn't strong, nor was he very careful about obedience to God's direction through the prophet Samuel. The prophet had told him to wait as long as seven days for Samuel to offer a sacrifice to the Lord, before the army went into battle with the Philistines (13:8-13). But the prophet didn't come within that time -- and Saul's troops were beginning to go home -- so Saul offered the sacrifice himself. Just then Samuel appeared and told him,
"You acted foolishly. You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD's command." (13:13-14)
The second time Saul disobeys the command of the Lord concerned the Amalekites, an arch enemy of Israel. This was a tribe that had attacked the children of Israel in the wilderness as they were escaping from Egypt under Moses (Exodus 17:8-16). Saul was told to attack the Amalekites and "totally destroy everything that belongs to them," including their cattle (15:2-3). But Saul fails to obey fully. He preserves all the Amalekites' cattle!
The word of the Lord comes to Samuel at night:
"I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions." (1 Samuel 15:11a)
God isn't just looking at Saul's disobedient actions. He also sees Saul's heart that prompts this kind of disobedience -- and is grieved!
Samuel goes to meet Saul at Gilgal, after he has returned from the battle with the Amalekites. Saul greets him with the words, "The LORD bless you! I have carried out the LORD's instructions." But Samuel replies, "What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?" (15:13-14).
Saul now begins to excuse himself. "The soldiers brought the cattle," he says, then adds "... to sacrifice them to the Lord, of course."
Now Samuel pronounces a terrible judgment from the Lord, one from which we can learn much!
"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and
as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
he has rejected you as king." (15:22-23)
Let's look carefully at the words in this passage.
Delight (ḥēpeṣ). So often we're not interested in really pleasing the Lord, but in just getting by, and perhaps obeying the letter (rather than the spirit) of the law. Those who love the Lord seek to delight and please him. Those who merely give intellectual assent to him don't really care. God looks at the heart (as we see in 16:7b).
Obedience (shāmaʿ). Obedience is a reliable sign of actual love for God. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command" (John 14:15). It's pretty simple actually.
Voice of the LORD. God can speak in many ways, for example, through prophets, through Scripture, and through pastors. In this case, Samuel had specifically prefaced his command: "Listen now to the message from the LORD" (15:1). We are responsible to obey what God says to us -- in any form.
Rebellion is doing what we decide to do rather than what God tells us. We excuse ourselves by our difficult circumstances, as did Saul. We may fool ourselves, but God is not amused. Obedience is doing what God tells us to do. Rebellion is doing it our way.
The sin of divination, witchcraft. Notice carefully that the text doesn't say that rebellion is witchcraft! It says that rebellion is like witchcraft. I think the NRSV catches the proper sense: "For rebellion is no less a sin than divination." It is just as bad as witchcraft. Baldwin notes:
"Obstinate resistance to God exalts self-will to the place of authority, which belongs only to God. That is why it is as bad as divination (by evil spirits), and tantamount to idolatry, for another god, self, has usurped his place."
Arrogance, stubbornness. Rebellion goes hand in hand with arrogance against God. We think we know better than God, so we do it our way instead of his -- often with tragic results.
God has appointed Saul king to reign over Israel on God's behalf. God is the great suzerain; Saul is his vassal king. But by his rebellion, self will, and arrogance, Saul has disqualified himself to reign for God. He will be replaced!
Dear friend, have you rebelled against God's word and against the commands of Jesus? How long will you remain in rebellion? Jesus took your sin of rebellion on himself when he died on the cross. But you must repent of this sin if you want Jesus to take it away.
What follows is the first discussion question of this lesson series. Think deeply about the questions. If you go to the trouble of writing down your answers, it will help you form your answer carefully and thoughtfully. Then click on the web address (URL) following the question to post your answer on an online forum and read others'answers. Grasping spiritual lessons at the heart-level is the whole point of studying the Life of David. Do it!
Q1. (1 Samuel 15:22-23). What is rebellion? In what way is rebellion as bad as witchcraft or occult practices? What does rebellion have to do with arrogance? What can we do when we find rebellion against God in our hearts? What happens if we do nothing?
At Saul's begging, Samuel doesn't shun Saul publicly, but appears alongside the king so he won't lose face. However, this is the last time the two are together. This chapter closes on a sad note:
"34 Then Samuel left for Ramah, but Saul went up to his home in Gibeah of Saul. 35 Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the LORD was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel." (15:34-35)
Samuel "mourned" (NIV, KJV), "grieved" (NRSV) for Saul (15:35a; 16:1). The Lord "was grieved/sorry" (NIV, NRSV), "repented" (KJV) that he had appointed Saul (15:35b). Both words are the same in Hebrew: ʾābal, "mourn, lament." The word is also used to describe mourning rites for the dead.
The lesson of this chapter is that we are to seek to please the Lord. That is what it means to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children.... Live as children of light ... and find out what pleases the Lord." (Ephesians 5:1, 8b, 10)
Samuel loves Saul, and sees Saul's failure as his own failure. But God won't let him mope about the pain of the past. God gives Samuel a new mission.
"The LORD said to Samuel, 'How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.'" (16:1)
As Samuel gets ready for his trip, he takes a hollowed out ram's horn, fills it with olive oil, and plugs it so the oil won't splash out on his journey. Previously, Samuel had used oil from a flask or vial to anoint Saul king (10:1), after which the Holy Spirit came upon him (10:6, 9-10) and the Lord changed him into a different man (10:6). This mission is a similar king-making assignment.
Samuel tells the Lord, anointing a new king while the reigning king is still alive is dangerous -- as if God didn't know. In the New Testament, Ananias expressed his fear to the Lord concerning his mission to commission Saul of Tarsus in Damascus (Acts 9), but God knew the danger. Saul had his fears, too, but rather than talking to the Lord about it, he had improvised -- and disobeyed (13:7-14). In this case, God instructs Samuel to make a sacred sacrifice the reason for his visit (16:2b).
Notice God's words to Samuel: "I have chosen one of [Jesse's] sons to be king" (16:1d). "Chosen" (NIV), "provided for" (NRSV, KJV) is rāʾeh, "see, look at, inspect." The word has several connotations, one of which is "to provide," usually of God's provision, such as God providing the lamb for Abraham on Mt. Moriah (Genesis 22:8, 14). As in English, to "see to" something is to "provide" it. We worry about the failures of the past, but our God is our Provider, Yahweh Yireh (Jehovah Jireh) -- from this same Hebrew root word: rāʾeh. God has already provided for our needs and our future; we just need to go forward fearlessly following his direction.
God tells Samuel to go to Bethlehem.
"Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate." (16:3)
"Indicate" (NIV), "name" (NRSV, KJV) is ʾāmar. The root idea of this extremely common word is "to say," rather than "to name." Wouldn't it be nice if God would say everything ahead of time, complete with names, times, and places? Certainly, God can do this -- and occasionally does. But that isn't usually the way he works. He takes us one step at a time -- probably so we don't run on ahead of him and improvise on our own! And that is how he led Samuel on this occasion. Samuel is told the father's name is Jesse. But the son is yet to be revealed.
Samuel has Jesse bring forward all his sons. When Samuel sees the firstborn, Eliab, he is sure he sees kingly material in this handsome man. But the Lord rebukes him inwardly -- certainly not aloud!
When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, 'Surely the LORD's anointed is
now before the LORD.'
7 But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.'" (16:6-7)
This scene sounds like us. We're so used to judging by means of our physical sight and our social experience that it's easy to get it wrong when it comes to spiritual things. We need spiritual sight and discernment so we can see the heart. Samuel has natural instincts, but is mature enough to listen to the Holy Spirit and hear God's voice, to base his actions on what he hears from God.
Samuel goes through all the sons without God giving him the internal go-ahead. "Is there another son?" he asks. "Oh, the youngest," says Jesse, "but I didn't think he was important enough to bring to the feast."
Yet David, the youngest and least important in the family, is the one God has chosen.
Q2. (1 Samuel 16:3-12) How does this story teach us the
importance of listening carefully to God's voice? What is our instinctive way of
discerning? How is God teaching us to discern? How do we learn to listen to the
Here's one of the few physical descriptions we have of David.
David is a good-looking young man, which, I'm sure, makes it easier for him to lead and for people to follow. He looks like a hero -- God made him that way. It's ironic, however, since God had just rebuked Samuel for looking on the outward appearance, for thinking he can "tell a book by its cover." But David's soul is beautiful, too -- he is a man who loves the Lord and is "a man after God's own heart" (Acts 13:22; 1 Samuel 13:14).
"12b Then the LORD said, 'Rise and anoint him; he is the one.'13 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." (16:12b-13)
Old Samuel has been sitting, waiting. But now, when the boy appears, God says to Samuel's spirit, "This is the one!" So Samuel gets up and pours oil on the boy's head anointing him. "Anoint" is māshaḥ, from which we get the English word "Messiah" (māshîaḥ) or "anointed one." Anointing was known elsewhere in the ancient Near East among the Hittites and Egyptians, and perhaps in the city-states of Canaan, but apparently not Assyria and Babylon. Fleming says,
"The effect of anointing was not just symbolic. Anointing oil was a pungent and durable perfume. Its fragrance persisted and its oil produced a permanent stain upon clothes."
The anointing is significant politically. It designates David as the king-to-be and thus is dangerous for both Samuel and David. David is anointed twice more for political purposes by the men of Judah (2 Samuel 2:4a) and later by the elders of Israel (2 Samuel 5:3). But Samuel's anointing is much more significant spiritually than any political anointing! The narrator records:
"From that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power." (16:13)
True, we see similar wording at Saul's anointing, where Samuel tells him that the Spirit will come upon him with power (10:6). But the simultaneous anointing and coming of the Holy Spirit upon David becomes the paradigm for the gift of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. For example:
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me...." (Luke 4:18)
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
"God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power...." (Acts 10:38)
"He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." (2 Corinthians 1:21b-22)
Indeed, twice the term "anointing" is substituted for "Holy Spirit" (1 John 2:20, 27).
In some Christian circles, the term "an anointing" refers to a powerful ability to speak or minister. But, dear friends, whether we feel it or not, the Holy Spirit has come upon all Christian believers to give us power. According to our faith, so be it unto us.
When the Holy Spirit comes in power upon David it empowers him. The young man had been a harp-player and songwriter. Now he becomes an anointed, prophetic songwriter and the "sweet singer of Israel" (2 Samuel 23:1). The boy who has courageously defended his flock against the lion and the bear, now becomes the mighty warrior who defends his country against giants and Philistines (17:37). The young man who has shepherded his father's flock to find green pastures and still waters (Psalm 23:2), now becomes the shepherd of a nation as its king -- all by the powerful Holy Spirit who has come upon him.
"I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel." (2 Samuel 7:8)
Q3. (1 Samuel 1:13) What is the significance of Samuel
anointing David? What is the significance of the Holy Spirit coming upon David?
How does this explain his success? How is the Holy Spirit upon us vital for our
own success as disciples?
The Spirit who comes powerfully upon David is the same Spirit who simultaneously leaves Saul.
"Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him." (16:14)
This verse raises two questions:
- How can the Holy Spirit leave a person? And
- How can a good God send an evil spirit to a person?
Both of these questions trouble our theology. I don't have any quick answers, only possible explanations.
First, the Holy Spirit leaving Saul has nothing to do with his salvation, as it might under the New Covenant. In the Old Testament, the Spirit comes to empower a person to do a task for God. In the New Testament, on the other hand, the presence of the Spirit is both empowering and the essential element of salvation, the agent of regeneration so that we might truly be born anew. We do know that after his sin, David refused to take the Holy Spirit's presence for granted. He prays in Psalm 51, the great penitential psalm,
"Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me." (Psalm 51:11)
In the same way that the Holy Spirit had left Saul, supernatural strength had left Samson during the period of the Judges. Delilah says,
"'The Philistines are upon you, Samson!' When he awoke from his sleep, he thought, 'I will go out as at other times, and shake myself free.' But he did not know that the LORD had left him." (Judges 16:20)
For the Holy Spirit's power to leave us because of our persistent sin and disobedience is a sobering matter indeed. Let us strive not to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).
Second, we wonder how God can send an evil spirit, since James tell us: "God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone" (James 1:13).
This is difficult. We cannot entirely avoid the difficulty, though we must realize the Bible teaches that both good and trouble can come from God (Job 2:10a, NIV), both prosperity and disaster (Isaiah 45:7).
Observe that that the term "evil spirit," which is used in the Gospels to designate a demon, doesn't necessarily refer to an "evil spirit" in this context. "Evil" is raʿ, an adjective that can have a wide range of meaning, ranging from misery to moral evil. Here it should be seen in the sense of "injurious." Bergen comments:
"It is possible -- and perhaps preferable -- to interpret the text not to mean that the Lord sent a morally corrupt demon, but rather another sort of supernatural being -- an angel of judgment (cf. 2 Kings 19:35) -- against Saul that causes him to experience constant misery."
Paul says that God judges rebellion by giving people fully over to their sin and its fruits (Romans 1:24-26). As we'll see in succeeding chapters, the torment Saul experiences seems to include fear and paranoia that prompt violent and irrational actions.
King Saul's servants prescribe music to help calm him when these fearful spells come upon him. One servant recalls David's musical ability:
Here's a fine musician described in heroic terms. Plus, "the Lord is with him." How could Saul resist that kind of recommendation!
David plays the kinnôr, "a musical instrument having strings and a wooden frame," commonly associated in the Bible with joy and gladness. The harp is an ancient instrument. The first illustration we have of the harp is from 3300-3000 BC in a rock etching at Megiddo. The Canaanite version of this had two arms with a box-shaped body. It was also the main instrument in the second temple orchestra. The fundamental difference between a lyre and a harp is that in a harp, the strings enter directly into the hollow body of the instrument, whereas on a lyre, the strings pass over a bridge, which transmits the vibrations of the strings to the body of the instrument, just as is the case with a modern guitar.
Saul summons David from the sheep fields to become a court musician and general equipment-bearer when he isn't singing. His music does seem to help -- for a while.
"Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him." (16:23)
What is the shepherd singer doing in the house of the king? What does God have in mind? As the story unfolds, it seems that God wants David in Saul's court to be exposed to the nuts and bolts of governing, to learn the art of leadership from that nation's leaders. It is a kind of apprenticeship for the future king of Israel.
It also may have been a time for writing songs. In the sheep fields David doesn't have the opportunity to write down the lyrics to his songs. In the court, David has that ability. Eventually, the collection of his songs fill nearly half the Psalter.
Q4. (1 Samuel 16:14-23) From Saul's perspective, why is
David summoned to court? From God's perspective, what seem to be the reasons for
this service in Saul's court? What things tend to prevent us from learning from
God in the midst of the circumstances in which we find ourselves? What might
make us more teachable?
As disciples who are eager to learn from the Lord, this passage contains several lessons for us:
- Obedience. We learn a negative lesson from Saul -- the importance of careful obedience to the commands of the Lord. As we grow as disciples, we must outgrow our tendency to self-will and rebellion. Otherwise we'll be of little use to the Lord we seek to serve.
- Listening. From Samuel we learn the importance of listening carefully to the voice of the Spirit. As a prophet, God speaks to Samuel -- as God can speak to each Christian believer who has received the Holy Spirit of God -- you and me. Samuel has some preconceived judgments, but he is mature enough not to act on them. He waits for God to make clear his will.
- The Holy Spirit. The activity of the Holy Spirit is central to this passage and to much of David's life. The Holy Spirit speaks, directs, empowers, and inspires prophetic song. Being responsive to the Holy Spirit is the key to success as a king or a prophet -- or in any venture God calls us to.
- God's Arrangements. Finally, we see how God uses "chance" opportunities to work out his will. Sometimes, we find ourselves in places we didn't choose and may not like very well. The appropriate question is not: "Why, Lord?" but rather "What do you want me to learn here?" God sees the beginning from the end, and will work out his purposes for us if we will be patient and open to him in every circumstance. God is forming disciples. Will you let him form you?
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Father, sometimes I'm so impatient! Forgive me. Help me to listen. Help me to obey, even if I don't understand what in the world you are doing. Fill me with your precious Holy Spirit and help me not to grieve Him. I yield myself to you to do your work in and through me in my present circumstances. I trust you, Lord! In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and
as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry." (1 Samuel 15:22-23a)
"The LORD does not look at the things man looks
Man looks at the outward appearance,
but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7b)
"So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power." (1 Samuel 16:13)
 "Totally destroy" here and in 15:8, 9, 15, 18, 20, and 21 is the Hebrew word ḥāram. The basic meaning is the exclusion of an object from the use or abuse of man and its irrevocable surrender to God. The word is related to an Arabic root meaning "to prohibit, especially to ordinary use." The word "harem," meaning the special quarters for Muslim wives, comes from it. It is related also to an Ethiopic root, meaning "to forbid, prohibit, lay under a curse." Surrendering something to God meant devoting it exclusively to the service of God or putting it under a ban for utter destruction. Usually ḥāram means a ban for utter destruction, the compulsory dedication of something which impedes or resists God's work, which is considered to be accursed before God (Leonard J. Wood, ḥāram, TWOT #744a).
 Ḥēpeṣ is the noun, "delight, pleasure." The basic meaning of the verb is to feel great favor towards something, "to experience emotional delight." In the case of the verb ḥāpēṣ, the object solicits favor by its own intrinsic qualities. The subject is easily attracted to it because it is desirable. Other parallel stems don't connote the degree of emotional involvement as this verb stem (Leon J. Wood, ḥāpēṣ, TWOT #712b).
 "Obeying" (15:22a) and "to obey" (15:22b) is shāmaʿ, "hear, listen to, obey." Shāmaʿ has the basic meaning "to hear." This is extended in various ways, generally involving an effective hearing or listening: 1) "listen to," "pay attention," 2) "obey" (with words such as "commandment" etc.), 3) "answer prayer," "hear," 4) "understand" and 5) "hear critically," "examine (in court)." The derived stems have appropriately modified meanings (Hermann J. Austel, shāmaʿ, TWOT #2412).
 "Voice" is kôl, "voice, sound, noise.... Kôl primarily signifies a sound produced by the vocal cords, actual or figurative (Kwl, TWOT #1998a).
 "Rebellion" is the noun merî, from the verb mārâ "be rebellious against, disobedient towards." In the Hiphil stem the verb has the meaning, "to provoke (by defiance)" (Victor P. Hamilton, mārâ, TWOT #1242a).
 "Divination" (NIV, NRSV), "witchcraft" (KJV) is qesem, "Divination, witchcraft, sorcery, fortunetelling, omen, lot, oracle, decision." The exact meaning of this variety of occultism is unknown. Shaking or flinging down arrows, consulting seraphim, and hepatoscopy (looking at the liver) may be subcategories of qesem (Robert L. Alden, qāsam, TWOT #2044a).
 Baldwin, 1 and 2 Samuel, p. 115.
 "Arrogance" (NIV), "stubbornness" (NRSV, KJV), "insubordination" (NASV) is the verb pāṣar, "push, press" (TWOT #1801), "urge someone strongly" (Holladay 295).
 J. Barton Payne, TWOT #6.
 "Rejected" is māʾas, "reject, despise." God rejects men who do not listen to him (Hosea 9:17). However, he will never reject them totally, for that would break his covenant (Leviticus 26:44) (Walter C. Kaiser, TWOT #1139).
 "Horn" is qeren, "Our word primarily denotes the horn(s) of various animals -- ram, wild oxen" (Leonard J. Copes, TWOT #2072a).
 "Oil" is shemen, "oil," generally olive oil, whether pure or prepared for various uses such as perfume or ointment. A synonym is yiṣhār, which also means "olive oil." Shemen is the general word for olive oil in its various uses, while yiṣhār refers to the fresh product. It is regularly associated with 'new wine'and 'grain'in reference to the produce of the land. Shemen played an important symbolic function in various consecration ceremonies. Thus kings and priests were anointed with oil, symbolizing the rich blessing of God (Hermann J. Austel, TWOT #2410c).
 "Flask" (NIV), "vial" (NRSV, KJV) is pak.
 Robert D. Culver, rāʾeh, TWOT #2095.
 "Heart" is the noun lēbāb, "heart, understanding, mind" Concrete meanings of lēb referred to the internal organ and to analogous physical locations. However, in its abstract meanings, 'heart'became the richest biblical term for the totality of man's inner or immaterial nature. In biblical literature it is the most frequently used term for man's immaterial personality functions as well as the most inclusive term for them since, in the Bible, virtually every immaterial function of man is attributed to the "heart" (Andrew Bowling, TWOT #1071a).
 "Fine appearance" (NIV), "beautiful eyes" (NRSV, NASB), "beautiful countenance" (KJV) uses two words: yāpeh, "fair, beautiful" + ʿayin, "eye" or "look, appearance." Holladay 271, meanings 1 and 2. Esthetically, yāpeh denotes "beauty as to outward appearance," used to describe women (Sarah, Rachel, Tamar, and Abishag) as well as men (Joseph and Absalom) (Paul R. Gilchrist, yāpeh, TWOT #890a).
 "Handsome features" (NIV), "handsome" (NRSV), "goodly to look at" (KJV) also consists of two words, ṭôb, "good" + roʾî, "looking, appearance" (Robert D. Culver, TWOT #2095f). While ṭôb means generally, "good," esthetic or sensual goodness may be denoted. It describes the beauty, or desirability of women. English idiom prefers "handsome" when the term describes men. (Andrew Bowling, ṭôb, TWOT #793a).
 "Ruddy" is ʾadmônî, "red, ruddy," from the same root (ʾdm) as Adam and Edom. (Leonard J. Coppes, TWOT #26h).
 Baldwin (1 and 2 Samuel, p. 122) speculates that, "ruddy implied light-skinned by comparison with his compatriots."
 "Rise/arise" is qûm, "rise, arise, stand." Our root refers essentially to the physical action "rising up" (Leonard J. Coppes, TWOT #1999).
 Māshaḥ could refer in everyday usage to such acts as rubbing (māshaḥ) a shield with oil (Isaiah 21:5), painting a house (Jeremiah 22:14), or applying oil to the body (Amos 6:6). Here it refers to ceremonial induction into leadership offices, an action that involved the pouring of oil from a horn upon the head of an individual (Victor P. Hamilton, TWOT #1225).
 "In Egyptian culture it was the custom to anoint vassal kings, i.e., minor kings who owed allegiance to the great king of Egypt; in this light we may see the king of Israel as not a king in his own right, but a vassal of Yahweh, who is envisaged as the true king of Israel" (D.F. Payne, I and II Samuel, (Daily Study Bible; Westminster, 1982), p. 50, cited in Bergen, 1 and 2 Samuel, p. 127).
 Franz Hesse, chriō, TDNT 9:497.
 Daniel E. Fleming, "Anointing," DOTHB 33.
 Sālaḥ, TWOT #1916.
 Sālaḥ, Holladay 306.
 The term "shepherd" was widely used metaphorically throughout the ancient Near East to describe the office of king (e.g., Isaiah 44:28; Jeremiah 6:3; 49:19).
 Baldwin, 1 and 2 Samuel, p. 122.
 Bergen, 1 and 2 Samuel, p. 182.
 "Torment" (NIV, NRSV), "trouble" (KJV) is bāʿat, "to be overtaken by sudden terror, to terrify" (Elmer A. Martens, TWOT #265). J. Hoftijzer sees this as "an experience of extreme fear and incapacitation" (cited by Bergen, 1 and 2 Samuel, p. 182, fn. 36).
 "Brave man" (NIV), "man of valor" (NRSV), "mighty valiant man" (KJV) is two words: gibbôr hayil -- gibbôr, "mighty, strong, valiant, mighty man," the heroes or champions among the armed forces (John N. Oswalt, gibbôr, TWOT #310b) and hayil, "might, strength, power; able, valiant, virtuous, valor; army, host, forces; riches, substance, wealth; etc." (Carl Philip Weber, hayil, TWOT #624a).
 "Warrior" (NIV, NRSV), is two words, literally, "man of war" (KJV). The second word is milḥāmâ, "battle, war," from lāham, "to fight, do battle" (TWOT #1104c). This seems to be an exaggeration or statement of strength and potential, since at this point, David hadn't fought in any war.
 "Speaks well" (NIV), "prudent in speech" (NRSV), "prudent in matters" (KJV) is two words, literally, "discern (bîn) between words/things/matters (dābār)."
 "Fine-looking man" (NIV), "man of good presence" (NRSV), "comely person" (KJV) uses the word "man" with tōʾar, "shape, form, beautiful, comely, fair, favored, goodly, resemble, visage" (Ronald F. Youngblood, TWOT #2491a).
 Tremper Longman III, How to Read the Psalms (InterVarsity Press, 1998), pp. 97-98.
 Michael Levy, "The Ancient Biblical Lyres." http://ancientlyre.com/?section=historical_details
 Foxvog and Kilmer, Daniel A. Foxvog and Ann D. Kilmer, "Music," ISBE 3:440-442, John N. Oswalt, knr, TWOT #1004a.
 "Armor-bearer" is two words: nāśāʾ, "bear, carry" and kelî, a general word, referring to the equipment, containers, tools, etc., appropriate to a given service or occupation. Depending on the context it can be translated, "armor, bag, carriage, furniture, instrument, jewels, sacks, stuff, thing, tools, vessel, weapons" (John N. Oswalt, TWOT #982g). Here the word doesn't seem to refer to a specific military role, but a court attendant who carried the king's possessions wherever he wanted to go.
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