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efficacy: on the contrary we find, from many passages of Scripture, that as it is by those we honour God, sọ they are the appointed means for obtaining mercy and averting evil.
DAVID ANOINTED BY SAMUEL-SAUL SENDETI FOR
HIM TO QUIET THE EVIL SPIRIT.
From 1 Samuel, Chap. xv, xvi. And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death : nevertheless, Samuel mourned for Saul : and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.
And the Lord said unto Samuel how long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Beth-lehemite : for I have provided me a king among his sons.
And Samuel said, How can I go? If Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the LORD said, Take an heifer with thee, and
say, I am come to sacrifice to the LORD; and call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt do; and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee.
And Samuel did that which the Lord spake, and came to Beth-lehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably? and he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the Lord: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice.
And it came to pass when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD's anointed is before him.
But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature ; because I have refused him. For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this.
Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this,
Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, the Lord hath not chosen these.
And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and behold he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, send and fetch him : for we will not sit down till he come hither.
And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.
Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren, and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.
But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.
And Saul's servants said unto him, Behold now an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.
Let our lord command now thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man who is a cunning player on a harp: and it shall come to pass when the evil -spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.
And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me.
Then answered one of the servants and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Beth-lehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the Lord is with him.
Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep.
And Jesse took an ass laden with bread and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Saul.
And David came to Saul and stood before him: and he loved him greatly, and he became his armourbearer.
And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before thee: for he hath found favour in my sight.
And it came to pass when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand : So Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. Though Samuel came no more to visit Saul, a good man, he lamented to see that the king was likely to bring a curse, instead of a blessing, upon himself and his people: and he earnestly prayed to God in his behalf, and carried his grief to such a length, that God reproved him for it,
As it pleased God that David should undergo a variety of trials before he ascended the throne, it was necessary that he should be anointed privately, lest those who were discontented with Saul's government, might make it a pretence to dethrone him; and it was Q 4
yet, like not intended that David should reign till Saul was dead; though he was from that time Captain of the Lord's inheritance.
Samuel, as a prophet, had a right to offer sacrifices; he therefore might conceal his principal view in going to Bethlehem, as it did not concern the public to be made acquainted with it at that time, and the declara, tion of it would have raised great commotions in the kingdom. The Bethlehemites were alarmed at Samuel's visit, fearing that he came to reprove them for sin, and to denounce some judgment against them.
If Samuel anointed David in the midst of his brethren, it is likely they did not rightly understand the meaning of the ceremony, but might suppose that he was appointed to the prophetic office; had they known that David was to reign over them, they would probably have divulged the secret, and been still more eavious of him than they were.
We find David was considered as a person of little consequence by his family, for they did not send for him to the sacrifice. He was a youth of a most amiable disposition and great piety; and it is supposed that whilst he was looking after his flocks, he sang the praises of the LORD; but he could not have had a very liberal education, for the Jews in general contented themselves with instructing their children in the law of Moses : neither had he learnt the graces of sation, by mixing with society ; but as he was chosen to be the future king of Israel, the LORD sent his Spirit upon him, which immediately supplied every defect. David joyfully received this invaluable gift, and resolved to submit himself to the guidance of the LORD. He sometimes deviated from this wise resolution, which involved him in distress; but whenever he availed himself of the high privilege he enjoyed, by seeking the Lord with bumility, and faith in his promises, he met with supernatural aid, and he was a sublime poet, a great warrior, a persuasive orator, and a prophet. As an earnest that he should be endued with strength and courage to overcome the enemies of Israel, David was enabled to defend his tender sheep and lambs from the furious ravages of a lion and a bear, and to kill them both, though he had no other weapon but his shepherd's crook.
While David in his humble station was thus favoured of the LORD, Saul on his throne was suffering all the torments of despair. The Lord had forsaken and rejected him on account of his impiety, and his inind became a prey to the blackest melancholy, and subject to violent emotions of anger and cruelty, jealousy and fear; so that at times he was transported to madness; nay, it is said an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. We are told, in several parts of Scripture *, that the Devil, and the rest of the fallen angels, are ever on the watch to suggest evil thoughts, and draw men into sin unless they be watchful; and that their suggestions are always contrary to the command of God. But that evil spirits can do nothing without God's permission, though they are sometimes left at liberty to afflict those who are incorrigibly wicked; particularly, such persons as resist the Holy Spirit, of which number was Saul. We read, that on his being anointed by Samuel, Saul's heart was changed, and he became another man; but we find that he soon despised the Lord, and chose to act agreeably to the dictates of his own pase
* Matt. xiii. 19. Eph. vi. 12. 2 Cor. xi. 3. Luke xxii. 3. 2 Cor. ii. 11,
James iv. 7. 1 Pete v. 8, 9. John xiii. 2, 27, Acts v. 3...