This post is more of a prelude to David coming into the scene in the Bible. His first famous achievement is defeating Goliath. I plan to go into that later, but I like to set up the stage on who David is.
After God rejected Saul as King of Israel, God told Samuel to go to Bethlehem to anoint the new king. Samuel didn’t know who he is and obeyed God (1 Samuel 16:1)
So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!”1 Samuel 16:6 (NKJV) – empahsis mine
Samuel thought Eliab would be the next king (1 Sam. 16:6). Jesse, David’s father, had eight sons, and Eliab was the oldest. David is the youngest in the family. But the Lord told Samuel that Eliab is not the right person. God looks at the heart of man, and men look at the outer appearance (1 Sam. 16:7).
We judge people based on outward appearance. Outward appearance can be charisma, personality, or skills. On the other hand, God is looking at the heart. God is looking for a heart that is obedient to Him. I will discuss this in later posts on David.
The Bible included the names of the first three sons of Jesse: Eliab (1 Sam. 16:6), Abinadab (1 Sam. 16:8), and Shammah (1 Sam. 16:9). They were mentioned as part of Saul’s army (1 Sam. 17:13).
What is the significance of mentioning these three?
When Saul became king, he took men from Israel as soldiers (1 Sam. 14:52). God warned the Israelites what would happen when Israelites rebelled against God by asking a king (1 Sam. 8:11-12). Saul only chose those who are worthy and great fighters (1 Sam 14:52). It is highly likely that Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah were part of Saul’s mighty warriors.
And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.”1 Samuel 16:11a (NKJV) – emphasis mine
Jesse did not call David to come back to pass before Samuel (1 Sam. 16:11). It is almost as if to say David is not part of the family. Despite dejected from the family, David was obedient to his father, and the only one mentioned that looked after the sheep.
Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers;1 Samuel 16:13a (NKJV) – Emaphsis mine
God told Samuel to anoint David (1 Sam 16:13). Samuel didn’t anoint in secret. He did it before David’s brothers.
Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”1 Samuel 17:28 (NKJV)
When Eliab accused David as prideful in the next chapter (1 Sam. 17:28), was it because he was jealous of David getting anointed and not him? The accusation from Eliab was that David left the sheep to watch the battle. In 1 Samuel 17:20, David left the sheep to a keeper before obeying his father and brought food to his brothers. Ironically, the very thing that Eliab accused David of David was not.
Going back to the anointing, David didn’t immediately become king after anointed by Samuel. There is a long gap, years, between David’s anointing and his promotion as King of Israel. This truth can also apply to us in ministry, as well. Just because God anointed you to do something, it doesn’t mean the promotion comes immediately.
Compare to Solomon, David suffered many hardships before becoming king. This wilderness phase in David’s life is how God formed a king. Solomon never had such training, and he suffered as a bad king at the end (1 Kings 11:9-13).
David’s pride wasn’t puffed up from the anointing; he remained faithful to his father and continued to be a shepherd (1 Sam. 17:20). The promotion comes from God and God alone. David did not force his way to grab the crown. He had the opportunity to do so, and he spared Saul’s life twice (1 Samuel 24 and 1 Samuel 26), but he trusts in God.