Samuel’s grief over Saul had gone to the extreme. Samuel had loved Saul with a passion. To witness his military skill and prowess, and see how he and his heroic son Jonathan had raised the nation from feebleness to an Empire, gave Samuel admiration for Saul. Remember, Samuel had chosen Saul. After Saul sinned, God warned Samuel to mourn no longer. Saul’s rejection was final, and God’s prophet must sacrifice his personal feelings to carry out his purpose in the plan of God. God sent Samuel to Bethlehem. He was looking for His anointed. This anointed one “was a man after God’s own heart who God had demanded be captain over His people.” 1 Samuel 13:14 It was Samuel himself, who had told Saul that “God has given the kingdom to a neighbor of thine, who is better than thou.” 1 Samuel 15:28
Bethlehem was out of Samuel’s normal traveling circuit. To come to Bethlehem, some distance from Romah, could bring Samuel danger. Samuel, therefore, went to Bethlehem, knowing that he was going there to anoint a son of Jesse. It is evident the Samuel had no acquaintance with David; 1 Samuel 15:11-12. Jesse was a man of wealth and importance, his reputation had probably reached the prophets ears. Saul was still actually King, and the anointing of another in his stead would be regarded as an act of open treason, and might cause a Civil War. From before his birth, David had been marked out for his high office. Never did a man climbed to such a high office with purer hands. God told Samuel: “take a heifer with you,” and say, “I am come to sacrifice to Jehovah.” Samuel’s anointing of David was a pre-ordained type for we who become as David. The effort to which God intended to go to anoint him is seen the same for all His “anointed ones.”
The Elders of Bethlehem trembled at Samuels coming. Such visitation from such a high official usually meant some crime had been committed for which Samuel wish to inquire, or because the people had neglected some duty. And though conscious of no such fault, yet at the coming of one of such high rank their minds felt impure. Samuel calms their fears and demands them sanctify themselves; that is wash and purify yourself, abstain from every unclean thing and put on your festal garments. Eliab, the firstborn, tall in stature and handsome, was the first son of Jesse Samuel was to see. Of Eliab, Samuel felt sure that he had looked upon the Lord’s anointed. Then came the other 6 sons. The Lord showed no pleasure for any of these. The prophet now ordered a recounting of the purpose of his visit and demanded of Jesse, if he had yet another son; stating: “we will not sit down to he comes.” At this time the Jews did sit to eat instead of recline. David is sent for, probably near the house, and on his arrival the prophet sees a run the boy, red-haired, with delicate complexion, and beautiful eyes, come before him. “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren.” David was the eighth son. This was the Lord’s anointed, not the people’s choice as was Saul. Samuel gave this useful boy careful training that David profited thereby. Samuel gave his youthful pupil something better than accomplishments-he carefully educated him and the law of God, and let his mind onward to all that was good. It was Samuel’s last and crowning work.
“The Spirit of God came upon David from that day forward.” The Lord said unto Samuel: “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; for the Lord sees what man does not see; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 what is seen in David, by all who have studied his life is a noble character, but an unprepared servant is not what God wants. It was “breathing of God” which moved David forward, and placed in him all that was morally great and good, just as it was the “breath of God” which at creation moved upon the face of the waters that called this earth into perfection. Genesis1:2 From this time forward, David became the central figure in the history of Israel. When introduced to Saul David’s description was as follows: “I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, 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.” 1 Samuel 16:18