1 Samuel 16:1-13

1 Samuel 16:1-13
Fourth Sunday in Lent A


The LordA said to Samuel,B “How long will you grieveC over Saul?D

Notes on verse 1a

A “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
B “Samuel” = Shemuel. From shem (name, fame, renown; indicating something essential about a person; honor, authority, or character); {may be from sum (to put, place, set)} + el (God, a god) OR from shama (hear, call, consent, or consider; implies listening intelligently, giving attention; obedience and action are often implied) + el (God, a god).This is Samuel meaning either the “name of God” or “heard of God.”
C “grieve” = abal. This is to mourn or lament.
D “Saul” = Shaul. From shaal (to ask, inquire, beg, borrow, desire, request; can also mean demand). This is Saul or Shaul, meaning “asked of the Lord.”

I have rejectedE him from being kingF over Israel.G

Notes on verse 1b

E “rejected” = maas. This is to reject, refuse, despise. It can also be to disappear or melt away.
F “being king” = malak. This is to be or become king or queen, to rise to the throne, to be crowned. By implication, to take counsel. This word may be from the Hebrew word for king “melek” or vice versa.
G “Israel” = Yisrael. Related to “Samuel” in v1. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (see note B above). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.

FillH your hornI with oilJ and set out;K

Notes on verse 1c

H “fill” = male. This is fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate. It is fill in a literal or figurative sense.
I “horn” = qeren. This is horn or hill. It can be a flask or cornet, ivory, altar corner, mountain peak, or figuratively power.
J “oil” = shemen. From shamen (to shine, which implies being oily, growing fat). This is fat, oil, grease, olive oil – often with perfume. Used figuratively for fertile, lavish, rich.
K “set out” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.

I will sendL you to JesseM the Bethlehemite,N for I have providedO for myself a kingP among his sons.”Q 

Notes on verse 1d

L “send” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
M “Jesse” = Yishay. Perhaps from ish (man); {perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail)} OR from the same as yesh (being, existence, substance). This is Jesse, a name which means “my husband” or “the Lord exists.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Jesse.html
N “Bethlehemite” = Beth Hallachmi. 4x in OT. From beth lechem (Bethlehem); {from bayit (house, court, family, palace, temple); {probably from banah (to build, make, set up, obtain children; to build literally or figuratively)} + lechem (bread, food, loaf; food for people or for animals); {from lacham (to eat, feed on; figuratively, to battle as a kind of consumption/destruction)}. This is a resident of Bethlehem.
O “provided” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
P “king” = melek. Related to “being king” in v1. From malak (see note F above). This is king or royal.
Q “sons” = ben. Related to “Bethlehemite” in v1. From banah (see note N above). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.

Samuel said, “How can I go?R If Saul hearsS of it, he will killT me.”

Notes on verse 2a

R “go” = halak. Same as “set out” in v1. See note K above.
S “hears” = shama. Related to “Samuel” in v1. See note B above.
T “kill” = harag. This is to strike with deadly intent so it can be kill, destroy, murder, or put to death.

And the Lord said, “TakeU a heiferV with youW and say, ‘I have comeX to sacrificeY to the Lord.’ 

Notes on verse 2b

U “take” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
V “heifer” = eglah + baqar. Eglah is 14x in OT. From egel (male calf as one that frisks about; often one that is almost grown up); may be from the same as agol (round, circular – root meaning revolve). This is a female calf, a heifer or cow that is nearly mature. Baqar is from baqar (to plow, break forth; figuratively, to inquire, inspect, consider). This is cattle – an animal used for plowing.
W “with you” = yad. Literally, “at hand.” This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
X “come” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
Y “sacrifice” = zabach. This is slaughtering an animal, generally for the purpose of sacrifice. It can mean kill or offer.

InviteZ Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will showAA you what you shall do,BB and you shall anointCC for me the one whom I name to you.” 

Notes on verse 3

Z “invite” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
AA “show” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
BB “do” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
CC “anoint” = mashach. This is smear, paint, spread, or paint. It can also be to rub with oil or, otherwise stated, to anoint. This implies a consecration. This root verb is where the word “messiah” comes from.

Samuel did what the Lord commandedDD and came to Bethlehem.EE The eldersFF of the cityGG

Notes on verse 4a

DD “commanded” = dabar. This is generally to speak, answer, declare, or command. It might mean to arrange and so to speak in a figurative sense as arranging words.
EE “Bethlehem” = Beth Lechem. Related to “Bethlehemite” and “sons” in v1. See note N above.
FF “elders” = zaqen. From the same as zaqan (beard or chin – the beard represents old age). This is old, aged, or elder.
GG “city” = iyr. From uwr (to awaken or wake oneself up). This can mean excitement in the sense of wakefulness or city. Properly, this is a place that is guarded. Guards kept schedules according to watches. This sense of the word would include cities as well as encampments or posts that were guarded.

came to meetHH him tremblingII and said, “Do you come peaceably?”JJ 

He said, “Peaceably. I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctifyKK yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

Notes on verses 4b-5

HH “came to meet” = qara. This is to meet, befall, happen upon. It can be to encounter by chance or for aggression.
II “trembling” = charad. This is trembling, being afraid, or being terrified. It can also refer to moving quickly due to anxiety.
JJ “peaceably” = shalom. From shalam (to be complete or sound; to have safety mentally, physically, or extending to one’s estate; so, if these things are safe and complete, the implication is that one would be friendly; and, if being friendly, one would make amends and that friendship would be reciprocated). This is completeness, soundness, welfare, favor, friend, good health. It is to be safe and figuratively well, happy, at peace, friendly. Abstractly, it includes the ideas of welfare and prosperity (not in excessive wealth, but in having enough).
KK “sanctify” = qadash. From qodesh (set apart and so sacred; God is different from us and so God is holy/set apart; things we dedicate to God’s service are set apart for God and so they, too, are holy). This is set apart, consecrated, hallowed, sanctified. This is something or someone that is set apart for a holy purpose or use – ceremonially or morally clean.

LLWhen they came, he lookedMM on EliabNN

Notes on verse 6a

LL {untranslated} = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v1. See note A above.
MM “looked” = raah. Same as “provided” in v1. See note O above.
NN “Eliab” = Eliab. Related to “Samuel” and “Israel” in v1. From el (see note B above) + ab (father, chief, ancestor; father in a literal or figurative sense). This is Eliab, meaning “God is father” or “God of his father.”

and thought, “SurelyOO his anointedPP is now beforeQQ the Lord.” 

Notes on verse 6b

OO “surely” = ak. Related to aken (surely, truly, nevertheless); from kun (properly, in a perpendicular position; literally, to establish, fix, fasten, prepare; figuratively, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous). This is a positive statement – surely, also, certainly, alone, only.
PP “anointed” = mashiach. Related to “anoint” in v3. From mashach (see note CC above). This is the anointed or consecrated one. So, it could refer to a king, priest, or saint. It is also the root of the word “messiah.”
QQ “before” = neged. From nagad (to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain). This is in front of, opposite to. It can refer to a counterpart or partner, one corresponding to or in the sight of.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not lookRR on his appearanceSS or on the heightTT

Notes on verse 7a

RR “look” = nabat. This is to behold, look at intently, consider, or scan. It can mean to have respect or regard someone favorably.
SS “appearance” = mareh. Related to “provided” in v1. From raah (see note O above). This is sight, appearance, or vision. It can be a view, seeing itself, that which is seen, something real, or a vision one sees.
TT “height” = gaboah. From gabah (to be tall, high, exalted, proud, haughty). This is high, tall, long, proud, or arrogant. It could also be a high ranking official, someone exalted, or something lofty.

of his stature,UU because I have rejected him, for the Lord does not seeVV as mortalsWW see;

Notes on verse 7b

UU “stature” = qomah. From qum (to arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide; rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action; standing in a figurative sense). This is tall, high, length, or height.
VV “see” = raah. Same as “provided” in v1. See note O above.
WW “mortals” = adam. Perhaps from adam (to be red, make ruddy); related to adamah (ground, dirt, earth). This is man, humankind, also Adam’s name. It refers to a human individual or humanity.

they lookXX on the outward appearance,YY but the Lord looksZZ on the heart.”AAA 

Notes on verse 7c

XX “look” = raah. Same as “provided” in v1. See note O above.
YY “outward appearance” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
ZZ “looks” = raah. Same as “provided” in v1. See note O above.
AAA “heart” = lebab. May be related to labab (to encourage; properly, to be encased as with fat; used in a good sense, this means to transport someone with love; used in a bad sense, it can mean to dull one’s senses). This is the heart, courage, one’s inner self, the mind, or the will. Heart is only used in a figurative sense in the Old and New Testaments.

Then Jesse calledBBB AbinadabCCC and made him passDDD beforeEEE Samuel. He said, “Neither has the Lord chosenFFF this one.” 

Notes on verse 8

BBB “called” = qara. Same as “invite” in v3. See note Z above.
CCC “Abinadab” = Abinadab. Related to “Eliab” in v6. 12x in OT. From ab (see note NN above) + nadab (to offer voluntarily, incite, impel; to volunteer to be a soldier or offer freely). This is Abinadab, meaning “my father is noble” or “father of generosity,” which is to say very generous.
DDD “made…pass” = abar. This is to pass over or cross over. It is used for transitions, whether literal or figurative. It can also mean to escape, alienate, or fail. This is the root verb from which “Hebrew” is drawn.
EEE “before” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
FFF “chosen” = bachar. This is to choose, appoint, try, excellent.

Then Jesse made ShammahGGG pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 

10 Jesse made sevenHHH of his sons pass beforeIII Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 

11 Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sonsJJJ here?”KKK

Notes on verses 9-11a

GGG “Shammah” = Shammah. 7x in OT. From the same as shammah (desolation, horror, dismay, waste); from shamem (to be appalled, astonished; to stun or devastate, be destitute). This is Shammah. It means “appalling desolation” or “waste.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Shammah.html
HHH “seven” = sheba. This is seven or by sevenfold. It can also be used to imply a week or an indefinite number. Symbolically, this is the number of fullness, sacredness, perfection.
III “before” = paneh. Same as “before” in v8. See note EEE above.
JJJ “sons” = naar. May be from na’ar (to shake, toss up and down, tumble around). This is a child or a servant. It is a child in their active years so they could be aged anywhere from infancy to adolescence.
KKK “are all…here” = tamam. This is to finish or accomplish. It is to make perfect, demonstrate that you are upright, consume or cease. It is to complete in a literal or figurative sense, positive or negative.

And he said, “There remainsLLL yet the youngest,MMM butNNN he is keepingOOO the sheep.”PPP

Notes on verse 11b

LLL “remains” = shaar. Properly, this is swelling up i.e. being left over, a remnant, remaining, being redundant.
MMM “youngest” = qatan. From quwt (grieved, cut off, to detest). This is least, small, young, little one. It is literally smaller whether in amount or size. Figuratively it is smaller in the sense of younger or less important.
NNN {untranslated} = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
OOO “keeping” = ra’ah. This is to tend a flock, pasture, or graze. It can mean to rule or to associate with someone. Figuratively, it can be ruler or teacher.
PPP “sheep” = tson. This is a flock of sheep and goats.

And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bringQQQ him, for we will not sit downRRR until he comes here.” 

12 He sent and brought him in.SSS Now he was ruddyTTT

Notes on verses 11c-12a

QQQ “bring” = laqach. Same as “take” in v2. See note U above.
RRR “sit down” = sabab. This is turning around, going around; to surround, cast, walk, fetch. It is to revolve or border in a literal or figurative sense.
SSS “brought…in” = bo. Same as “come” in v2. See note X above.
TTT “ruddy” = admoni. Related to “mortals” in v7. 3x in OT. From the same as adam (see note WW above). This is red or ruddy, whether of the hair or complexion.

and had beautifulUUU eyesVVV and was handsome.WWW

Notes on verse 12b

UUU “beautiful” = yapheh. From yaphah (to be beautiful, decorate; root means being bright, which implies being beautiful). This is beautiful in a literal or figurative sense – appropriate, handsome, godly, pleasant.
VVV “eyes” = ayin. Same as “outward appearance” in v7. See note YY above.
WWW “handsome” = tob + roi. Literally, “good looking.” Tob is from tob (to be pleasing, to be good). This is good, beautiful, pleasant, agreeable, bountiful, at ease. This word is used for goodness as a concept, a good thing, a good person. This can refer to prosperity and welfare as well as joy, kindness, sweetness, and graciousness. So, this is ethically good, but also enjoyably good. Roi is related to “provided” in v1 & “appearance” in v7. 5x in OT. From raah (see note O above). This is seeing, appearance, vision, spectacle.

The Lord said, “RiseXXX and anoint him, for this is the one.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presenceYYY of his brothers,ZZZ

Notes on verses 12c-13a

XXX “rise” = qum. Related to “stature” in v7. See note UU above.
YYY “presence” = qereb. Perhaps from qarab (to come near or approach). This is among, in the midst, before, the center It is the inward part, whether literal or figurative. It can also be used for the heart, the site of thoughts and feelings. This word is also used as a technical term for the entrails of the animals who are sacrificed.
ZZZ “brothers” = ach. This is brother, kindred, another, other, like. It is literally brother, but it can also be someone who is similar, resembling, or related to.

and the spiritAAAA of the Lord cameBBBB mightily upon DavidCCCC

Notes on verse 13b

AAAA “spirit” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.
BBBB “came” = tsalach. This is pushing forward in a literal or figurative sense. So it could be to break out, to come mightily, to rush, to go over. Figuratively, it could mean to prosper.
CCCC “David” = David. From the same as dod (beloved, love, uncle); the root may mean to boil, which is used figuratively to describe love. So, this implies someone you love such as a friend, a lover, or a close family member like an uncle. David’s name likely means something like “beloved one.”

from that dayDDDD forward.EEEE Samuel then set outFFFF and went to Ramah.GGGG

Notes on verse 13c

DDDD “day” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
EEEE “forward” = maal. From alah (to go up, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense). This is the upper part, forward, high above, upwards, greater, heaven, or exceedingly.
FFFF “set out” = qum. Same as “rise” in v12. See note XXX above.
GGGG “Ramah” = Ramah. From rum (to be high, rise, exalt self, extol, be haughty; to rise literally or figuratively) OR from ramah (properly, to loosen; figuratively, to deceive to various degrees). This is Ramah, meaning “height” or “lofty place” or “deceit” or “established” or “loose.” See https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Ramah.html

Image credit: “Detail of the Anointing of David” at St. Catherine’s Church in Bethlehem. Photo by Fr. Gaurav Shroff, 2011.

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