The introduction of Saul stands in sharp contrast to the first mention of David, the second king of Israel. The prophet Samuel is told by God that one of the sons of Jesse will be the next king. Noting that the Lord hasn’t chosen any of the first seven sons of Jesse, Samuel asks the father if he has any other sons. Jesse responds, “There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep” (1 Samuel 16:11). When we meet David, he’s watching over his family’s livelihood.
The Hebrew word for youngest, qatan, implies insignificant and unimportant. One translator even uses the word “runt.” Though David is the runt of the litter, God selects him to rule over Israel.
“Does it surprise you that the youngest child was caring for the sheep?”
“Not at all,” Lynne said. “In ancient societies, and even today in remote areas, the weakest members of a family are often the ones assigned to care for the sheep. When we were in Peru staying with a family, a five-year-old boy, a few women, and an old man took care of the family’s sheep. The shepherds were those who lacked the strength or skill to do more physically demanding labor.”
In the Bible, the younger siblings are often responsible for shepherding, while the older children are given more important jobs. Though Cain is older, Abel keeps the animals. While some shepherds were strong like Abraham’s son, Issac, who makes the Philistines jealous with his abundant flocks (Genesis 26:14), many times the younger brothers or even daughters care for the sheep. Rachel, the younger sister of Leah, is recognized as a shepherdess. In fact, while watering sheep at a well, she meets Jacob and eventually falls in love (Genesis 29:2–11).
I couldn’t believe what Lynne was saying. Those considered the weakest members of society—the children, women, and the elderly—were sent out to protect the sheep. Within this context, the story of David made more sense to me. David isn’t just the youngest brother; he’s the least qualified choice in the eyes of everyone. He takes care of the sheep, because everyone else in the family has more important duties. Samuel’s selection of David must have shocked them all.
1 Samuel 17 tells the story of The Lord’s reason for training David in his steps as a youngster.
David’s first wife: Michal (/mɪˈxɑːl/; Hebrew: מיכל [miˈχal], Greek: Μιχάλ) was, according to the first Book of Samuel, a princess of the United Kingdom of Israel; the younger daughter of King Saul, she was the first wife of David (1 Samuel 18:20–27), who later became king, first of Judah, then of Israel.
When David led by The Spirit danced before the LORD, he was looked down by Michal:
Michal’s Contempt for David
But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him.
They brought the Ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the special tent David had prepared for it. And David sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord. When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Then he gave to every Israelite man and woman in the crowd a loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people returned to their homes.
When David returned home to bless his own family, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him. She said in disgust, “How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!”
David retorted to Michal, “I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord. Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes! But those servant girls you mentioned will indeed think I am distinguished!”
By God’s grace God allows things to be to and for His glory. In 1 Samuel 19, Michal helps David escape from Saul by letting him down through a window.
In considering king David, so very much comes to mind: to Saul,, Samuel said “But now thy kingdom shall not continue: The Lord hath sought Him a man after His Own Spirit, and The Lord hath commanded him to be captain over His people, because thou hast not kept that which The Lord commanded thee.” 1 Samuel 13:14
Early in his career, Saul made a fatal mistake. He disobeyed God by failing to completely destroy the Amalekites and all their possessions, as God had commanded. … Saul, as God’s anointed king, was responsible for keeping that command. The Lord withdrew His favor from Saul and had Samuel the prophet anoint David as king.
Here, we need to note favor is bestowed; remember this?
Samuel had died some time earlier, and people from all over Israel had attended his funeral in his hometown of Ramah.
Meanwhile, Saul had been trying to get rid of everyone who spoke with the spirits of the dead. But one day the Philistines brought their soldiers together to attack Israel.
Achish told David, “Of course, you know that you and your men must fight as part of our Philistine army.”
David answered, “That will give you a chance to see for yourself just how well we can fight!”
“In that case,” Achish said, “you and your men will always be my bodyguards.”
The Philistines went to Shunem and set up camp. Saul called the army of Israel together, and they set up their camp in Gilboa. Saul took one look at the Philistine army and started shaking with fear. So he asked the Lord what to do. But the Lord would not answer, either in a dream or by a priest or a prophet. Then Saul told his officers, “Find me a woman who can talk to the spirits of the dead. I’ll go to her and find out what’s going to happen.”
His servants told him, “There’s a woman at Endor who can talk to spirits of the dead.”
That night, Saul put on different clothing so nobody would recognize him. Then he and two of his men went to the woman, and asked, “Will you bring up the ghost of someone for us?”
The woman said, “Why are you trying to trick me and get me killed? You know King Saul has gotten rid of everyone who talks to the spirits of the dead!”
Saul replied, “I swear by the living Lord that nothing will happen to you because of this.”
“Who do you want me to bring up?” she asked.
“Bring up the ghost of Samuel,” he answered.
When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed. Then she turned to Saul and said, “You’ve tricked me! You’re the king!”
“Don’t be afraid,” Saul replied. “Just tell me what you see.”
She answered, “I see a spirit rising up out of the ground.”
“What does it look like?”
“It looks like an old man wearing a robe.”
Saul knew it was Samuel, so he bowed down low.
“Why are you bothering me by bringing me up like this?” Samuel asked.
“I’m terribly worried,” Saul answered. “The Philistines are about to attack me. God has turned his back on me
and won’t answer any more by prophets or by dreams. What should I do?”
Samuel said: “If The Lord has turned away from you and is now your enemy, don’t ask me what to do. I’ve already told you: The Lord has sworn to take the kingdom from you and give it to David. And that’s just what He is doing! When The Lord was angry with the Amalekites, He told you to destroy them, but you didn’t do it. That’s why The Lord is doing this to you. Tomorrow The Lord will let the Philistines defeat Israel’s army, then you and your sons will join me down here in the world of the dead.
At once, Saul collapsed and lay stretched out on the floor, terrified at what Samuel had said. He was weak because he had not eaten anything since the day before.
And as had been spoken; the very next day – Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.” But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it… So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day. 1 Samuel 31:4,6
We recall: The man said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.)
The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”
Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against The Lord.”
Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for The Lord, the son born to you will die.”
We need to understand that The Word is for a reason. Our difficulties can and will bring glory to God. We are told over and over again prayer, praise and thanksgiving is as we are to live.
“Now king David was old and stricken in years, and they covered him with clothes, but he gained no warmth” 1 Kings 1:1. Thus, David’s servants summoned Abishag to warm the king: “ … let her cherish him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king get heat” 1 Kings 1:2.
David dies at the age of 70 after reigning for 40 years, and on his deathbed counsels Solomon to walk in the ways of God and to take revenge on his enemies.