The Lord asked Samuel, “How long are you going to continue to mourn over Saul because I have rejected him as king of Israel? Fill your flask*
with olive oil and go. I'm sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen a king for myself from among his sons.”
2 “How can I go and do that?” Samuel asked. “Saul will hear about it and kill me!”
The Lord answered, “Take a young cow with you and say, ‘I've come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you have to do. Anoint for me the one I tell you to.”
4 Samuel did what the Lord had told him to and went to Bethlehem. When the town elders met him, they were afraid and asked him, “Do you come in peace?”
5 “Yes, I come in peace,” he replied. “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” He purified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
6 When they arrived and Samuel saw Eliab, he said to himself, “This has got to be the Lord's anointed!”
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don't look at his outward appearance or how tall he is because I have rejected him, for the Lord does not look as human beings do. Human beings only see with their eyes what's on the outside, but the Lord looks at the way people think deep inside.”
8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him come before Samuel, who said, “The Lord hasn't chosen this one either.”
9 Then Jesse had Shammah come forward. But Samuel said, “The Lord hasn't chosen this one either.”
10 Jesse had seven of his sons come before Samuel, but Samuel told him, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.”
11 So he asked Jesse, “Don't you have any more sons?”
“Well, there's still the youngest,” Jesse replied, “but he is out looking after the sheep.”
“Send for him and bring him here because we will not sit down and eat†
until he gets here,” Samuel told Jesse.
12 So Jesse sent for him and brought him in. He had a red complexion with beautiful eyes, and looked handsome. The Lord said, “Go and anoint him, for he's the one.”
13 Samuel took the flask of olive oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord came on David in power from that day on. Then Samuel left and returned to Ramah.
The Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.‡ 15
Saul's servants told him, “It's definitely an evil spirit from God that's tormenting you. 16
Give us your servants here the order to find someone who is good at playing the harp so that when the evil spirit from God comes on you, he can play and you'll feel much better.”
17 Saul gave the order to his servants, “Find me someone who is good at playing the harp and bring him to me.”
18 One of the servants replied, “I know a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who is good at playing the harp. He is a brave man, a good fighter, well-spoken and handsome, and the Lord is with him.”
19 Saul sent messengers to Jesse, telling him, “Send me your son David who takes care of the sheep.”
20 So Jesse loaded a donkey with bread, a skin of wine, and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul. 21 David came to Saul and began working for him. Saul thought a great deal of him, and David became his armor-bearer.
22 Saul sent a message to Jesse, saying, “Please allow David to continue working for me because I am pleased with him.”
23 So whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take his harp and play, and Saul would gain relief and feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.