Samuel waited for Jesse’s youngest son to arrive. We do not know how long the delay was; it could have been several hours. Samuel refused to carry out his sacrifice (gift to God) or to begin the meal until that boy had arrived. God had sent Samuel to Bethlehem to appoint Israel’s next king, and God may have chosen that boy.
The author describes the boy as Samuel first saw him. Originally, Samuel expected the new king to look like Saul did. When Saul became king, he was probably about 40 years old. He was strong, and especially tall. That is also probably a good description of Eliab, Jesse’s oldest son, who impressed Samuel greatly (16:6-7).
Clearly, Jesse’s youngest son must be much younger than that. When he arrived, that youngest son looked very much like a boy. He could have been as young as 10 or 12 years old. He was healthy, and full of energy. The author mentions the red colour (ruddy) of his cheeks. His face was pleasant; he gave a good impression.
In other words, he looked like a nice boy; he did not look like a powerful and impressive king. It seemed clear that he would be too young to become king for several years. However, God knew that boy’s inner qualities and God had chosen him to be king.
Soon, we will study the history of that boy’s life. We will see how he became a truly great king. We will discover the qualities that God had already seen in this young boy’s life. Those qualities included his love for other people, his trust in God, and his humble and sincere attitudes. He was a king who truly loved God; and God made very special promises to him (2 Samuel chapter 7).
The author has still not told us the boy’s name, but he will tell us in 1 Samuel 16:13. That boy was David, the author of many Psalms, a holy man and a great king.
Next part: The anointing of David (1 Samuel 16:13)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.