Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 16

Davidís harp

1 Samuel 16:15-18

When David became a young man, he began to work as King Saulís private musician. Davidís musical instrument was called the KINNOR, which we usually translate as a lyre or harp. It probably had 10 strings. Each string played a different note on what is called the pentatonic (5 note) scale. It made a soft, sweet sound.

Davidís task however was not to entertain Saul, and Saul did not choose him for his musical skills. An evil spirit was badly upsetting Saul; Saul needed some quiet music to comfort him. Saul realised that he had ruined his relationship with God. So Saul chose a musician who had a strong relationship with God.

The description of David in 1 Samuel 16:18 interests us. The previous description (16:12) described him as a boy. Now he is a young man. He is also called a brave soldier. That causes some people to ask whether this is after his fight against Goliath in 1 Samuel chapter 17. However, as we have seen, Saul liked sometimes to order all Israelís men into battle (11:6-8; 13:3-4; 15:4). As Saul was constantly fighting battles (14:47), David may have already had to fight on several occasions.

David continued to work as Saulís musician for several years. During those years, David also carried out many other duties. Originally, he probably visited Saul occasionally but usually he was looking after his fatherís sheep (17:15). Later, David worked in the army where he carried military equipment for Saul (16:21; 18:2). David did well, and Saul gave him a high rank in the army (18:5). During all this time, David continued to play music for Saul (19:9).

Next part: David works for Saul (1 Samuel 16:19-22)


Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 450 page course book.


© 2014, Keith Simons.