The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The First Book of Kings
But now the Lord said to Samuel, What, still lamenting over Saul? I have cast him off; he is to be king of Israel no longer. Come, put oil in that phial of thine, and go on an errand for me to Jesse of Bethlehem; in one of his sons I have looked myself out a king.
How can I undertake such a journey, asked Samuel, without Saul coming to hear of it, and killing me? Take a young bull with thee, the Lord answered, and make it known, I have come to offer the Lord sacrifice.
To this sacrifice Jesse must be bidden; then I will reveal my will to thee, and thou shalt anoint the man I direct thee to anoint.
Thereupon Samuel did as the Lord bade him; and when he reached Bethlehem, the elders of the city greeted him in alarm, asking whether his coming boded well for them.
Yes, he told them, I have come to offer the Lord sacrifice. Rid yourselves of defilement, and join with me in offering it. And with that he hallowed Jesse and his sons, and bade them come to the sacrifice with the rest.
As soon as they entered the house, his eye fell on Eliab, and he said, Here stands the Lord’s choice, in the Lord’s presence!
But the Lord warned Samuel, Have no eyes for noble mien or tall stature; I have passed this one by. Not where man’s glance falls, falls the Lord’s choice; men see but outward appearances, he reads the heart.✻
Then Jesse called Abinadab, and brought him into Samuel’s presence; but, No, said he, this is not the Lord’s choice;
then Samma, but he said, No, not this one either.
Seven sons of his did Jesse thus present before Samuel, but none of these, he was told, had the Lord chosen.
Then Samuel asked Jesse whether these were all, and he answered, One still remains, the youngest, herding the sheep. Send for him, answered Samuel; we must not sit down till he comes.
And Jesse sent and fetched him, red-cheeked, fair of face, pleasant of mien. And now the Lord said, Up, anoint him; this is my choice.
Whereupon Samuel took out the phial of oil and anointed him then and there in his brethren’s presence; and on him, on David, the spirit of the Lord came down, ever after that day. As for Samuel, he rose up and went home to Ramatha.
Meanwhile the Lord’s spirit passed away from Saul; instead, at the Lord’s bidding, an evil mood came upon him that gave him no rest.
God sends thee an ill mood, his servants told him, to disquiet thee.
We are thy servants, waiting on our Lord’s bidding; shall we go and find some skilful player on the harp, to relieve thee, when God visits thee with this evil mood, by his music?
Yes, answered Saul, find one who can play the harp well, and bring him to me.
And here one of his servants offered advice; Stay, I myself have met such a man, a skilful player indeed, a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite. He is sturdy besides, and a tried warrior, well-spoken and personable, and the Lord is with him.
Thereupon a message went out from Saul to Jesse, There is a son of thine, David, that looks after thy sheep; send him to me.
And Jesse loaded an ass with bread, and a flagon of wine, and a kid, and sent these by David as a present to Saul.
Thus it was that David met Saul and entered his service; and became his armour-bearer, so well Saul loved him.
Let David remain here in attendance on me, Saul told Jesse; I like him well.
And whenever Saul was taken with this evil mood of his, David would fetch his harp, and play; whereupon Saul was comforted and felt easier, till at last the evil mood left him.
The Holy Bible