Lesson 86: 1 Samuel 16
previous next

“Lesson 86: 1 Samuel 16,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)

“Lesson 86,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 86

1 Samuel 16


After rejecting Saul as the king of Israel, the Lord sent Samuel to Bethlehem to find a new king among the sons of Jesse. The Lord inspired Samuel to anoint David as the next king of Israel. David was chosen to be Saul’s armor-bearer and to play music on a harp when Saul was troubled by an evil spirit.

Suggestions for Teaching

1 Samuel 16:1–13

The Lord inspires Samuel to anoint David as the next king of Israel

Before class, decorate two small paper bags in different ways. Put something valuable in one bag and something of little value in the other (such as a piece of candy in one bag and just the candy wrapper in the other). Show the class the two bags, and explain that one of the bags contains something valuable.

  • Without seeing what is inside, which bag would you choose?

  • Why would you make that choice?

Explain that as they study 1 Samuel 16:1–13, they will learn a truth about making judgments based on outward appearances. (Set the bags aside without revealing what is in them. You will use them later in the lesson.)

Help students understand the context of this chapter by reminding them that the Lord had rejected Saul as the king of Israel (see 1 Samuel 15:26).

  • According to what you learned in previous lessons, why did the Lord reject Saul as king? (See 1 Samuel 15.)

Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 16:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what the Lord told Samuel to do after He rejected Saul as king.

  • What did the Lord tell Samuel to do?

Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 16:2–5 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Samuel responded to the Lord’s command to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the next king of Israel.

  • What was Samuel worried about?

  • What did the Lord tell Samuel to do so Saul would not be suspicious?

  • According to verse 3, how would Samuel know whom to anoint as the next king of Israel?

Invite students to read 1 Samuel 16:6 silently, looking for what Samuel thought when he saw one of Jesse’s sons. Ask students to report what they find.

Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 16:7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord told Samuel after Samuel thought that Eliab should be the next king.

  • Why did God tell Samuel not to look at Eliab’s height or physical appearance as a way to decide whether he should be the new king?

  • What does this verse teach us about how God sees and judges us? (Write the following truth on the board: God judges us by our hearts rather than our outward appearance.)

  • What do you think it means that God judges us by our hearts?

Provide each student with a copy of the following statement by Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite a student to read it aloud, and ask the class to follow along and look for additional insights into what it means to be judged by our hearts.

Ashton, Marvin J. 1990

“When the Lord measures an individual, … He measures the heart as an indicator of the person’s capacity and potential to bless others.

“Why the heart? Because the heart is a synonym for one’s entire make-up. …

“The measure of our hearts is the measure of our total performance. As used by the Lord, the ‘heart’ of a person describes his effort to better self, or others, or the conditions he confronts” (“The Measure of Our Hearts,” Ensign, Nov. 1988, 15).

  • According to Elder Ashton, what does the Lord measure when He judges us by our hearts?

  • Why is it important for you to know that God judges you by your heart and not your physical appearance?

Point out that although God judges us by our hearts, He still expects us to take care of our bodies and be neat and clean in our physical appearance. Our dress and grooming can be a reflection of our hearts.

Show the class the two bags from the beginning of the lesson. Ask a student to come to the front of the class, look inside the bags, and report to the class what they contain.

  • How might this example relate to the principle written on the board?

  • What problems might we experience if we make a judgment without knowing what is inside a person’s heart?

Invite students to think about a time when they judged someone based on his or her physical appearance but realized later that they had judged the person incorrectly. Invite a few students to share their experiences with the class. You may also want to share an experience.

Ask students to think about whether they are currently judging someone based solely on their physical appearance. Invite students to make an effort to discern the hearts of these individuals.

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Samuel 16:8–13. Ask the class to follow along and look for what happened as Samuel continued seeking for a new king among Jesse’s sons. Invite students to report what they find. You may need to explain that the word ruddy in verse 12 refers to having a red complexion or red hair.

  • Why did Samuel anoint David as the next king?

1 Samuel 16:14–23

David is selected as Saul’s armor-bearer

Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 16:14 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what happened to Saul. Point out the Joseph Smith Translation in verse 14, footnote c. Point out that the Joseph Smith Translation makes a similar change in verses 15, 16, and 23.

  • What happened to Saul?

Remind students that Saul had seriously offended God by disobeying His commandments. Because of his sins, he felt troubled. Invite students to read 1 Samuel 16:15–16 silently, looking for what Saul’s servants suggested could help Saul feel better.

  • What did the servants suggest could help Saul feel better?

Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 16:17–18 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the person who one of the servants suggested should play music for Saul.

  • Who did one of the servants suggest should play the harp for Saul? (A son of Jesse. If needed, explain that the servant was referring to David.)

  • According to verse 18, why would David be a good choice to help Saul?

Summarize 1 Samuel 16:19–22 by explaining that Saul sent messengers to Jesse and requested that David be sent to the king. David went with the king’s servants and was presented before the king. David became Saul’s armor-bearer, which was a person selected by the king to carry his armor and to stand by the king in times of danger. Hence David was introduced into the palace and the future seat of power he had been ordained to succeed (see 1 Samuel 16:13). David was following God’s plan, and thereby God’s design for him was unfolding according to the divine timetable.

Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 16:23 aloud, and ask the class to follow along and look for what effect David’s music had on Saul. Remind students that the Joseph Smith Translation changed the phrase “an evil spirit from God” to an evil spirit “which was not of God” (1 Samuel 16:23, footnote b).

  • What happened when David played music for Saul? (The evil spirit departed.)

  • What kind of music do you think has the power to drive away evil influences?

Point out that although Saul may have temporarily felt better by listening to spiritually uplifting music, the only way Saul could have found lasting peace was by repenting.

Book Icon
Scripture Mastery—1 Samuel 16:7

Invite the class to recite together the last half of 1 Samuel 16:7, starting with “the Lord seeth.”

To help students apply the doctrine taught in 1 Samuel 16:7, read aloud the following scenarios and ask them to discuss how they might use what they learned from 1 Samuel 16:7 to help change their thoughts and actions if they were in these situations.

  1. You wish you looked like some of your peers at school. You feel like you are not as attractive as others.

  2. You make fun of a classmate because his or her clothing is not as nice as that of the rest of your classmates.

  3. You have a neighbor who drinks alcohol and smokes cigarettes. You do not think he or she would be interested in learning more about the Church.

Commentary and Background Information

1 Samuel 16:7. “But the Lord looketh on the heart”

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency explained how the Lord views His children:

“Heavenly Father’s interest in you does not depend on how rich or beautiful or healthy or smart you are. He sees you not as the world sees you; He sees who you really are. He looks on your heart [see 1 Samuel 16:7]. And He loves you [see 1 Peter 5:6–7] because you are His child” (“Your Wonderful Journey Home,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 128).

1 Samuel 16:23. Uplifting music can help drive evil from our lives

President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught the following about using uplifting music to drive evil from our lives. He compared the mind to a stage on which someone is always performing and emphasized that we can choose whether to allow righteous or evil performances to take center stage. He said:

“If you can control your thoughts, you can overcome habits, even degrading personal habits. If you can learn to master them you will have a happy life.

“This is what I would teach you. Choose from among the sacred music of the Church a favorite hymn, one with words that are uplifting and music that is reverent, one that makes you feel something akin to inspiration. … Go over it in your mind carefully. Memorize it. Even though you have had no musical training, you can think through a hymn.

“Now, use this hymn as the place for your thoughts to go. Make it your emergency channel. Whenever you find these shady actors have slipped from the sidelines of your thinking onto the stage of your mind, put on this record, as it were.

“As the music begins and as the words form in your thoughts, the unworthy ones will slip shamefully away. It will change the whole mood on the stage of your mind. Because it is uplifting and clean, the baser thoughts will disappear. For while virtue, by choice, will not associate with filth, evil cannot tolerate the presence of light.

“In due time you will find yourself, on occasion, humming the music inwardly. As you retrace your thoughts, you discover some influence from the world about you encouraged an unworthy thought to move on stage in your mind, and the music almost automatically began” (“Inspiring Music—Worthy Thoughts,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 28).

For the Strength of Youth states:

“Music can enrich your life. It can edify and inspire you and help you draw closer to Heavenly Father. Music has a profound effect on your mind, spirit, and behavior.

“Choose carefully the music you listen to. Pay attention to how you feel when you are listening. Some music can carry evil and destructive messages. Do not listen to music that encourages immorality or glorifies violence through its lyrics, beat, or intensity. Do not listen to music that uses vulgar or offensive language or promotes evil practices. Such music can dull your spiritual sensitivity.

“Learn and sing the hymns. Hymns can lift your spirit, move you to righteous action, and help you withstand the temptations of the adversary” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 22).