“Unit 18: Day 1, 1 Samuel 16–17,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 18: Day 1,” Old Testament Study Guide
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. Saul chose David to be his armor bearer and to play music on his harp when Saul was troubled by an evil spirit. David exercised faith in the Lord and defeated the Philistine warrior Goliath.
Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:
“We … tend to evaluate others on the basis of physical, outward appearance: their ‘good looks,’ their social status, their family pedigrees, their degrees, or their economic situations.
“The Lord, however, has a different standard by which he measures a person” (“The Measure of Our Hearts,” Ensign, Nov. 1988, 15).
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What problems can occur when people judge each other based only on physical appearance?
As you study 1 Samuel 16, look for a principle that teaches how God sees and judges us.
In previous chapters you learned that God chose Saul to rule as king of Israel. However, due to pride and disobedience, Saul did not lead in righteousness. Read 1 Samuel 16:1, looking for what the Lord told Samuel to do as a result of Saul’s behavior.
The Lord asked Samuel a question when He told him to select and anoint a new king. The Lord often uses questions to teach us. What do you think He may have been trying to teach Samuel by asking the question in this verse?
Read 1 Samuel 16:2–5, looking for how Samuel responded to the Lord’s command to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the future king of Israel.
You may want to mark what the Lord promised Samuel in verse 3 if he went to Bethlehem and called Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice.
Read 1 Samuel 16:6, looking for what Samuel thought when he saw Jesse’s son Eliab.
- Read 1 Samuel 16:7, and then answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What principle does this verse teach us about how God sees and judges us? (You may also want to write your answer in your scriptures. Since 1 Samuel 16:7 is a scripture mastery verse, you may want to mark it in a distinctive way so you can locate it later.)
To better understand what it means that God judges us by our hearts, read the following statement from Elder Marvin J. Ashton:
“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,” 15).
While God judges us by our hearts rather than our outward appearance, 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.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
According to Elder Ashton, what does the heart represent?
Why is it important for you to know that God judges you by your heart and not your physical appearance?
Think about an occasion when you judged someone by his or her physical appearance but realized later that you had judged the person incorrectly. Consider whether you are currently judging someone based solely on his or her physical appearance. What can you do to look more at the heart of others instead of their appearance?
- Because 1 Samuel 16:7 is a scripture mastery verse, spend some time memorizing it. To help you apply the principle it teaches, write in your scripture study journal how this verse could help you in the following scenarios:
You wish you looked like some of your peers at school. You feel like you are not as attractive as others.
You make fun of a classmate because his or her clothing is not as nice as that of the rest of your class.
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.
Read 1 Samuel 16:14, looking for what happened to Saul. Notice in footnote c for this verse that the Joseph Smith Translation changes the phrase “an evil spirit from the Lord” to “an evil spirit which was not of the Lord.” The Joseph Smith Translation makes a similar change for verses 15, 16, and 23.
From what you learned in previous lessons, what had Saul done to cause the Spirit of the Lord to depart from him?
According to verse 18, why did the servant say David would be a good choice to help Saul?
Saul sent messengers to Jesse and requested that David be sent to the king. David went with the king’s servants to play his harp for the king. By allowing David to be in a position to become acquainted with Israelite kingship and the royal court, it seems the Lord was educating and preparing him to perform those tasks for which he had earlier been anointed (see 1 Samuel 16:13). Thus David was following God’s plan, and God’s design for him was unfolding according to the divine timetable. David became Saul’s armor bearer, who was a person selected by the king to carry his armor. An armor bearer was to stand by the king in times of danger.
Read 1 Samuel 16:23, looking for what happened when David played music for Saul.
What kind of music do you think has the power to drive away evil influences? Why would that type of music drive away evil influences?
While Saul may have felt better temporarily by listening to spiritually uplifting music, the only way Saul could have found lasting peace was by humbling himself, repenting with full purpose of heart, and turning his heart to God.
In 1 Samuel 17 we learn that David exercised his faith in the Lord and received the Lord’s help to defeat the giant Goliath. To help you visualize Goliath’s actual size, put some tape on the wall at 9 feet, 9 inches (2.7 meters). Now imagine one of the biggest challenges you face. As you read 1 Samuel 17, look for principles that can help you know how to endure or overcome challenges you are facing.
Read 1 Samuel 17:8–11, looking for the challenge Goliath gave to the Israelites.
What challenge did Goliath give to the Israelites? According to verse 11, how did the Israelite soldiers respond to Goliath’s challenge?
As recorded in 1 Samuel 17:12–18, while the army of Israel was encamped against the army of the Philistines, David was at home tending his father’s sheep. David’s father gave him food to take to his brothers, who were soldiers in the army of Israel, with instructions to see how they were doing at the battlefront.
Read 1 Samuel 17:19–26, looking for what happened when David arrived at the Israelite camp.
How was David’s reaction to Goliath’s challenge different from the reaction of the Israelite soldiers?
Read 1 Samuel 17:27–31, looking for how David’s brother Eliab responded to what David said.
How did David respond to his brother’s rebuke?
Read 1 Samuel 17:32–37, looking for what Saul said to David.
How might Saul’s response to David in verse 33 be similar to how we might feel when we face some of our challenges? According to verses 34–36, what did David say when Saul told him that he was too young to fight with Goliath? According to verse 37, why did David believe he could defeat Goliath?
In 1 Samuel 17:38–52 is the account of David exercising his faith in the Lord by going forth to confront and slay Goliath.
We can learn the following principle from David’s response: Remembering how the Lord has helped us in the past will strengthen our faith to endure or overcome our challenges. Why do you think remembering how the Lord has helped us in the past will help us with our present challenges?
You will study more about David’s encounter with Goliath during the weekly lesson with your teacher.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 1 Samuel 16–17 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: