Jesse’s sons: A report from Samuel, 1 Samuel 16:1-3 for Lent 4 Year A

1 Samuel 16, 1-13 dramatised – full script ready-to-print

Samuel:  Our Hebrew Bible reading this morning is the story of the priest, Samuel, that’s me.  I am busy searching for the King of Israel, and am not sure what to look for.  Finally, God, Yahweh, sends me to Jesse’s house where I find this king.  This story is about seeing with God’s eyes, seeing with the heart.  I am reading from Chapter 16 of the first book I wrote, the first book of Samuel.

Storyteller:  The Lord Yahweh said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul?  I have rejected him from being king over Israel.  Fill your horn with oil and set out.  I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehem-ite.  For I have provided for myself a king among his sons.’

Samuel:  ‘How can I go?  If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.’

Storyteller:  And the Lord Yahweh said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’  Invite Jesse to the sacrifice.  I will show you what you shall do.  You shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.”   Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem.

The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, ‘Do you come peaceably?’

Samuel:   ‘I come Peaceably.  I have come to sacrifice to Yahweh.  Sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.’

Storyteller:  And Samuel sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.  When they came, Samuel looked on E-li-ab and thought,

Samuel:  ‘Surely Yahweh’s anointed is now before the Lord.’*

Storyteller:  But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him.  For the Lord does not see as mortals see.  They look on the outward appearance.  But the Lord looks on the heart.’   Then Jesse called his son, A-bin-a-dab, and made him pass before Samuel.

Samuel: [shake your head]  ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’

Storyteller:  Then Jesse made his son Sham-mah pass by.

Samuel: [shake your head]  ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’

Storyteller:  Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, ‘

Samuel:  Yahweh has not chosen any of these.  [pause] Jesse, Are all your sons here?’

Storyteller:  And Jesse said, ‘There remains yet the youngest.  But he is keeping the sheep.’

Samuel:  Jesse, send for him and bring him here.  For we will not sit down until he comes here.’

Storyteller:  Jesse sent and brought his youngest son in.  Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome.  The Lord said to Samuel, ‘Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.’

Samuel:  I will take the horn of oil, and anoint him, King David, in the presence of his brothers.

Storyteller:  And the spirit of Yahweh came mightily upon David from that day forward.   Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

Samuel:  Here ends the story of how I found David, the King of Israel.  It is the story about the day I learned to see not just with my eyes, but with my heart.   May God open our hearts to hear this story today with understanding.