The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare 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?” And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
Comment: Samuel is between a rock and a hard place. Saul, whom Samuel anointed as king, has, because of disobedience, been rejected by God. Saul and Samuel are not on speaking terms! God says ‘go anoint another king’. How will Saul respond to this? Samuel fears that he will be murdered.
But Samuel fills his horn (no glass or plastic containers in those days) with anointing oil and obedient as always goes to the Bethlehem area. This was a small unimportant place but, with the history of Saul and Samuel’s disagreement well known throughout the land, the locals are a bit scared. Samuel didn’t make his usual tours as a judge through Bethlehem! So why, they wondered, was he there. He seems to have had a service of consecration of the people, offered a sacrifice and then had a special meeting with Jesse and his family. Maybe he invited them to a special after sacrifice meal where the remainder of the meat from the sacrificed animal was eaten. We aren’t given a very detailed account but the reading ends with Samuel and Jesse’s family together, probably in a fairly isolated area from onlookers.
Prayer: Give me the courage to do what You call me to do, as You did for Samuel.