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The Cartoon Old Testament Online Book - Part 2
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1st Samuel 16

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14 Now the spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him. 15 And Saul's servants said to him, "See now, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord now command the servants who attend you to look for someone who is skillful in playing the lyre; and when the evil spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will feel better." 17 So Saul said to his servants, "Provide for me someone who can play well, and bring him to me." 18 One of the young men answered, "I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a warrior, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence; and the LORD is with him." 19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, "Send me your son David who is with the sheep." 20 Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and a kid, and sent them by his son David to Saul. 21 And David came to Saul, and entered his service. Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer. 22 Saul sent to Jesse, saying, "Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight." 23 And whenever the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand, and Saul would be relieved and feel better, and the evil spirit would depart from him.

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Musings

Well, Saul is out and Dave is in. Notice that the evil spirit tormenting Saul is from God. In the earlier books of the Old Testament everything comes from God including evil spirits (see also Pharaoh in Exodus). Some attribute the way Saul is acting to mental illness of some kind, which may well have been considered evil spirits back then. David is tasked with playing for Saul to soothe his troubles and also to be his armor-bearer. Saul becomes very fond of David although we don't know what David thinks of Saul. One wonders if this is like an apprenticeship for David, to be close enough to observe what kings do.


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