1. Yahweh said to Samuel, 'How much longer do you mean to go on mourning over Saul, now that I myself have rejected him as ruler of Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have found myself a king from among his sons.'
2. Samuel replied, 'How can I go? When Saul hears of it he will kill me.' Yahweh then said, 'Take a heifer with you and say, "I have come to sacrifice to Yahweh."
3. Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I shall reveal to you what you must do; and you will anoint for me the one I indicate to you.'
4. Samuel did what Yahweh ordered and went to Bethlehem. The elders of the town came trembling to meet him and asked, 'Seer, is your coming favourable for us,'
5. 'Yes,' he replied. 'I have come to sacrifice to Yahweh. Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.' He purified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
6. When they arrived, he looked at Eliab and thought, 'This must be Yahweh's anointed now before him,'
7. but Yahweh said to Samuel, 'Take no notice of his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him; God does not see as human beings see; they look at appearances but Yahweh looks at the heart.'
8. Jesse then called Abinadab and presented him to Samuel, who said, 'Yahweh has not chosen this one either.'
9. Jesse then presented Shammah, but Samuel said, 'Yahweh has not chosen this one either.'
10. Jesse thus presented seven of his sons to Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, 'Yahweh has not chosen these.'
11. He then asked Jesse, 'Are these all the sons you have?' Jesse replied, 'There is still one left, the youngest; he is looking after the sheep.' Samuel then said to Jesse, 'Send for him, for we shall not sit down to eat until he arrives.'
12. Jesse had him sent for; he had ruddy cheeks, with fine eyes and an attractive appearance. Yahweh said, 'Get up and anoint him: he is the one!'
13. At this, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him, surrounded by his brothers; and the spirit of Yahweh seized on David from that day onwards. Samuel, for his part, set off and went to Ramah.
14. Now the spirit of Yahweh had withdrawn from Saul, and an evil spirit from Yahweh afflicted him with terrors.
15. Saul's servants said to him, 'An evil spirit from God is undoubtedly the cause of your terrors.
16. Let our lord give the order, and your servants who wait on you will look for a skilled harpist; when the evil spirit from God comes over you, he will play and it will do you good.'
17. Saul said to his attendants, 'Find me, please, a man who plays well, and bring him to me.'
18. One of the servants then spoke up and said, 'I have seen one of the sons of Jesse the Bethlehemite: he is a skilled player, a brave man and a fighter, well spoken, good-looking and Yahweh is with him.'
19. So Saul sent messengers to Jesse with the order, 'Send me your son David (who is with the sheep).'
20. Jesse took five loaves, a skin of wine and a kid, and sent them to Saul by his son David.
21. David went to Saul and entered his service; Saul became very fond of him and David became his armour-bearer.
22. Saul then sent a message to Jesse, 'Let David stay in my service, since he has won my favour.'
23. And whenever the spirit from God came over Saul, David would take a harp and play; Saul would then be soothed; it would do him good, and the evil spirit would leave him.