This narrative begins with a call for an end to mourning for Saul must end and God declares that He has a plan.
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.
1 Samuel 16:1
Samuel’s Mission and a Restless People
When a prophet shows up people are restless
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. 1 Samuel 16:4-5
Town elders roped in
Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.
The Jesse Mystery
And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
Why the house of Jesse was being chosen must have been a mystery to the observers of this development.
All but one. Standing Until he Comes.
1 Samuel 16:6-11
Something stirs when Samuel heads for Bethlehem, the hometown of Elimelech, Naomi, Ruth, Boaz, Jesse, and Obed, and David. The law specified that Moabites were to be barred from the Israelite community up to the tenth generation (that covers about 400 years).
No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the Lord forever, because they did not meet you with bread and with water on the way, when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. Deuteronomy 23:3-4
Now this mixed union is the centre of the action. A young man, a mere youth, of this Bethlehemite Jewish-Moabite household is about to be anointed king. We do not know how many households in Bethlehem besides Ruth’s were mixed, that is, were Jewish-Gentile.
Samuel views seven of Jesse’s sons before he asks for others.
When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him. 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 sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither has the Lord chosen this one. Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, Neither has the Lord chosen this one.
Samuel said to Jesse, Are all your sons here? And he said, There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep. And Samuel said to Jesse, Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.
David’s anointing brings us back to the Boaz and Ruth narrative. It reminds us of God’s care for all people – Moabites included – and his global plan to save the world from sin.
We recall that our Lord’s parental roots were questioned by his contemporaries, labeling him a Samaritan. Perhaps they had forgotten David’s Moabite blood. The inclusion of foreign blood into the Bethlehemite family was a preview of Gentile inclusion.
We have assumed that the book of Ruth is included in the Sacred collection to inform us of the fact that Messiah himself has affinity to both Abraham’s descendants and the gentile world. This narrative is today a powerful hedge against xenophobia and chosen people delusions and leads us to regjrct on his we became children of the king.