The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament – David

Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.  1 Samuel 16:13 (KJV, bold added)

The word here for “came upon” is tsȃlach.  It seems that the Holy Spirit stayed with him and did not depart.  If we substitute the main uses of the word of tsȃlach; God prospered David all of his life, and it is not a problem to see that blessing throughout his life.

At first, it bothered me that the Holy Spirit is mentioned just six times in connection with David, but He is mentioned less with Moses!  Then I realized that it is in perfect harmony with the Holy Spirit.  His primary purpose is to bring attention to Jesus, not Himself.  So even though David, the writer, was led by the Spirit; the Spirit had him write about Jesus in the Psalms.

Below are the six verses that directly connect David and the Spirit.  I put them into a timeline in David’s life, even though the middle four do not have a defined time stamp in reference to the others.  Read the whole reference so that the verses are in context, I think they will show growth in knowing and understanding the importance of the Spirit in David’s walk with God.

  • 1 Samuel 16: 13 (the coming upon)
  • Psalm 139: 7 (a song of praise and thanks) To put this into after he acted crazy to escape the Philistines when he was hiding from Saul.
  • Psalm 51: 11 (Bathsheba and his cries for the Spirit to not leave him like He did Saul)
  • Psalm 143: 10 (a cry for mercy) If I would guess where/when this was written; I would put this during the time when David was running from Absalom after he crossed the Jordan near Lo Debar.
  • 1 Chronicles 28: 12 (plans for the Temple)
  • 2 Samuel 23: 2 (last words)

When you read about David’s life; we tend to think he was anointed by Samuel and then went to work for Saul right away.  If there was a gap then his ability to kill the lion and the bear compares very well to that of Samson, when the Spirit came upon him.

The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament – Tsȃlach

Salah or tsȃlach; Strong’s #6743

Judges 14: 6 (NIV) The Spirt of the Lord came upon him in power so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands.   Tsȃlach means to succeed or prosper – come mightily upon.  In the sixty-five times, it is used in the Bible forty-nine of them are translated “prosper.” The first time it is used is in Genesis 24:21, this is Abraham’s servant wondering about his trip to find a wife for Isaac.  So, I think it is fair to view these three times of the Holy Spirit coming upon these men with the idea of “prosper.”  Two of them did, one of them had the Spirit withdraw Himself and his final days were not pretty (Saul).

This type of anointing came on just three men: Samson, King Saul, and King David.

  • Samson had this anointing three times. Each one was for a physical act of strength. Judges 14: 6, 19 and 15: 14
  • King Saul experienced this twice before the Spirit left him completely – Samuel 10: 10, 11: 6. The first time he prophesied and the second time was for him to lead the people against Nahash the Ammonite.
  • King David experienced it only once in 1 Samuel 16:13, but it remained on him his whole life. (read the KJV) David is covered below in a separate section.