Saul Hires David to Play Harp

Saul Hires David to Play Harp – David’s First Paying Gig

Saul Hires David to Play Harp
Saul Hires David to Play Harp in 1 Samuel

I know, the title of this study lesson is a bit gaudy.

But, as a long-time musician I know how it feels to get that first paying music gig.

So, what does this have to do with the Biblical story of David and Saul?

Absolutely nothing!

So, let’s continue…

1 Samuel – Saul Hires David to Play Harp

“Now the Spirit of the Lord left Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord terrified him.

Saul’s servants then said to him, “Behold now, an evil spirit from God is terrifying you.

May our lord now command your servants who are before you. Have them search for a man who is a skillful musician on the harp; and it shall come about whenever the evil spirit from God is upon you, that he shall play the harp with his hand, and you will become well.”

So Saul said to his servants, “Now select for me a man who can play well, and bring him to me.”

Then one of the young men responded and said, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a valiant mighty man, a warrior, skillful in speech, and a handsome man; and the Lord is with him.”

So Saul sent messengers to Jesse to say, “Send me your son David, who is with the flock.”

And Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread and a jug of wine, and he took a young goat, and sent them to Saul by his son David.

Then David came to Saul and attended him; and Saul greatly loved him, and he became his armor bearer.

So Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Let David now be my attendant for he has found favor in my sight.”

So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would feel relieved and become well, and the evil spirit would leave him.” – 1 Samuel 16:14-23

Was Saul Depressed? Insane?

We can’t be absolutely sure about what’s meant by “evil spirit from the Lord“.

It could be simply a period of depression or maybe God allowed a demon (evil spirit) to possess him.

Either way, Saul began to slip further away from sanity which will play an important part in future events.

He and David would later be at odds – with David’s life at stake.

The Soothing Harp of David

When reading this passage, I became curious about the harp and its origin.

So, I researched my favorite online fact site and found this…

“The harp is a stringed musical instrument that has a number of individual strings running at an angle to its soundboard; the strings are plucked with the fingers.

Harps have been known since antiquity in Asia, Africa and Europe, dating back at least as early as 3000 BC.

The instrument had great popularity in Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, where it evolved into a wide range of variants with new technologies, and was disseminated to Europe’s colonies, finding particular popularity in Latin America.

Although some ancient members of the harp family died out in the Near East and South Asia, descendants of early harps are still played in Myanmar and parts of Africa, and other defunct variants in Europe and Asia have been utilized by musicians in the modern era.” – Wikipedia

David’s harp was most likely a simple model consisting of two, right angled pieces of wood with strings stretched across them.

Instrument of Choice

During the time of Saul & David, the harp was the musical instrument of choice because of its soothing sound.

And, in the hands of a talented musician, it made a sweet sound indeed.

David was such a musician.

And, as you know, this musician / songwriter composed many of the Psalms of the Bible!

The King Who Did Not Know

Yes, we know from our previous Bible lesson that Samuel anointed David as king in secret.

God already had a plan for David’s destiny.

But, Saul didn’t have a clue about what was to come.

With the appointment as armor bearer, David gained access to “inside information” and learned how to lead a nation.

As happens many times in the Bible (and in our lives), the chain of events are amazing!

Waiting for God’s Plan to Unfold

Saul Hires David to Play Harp
“When God puts our immediate plans on hold, we can take this time to pause..”

Like David, God sometimes puts us into a waiting pattern too.

We can use this time to learn and practice — or, we can complain because nothing is happening.

Pastor Randy Hatcher said it best of the COVID-19 scare in 2020.

He compared this time to the movie; “Groundhog Day” where Bill Murray used the same day over and over to accomplish unbelievable feats.

So, when God puts our immediate plans on hold, we can take this time to pause — And let God work His will in our lives.

It’s our choice.

In Christ,


If you have never made the commitment to receive the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to read John 3:16.

Harp Music – It is Well with My Soul…

Listen and discover why the harp was so popular to soothe the soul in the time of Saul and David. Beautiful! …