1 Samuel Bible

Why have we hurt the Lord’s anointed one?

In our study of David we take a slight shift today. Today’s blog post is a little different because we are digging deeper and seeking to discover what is going on inside of us. We already know from 1 Samuel 24 that we should, Never Hurt the LORD’s Anointed One. But today we are going to look for why we do what we do, specifically, why we might hurt our leader.

Hurt and Pain
The book of 2 Samuel begins after David is sent home from the Philistine army because the commanders do not trust that he will fight against the Israelites. The Philistines and Israelites go into battle against each other and the result of that battle is that Saul, the king of Israel, and all of his sons die.

Now that Saul is dead there is no king of Israel. Saul’s sons have also died with him in battle, so there is no direct heir to the throne. Many people at that time knew that David had been anointed years earlier to become king of Israel, and some people believed that David was the next in line to be king.

In 2 Samuel chapter 1 we learn about David’s character and attitude when we see how he reacts to the news that king Saul and Saul’s son, Jonathan, have been killed. And from that reaction we can learn about why we have hurt the LORD’s anointed one.

2 Samuel 1 starts out with David and his men in Ziklag. They welcome an Amalekite man who comes from Saul’s army camp. This man brings news that king Saul has been killed, and David eagerly asks this Amalekite man how Saul was killed.

The Amalekite man explains what I believe is a fabricated story. He says Saul asked him to kill Saul in battle because “enemy chariots and charioteers [were] closing in on him” (v. 6) and that Saul was in “terrible pain and want[ed] to die” (v. 7).

When David realizes that this Amalekite man standing in front of him is responsible for the death of Saul, the king of Israel, David and his men mourn and weep and fast all day. Then, David goes to this Amalekite man and asks him the question that we are going to camp on for our study today. David asks the Amalekite man,

“Why were you not afraid to kill the LORD’s anointed one?” – 2 Samuel 1:14 (NLT)

The Bible does not gives us an explanation from the Amalekite man. Perhaps David’s question was only a rhetorical question. But what happens next we do know.

David tells one of his men to kill this Amalekite man who claims to have killed Saul, the king of Israel. Then David declares to the dead Amalekite man, “You have condemned yourself.” David said, “for you yourself confessed that you killed the LORD’s anointed one” (2 Samuel 1:16).

Killing a man on the spot because he has allegedly killed the king seems a bit harsh. So let me share a little information about the context of that time:

  1. The word “king” in the English language is translated from the Hebrew word “melek,” which appears more than 2,000 times in the Hebrew OT. The word “melek” may “refer to God or to human rulers. Generally it designates one invested with ultimate authority and power over his subjects. In the OT, the word melek designates the ruler of a tribe, a city, a nation, or an international power.”[ref]Philip W. Comfort, Ph.D. and Walter A. Elwell, Tyndale Bible Dictionary: A comprehensive guide to the people, places, and important words of the Bible (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), 773.[/ref]
  2. An early death in Old Testament times often meant someone was being punished for sin. That was a big deal!
  3. Israel had never had a king until Saul. They had prophets, judges and leaders such as Moses, Joshua, Deborah, and Samuel, but never an official king. Saul was their first king which gave him extreme significance in Israel’s history.

This Amalekite man was killed by David because he “hurt the LORD’s anointed one.” This was definitely a big deal as I have outlined above. Hurting “the LORD’s anointed one” was something David had resisted doing himself and was something that he had prevented his men from doing as well (1 Samuel 24:4-7 and 26:7-11).

Please allow me to clarify that when I say, “Hurt the LORD’s anointed one” I mean the leader you work for. For example, at United Way of Stanislaus County, I report to our Campaign Director and unofficially report to our President/CEO. Both of these people, at least by my view, are the “LORD’s anointed ones” over my life because God has placed them in authority over me. For you, the LORD’s anointed one might be your boss, the person who does your performance evaluation, or the person who signs your paycheck. We all have someone we work for and under, and it is up to us not hurt that person.

Unfortunately, there are many ways we might hurt the LORD’s anointed one who we work for and under. Here are a few that I can list:

  • Opposing the leader publicly in front of others.
  • Talking poorly about our leader to fellow co-workers.
  • Not giving our best when doing the task our leader has delegated to us.
  • Failing to give our best effort mentally and physically to serve the leader above us.
  • Not doing our job or being part of the team.
  • Sin

Now that we have a list of ways (that is not exhaustive by any means), I believe there are several reasons why we hurt the LORD’s anointed one. The actions I listed above are caused by beliefs, thoughts, rules, or values we have about leadership and the people we work for. Those beliefs, thoughts, rules, and values sometimes lead us to hurt the LORD’s anointed one.

Here are a few reasons I think we might hurt the person we work for:

  • We think the leader we work for is incompetent.
  • We don’t have compassion for the leader we work for.
  • We grow lazy, perhaps because we are frustrated and think nothing will change.
  • We are angry at our leader for a past decision or statement.
  • We are proud and think we know better than God and the people in charge.
  • Because of the hurt we have.

The entire purpose of this blog post is to prevent us from hurting the LORD’s anointed one in the future. I believe it can be done! I know I have improved in this area of my life, and I think you can too.

Here are a few ways I believe we can prevent ourselves from hurting the LORD’s anointed one:

  • We can remind ourselves that God has placed us where we are for a reason.
  • We can trust God’s plan for our lives.
  • We can have the right view of God.
  • We can support the LORD’s anointed one even if we don’t agree.
  • We can say to ourselves, “This is my leader, he is worthy of my submission.”


By Christopher L. Scott

Christopher L. Scott serves as senior pastor at Lakeview Missionary Church in Moses Lake, Washington. Through his writing ministry more than 250,000 copies of his articles, devotions, and tracts are distributed each month through Christian publishers. Learn more at