1 Sam 16:13

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah.

Was David anointed in a horn because of his purpose or destiny? If so what is God’s purpose?

  • Ok so it seems David was anointed because of the task God had for him. So what is God’s purpose how do I know my purpose in life?@dottard @ Tony chan
    – Junior
    Jan 5, 2021 at 21:32
  • Unfortunately, this site is not for such questions as determining the Lord's will for us individually - here we stick to interpreting the Biblical text.
    – Dottard
    Jan 6, 2021 at 10:11

3 Answers 3


Good question.

Samuel used a flask of olive oil to anoint Saul in 1 Samuel 10:1

Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him, saying, "Has not the LORD anointed you ruler over his inheritance?

God specifically told Samuel to use a horn in 1 Samuel 16:1

The LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king."

Horn symbolizes power and strength.

Deuteronomy 33:17

In majesty he is like a firstborn bull; his horns are the horns of a wild ox. With them he will gore the nations, even those at the ends of the earth.

It symbolizes protection and security.

2 Samuel 22:3

my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior-- from violent people you save me.

Ultimately, it prophecies Jesus as our horn of salvation.


There was no anointing "in a horn" but "with" a horn of oil. That is what the word "anoint" means - to "consecrate with oil" for a special task or function. The horn was simply the container that held the sacred anointing oil.

In the case of 1 Sam 16, the prophet Samuel anointed David as future king of Israel by using sacred anointing oil poured over his head. All kings of Israel had to be thus anointed and even modern monarchs must be consecrated this way (the Queen of England was anointed in 1953.)

There are copious examples of royal anointings in the Bible - here is a sample:

  • 1 Kings 1:34, 39 - Solomon
  • 1 Kings 19:16 - Jehu, son of Nimshi
  • Judges 9:6-8 - even in a parable of the trees
  • 2 Kings 11:4-12 - Joash. See also 2 Chron 23:2-11
  • Isa 45:1 - Cyrus
  • 2 Kings 23:30 - Jehoahaz

God's intent was for Samuel to go to Bethlehem where he'd find the new king (Saul’s replacement) and anoint him, hence the horn (1 Samuel 16:1).

We don't really know how the communication between Samuel and God happened but we do know it happened and that Samuel knew who God wanted because in 1 Samuel 16:8

Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this.

What we do know as well is that in 1 Samuel 8:11-12

11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.

12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.

there's a prediction being made which now looking at it we can see David fits the words too.

...what is God’s purpose?

In Jeremiah 30:9

But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.

and in Ezekiel 24:23

And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.

we see the promise of a future king to come, a hope for "David", someone whom God describes as “a man after mine own heart” (Acts 13:22). This future king was/is Jesus.

Why Jesus then? In Him we can see that God’s purpose is that we (Jews and Gentiles) "might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory" (Romans 9:23).

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