EVIL SPIRIT FROM THE LORD
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
Question: Please explain 1 Samuel 16: 14.
Answer: 1 Samuel 16: 14 reads, “But the spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil
spirit from the LORD troubled him.” God’s spirit carries many meanings in the Scriptures, one
of which is His power exercised in any manner, but always according to the lines of justice and
love, and hence always a holy power. For example, God gave Moses and the elders of Israel His
spirit, with special power for judging in Israel's affairs, preserving order, etc. (Num. 11: 17-26).
In the same way, God's spirit was with the kings of Israel, so long as they were loyal to him.
King Saul was given this spirit of wisdom or judgment pertaining to the government of Israel
(1 Samuel 11: 6), but when he proved unfaithful to the Lord, that holy power departed from him,
and was conferred upon David, whose discreetness thereafter is specially noted
(1 Samuel 16: 13, 14). Thereafter, instead of the spirit of wisdom and courage and confidence, as
a servant of the Lord, Saul had an evil spirit, more literally a spirit of sadness, of dejection, loss
of confidence, in the realization that he was no longer recognized as the Lord's representative on
the throne. This spirit of dejection, which brooded on calamities, is said to have been from the
Lord – probably in the sense that it resulted from the Lord's dealings, in removing from Saul his
recognition and sustaining power and direction in the affairs of Israel.