The Meaning of 1 Samuel 16:6 Explained

1 Samuel 16:6

KJV: And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD'S anointed is before him.

YLT: And it cometh to pass, in their coming in, that he seeth Eliab, and saith, 'Surely, before Jehovah is His anointed.'

Darby: And it came to pass when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely Jehovah's anointed is before him.

ASV: And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely Jehovah's anointed is before him.

What does 1 Samuel 16:6 Mean?

Context Summary

1Samuel 16:1-13 - God's Choice Of His Anointed
The anointing of the young shepherd, with his ruddy cheeks and deep, poetic eyes, is a beautiful episode, in very marked contrast to the events preceding. He had already given proof of his indomitable courage, 1 Samuel 17:34. They had to fetch him from his sheep, which he was pasturing beside the still waters and on the hillside. God had found him beforehand, Psalms 89:20. "He chose David also His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds"¦ to feed Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance," Psalms 78:70-71.
The procession of David's brethren before Samuel was very impressive. They probably remembered that Saul had been chosen for his splendid physique, and each held himself high and proud. "Surely," said Jesse to himself, "one of them will captivate the prophet's eye." But no! God chooses by the inward temper and disposition. He knew that David was a man after His own heart. The lad had been faithful in a few things and was now to be made ruler over many. The anointing oil reminds us of the anointing for service which was communicated to our Lord at His baptism. In David's case it was accompanied by a glorious Pentecost, 1 Samuel 16:13. [source]

Chapter Summary: 1Samuel 16

1  Samuel sent by God, under pretense of a sacrifice, comes to Bethlehem
6  His human judgment is reproved
11  He anoints David
15  Saul sends for David to quiet his evil spirit

What do the individual words in 1 Samuel 16:6 mean?

So it was when they came that he looked at - Eliab and said surely before of Yahweh anointed [is] Him
וַיְהִ֣י בְּבוֹאָ֔ם וַיַּ֖רְא אֶת־ אֱלִיאָ֑ב וַיֹּ֕אמֶר אַ֛ךְ נֶ֥גֶד יְהוָ֖ה מְשִׁיחֽוֹ

וַיְהִ֣י  So  it  was 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: אֶהְיֶה 
Sense: to be, become, come to pass, exist, happen, fall out.
בְּבוֹאָ֔ם  when  they  came 
Parse: Preposition-b, Verb, Qal, Infinitive construct, third person masculine plural
Root: בֹּוא 
Sense: to go in, enter, come, go, come in.
וַיַּ֖רְא  that  he  looked  at 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: רָאָה 
Sense: to see, look at, inspect, perceive, consider.
אֶת־  - 
Parse: Direct object marker
Root: אֹות 
Sense: sign of the definite direct object, not translated in English but generally preceding and indicating the accusative.
אֱלִיאָ֑ב  Eliab 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: אֱלִיאָב  
Sense: son of Helon, leader of Zebulun in the wilderness.
וַיֹּ֕אמֶר  and  said 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: אָמַר 
Sense: to say, speak, utter.
אַ֛ךְ  surely 
Parse: Adverb
Root: אַךְ  
Sense: indeed, surely (emphatic).
נֶ֥גֶד  before 
Parse: Preposition
Root: נֶגֶד  
Sense: what is conspicuous, what is in front of adv.
יְהוָ֖ה  of  Yahweh 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
מְשִׁיחֽוֹ  anointed  [is]  Him 
Parse: Adjective, masculine singular construct, third person masculine singular
Root: מָשִׁיחַ  
Sense: anointed, anointed one.