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"Anointing of David" Lesson Set!

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Anointing of David
Drama Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activity


The teacher will introduce the lesson "in character" by doing a quick "intro drama" as the students enter the classroom. Following questions and scripture, students then work on presenting an updated humorous version of the 1 Sam 16 drama.  

WARNING: This workshop's joy and memorable mirth is very intentional.




Passage: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

Key/Memory Verse: “For the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b (NRSV)



Objectives for the Rotation


See Bible Background.

During this drama workshop, the students will hear and discuss the story of David's anointing from 1 Samuel 16. They will grow in their understanding of God's call for everyone, even the least of us, and that once called, God does not leave us on our own.





  • Assemble Bible times costumes and props (see script for suggestions)
  • Make copies of the script
  • gather costumes & supplies
  • practice talking like Arnold Schwarzenegger (from script: Ya, I'm very pleased to meet you Samuel. I've just returned from taking care of a few Philistines who insulted my family. They won't be back.)
  • practice singing chorus of an Elvis song (from script: Don't be Cruel"]  Ah, you-ah know I could be king, sitting on the throne, --don't be cruel, to a heart that's true, --baby it's just you-ah I'm-a thinkin of.  Uh, thank-you, thank-you very much.)


Materials List

  • Container with some scented lotion in it
  • Snacks
  • cape (special cloak for opening)
  • costume props - microphone & speaker, cane, football shoulder pads, bandana, large size men's shoes, painter's tape, black garbage bag, fake grey "funfur" beard with an elastic band
  • measuring tape
  • Digital Video Camera, Cord Connector - Camera to TV, TV
  • overhead projector or a laptop and LCD projector
  • 4 clear printable transparency sheet(s)

Staging Suggestions

  • Microphone and speaker for God's voice
  • To make David appear comically small, have "David" kneel on a pair of shoes and tape the shoes to his knees, cover his lower legs/feet with a black bag.
  • Suggest you videotape this for fun and reflection.



Lesson Plan



Rotation Note: This lesson intro demonstrates a drama workshop technique in which the teacher does a bit of improvised drama to introduce the lesson. 


Introduce today's lesson by dressing as Samuel and welcoming the students as they enter the classroom. (Wear a fake grey "funfur" beard with an elastic band to get everyone in a great mood.) Measure each of them randomly with a measuring tape and by asking various crazy questions, --separating them as they arrive by sending them to various corners of the room. Measure the last person who arrives and pronounce them "the best student." Give them a seat of honor, a special cloak, and something to eat, then announce to everyone there that, " _______ is the King of the Class".  Anoint their hands with some good smelling lotion.


By now, the others will be wondering what story you're doing, though by the second or third week of the rotation they might be able to guess.  


Questions to Ask:

  • Did you think it was fair that I decided some of you didn't measure up exactly and I made you go stand in the corner?
  • How did you feel when I singled out ________ and treated them extra special?
  • Do you think God does that? --separates people into "good and bad" and favors some over others?  (The Bible tells us that no one is totally good or bad, and "all fall short." The Bible also says God makes the sun to shine on the good and evil.)
  • Do you think God chooses people for special tasks? (Bible says he does.) 
  • What kinds of special tasks does God choose people for? And how does he choose them?  (Feeling "called" by God is something you hear inwardly, but that sense of call is confirmed [or authenticated, so to speak] by leaders and the church.)


Gather everyone from the corners and make sure everyone has the same snack as "the king" does.


Say: In today's story, we will learn that God passed over the older sons of Jesse, some of whom were good warriors, and picked their young shepherd brother David to be the next king of Israel.   


Ask: Obviously David didn't have the age, height, or experience to be king, so why did God choose him?  What do you think made David a good pick?  (Later in the rotation, students will likely be able to answer this very quickly and thoroughly.)


Read Scripture: Have everyone turn to 1 Samuel 16:1-13. Tell them that in a minute they'll be acting out a script that's a little different than what you're about to read to them.


Get up as Samuel and read the story to your students in dramatic fashion... talking to an invisible God, approaching several of your students as if they were the brothers -but passing them over, ---until you get to the smallest kid in your class whom you pretend is David -all as you are reading the story to them.  


(You've already discussed key questions ahead of time, so it's okay to jump right into the script after you're done reading from the Bible.)


Conclude with this statement:  God chooses all of us to be faithful servants, and sometimes God chooses particular people for special jobs. In both cases, God looks in the heart of the person to decide if they are ready. God doesn't look for perfection. Most of all God looks in our hearts for love, honesty and basic goodness.


Prepare the Drama!


The following script is based on a script sent to by Greg Wolfe, a teacher at Elmgrove United Methodist Church, Rochester, NY. Some fun additions and changes have been made by Iggie Liebermann.  Why have so much fun with this story? Because retelling it this way will make sure it's remembered forever! 


Do a read through and block the action, then dramatize it in front of a video camera. To do this without scripts in hand, project the script on the wall behind your camera. To do this, copy this script onto a clear transparency and use an overhead, or copy it to a Word document and project it with a laptop and LCD projector.


Say: Okay, I can't have all the fun!  Now you get to act out this incredible story of how God looks into our hearts.  Today we will recreate a fun "version" of what may have happened when God sent Samuel to Bethlehem and when Samuel anointed David. 


Assign roles, and give acting instructions, as you hand out props:

  1. Samuel: You get the beard. 
  2. Voice of God: You get the microphone but do not appear on camera. (An important role)
  3. Jesse: You are the boys' old father, must appear bent over with this cane, and must talk like you're 150 years old.
  4. Eliab:   You are Son #1. Oldest. Tall, handsome. Wear this set of football shoulder pads. Oh,and you must talk like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  5. Abinadab: Son #2. You're cool and must SING all your lines like you are Elvis.
  6. Shammah: Son #3. You wear this bandana and must say everything like a pirate.
  7. Larry: Son #4.  You must say everything really fast.
  8. Moe: Son #5.  You must say everything really slow.
  9. Curley: Son #6.  You must say everything in a really high pitched voice.
  10. Shemp: Son #7.  You must say everything in a whiny nasal voice.
  11. David: Son #8. You don't have any lines, but must appear on your knees with these shoes taped to your knees because you are short, but very happy.




Scene 1:

Jesse:   Boys!  Boys!  Where are my boys!


[Each boy appears on stage saying: "It's me ______. I'm here dad!"They must say it in the voice they were assigned.]


Jesse: Oh, so good to see all my boys. Guess what?


Boys:  "What?"  [All say "what?" one at a time in their assigned voice].


Jesse:  I hear Samuel the prophet is coming to our house to pick one of you to be the next King of Israel!   


Boys:  "Oh I'd love to king!" [Each boy says this one at a time in his assigned voice.]


Jesse:  I wonder when the prophet Samuel will get here and who he will pick?


Scene 2:

Voice of God: [from off-camera] SAMUEL?  Sammmmmmm-uel.  SAM !!

Samuel: [startled] I'm h-h-h-here, Lord!

Voice of God: Samuel, Now as I was saying earlier, I am very sorry I ever made Saul king of Israel! I've rejected him because he has been unfaithful and gone his own way. I refuse to let him be king any longer!

Samuel: Lord, I'll admit Saul has his faults, but who doesn't? Deep down he's really a decent guy...for a king, that is.

Voice of God: Samuel, stop feeling sad about Saul! It's what's in a person's heart that matters most to me and Saul's heart is full of sin and pride and selfishness.  Now in a few minutes you'll be in Bethlehem at Jesse's house. I want you to go in there and look over his sons for me and I'll tell you which one has a heart like mine.  Okay?

Samuel: Okay. I guess. But should you pick the strongest and oldest?


Voice of God: Really Sam?  Really?  When I pick someone to lead, I want someone with a good heart, not a great tan or good teeth.  Heart. Samuel. H-E-A-R-T.


Scene 3:

[walking into Bethlehem]

Samuel: Not much of a town, is it?  Kind of a dump.


Voice of God:  What is it with everyone so focused on the OUTWARD appearance of things. I'm all about the inside, Samuel, the INSIDE.


Samuel: "knock knock" [Samuel knocks on Jesse's door]


Jesse: Who is it?


Samuel: Samuel the prophet come to choose a new king from among your sons.


Jesse: I'll be right there.  [Jesse fusses with his hair]


Samuel: Any day now, can't keep the Lord waiting ya know.

Jesse: [opening door]  Well hello there Samuel. Heard you were coming. Quite honored to be the father of the next king.


Samuel:  Well yes, let's get on with it. Where are your sons?


Jesse: Eliab my oldest son!  Come here and meet God's prophet, Samuel. He wants to make you king!


Eliab: [walks stiffly as if muscle bound, talks like Arnold]    Ya, I'm very pleased to meet you Samuel. I've just returned from taking care of a few Philistines who insulted my family. They won't be back.

Samuel: [looks upward, talking to God]  Well, Lord, now I can see why you sent me here! Eliab looks like an excellent choice for king.  Tall... muscles, warrior, interesting accent.

Voice of God: Samuel, do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord does not see as mortals see. They look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. And this one just doesn't have the heart I'm looking for.


Eliab:  I guess I won't be back.

Samuel: Have any more sons, Jesse?

Jesse: Why yes do. Abinadab!! You're next. Meet Samuel and look kingly doing it!

Abinadab: [swaggers up, singing all his words like Elvis and sings to the tune of "Don't be Cruel"]  Ah, you-ah know I could be king, sitting on the throne, --don't be cruel, to a heart that's true, --baby it's just you-ah I'm-a thinkin of.   Uh, thank-you, thank-you very much.

Voice of God: [Samuel looks up as God speaks] Samuel, do not look on his appearance or his lovely voice, or his incredible hair, he may be "the king of rock 'n roll" but he's not the kind of king I'm looking for.  For the Lord does not see as mortals see. They look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.


Abinadab: Bummer, man. Abinadab is about to leave the building.

Jesse:  Here's my son Shammah. Surely his heart is what God is looking for?

Shammah:[talks like a sea captain/pirate] Arrr, I be Shammah, Captain Samuel. Just returned from three months on the high seas. Arrr, quite a catch to be the next king. Arrrrrrgh....

Voice of God:[Samuel looks up as God speaks] Samuel, do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, for this one is truly a deadliest catch. and I have rejected him. For the Lord does not see as mortals see. They look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

Samuel:[hesitating, speaks to Jesse] Jesse, I'm sorry, but...


Shammah:  Well shiver me timbers, I gather me hearties not faithful enough. 


Samuel: Surely God has not sent me here to come back empty handed. Any more sons?

Larry, Moe, Curley, Shemp:[seeing their chance, they introduce themselves one at a time saying "HELLO HELLO" in their unique voices.]

Voice of God: [Samuel looks up as God speaks] Samuel, do I even need to say it?


Larry, Moe, Curly and Shemp:  [Each says "goodbye" in the most forlorn way.]

Samuel:[exasperated] Jesse, uh, the Lord would like to know if you have any other sons?

Jesse: Well, yes, but he's not really "king" material...he's just my youngest boy, David, but he's out tending the sheep.  Kind of puny, stinks real bad. You sure God wants to see him?

Samuel: Yep, God is kinda funny that way. Send for him immediately! 


Jesse:  David!  Someone get that kid. Probably outstanding in his field.


Scene 4:


[David walks in on his knees, where his shoes have been taped to make him look short.]

Samuel [admiring David]:   His skin is so tan from being outside, must be a hard worker!  Not much meat on these bones, and never been in battle, butttttt.....his eyes do sparkle, -must be the fire in his soul!  What do you think God?


Voice of God: Well, don't just stand there, Samuel...this is the one!

Samuel: Are......are you sure Lord?

Voice of God: [loudly] I am the Lord God, Creator of the Universe, Shaper of Worlds and People's hearts. I know what I'm doing, and I like what I see in this kid's heart.

Samuel: Well Ok Lord.    David, the Lord has spoken to me about you. He has instructed me to anoint you as His choice to be the next king of his people, Israel. 
[Samuel pours oil on his head]


[Each brother comes and bows before David.]


Samuel: My job here is done. Finally our people will have a king who's heart is like God's. I just hope he doesn't always smell like sheep.

THE END wink




Watch the video together and close by giving each actor an anointment of your nice smelling hand lotion, then recite this "nice smelling hand lotion prayer."


Oh Lord, create in us a clean heart, free from sin and selfish desires, -a heart that is pleasing to you. Choose us to do special things in this world: to lead, to love, and to serve others. And as we walk in faith, may others get a whiff of the goodness you have poured out to us. In the name of the Jesus who smelt the best. Amen



Adaptations - Younger Children:  For non-readers, do this drama as a "film dub" --where "readers" do all the fun voices "off camera" and the actors merely act and move their mouths. So that the actors know it's their turn to talk, put big name tags on each and have the reader(s) point to the actor before they start reading their part. (Even your practice will be fun, and the video playback will be funny.  You can also do "film dub" with your older students too.)



Reminder to the Teacher:  Anointing oil had a pleasing fragrance and it symbolized one who was pleasing to God.  The closing prayer touches on this idea, which is also explained in greater detail in other workshops in this set.


Written by:  Team Effort!   Amy Crane, Greg Wolfe, and Neil MacQueen. With additional improvements by Luanne Payne.



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Last edited by Moderator
Original Post

We used this lesson this past Sunday for our 3-5 graders. They LOVED it. I am hoping that the funny characterization of Jesse's sons and the wonderful script of "Voice of God" will make this very memorable for kids. It was certainly memorable for the adults who were helping! Our younger kids will be in this room next week. It might be a little more challenging with them --but we'll see! Thanks for this fabulous lesson!!!

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