1 Samuel 16:7 Meaning of Man Looks at the Outward Appearance

1 Samuel 16:7
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Explanation and Commentary of 1 Samuel 16:7

The occasion was the anointing of David to be a king after God’s own heart when God had rejected Saul for his cowardly disobedience (1 Sam 15). Samuel, though as spiritual a man as any other, was guilty of looking at the appearance of David’s older brothers to see who might have a kingly presence; tall, handsome, stern, well-built. But God had rejected all of them in favor of the youngest, not even well enough considered by his father to have invited him in from the fields.

After his rejection of all David’s brothers, God reveals the difference between himself and the world when it comes to judging people. Man looks at appearance. This is why humankind spends so much time, energy, and money to look like a person of status. This is why we are constantly deceived by appearances. It is perfectly natural to be this way, but God’s ways are supernatural. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem” (Isa 53:2-3). This was said of Christ, the king of kings from the line of the one whom Samuel would anoint king that very day.

Outward appearance can sometimes reflect an inward state of character, but it is all too easy to be deceived. Satan was the most beautiful of all created angelic beings, but his heart was ugly. Be like God and learn to judge by the heart, yourself, and others.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of 1 Samuel 16:7

#1 “But the Lord said to Samuel,”
Though he was wise and discerning, Samuel was in danger of making the same mistake made by the rest of the world, judging a person by appearances.

#2 “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.”
God calls us to look past outward appearances, though it might be difficult. Appearance, especially height, says nothing about a person’s character. They are simply born tall, short, or medium height.

#3 “The Lord does not look at the things people look at.”
God’s ways are simply higher than our ways. That said, the verse is recorded for us to learn to align our ways with his.

#4 “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Seek to be like God and look past appearances at the reality of the heart, and the content of the character.

Expert Overview of 1 Samuel

Biblical Translations of 1 Samuel 16:7

NIV
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

NLT
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

ESV
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

KJV
But the Lord said unto Samuel, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

NKJV
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7 Meaning and Commentary

Author Bio
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.