Shepherd Boy

Primary Pals for Teachers
Unit 26 - David the King

TEXT: 1 Samuel 13:14; 16:4-13; Acts 13:22


The students will be able to relate that the shepherd boy, David, was chosen to be king because he was a man after God's own heart. They will be able to explain that God looked on his heart and not on the outward appearance as does man.


Introduction: As your opener use the In-Class Activity which uses various boxes or containers familiar to children. Prior to class time, remove the original contents and substitute something else. Ask your students what they think is inside of each container. When you show them what is actually inside, explain that we judge the contents by the outside. We look at people in the same way, but God looks inside the heart and can see what is really there.

  1. When King Saul failed to obey the Lord, the Lord told him his kingdom would not continue. This meant that another king must be chosen.
  2. The Prophet Samuel told King Saul that God had chosen a man after His own heart to be the ruler of His people.
  3. God sent Samuel to Bethlehem to anoint one of the eight sons of Jesse to be king of Israel.
  4. Samuel thought Jesse's oldest son was surely the Lord's chosen one. But God revealed to Samuel that He looked on the heart.

Climax: God revealed that David, the youngest son who was out tending the sheep, was the man He had chosen, and David was anointed.

Conclusion: David was not chosen because he was the oldest, the youngest, the biggest, or the strongest, but because He loved the Lord, and the Lord could see in his heart the qualities that were needed to be a faithful and good king.

Response: The students will be able to relate the events surrounding David's anointing as future king of Israel, and will be able to explain why God chose him.


David was the youngest of the eight sons of Jesse, a man of no great rank from the small community of Bethlehem. As a youth he had the unenviable job of tending his father's sheep. However, it pleased God to raise David from this humble state to be the ruler of His flock, the nation of Israel. As a shepherd David faced many hardships and dangers. He doubtless spent many lonely days and nights braving the elements and wild beasts as he faithfully fulfilled this humble task. David used this time wisely, though, by learning to play the harp and meditating on the Lord. Many of the Psalms are a direct result of David's time with God as he herded his father's flock on the hills of Bethlehem. David took his job seriously and when the flock was threatened he was willing to do whatever was necessary to protect it (1 Samuel 17:34).

When Samuel was sent to anoint Saul's successor, God was looking for "a man after his own heart" (1 Samuel 13:4) and that man was David, a man with a shepherd's heart, a man able to lead the flock of God and willing to lay down his life for the "sheep." This is in contrast to Saul whom God had rejected because he had become proud, jealous, and self-seeking.


  • For a snack treat related to your lesson this Sunday, make marshmallow lambs for each of your students using a large marshmallow for the body and smaller ones for the legs, head, and tail. Attach the smaller pieces with a small amount of confectioner's sugar icing. Eyes can be made from tiny pieces of gumdrops.
  • Make a set of eight paper-tube dolls. (Use paper towel tubes, toilet tissue tubes, or tubes from wrapping paper.) Draw nice faces and clothing on each tube to represent David and his brothers. To the inside of each tube tape a short piece of string which has a little paper heart taped on the other end. Leave seven of the hearts blank. On David's heart write the words "God's Choice." This will help you explain the memory verse telling how God looks on the heart while man can only see the outward appearance.
  • Bring a number of boxes or containers of articles familiar to children. Some possibilities: a cereal box, a Band-Aid box, a wrapper for a candy bar. Prior to class time, remove the usual contents and substitute something else. In your class presentation, ask the children what they think is inside each container. Use this to illustrate how we judge the contents by the outside but God looks inside and can see what is really there.

Special Instructions for Unit 25: Prepare the "Shepherd Boy" place mat for your students, as described in the unit material under the heading Unit Projects.


  1. Who was Samuel? What do you remember about Samuel as a child?
  2. How did Samuel know he should anoint David and not one of David's brothers?
  3. What was it about David that caused God to want to use him?
  4. How did Samuel indicate that David was God's choice?
  5. Why doesn't God always choose the biggest, best looking, most popular people to do work for Him?
  6. Look in a mirror. What do you see? Is this the way your friends see you? Is this the way God sees you?
  7. How will you look on the outside if your heart is good on the inside? (Happy, etc.)
  8. Tell how God has helped you when you needed Him.
  9. Talk about some things that you can do for God.


  • Bring a doll and a fancy perfume bottle filled with sweet-smelling oil. Demonstrate for the children what Samuel probably did when he anointed David.
  • Make a paper chain of seven "brothers" and a separate one of David. Show the hearts on the back of each brother as they are brought before Samuel. Tell the children that Samuel only saw their smiles but God saw their hearts. David's heart was the kind of heart God was looking for. David was God's choice.
  • Bring pictures of a lion and a bear to show how brave David was and how the Lord was with him to help him protect his sheep.
  • Make a series of hearts that open, using various colors of construction paper. If you wish, decorate the outside of each heart so it looks pretty. Tell your class that the hearts represent the hearts of David and his brothers. Inside seven of the hearts have nothing. In the last heart—David's—put a picture of Jesus and write, "God's Choice."
  • Let the children draw the curly fleece on the lamb (see pattern of lamb in 16b), while you talk about how David faithfully did his job of caring for the sheep.


Bring some books to class and show them to the children with the idea that you can't always tell what is in a book by its cover. The same is true with people. Sometimes people might look really nice on the outside but on the inside they could be very mean. A book with a really nice cover might be empty inside.

Make eight large hearts (see Patterns). On the outside of them write different things: good looking, kind, good friend, nice, smart, etc. Inside the one that is David's, write "The Chosen One." Explain that we see people on the outside but God sees them on the inside.

Bring eight life-sized faces of David and his brothers and one crown (see Patterns). As you show each face talk about what Samuel probably thought when each of Jesse's sons were brought before him. When you show David's face and talk about him, have the crown ready to see if it fits even though he did not receive the crown at that time.


  • David the Shepherd Boy — inlay puzzle, Standard Publishing
  • The Shepherd Psalm — bookmark, Standard Publishing
  • David the Shepherd — Happy Day book, Standard Publishing
  • David the Shepherd Boy — Little Fish Surprise picture book series