Samuel was a prophet to King Saul. Saul was rejected by the Lord as King over Egypt, and the Lord told Samuel to go to the house of Jesse the Bethlehemite and anoint a new king for He had chosen one of Jesse’s sons (he had eight sons). Samuel was afraid to go, fearful that Saul would find out and kill him. The Lord instructed Samuel to take a heifer with him and go to the town and tell the people he had come to sacrifice. He was to invite Jesse to the sacrifice and the Lord would show him what to do. So Samuel went and he consecrated Jesse and his sons.
When Jesse’s sons passed before Samuel, the Lord told him not to look at appearance or stature, because God sees not as man sees but He looks at the heart – 1 Sam 16:7. Seven of them passed before Samuel, yet not any of them were chosen. Samuel asked Jesse if this were all his children. Jesse told him the youngest, David, hadn’t come but was tending sheep in the field, so Samuel sent for him and when he came in Samuel anointed him as king.
At one time, an evil spirit was torturing King Saul and he asked for someone who was skillful at playing the harp. One of his servants told him a son of Jesse played beautifully, so Saul sent messengers to Jesse asking for David to be sent to the King. Jesse sent him, along with a donkey loaded with bread, a jug of wine, and a goat.
When Jesse was old, the Philistines came against Israel and Jesse’s three oldest sons went to battle. Jesse sent grain, bread, and cheese with David to their camp for them and their leader and asked David to check on them. While he is there, David hears the challenge of Goliath, the Philistine, and rises to defeat him when no other Israelites would stand up to him.
David is many times referred to as “the son of Jesse” and Isaiah talks about Jesus coming from the line of Jesse, so he is no doubt a prominent figure in the bible. Isaiah 11:1-2 says, “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” In verse 10, Isaiah calls Jesus “the root of Jesse” when referring to His future reign. This is quoted in the New Testament in Romans 15:12 - “Again Isaiah says, “There shall come the root of Jesse, And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles, in Him shall the Gentiles hope.””