“There remaineth yet the least, and behold he keepeth the sheep 1 Samuel 16:11, Newberry
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah” Micah 5:2 KJV
“There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.” 1Samuel 16:11 NASB
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah” Micah 5:2 NASB
Saul had been set aside in God’s purpose by his disobedience, as God was looking for a man after His own heart. Samuel was sent to the house of Jesse in Bethlehem to anoint one of his sons to be king over Israel. As Jesse’s sons are paraded before Samuel, he learned that the Lord was not looking for either family rank or physical stature. After seven of the sons are shown and disqualified, Samuel is left with the question if all the sons are present. He inquired of Jesse, only to learn that one son was not even considered important enough to call to the feast.
Both father and brothers thought little of David (1 Sam 17:28). There may have been a significant age gap between the other brothers and David. The expression Jesse employs is not only that he is the youngest, but that he is the least of his sons. But God had His eye on the “least.”
Micah’s prophecy telling of the coming of one greater than David, prophesied that He would be born in Bethlehem. He adds that even though it is little, or the least (Matt 2:6), it would be the birthplace of the One Whose goings forth have been eternal.
So God chose David (the least), from Bethlehem (the place designated as the least), and made him the greatest. The one who was least esteemed in his father’s house, would one day be the one whose name “was much set by” in Israel (1Sam 18:30). He would take him from the least likely place, Bethlehem, and plant him on the international stage for other nations to recognize and admire.
David is a picture of His greater Son and Lord. The Savior was esteemed as the least: “But I am a worm and no man, a reproach of men …” (Ps 22:6). His own family did not own His claims and did not believe in Him (John 7). The confession of the nation in a coming day, will be that “He was despised and we esteemed Him not” (Isa 53:3). Men deemed Him unworthy of life and accorded Him a cross outside the city walls.
He was born in Bethlehem, just as David; but He was brought up in Nazareth, a place of reproach and ill-repute. Whether Bethlehem or Nazareth, His earthly origins only brought further reproach upon Him.
Yet, like David, and yet in a far greater measure, God has made the One Whom men esteemed as the least from the least significant place, and made Him the greatest. “He shall be great” were the words of the angel to Mary (Luke 1:32) and “of His kingdom there shall be no end” (v 33). All the estimation of humanity shall be reversed, when God will display the One Who is King of kings and Lord of lords.
Why do you think the Spirit of God changes the wording of Micah 5:2 when it is cited in Matthew 2:6 from “little” to “not the least”?
Consider some of the things that the Father saw when He looked on the heart of the Lord Jesus (1 Sam 16:7).