This article considers the meaning of the prepositional phrase כלבבו, “like/according to his heart,” in 1 Sam 13:14. By assessing syntactic and semantic parallels, comparative ANE data, and the deuteronomic context of 1–2 Samuel, the study argues that the prepositional idiom is best rendered adverbially and understood to clarify the norm or standard by which YHWH sought a king to replace Saul—he did so according to his own will. This being established, the paper then explores whether God’s showing discretion and seeking one man in contrast to others necessitates that there was something about the king-elect that matched the royal image he had in mind. Specifically, while כלבבו should be read adverbially, the resulting meaning in 1 Sam 13:14 may in fact align with both the numerous texts that emphasize David’s special divine election in contrast to Saul and the many passages that stress David’s greater like-mindedness to YHWH when compared to Saul.

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