According to biblical heritage (and also some say myth), David (c. 1035 - 970 BCE) was the second king in the ancient United Kingdom of Israel that helped establish the eternal throne of God. A former shepherd, David was renowned for his passion for God, his emotional psalms and also musical abilities, his inspiring courage and expertise in warfare, his good looks and also illicit partnership via Bathsheba, and his ancestral connections to Jesus of Nazareth in the New Testament. Born around 1000 BCE, David was the eighth boy (and youngest) of Jesse, from the people of Judah. Like King Saul and also King Solomon, David reigned for 40 years in one of the greatest and also many flourishing durations in Israel"s background - referred to as by many type of, “The Golden Age” of Israel. Although presented just as flawed or sinful as the queens that predelivered and also followed him, in Judaism and Christianity, King David is presented in assorted publications of the Holy bible (from where most information originates on him, currently) as a design king of piety, repentance, and also submission as well a forerunner to the Messiah—the Jewish "anointed one" and champion.

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The Classic Story of King David

In the Hebrew bibles, 1 Samuel 16 introduces readers to a young guy who will capture not just the heart of the country of Israel, but additionally the heart of God. The Old Testimony Prophet Samuel (c. 1200–1050 BCE) is sent to Jesse of Bethlehem (a common farmer and also shepherd) to anoint one of his sons as the new king - while Israel"s initially king, Saul (c. 1080–1010 BCE), is still living however failing in his duties to follow Samuel"s instructions and also rebelling versus the authority/commandments of God. After Jesse parades almost all his sons by Samuel, each one rejected as king, he lastly brings his youngest - David, who “was glowing via health and wellness and had actually a brand-new appearance and also handsome features” (1 Samuel 16:12).

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Although David does not look like a king need to look, he has actually the heart of a lion - a courageous heart - and also more, a deep, unfinishing love for God. Samuel, who has actually been so depressed over King Saul, finds hope and blessing in the young shepherd from Bethlehem in Judea. After David was anointed, 1 Samuel 16:13 claims, “and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.”

David was more than just a musician; he had the heart of a warrior & a set of shepherding skills on the masters" level.

The news for King Saul, yet, is not at all positive. While David receives the blessings of the Divine Spirit (the Counselor and also second perchild of the Trinity), “the Spirit of the Lord had actually departed from Saul, and also an evil soul from the Lord tormented him” (v. 16:14). Saul began to suffer durations of mental and also emotional experiencing, brought on by either a bipolar disorder or an evil heart (according to the biblical text). One of his servants remembers that David is a terrific musician and also recommends Saul employ him as an armor-bearer (the one who carried a big shield and also various other tools for the king) and a musical balm of sorts for his tortuous episodes. 1 Samuel 16:23 says, “Whenever before the spirit from God came on Saul, David would certainly take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would certainly feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.”

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David & Goliath

David was even more than simply a musician; he had the heart of a warrior and also a set of shepherding abilities on the masters" level, especially once it involved the use of the sling. One day, the Philistines and also the Israelites were at war; but, the 2 battle parties were on either side of a valley, taunting each various other. The Philistines, the non-Semitic people of primitive southern Palestine, had an effective warrior in their middle, though - Goliath, who (according to the Bible) was nearly ten feet (3 m) tall. Not surprisingly, none of the Israelite warriors dared to fight him.


David through the Head of Goliath
Caravaggio (Public Domain)

When David hears Goliath"s vile words versus Israel and also God, he volunteers to fight him. Rather than urge that an older, even more skilled officer (or also himself) go out to protect God and Israel versus Goliath, King Saul endorses David"s wishes. After some wardrobe alters (inevitably donning his normal garb), David selects five river stones for ammunition and sets out to face his large adversary. Goliath stares dvery own at the tiny, young male, and chides, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” (v. 17:43). David"s verbal response is as mocking as it is audacious—

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You come against me via sword and also spear and javelin, however I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have actually defied. This day the Lord will certainly deliver you right into my hands, and also I"ll strike you down and also cut off your head. This very day I will certainly offer the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the entirety world will certainly understand that tbelow is a God in Israel.

(vv. 17:45–46)

As Goliath charges toward David, the young male slings a rock, which hits Goliath square in the forehead, knocking him out. David then stands over the gigantic, grabs the giant"s sword, and also kills him. Seeing the youngest of Israel so easily dispatch their strongest warrior sent terror via the entire Philistine army and they fled. It additionally pleased King Saul who basically embraced him into his family. 1 Samuel 18:2–3 says, “From that day Saul kept David through him and did not let him return house to his household.”

The Envy of Saul

In consideration of David"s constant success and exceptional skills in his company, King Saul promoted David, that ongoing to amaze his guys and also all Israel. Unfortunately, Saul had emerged an ego trouble, so he begins to resent David specifically as soon as he hears civilization singing, “Saul has slain his thousands, and also David his tens of thousands” (v. 18:7). In bitter envy, Saul tries to kill David, whom he now sees as the opponent rather of a loyal servant. Thus, the plan of a marital relationship in between Saul"s daughter Michal and also David is more about Saul"s desire to ensnare or inevitably assassinate David than a holy union, ironically.

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Eventually, David goes to his ideal frifinish, Jonathan, that is also King Saul"s eldest kid, for assist. Jonathan tries to downplay David"s fears, however once Jonathan goes to his father to reascertain him that David is his loyal servant, King Saul lashes out at Jonathan, calling him,

You kid of a perverse and also rebellious woman! Don"t I recognize that you have actually sided via the son of Jesse to your very own shame and also to the shame of the mother who bore you?

(v. 20:30)

It is then that Jonathan lastly comprehends how insane his father is via hatred for David. Saul has actually pertained to hate David even more than he loves God—never an excellent problem to be in, biblically.


David & Saul by Rembrandt
Rembrandt (Public Domain)

To the finish of his life, Saul"s son Prince Jonathan becomes David"s protector, pleading for that exact same devotion from David. 1 Samuel 20:16–17 says, “So Jonathan made a covenant through the house of David, saying, "May the Lord speak to David"s enemies to account." And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.”

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The remainder of 1 Samuel provides the details of an ongoing cat-and-computer mouse chase in between Saul, that is desperately trying to kill David (and also his forces) and David, that is desperately trying not to kill Saul, despite the urging of his friends and also countryguys. Instead, David mirrors his noble, compassionate, committed character that God finds so exceptional. In spite of Saul"s wickedness, David does not desire to injury Saul, “God"s anointed.” Saul, on the other hand also, has offered in to the darkness of his heart and spirit, also going so far as to kill some priests of the Lord.

In reality, David goes out of his means to avoid Saul and/or repays Saul"s evil through good. One of the more interesting moments occurs once David sneaks into a cave wright here Saul is relieving himself and also cuts off a corner of Saul"s robe to present him that if David wanted to kill him, Saul would certainly currently be dead. Once a distance ameans, David cries out,

See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I reduced off the edge of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand also to suggest that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, yet you are searching me down to take my life.

(v. 24:11)

Once King Saul realized what has just occurred, he weeps bitterly, ultimately self-conscious that he has actually been unrighteous, blood-thirsty, and ungodly, whereas David has effectively and also mercitotally confirmed himself to be worthy of being Israel"s following king. Before they part, Saul asks David to swear that he will certainly not kill off Saul"s kids, which David easily does.

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Saul"s madness still rages inside him, sadly, and also continues to pursue David who, in one more minute of chance, spares Saul"s life. The whole of Israel mourns, though, at the fatality of Samuel, and Saul, knowing that sorcery and witchcraft is forbidden by the Law, goes to Endor to conjure up Saul. Although Saul begs for help from the heart of Samuel, the dead prophet only replies, “Why execute you consult me, now that the Lord has actually departed from you and also come to be your enemy?” (v. 28:16). Saul collapses, a damaged and also self- ruined male that only heaped innocent bloodburned atop his arrogant, disobedient acts.

The book ends via David enjoying more and also more success on the battlearea and in his residential life, however for Saul and his family, the tide will certainly revolve and run red at their last battle via the Philistines at Mount Gilboa. In at some point, the entire imperial line of Saul is lost in fight, with all Saul"s sons dying prior to him, including the noble and also beloved Jonathan. Saul is critically wounded, and pleads for a adjacent Israelite soldier to kill him, afraid of torture or molestation if he is discovered alive.

The ending of the book is distressing. 1 Samuel 31:4–6 says,

But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not execute it; so, Saul took his very own sword and also fell on it. When the armor-bearer witnessed that Saul was dead, he as well fell on his sword and also died through him. So, Saul and also his 3 sons and also his armor-bearer and all his men died together that very same day.

Seeing the defeat of their army, the Israelites fled the area, opening up the lands to Philistine occupation and exploitation, which was later sustained by the Philistine"s usage and also smipoint of iron.

David, King of Israel

The book of 2 Samuel starts with David hearing the news that his best frifinish and also God"s anointed king have been slaughtered by the Philistines. Stunned, David is also met through news from an Amalekite (a descendant of Esau, boy of Isaac the Patriarch) that the male killed Saul, taking his crvery own and armband also for David. Expecting a reward, instead the soldier receives an execution through David asking, “Why weren"t you afrassist to lift your hand to ruin the Lord"s anointed?” (v. 2 Samuel 1:14). If David was unwilling to hurt God"s anointed, why would anyone think that he would be alright through King Saul"s assassination?

David after that provides a memorial to Saul and also Jonathan. For Saul, he sings of him being a mighty warrior; for Jonathan, he sings of him being a faithful brother. One might suppose David to be jubilant about Saul"s fatality, yet David truly never wanted Saul dead. Scholars have long provided that David"s hopes for his enemies was for them either to be rerelocated or to repent. In Saul"s situation, he definitely wimelted for the latter.


King David
Jastrow (Public Domain)

The kingship of David described in 2 Samuel 2 is just as exciting and also dramatic as his period running away from King Saul. With Samuel"s original blessing, David becomes the initially king of Judah, however immediately launches right into a seven-year civil battle via King Saul"s boy, Ish-Bosheth, that does not end till Saul"s child is assassinated in his bed by 2 Benjamites, the last tribe of Judah and descendants of Jacob the Patriarch.

Expecting an excellent reward favor the previously mentioned Amalakite, they carry Ish-Bosheth"s head to David that immediately executes them for their despicable and also criminal task, saying, “Wicked men have eliminated an innocent man in his own home and on his own bed” (v. 2 Samuel 4:11). He has actually the guys eliminated, cuts off their feet and hands, and hangs their bodies in shameful screen. Later, he buries Ish-Bosheth"s head, correctly and also respectfully in Abner"s tomb (Abner was Saul"s cousin and also commander-in-chief of his army).

With Ish-Bosheth dead, David is available the crown by the elders of Israel, and 2 Samuel 5:4 documents, “David was thirty years old once he became king, and also he reigned forty years.” He then conquers Jerusalem - Zion - to which he shortly also brings the ark of the covenant. David has really hopes to develop God"s holy place in Jerusalem, but that David"s offspring will be the one to “develop a house for my Name, and I will develop the throne of his kingdom forever” (v. 7:13).

The following few chapters detail and talk about the incredible victories for David versus the Philistines, the Geshurites, the Gezites, the Jebusites, and also the Amalekites. 2 Samuel additionally shares of his marital problems with Saul"s daughter Michal, that “when she experienced King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart” (v. 6:16). It is therefore not as well surpincreasing that King David, among the many virtuous men in the Holy bible, forgets his area, his responsibilities to God and to his subjects, and starts a love affair via Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite - among his Mighty Warriors.

David & Bathsheba

While relaxing at the palace, King David happens to watch beautiful Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and future mom of King Solomon (c. 990–931 BCE), bathing upon her roof and also the temptation is as well tempting for him. 2 Samuel 11:4 documents, “Then David sent messengers to obtain her. She involved him, and also he slept through her (currently she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness). Then she went earlier house.” Unfortunately for the pair, Bathsheba becomes pregnant with David"s son.

The situation is delicate, at best. Although feminists case that David compelled Bathsheba, and traditionalists case that Bathsheba seduced David, the truth is even more one of common culpcapability other than, maybe, that as king and also the model for the Law of God, David had actually a greater obligation to safeguard and not exploit Bathsheba. The message does not lay the blame on any one perboy (rather favor the Fall in Genesis); but, as negative as points are for the adulterous couple, it is just going to obtain worse.

Rather than the noble & virtuous warrior of the Lord, currently David has actually end up being as poor if not worse than murderous Saul.

David conspires to hide his sin and also so, calls Uriah residence from the battlearea and also tries to obtain him to sleep with his wife. Uriah, however, is also devoted and also lawful to squander his time while his men are dying in battle. His plans foiled to confusage the paternity of the child, David orders General Joab, his nephew through David"s sister Zeruiah, to area Uriah in the thick of the many dangerous fighting and then withattract everyone however him.

Several points take place because of this. First, bad Uriah gets killed. 2nd, Bathsheba mourns for Uriah - there is nopoint sassist around this being a combined arrangement. Most likely, it was David"s very own attempt to safeguard his reputation. He easily moves Bathsheba into the royal residence and marries her prior to the kid is born. Third, any type of loyalty of Joab to David is gone. Rather than the noble and also virtuous warrior of the Lord, currently David has end up being as negative if not worse than murderous Saul. David"s plans soon begin to backfire upon him.

The Prophet Nathan

In his desperation, though, King David foracquired that God sees and knows whatever. So, God sends out the Prophet Nathan, the Prophet Samuel"s follower, to provide a “rhetorical” message of treachery, which provides David burn via anger versus the well-off guy who steals the bad man"s one little lamb. David procedures right into the trap the Lord has actually lassist for him and also claims, “As surely as the Lord stays, the man who did this should die! He need to pay for that lamb 4 times over, bereason he did such a thing and had no pity” (2 Samuel 12:5).

Nathan automatically pronounces judgment upon David, crying out, “You are the man!” (v. 12:7). Not just was David an adulterer, he additionally was a murderer and also an ungrateful king that abused his place to please his loins and also safeguard his renvery own. Thus, Nathan prophesies that David would certainly suffer perpetual after-effects of warfare within and also without his kingdom, and that he would endure public humiliation bereason he tried to cover up his horrific sins.

David"s response is rather un-Saul-favor, though. He humbly replies, “I have actually sinned against the Lord.” Nathan then indevelops him that his sins are foroffered, however their kid of sin is going to die. David pleads for his son"s life, and also as soon as the boy becomes ill, David fasts, prays, and also deprives himself of sleep, trying to get God to adjust his mind, but God does not according to the biblical message.

On the seventh day, the son dies, and David"s response is remarkable. Rather than be bitter or hate God, David got up and “he went into the residence of the Lord and worshipped” (v. 12:20). The passage additionally records that “David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he saw her and also made love to her. She offered birth to a boy, and also they named him Solomon” (v. 12:24).


Absalom & Amnon

Without his former "golden card" of righteousness, the Housage of David experiences negative tidings beginning with the rape of David"s daughter, Tamar, by her half-brvarious other, Amnon. Tamar comes over to aid her brvarious other (Amnon) who prehas a tendency to be sick, and also once she gets cshed, he grabs her and molests her. Unchoose Shechem, the villain in the book of Genesis (chapter 33:19; 34) who felt a ethical duty to marry Jacob"s daughter Diana after he raped her, Amnon despises Tamar even more, which crushes and humiliates her.

Strangely, Tamar"s older brvarious other Absalom comforts her and also claims, “Be quiet currently, my sister ... Do not take this point to heart” (2 Samuel 13:20), yet he never before speaks to Amnon about the occasion. Amnon more than likely thought he had actually acquired away through the rape of his half-sister bereason his father David was mad but did nopoint around the crime.

Two years later, though, Prince Absalom enacts his vengeance. Convincing Amnon to travel via him, he gets his half-brvarious other drunk and then has his men murder Amnon, a prince, in revenge for raping his sister. He flees to Gershur and continues to be with his mom, Michal"s family there, and also retransforms three years later with an additional plan to steal David"s throne. He also maneras to enlist the king"s counselor, Ahithophel (the grandfather of Bathsheba), and functions the Israelite crowd.

As Absalom"s conspiracy and also its support grows, David flees from the forces of Absalom, not wanting to kill his boy. At some point, though, David"s forces clash through Absalom"s pressures, and also as he flees, “Absalom"s hair acquired captured in the tree” (v. 18:9). Left dangling, Joab slays Absalom and also buries his body in a deep pit in the wilderness.

As with the death of King Saul, David is devastated by the news, yet rather puzzled as to why Absalom was so treacherous and murderous toward David and his guys. Hearing that David is mournful past consolation, Joab marches into David"s home and shames him for humiliating and alienating his men by his great lament for a wicked kid. The book concludes with more descriptions of the incessant warfare David was promised by the Prophet Nathan. However before, the final 2 chapters sell a poetical homage to God and to his guys.

The Final Years

David"s initial zeal for God and for moral integrity led the means for his at an early stage fame and fortune, although being a male of warfare and blood (according to the scriptures), God decided that David was not suitable to be the one to develop God"s holy place (that would certainly be placed in the hands of his child, Solomon). Moreover, David"s illicit affair and subsequent devious actions (causing the assassination of Uriah the Hittite and also its cover up) complex the rest of his reign - together with the rape of Tamar, the murder of Amnon, and the attempted coup of Absalom, among various other controversies.


By the finish of David"s life, he had shed touch with Israelite society and also ultimately lost political control of it, too. This resulted in an attempted coup by his son, Adonijah (whose mother was Haggith, David"s fifth wife), that proasserted himself to be king via the assistance of General Joab and Abiathar the Priest; but, the majority of Israel"s institutional agents did not assistance Adonijah"s insurance claim. The Hebrew bibles state that the Prophet Nathan went first to Bathsheba to alert her to Adonijah"s usurpation of the throne, who then saw her husband also, King David, to break the troubling news to him. At some point, the Prophet Nathan joined the two, and also King David officially made Solomon his heir apparent. David sassist, “Assuredly Solomon your kid shall be king after me, and also he shall sit on my throne in my place” (1 Kings 1).

King David passed away from organic reasons around 970 BCE, was buried in Jerusalem, and, as argued in the Hebrew and also Greek bibles, assisted in the facility of the kingdom of Israel through his piety and lineage. Before his fatality, David provided his final admonition to his kid, Solomon, saying,

Keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in his ways, to store his statutes, his commandments, his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is created in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you execute and wherever you revolve... for you are a wise male.

(1 Kings 2)

The Epigraphical & Archeological Evidence For King David

As with his follower, King Solomon, little evidence has actually been unextended to prove the historic visibility of King David; however, newly discovered direct and indirect evidence provides greater substantiation for David"s life and kingship (although bit to earlier up the Biblical assertions and specific occasions throughout his reign). In 1993 CE, Avraham Biran found the Tel Dan Inscription on a broken stele in northern Israel. The engraving commemorates the victory of an Aramean king over its southerly next-door neighbors, and also specifically references both the “king of Israel,” and also the “king of the Housage of David.” This is possibly the earliest, direct, historical proof for the Davidic Empire in Israel although the Mesha Stele, found by Bedouins in the 1800s CE who lived by the Jordan and Arnon rivers, additionally mentions "the Housage of David," composed in Moabite approximately a century after the meant regime of King David.

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As for instraight evidence, under excavations directed by Yosef Garfinkel in 2012 CE, a Canaanite inscription of "Eshba"al Ben Beda," King David"s foe (and King Saul"s boy that reigned for two years) also known as "Ish-Bosheth" in many biblical translations (2 Samuel 3, 4) was discovered inside ceramic shards from an ancient jug dated to the 10th century BCE. Furthermore, survey information compiled by Avi Ofer in 1994 CE that suggest a doubling of 11th-Century BCE Judean population (particularly in Northern Israel), and also potential Jebuwebsite fortresses that were found in excavations directed by Yigal Shiloh (1978-1985 CE) - both of which are debated in the Old Testament - lfinish credence to the concept that David and the Kingdom of Israel were part of the region"s historic and also social visibility.

Adapted from God in the Details: A Biblical Survey of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures (Kendall-Hunt, 2017).