The Books of Samuel, 1 Kings, and 1 Chronicles are the only sources of information on David, although the Tel Dan stele (dated c.850–835 BCE) contains the phrase ביתדוד (bytdwd), read as "House of David," which most scholars take as confirmation of the existence in the mid-9th century BCE of a Judean royal dynasty called the House of David.
He is depicted as a righteous king, although not without faults, as well as an acclaimed warrior, musician, and poet, traditionally credited for composing many of the psalms contained in the Book of Psalms.
David is central to Jewish, Christian, and Islamic doctrine and culture. Biblical tradition maintains that a direct descendant of David will be the Messiah. In Islam he is considered to be a prophet and the king of a nation.
Main article: Saul God rejects Saul as king. The prophet Samuel seeks a new king from the sons of Jesse of Bethlehem. Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, "The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, "Are these all the sons you have?" "There is still the youngest," Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep." Samuel said, "Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives." So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was ruddy and handsome. Then the Lord said, "Rise and anoint him; this is the one." So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.
At the court of SaulEdit
An evil spirit from the Lord tormented Saul (1 Samuel 16:14) and his attendants suggest he send for David, a young warrior famed for his bravery and for his skill with the harp. Saul does so, and makes David one of his armor-bearers. From then on, "whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him."
David and GoliathEditMain article: Goliath The Israelites, under King Saul, faced the Philistines near the Valley of Elah. He heard the Philistine giant Goliath challenge the Israelites to send their own champion to decide the outcome in single combat. But neither the soldiers nor King Saul himself had the courage to face the Philistine adversary. David told Saul he was prepared to face Goliath alone. Saul tried to fit him with a suit of armor, but none were small enough. David decided to face the giant without armor. He picked five smooth stones from a nearby brook. David struck Goliath in the forehead with a stone from his sling. Goliath fell dead. David took Goliath's sword and beheaded him. The Philistines fled in terror. Saul inquired about the name of the young champion, and David told him that he was the son of Jesse.
David and JonathanEdit
Main article: David and Jonathan Saul makes David a commander over his armies and offers him his daughter Michal in marriage for bringing 100 foreskins of the Philistines but David brings back 200, saying "God was with me." David is successful in many battles, and his popularity awakes Saul's fears — "What more can he have but the kingdom?" By various stratagems the jealous king seeks his death, but the plots only endear David the more to the people, and especially to Saul's son Jonathan, who loves David (1 Samuel 18:1, 2 Samuel 1:25–26). Warned by Jonathan, David flees into the wilderness, where he gathers a band of followers and becomes the champion of the oppressed while evading the pursuit of Saul. He accepts the town of Ziklag from the Philistine king Achish of Gath, but continues secretly to champion the Israelites. Achish marches against Saul, but David is excused from the war on the accusation of the Philistine nobles that his loyalty to their cause cannot be trusted.
Jonathan and Saul are killed in battle with the Philistines at Mount Gilboa. David mourns their deaths, especially that of Jonathan, his friend. He goes up to Hebron, where he is anointed king over Judah. In the north, Saul's son Ish-Bosheth becomes king of the tribes of Israel. War ensues between Ish-Bosheth and David, until Ish-Bosheth is murdered. The assassins bring the head of Ish-Bosheth to David hoping for a reward, but David executes them for their crime against the Lord's anointed. Yet with the death of the son of Saul, the elders of Israel come to Hebron and David, who is 30 years old, is anointed King over Israel and Judah.
Jerusalem and the Davidic covenantEdit
Main article: Covenant (biblical)#Davidic covenant David conquered the Jebusite fortress of Jerusalem, and made it his capital. "Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, also carpenters and masons who built David a house." David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, intending to build a temple, but God, speaking through the prophet Nathan, announced that the temple would be built at a future date by one of David's sons (Solomon). God made a covenant with David, promising that He will establish the house of David : "Your throne shall be established forever."
With God's help, David was victorious over his people's enemies. The Philistines were subdued, the Moabites to the east paid tribute, along with Hadadezer of Zobah, from whom David took gold shields and bronze vessels.
Bathsheba and Uriah the HittiteEdit
David commits adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. Bathsheba becomes pregnant. David sends for Uriah, who is with the Israelite army at the siege of Rabbah, so that he may lie with his wife and conceal the identity of the child's father. Uriah refuses to do so while his companions are in the field of battle and David sends him back to Joab, the commander, with a message instructing him to abandon Uriah on the battlefield, "that he may be struck down, and die." David marries Bathsheba and she bears his child, "but the thing that David had done displeased the Lord." The prophet Nathan confronts David, saying: "Why have you despised the word of God, to do what is evil in his sight? You have smitten Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife." Nathan presents three punishments from God for this sin. First, that the "sword shall never depart from your house" (2 Samuel 12:10) second, that "Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel., (2 Samuel 12:12) and finally, that "the son born to you will die."2 Samuel 12:14
David repents, yet God "struck the [David's] child ... and it became sick ... [And] on the seventh day the child died." David leaves his lamentations, dresses himself, goes to the House of the Lord and worships, and then returns home to eat. His servants ask why he wept when the baby was alive, but ends his mourning when the child dies. David replies: "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.' But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."2 Samuel 12:22–23
David's son Absalom rebelsEdit
David's son Absalom rebels against his father. They come to battle in the Wood of Ephraim. Absalom is caught by his hair in the branches of an oak and David’s general Joab kills him as he hangs there. When the news of the victory is brought to David, he does not rejoice, but is instead shaken with grief: "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!"
When David has become old and bedridden, Adonijah, his eldest surviving son and natural heir, declares himself king and worthy to marry Abishag. Bathsheba, David's favorite wife, and Nathan the prophet go to David and procure his agreement that Solomon, Bathsheba's son, should sit on the throne. And so the plans of Adonijah collapse, and Solomon becomes king.
t is to Solomon that David gives his final instructions, including his promise that the line of Solomon and David will inherit the throne of Judah forever, and his request that Solomon kill his oldest enemies on his behalf.
David dies and is buried in the City of David, having ruled forty years over Israel, seven in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem.
David was born in Bethlehem, in the territory of the Tribe of Judah. His father was named Jesse. His mother is not named in the Bible, but the Talmud identifies her as Nitzevet daughter of Adael. David had seven brothers and was the youngest of them all. He had eight wives: Michal, the second daughter of King Saul; Ahinoam the Jezreelite; Abigail the Carmelite, previously wife of Nabal; Maachah, daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur; Haggith; Abital; Eglah; and Bathsheba, previously the wife of Uriah the Hittite.
The Book of Chronicles lists David's sons by various wives and concubines. In Hebron he had six sons 1 Chronicles 3:1–3: Amnon, by Ahinoam; Daniel, by Abigail; Absalom, by Maachah; Adonijah, by Haggith; Shephatiah, by Abital; and Ithream, by Eglah. By Bathsheba, his sons were: Shammua; Shobab; Nathan; and Solomon. His sons born in Jerusalem by other wives included: Ibhar; Elishua; Eliphelet; Nogah; Nepheg; Japhia; Elishama; and Eliada . 2 Samuel 5:14–16 According to 2 Chronicles 11:18, Jerimoth, who is not mentioned in any of the genealogies, is mentioned as another of David's sons. According to 2 Samuel 9:11, David also welcomed Jonathan's son Mephibosheth to his table after giving him the land which previously belonged to King Saul.
David also had at least one daughter, Tamar by Maachah, who was raped by Amnon, her half-brother. Her rape leads to Amnon's death. 2 Samuel 13:1–29 Absalom, Amnon's half-brother and Tamar's full-brother, waits two years, then avenges his sister by sending his servants to kill Amnon at a feast to which he had invited all the king's sons. 2 Samuel 13
ArchaeologyEditMain articles: Tel Dan Stele, Mesha Stele, and City of David Two archaeological finds, the Tel Dan Stele and the Mesha Stele, have direct bearing on the question of the existence of a historical David. The first of these is an Aramean victory stele (inscribed stone) discovered in 1993 at Tel Dan and dated c.850–835 BCE: it contains the phrase ביתדוד (bytdwd), and the reading "House of David" for this "is now widely accepted." The Mesha Stele from Moab, dating from approximately the same period, may also contain the name David in line 12, where the interpretation is uncertain, and in line 31, where one destroyed letter must be supplied.
The evidence from surface surveys indicates that Judah at the time of David was a small tribal kingdom. The Bronze and Iron Age remains of the City of David, the original urban core of Jerusalem identified with the reigns of David and Solomon, were investigated extensively in the 1970s and 1980s under the direction of Yigal Shiloh of the Hebrew University, but failed to discover significant evidence of occupation during the 10th century BCE, In 2005 Eilat Mazar reported the discovery of a Large Stone Structure which she claimed was David's palace, but the site is contaminated and cannot be accurately dated.
The biblical accountEditThe biblical account about David comes from the Books of Samuel and the Books of Chronicles. Chronicles merely retells Samuel from a different theological vantage point, and contains little (if any) information not available there, and the biblical evidence for David is therefore dependent almost exclusively on the material contained in the chapters from 1 Samuel 16 to 1 Kings 2.
Since Martin Noth put forward his analysis of the Deuteronomistic history, biblical scholars have accepted that these two books form part of a continuous history of Israel, compiled no earlier than the late 7th century BCE, but incorporating earlier works and fragments. Samuel's account of David "seems to have undergone two separate acts of editorial slanting." The original writers show a strong bias against Saul, and in favour of David and Solomon. Many years later the Deuteronomists edited the material in a manner that conveyed their religious message, inserting reports and anecdotes that strengthened their monotheistic doctrine. Some of the materials in Samuel I and II — notably the boundary, allotment and administrative lists — are believed to be very early, since they correspond closely to what we know of the territorial conditions of the late Davidic-early Solomonic period.
Beyond this, the full range of possible interpretations is available. The late John Bright, in his History of Israel (which went through four editions from 1959 to 2000), takes Samuel at face value. Donald B. Redford, however, thinks all reconstructions from Biblical sources for the United Monarchy period are examples of "academic wishful thinking." Thomas L. Thompson rejects the historicity of the biblical narrative, "The history of Palestine and of its peoples is very different from the Bible's narratives, whatever political claims to the contrary may be. An independent history of Judea during the Iron I and Iron II periods has little room for historicizing readings of the stories of I-II Samuel and I Kings."Amihai Mazar however, concludes that based on recent archeological findings, like those in City of David, Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tel Dan, Tel Rehov, Khirbet en-Nahas and others "the deconstruction of United Monarchy and the devaluation of Judah as a state in 9th century is unacceptable interpretation of available historic data." According to Mazar, based on archeological evidences, United Monarchy can be described as a "state in development"
Some interesting studies of David have been written: Baruch Halpern has pictured David as a lifelong vassal of Achish, the Philistine king of Gath; Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman have identified as the oldest and most reliable section of Samuel those chapters which describe David as the charismatic leader of a band of outlaws who captures Jerusalem and makes it his capital. Steven McKenzie, Associate Professor of the Hebrew Bible at Rhodes College and author of King David: A Biography, states the belief that David actually came from a wealthy family, was "ambitious and ruthless" and a tyrant who murdered his opponents, including his own sons.
1 Samuel 16:12 "And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, "Arise, anoint him, for this is he." - Holy Bible; English Standard Version. 1 Samuel 17:41-43 "And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance."
The Hebrew word for 'ruddy' used in the above passages is admoni, from the root 'DM (Strong's Concordance, #119) "to show blood (in the face), i.e. flush or turn rosy:--be (dyed, made) red (ruddy)." "Admoni," reddish-brown, was the ideal colour for men, and indicates David's heroic nature. The description led to a later Sephardic and Ashkenazi tradition that David was a red-head.
Abrahamic religious traditionsEdit
David as PsalmistEdit
While almost half of the Psalms are headed "A Psalm of David" (although the phrase can also be translated as "to David" or "for David") and tradition identifies several with specific events in David’s life - Psalms 3, 7, 18, 34, 51, 52, 54, 56, 57, 59, 60, 63 and 142., the headings are late additions and no psalm can be attributed to David with certainty.
Psalm 34 is attributed to David on the occasion of his escape from the Abimelech (king) Achish by pretending to be insane - according to the narrative in 1 Samuel 21, instead of killing the man who had exacted so many casualties from him, Abimelech allows David to depart, exclaiming, "Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?"
JudaismEditDavid is an important figure in Judaism. Historically, David's reign represented the formation of a coherent Jewish kingdom centered in Jerusalem. David is an important figure within the context of Jewish messianism. In the Hebrew Bible, it is written that a human descendant of David will occupy the throne of a restored kingdom and usher in a messianic age.
David is also viewed as a tragic figure; his acquisition of Bathsheba, and the loss of his son are viewed as his central tragedies.
Many legends have grown around the figure of David. According to one Rabbinic tradition, David was raised as the son of his father Jesse and spent his early years herding his father's sheep in the wilderness while his brothers were in school. Only at his anointing by Samuel – when the oil from Samuel's flask turned to diamonds and pearls – was his true identity as Jesse's son revealed.
David's adultery with Bathsheba was only an opportunity to demonstrate the power of repentance, and the Talmud states that it was not adultery at all, quoting a Jewish practice of divorce on the eve of battle. Furthermore, according to Talmudic sources, the death of Uriah was not to be considered murder, on the basis that Uriah had committed a capital offence by refusing to obey a direct command from the King. However, in tractate Sanhedrin, David's broken heart pleads and numerous actions for forgiveness are discussed, God ultimately forgives but would not remove his sins from Scripture.
According to midrashim, Adam gave up 70 years of his life for the life of David. Also, according to the Talmud Yerushalmi, David was born and died on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (Feast of Weeks). His piety was said to be so great that his prayers could bring down things from Heaven.
See also: Genealogy of Jesus The concept of the Messiah is important in Christianity. Originally an earthly king ruling by divine appointment ("the anointed one," as the title Messiah had it), the "son of David" became in the last two pre-Christian centuries the apocalyptic and heavenly one who would deliver Israel and usher in a new kingdom. This was the background to the concept of Messiahship in early Christianity, which interpreted the career of Jesus "by means of the titles and functions assigned to David in the mysticism of the Zion cult, in which he served as priest-king and in which he was the mediator between God and man." The early Church believed that "the life of David [foreshadowed] the life of Christ; Bethlehem is the birthplace of both; the shepherd life of David points out Christ, the Good Shepherd; the five stones chosen to slay Goliath are typical of the five wounds; the betrayal by his trusted counsellor, Achitophel, and the passage over the Cedron remind us of Christ's Sacred Passion. Many of the Davidic Psalms, as we learn from the New Testament, are clearly typical of the future Messiah." In the Middle Ages, "Charlemagne thought of himself, and was viewed by his court scholars, as a 'new David'. [This was] not in itself a new idea, but [one whose] content and significance were greatly enlarged by him." The linking of David to earthly kingship was reflected in later Medieval cathedral windows all over Europe through the device of the Tree of Jesse, its branches demonstrating how divine kingship descended from Jesse, through his son David, to Jesus.
Western Rite churches (Roman Catholic, Lutheran) celebrate his feast day on 29 December, Eastern-rite on 19 December. The Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches celebrate the feast day of the "Holy Righteous Prophet and King David" on the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers (two Sundays before the Great Feast of the Nativity of the Lord), when he is commemorated together with other ancestors of Jesus. He is also commemorated on the Sunday after the Nativity, together with Joseph and James, the Brother of the Lord.
Latter Day SaintsEdit
In the Latter Day Saint movement, the Book of Mormon offers a negative commentary on David's practice of polygamy. In the Book of Jacob, the Nephite nation begins to practice polygamy, justifying it by the example of David and Solomon. In response the prophet Jacob denounces both David's taking of "many wives" and the Nephites' taking of multiple wives, though he stops short of denouncing polygamy altogether.
Editions of the Doctrine and Covenants utilized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest Latter Day Saint denomination, state that of David's sexual relationships, only his relationship with Bathsheba was a sin. However, in consequence of this sin and the further sin of killing Uriah, David had "fallen from exaltation" and would not be married to any of his wives in the next life.
The Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research argues that there is no contradiction between the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants because the Lord authorized David to have some wives, but not "many" wives. They see a parallel between Jacob 2:24 and Deuteronomy 17:17, which some rabbis interpreted as a limit of four wives per husband. When David took Bathsheba, he crossed the line into having "many" wives, which he was not authorized to do. Jacob's denunciation then becomes, not a complete denunciation of David's polygamy, but a denunciation of unauthorized indulgence in polygamy.
The Community of Christ, the second-largest Latter Day Saint faction, does not accept the validity of 132nd section of the LDS Doctrine and Covenants; nor does the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), the Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite), and many other smaller factions. Although the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) accepted the validity of polygamy as an institution, they do not accept Doctrine and Covenants 132, nor do they believe that Joseph Smith instituted or taught it (they believe that James Strang was responsible for that, when he released his Book of the Law of the Lord in 1850).
Main article: Islamic view of David David (Arabic داود, Dāwūd) is a highly important figure in Islam as one of the major prophets sent by God to guide the Israelites. David is mentioned several times in the Qur'an, often with his son Solomon. In the Qur'an: David killed Goliath (II: 251), Goliath was a powerful king who used to invade random kingdoms and villages. Goliath was spreading evil and corruption. When David killed Goliath, God granted him kingship and wisdom and enforces it (XXXVIII: 20). David is made God's "vicegerent on earth" (XXXVIII: 26) and God further gives David sound judgment (XXI: 78; XXXVII: 21–24, 26) as well as the Psalms, which are regarded as books of divine wisdom (IV: 163; XVII, 55). The birds and mountains unite with David in uttering praise to God (XXI: 79; XXXIV: 10; XXXVIII: 18), while God instructs David in the art of fashioning chain-mail out of iron (XXXIV: 10; XXI: 80). Together with Solomon, David gives judgment in a case of damage to the fields (XXI: 78) and David judges in the matter between two disputants in his prayer chamber (XXXVIII: 21–23). Since there is no mention in the Qur'an of the wrong David did to Uriah nor is there any reference to Bathsheba, Muslims reject this narrative.
Muslim tradition and the hadith stress David's zeal in daily prayer as well as in fasting. Qur'an commentators, historians and compilers of the numerous Stories of the Prophets elaborate upon David's concise Qur'anic narratives and specifically mention David's gift in singing his Psalms as well as his musical and vocal talents. His voice is described as having had a captivating power, weaving its influence not only over man but over all beasts and nature, who would unite with him to praise God.
In the Baha'i Faith, David is described as a reflection of God and one among a long line of prophets who came in the shadow of the dispensation of Moses to develop and consolidate the process he set in motion. The Kitáb-i-Íqán describes David as being "among the more exalted Manifestations who have appeared during the intervening period between the revelations of Moses and Muhammad, ever altered the law of the Qiblih."