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David, youngest son of Jesse of Bethlehem, was Israel's second king. Taken from the sheep herds, he would prove himself in battle (beginning as a young man, slaying Goliath), becoming more popular than king Saul. Chosen by God to succeed Saul, he had been anointed secretly by Samuel, and became king of of all of Israel upon defeating Saul's son Ish-bosheth. He reigned for 40 years, to be succeeded by his son Solomon.

After seven years in Hebron, spent in subduing the Philistines, among others, he and his men took control of Jerusalem, making it the new capitol of the united kingdom. After continuing his military campaigns in the north, David was able to secure the land into a relative peace. At this time, using political alliances, he built a palace in Jerusalem and secured materials to build the Temple which would be built by Solomon.

Political success did not translate into personal happiness, though, for David would fail as a friend and a father in his later years. His passion would lead to sin, with conspiracy to hide that sin leading to even more sin. This lapse in character would lead to the death of four of his sons. Besides the first son born to him in Jerusalem as an infant, three of his earlier sons would die as adults in the latter days of his rule. Just as he had been chosen by the Lord for his post, his eighth son, Solomon, would be chosen to be his successor.

Known also as a musician and a poet, he wrote many of the Psalms which offer an insight into his life, along with a rich study of the nature of God's relationship with his people.

Biography

Early life

David was born to Jesse[11] in Bethlehem of Judah during the early days of the reign of Saul. He was the youngest of eight sons (with two sisters).[12] Jesse was the head of the ancestral land of Obed, who inherited the land of two descendants of Nahshon, a "prince of Judah" who fought under Caleb.[13] In the days of Boaz, the family land of Elimelech was redeemed according to the Law, so his son Obed would continue claim lay claim to the expanded homestead there.[14]

David's birth in Bethlehem was a prophetic fulfilment of the blessing given to Naomi on behalf of Boaz and Ruth. The women of Bethlehem wished Naomi the best wishes in her family by her daughter-in-Law Ruth—in line with the whole nation (Rachel and Leah) and the tribe (Perez (son of Judah)".[15]

As was often the case in large families, the task of taking care of sheep fell upon the youngest. In David's case there was no exception. When someone had to stay home, the dirty work had to continue. And that including facing down wild animals in protecting the flock. David was spiritually aware even at a young age that it was God who protected him at such times.[16]

Early career

Anointed as king

When King Saul proved to be unworthy ,[17] God sent Samuel to Bethlehem to the house of Jesse to anoint the Saul's successor.[18] When he arrived[19] the prophet sought an audience with Jesse and his sons[20] with each of the sons presenting himself for consideration.[21]

However David, the youngest[22] was with the sheep.[12] When none of the older men were found suitable (for the Lord had told him not to judge by appearance) Samuel found that David was healthy and handsome. Though the lad was not what the prophet had expected in a king, Samuel officially set David apart as Saul's successor, pouring special oil upon his head. From that point on the Holy Spirit was with David as he grew in God.[23]

Serving Saul

When the Holy Spirit had left Saul and in favor of David, Saul was tormented.[24] He discussed this with his servants and demanded that they find somebody to play the lyre to soothe him.[25] David was recommended, for a servant had seen David and noted that he could play the lyre, had much bravery and warrior traits, was attractive, a good speaker, and a man of God.[26]

Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, demanding him to send David to enter Saul's service. So David left his sheep[27] to serve his king. Jesse sent gifts by way of David: a donkey loaded down with bread and wine, and a young goat.[28] Saul was pleased with the young man, assigning him to help maintain his armor.[29]

Slaying Goliath

With the Israelites at war with the Philistines, Saul recruited every able-bodied man he could, including David's three oldest brothers. However the Philistines recruited a champion named Goliath who stood about nine feet tall. Goliath challenged warriors to face him, the winner would have the opposing side be subject to them. During this time David went back and forth between tending his father's sheep, and service of Saul.[30]

Jesse, in concern for his sons, sent David to deliver bread and grain to them, as well as a large gift of cheese for their commanding officer.[31] Early the next morning, David left the sheep with another shepherd and set out with his supplies. Once he arrived at the battle camp he left his supplies with the supply-master.

Afterwards he approached the battle lines in order to talk to his brothers.[32] As they were talking, Goliath approached, shouting his daily demand that someone engage him in combat. Though everyone else was afraid, David had been given courage by God. So he asked those around him what the reward of slaying the Philistine would be. He was told that he would receive being wealth, Saul's daughter in marriage, and tax exemptions for his family. David's brother Eliab heard his talk and approached him angrily, accusing him of only visiting to watch the battle.[33] As an argument arose between the brothers, someone Saul, who sent for David.[34]

In the presence of the king, David insisted that he would go fight Goliath. Saul would have nothing of it, assuring David he was too young and inexperienced.[35] But David replied that as a shepherd he had defended his sheep from both lions and bears, because God was with him, and that God would be with him when he fought Goliath.[16]

Saul was convinced and so he dressed David in armor. David was not used to the armor so he practiced walking around. It did not take long for David to see that he could not fight in the armor since he wasn't used to it.[36] After taking the armor off, David took his staff and went down to a streambed and picked five stones and put them in his shepherd's pouch.[37] When he approached Goliath, the giant saw how he was only a young man and was handsome and hated him, and began to curse him.[38] In response David challenged Goliath by the name of Yahweh, that Goliath would be delivered into his hands and head would be severed.[39]

As Goliath moved closer, David charged,[40] reaching into his bag and grabbing a stone for his sling. The expertly slung stone made a deep dent, gashing the forehead of Goliath,[41] which caused him to fall face down.

Because David had defeated Goliath without a sword, he ran over to the body, unsheathed the fallen giant's sword and beheaded him.[42] With Goliath defeated, the Israelite army pursued the Philistines and plundered them.

As David went out to meet the giant, Saul asked Abner to find out who the boy's father was.[43] As David came back from killing the Philistine, Abner brought him before Saul and and confirmed that he was the son of Jesse of Bethlehem.[11] Saul was astonished that the youngster was the same person who played such beautiful music at the palace.

After the battle, David bravely ventured into Jerusalem to leave Goliath's head for all to see. At the time, the city was still in the hands of the Jebusites, who thought their walls kept them safe. He had left the giant's armor and sword back at camp as souvenirs of the battle.[44]

Rising Popularity

When David became good friends with Saul's son Jonathan, Saul called David into full-time service. Though David would not be able to return home regularly, the house of Jesse was released from obligations to Saul's regime.[45] As part of the king's staff, David had access to all that the noble class had to offer. Jonathan recognized David's place in Israel—that of a prince—by bestowing upon him his own garments and other signs of royalty.[46]

At first Saul was as pleased as anyone with the popularity of his favorite assistant. Remembering David's valiant exploits regarding Goliath, Saul appointed him to be a leader in his army.[47] But as David began to be praised as much greater in battle than the king himself,[48] Saul became very angry, feeling that so much success—with military, financial and popular support—that the young prince would one day attempt to overthrow him. The king began to be suspicious of David's every move.[49] It became so bad that even when David was soothing Saul's fits of depression through his music, Saul could not hold back anger. Finally, Saul thrust his spear (which he always had beside him) across the room at David, hoping to kill him,[50] but David evaded it.

As Saul's fear of David's intent increased, he refused to view circumstances positively, for the Spirit of God was no longer with him, but with David. He sought many ways to eliminate his rival. When promotion to more dangerous military campaigns did not discourage David, he sought to corrupt him with marriage into the family. He reminded him the standing offer of a royal wedding to Marab, his oldest daughter. However, David did not feel worthy of such an honor, considering his father's house to be far below royalty. Nothing seemed to work, until Saul's younger daughter Michal declared her love for David. When David seemed interested in Micah, a "deal" was struck. In lieu of the usual dowry, all David had to do was secure a bounty of a hundred Philistine foreskins. It is certain that Saul thought David could not do such a thing without being killed. However, David and his small band of supporters went out and killed 200 men, bringing in the foreskins.

With Saul's fear of David seizing the throne ever increasing he decided to put him in the frontlines of the military over one-thousand men.[51] This fear Saul had arose out of God being with David, but having departed Saul.[52] Eventually David was offered Saul's eldest daughter, Merab in marriage (this one of the "prizes" for defeating Goliath"), in condition that David would serve only Saul loyally in the military, hoping that David would be killed in war.[53] David declined the offer to become the son-in-law of the King, in humbleness, citing that he and his family were of little importance.[54]

Another one of Saul's daughters Michal was in love with David and her father hearing this decided it would be a good method that would lead to David having passion in battle to be killed by a Philistine.[55] After a private consultation with some of the king's attendants, David still refused a daughter in marriage, in humbleness of his family's low social class.[56] Saul's attendants then explained to David it would not cost him any money and he would only want one-hundred foreskins of Philistines. Saul became even more afraid that David would usurp the throne after he became his son-in-law. To make things worse, the continuing success against the Philistines made everyone like David more.[57]

Death Plot

Soon Saul told his son Jonathan and his attendants to try to murder David.[58] With the strong relationship between Jonathan and David, David was informed of this death plot by Jonathan who told him to go into hiding the next morning.[59] So the next morning David hid himself while Jonathan asked his father to reconsider, because it would be murder to kill an innocent man.[60] Saul agreed not to kill him and so Jonathan sought out David and found him and told him the conversation. David was then restored to his regular duties in Saul's administration.[61] With this David soon went back to fighting the Philistines, striking them with such powerful force that they fled.[62]

David also resumed playing the lyre and an attempt was made on his life by Saul when aspear narrowly missed him.[63] That night men were sent to David's house to monitor to it and to kill David in the morning. The servant of Saul was frightened and wrote a mitkam,[64] describing the soldiers who watched his house. David's wife Michal knew that if David did not escape he would be killed[65] so she lowered him out of window and fled.[66] David's wife then grabbed an idol and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and stuffing it with animal hair to disguise it as David.[67] In the morning the soldiers inquired of David and Michal deceptively told them that he was sick.[68]

On the run

Meanwhile (while it was discovered he had escaped) David had fled to the city of Ramah and there made refuge with the retired prophet Samuel. David then went with Samuel to a city called Naioth in order to stay out of the hands of Saul.[69] Soon afterwards Saul discovered that David was hiding in Naioth and so David ran again, this time to Jonathan.[70] When Jonathan heard about his father's attempts on his best friend's life, he was astonished in disbelief.[71] David swore to Jonathan that Saul was trying to kill him and this was hidden because of Jonathan's love for David.[72]

With his companion still in disbelief, David instructed Jonathan to tell Saul that he was traveling to his hometown of Bethlehem to participate in a sacrifice for the whole clan, instead of participating in the New Moon Feast with the King. Rather, David would be hiding in the fields.[73] When the New Moon Feast happened and David's seat was empty, Saul thought he was unclean and wasn't eligible to participate.[74] When David was not present the next day Saul asked Jonathan about him and he told him that he was in Bethlehem. Saul became infuriated with anger and Jonathan knew that it was indeed true that David was in danger.[75]

Jonathan went and found David by some stones in the fields, just as they arranged. When David knew that Jonathan's father was infuriated about his absence, he kissed him on the cheek (a cultural saluation) and powerfully wept.[76] Finally David was sent off by Jonathan in peace.[77] David fled to Nob and there met with a priest named Ahimelech, who he told that he was on a highly secretive mission of the King.[78] David asked the priest for some bread, which the only kind he had was consecrated. Ahimelech asked David if kept himself from any women and David had, so he was able to eat the bread.[79] David also needed a weapon for his own protection, but the only one available was the sword of Goliath.[80]

Pretend Insanity

Later that day David went to the domain of Achish, the King of Gath, a Philistine city.[81] Ashish's servants recognized David and when he heard they were aware of his massive casualties, he became fearful.[82] During this time David composed a mitkam[83] describing his emotions of fear and the tears that went with them.[84] In fear that the city of giants would want vengeance on David for killing the city's champion (Goliath) and many other Philistines, David pretended to be insane. When he pretended to have insanity he made marks on the city's gate and let saliva drool into his beard.[85] Achish was repulsed by David's supposed sanity and so he had him expelled from the city.[86]

Near the time of pretending to be insane, David wrote a Psalm[87] that expressed his thanks to God from delivering him from the king.

David's army

David then escaped to the cave of Adullam. During this time David experienced great fear, and he wrote a mitkam that described his feelings.[88] To David the soldiers of Saul were like lions and ravenous beasts, whose teeth were sharp and dangerous.[89] His family[90] as well as debtors and other disadvantaged individuals heard he was there and came to rally around him, forming an army of about four hundred.[91] David had with him both his father Jesse, and his mother. Since David had a small army and was being hunted down by the armies of Israel, it seems David wanted to keep his parents away from war. David took his parents to Mizpah in Moab and put them under the protection of the king.[92]

While David planned to take refuge in the city, the prophet Gad came to him and told him to not stay in the stronghold, but instead in the country of Judah. David did as was advised and hid in the Forest of Hereth.[93]

When Saul began to see the work of those under his reign in delivering David far away he became furious. Saul's Chief Shepherd, Doeg the Edomite, notified Saul that he had noticed David in Nod and that Ahimelech the priest sheltered him. As a result Saul had all the priests in Nob killed, but Abiathar escaped.[94]

David soon was met by Abiathar who told him of Saul's execution of the priests, leaving David to feel guilty for having all the priests killed.[95] In his contempt with Doeg the Edomite he wrote a maskil (a type of Psalm),[96] cursing Doeg's actions,[97] while expressing trust in God.[98]

Eventually David heard that the nearby Israelite city of Keilah was being attacked.[99] Since David had a small army he decided to consider counterattacking the Philistines in defense of the city, and so asked God.[100] This idea was rejected by David's men who challenged that they would not be able to stop Philistine forces when they were being hunted by Saul's army. Once again David consulted the Lord and He told David that the Philistines would be delivered into his hands.[101] So David with his army went down to Keilah, inflicting heavy casualties on the attacking Philistines, and rescuing the city.[102]

On the move

Shortly thereafter Saul made plans to come down to the city David had just rescued in order to kill him. When David heard of this he consulted Yahweh (God), whether or not Saul would destroy the entire city to kill him. David was told that Saul would and so he left the city to avoid it being attacked once again.[103]

From this point on David did not stay in one place for too long but moved from place to place as Saul grew near to discovering him. After leaving Keliah, David and his army went to Horesh in the Desert of Ziph,[104] but when Saul came near they moved to the Desert of Maon.[105] During this time David was fearful and so he wrote a maskil asking God for deliverance.[106] Again David's location was discovered and so he moved, this time to the Desert of En Gedi.[107]

David spares Saul

When Saul heard that David was En Gedi he brought with him three-thousand soldiers and began the search near the "Crags of the Wild Goats". Nearby there was a cave and deep in that cave David and his men were encamped.[108] This was unbeknownst to Saul who was in the cave "relieving" (its uncertain whether this refers to urination or bowel movement, sleeping or perhaps both) himself. When David and his men knew this they believed it to be the day that God would deliver Saul into their hands. So David sneaked up to Saul while he "relieved" himself and cut off part of his clothes.[109]

After David realized what he had done he was shocked[110] and felt guilty for almost harming God's anointed king.[111] Then David rebuked his soldiers and forbid them from killing Saul.[112] After Saul left the cave David left the cave and prostrated before Saul and begged him not to continue this chase for he was innocent.[113] For a short while Saul decided to discontinue hunting down David.

David gains another wife

Then Samuel passed away and after this David moved to the Desert of Paran.[114] While in Paran, David's army encamped all around the property of a man named Nabal, forming a "wall" around their cattle.[115] When David and his men became hungry, David sent messengers to Nabal,[116] but received only insults.[117] When David heard this he gathered four-hundred men and began to head for Nabal.[118] As David headed for Nabal he realized that he had wasted time protecting his cattle and he vowed to kill all the males belonging to Nabal.[119] Just then David's new future wife, the intelligent and beautiful, Abigail approached the horse-mounted group with gifts. She got off her donkey and prostrated before David, apologizing for her husband Nabal's lack of generosity and offered an abundance of food and cattle.[120]

When David heard all of this he praised God and told Abigail that she was a blessing.[121] Then David took her gifts and sent her back home in peace.[122] Eventually God took vengeance[123] on David's behalf and several days later struck Nabal dead.[124] Then Abigail was asked to become David's wife and willingly came to become the wife of David.[125] At this time David was also married to Ahinoam, but his former wife Michal was remarried to another man.[126]

David sneaks into Saul's camp

Once again reports had informed Saul of David's location, this time on the Hill of Hakilah. So Saul brought his army and encamped nearby the hill where David was hiding. After learning that Saul was nearby, David decided to sneak into his camp at night with Abishai.[127] While in the camp David and Abishai found Saul sleeping. Abishai almost took Saul's life with his own spear, but David prevented this, because he knew that they could not kill the current God-appointed king.[128] Though David and Abishai could not kill Saul, they stole the water jug and spear lying next to his side.[129]

After this they ran out of the camp and back onto the hill of Hakilah. Once David was back on the hill he called out to Abner, that he had not done his duty to protect God's appointed King and would suffer God's punishment.[130] When Saul heard the conversation, he recognized the voice on the hill as David's. Saul called out to David and David asked Saul why he was chasing him down. Saul realized he had sinned, because he had not justified reason for persecuting David.[131] David returned Saul's spear to him and he went on his way, while Saul returned home.[132]

In Philistia

Servant of Achish

David knew this promise from Saul would be short-lived, and so he decided to move to the Land of the Philistines, to remain hidden from his grasp.[133] David and his army of six-hundred took with them their families, including David's wives Abigail and Ahinoam. David went to live in the city of Gath, under the protection and rulership of King Achish.[134] While in the past David had been fearful of Achish, David was now favored in his eyes as a servant. When the King of Israel heard David was in Gath, he finally stopped pursuing him for death.[135]

Eventually David asked King Achish for a town for him and his men to live in, and so he was given the city of Ziklag under the authority of the Philistines.[136] While living in Ziklag, David lead his army in many campaigns against enemies of the Philistines, such as the Amalekites or Geshurites.[137] When David lead these attacks he left no witnesses, in fear that people would view him as a savage; looting cattle and property.[138] Eventually Israel became so annoyed with David the King of Gath believed he could keep him in servanthood for life.[139]

Once when the Philistines planned to attack the Israelites at Jezreel and Aphek, David and his armies served as a bodyguard militia protecting King Achish.[140] When the other Philistine commanders saw that Achish had a militia of Hebrews, they demanded he be sent back.[141]

Ziklag looted

David, disappointed that he could not serve under Achish returned to Ziklag the next morning.[142] After a three days journey back to Ziklag, it was discovered the city had been raided. Everything that son of Jesse and his army owned, and their families- including Ahinoam and Abigail David's wives were gone.[143] David was distressed but found strength in God.[144]

With the men exhausted from the stress of their kidnapped families, David and only four hundred men went to pursue the raiders, the Amalekites. After discovering an abandoned Egyptian slave of the raiders, David and his army were lead down to the Amalekites.[145] They fought with them until the evening of the next day. After inflicting heavy losses on the Amalekites, all of the property and family members were retrieved.[146]

After returning to Ziklag the men fought began to grumble and wished that those who stayed behind would not receive loot. David urged that all the men were to share alike,[147] which became a principle of his throughout his kingship.[148] David even sent some of the plunder to elders in various towns of the Tribe of Judah.[149]

The King is dead

The youngest son of Jesse stayed in Ziklag for two days. On the third day a man came to David and informed him that Saul and Jonathan had been killed in battle. The man also brought with him clothes from Saul and Jonathan, including Saul's crown. David in despair tore the clothes of Saul and Jonathan and wrote a lament (recorded in the Book of Jasher).[150]

In total David lived in Philistia a year and four months[151]

King of Judah

Fight for Kingship

Soon thereafter Saul's death, David returned home to Israel, going up to Hebron as God had instructed him.[152] David brought with him his two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail.[153] When David was in Hebron the people of Judah came there and appointed him king over the tribe.[154] Though David was made King over the Tribe of Judah, the rest of Israel remained loyal to the House of Saul.[155] Judah had been loyal to David even when he faced persecution from Saul, and they recognized that he had been anointed to be Saul's successor.[18]

Due to this conflict, a civil war arose between the Tribe of Judah and the Nation of Israel, ruled by the House of David and House of Saul respectively.[156] During this conflict, Abner the leader of Saul's military was accused for sleeping with one of Saul's concubines. This angered him and so he finally decided to begin negotiations to transfer Kingship of Israel, to the rightful-appointed king, David.[157]

Messengers were sent to David to begin negotiations. David was willing to do negotiations to begin winning over Israel and Saul's officials, contingent upon the return of his first wife, Michal the daughter of Saul (who had been given to another man). Abner agreed and Michal was given back to David in marriage, for he had won her by giving her father a hundred Philistine foreskins.[158]

Murders

However, Joab, David's commander of the army, had Abner killed in revenge for the death of his brother at the general's hand. When David heard of this he was in great despair, and he sang a lament and wept for Abner.[159] SInce David had much despair the people knew that he was not involved in the murder of Abner.[160] Shortly after this Ish-Bosheth, Abner's former king, was assassinated by followers of David, to avenge David of Saul's wrongdoings. Due to the evil they had done, David had the murderers put to death.[161]

Royal offspring in Hebron

After David became the King of Judah he more wives (and perhaps concubines) than the three he already had (Ahinoam, Abigail and Michal). While in Hebron, David's firstborn son Amnon was born to Ahinoam.[162] Within some time he also had Kileab[163] (also called Daniel) with Abigail, Absalom with Macaah (Princess of Geshur),[162] Adonijah with Haggith,[164] Shephatiah with Abital[5] and Ithream with Elgah.[4][165]

David had these children all some time during his reign as King of Judah. David ruled the Tribe of Judah from its capital of Hebron for seven years and six months.[166]

King of Israel

David made King

All the people of Israel and the elders of the tribes gathered at Hebron where David was ruler of Judah. The elders finally recognized that David had been anointed by God to be ruler of Israel after Saul. So the elders of the tribes of Israel made a covenant with David and they recognized him as King over all of Israel.[167] David became King of Israel at thirty-seven.[168]

City of David

Once David was King, he marched his army to Jerusalem where the native Jebusites lived. The Jebusites mocked David by saying that he could not get in, because even the disabled could ward him off.[169] David gave a challenge to his soldiers, whoever would lead the attack would become Commander-in-Chief of the army. Joab volunteered to go up and lead the attack, and so he was made Commander-in-Chief, and he would become a powerful advisor and aide to David.[170] The city was attacked and David did have it captured.[169]

So David moved his residence from Hebron to Jerusalem. He then called the city, the City of David, named after himself. The new name was an eponym to David, for it being the new residence and capital of the nation he ruled. David had the city greatly expanded and built up as Israel's new capital.[171] David grew even more powerful after occupying Jerusalem, because God was with him.[172]

David also created a partnership with King Hiram of Tyre, who arranged supplies and laborers to build David a palace. Based on this David knew God had truly established Him as King.[173]

Defeating Philistia

Israel's longtime enemy, Philistia, soon heard of David's establishment as King. Feeling threatened (perhaps due to David at one point serving on their side) they gathered in full force to attack him. David inquired of God if he should attack them, which he was told they would be delivered into his hands. The son of Jesse went and attacked the Philistines at their camp. Once again the Philistines came back and established camp. This time God instructed the King of Israel to circle behind them and he struck them down and finally defeated them.[174] Therefore, King David's name became known throughout the whole world and was feared by all nations.[175]

Bring the Ark to Jerusalem

After David had many buildings constructed for himself and his government in Jerusalem, he had prepared a place for the Ark of the Covenant. David gathered a large group of Priests, Musicians, and Soldiers to parade the Ark to Jerusalem. As they entered the City of David, David danced around shirtless in a linen ephod celebrating before God.

After the parade David went and sacrificed and returned home. His wife Michal was furious with him, because he had danced shirtless in public view of all the women in Israel. David in response told Michal he was celebrating before the Lord and would be held by the women in honor.[176] So Michal did not have any children with David, until she would die.

The Davidic Covenant

Once David had transitioned his living and governance into the Palace, he became upset that while he was living in a majestic home, the Ark of the Covenant was in a tent. He told this to his Royal Seer (a prophet), Nathan. While Nathan originally had no objections, God revealed to him a message for King David. After hearing it Nathan relayed the message from God to David. In the revelation, God reminded David that he brought him from being a shepherd to ruler of God's chosen people. David was told that God had cut off all his enemies and promised David's name would be made great. Further David was told that his House would be established forever; that his successor would be one of his own offspring, and would be the one to build the house for the Ark.[177]

In joy of this covenant David went and prayed to God. He expressed wonder that from his small family (the clan of Bethlehem) would be established a permanent Monarchy over Israel. David recognized since God had promised him these things, he would keep his covenant. This gave him the courage to pray his prayer before God.

Warrior King

In the course of time David achieved many military victories over other nations, sending many into submission. Though the Philistines had been defeated, David continued to pursue remnants of their army. The Moabites were also defeated by Jesse's son and so they became a client state and brought tribute. David also defeated Prince Hadadezer of Zobah, when he had captured his monument near the Euphrates River. When the Arameans in Damascus arrived to reinforce Hadadezer, they were defeated; this led to them becoming a client state and to pay tribute.[178]

Soon the enemy of Hadadezer delivered David some silver as a reward. David took all of the looted treasures of bronze, silver and gold from all the nations that were now under his control and gave them to God.[179] Additionally David attacked Edom and made them subject and had them pay tribute. David also established garrisons throughout many of the territories he captured.[180]

After this the King of Israel wrote a teaching mitkam.[181] In this psalm the various lands of Israel are metaphorically described as pieces of God's "armor", while the nations that were defeated as "waste bins" that were trampled on.[182]

Diplomacy with opponents

House of Saul

Soon thereafter, David inquired if anyone of the House of Saul was still alive. David was informed that a grandson of Saul, and son of Jonathan named Mephibosheth was still living. Mephibosheth, who could not walk, was brought before David and was shown kindness for the sake of his father Jonathan. David gave him all of Saul's inheritance, including Saul's servant Ziba. Mephibosheth was also given a place of honor and respect at the table of David.[183]

Ammonites

At one point the King of Ammon, Nahash, died, and his son Hanun succeeded him. In order to show kindness and diplomacy to the Ammonites, David sent envoys to console Hanun. When the envoys came to meet Hanun, he had them captured and shaved their beards and cut their garments off at the waist. This was done, because Hanun thought they were spies gathering intelligence to attack Ammon.

When Amnon realized that they had angered David, they hired a mercenary army. David took immediate action and sent Joab and his forces out to respond to them.[184] The battle quickly escalated where David himself joined the battle, inflicting heavy casualties on the Ammonites.[185]

Adulterer and Murderer

Adultery with Bathsheba

After these battles, David and his army returned home to Jerusalem. One evening, David took a walk on the roof of his palace. From there, David could see a woman named Bathsheba, bathing. David sent for her, and brought her in and slept with her. After this she was sent and home, but soon afterward sent word that she had become pregnant.[186]

Murder of Uriah

David, wanting to conceal the pregnancy, summoned Bathsheba's husband, Uriah the Hittite, and encouraged him to go home to his wife. However Uriah slept at the palace, because he did not want to be at home enjoying himself while his fellow soldiers were resting. Soon David tried again and made Uriah drunk. Yet after making him drunk, the attempt to make the conceived child look like Uriah's had failed. David became desperate, and sent a message by Uriah telling Joab to put him in the frontlines of battle to be killed.[187]

Curse on House of David

Bathsheba mourned for her husband for a time and then David had her brought in to be his wife. What David had done, however, had displeased God.[188] After this God sent Nathan the Prophet to David. Nathan told David a story about a man who had stolen a lamb when he already had plenty. David arose in anger against the man who stole the lamb, but was told that he was that man.[189]

David was then sharply rebuked by God through Nathan, because David had committed adultery and had murdered Uriah by the hands of the Ammonites.[190] In this God cursed David, promising that violence and calamity would never leave his House- even prophesied that women belonging to David would sleep with someone close to him, publicly before Israel.

David was also told that God had forgiven his sin, and he would not die as prescribed by the law,[191] but the child conceived in his adultery would die.[192]

After this David realized he had sinned against God and so he wrote a Psalm. In this Psalm David asked God for mercy and forgiveness, recognizing that he had sinned against the Lord.[193]

Children with Bathsheba

The Infant Dies

Just as he was told, David and Bathsheba's son was struck with illness. The royal adulterer pled for the life of the child, wearing sackcloth and refusing to eat. Seven days later, when the child died, David noticed his staff was silent and discerned the truth. Instead of grieving he worshipped God and asked for food, for there was nothing more he could for the infant.[194]

Birth of Solomon

Since the infant had passed away, David was no longer upset. The same was not to be said about Bathsheba whom he sinfully with whom he had the child. She was very upset about the death of her child so David slept with her to comfort her. As a result, another son was born (this time in marriage), whom they named Solomon.[7]

Meanwhile, David's military, under the command of Joab, had finally defeated the Ammonites. This resulted in David receiving their king's crown as a souvenir, and many Ammonite slave laborers.

Absalom Ordeal

Children of conflict

Though David was King over Israel, he still had responsibility over his family, the House of David. David had a large number of children, from many different wives, and so he did not have an active role in each of their lives. David had a manager who was responsible for administering all his children, and the mother of each child was their primary caretaker. The misdeeds of David's son Amnon to his step-sister Tamar would cause great division between him and his son Absalom.

Amnon became infatuated with Tamar, the daughter of David from another wife. Taking the advice of David's nephew, Amnon pretended to be ill so Tamar would take care of him. When David went to visit his ill son, as was his duty as head of the household, Amnon asked for Tamar. David sent his daughter Tamar to care for his son. Once Amnon was alone he tried to seduce his step-sister, but she refused, instead suggesting that a marriage be arranged by David. After this the Amnon, David's son, raped Tamar David's daughter.[195]

When David heard what happened he became furious, but did nothing to Amnon.[196] Tamar's full brother Absalom took notice and bided his time for an opportunity to take his revenge.[197] Two years later, Absalom arranged a party of all his brothers, but young Solomon did not go. When Amnon had become drunk, Absalom's servants were directed to kill him. All the other brothers ran away, but word came to David that all of them had been killed. The truth reached him not much later, but the king was not comforted at the death of his firstborn son.[198]

Characteristics

From a young age David had a deep faith in God, even receiving the courage from Him to fight a bear, lion and especially Goliath.[199] He was even considered by God as man after His own heart.[200] David enjoyed the Bible and joyfully sought to obey its commandments.[201] During his rule he had the guidance of the Holy Spirit within him.[23]

However, as a man of passion, David was a sinner. This was especially true with his sin of adultery with Bathsheba.[202] What began as a blatant internal sin of covetousness ended in the death of a good friend—murder by conspiracy. Another great sin, that of pride, led David to ascertain the strength of his army. Warned that this was a sin against the Law by his aide Joab,[203] David commanded the census.[204] This angered God greatly.[205] Realizing his sin, David turned to God begging for mercy.[206]

When David was old and suffering from chills, his servants brought him an attractive virgin named Abishag to care for him and to keep him warm.[207] Though the care required the girl to lay in bed with him, David did not sleep with her,[208] this showing that perhaps after the affair with Bathsheba God strengthened his resistance against sexual temptation.

Verses

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