The “Star of David” is central to the national flag of Israel. Because David made Jerusalem his capital, it is known as The City of David, and is still Israel’s capital.In many ways, David personifies the nation of Israel:
Poet: David represents her heart. He wrote more than half of the Psalms.
Musician: David represents her music. (Matthew 22:43)
Shepherd: David represents her working class.
Soldier: David represents her champions, for this nation has killed
King: David represents her rulers and what Israel seeks in leadership
David was brave, energetic, prudent and humble. All other Old Testament characters seem to pale in comparison. Born in Bethlehem, his name means “God is gracious.” David is known as “the man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22), but this does not mean David had a heart like God, but that David pursued the heart of God.
David is such an intimate part of Israel’s history that the Messiah, who came through the Davidic lineage, is called “The Son of David” in all four Gospels. The book of Matthew opens by establishing Jesus as David’s direct descendant. The people cried “Hosanna to the Son of David” during Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Paul refers to the forgiveness of David’s sins in Romans 4:6. The Writer to the Hebrews refers to David’s faithfulness in 11:32. John refers to Jesus as the “root and offspring of David” in Revelation 5:5 and 22:16.
David’s character is far too vast and there is far too much written about him in the Bible to sum it all up easily. But David isn’t a hard man to figure out and his transparency endears him to us. David never did anything halfway. He had energy, focus, resolve, devotion and bravery. David had a rapid advancement to the kingship of Israel, but it never went to his head or to his mouth. David was a great organizer and military general. He extended Israel’s borders in all directions and brought prosperity.
In this study, we will visit the life of David to view the many facets of his character, both good and bad. We will see how the life of one individual can influence a nation. We will examine various episodes in David’s life and contrast them with our current Christian experience. Begin by reading First Samuel 16 and 17 when a boy shows up to fight a giant. It wasn’t a rock that killed Goliath, it was David’s faith. Through the power of God, you will slay your giants as well.
Whatever David set out to do, he did. Although he was the youngest of Jesse’s sons, God selected him above all of his brothers. Just 15 miles west of David’s hometown of Bethlehem, he killed Goliath. For almost six weeks, this ten-foot man challenged the armies of Israel. David didn’t ask, “Who is this man who defies Israel?” but rather, “Who is this man who defies God?”
Everybody loves a hero, except the envious. Watch David as he faces the jealousy of Saul and you learn a lot about him. Who can stand before envy? What excited Saul’s envy? Read I Samuel 18 for the story of the gradual growth of Saul’s hatred. Add to this the irony of Saul’s own son, Jonathan, befriending David above all others. Jonathan had nothing to gain—and everything to lose—by befriending David. As a young man, David wanted to win Saul’s daughter, Michal. Though jealous, Saul tried to turn this against David and take his life, but God protected David. Saul told David to kill 100 Philistines, so David kills 200 to win Michal. Michal saved his life by helping him escape over a wall, but she didn’t love David’s dancing before the Lord and she paid for that dearly. Note the double irony of both Saul’s son and daughter helping David while their father seeks to destroy him! But “David behaved himself wisely in all ways” (I Samuel 18:14). Being popular isn’t always easy. Some turn green at the thought of another’s promotion. Jealousy does not reason. It is the selfish dislike of others for what they have done or what they have. Envy throws cold water on another’s victory and blessing.
Because of his Psalms, we know more about David than any other Old Testament character. David’s Psalms teach us to be joyful at the success of others and sorrow at their calamities. Although David had to flee from Saul, he never complained. He never blamed God for his circumstances, even as a fugitive. David was distressed, but he strengthened himself in God (I Samuel 30:6). David knew his victories and promotions were due to the favor of God, not his own resourcefulness (II Samuel 5:10).
Each era of David’s life throws more light upon his character. You must view your life as a composite in order to see yourself clearly. Your value to God, like David, does not lie in what you can do for Him, but in recognizing what He has done for you.
Yes, David had his victories. But his personal sins later in life brought national calamities. Those who hold the highest office in the land must be morally pure. Leadership cannot separate a man from his morals even in the White House. We love David in his victories, but not in his vices. We love David when he is fighting Goliath, sparing Saul’s life and allowing people to curse him. But when we come to his affair with Bathsheba, we see something in David that we don’t like. It seems that it was David’s decision to kill Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, that offended God even more than David’s adultery. It was a sin of deliberation rather than a sin of sudden passion. First, David tries to deceive Uriah, then tries to get him drunk and failing that, he gets him killed. It was after twelve months of self-deceit that the Lord sent Nathan to convict David of his sins. David repented. David got right with God. But track David’s life from this point on and see how his sins affected his family and his nation. The book of Second Samuel is almost all about David:
Chapters 1-10: David’s triumphs
Chapter 11: David’s transgressions
Chapters 12-24: David’s troubles
David was not quick to punish Amnon for raping Tamar, for David himself was guilty of sexual sin. David didn’t say much to Absalom for the murder of Amnon, for David himself was guilty of murder. David was reluctant to rebuke Absalom for trying to deceive Amnon, for David himself was guilty of deceiving Uriah.
In David’s life, we see how private sins can have national consequences. Because David had weakened himself morally, he was responsible for a civil war. Although David repented and served the Lord, the results of his sins followed him to his deathbed. What David learned from his failures, we must go to his Psalms to discover, for many of David’s Psalms reveal his soul. We first see David as a shepherd boy, but we leave him as a dying king urging Solomon to destroy his enemies. Don’t shut the curtains of David’s deathbed too quickly, for we can learn much from his colorful career, both what to do and what not to do. David died and his son built a temple that stood for a thousand years. David was great, but how much greater could he have been had he stayed morally pure? We must seek to train young people in ministry and in morality, for only then can they defeat their giants.
A Chronology of David’s Life
(All dates are circa)
<>Elimelech & Naomi go to Moab; Naomi returns to Bethlehem 10 years later
<>Ruth marries Boaz; their son is named Obed, father of Jesse.
Jesse becomes the father of David
<>Samuel anoints Saul
<>Saul proceeds with a series of blunders and defeats
<>David is born in Bethlehem: the Eighth son of Jesse
<>Samuel secretly anoints David as king in Bethlehem
<>David is summoned to Gibeah to play the harp for a troubled King Saul
<>David slays Goliath in the Valley of Elah
<>David and Jonathan, Saul’s son, become friends
<>Saul makes two attempts to kill David with a javelin
<>David marries Saul’s younger daughter, Michal
<>After a 3rd attempt to kill David, Saul orders his soldiers to kill David
<>Michal tricks the soldiers; David flees to Ramah
<>David is pursued by Saul
<>David is comforted by Jonathan at Gibeah
<>Saul throws a javelin at his son Jonathan at a feast
<>Episode of shooting arrows in the field – and David’s flight to Nob
<>David is given Goliath’s sword by the high priest
<>David takes refuge with the Philistine king, Achish, at Gath
<>In a cave at Addullam, David gathers about him a band of loyal men
<>David flees to the wilderness of Ziph
<>Jonathan and David meet for a final time
<>David spares Saul’s life
<>Death of Samuel. He is buried at Ramah
<>Abigail pacifies David, who later becomes his wife
<>David spares Saul’s life a 2nd time after David penetrates the enemy camp
<>David wages war against Israel’s enemies
for 16 months – David now lives at Ziklag
<>David returns to Ziklag, finding the town burned and women and children missing
<>David pursues the Amalekites and recovers everything
<>Saul consults the witch at Endor – Samuel’s spirit pronounces Saul’s doom
<>Saul dies next day with son Jonathan and two other sons at Battle of Gilboa
<>David, now about 30, is made king over Judah at Hebron
<>David nephew Joab becomes captain of David’s army
<>David is proclaimed king over all Israel
<>David reigns for 7 years at Hebron; 6 sons are born to him, including
Amnon, Absalom and Adonijah
<>David leaves his capital and twice defeats the Philistines
<>Ark of the covenant is brought into Jerusalem
<>God refuses David’s deep desire to build a temple in Jerusalem
<>David befriends Mephibosheth, the handicapped son of Jonathan
<>Joab is sent to besiege Rabbah. David tarries in Jerusalem
<>David and Bathsheba; Uriah is sent to his death
<>Prophet Nathan confronts David. David repents
<>Death of Bathsheba’s first child – birth of her second son, Solomon
<>Amnon rapes his own half-sister Tamar
<>Tamar’s brother Absalom has his men murder Amnon at Baal-hazor
<>Absalom flees to Geshur where he stays for 3 years
<>David pines for his son; Joab instigates Absalom’s return
<>Absalom is barred from the palace for a further 2 years
<>Revolt of Absalom begins in Hebron
<>David, now about 60, flees Jerusalem
<>David is cursed Shimei, a Benjamite, on the road to Jericho
<>David crosses Jordan. Absalom enters Jerusalem, claiming David’s harem
<>Armies of David and Absalom meet in the forest of Ephraim;
20,000 rebels are killed
<>Joab kills Absalom when he is caught in the boughs of an oak tree
<>David grieves for his son
<>David returns across the Jordan in triumph, welcomed by Shimei and others
<>David collapses while fighting the Philistines but is saved by Abishai
<>The people tell David, who is now about 68, to retire
<>David takes a census and 70,000 perish in a 3–day pestilence
<>David buys the threshing floor of Araunah the Jubusite, and there
builds an altar
<>Nathan urges Bathsheba to remind David of his promise to
anoint Solomon as the next king
<> David dies
<>Shimei is shown mercy by Solomon but rebels and is killed
<>Adonijah requests to marry Abishag, a concubine of David; Adonijah is killed
<>Joab seeks safety at the altar, but is slain by Benaiah
<>Solomon does not live up to his reputation as a wise man. His many
wives influence idolatry in the land
<>The glory fades from the”Golden Age of Israel,” the era of David and Solomon.
Answering these questions will help familiarize you with the life of David.
Some answers will require the use of a concordance, Bible dictionaries, and encyclopedias.
____________1. Name the captain of David’s army. (I Kings 1)
____________2. How many stones did David take with him to fight Goliath?
____________3. Name one of the daughters of King Saul.
____________4. King David moved his headquarters from Hebron to what city?
____________5. What did David do as an act of worship when the Ark was brought into
the city? (the city you named in question # 4)
____________6. Who despised David for this act of worship?
____________7. What year BC did David become king?
____________8. David had played his instrument for Saul at some point BEFORE
he fought Goliath: TRUE OR FALSE?
____________9. David had a good opportunity to kill what king on two different occasions?
____________10. Name Solomon’s mother.
____________11. How was Uriah related to Bathsheba?
____________12. Which son of David was at David’s deathbed?
____________13. What sacred structure did God forbid David to build?
____________14. Who cursed David in his flight from Absalom?
____________15. Who killed Absalom?
____________16. Absalom murdered his brother. What was his name?
____________17. Who raped Tamar?
____________18. Was it Bathsheba, Solomon, David or Amnon that is connected with the
statement “the Lord looketh on the heart?”
____________19. Who took the initiative to bring David and Absalom back together?
____________20. Who rebuked David for crying over Absalom’s death?
____________21. Name the person whose pain David prophesied about in Psalm 22.
____________22. To what insect did David compare himself in I Samuel 24?
____________23. To what creature did David compare himself in Psalm 22?
____________24. To what specific city did David take Goliath’s head?
____________25. Name the instrument that David played.