David (King David)

David was the youngest son of Jesse, the great-grandson of Boaz and Ruth, born in Bethlehem in the tribe of Judah. He was handpicked by God, anointed by Samuel, and became Israel's second, and greatest, king.

David was a shepherd in his early years. After killing Goliath, with a slingshot, he joined the entourage of King Saul, Israel's first king. Saul eventually became jealous of David's popularity with the Israelites and tried to kill him several times. David and his followers had to flee and hide out from Saul, but with the defeat of the Israelites and the death of Saul at the hands of the Philistines, David was anointed King over Judah.

Later, David defeated Ishbosheth the son of Saul, who was King of the northern tribes of Israel. Thereafter, in his eighth year, David united all the tribes and became King of all Israelites. He moved the capitol to Jerusalem, and brought the sacred Ark of the Covenant there.

David defeated the Philistines in two decisive battles, at Baal Perazim and at Rephaim, and the Philistines were no longer a serious threat to Israel. David then defeated Moab, Edom, Damascus, and Ammon, and they all became subjugated.

David committed adultery with Bathsheba and sent her husband Uriah to his death. For this, God rebuked David through Nathan the prophet, and told David that murder will be a constant threat to his family from this time on. David's first child by Bathsheba died seven days after birth. One of David's sons, Absalom, killed his half-brother Amnon, after Amnon raped Absalom's sister, Tamar.

Later, Absalom revolted against his father David and tried to take over the throne, but was killed by Joab, David's army commander. Another son of David, Adonijah, was killed soon after David died.

David was king for about 40 years. He was an extraordinary musician and poet, and wrote many of the Psalms in the Book of Psalms. He had many sons and daughters and died at an old age, and Solomon, his second son by Bathsheba, became the next king.

David is noted for several things. He initiated a cultural and literary revival which was continued by Solomon. He undertook far-reaching reforms in national institutions and administration. He also began preparations for building a central sanctuary in Jerusalem (the first Temple) and chose the site. The worship of God became the official state religion, and the priesthood was organized under the chief priests. He also reorganized the army.

Because the prophets, during the Old Testament times, had proclaimed that the Messiah would be a descendant of King David, people would use the phrase "son of David" as a way to refer to Messianic prophecy or to their hopes that the Messiah would arrive during their lifetime.

Jesus is often called the "son of David." A blind man named Bartimaeus, for example, refers to Jesus by that title, in Mark 10:46-52, shortly before Jesus healed him and restored his sight.

Details about the life of David can be found in the Bible's books of 1 and 2 Samuel and the first two chapters of 1 Kings, also in 1 Chronicles.

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