A lot of things could be written about King David. That’s a wild statement. A lot of things could be written about anything or anybody. That doesn’t mean they are true, or even accurate. But, a lot of things have been written about King David. The Psalms are mostly attributed to him. He wanted to build a temple for God, but he had shed too much blood. The story of David and Goliath is told about him. He is the central figure in the David and Bathsheba debacle. But who was the true man? Who was King David?
We know David was the youngest of seven sons, and likely the smallest. We first hear about him in 1 Samuel. Samuel has been sent by God to the house of Jesse the Bethlahemite, because God has selected a new king to replace Saul. Saul, the present (and first) king, had turned away from the Lord and did not carry out the Lord’s commands. You see, God really wanted to be king, but knew that an invisible king was a king in name only. So, God decided to replace Saul. Samuel went to Jesse, David’s father, and anointed David.
But David did not take the kingship right away. Much had to happen first. For one thing, this is when the Goliath story takes place. David comes to see about his brothers and hears Goliath issue his daily challenge. He is the only one who is not afraid of Goliath. He goes out without using armor because he had none of his own and the King’s was too big for him. So, he went out without armor. He took his sling and picked up 5 smooth stones from the stream. He went before the Philistine, exchanged some words with him and threw the first stone with his sling. The stone sank into his forehead and he fell, dead. David cut off his head with his own sword and brought it to the king.
Jonathon, Saul’s son, became David’s best friend, while Saul, Jonathan’s father, became his enemy because he heard the Israelite women, who had come out to meet them, singing, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David, His ten thousands.” So, Saul was jealous of David and looked at him with suspicion after that. David paid a dowry of 100 foreskins from the Philistines and got Saul’s daughter Michal for a wife.
Saul, on occasion, tried to kill David, but David escaped every time. Eventually he (Saul) killed the priests of the Lord in Nob and David kept Abiathar, the only priest who escaped, with him. David then attacked the Philistines and slaughtered them to deliver the inhabitants of Keilah. Now, Saul decided that Keilah was a good place to capture David, because the of the Gates of Keilah. So, Saul brought the men together to attack David at Keilah. But David heard of Saul’s plan, inquired of the Lord, and left Keilah. So, David escaped Saul once again.
The Ziphites promised Saul they would surrender David to him. But when the Israelites got there they went on one side of a mountain and David escaped on the other side of the mountain. Meanwhile, Saul was told that the Philistines had made a raid on his land and so he left to attack the Philistines. Therefore, that place was called the Rock of Escape. David then stayed in the wilderness of Engedi.
A humorous story is found in 1 Samuel 24. Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. David came and cut off the edge of his robe. David felt guilty and refused to kill the king at that time. He came out of the cave as Saul was walking away and called out to him. Then he asked, “Why do you listen to the words of men, saying, ‘David seeks to harm you’?” 1 Samuel 24:9. Then he told him he could have killed him had he wanted to, while he was relieving himself! Saul admitted that David was more righteous than he and that another man would have killed him. Yet Saul still sought David to kill him.
Later David snuck into Saul’s camp while Saul was sleeping. This time he was asked by one of his men, Abishai, who was with him if he should ki ll the king. David said no, and left with the spear that was by the kings head and a jug of water. Then David crossed the river and called out to the camp from a mountaintop. He told the king’s bodyguard that he did not protect the king as he should have as David had the king’s spear and a jug of water.
Now the Amelekites attacked the City of Ziklag, where David lived, while he was away. And they took captive all the women and children. The Israelites were speaking of stoning David, but he led them in battle against the Amelekites. So David recovered all the Amelekites had taken, including David’s wives.
Now, the Philistines were fighting against Israel and killed the men of Saul on Mount Gilboa. They eventually caught up with Saul and his sons. The sons were killed and Saul was hit by arrows and was badly wounded. Saul told hi armor bearer to pierce him through with his sword. He was willing for one of his own men to kill him but not the Philistines. The armor bearer would not kill him so he took his own sword, fell on it and died. The armor bearer, seeing that the king was dead, fell on his own sword and died.
The other men of Israel, who were across the valley saw their people had fled and that the king was dead, they too fled, and abandoned their towns. The Philistines found Saul and they cut off his head, stripped him of his weapons and sent throughout the land of the Philistines.
After the death of Saul, David spent two days in Ziklag. Then, on the third day, a man came out of the camp of Saul. When he came to David and told him he had escaped the camp of Israel, that the men had fled from the battle and that there were many dead, including Saul and Jonathan. When asked how he knew Saul and Jonathan were dead, He said he saw Saul close to death, that Saul had asked him to kill him and that he had obliged him. So, David had the young man killed. “David said to him, ‘Your blood is on your head, for your mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the Lord’s anointed.’” -2 Samuel 1:16
David chanted a dirge over Saul and Jonathan. These are the acts of David before he became king over Israel. We have shown that he was very loyal, if nothing else. The history will be finished in the next blogpost.