David: King Over All the People

KEY VERSE: “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.” —I Samuel 16:13

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: I Samuel 16:1, 6, 7, 11-13

DAVID’S YEARS SPENT as a shepherd lad had a profound influence on the rest of his life. It prepared him to survive as a fugitive, when, in later life, he fled from the wrath of Saul. He also acquired skill with the slingshot, and he developed endurance and courage through success under the hardships of rescuing sheep which had been separated from his flock. David did not even hesitate to kill a bear when it became necessary.—I Sam. 17:34-36

But for all his valor as a warrior, David will also be remembered as one skilled on the harp and as a composer of songs. David’s love for Jehovah raised his lyrics far above the common level of simple entertainment, making them classical masterpieces dedicated to the worship and praise of the Lord.

All this training prepared David for the greatest of his roles—shepherding Jehovah’s people. It is written: “He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: from following the ewes great with young, he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.” (Ps. 78:70,71) However, when David first left his work tending his father’s sheep it was not to take over the kingship. At the request of King Saul, he served as the court musician to soothe the king’s troubled spirit, as well as to serve as his armor bearer.—I Sam. 16:19-23

Later, when David took food to his older brothers serving in the king’s army, he saw Goliath scoffing at Israel. He received the king’s permission to confront this gigantic enemy. As he neared Goliath he cried, “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.” (I Sam. 17:45) Suddenly David hurled the stone he had in his sling and with one blow he brought down Goliath, then quickly cut off his head.—I Sam. 17:49-51

David was placed over Israel’s men of war. Often when David returned from a victorious expedition against the Philistines he would be greeted by women dancing in the streets. The popular song of the day was, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” (I Sam. 18:5-7) David’s popularity stirred up envy in Saul who soon became set upon eliminating him. From this time on David’s life was in constant jeopardy. But he behaved himself so wisely that he attracted universal respect and love among the Israelites.

When Saul died it resulted in a crisis in Israel, and a period of civil war followed. David took up his residence at Hebron in the hill country of Judah, some nineteen miles southwest of Jerusalem. Here he was anointed king over the house of Judah and reigned seven and one-half years over that nation. (II Sam. 2:1-11) Meanwhile the civil war between the house of Saul and the house of David resulted in the end of the house of Saul, and in David’s being anointed king over all Israel.—II Sam. 2:8 to 5:5

David had a great desire to build a temple for the Ark. He asked the Prophet Nathan about this. Without waiting to consult God, Nathan replied, “Do all that is in thine heart; for God is with thee.” But the same night God told Nathan that David was not to build a house for God because he had been a man of war. God would first establish his house, and then his son would build the Temple.—II Sam. 7; I Chron. 17

King David died at the age of seventy about 960 B.C.—I Kings 2:10,11

Dawn Bible Students Association
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