According to the biblical narrative, David commits adultery with Bathsheba, leading him to arrange the death of her husband, Uriah the Hittite. David's son Absalom later schemes to overthrow him and, during the ensuing rebellion, David flees from Jerusalem, but returns after Absalom's death to continue his reign over Israel and Judah. He desires to construct a temple to Yahweh in which to house the Ark but, because he shed much blood, Yahweh denies David the opportunity to do so. David rules as king of the Israelites until his death at age 70, prior to which he chooses Solomon—a son born to him and Bathsheba—as his successor instead of Adonijah, his eldest surviving son with Haggith. He is honoured in Jewish prophetic literature as an ideal king and the forefather of the future Hebrew Messiah, and many psalms are ascribed to him.
David is described as cementing his relations with various political and national groups through marriage. In 1 Samuel 17:25, it states that King Saul had said that he would make whoever killed Goliath a very wealthy man, give his daughter to him and declare his father's family exempt from taxes in Israel. Saul offered David his oldest daughter, Merab, a marriage which David respectfully declined. Saul then gave Merab in marriage to Adriel the Meholathite. Having been told that his younger daughter Michal was in love with David, Saul gave her in marriage to David upon David's payment in Philistine foreskins (ancient Jewish historian Josephus lists the dowry as 100 Philistine heads). Saul became jealous of David and tried to have him killed. David escaped. Then Saul sent Michal to Galim to marry Palti, son of Laish. David then took wives in Hebron, according to 2 Samuel 3; they were Ahinoam the Yizre'elite; Abigail, the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; Maacah, the daughter of Talmay, king of Geshur; Haggith; Abital; and Eglah. Later, David wanted Michal back and Abner, Ish-bosheth's army commander, delivered her to David, causing her husband (Palti) great grief.
The Book of Chronicles lists his sons with his various wives and concubines. In Hebron, David had six sons: Amnon, by Ahinoam; Daniel, by Abigail; Absalom, by Maachah; Adonijah, by Haggith; Shephatiah, by Abital; and Ithream, by Eglah. By Bathsheba, his sons were Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon. David's sons born in Jerusalem of his other wives included Ibhar, Elishua, Eliphelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama and Eliada.Jerimoth, who is not mentioned in any of the genealogies, is mentioned as another of his sons in 2 Chronicles 11:18. His daughter Tamar, by Maachah, is raped by her half-brother Amnon. David fails to bring Amnon to justice for his violation of Tamar, because he is his firstborn and he loves him, and so, Absalom (her full brother) murders Amnon to avenge Tamar. Although Absalom did avenge his sister's defilement, ironically he showed himself not to be very much different from Amnon; as Amnon had sought the advice of Jonadab in order to rape Tamar, Absalom had sought the advice of Ahitophel who advised Absalom to have incestuous relations with his father's concubines in order to show all Israel how odious he was to his father [2 Samuel 16:20]. Despite the great sins they had committed, David showed grief at the deaths of his sons, weeping twice for Amnon [2 Samuel 13:31–26] and weeping seven times for Absalom.
God is angered when Saul, Israel's king, unlawfully offers a sacrifice and later disobeys a divine command both to kill all of the Amalekites and to destroy their confiscated property. Consequently, God sends the prophet Samuel to anoint a shepherd, David, the youngest son of Jesse of Bethlehem, to be king instead.
After God sends an evil spirit to torment Saul, his servants recommend that he send for a man skilled in playing the lyre. A servant proposes David, whom the servant describes as "skillful in playing, a man of valor, a warrior, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence; and the Lord is with him." David enters Saul's service as one of the royal armour-bearers and plays the lyre to soothe the king.
War comes between Israel and the Philistines, and the giant Goliath challenges the Israelites to send out a champion to face him in single combat. David, sent by his father to bring provisions to his brothers serving in Saul's army, declares that he can defeat Goliath. Refusing the king's offer of the royal armour, he kills Goliath with his sling. Saul inquires the name of the young hero's father.
Saul sets David over his army. All Israel loves David, but his popularity causes Saul to fear him ("What else can he wish but the kingdom?"). Saul plots his death, but Saul's son Jonathan, one of those who loves David, warns him of his father's schemes and David flees. He goes first to Nob, where he is fed by the priest Ahimelech and given Goliath's sword, and then to Gath, the Philistine city of Goliath, intending to seek refuge with King Achish there. Achish's servants or officials question his loyalty, and David sees that he is in danger there. He goes next to the cave of Adullam, where his family joins him. From there he goes to seek refuge with the king of Moab, but the prophet Gad advises him to leave and he goes to the Forest of Hereth, and then to Keilah, where he is involved in a further battle with the Philistines. Saul plans to besiege Keilah so that he can capture David, so David leaves the city in order to protect its inhabitants. From there he takes refuge in the mountainous Wilderness of Ziph.
Jonathan meets with David again and confirms his loyalty to David as the future king. After the people of Ziph notify Saul that David is taking refuge in their territory, Saul seeks confirmation and plans to capture David in the Wilderness of Maon, but his attention is diverted by a renewed Philistine invasion and David is able to secure some respite at Ein Gedi. Returning from battle with the Philistines, Saul heads to Ein Gedi in pursuit of David and enters the cave where, as it happens, David and his supporters are hiding, "to attend to his needs". David realises he has an opportunity to kill Saul, but this is not his intention: he secretly cuts off a corner of Saul's robe, and when Saul has left the cave he comes out to pay homage to Saul as the king and to demonstrate, using the piece of robe, that he holds no malice towards Saul. The two are thus reconciled and Saul recognises David as his successor.
A similar passage occurs in 1 Samuel 26, when David is able to infiltrate Saul's camp on the hill of Hachilah and remove his spear and a jug of water from his side while he and his guards lie asleep. In this account, David is advised by Abishai that this is his opportunity to kill Saul, but David declines, saying he will not "stretch out [his] hand against the Lord's anointed". Saul confesses that he has been wrong to pursue David and blesses him.
In 1 Samuel 27:1–4, Saul ceases to pursue David because David took refuge a second time  with Achish, the Philistine king of Gath. Achish permits David to reside in Ziklag, close to the border between Gath and Judea, from where he leads raids against the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites, but leads Achish to believe he is attacking the Israelites in Judah, the Jerahmeelites and the Kenites. Achish believes that David had become a loyal vassal, but he never wins the trust of the princes or lords of Gath, and at their request Achish instructs David to remain behind to guard the camp when the Philistines march against Saul. David returns to Ziklag and saves his wives and the citizens from the Amalekites. Jonathan and Saul are killed in battle, and David is anointed king over Judah. In the north, Saul's son Ish-Bosheth is anointed king of Israel, and war ensues until Ish-Bosheth is murdered.
With the death of Saul's son, the elders of Israel come to Hebron and David is anointed king over all of Israel. He conquers Jerusalem, previously a Jebusite stronghold, and makes it his capital. He brings the Ark of the Covenant to the city, intending to build a temple for God, but the prophet Nathan forbids it, prophesying that the temple would be built by one of David's sons. Nathan also prophesies that God has made a covenant with the house of David stating, "your throne shall be established forever". David wins additional victories over the Philistines, Moabites, Edomites, Amalekites, Ammonites and king Hadadezer of Aram-Zobah, after which they become tributaries. His fame increase as a result, earning the praise of figures like king Toi of Hamath, Hadadezer's rival.
During a siege of the Ammonite capital of Rabbah, David remains in Jerusalem. He spies a woman, Bathsheba, bathing and summons her; she becomes pregnant. The text in the Bible does not explicitly state whether Bathsheba consented to sex. David calls her husband, Uriah the Hittite, back from the battle to rest, hoping that he will go home to his wife and the child will be presumed to be his. Uriah does not visit his wife, however, so David conspires to have him killed in the heat of battle. David then marries the widowed Bathsheba. In response, Nathan, after trapping the king in his guilt with a parable that actually described his sin in analogy, prophesies the punishment that will fall upon him, stating "the sword shall never depart from your house."[lower-alpha 3] When David acknowledges that he has sinned, Nathan advises him that his sin is forgiven and he will not die, but the child will. In fulfillment of Nathan's words, the child born of the union between David and Bathsheba dies, and another of David's sons, Absalom, fueled by vengeance and lust for power, rebels. Thanks to Hushai, a friend of David who was ordered to infiltrate Absalom's court to successfully sabotage his plans, Absalom's forces are routed at the battle of the Wood of Ephraim, and he is caught by his long hair in the branches of a tree where, contrary to David's order, he is killed by Joab, the commander of David's army. David laments the death of his favourite son: "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!" until Joab persuades him to recover from "the extravagance of his grief" and to fulfill his duty to his people. David returns to Gilgal and is escorted across the River Jordan and back to Jerusalem by the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
When David is old and bedridden, Adonijah, his eldest surviving son and natural heir, declares himself king. Bathsheba and Nathan go to David and obtain his agreement to crown Bathsheba's son Solomon as king, according to David's earlier promise, and the revolt of Adonijah is put down. David dies at the age of 70 after reigning for 40 years, and on his deathbed counsels Solomon to walk in the ways of God and to take revenge on his enemies.
The Book of Samuel calls David a skillful harp (lyre) player and "the sweet psalmist of Israel."[lower-alpha 4] Yet, while almost half of the Psalms are headed "A Psalm of David" (also translated as "to David" or "for David") and tradition identifies several with specific events in David's life (e.g., Psalms 3, 7, 18, 34, 51, 52, 54, 56, 57, 59, 60, 63 and 142), the headings are late additions and no psalm can be attributed to David with certainty.
Psalm 34 is attributed to David on the occasion of his escape from Abimelech (or King Achish) by pretending to be insane. According to the parallel narrative in 1 Samuel 21, instead of killing the man who had exacted so many casualties from him, Abimelech allows David to leave, exclaiming, "Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?"
Interpretation in Abrahamic tradition
David is an important figure in Rabbinic Judaism, with many legends around him. According to one tradition, David was raised as the son of his father Jesse and spent his early years herding his father's sheep in the wilderness while his brothers were in school.
David's adultery with Bathsheba is interpreted as an opportunity to demonstrate the power of repentance, and the Talmud states that it was not adultery at all, quoting a Jewish practice of divorce on the eve of battle. Furthermore, according to Talmudic sources, the death of Uriah was not to be considered murder, on the basis that Uriah had committed a capital offense by refusing to obey a direct command from the King. However, in tractate Sanhedrin, David expressed remorse over his transgressions and sought forgiveness. God ultimately forgave David and Bathsheba but would not remove their sins from Scripture.
In Jewish legend, David's sin with Bathsheba is the punishment for David's excessive self-consciousness who had besought God to lead him into temptation so that he might give proof of his constancy as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (who successfully passed the test) whose names later were united with God's, while David eventually failed through the temptation of a woman.
According to midrashim, Adam gave up 70 years of his life for the life of David. Also, according to the Talmud Yerushalmi, David was born and died on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (Feast of Weeks). His piety was said to be so great that his prayers could bring down things from Heaven.
The Messiah concept is fundamental in Christianity. Originally an earthly king ruling by divine appointment ("the anointed one", as the title Messiah had it), the "son of David" became in the last two centuries BCE the apocalyptic and heavenly one who would deliver Israel and usher in a new kingdom. This was the background to the concept of Messiahship in early Christianity, which interpreted the career of Jesus "by means of the titles and functions assigned to David in the mysticism of the Zion cult, in which he served as priest-king and in which he was the mediator between God and man".
The early Church believed that "the life of David foreshadowed the life of Christ; Bethlehem is the birthplace of both; the shepherd life of David points out Christ, the Good Shepherd; the five stones chosen to slay Goliath are typical of the five wounds; the betrayal by his trusted counsellor, Ahitophel, and the passage over the Cedron remind us of Christ's Sacred Passion. Many of the Davidic Psalms, as we learn from the New Testament, are clearly typical of the future Messiah." In the Middle Ages, "Charlemagne thought of himself, and was viewed by his court scholars, as a 'new David'. [This was] not in itself a new idea, but [one whose] content and significance were greatly enlarged by him".
In European Christian culture of the Middle Ages, David was made a member of the Nine Worthies, a group of heroes encapsulating all the ideal qualities of chivalry. His life was thus proposed as a valuable subject for study by those aspiring to chivalric status. This aspect of David in the Nine Worthies was popularised firstly through literature, and was thereafter adopted as a frequent subject for painters and sculptors.
David (Arabic: داوود Dā'ūd or Dāwūd) is an important figure in Islam as one of the major prophets sent by God to guide the Israelites. David is mentioned several times in the Quran with the Arabic name داود, Dāwūd or Dā'ūd, often with his son Solomon. In the Quran David killed Goliath (Q2:251), a giant soldier in the Philistine army. When David killed Goliath, God granted him kingship and wisdom and enforced it (Q38:20). David was made God's "vicegerent on earth" (Q38:26) and God further gave David sound judgment (Q21:78; Q37:21–24, Q26) as well as the Psalms, regarded as books of divine wisdom (Q4:163; Q17:55). The birds and mountains united with David in uttering praise to God (Q21:79; Q34:10; Q38:18), while God made iron soft for David (Q34:10), God also instructed David in the art of fashioning chain mail out of iron (Q21:80); this knowledge gave David a major advantage over his bronze and cast iron-armed opponents, not to mention the cultural and economic impact. Together with Solomon, David gave judgment in a case of damage to the fields (Q21:78) and David judged the matter between two disputants in his prayer chamber (Q38:21–23). Since there is no mention in the Quran of the wrong David did to Uriah nor any reference to Bathsheba, Muslims reject this narrative.
Muslim tradition and the hadith stress David's zeal in daily prayer as well as in fasting. Quran commentators, historians and compilers of the numerous Stories of the Prophets elaborate upon David's concise quranic narratives and specifically mention David's gift in singing his Psalms as well as his beautiful recitation and vocal talents. His voice is described as having had a captivating power, weaving its influence not only over man but over all beasts and nature, who would unite with him to praise God.
Biblical literature and archaeological finds are the only sources that attest to David's life. Some scholars have concluded that this was likely compiled from contemporary records of the 11th and 10th centuries BCE, but that there is no clear historical basis for determining the exact date of compilation. Other scholars believe that the Books of Samuel were substantially composed during the time of King Josiah at the end of the 7th century BCE, extended during the Babylonian exile (6th century BCE), and substantially complete by about 550 BCE. Old Testament scholar Graeme Auld contends that further editing was done even after then—the silver quarter-shekel which Saul's servant offers to Samuel in 1 Samuel 9 "almost certainly fixes the date of the story in the Persian or Hellenistic period" because a quarter-shekel was known to exist in Hasmonean times. The authors and editors of Samuel drew on many earlier sources, including, for their history of David, the "history of David's rise" and the "succession narrative". The Book of Chronicles, which tells the story from a different point of view, was probably composed in the period 350–300 BCE, and uses Samuel and Kings as its source.
Biblical evidence indicates that David's Judah was something less than a full-fledged monarchy: it often calls him negid, meaning "prince" or "chief", rather than melek, meaning "king"; the biblical David sets up none of the complex bureaucracy that a kingdom needs (even his army is made up of volunteers), and his followers are largely related to him and from his small home-area around Hebron.
Beyond this, the full range of possible interpretations is available. A number of scholars consider the David story to be a heroic tale similar to King Arthur's legend or Homer's epics, whereas others think that such comparisons are questionable. One theme that has been paralleled with other Near Eastern literature is the homoerotic nature of the relationship between David and Jonathan. The instance in the Book of Jashar, excerpted in Samuel 2 (1:26), where David "proclaims that Jonathan's love was sweeter to him than the love of a women", has been compared to Achilles' comparison of Patroclus to a girl and Gilgamesh's love for Enkidu "as a woman". Others hold that the David story is a political apology—an answer to contemporary charges against him, of his involvement in murders and regicide. The authors and editors of Samuel and Chronicles did not aim to record history, but to promote David's reign as inevitable and desirable, and for this reason there is little about David that is concrete and undisputed.
Some other studies of David have been written: Baruch Halpern has pictured David as a brutal tyrant, a murderer and a lifelong vassal of Achish, the Philistine king of Gath; Steven McKenzie argues that David came from a wealthy family, was "ambitious and ruthless" and a tyrant who murdered his opponents, including his own sons. Joel S. Baden has described him as "an ambitious, ruthless, flesh-and-blood man who achieved power by any means necessary, including murder, theft, bribery, sex, deceit, and treason.[pageneeded]William G. Dever described him as "a serial killer".
Jacob L. Wright has written that the most popular legends about David, including his killing of Goliath, his affair with Bathsheba, and his ruling of a United Kingdom of Israel rather than just Judah, are the creation of those who lived generations after him, in particular those living in the late Persian or Hellenistic periods.
Isaac Kalimi wrote about the tenth century BCE that: "Almost all that one can say about King Solomon and his time is unavoidably based on the biblical texts. Nevertheless, here also one cannot always offer conclusive proof that a certain biblical passage reflects the actual historical situation in the tenth century BCE, beyond arguing that it is plausible to this or that degree."
The Tel Dan Stele, discovered in 1993, is an inscribed stone erected by Hazael, a king of Damascus in the late 9th/early 8th centuries BCE. It commemorates the king's victory over two enemy kings, and contains the phrase Hebrew: ביתדוד, bytdwd, which most scholars translate as "House of David". Other scholars have challenged this reading, but it is likely that this is a reference to a dynasty of the Kingdom of Judah which traced its ancestry to a founder named David.
Two epigraphers, André Lemaire and Émile Puech, hypothesised in 1994 that the Mesha Stele from Moab, dating from the 9th century, also contain the words "House of David" at the end of Line 31, although this was considered as less certain than the mention in the Tel Dan inscription. In May 2019, Israel Finkelstein, Nadav Na'aman, and Thomas Römer concluded from the new images that the ruler's name contained three consonants and started with a bet, which excludes the reading "House of David" and, in conjunction with the monarch's city of residence "Horonaim" in Moab, makes it likely that the one mentioned is King Balak, a name also known from the Hebrew Bible. Later that year, Michael Langlois used high-resolution photographs of both the inscription itself, and the 19th-century original squeeze of the then still intact stele to reaffirm Lemaire's view that line 31 contains the phrase "House of David". Replying to Langlois, Na'aman argued that the "House of David" reading is unacceptable because the resulting sentence structure is extremely rare in West Semitic royal inscriptions.
Besides the two steles, Bible scholar and Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen suggests that David's name also appears in a relief of Pharaoh Shoshenq, who is usually identified with Shishak in the Bible. The relief claims that Shoshenq raided places in Palestine in 925 BCE, and Kitchen interprets one place as "Heights of David", which was in Southern Judah and the Negev where the Bible says David took refuge from Saul. The relief is damaged and interpretation is uncertain.
Of the evidence in question, John Haralson Hayes and James Maxwell Miller wrote in 2006: "If one is not convinced in advance by the biblical profile, then there is nothing in the archaeological evidence itself to suggest that much of consequence was going on in Palestine during the tenth century BCE, and certainly nothing to suggest that Jerusalem was a great political and cultural center." This echoed the 1995 conclusion of Amélie Kuhrt, who noted that "there are no royal inscriptions from the time of the united monarchy (indeed very little written material altogether), and not a single contemporary reference to either David or Solomon," while noting, "against this must be set the evidence for substantial development and growth at several sites, which is plausibly related to the tenth century."
In 2007, Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman stated that the archaeological evidence shows that Judah was sparsely inhabited and Jerusalem no more than a small village. The evidence suggested that David ruled only as a chieftain over an area which cannot be described as a state or as a kingdom, but more as a chiefdom, much smaller and always overshadowed by the older and more powerful kingdom of Israel to the north. They posited that Israel and Judah were not monotheistic at the time, and that later seventh-century redactors sought to portray a past golden age of a united, monotheistic monarchy in order to serve contemporary needs. They noted a lack of archeological evidence for David's military campaigns and a relative underdevelopment of Jerusalem, the capital of Judah, compared to a more developed and urbanized Samaria, capital of Israel during the 9th century BCE.
In 2014, Amihai Mazar wrote that the United Monarchy of the 10th century BCE can be described as a "state in development". He has also compared David to Labaya, a Caananite warlord living during the time of Pharaoh Akhenaten. While Mazar believes that David reigned over Israel during the 11th century BCE, he argues that much of the Biblical text is “literary-legendary nature”. According to William G. Dever, the reigns of Saul, David and Solomon are reasonably well attested, but "most archeologists today would argue that the United Monarchy was not much more than a kind of hill-country chiefdom".
Lester L. Grabbe wrote in 2017 that: "The main question is what kind of settlement Jerusalem was in Iron IIA: was it a minor settlement, perhaps a large village or possibly a citadel but not a city, or was it the capital of a flourishing – or at least an emerging – state? Assessments differ considerably …" Isaac Kalimi wrote in 2018 that: "No contemporaneous extra-biblical source offers any account of the political situation in Israel and Judah during the tenth century BCE, and as we have seen, the archaeological remains themselves cannot provide any unambiguous evidence of events."
The view of Davidic Jerusalem as a village has been challenged by Eilat Mazar's excavation of the Large Stone Structure and the Stepped Stone Structure in 2005. Eilat Mazar proposed that these two structures may have been architecturally linked as one unit, and that they date back to the time of King David. Mazar supports this dating with a number of artifacts; including pottery, two Phoenician-style ivory inlays, a black-and-red jug, and a radiocarbon dated bone, estimated to be from the 10th century.Amihai Mazar, Avraham Faust, Nadav Na'aman and William G. Dever have also argued in favour of the 10th century BCE dating and have responded to challenges against it. In 2010, archaeologist Eilat Mazar announced the discovery of part of the ancient city walls around the City of David which she believes date to the tenth century BCE. According to Mazar, this would prove that an organized state did exist in the 10th century. In 2006, Kenneth Kitchen also came to a similar conclusion, arguing that "the physical archaeology of tenth-century Canaan is consistent with the former existence of a unified state on its terrain."
Scholars such as Israel Finkelstein, Lily Singer-Avitz, Ze'ev Herzog and David Ussishkin do not accept these conclusions. Finkelstein does not accept the dating of these structures to the 10th century BCE, based in part on the fact that later structures on the site penetrated deep into underlying layers, that the entire area had been excavated in the early 20th century and then backfilled, that pottery from later periods was found below earlier strata, and that consequently the finds collected by E. Mazar cannot necessarily be considered as retrieved in situ.Aren Maeir said in 2010 that he has seen no evidence that these structures are from the 10th century BCE, and that proof of the existence of a strong, centralized kingdom at that time remains "tenuous."
Excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa by archaeologists Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor found an urbanized settlement radiocarbon dated dating to the 10th century, which supports the existence of an urbanised kingdom. Following such discovery, the Israel Antiquities Authority stated, "The excavations at Khirbat Qeiyafa clearly reveal an urban society that existed in Judah already in the late eleventh century BCE. It can no longer be argued that the Kingdom of Judah developed only in the late eighth century BCE or at some other later date." However, the techniques and interpretations to reach some conclusions related to Khirbet Qeiyafa have been criticized by other scholars, such as Israel Finkelstein and Alexander Fantalkin of Tel Aviv University, who have, instead, proposed that the city is to be identified as Philistine.
In 2018, Avraham Faust and Yair Sapir stated that a Canaanite site at Tel Eton, about 30 miles from Jerusalem, was taken over by a Judahite community by peaceful assimilation, and transformed from a village into a central town at some point in the late 11th or early 10th century BCE. This transformation used some ashlar blocks in construction, which they argued supports the United Monarchy theory.
1928Elmer Davis's novel Giant Killer retells and embellishes the biblical story of David, casting David as primarily a poet who managed always to find others to do the "dirty work" of heroism and kingship. In the novel, Elhanan in fact killed Goliath but David claimed the credit; and Joab, David's cousin and general, took it upon himself to make many of the difficult decisions of war and statecraft when David vacillated or wrote poetry instead.
1936William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! refers to the story of Absalom, David's son; his rebellion against his father and his death at the hands of David's general, Joab. In addition it parallels Absalom's vengeance for the rape of his sister Tamar by his half-brother, Amnon.
1946Gladys Schmitt's novel David the King was a richly embellished biography of David's entire life. The book took a risk, especially for its time, in portraying David's relationship with Jonathan as overtly homoerotic, but was ultimately panned by critics as a bland rendition of the title character.
1966Juan Bosch, a Dominican political leader and writer, wrote David: Biography of a King, as a realistic portrayal of David's life and political career.
1970Dan Jacobson's The Rape of Tamar is an imagined account, by one of David's courtiers Yonadab, of the rape of Tamar by Amnon.
1972Stefan Heym wrote The King David Report in which the historian Ethan compiles upon King Solomon's orders "a true and authoritative report on the life of David, Son of Jesse"—the East German writer's wry depiction of a court historian writing an "authorized" history, many incidents clearly intended as satirical references to the writer's own time.
1974 In Thomas Burnett Swann's biblical fantasy novel How are the Mighty Fallen, David and Jonathan are explicitly stated to be lovers. Moreover, Jonathan is a member of a winged semi-human race (possibly nephilim), one of several such races coexisting with humanity but often persecuted by it.
1980Malachi Martin's factional novel King of Kings: A Novel of the Life of David relates the life of David, Adonai's champion in his battle with the Philistine deity Dagon.
1984Joseph Heller wrote a novel based on David called God Knows, published by Simon & Schuster. Told from the perspective of an aging David, the humanity—rather than the heroism—of various biblical characters is emphasized. The portrayal of David as a man of flaws such as greed, lust, selfishness, and his alienation from God, the falling apart of his family is a distinctly 20th-century interpretation of the events told in the Bible.
1993Madeleine L'Engle's novel Certain Women explores family, the Christian faith, and the nature of God through the story of King David's family and an analogous modern family's saga.
1995Allan Massie wrote King David, a novel about David's career that portrays the king's relationship to Jonathan as sexual.
1983Bob Dylan refers to David in his song "Jokerman" ("Michelangelo indeed could've carved out your features").
1984Leonard Cohen's song "Hallelujah" has references to David ("there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord", "The baffled king composing Hallelujah") and Bathsheba ("you saw her bathing on the roof") in its opening verses.
1990 The song "One of the Broken" by Paddy McAloon, performed by Prefab Sprout on the album Jordan: The Comeback, has a reference to David ("I remember King David, with his harp and his beautiful, beautiful songs, I answered his prayers, and showed him a place where his music belongs").
1991 "Mad About You", a song on Sting's album The Soul Cages, explores David's obsession with Bathsheba from David's perspective.
For a considerable period, starting in the 15th century and continuing until the 19th, French playing card manufacturers assigned to each of the court cards names taken from history or mythology. In this context, the King of spades was often known as "David".
↑ Some scholars think that the biblical description of David reigning for exactly "forty years", like Solomon, is formulaic in nature and not intended as historical, which calls into question our understanding of the exact length of David's reign and the exact years it traverses. Some scholars propose that David's rule occupied the middle third of the 10th century BCE.
↑ Some commentators believe this meant during David's lifetime. Others say it included his posterity.
↑ Other translations say, "the hero of Israel's songs," "the favorite singer of Israel," "the contented psalm writer of Israel," and "Israel's beloved singer of songs."
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The Kingdom of Judah was an Israelite kingdom of the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. Centered in Judea, the kingdom's capital was Jerusalem. The other Israelite polity, the Kingdom of Israel, lay to the north. Jews are named after Judah and are primarily descended from it.
Saul was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the first monarch of the United Kingdom of Israel. His reign, traditionally placed in the late 11th century BCE, supposedly marked the transition of Israel and Judah from a scattered tribal society to organized statehood.
Goliath is a biblical character in the Book of Samuel, described as a Philistine giant defeated by the young David in single combat. The story signified Saul's unfitness to rule, as Saul himself should have fought for Israel. Scholars today believe that the original listed killer of Goliath was Elhanan, son of Jair, and that the authors of the Deuteronomic history changed the original text to credit the victory to the more famous character David. However, other scholars contest that Elhanan killed Goliath's brother, and modern confusion is due to a grammatical error caused by a scribe much later on.
According to the Hebrew Bible, the tribe of Judah was one of the twelve Tribes of Israel, named after Judah, the son of Jacob. Judah was the first tribe to take its place in the Land of Israel, occupying the southern part of the territory. Jesse and his sons, including King David, belonged to this tribe.
Israel Finkelstein is an Israeli archaeologist, professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University and the head of the School of Archaeology and Maritime Cultures at the University of Haifa. Finkelstein is active in the archaeology of the Levant and is an applicant of archaeological data in reconstructing biblical history. He is also known for applying the exact and life sciences in archaeological and historical reconstruction. Finkelstein is the current excavator of Megiddo, a key site for the study of the Bronze and Iron Ages in the Levant.
King David is a 1985 American Biblical epic film about the life of David, the second King of the Kingdom of Israel, as recounted in the Hebrew Bible. The film is directed by Bruce Beresford, written by Andrew Birkin and James Costigan, and stars Richard Gere in the title role. The ensemble cast includes Edward Woodward, Alice Krige, Denis Quilley, Cherie Lunghi, Hurd Hatfield, John Castle, Jean-Marc Barr, Christopher Malcolm, and Gina Bellman.
The United Monarchy is the name given to the united Israelite kingdom of Israel and Judah, as depicted in the Hebrew Bible, during the reigns of biblical figures Saul, David and Solomon. It is traditionally dated to have lasted between 1047 BCE and 930 BCE. On the succession of Solomon's son Rehoboam in c. 930 BCE, the biblical account reports that the country split into two kingdoms: the Kingdom of Israel in the north and the Kingdom of Judah in the south.
The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, a book published in 2001, discusses the archaeology of Israel and its relationship to the origins and content of the Hebrew Bible. The authors are Israel Finkelstein, Professor of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, and Neil Asher Silberman, an archaeologist, historian and contributing editor to Archaeology Magazine.
Gath or Gat, often referred to as Gath of the Philistines, was a major Philistine city and one of the five Philistine city-states during the Iron Age. It was located in northeastern Philistia, close to the border with Judah. Gath is often mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and its existence is confirmed by Egyptian inscriptions. Already of significance during the Bronze Age, the city is believed to be mentioned in the El-Amarna letters as Gimti/Gintu, ruled by the two Shuwardata and 'Abdi-Ashtarti. Another Gath, known as Ginti-kirmil also appears in the Amarna letters.
Khirbet Qeiyafa, also known as Elah Fortress and in Hebrew as Horbat Qayafa, is the site of an ancient fortress city overlooking the Elah Valley and dated to the first half of the 10th century BCE. The ruins of the fortress were uncovered in 2007, near the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh, 30 km (20 mi) from Jerusalem. It covers nearly 2.5 ha and is encircled by a 700-meter-long (2,300 ft) city wall constructed of stones weighing up to eight tons each. Excavations at site continued in subsequent years. A number of archaeologists, mainly the two excavators, Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor, have claimed that it might be one of two biblical cities, either Sha'arayim, whose name they interpret as "Two Gates", because of the two gates discovered on the site, or Neta'im; and that the large structure at the center is an administrative building dating to the reign of King David, where he might have lodged at some point. This is based on their conclusions that the site dates to the early Iron IIA, ca. 1025–975 BCE, a range which includes the biblical date for the biblical Kingdom of David. Others suggest it might represent either a North Israelite, Philistine, or Canaanite fortress, a claim rejected by the archaeological team that excavated the site. The team's conclusion that Khirbet Qeiyafa was a fortress of King David has been criticised by some scholars.
This article is an overview of the kings of the United Kingdom of Israel as well as those of its successor states and classical period kingdoms ruled by the Hasmonean dynasty and Herodian dynasty.
2 Samuel 5 is the fifth chapter of the Second Book of Samuel in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible or the second part of Books of Samuel in the Hebrew Bible. According to Jewish tradition the book was attributed to the prophet Samuel, with additions by the prophets Gad and Nathan, but modern scholars view it as a composition of a number of independent texts of various ages from c. 630–540 BCE. This chapter contains the account of David's reign in Hebron and Jerusalem. This is within a section comprising 1 Samuel 16 to 2 Samuel 5 which records the rise of David as the king of Israel, and a section comprising 2 Samuel 2–8 which deals with the period when David set up his kingdom.
1 Samuel 17 is the seventeenth chapter of the First Book of Samuel in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible or the first part of the Books of Samuel in the Hebrew Bible. According to Jewish tradition the book was attributed to the prophet Samuel, with additions by the prophets Gad and Nathan, but modern scholars view it as a composition of a number of independent texts of various ages from c. 630–540 BCE. This chapter contains the battle of David with Goliath, the Philistine. This is within a section comprising 1 Samuel 16 to 2 Samuel 5 which records the rise of David as the king of Israel.
1 Kings 1 is the first chapter of the Books of Kings in the Hebrew Bible or the First Book of Kings in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. The book is a compilation of various annals recording the acts of the kings of Israel and Judah by a Deuteronomic compiler in the seventh century BCE, with a supplement added in the sixth century BCE. This chapter belongs to the section focusing on the reign of Solomon over the unified kingdom of Judah and Israel. The focus of this chapter is the reign of David and Solomon, the kings of Israel.
1 Samuel 22 is the twenty-second chapter of the First Book of Samuel in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible or the first part of the Books of Samuel in the Hebrew Bible. According to Jewish tradition the book was attributed to the prophet Samuel, with additions by the prophets Gad and Nathan, but modern scholars view it as a composition of a number of independent texts of various ages from c. 630–540 BCE. This chapter contains the account of David's escape from Saul's repeated attempts to kill him and the massacre of the priests in Nob. This is within a section comprising 1 Samuel 16 to 2 Samuel 5 which records the rise of David as the king of Israel.
2 Samuel 19 is the nineteenth chapter of the Second Book of Samuel in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible or the second part of Books of Samuel in the Hebrew Bible. According to Jewish tradition the book was attributed to the prophet Samuel, with additions by the prophets Gad and Nathan, but modern scholars view it as a composition of a number of independent texts of various ages from c. 630–540 BCE. This chapter contains the account of David's reign in Jerusalem. This is within a section comprising 2 Samuel 9–20 and continued to 1 Kings 1–2 which deal with the power struggles among David's sons to succeed David's throne until 'the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon'.
Warfare in the Hebrew Bible concerns any military engagement narrated or discussed in the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Tanakh or Old Testament of the Bible. Texts about warfare in the Hebrew Bible are part of the broader topic of The Bible and violence. They cover a wide range of topics from detailed battle reports including weapons and tactics used, numbers of combatants involved, and casualties experienced, to discussions of motives and justifications for war, the sacred and secular aspects of warfare, descriptions and considerations of what in modern times would be considered war crimes such as genocide or wartime sexual violence, and reflections on wars that have happened, or predictions, visions or imaginations of wars that are yet to come.
↑ Nadav Na'aman, "Was Khirbet Qeiyafa a Judahite City?: The Case against It", JHS (2017), pp.15–16.
↑ H.M. Niemann, "Comments and Questions about the Interpretation of Khirbet Qeiyafa: Talking with Yosef Garfinkel", Journal of Ancient Near Eastern and Biblical Law (2017), p. 255.
↑ According to the Dead Sea Scrolls and Greek version of 2 Samuel 13:21, "... he did not punish his son Amnon, because he loved him, for he was his firstborn." "2 Samuel 13 NLT". Bible Gateway. Archived from the original on 2019-09-23. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
↑ Stories of the Prophets, Ibn Kathir, "Story of David"
↑ Hill, Andrew E.; Walton, John H. (2009) . A Survey of the Old Testament (3rded.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan. p.258. ISBN978-0-310-28095-8. Archived from the original on 2020-10-11. Retrieved 2019-12-27. The events of the book took place in the last half of the eleventh century and the early part of the tenth century BC, but it is difficult to determine when the events were recorded. There are no particularly persuasive reasons to date the sources used by the compiler later than the events themselves, and good reason to believe that contemporary records were kept (cf. 2 Sam. 20:24–25).
Thompson, Thomas L. (2001). "A view from Copenhagen: Israel and the History of Palestine". The Bible and Interpretation. Retrieved 2020-12-25. The history of Palestine and of its peoples is very different from the Bible's narratives, whatever political claims to the contrary may be. An independent history of Judea during the Iron I and Iron II periods has little room for historicizing readings of the stories of I-II Samuel and I Kings.
↑ Redford 1992, pp.301–302: One (perversely perhaps) longs to see the result of the application of such a criterion to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s treatment of Arthur, to the anonymous Joseph and Asenath, to the Alexander Romances, or a host of other Pseudepigrapha. Mesmerized by the literary quality of much of the writing in 1 and 2 Samuel—it is in truth a damned good story!—many scholars take a further step: "The Succession story must be regarded as the oldest specimen of ancient Israelite history writing.”; Pfoh 2016, p.54 n. 126: Isser links the David story with other heroic tales, like Homer's epics and King Arthur's legend
↑ Kalimi, Isaac. Writing and Rewriting the Story of Solomon in Ancient Israel, Cambridge University Press, 2019, p. 53
↑ Baden 2013, p.12: the biblical narrative may be considered the ancient equivalent of political spin: it is a retelling, even a reinterpretation, of events, the goal of which is to absolve David of any potential guilt and to show him in a positive light.
↑ Pioske 2015, p.180, Chapter 4: David's Jerusalem: The Early 10th Century BCE Part I: An Agrarian Community: ‘…the reading of bytdwd as "House of David" has been challenged by those unconvinced of the inscription's allusion to an eponymous David or the kingdom of Judah.’
↑ Finkelstein & Silberman 2007, pp.26–27; Finkelstein & Silberman 2002, pp.189–190, Chapter 8: Archaeologically and historically, the redating of these cities from Solomon's era to the time of Omrides has enormous implication. It removes the only archeological evidence that there was ever a united monarchy based in Jerusalem and suggests that David and Solomon were, in political terms, little more than hill country chieftains, whose administrative reach remained on a fairly local level, restricted to the hill country.
↑ Finkelstein & Silberman 2002, pp.158. "We still have no hard archaeological evidence—despite the unparalleled biblical description of its grandeur—that Jerusalem was anything more than a modest highland village in the time of David, Solomon, and Rehoboam."
↑ "NOVA | The Bible's Buried Secrets | Archeology of the Hebrew Bible". PBS. Retrieved 2021-07-20. The stories of Solomon are larger than life. According to the stories, Solomon imported 100,000 workers from what is now Lebanon. Well, the whole population of Israel probably wasn't 100,000 in the 10th century. Everything Solomon touched turned to gold. In the minds of the biblical writers, of course, David and Solomon are ideal kings chosen by Yahweh. So they glorify them. Now, archeology can't either prove or disprove the stories. But I think most archeologists today would argue that the United Monarchy was not much more than a kind of hill-country chiefdom. It was very small-scale.
↑ Ancient Israel: What Do We Know and How Do We Know It? By Lester L. Grabbe; page 77Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017
↑ Zachary Thomas, "Debating the United Monarchy: let's see how far we've come." Biblical Theology Bulletin (2016).
↑ Mazar, Eilat, Excavations at the Summit of the City of David, Preliminary Report of Seasons 2005–2007, Shoham, Jerusalem and New York, 2009, pp. 52–56.
↑ Mazar, Amihai. Archaeology and the biblical narrative: the case of the United Monarchy. 2010. Full text.
↑ Avraham Faust 2010. "The large stone structure in the City of David: a reexamination." Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins.
↑ “The Stepped Stone Structure” in Mazar ed., The Summit of the City of David Excavations 2005–2008: Final Reports Volume I: Area G (2015), pp. 169–88
↑ Has King David's Palace in Jerusalem been Found? By Israel Finkelstein, Lily Singer-Avitz, Ze'ev Herzog & David Ussishkin; Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, Volume 34, 2007 - Issue 2; Pages 142-164
↑ The "Large Stone Structure" in Jerusalem Reality versus Yearning By Israel Finkelstein, 2011; Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palastina-Vereins 127(1):2-10; at
↑ Faust & Sapir 2018, p.1: ‘The lack of evidence for public construction and state apparatus in the region of Judah before the 8th century, expressed for example by the total lack of ashlar construction, is one of the oft-quoted evidence against the historical plausibility of a kingdom centered in Judah. The building of the “governor’s residency,” along with other lines of evidence, suggests that the settlement at Tel‘Eton was transformed in the 10th century BCE, lending important support to the historicity of the United Monarchy’
↑ Proof Of King David? Not Yet. But Riveting Site Shores Up Roots Of Israelite Era, By Amanda Borschel-Dan; Times Of Israel; 14 May 2018; At
Auld, Graeme (2003). "1 & 2 Samuel". In James D. G. Dunn; John William Rogerson (eds.). Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Eerdmans. ISBN9780802837110. Archived from the original on 2018-12-25. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
Horner, Tom (1978). Jonathan Loved David: Homosexuality in Biblical Times. Westminster: John Knox Press. ISBN9780664241858.
Knight, Douglas A (1991). "Sources". In Watson E. Mills, Roger Aubrey Bullard (ed.). Mercer Dictionary of the Bible. Mercer University Press. ISBN9780865543737. Archived from the original on 2018-12-25. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
Lemaire, André (1999). "The united monarchy: Saul, David and Solomon". In Hershel Shanks (ed.). Ancient Israel: From Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the Temple (Reviseded.). Biblical Archaeology Society. ISBN978-1880317549.