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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

David

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(Heb. David', דָּוַד [in the full form, דָּוַיד in 1 Kings 3:14, and in Chron., Ezra, Neh., Song of Solomon, Hos., Amos, Ezekiel 34:23, and Zech.], affectionate or beloved; Arab. in common use Daoud; Sept. Δαυϊ v δ, N.T. Δαβίδ, older MSS. Δαυείδ; Joseph. Δαυϊ v δης ), the second but most prominent of the line of Jewish kings. The prominence of this personage in the Old Testament history as well as in the Christian economy requires a full treatment of the subject here.

A. Personal Biography. The authorities for the life of David may be divided into the following classes:

(I.) The original Hebrew authorities:

(1.) The narrative of 1 Samuel 16, to 1 Kings 2:10; with the supplementary notices contained in 1 Chronicles 11:1 to 1 Chronicles 29:30.

(2.) The "Chronicles" or State-papers of David (1 Chronicles 27:24), and the original biographies of David by Samuel, Gad, and Nathan (1 Chronicles 29:29). These are lost, but portions of them no doubt are preserved in the foregoing.

(3.) The Davidic portion of the Psalms, including such fragments as are preserved to us from other sources, viz., 2 Samuel 1:19-27; 2 Samuel 3:33-34; 2 Samuel 22:1-51; 2 Samuel 23:1-7. (See PSALMS).

(II.) The two slight notices in the heathen historians, Nicolaus of Damascus in his Universal History (Josephus, Ant. 7:5, 2), and Eupolemus in his History of the Kings of Judah (Euseb. Praep. Ev. 9. 30).

(III.) David's apocryphal writings, contained in Fabricius, Codex Apocryphus V. Test. p. 906-1006.

(1.) Psalms 151, on his victory over Goliath.

(2.) Colloquies with God, on madness, on his temptation, and on the building of the Temple.

(3.) A charm against fire. Of these the first alone deserves any attention.

(IV.) The Jewish traditions, which may be divided into three classes:

(1.) The additions to the Biblical narrative contained in Josephus, Ant. 6:8- vii. 15.

(2.) The Hebrew traditions preserved in Jerome's Quaestiones Hebraicae in Libros Regum et Paralipomenen (vol. 3, Venice edit.).

(3.) The Rabbinical traditions reported in Basnage, Hist. des Juwfs, lib. v, c. 2; Calmet's Dictionary, s.v. David.

(V.) The Mussulman traditions, chiefly remarkable for their extravagance, are contained in the Koran, 2:250-252; 38:20-24; 21:79-82; 22:15, and explained in Lane's Selections from the Koran, p. 228-242; or amplified in Weil's Legends, Eng. tr. p. 152-170.

(VI.) In modern times his life has been often treated, both in separate treatises and in histories of Israel. Many of the monographs on almost every point in his life will be found referred to below. In English, the best known are, Delany's Hist. Account (Lond. 1741-2, 3 vols.), Chandler's Life (Lond. 1766, 2 vols.; new edit. Lond. 1853), and Blaikie, David King of Israel (London, 1856); in French, De Choisi's, and that in Bayle's Dictionary. One of the most recent, and, in some respects, the best treatment, is that in Ewald's Geschichte des Volkes Israel, 3, 71-257. See also Kitto, Daily Bible Illustrations, vol. 2. Other treatises on his life as a whole, or on the several incidents of it, are referred to in Darling's Cyclopoedia, 3, 290 sq.

David's life may be divided into the three following portions, more or less corresponding to the three old lost biographies by Samuel, Gad, and Nathan:

I. His youth before his introduction to the court of Saul.

II. His relations with Saul.

III. His reign.

I. The early life of David contains in many important respects the antecedents of his after history.

1. His family are mostly well known to us by name, and are not without bearing on his subsequent career. For an extended view of David's lineage, (See GENEALOGY OF CHRIST).

It thus appears that David (born B.C. 1083) was the youngest son, probably the youngest child, of a family of ten. His mother's name is unknown. (See NAHASH). We can only conjecture her character from one or two brief allusions to her in the poetry of her son, from which we may gather that she was a godly woman, whose devotion to God's service her son commemorates as at once a token of God's favor to himself, and a stimulus to him to consecrate himself to God's service (Psalms 86:16; and perhaps Psalms 116:16). His father, Jesse, was of a great age when David was still young (1 Samuel 17:12). His parents both lived till after his final rupture with Saul (1 Samuel 22:3). Certain points with regard to his birth and lineage deserve special mention.

(a) His connection with Moab through his ancestress Ruth. This he kept up when he escaped to Moab and entrusted his aged parents to the care of the king (1 Samuel 22:3). This connection possibly gave greater breadth to his views, and even to his history, than if he had been of purely Jewish descent. Such is probably the significance of the express mention of Ruth in the genealogy in Matthew 1:5.

(b) His birthplace, Bethlehem (q.v.). His recollection of the well of Bethlehem is one of the most touching incidents of his later life (1 Chronicles 11:17). From the territory of Bethlehem, as from his own patrimony, he gave a piece of property as a reward to Chimham, son of Barzillai (2 Samuel 19:37-38; Jeremiah 41:17). It is this connection of David with Bethlehem that gave importance to the place again in later times, when Joseph went up to Bethlehem, "because he was of the house and lineage of David" (Luke 2:4).

(c) His general connection with the tribe of Judah, in which the tribal feeling appears to have been stronger than in any of the others. This connection must be borne in mind throughout the story both of David's security among the hills of Judah during his flight from Saul, and of the early period of his reign at Hebron, as well as of the jealousy of the tribe at having lost their exclusive possession of him, which broke out in the revolt of Absalom.

(d) His relations to Zeruiah and Abigail. Though called in 1 Chronicles 2:16, sisters of David, they are not expressly called the daughters of Jesse; and Abigail, in 2 Samuel 17:25, is called the daughter of Nahash. Is it too much to suppose that David's mother had been the wife or concubine of Nahash, and then married by Jesse? This would agree with the difference of age between David and his sisters, and also (if Nahash was the same as the king of Ammon) with the kindnesses which David received first from Nahash (2 Samuel 10:2), and then from Shobi, son of Nahash (17:27).

2. As the youngest of the family, he may possibly have received from his parents the name, which first appears in him, of David, the darling. But, perhaps for this same reason, he was never intimate with his brethren. The eldest brother, who alone is mentioned in connection with him, and who was afterwards made by him head of the tribe of Judah (1 Chronicles 27:18), treated him scornfully and imperiously (1 Samuel 17:28), as the eldest brothers of large families are apt to act; his command was regarded in the family as law (1 Samuel 20:29); and the father looked upon the youngest son as hardly one of the family at all (1 Samuel 16:11), and as a mere attendant on the rest (1 Samuel 17:17). The familiarity. which he lost with his brothers, he gained with his nephews. The three sons of his sister Zeruiah, and the one son of his sister Abigail, seemingly from the fact that their mothers were the eldest of the whole family, were probably of the same age as David himself, and they accordingly were to him especially the three sons of Zeruiah throughout life in the relation usually occupied by brothers and cousins. In them we see the rougher qualities of the family, which David shared with them, while he was distinguished from them by qualities peculiar to himself. The two sons of his brother Shimeah are both connected with his after history, and both seem to have been endowed with the sagacity in which David himself excelled. One was Jonadab, the friend and adviser of his eldest son Amnon (2 Samuel 13:3); the other was Jonathan (2 Samuel 21:21), who afterwards became the counselor of David himself (1 Chronicles 27:32). It is a conjecture or tradition of the Jews preserved by Jerome (Qu. Heb. on 1 Samuel 17:12) that this was no other than Nathan the prophet, who, being adopted into Jesse's family, makes up the eighth son, not named in 1 Chronicles 2:13-15. But this is hardly probable.

The first record of David's appearance in history at once admits us to the whole family circle. B.C. 1068. There was a practice once a year at Bethlehem, probably at the first new moon of the year, of holding a sacrificial feast, at which Jesse, as the chief proprietor of the place, would preside (1 Samuel 20:6), with the elders of the town. At this or such like feast (1 Samuel 16:1) suddenly appeared the great prophet Samuel, driving a heifer' before him, and having in his hand a horn of the consecrated oil of the Tabernacle. The elders of the little town were terrified at this apparition, but were reassured by the august visitor, and invited by him to the ceremony of sacrificing the heifer. The heifer was killed. The party were waiting to begin the feast. Samuel stood with his horn to pour forth the oil, as if for an invitation to begin (1 Samuel 9:22). He was restrained by divine intimation as son after son passed by Eliab, the eldest, by "his height" and "his countenance," seemed the natural counterpart of Saul, whose rival, unknown to them, the prophet came to select. But the day had gone by when kings were chosen because they were head and shoulders taller than the rest. Samuel said unto Jesse, Are these all thy children? And he said, There yet remaineth the youngest, and behold he keepeth the sheep." The boy was brought in. We are enabled to fix his appearance at once in our minds. He was of short stature, thus contrasting with his tall brother Eliab, with his rival Saul, and with his gigantic enemy of Gath. He had red or auburn hair, as is occasional in the East; or at least a rufous complexion and sanguineous temperament. (See RUDDY).

Later he wore a beard. His bright eyes are especially mentioned (1 Samuel 16:12), and generally he was remarkable for the grace of his figure and countenance ("fair of eyes," "comely," "goodly," 1 Samuel 16:12; 1 Samuel 16:18; 1 Samuel 17:42), well made, and of great strength and agility. His swiftness and activity made him (like his nephew Asahel) like a wild gazelle, his feet like harts' feet, and his arms strong enough to break a bow of steel (Psalms 18:33-34). He was pursuing the occupation allotted in Eastern countries usually to the slaves, the females, or the despised of the family (comp. the case of Moses, of Jacob, of Zipporah, and of Rachel, and in later times of Mohammed; Sprenger, p. 8). The pastures of Bethlehem are famous throughout the sacred history. The Tower of Shepherds (Genesis 35:21) was there; and there too the shepherds abode with their flocks by night (Luke 2). He usually carried a switch or wand in his hand (1 Samuel 17:40), such as would be used for his dogs (17:43), and a scrip or wallet round his neck, to carry anything that was needed for his shepherd's life (1 Samuel 17:40). Such was the outer life of David when (as the later Psalmists described his call) he was "taken from the sheepfolds, from following the ewes great with young, to feed Israel according to the integrity of his heart, and to guide them by the skillfulness of his hands" (Psalms 78:70-72). The recollection of the sudden and great elevation from this humble station is deeply impressed on his after life. "The man who was raised up on high" (2 Samuel 23:1) "I have exalted one chosen out of the people" (Psalms 89:19 "I took thee from the sheepcote" (2 Samuel 7:8). The event itself prepared him to do that in which Saul had so eminently failed, viz. to reconcile his own military government with a filial respect for the prophets and an honorable patronage of the priesthood. Besides this, he became knit into a bond of brotherhood with his heroic comrades, to whom he was eminently endeared. by his personal self-denial and liberality (1 Samuel 30:21-31; 1 Chronicles 11:18).

3. But there was another preparation still more needed for his office, which probably had made him already known to Samuel, and which, at any rate, is his next introduction to the history. When the bodyguard of Saul were discussing with their master where the best minstrel could be found to chase away his madness by music, one of the young men in the guard suggested David. Saul, with the absolute control inherent in the idea of an Oriental king, instantly sent for him, and in the successful effort of David's harp we have the first glimpse into that genius for music and poetry which was afterwards consecrated in the Psalms. It is impossible not to connect the early display of this gift with the schools of the prophets, who exercised their vocation with tabret, psaltery, pipe, and harp (1 Samuel 10:5), in the pastures (Naioth; comp. Psalms 23:2), to which he afterwards returned as to his natural home (1 Samuel 19:18). Whether any of the existing Psalms can be referred to this epoch of David's life is uncertain. The 23d, from its subject of the shepherd, and from its extreme simplicity (though placed by Ewald somewhat later), may well have been suggested by this time. The 8th, 19th, and 29th, which are universally recognized as David's, describe the phenomena of nature, and, as such (at least the two former), may more naturally be referred to this tranquil period of his life than to any other. The imagery of danger from wild beasts, lions, wild bulls, etc. (Psalms 7:2; Psalms 22:20-21), may be reminiscences of this time. And now, at any rate, he must have first acquired the art which gave him one of his chief claims to mention in after times "the sweet singer of Israel" (2 Samuel 23:1), "the inventor of instruments of music" (Amos 6:5); "with his whole heart he sung songs and loved him that made him" (Sirach 47:8).

4. One incident alone of his solitary shepherd life has come down to us his conflict with the lion and the bear in defense of his father's flocks (1 Samuel 17:34-35). But it did not stand alone. He was already known to Saul's guards for his martial exploits, probably against the Philistines (1 Samuel 16:18), and when he suddenly appeared in the camp his elder brother immediately guessed that he had left the sheep in his ardor to see the battle (1 Samuel 17:28). To this new aspect of his character we are next introduced. B.C. 1063.

The scene of the battle is at Ephes-dammim (q.v.), in the frontier hills of Judah, called probably from this or similar encounters "the bound of blood." Saul's army is encamped on one side of the ravine, the Philistines on the other; the watercourse of Elah, or "the Terebinth," runs between them. A Philistine of gigantic stature, and clothed in complete armor, insults the comparatively defenseless Israelites, among whom the king alone appears to be well armed (1 Samuel 17:38; comp. 13:20). No one can be found to take up the challenge. At this juncture David appears in the camp, sent by his father with ten loaves and ten slices of cheese to his three eldest brothers, fresh from the sheepfolds. Just as he comes to the circle of wagons which formed, as in Arab settlements, a rude fortification round the Israelite camp (1 Samuel 17:20), he hears the well-known shout of the Israelite war-cry (comp. Numbers 23:21). The martial spirit of the boy is stirred at the sound; he leaves his provisions with the baggage-master, and darts to join his brothers (like one of the royal messengers) into the midst of the lines. Then he hears the challenge, now made for the fortieth time sees the dismay of his countrymen hears of the reward proposed by the king-goes with the impetuosity of youth from soldier to soldier talking of the event, in spite of his brother's rebuke he is introduced to Saul undertakes the combat. His victory over the gigantic Philistine is rendered more conspicuous by his own diminutive stature, and by the simple weapons with which it was accomplished not the armor of Saul, which he naturally found too large, but the shepherd's sling, which he always carried about with him, and the five polished pebbles which he picked up as he went from the watercourse of the valley, and put in his shepherd's wallet. Two trophies long remained of the battle one, the huge sword of the Philistine, which was hung up behind the ephod in the Tabernacle at Nob (1 Samuel 21:9); the other the head, which he bore away himself, and which was either laid up at Nob, or subsequently at Jerusalem. See Nos. Psalm cxliv, though by its contents of a much later date, is by the title in the Sept. "against Goliath." But there is also a psalm, preserved in the Sept. at the end of the Psalter, and which, though probably a mere adaptation from the history, well sums up this early period of his life:

"This is the psalm of David's own writing (?) (ίδιόγραφος είς Δαυίδ ), and outside the number, when he fought the single combat with Goliath." "I was small amongst my brethren, and the youngest in my father's house. I was feeding my father's sheep. My hands made a harp, and my fingers fitted a psaltery. And who shall tell it to my Lord? He is the Lord, he heareth. He sent his messenger (angel?), and took me from my father's flocks, and anointed me with the oil of his anointing. My brethren were beautiful and tall, hut the Lord was not well pleased with them. I went out to meet the Philistine, and he cursed me by his idols. But I drew his own sword and beheaded him, and took away the reproach from the children of Israel."

David's susceptible temperament, joined to his devotional tendencies, must, at a very early age, have made him a favorite pupil of the prophets, whose peculiar mark was the harp and the psalm (1 Samuel 10:11-12, and 1 Samuel 19:20-24; see also 2 Kings 3:15). There is no small difficulty in reconciling the recommendation of David to Saul as a skillful player and warrior in 1 Samuel 16:14-23, with the account in the following chapter of David's appearance in the camp of Saul, and his introduction to that monarch in consequence of his victory over Goliath. Both narratives apparently give the account of David's first introduction to Saul, and yet it is not possible to combine them into one. Some would transpose the latter part of the 16th chap. so as to make it follow after 18:9 (Horsley, Bib. Crit. 1:332); but it is not easy to see what is gained by this; for if David was known to Saul, and accepted into Saul's service as there narrated, how could Saul send for him to his father's house, and receive him as a perfect stranger, as narrated in 1 Samuel 16:14-20? On the other hand, if David came before the notice of Saul under the circumstances mentioned in this 16th chapter, and was received into his favor and service as there narrated (21-23), how could the facts recorded in the 17th chapter, especially those in 1 Samuel 17:31-37, and 1 Samuel 17:55-58, have occurred? The Vatican MS. of the Sept. rejects 1 Samuel 17:12-31; 1 Samuel 17:55-58, and 1 Samuel 18:1-5, as spurious; and this Kennicott approves as the true solution of the difficulty (see his discussion of the question, Dissert. on the Hebrew Text, p. 418-432, 554-558). What gives some plausibility to this is, that 1 Samuel 17:32 naturally connects with 1 Samuel 18:11, and all between has very much the aspect of an interpolation. At the same time, it can hardly be permitted on such grounds to reject a portion of Scripture which has all other evidence, external and internal, in its favor. The old solution of the difficulty, that as David, after his first introduction to Saul, did not abide constantly with him, but went and came between Saul and his father's house (1 Samuel 17:15), he may have been at home when the war with the Philistines broke out; and as Saul's distemper was of the nature of mania, he very probably retained no recollection of David's visits to him while under it, but at each new interview regarded and spoke of him as a stranger still leaves unexplained the fact of Abner's ignorance of David's person, which appears to have been as complete as that of the king, and the fact of David's professing ignorance of warlike weapons, though he had been for some time Saul's armor-bearer. This last difficulty may be alleviated by the consideration that the statement in 1 Samuel 16:21 may be proleptical; or David, though Saul's armor-bearer, may have had so little practice in the use of armor as to prefer, in such a crisis, trusting to the weapons with which he was familiar. The best adjustment of these passages, however, is to transpose the account in 1 Samuel 16:14-23, so as to bring it in between 1 Samuel 18:4-5, and to regard the statement in 1 Samuel 18:2, of David's permanent residence at court after Goliath's slaughter as referring merely to an attachment to the royal person as a general thing and for the present. On the breaking out of Saul's hypochondria, David may naturally have returned home.

II. David's History in connection with Saul. The victory over Goliath had been a turning-point of his career. Saul inquired his parentage, and took him finally to his court. Jonathan was inspired by the romantic friendship which bound the two youths together to the end of their lives. The triumphant songs of the Israelitish women announced that they felt that in him Israel had now found a deliverer mightier even than Saul; and in those songs, and in the fame which David thus acquired, was laid the foundation of that unhappy jealousy of Saul towards him which, mingling with the king's constitutional malady, poisoned his whole later relations to David. Three new qualities now began to develop themselves in David's character. The first was his prudence. It had already been glanced at on the first mention of him to Saul (1 Samuel 16:18), as "prudent in matters;" but it was the marked feature of the beginning of his public career. Thrice over it is emphatically said, "he behaved himself wisely," and evidently with the meaning that it was the wisdom called forth by the necessities of his delicate and difficult situation. It was that peculiar Jewish caution which has been compared to the sagacity of a hunted animal, such as is remarked in Jacob, and afterwards in the persecuted Israelites of the Middle Ages. One instance of it appears immediately, in his answer to the trap laid for him by Saul's servants, "Seemeth it to you a light thing to be the king's son-in-law, seeing that I am a poor man and lightly esteemed?" (1 Samuel 18:23). Secondly, we now see his magnanimous forbearance called forth, in the first instance, towards Saul, but displaying itself (with a few painful exceptions) in the rest of his life. He is the first example of the virtue of chivalry. Thirdly, his hairbreadth escapes, continued through so many years, impressed upon him a sense of dependence on the Divine help, clearly derived from this epoch. His usual oath or asseveration in later times was, "As the Lord liveth who hath redeemed my soul out of adversity" (2 Samuel 4:9; 1 Kings 1:29); and the Psalms are filled with imagery taken even literally from shelter against pursuers, slipping down precipices (Psalms 18:36), hiding-places in rocks and caves, leafy coverts (Psalms 31:20), strong fastnesses (Psalms 18:2). This part of David's life may be subdivided into four portions: 1. His Life at the Court of Saul till his final Escape (1 Samuel 18:2 to 1 Samuel 19:18). His office is not exactly defined. But it would seem that, having been first armor-bearer (1 Samuel 16:21; 1 Samuel 18:2), then made captain over a thousand the subdivision of a tribe (1 Samuel 18:13), he finally, on his marriage with Michal, the king's second daughter, was raised to the high office of captain of the king's body-guard, second only, if not equal, to Abner, the captain of the host, and Jonathan, the heir apparent. These three formed the usual companions of the king at his meals (1 Samuel 20:25). David was now chiefly known for his successful exploits against the Philistines, by one of which he won his wife, and drove back the Philistine power with a blow from which it only rallied at the disastrous close of Saul's reign. He also still performed from time to time the office of minstrel. But the successive snares laid by Saul to entrap him, and the open violence into which the king's madness twice broke out, at last convinced him that his life was no longer safe. He had two faithful allies, however, in the court the son of Saul, his friend Jonathan the daughter of Saul, his; wife Michal. Warned by the one and assisted by the other, he escaped by night, and was from that time forward a fugitive. B.C. 1062. Jonathan he never saw again except by stealth. Michal was given in marriage to another (Phaltiel), and he saw her no more till long after her father's death. (See MICHAL). To this escape the traditional title assigns Psalms 59. Internal evidence (according to Ewald) gives Psalms 6, 7 to this period. In the former he is first beginning to contemplate the necessity of flight; in the latter he is moved by the plots of a person not named in the history (perhaps those alluded to in 1 Chronicles 12:17) according to the title of the psalm, Cush, a Benjamite, and therefore of Saul's tribe. (See CUSH), 2.

2. His Escape (1 Samuel 19:18 to 1 Samuel 21:15). He first fled to Naioth (or the pastures) of Ramah, to Samuel. This is the first recorded occasion of his meeting with Samuel since the original interview during his boy. hood at Bethlehem. It might almost seem as if he had intended to devote himself with his musical and poetical gifts to the prophetical office, and give up the cares and dangers of public life. But he had a higher destiny still. Up to this time both the king and himself had thought that a reunion was possible (see 20:5, 26). But the madness of Saul now became more settled and ferocious in character, and David's danger proportionately greater. The secret interview with Jonathan, of which the recollection was probably handed down through Jonathan's descendants when they came to David's court, confirmed the alarm already excited by Saul's endeavor to seize him at Ramah, and he now determined to leave his country, and take refuge, like Coriolanus, or Themistocles in like circumstances, in the court of his enemy. Before this last resolve he visited Nob (q.v.), the seat of the tabernacle (1 Samuel 21), partly to obtain a final interview with the high- priest Ahimelech (1 Samuel 22:9; 1 Samuel 22:15), partly to procure food and weapons. On the pretext of a secret mission from Saul, he obtained from Ahimelech some of the sacred loaves of shew-bread (q.v.) and the consecrated sword of Goliath, of which he said, "There is none like that; give it me." The incident was of double importance in David's career. First, it established a connection between him and the only survivor of the massacre in which David's visit involved the house of Ahimelech. Secondly, from Ahimelech's surrender of the sacred bread to David's hunger (see Osiander, De Davide panes propositionis recipiente, Tubing. 1751) our Lord drew the inference of the superiority of the moral to the ceremonial law, which is the only allusion made to David's life in the N.T. (Matthew 12:3; Mark 2:25; Luke 6:3-4). It is also commemorated by the traditional title of Psalms 52. His hospitable reception, when in distress, by Ahimelech the priest, and the atrocious massacre innocently brought by him on Nob, the city of the priests (1 Samuel 21 and 1 Samuel 22:9-19), must have deeply affected his generous nature, and laid the foundation of his cordial affection for the whole priestly order, whose ministrations he himself helped to elevate by his devotional melodies. (See AHIMELECH), 1.

His stay at the court of Achish (q.v.) was short. Discovered possibly by "the sword of Goliath," his presence revived the national enmity of the Philistines against their former conqueror; and he only escaped by feigning madness, by violent gestures, playing on the gates of the city, or on a drum or cymbal, letting his beard grow, and foaming at the mouth (1 Samuel 21:13, Sept.). (See Ortlob, De Davidis delirio, Lips. 1706; Hebenstreit, De Dav. furorem simulante, Vit. 1711; Krafft, De Dav. in aula Getheorum, Erlang. 1768.) The 56th and 34th Psalms are both referred by their titles to this event, and the titles state (what does not appear in the narrative) that he had been seized as a prisoner by the Philistines, and that he was, in consequence of this stratagem, set freely Achish, or (as he is twice called) Abimelech. (See ACHISH), 1.

3. His Life as an independent Outlaw (1 Samuel 22:1 to 1 Samuel 26:25).

(1.) His first retreat was the cave of Adullam, probably the large cavern (the only very large one in Palestine), not far from Bethlehem, now called Khureitun (see Bonar's Land of Promise, p, 244). From its vicinity to Bethlehem, he was joined there by his whole family, now feeling themselves in danger from Saul's fury (1 Samuel 22:1). This was probably the foundation of his intimate connection with his nephews, the sons of Zeruiah. B.C. 1061. Of these, Abishai, with two other companions, was among the earliest (1 Chronicles 11:15; 1 Chronicles 11:20; 1 Samuel 26:6; 2 Samuel 23:13; 2 Samuel 23:18). Besides these were outlaws and debtors from every part, including, doubtless, some of the original Canaanites, of whom the name of one, at least, has been preserved, Ahimelech the Hittite (1 Samuel 26:6). (See ADULLAM).

(2.) His next move was to a stronghold, either the mountain afterwards called Herodium, close to Adullam, or the fastness called by Josephus (War, 7:8, 3) Masada, the Graecised form of the Hebrew word Metsadah (1 Samuel 22:4-5; 1 Chronicles 12:16), in the neighborhood of En-gedi. While there, he had deposited his aged parents, for the sake of greater security, beyond the Jordan, with their ancestral kinsman of Moab (ib. 3). The neighboring king, Nahash of Ammon, also treated him kindly (2 Samuel 10:2). Here another companion appears for the first time, a school- fellow, if we may use the word, from the schools of Samuel, the prophet Gad, his subsequent biographer (1 Samuel 22:5); and while he was there occurred the chivalrous exploit of the three heroes just mentioned to procure water from the well of Bethlehem, and David's chivalrous answer, like that of Alexander in the desert of Gedrosia (1 Chronicles 11:16-19; 2 Samuel 23:14-17). He was joined here by two separate bands: one a little body of eleven fierce Gadite mountaineers, who swam the Jordan in flood- time to reach him (1 Chronicles 12:8); the other, a detachment of men from Judah and Benjamin, under his nephew Amasai, who henceforth attached himself to David's fortunes (1 Chronicles 12:16-18).

(3.) At the warning of Gad, he fled next to the forest of Hareth (somewhere in the hills of Judah), and then again fell in with the Philistines, and again, apparently advised by Gad (1 Samuel 23:4), made a descent on their foraging parties, and relieved Keilah (q.v.), in which he took up his abode. While there, now for the first time in a fortified town of his own (1 Samuel 23:7), he was joined by a new and most important ally Abiathar, the last survivor of the house of Ithamar, who came with the high-priest's ephod, and henceforth gave the oracles, which David had hitherto received from Gad (1 Samuel 23:6; 1 Samuel 23:9; 1 Samuel 22:23). By this time the 400 who had joined him at Adullam (1 Samuel 22:2) had swelled to 600 (1 Samuel 23:13).

(4.) The situation of David was now changed by the appearance of Saul himself on the scene. Apparently the danger was too great for the little army to keep together. They escaped from Keilah, and dispersed, "whithersoever they could go," among the fastnesses of Judah. Henceforth it becomes difficult to follow his movements with exactness, partly from ignorance of the localities, partly because the same event seems to be twice narrated (1 Samuel 23:19-24; 1 Samuel 26:1-4, and perhaps 1 Samuel 24:1-22; 1 Samuel 26:5-25). But thus much we discern. He is in the wilderness of Ziph. Once (or twice) the Ziphites betray his movements to Saul, who literally hunts him like a partridge; the treacherous Ziphites beating the bushes before him, and 3000 men being stationed by Saul to catch even the print of his footsteps on the hills (1 Samuel 23:14; 1 Samuel 23:22 [Hebrews], 24 [Sept.]; 24:11; 26:2, 20). David finds himself driven to the extreme south of Judah, in the wilderness of Maon. On two, if not three occasions, the pursuer and pursued catch sight of each other. Of the first of these escapes, the memory was long preserved in the name of the "Cliff of Divisions," given to the cliff down one side of which David climbed, while Saul was surrounding the hill on the other side (1 Samuel 23:25-29), when he was suddenly called away by the cry of a Philistine invasion. On another occasion David took refuge in a cave "by the spring of the wild goats" (En-gedi), immediately above the Dead Sea (1 Samuel 24:1-2).

The rocks were covered with the pursuers. Saul entered, as is the custom in Oriental countries, for a natural necessity. The followers of David, seated in the dark recesses of the cave, seeing, yet not seen, suggest to him the chance thus thrown in their way. David, with a characteristic mixture of humor and generosity, descends and silently cuts off the skirt of the long robe spread, as is usual in the East on such occasions, before and behind the person so occupied and then ensued the pathetic scene of remonstrance and forgiveness (1 Samuel 24:8-22). The third was in the wilderness further south. There was a regular camp, formed with its usual fortification of wagon and baggage. Into this inclosure David penetrated by night, and carried of the cruse of water, and the well-known royal spear of Saul, which twice had so nearly transfixed him to the wall in former days (1 Samuel 26:7; 1 Samuel 26:11; 1 Samuel 26:22). The same scene is repeated as at En-gedi and this is the 1st interview between Saul and David (1 Samuel 26:25). B.C. 1055. David had already parted with Jonathan in the forest of Ziph (1 Samuel 23:18).

To this period are annexed by their traditional titles Psalms 54 ("When the Ziphim came and said, Doth not David hide himself with us?"); 57 ("When he fled from Saul in the cave," though this may refer also to Adullam); 63, "When he was in the wilderness of Judah" (or Idumaea, Sept.); 142 ("A prayer when he was in the cave").

While he was in the wilderness of Maon occurred David's adventure with Nabal (q.v.), instructive as showing his mode of carrying on the freebooter's life, and his marriage with Abigail. His marriage with Ahinoam from Jezreel, also in the same neighborhood (Joshua 15:56), seems to have taken place a short time before (1 Samuel 25:43; 1 Samuel 27:3; 2 Samuel 3:2).

4. His Service under Achish (1 Samuel 27:1; 2 Samuel 1:27). Wearied with his wandering life, he at last crosses the Philistine frontier, not, as before, as a fugitive, but the chief of a powerful band his 600 men now grown into an organized force, with their wives and families around them (1 Samuel 27:3-4). After the manner of Eastern potentates, Achish gave him for his support a city Ziklag, on the frontier of Philistia and it was long remembered that to this curious arrangement the kings of Judah owed this part of their possessions (1 Samuel 27:6). Here we meet with the first note of time in David's life. He was settled therefor a year and four months (1 Samuel 27:7), and his increasing importance is indicated by the fact that a body of Benjamite archers and slingers, twenty-two of whom are specially named, joined him from the very tribe of his rival (1 Chronicles 12:1-7). Possibly during this stay he may have acquired the knowledge of military organization and weapons of war (1 Samuel 13:19-23), in which the Philistines surpassed the Israelites, and in which he surpassed all the preceding rulers of Israel. During his outlawry, David had also become acquainted in turn not only with all the wild country in the land, but with the strongholds of the enemy all around. The celebrity acquired in successful guerilla warfare, even in modern days, turns many eyes on a chieftain; and in an age which regarded personal heroism as the first qualification of a general (1 Chronicles 11:6) and of a king, to triumph over the persecutions of Saul gave David the fairest prospects of a kingdom. That he was able to escape the malice of his enemy was due in part to the direct help given him by the nations around, who were glad to keep a thorn rankling in Saul's side; in part also to the indirect results of their invasions (1 Samuel 23:27).

He deceived Achish into confidence by attacking the old nomadic inhabitants of the desert frontier, and representing the plunder to be of portions of the southern tribes or the nomadic allied tribes of Israel. But this confidence was not shared by the Philistine nobles, and accordingly David was sent back by Achish from the last victorious campaign against Saul. In this manner David escaped the difficulty of being present at the battle of Gilboa, but found that during his absence the Bedouin Amalekites, whom he had plundered during the previous year, had made a descent upon Ziklag, burnt it to the ground, and carried off the wives and children of the new settlement. A wild scene of frantic grief and recrimination ensued between David and his followers. It was calmed by an oracle of assurance from Abiathar. It happened that an important accession had just been made to David's force. On his march with the Philistines northward to Gilboa, he had been joined by some chiefs of the Manassites, through whose territory he was passing. Urgent as must have been the need for them at home, yet David's fascination carried them off, and they now assisted him against the plunderers (1 Chronicles 12:19-21). They overtook the invaders in the desert, and recovered the spoil. These were the gifts with which David was now able for the first time to requite the friendly inhabitants of the scene of his wanderings (1 Samuel 30:26-31). A more lasting memorial was the law which traced its origin to the arrangement made by him, formerly in the attack on Nabal, but now again, more completely, for the equal division of the plunder among the two thirds who followed to the field, and the one third who remained to guard the baggage (1 Samuel 30:25; 1 Samuel 25:13). Two days after this victory a Bedouin arrived from the north with the fatal news of the defeat of Gilboa. The reception of the tidings of the death of his rival and of his friend, the solemn mourning, the vent of his indignation against the bearer of the message, the pathetic lamentation that followed, well close the second period of David's life (2 Samuel 1:1-27). B.C. 1053.

III. David's Reign.

(I.) As King of Judah at Hebron, 7.5 years (2 Samuel 2 :l-5:5). Hebron was selected, doubtless, because it was the ancient sacred city of the tribe of Judah, the burial-place of the patriarchs and the inheritance of Caleb. Here David was first formally anointed king-by whom it is not stated; but the expression seems to limit the inauguration to the tribe of Judah, and therefore to exclude any intervention of Abiathar (2 Samuel 2:4). To Judah his dominion was nominally confined. But probably for the first five years of the time the dominion of the house of Saul, whose seat was now at Mahanaim, did not extend to the west of the Jordan, and consequently David would be the only Israelite potentate among the western tribes. He then strengthened himself by a marriage with Maacah, daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur (2 Samuel 3:3), a petty monarch whose dominions were near the sources of the Jordan, and whose influence at the opposite end of the land must have added a great weight into David's scale. From Abigail, widow of the churlish Nabal, David seems to have received a large private fortune. Concerning his other wives we know nothing in particular, only it is mentioned that he had six sons by six different mothers in Hebron. The chief jealousy was between the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah, as Saul had belonged to the former; and a tournament was turned by mutual ill-will into a battle, in which Abner unwillingly slew young Asahel, brother of Joab. "Long war," after this, was carried on between "the house of Saul and the house of David." We may infer that the rest of Israel took little part in the contest; and although the nominal possession of the kingdom enabled the little tribe of Benjamin to struggle for some time against Judah, the skill and age of Abner could not prevail against the vigor and popular fame of David. Gradually David's power increased, and during the two years which followed the elevation of Ishbosheth, a series of skirmishes took place between the two kingdoms. First came a successful inroad into the territory of Ishbosheth (2 Samuel 2:28).

Next occurred the defection of Abner (2 Samuel 3:12). A quarrel between Abner and Ishbosheth decided the former to bring the kingdom over to David (see Ortlob, De pacto Davidis et Abneri, Lips. 1709). The latter refused to treat unless, as a preliminary proof of Abner's sincerity, Michal, daughter of Saul, was restored to David. The possession of such a wife was valuable to one who was aspiring to: the kingdom; and although David had now other wives, he appears not to have lost his affection for this his earliest bride. She, too, seems to have acquiesced in his claim as being greater than that of the man on whom her father had arbitrarily bestowed her, and the sincere kindness of her new husband had probably not effaced her former attachment to David, although we afterwards find her betrayed into an unworthy act by her pride of position. After giving her back, Abner proceeded to win the elders of Israel over to David; but Joab discerned that if this should be so brought about, Abner of necessity would displace him from his post of chief captain. He therefore seized the opportunity of murdering him when he had come on a peaceful embassy, and covered the atrocity by pleading the duty of revenging his brother's blood. This deed was perhaps David's first taste of the miseries of royal power. He dared not proceed actively against his ruthless nephew, but he vented his abhorrence in a solemn curse on Joab and his posterity, and followed Abner to the grave with weeping. (See ABNER).

Anxious to purge himself of the guilt, he ordered a public wearing of sackcloth, and refused to touch food all the day. His sincere expressions of grief won the heart of all Israel. The feeble Ishbosheth (q.v.), left alone, was unequal to the government, and shortly suffered the same fate of assassination. David, following the universal policy of sovereigns (Tacit. Hist. 1:44), and his own profound sense of the sacredness of royalty, took vengeance on the murderers, and buried Ishbosheth in Abner's tomb at Hebron. During this period, it is not stated against what people his marauding excursions were directed. It is distinctly alleged (2 Samuel 3:22) that his men brought in a great spoil at the very time at which he had a truce with Abner; possibly it may have been won from his old enemies the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30). The throne, so long waiting for him, was now vacant, and the united voice of the whole people at once called him to occupy it. B.C. 1046. A solemn league was made between him and his people (2 Samuel 5:3). For the third time David was anointed king, and a festival of three days celebrated the joyful event (1 Chronicles 12:39). His little band had now swelled into "a great host, like the host of God" (1 Chronicles 12:22). The command of it, which had formerly rested on David alone, he now devolved on his nephew Joab (2 Samuel 2:28). It was formed by contingents from every tribe of Israel. Two are specially mentioned as bringing a weight of authority above the others. The sons of Issachar had "understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do," and with the adjacent tribes contributed to the common feast the peculiar products of their rich territory (1 Chronicles 12:32; 1 Chronicles 12:40). The Levitical tribe, formerly represented in David's being followed only by the solitary fugitive Abiathar, now came in strength, represented by the head of the rival branch of Eleazar, the high-priest, the aged Jehoiada and his youthful and warlike kinsman Zadok (1 Chronicles 12:27-28; 1 Chronicles 27:5). The kingdom was not at first a despotic, but a constitutional one; for it is stated, "David made a league with the elders of Israel in Hebron before Jehovah; and they anointed David king over Israel" (2 Samuel 5:3). This is marked out as the era which determined the Philistines to hostility (2 Samuel 5:17), and may confirm our idea that their policy was to hinder Israel from becoming united under a single king.

Underneath this show of outward prosperity, two cankers, incident to the royal state which David now assumed, had first made themselves apparent at Hebron, and affected all the rest of his career. The first was the formation of a harem, according to the usage of Oriental kings. To the two wives of his wandering life he had now added four, and including Michal, five (2 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 3:2-5; 2 Samuel 3:15). The second was the increasing power of his kinsmen and chief officers, which the king strove to restrain within the limits of right; and thus, of all the incidents of this part of his career, the most plaintive and characteristic is his lamentation over his powerlessness to prevent the murder of Abner (2 Samuel 3:31-36).

(II.) Reign over all Israel, 33 years (2 Samuel 5:5, to 1 Kings 2:11). The reign of David is the great critical era in the history of the Hebrews. It decided that they were to have for nearly five centuries a national monarchy, a fixed line of priesthood, and a solemn religious worship by music and psalms of exquisite beauty; it finally separated Israel from the surrounding heathen, and gave room for producing those noble monuments of sacred writ, to the influence of which over the whole world no end can be seen. His predecessor, Saul, had many successes against the Philistines, but it is clear that he made little impression on their real power; for he died fighting against them, not on their own border, but at the opposite side of his kingdom, in Mount Gilboa. As for all the other enemies on every side" Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, and the kings of Zobah however much he may have "vexed them" (1 Samuel 14:47), they, as well as the Amalekites, remained unsubdued, if weakened. The real work of establishing Israel as lord over the whole soil of Canaan was left for David.

1. The Foundation of Jerusalem. It must have been with no ordinary interest that the surrounding nations watched for the prey on which the Lion of Judah, now about to issue from his native lair, and establish himself in a new home, would make his first spring. One fastness alone in the center of the land had hitherto defied the arms of Israel. On this, with a singular prescience, perceiving that so southerly a position as Hebron was no longer suitable, David fixed as his future capital. By one sudden assault Jebus was taken, and became henceforth known by the names (whether borne by it before or not we cannot tell) of Jerusalem and Zion. B.C. 1044. (See JERUSALEM).

Of all the cities of Palestine great in former ages, Jerusalem alone has vindicated by its long permanence the choice of its founder. The importance of the capture was marked at the time. The reward bestowed on the successful scaler of the precipice was the highest place in the army. Joab henceforward became captain of the host (1 Chronicles 11:6). The royal residence was instantly fixed there, fortifications were added by the king and by Joab, and it was known by the special name of the "city of David" (1 Chronicles 11:7; 2 Samuel 5:9). In the account of this siege, some have imagined the Chronicles to contradict the book of Samuel, but there is no real incompatibility in the two narratives. Joab was, it is true, already David's chief captain; but David was heartily disgusted with him, and may have sought a pretense for superseding him by offering the post to the man who should first scale the wall. Joab would be animated by the desire to retain his office, at least as keenly as others by the desire to get it; and it is credible that he may actually have been the successful hero of that siege also. If this was the case, it will further explain why David, even in the fullness of power, made no further effort to expel him until he had slaughtered Absalom.

The neighboring nations were partly enraged and partly awestruck. The Philistines had already made two ineffectual attacks on the new k

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'David'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/d/david.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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David (2)