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David, Shepherd and King


The message at the end of Judges - "no king" - seems spiritual much more than a matter of Israel’s governance. The writer of those words, most likely Samuel, who was the last of the Judges of Israel and who established the first school for Prophets, in our own opinion is not merely saying no earthly king had been appointed. He is saying that Israel seemed to have lost any sense of conscience, that Satan the great deceiver, who desired to make himself like GOD and to be God, had caused the sons of Israel to lose their internal compass, showing them Right from Wrong. Israel had lost sight of GOD Himself, later identified by Saul of Tarsus renamed Paul in the Br’it Hadashah, the "Good News," as the King Of Kings and Lord Of Lords (1 Tim.6:15), and by John in Revelations (Rev.17:14).

Sadly we must skip past the calling of Samuel, the remarkable narrative in which GOD Himself calls to this little boy in the temple at Shiloh in the dark of the night, GOD’s hand in history appearing once again.

We learn of GOD’s decree in that call, that the corrupt priest Eli would fall, literally, with his sons and all his house. (1 Sam.2:27-34; 4:17-18)

And in the description of the encounter with little Samuel, we suddenly seem to shake ourselves and awaken as if from a bad dream.

But the people call for a king, not for GOD Most High but for an earthly ruler, in order to be like the nations around them. GOD warns them through Samuel of the resulting oppression by such a king, and GOD’s response when they call to Him for help -

"Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day." (1 Sam.8:18)

But this is David’s story, and we move on.

1. Saul as King

When the error becomes apparent, that they had anointed Saul as king - well meaning but foolish - things get so bad that Israel loses the Ark of GOD to the enemy the Philistines. (1 Sam.6) And as if that is not enough, after Saul disobeys GOD’s command through Samuel, GOD removes His Spirit from Saul, and Saul becomes mad! (1 Sam.16:1-16) things can’t get much worse!

2. Young David

At this point, we discover another young man, David, who seems to come out of nowhere. In the narrative of the search for Saul’s successor after GOD rejects Saul, we almost miss seeing David - after all, the youngest of eight sons of Jesse, tending sheep no less, the dirtiest and the least of all occupations. But from our first encounter with young David, GOD makes it clear that he is special in GOD’s eyes, who is one after GOD’s own heart. Even as we first meet him, David is anointed by Samuel to be King of Israel, and GOD’s Spirit comes upon him. (1 Sam.16:1-13)

Young David is called to play the harp and to sing before King Saul, to soothe the king’s troubled spirit. But for David’s trouble, Saul tries to run him through with a spear! (1 Sam.16:14-23; 18:10-11)

The Philistine champion, the giant Goliath, comes forth and challenges Israel to produce a defender to join with him in combat, in the process cursing Israel’s God. Young David, shielded only by the armor which is faith in GOD Most High, confronts Goliath and defeats him. (1 Sam.17)

When David is appointed a leader of King Saul’s army, the LORD is with him, so that David wins in battle. But the song they used to sing for David -

"Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his ten thousands,"

only makes Saul jealous, and Saul seeks to kill David. (1 Sam.18:7-8)

3. David Pursued

Numerous vignettes follow, which tell of David’s suffering. Saul pursues David, David obtains the sword of Goliath, David flees to Achish king of Gath before whom he acts insane as a disguise. Through all of this hardship, GOD was refining David. Yet all the while, David’s heart was righteous, for on two different occasions, David spared Saul’s life though he could have slain him. (1 Sam.24, 26)

We witness the gathering of David’s young men, his small but strong army of warriors; and the flight to the Philistines in Ziklag, in which they pretend to be enemies of Israel. (1 Sam.27:1-6)

4. David as King

Following King Saul’s death in a battle with the Philistines, David lamented the death of Saul and Saul’s son Jonathan. David reigned in Hebron over the house of Judah. (2 Sam.1:12; 2:11)

There was a long war between Judah and the house of Saul, and while the head of Saul’s army Abner and David’s general Joab acted with deception and brutal murder, David throughout acted righteously with Saul’s survivors. (2 Sam.4:1-12)

Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron, and they anointed David king over all the 12 tribes of Israel. Soon after, David captured Jerusalem by sending spies through the water tunnel. From that day, David lived in the stronghold in Jerusalem, called the City of David. (2 Sam.5:1-9)

David grew greater and greater, as the LORD blessed him. David went up against the Philistines and defeated them. And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David with cedar trees and carpenters and stone masons, and they built a house for David. (2 Sam.5:12-13)

SADLY, THERE IS the incident of the death of an innocent, as David sought to bring the Ark of GOD into the City of David with him. along the way, as one of the attendants reached out to steady the Ark as it teetered, about to fall, GOD struck the attendant with fire. Fearing GOD’s anger, David stopped and instead took it to a house along the way. GOD proceeded to bless the owner of that house. (2 Sam.6:1-12a)

When David saw GOD’s blessing upon that house, David took courage once more. Once again he proceeded to bring the Ark into the City of David with him, this time with great rejoicing as he danced before the LORD. He placed the Ark inside a tent which he had prepared for it, and made sacrifices to the LORD. (2 Sam.6:12b-19))

5. Covenant with David

But David sought something more for the Ark. Seeing that he himself lived in a house of cedar, David sought to move the Ark from the tent and to build a house for it. In a remarkable exchange with David, GOD responds that the LORD has not required a structure in which to reside, that He dwelt with the sons of Israel in a tent while they traveled in the Wilderness.

But in an important play on words concerning David’s "house", GOD announces His pledge to David -

* That GOD would make David’s name great;

* That GOD would plant Israel in a place He would make safe;

* That the LORD would make a house for David;

* That a descendant of David would build a "house for My Name;"

*That the throne of that descendant’s kingdom would be forever. (2 Sam.7:9a-14)

The passage concludes with these important words:

"But My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.

"And your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever." (2 Sam.7:15-16)

All these words should be read with the words from Psalm 89 -

"I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant,

I will establish your seed forever, And build up your throne to all generations." (Ps.89:3-4)

6. Meaning of the Covenant

First of all, the words of 2 Sam.7:15 indicate this is an ETERNAL UNCONDITIONAL covenant, one that GOD Himself would never revoke.

Second, with these words, we suddenly discover the 'seed of the woman’ once more, the miraculous deliverer, who is also spoken of in Jacob’s blessing to his sons (in particular to Judah) (Gen.49:10), and Balaam’s 4th blessing on the approaching horde of the sons of Israel (Num.24:17).

Taken altogether, these passages mean -

* David’s son but not David, would build the Temple for GOD’s Name. (We learn in another passage the reason David could not build it, that he had blood on his hands.)

* GOD would make David’s name great.

* David’s seed (singular in the Hebrew, indicating a single person) would last forever.

* David’s throne would be forever.

THIS, THEN is the 'seed of the woman.’ Here is revealed that the Holy Seed would pass through David’s line, that He would be a DESCENDANT of David.

We also make the remarkable discovery for the first time that this seed, this PERSON, would LIVE FOREVER!

We already understand from Genesis 3 that this descendant must have miraculous powers, in order to overcome the miraculous powers of the great deceiver Satan, the one who sought to be LIKE GOD, to BE God.

The UNMISTAKABLE CONCLUSION from these clues is that the deliverer must be of GOD Himself. Through Proverbs 30:4 and through numerous other passages, we know this miraculous deliverer, the Son of David, this Messiah, is none other than the Son of GOD!

Son of David and Son of GOD!

WE WOULD BE remiss indeed, after this wonderful promise to David, if we passed by the remarkable scene that immediately followed.

In response, David went into the tent where the Ark was placed, the Holy of Holies, and sat before the LORD to speak to Him. Understand that no one except the High Priest could safely enter the Holy of Holies, and then only once a year after an extended ritual of cleansing and preparation. Those who attempted for example to offer unclean fire were immediately destroyed by the LORD.

How was David able to do such a thing and live? It was not because the one who entered was a king. It was because he was David, after GOD’s own heart!

DAVID WAS considered by GOD to be righteous. He did what was right, in regards to Saul’s house after the king’s death, with regard to atonement for the Gibeonites previously slain by Saul, and in many other matters, even as Abner and Joab schemed and murdered. David was a man after GOD’s own heart. (1 Sam.13:14)

Yet David also sinned. We are presented with two major sins of David, the consequences of which affected all Israel.

7. Sin with Bathsheba

In the first example, when David sinned with Bathsheba and she was with child, David sought to murder Bathsheba’s husband Uriah, a righteous man, by having him placed in the front line of the battle, where the enemy might kill him. (2 Sam.11)

When the prophet Nathan confronted him, David confessed his sin. As a result, the LORD took away David’s sin, but nevertheless decreed a judgment, that the sword would henceforth never depart from David’s house. Also, GOD would raise up an evil within David’s own house. Also, David’s illegitimate son by Bathsheba dies.

8. Absalom’s Plot

There follows the tragic narrative of David’s son Absalom, in which Absalom takes the law into his own hands to avenge the rape of his sister Tamar by murdering his half-brother Amnon. Absalom flees judgment by his father King David, and becomes estranged from his father. As a result, Absalom’s tortured mind devises a conspiracy against the King. (2 Sam.13-14:24)

King David flees Jerusalem with his household, as Absalom pursues the King his father, seeking even to KILL him. We skip over many details of this lurid tail, as Joab David’s general pursues and kills Absalom. (2 Sam.15:13-18:16) David grieves deeply at his son’s death.

As David was returning to Jerusalem, there was a worthless fellow named Sheba who blew a trumpet and called out along the way.

"We have no portion in David. Nor do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse;
Every man to his tents, O Israel!" (2 Sam.20:1)

We will return to this incident later.

9. Sin of the Census

In a second of David’s major sins, Satan moved David to conduct a census of Israel, one not authorized by GOD. (2 Chron.21:1)

GOD responded to David’s sin, asking which of three ways would David choose that GOD judge him -

* 7 years of famine

* 3 months of flight from David’s foes, or

* 3 days of pestilence in the land.

(Imagine being given the choice of your poison!)

David chose the third, so the LORD sent a pestilence in the land, and 70,000 men from Dan in the north to Be’ersheba in the south died.

When the Angel of GOD stretched out His hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD called out for the Angel to stop, saying it was enough.

When David called to GOD for mercy on the people, that GOD’s judgment should instead fall on David himself, GOD sent a message saying that David should erect an altar to the LORD at the threshing floor of Araunah, where the Angel stood.

David bought the threshing floor from Araunah for a price, and built an altar and offered burnt offerings there. In this way, the LORD was moved by David’s entreaty and the people were spared. (2 Sam.24)

10. Site of the Temple

It is worth noting that this site, the place where the Angel was standing, is the same site where David later prepared - and Solomon built - the Temple of Jerusalem.

This is also the same mountain where GOD had previously told Abraham to bring his son Isaac, his only son, in order to offer him as a sacrifice. (Gen.22)


This is a portion of a more extensive historical overview prepared by Mr. Charles Quigley. Select the more inclusive "sessions" for the TANAKH SURVEY (from the menu on the left) to view the overview in its entirety. This historical overview was originally created for oral presentations that cover Israel's history from its origin to a period leading to the 'Current Era' (CE). See note below on use of this presentation material.


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