David’s reign and leadership brought the national status from a low ebb with major Philistine threats at the time of Saul’s tenure, to a state of significant territorial enlargement with peace and wealth at the end of David’s reign, and his religious devotion is an iconic standard against which successive kings are measured.
The duration of his reign was 40 years (1 Kings 2:11), during which time he moved his capital from Hebron to Jerusalem, which remained the capital city of Judah and the site of the temple until the Babylonian captivity and end of Judah’s monarchy.

Significantly more detail is provided on the life of David than any of the other kings of Israel or Judah. The historic narrative of 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles is augmented by the Psalms, numerous of which are attributed to David, who was a recognised harp player. 2 Samuel 23:1 David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said 1 Samuel 16:17-18 Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me. Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him.

Many of the Psalms are prophetic in nature, but numerous also illustrate the mind, attitude and thinking of David, from a religious perspective or arising from personal, or national circumstances either celebratory or in suffering. David’s motivating forces form an important part of the narrative, illustrating what drives him to make his decisions and take the described actions.

Extensive details are given of David’s life prior to his kingship, this is unusual compared to the Bible narrative of the rest of Israel and Judah’s monarchy, where generally few if any such details are given for the other monarchs. He was the youngest of the eight sons of Jesse, of the tribe of Judah, whose inheritance was in Bethlehem. His genealogy is presented in a number of places, Ruth 4:17- 22, 1 Chronicles 2:3-16, Matthew 1:1-16, Luke 3:23-38, the latter two references show the link with Jesus Christ, who is also described as being born at Bethlehem. When Samuel came to anoint a son of Jesse to be king in place of Saul, he called for Jesse to present his sons. David, being the youngest, was overlooked by Jesse, which led to a delay whilst he had to be called away from his shepherding so that the anointing ceremony could be enacted. David at his entry is described:- 1 Samuel 16:10-12 Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The LORD hath not chosen these. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.

The impact of these early humble beginnings on David’s life and outlook is illustrated in the following two references:-

Psalms 78:70-72 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance. So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands. 1 Samuel 17 relates David’s stand against Goliath: 1 Samuel 17:34-40 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee. And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

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