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A few years ago, I was taking an adult class to learn the Hebrew language to hopefully understand the Hebrew scriptures better. The class was primarily composed of Jewish men and women who wanted to be more proficient in using the Jewish prayerbook in the synagogue services. During one of the sessions, we read several Hebrew sentences dealing with David, the king of Israel. I remember being shocked when the gentleman sitting next to me made a snide remark about David's quest for kingly power being so strong that he would even be willing to sell his mother for more power. I was stunned. Here was a person, even one of supposedly the same Jewish ethnic nationality and religion, who looked upon David as a regular power-thirsty king of the world. In all my years in the church, I had always had the utmost respect for David and had heard nothing but positive comments made about him.


Since that time, I've often thought about that ideological confrontation. Could that gentleman have been right? Was David just like any other worldly king? Have we just supposed that David was righteous because that's what we've been told or is it because we have proven it for ourselves? Let's look at the life of David as related to us in the Bible but let's first look at it from the academic's point of view.


We pronounce the name as "David" but the Hebrew pronunciation is "Dah-veed" and it is spelled with the two Hebrew consonants Dahlet and Veht arranged in the form "D-V-D." It is Strong's number 1732, "daw-veed"; and it means loving or the beloved one. Its root is from Strong's number 1730, "dowd"; and it means to love, or by implication a love-token, a lover or friend.



Young David


Let's look at the qualifications of David to be king over Israel. Was he the son of a great line of kings? Was he educated at the great institutions of higher learning? Had he been groomed by his family for a life of legislative service?


Our first exposure to David in scripture is recorded in 1 Samuel 16:10. This is the instance of Samuel visiting (at God's instruction) the town of Bethlehem and the family of Jesse to anoint the new king of Israel to replace Saul.


(1 Sam 16:10-13 NASB) Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, "The LORD has not chosen these." {11} And Samuel said to Jesse, "Are these all the children?" And he said, "There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep." Then Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here." {12} So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. And the LORD said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is he." {13} Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah.


We can see that David did not come from a great line of kings and queens. He was not educated at the greatest institutions of higher learning. He was not groomed by his family for a life of legislative service. He was a shepherd, and a teenager, at that. He did not have any great experience or education in governmental affairs, nor was he planning for such a career. The first step in David's kingly pursuits comes in the very next verse when he is first called into service for the current King Saul.


(1 Sam 16:14-23 NASB) Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him. {15} Saul's servants then said to him, "Behold now, an evil spirit from God is terrorizing you. {16} "Let our lord now command your servants who are before you. Let them seek a man who is a skillful player on the harp; and it shall come about when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he shall play the harp with his hand, and you will be well." {17} So Saul said to his servants, "Provide for me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me." {18} Then one of the young men answered and said, "Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, and a handsome man; and the LORD is with him." {19} So Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, "Send me your son David who is with the flock." {20} And Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread and a jug of wine and a young goat, and sent them to Saul by David his son. {21} Then David came to Saul and attended him, and Saul loved him greatly; and he became his armor bearer. {22} And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, "Let David now stand before me; for he has found favor in my sight." {23} So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him.


So, we see that while David had spent all those hours in the field tending his father's flocks of sheep, he had developed skills at playing the lyre, or harp. Furthermore, those skills were recognized by others as we saw in the statement of one of Saul's servants who said, "Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician."



David, the Warrior


The next incident involving David is in the next verse, beginning in 1 Samuel 17:1. This account tells of Israel's threats from the Philistines and their chief warrior, Goliath of Gath.

(1 Sam 17:1-54 NASB) Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; and they were gathered at Socoh which belongs to Judah, and they camped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. {2} And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and camped in the valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array to encounter the Philistines. {3} And the Philistines stood on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them. {4} Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. {5} And he had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed with scale-armor which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze. {6} He also had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders. {7} And the shaft of his spear was like a weaver's beam, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron; his shield-carrier also walked before him. {8} And he stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, and said to them, "Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. {9} "If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us." {10} Again the Philistine said, "I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together." {11} When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. {12} Now David was the son of the Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, whose name was Jesse, and he had eight sons. And Jesse was old in the days of Saul, advanced in years among men. {13} And the three older sons of Jesse had gone after Saul to the battle. And the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the first-born, and the second to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. {14} And David was the youngest. Now the three oldest followed Saul, {15} but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father's flock at Bethlehem. {16} And the Philistine came forward morning and evening for forty days, and took his stand. {17} Then Jesse said to David his son, "Take now for your brothers an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to your brothers. {18} "Bring also these ten cuts of cheese to the commander of their thousand, and look into the welfare of your brothers, and bring back news of them. {19} "For Saul and they and all the men of Israel are in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines." {20} So David arose early in the morning and left the flock with a keeper and took the supplies and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the circle of the camp while the army was going out in battle array shouting the war cry. {21} And Israel and the Philistines drew up in battle array, army against army. {22} Then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered in order to greet his brothers. {23} As he was talking with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine from Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the army of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard them. {24} When all the men of Israel saw the man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid. {25} And the men of Israel said, "Have you seen this man who is coming up? Surely he is coming up to defy Israel. And it will be that the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father's house free in Israel." {26} Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine, and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?" {27} And the people answered him in accord with this word, saying, "Thus it will be done for the man who kills him." {28} Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab's anger burned against David and he said, "Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart; for you have come down in order to see the battle." {29} But David said, "What have I done now? Was it not just a question?" {30} Then he turned away from him to another and said the same thing; and the people answered the same thing as before. {31} When the words which David spoke were heard, they told them to Saul, and he sent for him. {32} And David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine." {33} Then Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth." {34} But David said to Saul, "Your servant was tending his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, {35} I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. {36} "Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God." {37} And David said, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and may the LORD be with you." {38} Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor. {39} And David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, "I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them." And David took them off. {40} And he took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd's bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine. {41} Then the Philistine came on and approached David, with the shield-bearer in front of him. {42} When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance. {43} And the Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. {44} The Philistine also said to David, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field." {45} Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. {46} "This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, {47} and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD'S and He will give you into our hands." {48} Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. {49} And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground. {50} Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David's hand. {51} Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. {52} And the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the slain Philistines lay along the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and Ekron. {53} And the sons of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines and plundered their camps. {54} Then David took the Philistine's head and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his weapons in his tent.


What were David's qualifications to be a man of battle? By his own admission, we see that David had no formal training for war. David cited as his only previous experience the defense of his father's sheep in the field. Look at verses 34 and 35 again. "But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant was tending his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him.’"


We'll continue in the next chapter where David is soon pressed into daily service to the king.


(1 Sam 18:1-5 NASB) Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. {2} And Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father's house. {3} Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. {4} And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt. {5} So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and prospered; and Saul set him over the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul's servants.


King Saul's favorable nature toward David soon dramatically changed, due to jealousy as we see in verse six.


(1 Sam 18:6-16 NASB) And it happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments. {7} And the women sang as they played, and said, "Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands." {8} Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, "They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?" {9} And Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on. {10} Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and he raved in the midst of the house, while David was playing the harp with his hand, as usual; and a spear was in Saul's hand. {11} And Saul hurled the spear for he thought, "I will pin David to the wall." But David escaped from his presence twice. {12} Now Saul was afraid of David, for the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul. {13} Therefore Saul removed him from his presence, and appointed him as his commander of a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. {14} And David was prospering in all his ways for the LORD was with him. {15} When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him. {16} But all Israel and Judah loved David, and he went out and came in before them.



David, the Fugitive


King Saul's main objective then became to destroy David, since he realized David could soon replace him on the throne. We’ll continue in verse twenty.


(1 Sam 18:20-29 NASB) Now Michal, Saul's daughter, loved David. When they told Saul, the thing was agreeable to him. {21} And Saul thought, "I will give her to him that she may become a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him." Therefore Saul said to David, "For a second time you may be my son-in-law today." {22} Then Saul commanded his servants, "Speak to David secretly, saying, 'Behold, the king delights in you, and all his servants love you; now therefore, become the king's son-in-law.'" {23} So Saul's servants spoke these words to David. But David said, "Is it trivial in your sight to become the king's son-in-law, since I am a poor man and lightly esteemed?" {24} And the servants of Saul reported to him according to these words which David spoke. {25} Saul then said, "Thus you shall say to David, 'The king does not desire any dowry except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to take vengeance on the king's enemies.'" Now Saul planned to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. {26} When his servants told David these words, it pleased David to become the king's son-in-law. Before the days had expired {27} David rose up and went, he and his men, and struck down two hundred men among the Philistines. Then David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full number to the king, that he might become the king's son-in-law. So Saul gave him Michal his daughter for a wife. {28} When Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal, Saul's daughter, loved him, {29} then Saul was even more afraid of David. Thus Saul was David's enemy continually.


So, we see that David's first wife was Michal, the younger daughter of Saul. Through the whole process, though, we see that King Saul's main objective was to destroy David. Over the next few chapters, we can read of David's evasion of Saul for several years. We’ll pick up the story of David's years of wandering in 1 Samuel 22:1. We can surmise that all must not have been well in Israel under the rule of King Saul because David amassed a force of four hundred men who were discontented with service to the king. Furthermore, we can see from the following scripture that Saul was probably not enforcing God's laws regarding the forgiveness of debt in the seventh year.


(1 Sam 22:1-4 NASB) So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father's household heard of it, they went down there to him. {2} And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented, gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Now there were about four hundred men with him. {3} And David went from there to Mizpah of Moab; and he said to the king of Moab, "Please let my father and my mother come and stay with you until I know what God will do for me." {4} Then he left them with the king of Moab; and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold.


After David saw to the safety of his father's household by placing them with the king of Moab, he and his men returned to Israel. As David continued to flee from Saul, notice how he must have grown in popularity with many people because 1 Samuel 23:13 says that the size of the fighting force accompanying him grew.


(1 Sam 23:13 NASB) Then David and his men, about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When it was told Saul that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the pursuit.


It was during the years of fleeing from Saul that David took other wives. We know of the story of Abigail and her belligerent husband, Nabal, who refused to give David and his men any sort of thanks for their protection of his fields and animals. After Nabal had died of an apparent stroke or heart attack, in 1 Samuel 25:39, David sent a proposal to Nabal's widow, Abigail.


(1 Sam 25:39-44 NASB) When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Blessed be the LORD, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept back His servant from evil. The LORD has also returned the evildoing of Nabal on his own head." Then David sent a proposal to Abigail, to take her as his wife. {40} When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her, saying, "David has sent us to you, to take you as his wife." {41} And she arose and bowed with her face to the ground and said, "Behold, your maidservant is a maid to wash the feet of my lord's servants." {42} Then Abigail quickly arose, and rode on a donkey, with her five maidens who attended her; and she followed the messengers of David, and became his wife. {43} David had also taken Ahinoam of Jezreel, and they both became his wives. {44} Now Saul had given Michal his daughter, David's wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was from Gallim.


So we can see during this time, David gained two more wives, Abigail the widow of Nabal and Ahinoam of Jezreel. In David’s absence, his first wife, Michal, was taken away by her father Saul and given to another man.



David Begins to Reign


2 Samuel 2:1 tells us that, after the death of Saul and Jonathan at the hands of the Philistines on Mount Gilboa, David moved back to Hebron to settle with his family.


(2 Sam 2:1-11 NASB) Then it came about afterwards that David inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I go up to one of the cities of Judah?" And the LORD said to him, "Go up." So David said, "Where shall I go up?" And He said, "To Hebron." {2} So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite. {3} And David brought up his men who were with him, each with his household; and they lived in the cities of Hebron. {4} Then the men of Judah came and there anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, "It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul." {5} And David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead, and said to them, "May you be blessed of the LORD because you have shown this kindness to Saul your lord, and have buried him. {6} "And now may the LORD show lovingkindness and truth to you; and I also will show this goodness to you, because you have done this thing. {7} "Now therefore, let your hands be strong, and be valiant; for Saul your lord is dead, and also the house of Judah has anointed me king over them." {8} But Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul's army, had taken Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim. {9} And he made him king over Gilead, over the Ashurites, over Jezreel, over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, even over all Israel. {10} Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he was king for two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David. {11} And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.


In 2 Samuel 3:1, we find that while he was king over Judah in Hebron, David took several other wives who bore him several sons.


(2 Sam 3:1-5 NASB) Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David grew steadily stronger, but the house of Saul grew weaker continually. {2} Sons were born to David at Hebron: his first-born was Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; {3} and his second, Chileab, by Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur; {4} and the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; {5} and the sixth, Ithream, by David's wife Eglah. These were born to David at Hebron.


After the assassination of the king of Israel, Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, we read, in 2 Samuel 5:1, of the re-unification of Judah with the rest of the tribes of Israel under the leadership of King David.


(2 Sam 5:1-5 NASB) Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, "Behold, we are your bone and your flesh. {2} "Previously, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and in. And the LORD said to you, 'You will shepherd My people Israel, and you will be a ruler over Israel.'" {3} So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them before the LORD at Hebron; then they anointed David king over Israel. {4} David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. {5} At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah.


David then conquered the city of the Jebusites, which was Jerusalem. He built a new palace there for himself and moved his residence from Hebron to Jerusalem where he took more wives and concubines as stated a few verses later in 2 Samuel 5:11.


(2 Sam 5:11-16 NASB) Then Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David with cedar trees and carpenters and stonemasons; and they built a house for David. {12} And David realized that the LORD had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted his kingdom for the sake of His people Israel. {13} Meanwhile David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron; and more sons and daughters were born to David. {14} Now these are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, {15} Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, {16} Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet.


David’s Curse


Wait a minute. With David’s future sons, we're getting a little bit ahead of the story. When David had become secure in his rule over the kingdom of Israel, he did something with far-reaching impact on the rest of his life. We'll pick up that part of the story in 2 Samuel 11:1.


(2 Sam 11:1 NASB) Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. {2} Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. {3} So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" {4} And David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. {5} And the woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, "I am pregnant." {6} Then David sent to Joab, saying, "Send me Uriah the Hittite." So Joab sent Uriah to David. {7} When Uriah came to him, David asked concerning the welfare of Joab and the people and the state of the war. {8} Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house, and wash your feet." And Uriah went out of the king's house, and a present from the king was sent out after him. {9} But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. {10} Now when they told David, saying, "Uriah did not go down to his house," David said to Uriah, "Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?" {11} And Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing." {12} Then David said to Uriah, "Stay here today also, and tomorrow I will let you go." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. {13} Now David called him, and he ate and drank before him, and he made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his bed with his lord's servants, but he did not go down to his house. {14} Now it came about in the morning that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. {15} And he had written in the letter, saying, "Place Uriah in the front line of the fiercest battle and withdraw from him, so that he may be struck down and die."


After the messenger brought word to David that Uriah was dead, in verse 25, David gave his response for the messenger to take back to his commander, Joab.


(2 Sam 11:25 NASB) Then David said to the messenger, "Thus you shall say to Joab, 'Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another; make your battle against the city stronger and overthrow it'; and so encourage him." {26} Now when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. {27} When the time of mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son. But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD.


Note the last sentence: "the thing that David had done was EVIL in the sight of the Lord." It was not just the incident of adultery but the cover-up, which included the conspiracy to assassinate an innocent man. God deemed it all as EVIL in his sight. That sequence of sin and the penalties that would ensue would bring troubles to David for the rest of his life. We can read about the first of those penalties as stated by the prophet Nathan in the next verse, beginning in 2 Samuel 12:1.


(2 Sam 12:1-12 NASB) Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said, "There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. {2} "The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. {3} "But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb Which he bought and nourished; And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, And was like a daughter to him. {4} "Now a traveler came to the rich man, And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; Rather he took the poor man's ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him." {5} Then David's anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. {6} "And he must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion." {7} Nathan then said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, 'It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. {8} 'I also gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! {9} 'Why have you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon. {10} 'Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' {11} "Thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your companion, and he shall lie with your wives in broad daylight. {12} 'Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.'"


Look again at verse eight: God said, 'I also gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!" So, God even admitted that he had given David multiple wives. Having multiple wives was clearly not against God's will, as he even stated to David that if that had not been enough, he would have given him more. The crux of the matter was stated in verse 10: 'Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' By sinning against God, David was showing God that he despised him and his laws. Not only was it a direct affront to God, it was witnessing to all the people in Israel how David was hypocritical in not practicing what he preached to others.


In the rest of chapter twelve we find that the first of the penalties was the immediate death of Bathsheba's child but that was only the first of many penalties to come. Remember what God said in verse eleven, "I will raise up evil against you from your own household." We'll see how the stage begins to be set for that in chapter thirteen with the first murder in David's family.

Amnon was the son of David's second wife, Ahinoam of Jezreel, but was actually David's firstborn son and was, technically, the next in line to be king of Israel after David. Tamar was David's daughter through his fourth wife, Maacah of Geshur, who was also the mother of Absalom, the third son of David. Amnon was murdered by Absalom in revenge for the rape of Absolom’s sister, Tamar. After the murder of Amnon, Absalom fled to his mother's home town of Geshur where he lived in exile for three years. The conspiracy of the murder of Amnon was just the beginning of Absalom's conspiracy against David, which becomes more apparent in chapter fifteen.


(2 Sam 15:1-16 NASB) Now it came about after this that Absalom provided for himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men as runners before him. {2} And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way to the gate; and it happened that when any man had a suit to come to the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, "From what city are you?" And he would say, "Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel." {3} Then Absalom would say to him, "See, your claims are good and right, but no man listens to you on the part of the king." {4} Moreover, Absalom would say, "Oh that one would appoint me judge in the land, then every man who has any suit or cause could come to me, and I would give him justice." {5} And it happened that when a man came near to prostrate himself before him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. {6} And in this manner Absalom dealt with all Israel who came to the king for judgment; so Absalom stole away the hearts of the men of Israel. {7} Now it came about at the end of forty years that Absalom said to the king, "Please let me go and pay my vow which I have vowed to the LORD, in Hebron. {8} "For your servant vowed a vow while I was living at Geshur in Aram, saying, 'If the LORD shall indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will serve the LORD.'" {9} And the king said to him, "Go in peace." So he arose and went to Hebron. {10} But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, "As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, 'Absalom is king in Hebron.'" {11} Then two hundred men went with Absalom from Jerusalem, who were invited and went innocently, and they did not know anything. {12} And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counselor, from his city Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong, for the people increased continually with Absalom. {13} Then a messenger came to David, saying, "The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom." {14} And David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, "Arise and let us flee, for otherwise none of us shall escape from Absalom. Go in haste, lest he overtake us quickly and bring down calamity on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword." {15} Then the king's servants said to the king, "Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king chooses." {16} So the king went out and all his household with him. But the king left ten concubines to keep the house.


In 2 Samuel 16:15, we can see another of David's punishments that were pronounced by God through Nathan, the prophet.

(2 Sam 16:15-23 NASB) Then Absalom and all the people, the men of Israel, entered Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him. {16} Now it came about when Hushai the Archite, David's friend, came to Absalom, that Hushai said to Absalom, "Long live the king! Long live the king!" {17} And Absalom said to Hushai, "Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?" {18} Then Hushai said to Absalom, "No! For whom the LORD, this people, and all the men of Israel have chosen, his will I be, and with him I will remain. {19} "And besides, whom should I serve? Should I not serve in the presence of his son? As I have served in your father's presence, so I will be in your presence." {20} Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, "Give your advice. What shall we do?" {21} And Ahithophel said to Absalom, "Go in to your father's concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself odious to your father. The hands of all who are with you will also be strengthened." {22} So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and Absalom went in to his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel. {23} And the advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one inquired of the word of God; so was all the advice of Ahithophel regarded by both David and Absalom.



Evil From Within


Remember what we read in 2 Samuel 12:10, "Thus says the LORD, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your companion, and he shall lie with your wives in broad daylight." It was through the advice of Ahithophel that David's own son, Absalom, was the instrument of the defiling of David's wives.

Who was David's former counselor, Ahithophel, and why did he turn against David to give aid and comfort in the form of wise counsel to the one who stole the throne from David? Let's see what we can discover about Ahithophel. The first mention of Ahithophel is in 2 Samuel 15:12 where Ahithophel the Gilonite is spoken of as David's counselor. Is there more? What of his ancestry or who was his son? In 2 Samuel 23 in the listing of David's mighty men, we find the son of Ahithophel mentioned.


(2 Sam 23:34 NASB) Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maacathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,


Wait a minute. Haven't we heard the name Eliam before? Turn back to 2 Samuel 11:3.


(2 Sam 11:3 NASB) So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?"


So, Bathsheba was the grandaughter of Ahithophel. Well, we’ve now come full-circle back to the sin for which God pronounced ongoing punishments for David. Now we have motive for Ahithophel's rebellion against David. As we saw earlier that Absalom never forgave Amnon for raping his sister, Tamar, so we see that Ahithophel never forgave David for committing adultery with his granddaughter, Bathsheba, or for killing her husband, Uriah.


Now, I understand. For years I could never make sense of why David's closest counselor so easily abandoned him to take sides with David’s enemy. It now makes perfect sense. How would you feel if your employer seduced your granddaughter and then tried to cover it up by murdering your grandson-in-law? It's quite understandable why Ahithophel would never have forgiven David.

We've gone through some of the high points and low points of David's life, looking at them from the viewpoint of the academic who might study the events from an unspiritual point of view, looking only at the events as they occurred. We saw that David was virtually unqualified through breeding, education or training for a life of public service. He was without formal military training to be a warrior, as he freely admitted. Even after his ascendancy to the throne of Israel, it also appears he was lacking in parental skills, as well. Overall, it is a natural conclusion for one to decide that David just wasn't qualified to be king of Israel.



The Spiritual Perspective


To the spiritual mind, however, it’s a different story. In Romans 8:6, Paul focused on the spiritual difference when he said, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." So, the spiritual mind is open to seeing events from God's perspective, as we are reminded in Isaiah 55:8.


(Isa 55:8-9 NASB) "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. {9} "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.


Let's go back to the life of David and fill in the gaps from a more spiritual perspective. Before David had been anointed as the future king of Israel, Samuel confronted Saul's disobedience to God at Michmash where he usurped the priestly office by offering sacrifices. In 1 Samuel 13:14, Samuel told Saul that God had already made his decision to install a new king.


(1 Sam 13:14 NASB) "But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you."


In 1 Samuel 16:1 as Samuel came to the house of Jesse to anoint one of his sons to be the future king of Israel, God made it clear to Samuel that he had rejected Saul because of his disobedience.


(1 Sam 16:1 NASB) Now the LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons."


In verse seven, it was God who reminded Samuel of the unique perspective of the Eternal.


(1 Sam 16:7 NASB) But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."


Let's look at the heart and attitude of David.


When David went to the battlefront to visit his brothers and encountered the Philistine threat from Goliath, what was his reaction and attitude? Was he intimidated and fearful like the other Israelite soldiers?


(1 Sam 17:26 NASB) Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine, and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?"


Clearly, David saw the threat as an affront to God. In discussing the matter with Saul, David stated as fact that it was God who would give him the victory against the Philistine threat.


(1 Sam 17:37 NASB) And David said, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and may the LORD be with you."


When it came time to confront Goliath in person, David stated for all to hear that the Philistine threat was not against men but against God.


(1 Sam 17:45-47 NASB) Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. {46} "This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, {47} and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD'S and He will give you into our hands."


Years later, when David was fleeing from the wrath of Saul, he did not lose his perspective of God's priorities. Even though David had been anointed by Samuel to be the future king of Israel, David was not going to assume the office until God saw fit to place him in that office by removing Saul. In 1 Samuel 24:6, look at the respect David continued to have for Saul while he was in the office of the king even though Saul tried, time after time, to kill David.


(1 Sam 24:6 NASB) So he said to his men, "Far be it from me because of the LORD that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD'S anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the LORD'S anointed."


Even after the death of Saul, when David became the king of Judah, David still had respect for the son of Saul, Ishbosheth, who occupied the office of the king of Israel. Look at the reaction and attitude of David upon hearing of the assassination of Ishbosheth in 2 Samuel 4:7.


(2 Sam 4:7-12 NASB) Now when they came into the house, as he was lying on his bed in his bedroom, they struck him and killed him and beheaded him. And they took his head and traveled by way of the Arabah all night. {8} Then they brought the head of Ish-bosheth to David at Hebron, and said to the king, "Behold, the head of Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life; thus the LORD has given my lord the king vengeance this day on Saul and his descendants." {9} And David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, "As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from all distress, {10} when one told me, saying, 'Behold, Saul is dead,' and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and killed him in Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news. {11} "How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous man in his own house on his bed, shall I not now require his blood from your hand, and destroy you from the earth?" {12} Then David commanded the young men, and they killed them and cut off their hands and feet, and hung them up beside the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth and buried it in the grave of Abner in Hebron.


Notice David's heart and attitude toward God as represented in his respect for the Ark of the Covenant. After the Philistines had returned the Ark, it remained at Kiriath-jearim for many years. Notice in the sixth chapter of 2 Samuel and in verse five, David's celebrations on the day that the Ark was brought up to Jerusalem.


(2 Sam 6:5 NASB) Meanwhile, David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the LORD with all kinds of instruments made of fir wood, and with lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets and cymbals.

Continue in verse 14:


(2 Sam 6:14-15 NASB) And David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod. {15} So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouting and the sound of the trumpet.


In the very next chapter, we read further of David's heart and attitude toward God when he planned to build a house for God in Jerusalem.


(2 Sam 7:1-16 NASB) Now it came about when the king lived in his house, and the LORD had given him rest on every side from all his enemies, {2} that the king said to Nathan the prophet, "See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains." {3} And Nathan said to the king, "Go, do all that is in your mind, for the LORD is with you." {4} But it came about in the same night that the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying, {5} "Go and say to My servant David, 'Thus says the LORD, "Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in? {6} "For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle. {7} "Wherever I have gone with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel, which I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, 'Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?'"' {8} "Now therefore, thus you shall say to My servant David, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, "I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be ruler over My people Israel. {9} "And I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth. {10} "I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as formerly, {11} even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you. {12} "When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. {13} "He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. {14} "I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, {15} but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. {16} "And your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever."'"


Look at David's heart and reaction to what God had spoken to him through the prophet, Nathan.


(2 Sam 7:18-22 NASB) Then David the king went in and sat before the LORD, and he said, "Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that Thou hast brought me this far? {19} "And yet this was insignificant in Thine eyes, O Lord GOD, for Thou hast spoken also of the house of Thy servant concerning the distant future. And this is the custom of man, O Lord GOD. {20} "And again what more can David say to Thee? For Thou knowest Thy servant, O Lord GOD! {21} "For the sake of Thy word, and according to Thine own heart, Thou hast done all this greatness to let Thy servant know. {22} "For this reason Thou art great, O Lord GOD; for there is none like Thee, and there is no God besides Thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.


Even in David's sin with Bathsheba and Uriah, we notice a different attitude. It was not an attitude of defiance and self-justification as other kings, such as Saul, might have displayed. David acknowledged that the sin was not merely one committed against humans. The real affront was to God. We can even see more humility recorded for us in Psalm 51, which was the prayer of repentance to God given by David at the time of the incident.


(Psa 51:1-17 NASB) Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions. {2} Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. {3} For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. {4} Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, And done what is evil in Thy sight, So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, And blameless when Thou dost judge. {5} Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. {6} Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom. {7} Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. {8} Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice. {9} Hide Thy face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. {10} Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. {11} Do not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. {12} Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, And sustain me with a willing spirit. {13} Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, And sinners will be converted to Thee. {14} Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Thy righteousness. {15} O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Thy praise. {16} For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering. {17} The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.


Did you notice the last verse? What does God truly desire in his people? Read it again, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise."





What have we seen today? Was David qualified to be the king of Israel? Humanly speaking, the answer is "no." Spiritually speaking, the answer is "yes." Through the grace of God, David grew to become qualified to be the king of Israel." How do we know? We have God's definite word on it in several different places in scripture. We earlier read it in 2 Samuel 7:16 where God said, "And your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever."

We can also see, in 1 Kings 3:10, that God made a similar promise to David's son, Solomon, after Solomon had asked God for wisdom to rule the people.


(1 Ki 3:10-14 NASB) And it was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. {11} And God said to him, "Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, {12} behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. {13} "And I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days. {14} "And if you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days."


In 1 Kings 11: 34, God even acknowledged his promise to David while speaking to Jeroboam about taking away the northern ten tribes of Israel from Solomon's son, Rehoboam.


(1 Kings 11:34-36 NASB) 'Nevertheless I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, but I will make him ruler all the days of his life, for the sake of My servant David whom I chose, who observed My commandments and My statutes; {35} but I will take the kingdom from his son's hand and give it to you, even ten tribes. {36} 'But to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may have a lamp always before Me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen for Myself to put My name.


In 1 Kings 15:3, while speaking of the errant ways of one of the kings of Judah, God made reference to the right heart of David.


(1 Kings 15:3-5 NASB) And he walked in all the sins of his father which he had committed before him; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, like the heart of his father David. {4} But for David's sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, to raise up his son after him and to establish Jerusalem; {5} because David did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.


In the book of Acts, even Stephen witnessed concerning the heart of David as being right before God.


(Acts 13:21-23 NASB) "And then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. {22} "And after He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, 'I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.' {23} "From the offspring of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus,


What of the world tomorrow when Christ's throne will be re-established on earth? Where will David be and what will he be doing? Let's look at Jeremiah 30:9.


(Jer 30:9 KJV) But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.


We can read even more detail about David's future in Ezekiel 37:21.


(Ezek 37:21-25 KJV) And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: {22} And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: {23} Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. {24} And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. {25} And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.


We can learn a lot from the physical examples recorded for us in scripture. We can learn even more from the spiritual lessons recorded for us if we have the right perspective that comes from the spirit of God. Paul reminds us of that in Romans 8:5.


(Rom 8:5-9 NASB) For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. {6} For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, {7} because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; {8} and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. {9} However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.


Today, we have only touched on some of the pros and cons, of David's life. We have seen enough, though, to learn that it is not the outward appearance of a man that’s important to God. It is the heart or attitude of a person that counts most in the eyes of God. We should take the positive examples of humility and repentance exhibited for us in the life of David to do what is right and pleasing to our Creator all the days of our lives. Then it is not we who have the glory; it is God.

Sermon by Philip Edwards

30 September 2006


Copyright 2006, Philip Edwards





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