Old Testament Walk Through: Focus on King David–2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles

King David

The Story Continues

The life of David is first presented when we find Samuel asked by God to go and anoint one of the sons of Jesse of Bethlehem (1 Samuel 16:1). That son was David. This anointing had eternal significance (Isaiah 11:1, Revelation 5:5, Revelation 22:16).

From the time of David’s anointing we find a fascinating story unfold—a story of great success and trust in God. More than that David has left to us a lasting legacy of a personal relationship with God whom he clung to as His Shepherd (Psalm 23:1). We are helped to have such a relationship with God through the Psalms he penned; which Jesus said spoke of Him (Luke 24:44).

Though David’s life had some major blemishes like his adultery with Bathsheba and engineering the murder of her husband Uriah (who was one of David’s best thirty mighty men), he had a heart for God like none else (1 Kings 15:5).

We learn of David’s story in part in I Samuel. II Samuel and I Chronicles continue his story where we find David becoming king as God had promised him. Later when David expressed his desire to build a temple for God in Jerusalem, God responded by making an eternal and unchanging covenant with David, promising him a son from his own line to rule on his throne forever (see 2 Samuel 7, 1 Chronicles 17 and Psalm 89:3, 4, 19—37).

From that time on the expectation of a Messiah (meaning the Anointed One; “Christ” in Greek means the same) was planted deep in the hearts of every true Israelite. Angel Gabriel’s words to Mary in Luke 1:29—33 impacts us with unmistakable certainty as to whom God’s promise had referred to— none other than the Son of David, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Thus David’s life was the canvas on which God painted the greater picture of bringing salvation to the world; to be followed by His government on earth where His will will be done and lasting peace will come when the Prince of Peace would rule (Isaiah 9:6, 7).

Two Viewpoints

Even though 1 Chronicles seems to be a repeat of 2 Samuel, it is not. Though the facts are same, the way they have been interpreted is different.

2 Samuel is more of a biography where we have David’s story with all its good and bad. It is a record of his life and reign from approximately 1000 B.C. to 961 B.C. But Chronicles was written to a different audience. It was written six centuries later to people who came back from the Babylonian captivity.

The author of Chronicles (possibly Ezra) was trying to connect the people to their roots. He was trying to tell them that God had a great plan and purpose for them in spite of them having lost everything—their nation, their temple, their worship etc.

The Chronicler had access to many historical records which he refers to in the book and he compiled it to teach the small group who had returned to Jerusalem that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was still their God and someday the Messiah from David’s line would come and deliver them and rule again.

To accomplish this purpose, the writer of the Chronicles bypasses the blemishes in David’s character and instead focuses on his victories and accomplishments in particular—the most notable of it being a united kingdom, preparations for the magnificent Temple and setting in order the arrangements for worship, composing of many of the Psalms, and keeping the hearts of people free from idolatry and instead keeping it in pursuit of a true worship of the living God—El Elohe Israel (God, the God of Israel; see Genesis 33:20).

David—the Man Who Was Gracious

Saul reigned forty years over Israel. Yet almost thirty-­five years of his reign he spent in insecurity. He always thought that David as a threat to his kingdom and tried to kill him many times. And David’s life, in his young days, was spent fleeing from Saul and running from place to place in fear of his life.

Yet when the news of Saul’s death came he composed a lament for Saul and Jonathan (2 Samuel 1:17 —27). He speaks in glowing terms about them (v. 23) and special mention is made of the great love Jonathan had for him (v. 26). We normally cannot expect human beings to react like this. Truly, David exhibited the quality, “Love keeps no record of wrongs” (ref. 1 Cor. 13:5).

We also find David showing mercy and kindness to Mephibosheth (son of Jonathan) for Jonathan’s sake (2 Samuel 9). This was also unexpected kindness because kings of the east normally used to take revenge on the families of the kings who had preceded them and were their enemies. We find David again sparing the life of Mephibosheth on another occasion (2 Samuel 21:7).

In David showing kindness to Mephibosheth for Jonathan’s sake, we find a tender picture of God showing mercy to us for Christ’s sake.

David—the Man Who Waited for God

Waiting for God is not popular among most Christians today. Because we live in a fast world we need everything instantly. For this we have promoted preachers who tell us that God is like the genie that came from Aladdin’s lamp to give us wonderful things as soon as we ask for them.

But David’s life teaches us that true children of God wait for God. And while they wait, God trains them through difficulties and hardships, through failures and mistakes, to be the person they are to be. He then fulfils His gracious promises to His children. This we find happening in the life of David as he waited for God.

Twice David (1 Sam. 24 and 26) had a chance to kill Saul and become king of the land. But twice he refused recognizing the fact that Saul was the Lord’s anointed. And when Saul was dead, David did not promote himself to become king. Instead he asked God, “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” (see 2 Sam. 2:1). And God directed him to Hebron. There the men of Judah anointed him publicly as king over the house of Judah.

Earlier David was anointed by Samuel privately (1 Sam. 16). Then there was war between the houses of David and Saul. “David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker” (2 Sam. 3:1b). Finally, the time came when all the tribes came to Hebron and asked David to be their king. They made this appeal on the basis of God’s promise to David: “And the Lord said to you, `You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler’ ” (2 Sam. 5:2b).

Thus David was anointed thrice – first by Samuel, then by the people of Judah (2 Sam 2:4) and finally by all the tribes of Israel (2 Sam 5:1-5). Until the death of Ish-Bosheth (4:1-12), David was king of Judah and Ish-Bosheth was king of Israel (northern tribes). After his death, the elders of the northern tribes came and anointed David king over all Israel. The only time Israel was a united kingdom was during the reigns of David and Solomon.

David was thirty when he became king. Remember that from the time he had killed Goliath, it was a long journey of hardships before he became king even though God had promised to make him king. And the promise of God to him was fully realized after seven and a half years when he became king over all Israel.

When God makes a promise to you, know that you will go through hardships as part of God’s discipline. This is part of your training. But at the right time, even though your beginnings may seem small and insignificant God will make His promises come true. But the key lesson is to wait for God and not try to overtake God. In His time, God’s promises will come true.

Jerusalem—David’s Political Capital and Centre of Worship

(2 Sam. 5:6—10 and Ch. 6)
Making Jerusalem the capital of his kingdom was one of the great achievements of King David. From the time of Joshua till then Jerusalem had remained unconquered. But David instead of getting discouraged by the impossibility of the task went ahead and conquered Jerusalem.

The Bible records, “And he became more and more powerful, because the Lord Almighty was with him” (2 Sam. 5:10 NIV). “The Lord gave David victory wherever he went” (2 Sam. 8:6b, 14b).

Jerusalem was not just David’s political capital. He was the one who made Jerusalem the centre of worship thus setting the stage where almost 1000 years later the Messiah Jesus would die and in a date that is future and perhaps very near, he would rule. To make it the centre of worship David brought the ark of the covenant (which had been neglected for almost eighty years) to Jerusalem.

But the first attempt ended in disaster because they had brought the ark on a cart. God had commanded that only Levites should carry the ark on their shoulders. So after a gap of three months (when the ark was in the household of Obed-­Edom and the Lord blessing him), David took steps to bring the ark of God to the city in the proper way (1 Chron. 15:12—16) with much sacrifices, music and great joy.

The influence of David is still felt. No king ever came near the devotion he showed God and the elaborate arrangements (specially regarding the Levites, the priestly tribe) he made for worship as recorded in 1 Chronicles 23 to 26. It would be interesting to note 1 Chron. 24:10b and Luke 1:5, 8.

That means the regulations given by David was being followed at the time of the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus too, which was almost 1000 years later.

David the Sinner

(2 Samuel 11)
Trace these events in preceding chapters:

David is at his very best when he had it in his heart to build a temple for God (2 Sam 7). Though God did not allow him to build the temple He promised David an eternal throne. Then we read of some of David’s great victories. He became famous in the process (2 Sam. 8:13). Again David was at his best when he showed kindness to Mephibosheth for Jonathan’s sake (2 Sam. 9).

But after being at his very best we find David off guard.

Some commentators has noted that David was possibly around 47 years of age when the incident with Bathsheba took place. How could such a man so devoted to God have done such a great crime? This question haunts us. But these have been recorded for us to take warning. Here are some points to note:

1. When we are having great success that is a time to watch out. That is the time when we start to neglect our devotion to God. We think that our previous days of fellowship with God, reading the Bible and prayer are all enough. So without knowing we lose our dependence on God and that is a perfect time for temptation to attack.

2. We find neglect of duty on the part of David. He was supposed to go to war. Instead he chose to be at home without purpose, and that is a perfect occasion for temptation to attack.

3. We find David being idle. He had nothing to do. So one evening he got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. and that is a perfect time for temptation to attack.

4. We find David seeing a woman bathing. Now the last commandment of the 10 commandments said, “Do not covet.” David violated that first.

5. It also need to be noted that David might not have made a decision to put a guard on what his eyes saw, like Job (31:1). Read also Jesus’ words: “Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness” (Luke 11:34 NIV). Jesus equated a lustful eye to adultery in one’s heart (ref. Matthew 5:28).

6. We find David progressing from sin to sin. Had David been walking close to the Lord during that
time, the Spirit of God would have warned him. But David not only coveted but also committed adultery. And to cover up that he engineered the murder of Uriah, who was Bathsheba’s husband. And to add to it all, he married Bathsheba and had a son by her. Sin always pulls us down further and further into a whirlpool of evil.

Now we need to note that kings of the east could do all kinds of things with nobody to question them. In another kingdom during that time such an episode would not have anybody asking questions. But the Bible records, “But the thing David had done displeased the Lord” (2 Samuel 11:27b).

David—the Repentant One

(2 Samuel 12)

God sent prophet Nathan to David. And he cleverly baited David with a lovely story.

[It once again reminds us of the power of story in communication. That is why God has used the stories of His servants including that of David to teach us. That is why Jesus taught using parables. Every communicator of the gospel should learn to teach using stories.]

When David burned with anger and said, “the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over,” Nathan responded by saying, “You are the man!” David humbly responded by saying, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Sam. 12:5, 6, 7, 13).

That is a great quality in David. He did not shirk from responsibility. Once he realized that he had sinned he acknowledged it humbly. His repentance is recorded in Psalm 51. God took away his sin. But Nathan said, “But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt, the son born to you will die” (2 Sam. 13:14a). We must be careful not to bring dishonour to the name of Christ by what we do.

David—the One Who Reaped What He Had Sowed

We need to note that sin has consequences. David’s life after his sinful acts shows this to us with certainty. Even though God took away his sin, David lived with the consequences of his sin for the rest of his life. God had pronounced a two­-fold punishment on him.

One, since he struck down Uriah with the sword of the Ammonites the sword would not depart from his house.

Two, he did adultery in secret, but one close to him will lie with David’s wives in broad daylight.

Later, we find David’s sons Amnon, Absalom, and Adonijah being killed in conflicts within the family. We find Amnon raping his sister Tamar and later Absalom lying with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel. We find Absalom, David’s son trying to hunt him down in order to kill him.

Surely, the Word of God is true: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7—9)

David the Singer of Songs

(2 Sam. 23:1)
We stand on sacred ground as we read David’s Psalms. Some of them spoke of his relationship to God. Some of them spoke about being depressed, lonely, afflicted and pursued by men; while some others spoke about being betrayed and the treachery of friends. But above all, his Psalms speak of Praise of the Holy One. They show the depth and intensity and the emotion of His relationship with God.

Beyond all this is the prophetic overtones of the Messiah in the Psalms. For example, in Psalm 16 we have an account of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, in Psalm 22 we have an almost eyewitness account of His crucifixion and in Psalm 110 we have the account of the eternal reign and eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ (ref. Matt. 22:41—46).

David—the Man of Submission

David was a man who submitted to God and His will fully. We find him first of all submitting his cause to God when Saul was hunting down his life. Instead of trying to kill Saul and gain the kingdom for himself in the twinkling of an eye, David submitted his cause to God and waited for God to deliver him from all his troubles. His words in 1 Samuel 24:15, 26:23, 24 reveals David’s submission to God regarding the kingship.

Then we find David’s submission to God when God rejected his desire to build God a Temple. Even though God commended David for having this desire (2 Chron. 6:8, 1 Kings 8:18), his desire was rejected because he had shed much blood as a warrior (1 Chron. 28:2, 3).

Instead, God promised him a son (Solomon) who would be a man of peace and would build the Temple. Even though God did not allow him to build the temple, God gave the plans of the Temple to David (1 Chron. 28:12, 19). David not only encouraged his son Solomon and his people to make the temple, he made extensive preparations (1 Chron. 29) before his death to get the temple built.

We find David submitting to God’s will when the child borne to him by Bathsheba died. Through Nathan God had told David that the child would die as punishment of his sin. But David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and in his house spent the night’s lying on the ground and he would not eat.

On the seventh day the child died. When David came to know about it he rose up from the ground, washed and changed his clothes and went into the house of the Lord and worshipped. Then he went to his house and ate. We find David’s attitude of submission revealed in 2 Sam. 12:22, 23.

Another act of David’s submission is seen when he made a great mistake of numbering the fighting men of Israel. After it was done, David was conscience stricken and said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.” (2 Sam. 24:10b NIV). Through prophet Gad, God spoke to David giving him three options for punishment (2 Sam. 24:11—13).

David’s reply reveals his character of submission to God. He said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men” (2 Sam. 24:14). Read also verse 17.

Note: About the sin of numbering his army: The sin is related to the prohibition that the king should not acquire great numbers of horses for himself (Deut 17:16) i.e. the sin of trusting in military strength rather than in the Lord. (Isn’t this also modern Israel’s sin? Think about it.)

Thus we find David submitting to God when he was suffering unjustly, when his plans were rejected and when he was punished by God.

David—and God’s Covenant with Him

“The Old Testament is the story of God’s dealing with the Hebrew nation for the purpose of one day Blessing All Nations. As the story unfolds, it is explained that the way the Hebrew nation would Bless All Nations would be through the Family of David. As the story further unfolds, it is further explained that the way the Family of David would bless the world would be through ONE GREAT KING who would one day be born in David’s Family, who would himself personally LIVE FOREVER, and establish a KINGDOM OF ENDLESS DURATION.

In the 7th chapter of II Samuel begins the long line of promises that DAVID’S FAMILY should reign FOREVER over God’s people; that is, there should come from David an Eternal Family Line of Kings, culminating in ONE ETERNAL KING. Here are some of the promises: 2 Sam. 7:16; 1 Kings 2:4; 1 Chron. 22: 8—10; 2 Chron. 7:17, 18; Psalm 89:3, 4, 27—29, 34—37; 132:11; Amos 9:11, 12; Isaiah 9:6, 7; 11:1, 10; Micah 5:2, 4; Jeremiah 22:29; 23:5, 6; 33:20, 21; Zechariah 3:8, 9; 6:12, 13; 9:10; 12:8; 13:1.

Thus, the promise of an Eternal King, to arise in David’s Family, was repeated over and over: to David himself, to Solomon, and again and again in the Psalms, and by the prophets Amos, Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah, over a period of some 500 years. By and by, in the fullness of time, the angel Gabriel was sent to Nazareth, to Mary, who was of the family of David, and he said the words in Luke 1:30—33. In THIS CHILD the Davidic promises found their fulfilment.” ­­ Halley’s Bible Handbook

David—the Man of Prayer

David’s prayer life was characterized by taking almost everything to God in prayer. He inquired of God constantly. We find him inquiring of God after Saul’s death (2 Sam. 2) and when the Philistines came to attack him in full force when they heard that David had been anointed king over Israel (2 Sam. 5:17—25). David even acknowledged his failure to inquire of God when his first attempt to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem ended in tragedy (see 1 Chron. 15:13b).

Another great character of David’s prayer is the way he exalted God in his praying. See how he describes God in his prayers. He describes God as holy (1 Chron, 16:10), as great and most worthy of praise (1 Chron, 16:25) Saviour (1 Chron, 16:35), as Redeemer (1 Chron. 17:21), as Israel’s God (1 Chron. 17:24), as God from everlasting to everlasting (1 Chron. 29:10) as Most High (2 Sam. 23:1), as the Rock of Israel (2 Sam. 23:3; 22:32, 47).. His language of prayer is filled with adoration of God and his love for Him.

We note a swelling note of praise to God in his prayers. This is an unmistakable signature in all of David’s prayers. In all circumstances he found courage and joy to praise His God (compare 1 Thess. 5:16—18). Read his Psalms of Praise in 2 Sam. 22 and 1 Chron. 16 and his last prayer recorded in 1 Chron. 29:10—19).

He took care to praise God with songs, musical instruments, dance, and celebration with great joy and enthusiasm and cared not what others thought about him. For example, when David was dancing and celebrating before the Lord with all his might when the ark was brought to Jerusalem, Michal his wife, was watching from a window and despised him in her heart (1 Chron. 15:29).

When Michal spoke to David despising him (2 Sam. 6:20) equating him to “ any vulgar fellow” for celebrating before the Lord, David replied, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel— I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honour” (2 Sam. 6:21, 22 NIV).

David was a man who was amazed at God’s faithfulness and favour towards him. His language of prayer expresses this amazement well. Read his prayer in 2 Sam. 7 and 1 Chron. 17 It expresses his gratefulness. Surely David had a thankful heart and never forgot from what humble circumstances God had raised him up to shepherd God’s people. He also was someone who made the promises of God his security. He never doubted God’s promises but prayed with sure confidence for its fulfilment. Such was the prayer life of the man, David.

David—the Great Giver

When God asked David to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, David went in obedience. When he expressed his intention to buy the threshing floor to build an altar to the Lord so that the plague on the people may be stopped, Araunah told David to take everything needed for free.

But David’s reply is still challenging us: “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing” (2 Sam. 24:24). We need to prayerfully consider whether our giving to God is sacrificial or not?

Some other principles of giving are found in David’s preparation for the temple. He had provided for the temple with his great resources. Then he said, “Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God, over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple” (1 Chron. 29:3). Thus we find David giving more than what was necessary because of his devotion to God.

David in his last prayer reminds us that everything belongs to God (1 Chron. 29:11, 14, 16). The abundance provided for the temple was only a little portion of what God had given them for David acknowledged that it is God who gives wealth and honour (1 Chron. 29:12). We need to remember that we are stewards of God on this earth and not possessors of anything; a truth which Jesus repeatedly taught in His parables.

David also talks about the motive of giving. Earlier he had warned Solomon about how God searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts (1 Chron. 28:9). Now David confidently says, “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent.” (1 Chron. 29:17). David also noted that the people gave with joy. Compare Paul’s admonition in 2 Cor. 9:7.

David—the Leader and Warrior

One of the most remarkable qualities of David was his ability to attract and keep with him capable men and mighty men of valour (1 Chron. 11:10—12:40). The mighty men he attracted were intensely loyal to David. Once when David’s life was in danger, Abishai rescued him. Then David’s men said, “Never again will you go out with us to battle, so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished” (2 Sam. 21:17b).

On another occasion three of David’s thirty chief men risked their lives to bring to David a drink of water from the well near Bethlehem. This was just to fulfil David’s desire. But David refused to drink it when they brought water, instead he poured it out before the Lord (2 Samuel 23:17). Thus we find David able to command intense loyalty from his followers.


The following comments from Bible Scholars might help us to understand the life of David better.

● “David was a man after God’s own heart—not because of boasted perfection, but because of confessed imperfections. He hid himself in God. Read what God tells us to do when we sin, 1 John 1:9” ­­ — What the Bible Is All About by Dr. Henrietta C. Mears.

● “No one found anywhere in God’s Word is so versatile. He is David, the shepherd boy, the court musician, the soldier, the true friend, the outcast captain, the king, the great general, the loving father, the poet, the sinner, the broken-­hearted old man, but always the lover of God. We find him a sort of Robin Hood of the Bible. We love the stories of his daring courage, his encounter with lions and bears and the giant. He was a man of wonderful personal power and charm” ­­ — What the Bible Is All About by Dr. Henrietta C. Mears.

● “David’s start was slow and discouraging. But David had faith in God. He was patient and was willing to wait for God to lead. He was humble before God and the people. He was humble in his success, and when he sinned he genuinely repented.

David’s was a great career. He used every talent God gave him for the glory of His creator and built up the people of God’s choice. He brought Israel to the height of her glory, extending her boundaries from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates by conquest of battle. He left a rich heritage to his race—a heritage that included power, wealth, honour and songs and psalms.

But above all, he left an example of loyalty to God.” –­­ What the Bible Is All About by Dr. Henrietta C. Mears.

● “Why do you suppose this tragic story is given in the Bible? It bears the character of a beacon, warning the mariner against some of the most perilous rocks that are to be found in the sea of life. Never neglect watching and praying. An hour’s sleep left Samson at the mercy of Delilah.

Don’t fool with one sin even in thought. The door may be opened to a dangerous brood. It doesn’t take a whole box of matches to start a fire. One will do!” ­­– What the Bible Is All About by Dr. Henrietta C. Mears.

● “David was a mighty king and warrior. He ranked with Abraham, Moses and Paul. His great spirit is revealed to us in the psalms he wrote. But he sinned. The story does not end here, because he repented. Read the great confession in Psalm 51.

This is the “man after God’s heart.” We need to understand David’s life to understand and use the Psalms. We must know, too, why Christ was called the “Son of David” (Acts 13:22—23). David stands halfway between Abraham and Christ.

David had his faults. He did much that was very wrong, but he kept his nation from going into idolatry. Although his private sins were grievous, he stood like a rock for Jehovah [Yahweh]. He sinned, but he repented and gave God a chance to forgive and cleanse him. He illustrates the conflict Paul describes in Romans 7. He was a great saint even though he was great sinner.

David took a chaotic nation and established a dynasty that was to last to the time of captivity, a period of more than 450 years. There never was a great warrior or statesman than David. He made Israel the dominant power of western Asia.”– ­­ What the Bible Is All About by Dr. Henrietta C. Mears.

● “All in all, David was a grand character. He did some things that were very wrong; but, for an oriental king, he was a most remarkable man. He was, heart and soul, devoted to God and the ways of God. In a world of Idolatry, and in a nation that was continually falling away into Idolatry, David stood like a rock for God. In every circumstance of life he went directly to God, in Prayer, in Thanks, or in Praise. His two great accomplishments were: the Kingdom and the Psalms” ­­ — Halley’s Bible Handbook.

● [About the Uzzah tragedy when he with his hand steadied the ark]: “Uzzah’s death, for his impulsive gesture to save the Ark, 1 Chron. 13:9, to us seems severe. However, only Levites were to carry the ark, 15:2, 13. Then, too, Uzzah’s act was in direct violation of the law, Num. 4:15; his death, a warning to be careful.” –­­ Halley’s Bible Handbook.

“Someone once said: `The Church is looking for new methods, new machinery, and new modes of operation, but God is looking for new men.’

We ought not to forget that God has designed His church to move forward, not on the `new carts’ of human achievement, but on the shoulders of men and women whose lives are devoted to Him.” — ­­ Character by Character, by Selwyn Hughes and Trevor J. Partridge.

Key Lesson: “One commentator says of David, `It is rarely that a nation has associated all her attributes within the life of a single man. The David of Israel is not just the greatest of her kings, but the greatest shepherd, the greatest musician, the greatest soldier, and the greatest poet.’

Brave and chivalrous, energetic and prudent, a judge of men, a true lover of his country, just and wisely impartial—David had many excellent characteristics.

His weakness, however, are undeniable—a fact the Bible does not attempt to disguise. The great sins of his life—his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah—are portrayed in lurid detail, reminding us that even `a man after God’s own heart’ is capable of the most revolting sins.

The main lesson of David’s life is this: no one can walk through life in moral uprightness without a close dependency on the Lord. David, despite his many fine qualities was an utterly weak person without the help of God.

That goes for you too. As someone put it, `The Christian life is not just your responsibility, but your response to his Ability.’ Keep close to the Lord, for without His constant presence and companionship you will not be able to make it.” ­­– Character by Character, by Selwyn Hughes and Trevor J. Partridge.

● “ `I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel’ 2 Sam. 7:8. The Bible is filled with strong personalities, but none leads David in the parade. His life was a whirlwind, from which striking images flash. We see him playing his harp, writing poems, fighting battles, faking insanity, dancing jubilantly in praise of God.

We watch his tear­-streaked face when he learns of his closest friend’s death. We see him on his rooftop, gazing down lustfully on Bathsheba’s bath. We see Nathan point his finger at him, accusing him of adultery and murder.

We hear David’s guilty, anguished voice crying to God for the life of his infant child. We see David’s bowed head as he stumbles out of Jerusalem, pursued by his murderous son.

David survived the crises of a dozen lives. Somehow he always bounced back. Somehow he maintained a passionate trust in God. First and Second Samuel don’t paint him as a flawless character, nor as a perfect model of strength and courage. David had striking weaknesses.

Yet he appeals to us as he did to the Israelites: he was completely, passionately alive. Whatever he did, right or wrong, he did with his whole heart. In his love for God, he held nothing back.” ­­– Taken from Introduction to 2 Samuel, Family Devotional Study Bible.

● “David’s reign held ironic tragedies, too. Second Samuel makes no effort to hide them. David could lead a nation but not his own children. His ineffective parenting nearly destroyed all he had done when his heartless son Absalom led a rebellion. Second Samuel portrays David without retouching his blemishes: he was a murderer and an adulterer and a leader capable of cruelty.

Nevertheless, he was Israel’s greatest king. Even at his lowest points, his great strength of character showed. He was never vengeful with his enemies. He took full responsibility for his mistakes. He managed to remember that he started out as a mere shepherd. He held power only by the grace of God—and he believed that God had every right to take power away.

Through his love for God and his sense of astonished gratefulness for what God had done for him, David became a living embodiment of the Israel God wanted. Like all truly great leaders, he made his country thrive not just by what he did, but by who he was.”­­ — Taken from Introduction to 2 Samuel, Family Devotional Study Bible.

● [About Nathan confronting David]: “In this dramatic scene David’s greatness showed itself. He could easily have had Nathan killed. Or he could have laughed and shown him out of the palace. Instead, `David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Sam. 12:13) ‘ David recognized that God was the true king of Israel.

Nathan’s confrontation with David set the standard for centuries of conflict between kings and prophets. Time and again an Old Testament prophet went to the palace—sometimes risking his life —and told the king that God would punish him for what he was doing. The kings, rich and powerful by birth, did not have to listen. In fact, they rarely did. David was a great king partly because he did not act with normal pride of a king. When confronted with the truth, he repented.” ­­ — Taken from Notes on 2 Samuel, Family Devotional Study Bible.

David’s Psalms 

2 Samuel 22. This song of praise was included in the book of Psalms as Psalm 18. Many Psalms are credited to David, and some titles suggesting that events that inspired them. You can read these as a spiritual and emotional commentary on key events in David’s life:

Psalm 3. When he fled from his son Absalom (2 Sam. 15:13).
Psalm 18. When the Lord delivered him from his enemies and Saul (1 Sam. 19—31).
Psalm 51. After Nathan confronted David over Bathsheba (2 Sam. 12).
Psalm 52. When Doeg turned in the high priest for helping David (1 Sam. 22:9—10).
Psalm 54. When the Ziphites told Saul that David was hiding in their territory (1 Sam. 23:19—20; 26:1—25).
Psalm 56. When the Philistines seized David in Gath (1 Sam. 21:10—15).
Psalm 57. When David fled from Saul into the cave (1 Sam. 22:1—2).
Psalm 59. When Saul sent men to watch David’s house in order to kill him (1 Sam. 19:11).
Psalm 60. After an important battle.
Psalm 63. When he was in the desert of Judah.
Psalm 142. When he was in the cave, hiding from Saul. ­­ Taken from Notes on 2 Samuel, Family Devotional Study Bible.

The Cost of True Worship

(2 Sam. 24:24)
David’s response is timeless: he sees that worship which costs you nothing is not true worship at all. It is typical of David that even after falling into sin, he was not blinded to spiritual concerns. Feeling guilty already, he might have thought, `one more compromise’ would make no difference. Instead he stuck to principle.” ­­ Taken from Notes on 2 Samuel, Family Devotional Study Bible.
Words from the last prayer of David: 1 Chronicles 29:10—13 NIV

“Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honour come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.”

Related Posts:
2 Samuel 1:20 Tell It Not in Gath
2 Samuel 2:1 David, “Where Shall I Go?”
2 Samuel 5:23 So David Inquired of the LORD
2 Samuel 5:24 As You Hear the Sound of Marching, Move Quickly
2 Samuel 11:1b,2 But David Remained in Jerusalem, Woman Bathing
2 Samuel 13:15 Then Amnon Hated Her with Intense Hatred
2 Samuel 19:10b Why Do You Say Nothing About Bringing the King Back?
1 Chronicles 11:11 David’s Mighty Men
1 Chronicles 11:14 They Took Their Stand in the Middle
1 Chronicles 12:1 While David Was Restricted by Saul
1 Chronicles 14:2 And David Knew that the Lord Had Established
1 Chronicles 21:24 Sacrifice that Costs Nothing!
1 Chronicles 27:33b The King’s Friend

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