Biblical Period 6
Lesson # 16


Dear Heavenly Father,
You loved the youngest son of Jesse of Bethlehem, the one You called "beloved", "David"'poet, warrior king, lover of beautiful women'a man both valiant and imperfect, but You loved him because despite his imperfections, he loved You with all his heart.  Give us a heart like David's, Lord  When we fail You and fall into sin give us a David's heart to come to you in abject contrition seeking your forgiveness and reconciliation.  And when we triumph give us a David's heart to give all glory and honor to You.  We ask that you send Your Holy Spirit to guide us in our study of the shepherd boy You called to shepherd Your people Israel.  David, the beloved, pray for us!  We ask this in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen!


"He chose David to be his servant, took him from the sheepfold, took him from tending ewes to pasture his servant Jacob, and Israel his heritage.  He pastured them with unblemished heart; with a sensitive hand he led them."  Psalms 78:70-72

"The world is like a human eye.  The white is the ocean that girds the earth, the iris is the earth upon which we dwell, the pupil is Jerusalem, and the image therein is the Temple of the Lord."
Jewish sage of the 1st century AD

There is probably no other man in Salvation History, other than the "man who is God", Jesus of Nazareth, who had such an intensely personal relationship with Yahweh as the shepherd-warrior-king David of Bethlehem.  It is true that Abraham could run a close second, but it is David who writes such profoundly beautiful and deeply moving poetry expressing his love and devotion to the God who called him both to suffering and greatness [see the Book of the Psalms of David].  David's name in Hebrew is dawid, which means "beloved".  His personal name may have been Elhanan , which means "God is mercy" [see 2 Samuel 21:20] but he is know to us as God's "beloved."

Please read 1 Samuel 16:1-23: Samuel Anoints David King

In 16:1 God reproves Samuel for mourning over Saul's rejection.  Yahweh commands His prophet to fill his horn with anointing oil and to go to the house of Jesse of Bethlehem.  Samuel fears Saul will discover his mission and kill him because the road from Samuel's home town of Ramah to Bethlehem passed through Gibeah, the town of Saul and Saul already knew Yahweh had chosen someone to replace him [15:28].  Samuel's fears that Saul's jealousy would lead to violence were well founded as we shall see in later incidents.  Despite his fears, Samuel obediently prepared to depart for the house of Jesse of Bethlehem.

Question: Who is Jesse?  What do you know about his family?  See Ruth 4:18-22 and Matthew 1:3-6.
Answer: Rahab the woman of Jericho married Salmon of the tribe of Judah.  Their "son" [a son of their lineage] Boaz married the Moabite woman Ruth.  Ruth and Boaz's son was Obed the father of Jesse.

There is an amusing account of Samuel's adventure in Bethlehem in verses 2-13.  First the village elders "tremble" in his presence which gives us some indication of the way the people viewed the power of this prophet-priest-Judge of Yahweh.

Samuel tells Jesse to "consecrate" himself and his sons in verse 5 and to prepare to come before God in sacrifice and worship [see Genesis 35:2; Exodus 19:10, 14 and Joshua 3:5].  The word most often translated for "worship" in Scripture literally means "altar sacrifice".

Question: Why does Samuel tell them to consecrate themselves?  What was the purpose of a consecration ritual?
Answer: A consecration ceremony pictured the importance of approaching God with a pure heart, in the same way each of us should prepare our hearts before we approach God.  The act of crossing ourselves in the sign of the cross with holy water as we enter God's sanctuary reflects this desire for consecration and purity of heart as we come into God's presence'it is an outward sign that indicates an inward condition.

Each of Jesse's 7 sons who stand before the prophet is more handsome than the next but God tells Samuel "Take no notice of his appearance or his height, [...]. God does not see as human beings see; they look at appearances but Yahweh looks at the heart"[1 Samuel 16:7].  God judges by faith and character, not by appearance.

Question: Who does Yahweh choose?
Answer: Yahweh's choice falls on the 8th son, the shepherd-boy David [17:12-15].  David is anointed by Samuel and immediately God's spirit "falls on him" [before the second great Pentecost of Acts chapter 2, God the Holy Spirit "rests" or "falls" on men chosen by God to fulfill a mission in Salvation History.  At the birth of the Church and afterward, God the Holy Spirit "fills and indwells" the faithful].

Note: In the symbolic significance of numbers in Scripture, 8 is the number of salvation, redemption, and regeneration.  8 people were saved in the ark during the Great Flood, and the sons of Israel are redeemed as sons of the Covenant of Yahweh by circumcision on the 8th day of their lives.  Now the 8th son of Jesse will become a key player in God's plans of salvation and redemption for the entire earth.

The spirit of God descended on David but withdrew from Saul.  This removal of the spirit of God from Saul and the giving of the spirit to David determined the contrasting courses of their lives.  Note: it is not that God inflicted Saul with evil but that God allowed the evil spirit to influence Saul as a direct result of his disobedience.

Please read 1Samuel 17:1 – 18:30: David's Military Success

This passage is the wonderful account of young David's victory over the giant Philistine Goliath, but it is also an ironic account of the failure of an old king and the emergence of the young man who was anointed in secret by Samuel.  Saul is still the rightfully anointed King of Israel but God is preparing David for his future responsibilities.

You may recall that when the spies returned from surveying the Promised Land in Numbers chapter 13 they reported that there were giants living in the land [King Og of Bashan needed a bed over 13 feet long in Deuteronomy 3:11].  Goliath, a Philistine of Gath was 6 cubits and a span, by our reckoning he was over 9 feet tall.  Although Goliath was obviously very tall compared to his contemporaries, this figure may not be literal.  The number 6 is significant because in the symbolic numbers used in Scripture 6 is the number of man in his rebellion against God.  It is amusing to picture King Saul's reaction to Goliath's challenge.  It must have made King Saul a bit nervous -- he was, after all, the most likely candidate to accept the challenge of the Philistine giant, being the tallest of the Israelites [1Samuel 9:2 "Of all the Israelites there was no one more handsome than he (Saul); he stood head and shoulders taller than anyone else." ].

It was not unusual for an army to avoid a battle by pitting its strongest warrior against the strongest warrior of the enemy.   The winner of the challenge would be considered the winner of the battle. In this case the armies were camped on opposite sides of a valley with steep walls [17:2].  Which ever side would rush down the valley and up the steep cliffs of toward the opposing army would be at a disadvantage at the beginning of the battle and probably suffer the greatest casualties; therefore, each side was waiting for the other to attack first.  To send out a champion to determine the victory was a reasonable move.  But, Goliath's size intimidated the Israelite army and for 40 days his challenge went unanswered [the number 40 is symbolic of testing as well as consecration.  See the document "The Significance of Numbers in Scripture"].

Question: In addition to fear of Goliath's great size, what else does this fear and inaction indicate? 
Answer: This inaction is also an indication of loss of faith in the covenant promises of Yahweh to defend Israel in battling her enemies.

Question: Why does David want to accept the challenge of the Philistine champion? See 26 and 36-7, and 45-47.
Answer: To defend the honor of Yahweh's people.  David's confidence does not rest on his own abilities but on the power and divine will of the Living God [see verse 37].

Question: David wisely refuses Saul's armor, but he picks up 5 smooth stones for his sling (1 Sam 17:40).  Why 5 stones?  Does David hope he will get 5 chances to sling a stone at the head of the giant from Gath? Read 2 Samuel 21:15-22.
Answer: Goliath has 4 kinsmen who are also warriors.  David wants to be prepared in case he has to fight all of them.

David is victorious in his contest with the giant Goliath because, as David tells the Philistines, "Yahweh does not give victory by means of sword and spear--for Yahweh is lord of the battle and He will deliver you into our power!"

Please read1 Samuel 19:1-12; 21:1-6; 22:1-2: Saul Seeks David's Death/ David's Life as an Outlaw

1 Samuel 19:1-12:  Young David has become the most respected of Saul's warriors.  His victories and his courage have won him the king's daughter Michal as a bride as well as the friendship of the king's son, Prince Jonathan.  But his fame has also caused the king to hate him with a consuming jealousy: "Saul could not but see that Yahweh was with David, and that the whole House of Israel loved him; Saul became more afraid of David than ever, and became his inveterate enemy." [ 18:28-29].

Question: What evidence does David have of the sincerity of Jonathan's friendship?
Answer: Jonathan warns David of his father's plot to kill him.

Jonathan surely knew of the prophecy that another man would be anointed by God to take his father's place as king, and clearly Saul already suspected that David was this man.  Jonathan could have taken steps to betray David and to secure his own throne but his love for God and for David as God's anointed was stronger than his own ambition.

Saul's first attempt to kill David fails and David's wife Michal helps him to escape from her father's palace. Alone and on the run David comes to Yahweh's sanctuary at Nob [see 1 Samuel 21:1-6].

Nob is a town northeast of Jerusalem and just south of Gibeah where the Tabernacle was relocated after the destruction of Shiloh [see 4:2-3 and Jeremiah 7:12].  David's purpose in coming to the high priest is unclear.  It may be that David's purpose was to seek God's guidance by means of the urim and the thummin [see 22:10, 15].  In any case David is starving and asks the high priest Ahimelech for food.  It is not clear why he lies about his reason for coming to the priests.  Perhaps it was an attempt to protect Ahimelech and the others from the charge of involvement in David's escape from Saul.

Question: What is the only bread that is available?  See verses 4-5.
Answer: The "consecrated bread of the permanent offering" also called the "bread of the presence".

This consecrated bread [see Exodus 25:30] was placed on the golden table in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle each Sabbath as a "thank offering" to Yahweh, one loaf of unleavened bread for each of the 12 tribes.  These unleavened loaves of bread symbolized God's presence among His people as well as His loving care to met their physical needs as well as their spiritual needs.  This "bread of the presence" that was replaced each Sabbath and which prefigured the "bread" of the Eucharist, was to be eaten only by the priests on duty.  Although the bread was to be eaten only by the priests [see Leviticus 24:9] Ahimelech agreed to give it to David on the condition that David and any men who ate the bread with him were ceremonially clean [see Exodus 19:15; Leviticus 15:18]. David assured the priest that all the necessary conditions had been met.  Ahimelech went against the law to give the bread to David but he put David's need and life ahead of religious ceremony thereby placing the fulfillment of the spirit of the law above merely serving the letter of the law.   This action upheld a higher law of love as commanded in Leviticus 19:18: "You will not exact vengeance on, or bear any sort of grudge against, the members of your race, but will love your neighbor as yourself.  I am Yahweh."

1 Samuel 22:11-23: Saul Murders the Priests of Yahweh

Question: David lied to Ahimelech, whether to assure the priests support or to save the priests from being pulled into his feud with Saul, but all the same his actions had terrible consequences.  What did Saul do when he discovered the priests had fed David and given his Goliath's sword?
Answer: Saul ordered the murder of Ahimelech, his entire family [which included all the priests on duty at the Tabernacle = 85 priests], and all the people of Nob.  The Israelites refused to carry out this heinous act but an Edomite [descendant of Esau] willingly complied. 

Question: Why would Saul kill his own priests? 
Answer: He probably suspected a conspiracy, remembering that Samuel had sworn to anoint another man as king.  Then too, Saul's actions clearly showed his mental and emotional instability and how far he had strayed from God.  He had placed the city of Nob under the "curse of destruction", which was supposed to be used only in cases of idolatry and rebellion against God [see Deuteronomy 13:12-17].

Question: Did anyone escape?
Answer: Only Ahimelech's son Abiathar escaped the massacre and went to David for protection.  He carried with him the priest's ephod [23:6], a priestly garment containing the ritual urim and thummim [cultic devices used to determine the will of God].  Saul had almost destroyed Israel's priesthood descended from Aaron but when David became king he installed Abiathar as the new high priest.  Abiathar was the high priest throughout David's reign.  However, when a power struggle broke out between David's choice for his successor, his son Solomon, and Solomon's older brother Adonijah, the high priest Abiathar who had served the father, rejected the son.  He was removed as high priest by Solomon for participating in the rebellion of Adonijah [see 1 Kings 2:26-27]

Jesus referred to this episode in Matthew 12:3-4 and in Mark 2:23-28 when the Pharisees accused Jesus and His disciples of breaking the Law by picking and eating grain on the Sabbath.  Please read Mark 12:23-28.  This passage in Mark has an interesting reference that is missing in Matthew's account.  In verse 25-26 Jesus tells the Old Covenant religious authorities who have continually stood in opposition to Him:  "Have you never read what David did in his time of need when he and his followers were hungry--how he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the loaves of the offering which only the priests are allowed to eat,...?"

Question: Scholars point to an error in Scripture in this passage.  Can you detect an inaccuracy in Jesus' statement?
Answer: It was not Abiathar who was high priest when David took the consecrated bread but his father Ahimelech.

Question: But, if you accept that Scripture inspired by the Holy Spirit was in the original text written without error why then would Jesus make such a mistake in identifying Abiathar as the high priest?  Is there a point He is making to the priests and Pharisees who are listening to Him?
Answer: If you recall the history of Abiathar you will remember that he did serve David the father, but he refused to serve Solomon, the anointed son.  Anointed kings of Israel were called "son of God." What was the danger that the priests of the Old Covenant faced in their relations with Jesus the Anointed Messiah of Yahweh, the true Son of God?  They had served God the Father but they were ready to reject Jesus the Anointed Son and rightful King of Israel'like Abiathar they were in danger of being "cut off" from the priesthood of God.

Question: What did Solomon do to Abiathar when he assumed the throne?
Answer: He deposed Abiathar as high priest along with his descendants and placed another man in his position.  Jesus will do the same to the high priests of the Old Covenant who reject Him.  He will chose other men and put them in the place of the Old Covenant priesthood!  Jesus is not "confused" about his history; He is making a point and serving a warning!

David's struggle to survive both Israel's enemies and Saul and his supporters continues for many years.  He lives the miserable life of an outlaw with his band of faithful followers. David has the opportunity to kill Saul and end his exile, but he refuses to take the life of one who has been anointed by God [see 1 Samuel 24:1-8 and 26:8-12].  Instead David waits on God's time, trusting that when the time is right God will place David on the throne of Israel.

Both men were imperfect but what separated them was the fact that David loved God with all his heart, and when he did sin he could come to God in repentance, accept the consequence of his sin, and be forgiven because his heart was sincerely God's possession.


Saul, son of a wealthy man of the tribe of Benjamin, is anointed King of Israel David is born in Bethlehem into the humble family of Jesse a descendant of Ruth and Boaz of the tribe of Judah
Saul's first campaigns against Israel's enemies are successful, 1Samuel 13 & 14 David, the youngest son, is the shepherd of his father's flocks
Saul separates the religious center of Israel from the political center: 1 Samuel 10:26; David unites the political and religious center of Israel by moving the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem: 1 Kings 8:1ff
Saul disobeys Samuel and makes a presumptuous sacrifice: Loss of kingdom foretold 1 Samuel 13:14 When still a boy he is anointed by Samuel at God's command, 1Samuel
Makes a foolish curse that falls on his son Jonathan. 1 Samuel 14:24, 44 Defeats Goliath in battle and becomes a mighty warrior. 1 Samuel chapter 17
Disobeyed God's command and spared King Agag and flocks resulted in loss of kingdom 1Samuel 15:28 Marries Saul's daughter and makes a covenant of friendship with Saul's son Jonathan
Saul becomes mentally unstable.  Lost fellowship with God; unanswered prayer  1Samuel 28:19 Saul attempts to kill David.  David escapes and becomes an outlaw
Seeks help from a medium and receives a prediction of doom. 1Samuel 28:19 David has the opportunity to kill his enemy Saul [2 times] but refuses to kill one who is the anointed of God and king of Israel.
Defeated in battle with the Philistines, his sons are all killed.  He commits suicide; end of his dynasty. 1 Samuel 31:4, 6 David becomes King of Judah and 7 years later King of Israel.  He reigns 40 years


The books of 1st and 2nd Samuel were originally composed as one book. The Book of 1 Samuel told of David's struggles as he waited to become king of Israel, and the Book of 2 Samuel records how David was finally rewarded for his obedience, patience and consistent faith in Yahweh.  The book of 2 Samuel traces David career as Israel's second King.  It records David's ascension first as King of the Tribe of Judah and then 7 and a half years later David's coronation as the King of a United Israel.  The book also records how political power led David into the sins of adultery and conspiracy to commit murder'sins that were forgiven but the consequence of these sins would bring about tragic events in David's family and his kingdom.

The author of this book is unknown, but as in the case of 1 Samuel some scholars have assigned authorship to David's prophet Nathan or possibly the prophet Gad [see 1 Chronicles 29:29].  Some of the material from 2 Samuel seems to have come from a now lost ancient book of poetry called the Book of Jasher or Yashar [Hebrew = seper hayyasar, "book of the upright or just".  See references to this text in 2 Samuel 1:18; Joshua 10:13; and 1 Kings 8:12].


SCRIPTURE 1:1--------------6:1-------------8:1----------------11:1-------------------12:1---------------13:37-------24:25
Turmoil in David's family Turmoil in David's Kingdom
David's obedience Disobedience Judgment
LOCATION David in Hebron capital of Judah David in Jerusalem
capital of United Israel
TIME 7 years 33 years


------------UNITED KINGDOM----------------DIVIDED KINGDOMS

of Israel and Judah

c.1047____c. 1010 c.1000___c. 970__________c. 930____________722_________587/6________539______

Saul                death    David       Solomon             death of Solomon\                                  Judah                 Persians
anointed       of Saul    captures      -builds                   -Rehoboam               Israel               destroyed by       defeat
by Samuel                   Jerusalem    God's Temple       alienates                    destroyed by    Babylon/              Babylon
as 1st King                                        in Jerusalem         Northern Tribes         Assyrians         2 tribes in Exile\  Edict of
                                                                                         Civil War                     10 tribes in Exile                           Cyrus allows
                                                                                                                                                                                     return of Judah

2 Samuel 1:1-5:25: David Becomes King of Israel

When Saul and his sons were killed by the Philistines, David and his mighty men were still living in Ziklag, a Philistine city.  Since Saul had driven David out of Israel, David had become a vassal of Achish, a Philistine ruler [1Samuel 27], but he never attacked an Israelite town.

In 2 Samuel 2:4 the men of Judah publicly anoint David as their king.  The rest of Israel, however, didn't accept David's kingship for 7 1/2 years [2:10, 11].

Question: In 2 Samuel 5:3-5 David is anointed King of Israel. How many times was David anointed king?
Answer: Three times.

  1. First he was privately anointed by Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:13
  2. Next he was made king over the tribe of Judah in 1 Samuel 2:4
  3. Finally he was crowned king over a united Israel.  Even though the United Kingdom would only survive less than 75 years, David's dynasty would rule over Judah for over 400 years!

David did not become king over a united Israel until he was 30 years old.  He had been promised the kingdom many years earlier when he had been anointed by Samuel as a child, and yet he had patiently waited on God's promise.

In approximately 1000BC David conquered the mountain fortress city of Jerusalem.  This was the place that Yahweh had designated as the home of His Tabernacle [see 5:6-13].  Now that his capital city was established David brought the Ark of the Covenant and Yahweh's Tabernacle into the city of Jerusalem.  His heart was filled with such joy at the occasion that the king, wearing only the simple linen robe of a priest, leaped for joy and danced before the Ark of the Lord! [2 Samuel 6:16-19].

Question: What does this incident tell us about King David's relationship with God?
Answer: This incident brings out the depth and simplicity of David's love for Yahweh.  He was not ashamed to discard his kingly dignity to show his joy in the presence of the God he loved with all his heart.  It was a personal joy that Michal, the daughter of Saul, could neither appreciate nor understand [see 2 Samuel 6:20].

2 Samuel 7:1-29: God's Covenant with David

Safely established in his kingdom, David wants to build a house for Yahweh in Jerusalem.  Wishing only to please God, David consults the prophet Nathan about building Yahweh a holy Temple to replace the simple Tabernacle.   Instead Yahweh makes David a covenant promise to provide a "house" for him.  Yahweh promises David that "Your dynasty [house in Hebrew] and your sovereignty will ever stand firm before me, and your throne be for ever secure."[7:16]. This is the promise that the future Messiah will come from David's line and will rule Israel as an eternal king!  This is the 7th Covenant of the Old Testament.

It was David, a man of war, who conquered the land and established Israel as a powerful kingdom in the region, but it was David's son Solomon, a man of "peace," who was chosen by God to build a Temple in the holy city of Jerusalem (2 Sam 7:12-14; 1 Kng 5:19; 8:17-21).  The Jerusalem Temple became the house for God's name and the center of worship for all nations, replacing the portable desert Tabernacle. Unlike pagan temples that served as a "house" for the man-made images of pagan deities, the God of Israel could not be physically confined in a building; therefore the Jerusalem Temple was intended to serve as a house for God's divine "name," which expressed the essence of the omnificent Invisible God.

The liturgy of sacrifice and worship began in Jerusalem soon after David set up the tent of the desert Tabernacle on what had been a threshing floor on Mt. Moriah.  David brought the Ark of the Covenant and all the sacred furniture for the Sanctuary of God to Jerusalem, making the city the one place on earth where man could enter into God's peace (2 Chr 21:18-22:1).  As God instructed Moses in the building of the desert Tabernacle, God instructed David on the plans he was to share with Solomon for the building of the Jerusalem Temple (1 Chr 28:11-12, 19). The site God chose for the Temple was the place where David erected the desert Tabernacle, the ancient threshing floor at the high point of the city on Mt. Moriah (2 Sam 24:18-25; 1 Chr 21:18-22:1; 2 Chr 3:1). The choice of Mt. Moriah as the site of the Temple was not an arbitrary selection.  In Scripture the site is linked to both the Patriarch Abraham and King David's experiences of covenant ordeal, sacrifice, and divine intervention.

The visionary experiences of both men on Mt. Moriah involved:

During David's leadership Israel stretched her boundaries to the limits Yahweh had promised on the plains of Moab, from the Great Sea [the Mediterranean] to the Euphrates River.  David's victories were impressive but so were his failures.

Question: What were David's triumphs; what were his tragedies? 
Answer: Consult the chart below to find your answers.


God anointed David king of Israel when he was a boy. He defeated Goliath, married King Saul's daughter and became a hero in Saul's army
( 1 Sam 16:1-13; 17:1-58; 18:20-30 ).
King Saul became jealous of David's success. David was forced to flee and live the life of an outlaw until Saul's death
( 1 Sam 19:11; 21:11/19-25:1 ).
David became King of Judah and then King of the united 12 tribes of Israel
( 2 Sam 2:4 ).
David committed adultery with Bathsheba who became pregnant
( 2 Sam 11:4-11:5 ).
David conquered Jerusalem
( 2 Sam 5 ).
David arranged the death of Bathsheba's husband Uriah
( 2 Sam 11:17 ).
David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem
( 2 Sam 5:7; 1 Chr 15:25-16:3 ).
David confessed and repented his sin and God forgave him, but Bathsheba's child died
( 2 Sam 12:10, 13, 19 ).
God made a covenant with David promising that his throne will last forever
( 2 Samuel 7:16; 23:5; 1 Chr 17:16-27; 2 Chr 13:5; Sir 45:25; 47:11 ).
David failed to discipline his sons. His son Amnon committed the sin of rape and incest; he was murdered by David's son Absalom
( 2 Sam 13:14-29 ).
David defeated the Philistines
( 2 Sam 8:1 ).
David's son Absalom led a rebellion in an attempt to usurp David's throne.
( 2 Sam 16-17 ).
God called David "a man after God's own heart"
( 1 Sam 13:14 ).
When David sinned, he always repented and returned to God. He completely committed himself to the will of God, and as God's "beloved" (the meaning of David's name) God used him to perform mighty acts for the sake of Israel. Scripture says David could boast that he stood "blameless" before God
( 2 Sam 22:24-26 ).
David's "beloved son" Absalom was murdered and David's throne was restored. It was a bitter victory for a heart-broken father
( 2 Sam 18:14, 15 ).
David defeated Moab, Ammon and Syria bringing lasting peace to Israel
( 2 Samuel 8:2-10:19 ).
David ignored Joab's advice and took a national census
( 2 Sam 24:2-15; 1 Chr 21:1-4 ).
To save his people from the judgment of a deadly plague, David offered to sacrifice himself and to relinquish God's covenant promise that his throne would endure forever
( 2 Sam 24:10-17; 1 Chr 21:1-5 ).
David's unauthorized census resulted in a deadly plague which infected the people
( 2 Sam 24:1-9; 15; 1 Chr 21:7-17 ).
David received a vision on Mt. Moriah and divine instructions to build God's sacrificial altar there
( 2 Sam 24:18-25; 1 Chr 21:18-28 ).
David wanted to build Yahweh a "house" in Jerusalem. God told David that he could not build the Temple because he was a "man of blood"
( 2 Sam 7:1-2; 1 Kgs 5:16 ).
God gave David plans for the Temple; he added music to the daily liturgy and organized the service schedule for the Levites and priests
( 1 Chr 16:1-42; chaps. 23-25; 28:11-19 ).
David anointed his son, Solomon, King of Israel
(1 Kgs 1:28-40).
It was the beginning of the Davidic dynasty that reached fulfillment in Christ the King
(Mt 1:1; 1 Tim 6:14-15).
Michal E. Hunt Copyright © 2000; revised 2009


Archaeological Note:  Prior to 1994 many Biblical scholars and archaeologists believed King David was a mythical figure; however, in 1994 an amazing discovery of an ancient stele excavated at Tel Dan in northern Israel completely overturned the dismissal of David as a historical figure.  A basalt stele was discovered bearing the inscription "House of David," referring to the dynasty of King David's descendants who ruled Israel and later Judah after the revolt which split the kingdom.  The inscription bearing the letters BYTDVD, is the oldest extra-Biblical reference to the Kings of Israel and Judah and is the only ancient reference to a historical David who was the father of a royal dynasty.


The Hebrew name "David", which means "beloved" is spelled two ways in Hebrew.  In the consonantal Hebrew script "David" is usually spelled DWD in the Book of Samuel but it is also spelled DWYD in later [post-exile] books like the Book of Chronicles. The added "Y" is a yod, a consonant that came to serve a "double duty" role as a consonant and as a vowel.  Double duty letters like this are called matres lectionis, "mothers of reading"'they are the earliest vowels to appear in Hebrew writing.  In the Dead Sea Scroll manuscript labeled as 4QSama, however, the name "David" is spelled not as it is normally in the Book of Samuel as in the Jewish Massoretic text, but as it is in Chronicles, indicating the early movement toward vowels in the Hebrew text sometime between 50-25BC, long before the development of the definitive Massoretic vowel forms in the 10th century AD.   See Biblical Archaeological Review: May/June 2007, "4QSama—The Difficult Life of a Dead Sea Scroll," page 68.


1st and 2nd Kings, like 1st and 2nd Samuel, which were originally recorded as one book in the Hebrew Old Testament, are a continuation of the Books of the Prophet Samuel.  They correspond to the last two books of the four books of Kingdoms in the Greek Septuagint Old Testament translation used in the 1st century AD and to the single book of Kings in St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate.

1 Kings continues with the story of the origins of the Davidic Dynasty and the continuation of the covenant God made with His servant David.

Biblical Period #6 THE UNITED KINGDOM
Focus The United Kingdom of Israel The Divided Kingdoms of Israel and Judah
Covenant The Sinai Covenant [the Davidic Covenant]
Scripture 1:1-------------3:1------------9:1---------------12:1-------------15:1-----------16:29---22:53
Division David chooses Solomon as successor The Wisdom of King Solomon The failures of King Solomon Division
of the Kingdom
Histories of kings of Israel and Judah Elijah prophet of God
Location Jerusalem: Capital of United Israel Samaria: Capital of Israel
Jerusalem: Capital of Judah
Time 40 years 90 years

TIME LINE: [all dates BC]
Regional World Empire: Assyrian Empire--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

c.1047        c.1010        c.970                   c.930                        c. 873-853                722

Saul          death of      David dies          Solomon dies           Elijah                        Israel destroyed
king           Saul           Solomon king     Rehoboam king      the prophet             by Assyria
                                                                     Division of Kingdom


Solomon is Anointed King

Please read: 1 Kings 1:28:

At David's command the prophet Nathan anoints Solomon as king of Israel at the spring of Gihon in Jerusalem [Gihon is the only water source for Jerusalem and it is the name of one of the 4 rivers that flowed out of Eden in Genesis 2:13].  After Solomon is anointed he rides into the city of Jerusalem alone on the king's mule with the people rejoicing and shouting "Hosannah!"  In Hebrew Hosannah literally means "save us we ask" and carries the meaning of what the English acclamation "God save the king!"

Question: When will this scene be replayed approximately a thousand years later as prophesized in Genesis 49:10-12; Zechariah 9:9-10 and Psalms 118:25-27?  Hint: see Matthew 21:1-8, Mark 11:1-11; and Luke 19:28-38. Please note that there was a partial fulfillment of the Genesis prophecy with Solomon's ride into the holy city. 
Answer: When Jesus the Son of God, the King of Kings rides triumphantly into the city of Jerusalem on the back of an ass colt and the people of Jerusalem shout "Hosannah!"

Question:  The Jews interpret the Genesis prophecy as a perfect fulfillment in Solomon's ride into Jerusalem; however, there is a significant flaw in Solomon's entrance as opposed to the details in the prophecy.  What is the missing in Solomon's entrance and is perfectly fulfilled in the account of Jesus' entrance?
Answer: Solomon rides into Jerusalem mounted on a mule [1 Kings 1:38]'an animal forbidden to be breed in Israel, while Jesus fulfills the prophecy mounted on "the foal of a she-donkey", fulfilling both the Genesis and Zechariah prophecies.  The crowds present during Jesus' triumphal entry would not have missed the connection to King Solomon and the related prophecies. [Note: since it was forbidden by the Sinai Covenant to breed animals across species [Leviticus 19:19], mules could not be breed in Israel but it was possible to manipulate the restriction by "importing" mules from other nations.  Then as now, imported models are more expensive'mules became the Porsches for the Kings and Princes of Israel.

Please read 1 Kings 2:1-12:

Before David dies he advises his son Jedidiah [see 2 Samuel 12:25], the youngest of his sons by Bathsheba, to live a life of honor, devoting himself to God and to God's people.  Jedidiah will take the throne name "Solomon".

Question: In 1 Kings 2:1-4  David stresses to Solomon the need to make God and His laws the center of his life and government in order to preserve the kingdom, as God had promised to do in 2 Samuel 7.  What are the two parts of the Covenant promise of Yahweh to the house of David as revealed to David in 2 Samuel 7:10-17 and as summarized by David in 1 Kings 2:3-4?  Hint: there is a condition and an unconditional promise.

  1. One part was conditional and depended upon the kings' actions.  The conditional promise was that David and his descendants would remain in office as kings of the Covenant people only if they continued to honor, obeyed and keep the commandments of Yahweh.  When David's descendants failed in this covenant obligation they would become deprived of the throne of Israel / Judah [2 Kings 25].
  2. The other part was unconditional. God's unconditional promise was that David's line would continue forever.  This promise was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ, descendant of David and the eternal Son of God [Romans 1:3, 4] who rules in the Heavenly Kingdom, of which the Davidic kingdom was a prototype. 

Question: Who is Solomon's mother?  What is her position in her son's royal court?
Answer: King Solomon is the son of Bathsheba.  When his mother comes to him with a request in 1 Kings 2:19 Solomon brought a throne for his mother to sit on his right.  The Queen mother is the 'Gebira'[gebirah] in Hebrew'an official office of the King's mother in the Davidic kingdom.  She is the most important woman in the kingdom and the king's chief advisor. In the lists of the kings in the books of Kings and Chronicles the king's mother's name is always included in the lists of kings of Judah --but not in the lists of the non-Davidic kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel!

Question: The Davidic kingdom is the prototype of the Heavenly Kingdom of Jesus the King of Kings.  What position would the mother of the King of Kings hold in the Heavenly Kingdom?
Answer: Her Son would elevate her to the office of the Gebira, Queen of the Kingdom of Heaven, and she would take her place in the heavenly court [see Revelation 12:1 for a vision of Mary as the Gebira of the Heavenly Kingdom].

Please read 1 Kings 5:1 – 8:66: Solomon Builds God's Temple David offered to build a Temple to Yahweh but his offer was refused.

Question: Why won't God allow His beloved David to build His Temple?  Who is it that God selects to build His house in Jerusalem?  See 2 Samuel 7:1-17.
Answer: It is because he was a "man of blood".  God wanted a peacemaker to build His house of prayer [1 Chronicles 28:2-3] and so Solomon is given the honor of building Yahweh's Temple in Jerusalem.

Question: What special arrangement does King Solomon make for the Temple craftsmen?  Why does he make these arrangements?  See 1 Kings 5:13, 14.
Answer: Solomon drafted three times the number of workers needed for the Temple project.  He arranged their schedules so the men didn't have to be away from their families for long periods of time.  This concern for the welfare of his people and the importance he placed on the family was reflected in his success in building a strong nation.  Solomon wisely recognized that after faith and obedience to God that the family should be the strongest building block of a nation.

Question: In honor of the sanctity of this holy place what were some on the restrictions placed on the workers? See 1 Kings 6:7
Answer: In honor of the holiness of the Temple it was built without the sound of a hammer or any other tool at the building site.  This meant that the stones for the Temple had to be cut and shaped miles away at the quarry.  Honor and respect for Yahweh extended to every aspect of the construction of His house of worship.

Question: What verse summarizes the Temple's main purpose?
Answer: 6:12-13 "With regard to this Temple which you are now building.  If you follow my statutes and obey my ordinances and faithfully follow my commandments, I shall fulfill the promise, which I made about you to your father David.  And I shall make my home among the Israelites and never forsake Israel my people."

When the Temple was completed the sacred furniture of the desert Tabernacle was placed in Yahweh's holy house.  The Temple in Jerusalem was built on Mount Moriah, the site where Abraham offered up Isaac for sacrifice in obedience to Yahweh [see Genesis 22].  The Temple was not only constructed as a place of worship for the Covenant people but it included an outer court called the "Court of the Gentiles".  It was to this area that Gentiles seeking the One True God could come for instruction in salvation.  There was also the courtyard of the Altar of Yahweh where the fire of the great bronze Altar was kept burning and beyond that the main Temple building.  This was an oblong building consisting of three successive compartments: there was the Portico or ulam; the great Chamber for worship = the hekal, or the "Holy Place" where the golden menorahs and the golden table with the "bread of the presence" were placed, and the main Sanctuary of Yahweh called in Hebrew the debir, or the "Holy of Holies", a 30 foot cube shaped room where the Ark of the Covenant rested with 2 huge golden cherubim spreading their 15 foot golden wings over the Mercy Seat of Yahweh.

Question: How many years did it take to complete the Temple?  How long did it take to complete the desert Tabernacle? When did God take possession of each?  [see 1 Kings 6:37-38; 8:2 and Exodus 35:1-3].  What is the significance of the time frame?
Answer: The Temple was completed in 7 years and the Tabernacle in 6 days.  However, the Temple was not dedicated until the 7th month of the 8th year.  God took possession of the Tabernacle on the 7th day'this is a repeat of the Creation cycle.    It was in the Temple that was Eden that God communed with man on the 7th day and now His Temple will serve that same function.  The 7th day is the Old Covenant Sabbath and the number 7 symbolizes spiritual perfection.

Question: What supernatural phenomenon takes place when God takes possession of the Jerusalem Temple that is a repeat of the dedication of the desert Tabernacle?  See 1 Kings 8:10-13 and Exodus 40:34-35.
Answer: When the Temple was dedicated and the Ark was placed in the Holy of Holies God took possession of His Temple just as He had taken possession of the desert Tabernacle: "..the cloud filled the Temple of Yahweh, and because of the cloud the priests could not stay and perform their duties.  For the glory of Yahweh filled the Temple of Yahweh."

Question: According to 2 Chronicles 5:13 how many priests participated in the dedication of Solomon's Temple?
Answer: 120 priests  = 12 x 10 or according to the symbolism of numbers in Scripture-- perfection of government times perfection of order!

Yahweh first appeared to Solomon in 1 Kings 3:5-15.

Question: In that dream Yahweh asked Solomon what special gift he would like to receive.  What is Solomon's reply?
Answer: Solomon asked for a heart to understand how to govern the people, and how to discern between good and evil.

Question: When Yahweh appears to Solomon a second time in 1 Kings 9:1-9 what does He tell Solomon?
Answer: He repeats the blessings made to Solomon's father David but also warns Solomon of what will happen if he fails in his covenant obligations as the people's representative and in his obligations of kingship.

The Downfall of Solomon

Please read 1 Kings 11:1-43
Question: According to 1 Kings 11:3 how many wives and concubines did Solomon acquire?
Answer: 700 wives and 300 concubines.

Question: According to 1 Kings 10:1-25 how much gold did Solomon acquire?
Answer: He had vast quantities of gold.

Question: According to 1 Kings 10: 26-29 what else did Solomon accumulate?
Answer: Horses, silver and chariots imported from Egypt.

All of this accumulated wealth violated the limited power of a king as listed in Deuteronomy 17:14-20.
He must not acquire many horses He had 12 thousand horses.
1 Kings 10:26
He must not sent to Egypt to increase the power of his army "Solomon then built up a force of chariots and cavalry"
1 kings 10:26
He must not have many wives 700 wives and 300 concubines
1 Kings 11:3
He must not acquire vast quantities of wealth. The weight of gold received annually by Solomon amounted to 666 talents of gold.
1 Kings 10:14

Solomon, who had ruled so wisely and obediently, began to be spoiled by his many blessings.  He ignored the covenant restrictions placed on the king and instead of having a powerful and glorious kingdom which could have been blessed for all time, Solomon allowed sin to infect his people and his own family when he allowed his foreign wives to worship false gods, and when his vast wealth became the focus of his life instead of God.  Solomon reigned for 40 years. Note that 1Kings 10:14 records that Solomon's annual tribute amounted to 666 talents of gold! Six is the number symbolic of man in rebellion [this is only one of two places where this number appears in the Bible; the other is in Revelation 13:18].

Question: What is the irony of Solomon's political and material success?
Answer: Solomon the wise and good king had in his worldly success become a failure in God's eyes.

Question: In 1 Kings 11:29-30 what does the prophet Ahijah predicted concerning the future of the Kingdom of Israel?
Answer: He predicts the division of the kingdom of Israel.  He makes the prediction to a prince of the tribe of Ephraim [Joseph's two sons were Ephraim and Manasseh- their children became half tribes of Israel] named Jeroboam who becomes a thorn in Solomon's side.  When Solomon attempts to kill him, Jeroboam escapes to Egypt...a place to which the Israelites were commanded never to return!  [Note: you may recall that  Joseph's sons were half-Egyptian; see Genesis 41:45, 50 & 48:14-20].

Archaeological note:  Ancient kings used women of the royal family to strengthen political alliances.  These diplomatic marriages cemented relationships and treaties between ancient Near Eastern kingdoms.  Solomon obviously used marriage to foreign brides as a means of promoting peaceful relations with neighboring states, including a marriage to a daughter of the Pharaoh of Egypt [see 1 Kings 3:1; 7:8; 9:24].  The Biblical citations noting Solomon's marriage to an Egyptian princess are significant.  The pharaohs of Egypt were eager to bring foreign women of royal birth into their harems; however, Egyptian pharaohs had a rule that no Egyptian princess could marry a foreigner, which led to a great deal of frustration among other kings.  There is only one short period of ancient Egyptian history where Egyptian princess were allowed to marry outside the kingdom and that is during the time that Solomon reigned in the 10 century BC when the Nubian kings ruled as Egyptian pharaohs.  The song of the Solomon's bride in Song of Songs 1:5 may support this historical information as the beloved bride sings: "I am black but lovely, daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the pavilions of Salmah."

Questions for group discussion:

Question: Both Saul and David sinned but what was the sharp distinction between Saul's reaction to sin and David's response to sin and his relationship to God?  Hint: in 1 Samuel 15:21 & 31 you will find evidence of Saul's problem.
Answer: Pleading with Samuel in both verses 21 and 31 Saul refers to Yahweh not as "my God" but as "your God".  Saul did not have a personal relationship with Yahweh and therefore, apparently being cut off from fellowship with God did not deeply affect Saul in the way such a breach affected David. For David, separation from Yahweh was a wrenching and painful event.  David deeply loved the Lord and understood the meaning of true contrition.  In the prayer of contrition attributed to David in Psalms 51:16 David, writing from a heart yearning for forgiveness clearly understands the intent of his God: "Sacrifice gives you no pleasure, burnt offering you do not desire.  Sacrifice to God is a broken spirit, a broken, contrite heart you never scorn."  David understood that the death of the animal in a sin sacrifice represented his death to sin and the sacrificial offering of his contrite heart to his God.  For Saul, worship was a mindless ritual; for David worship was the joy of restored communion with his heavenly Father.

Question: What is the turning point in David's life?  How does the Bible characterize David's life after 2 Samuel chapter 11, and what are the lessons we are to learn from David's experience?
Answer: Chapter 11 of 2 Samuel marks a distinctive turn in David's life.  The crimes of adultery and conspiracy to commit murder bring David suffering and tragedy in the death of his infant son, family incest, murder among David's sons, and rebellion against his kingship.  2 Samuel repeats a key theme found in the Book of Deuteronomy--obedience to the Laws of God bring blessings but disobedience brings suffering and judgment.

Question: David confessed and repented his sins of adultery and conspiracy to commit murder and God forgave him, but why, if he was forgiven, did his child with Bathsheba still die [2 Samuel 12:13-15]?
Answer: Sin is not only a violation of the moral or social order but sin is also breach of the personal relationship between the offender and God [see Genesis 39:9; Psalms 51:1-4; Isaiah 59:2].  David's repentance wins forgiveness and the reestablishment of fellowship with God'which only God can grant [see Psalms 65:3ff and Mark 2:5].  However, forgiveness is one thing but accountability for sin and restitution is entirely another issue. Sin has a double consequence. Even when we are given absolution for our sins we are still accountable for the sin we brought into the world.  If you pound a hole into a piece of wood with a hammer and nail you can be forgiven for damaging the wood but the hole is still there and must be filled.  The Church identifies this double consequence of sin as eternal and temporal punishment.  CCC# 1473 "The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains.  While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace....." 

Question: Does what happens to David affect God's covenant promise made to him in 2 Samuel 7:16 that "Your dynasty and your sovereignty will ever stand firm before me and your throne be for ever secure."?  Give an example.
Answer: No.  Even though a person's obedience or disobedience to God has direct consequences in his or her life, God's covenant promises remain secure.  His long-term purpose of redemption is not based on our worthiness. For example, although David's adultery with Bathsheba resulted in the tragic loss of their baby son it was Bathsheba who would eventually give birth to David's son Solomon through whom the promised line of David would continue.  Even though there would be 9 different dynasties that would rule over the Northern Kingdom, David's line endured in Judah and reached its climax in Jesus, the descendant of King David and the rightful heir to the Davidic Kingdom. David did not become king over a united Israel until he was 30 years old.  He had been promised the kingdom many years earlier when he had been anointed by Samuel as a child, and yet he avoided the temptation to kill Saul and had patiently waited on God's promise.

Question: Are there times when you become impatient waiting on God's response to your prayers?  Do you lack confidence that He hears your repeated petitions?  Think of the years David spent as an outsider, refused citizenship in his own country'hunted as an outlaw, and yet all that time God was not inactive or distant from David but was working out His plan of salvation for Israel.  Take comfort from David and know that God does hear your prayers and He is working a plan in your life'your part of that plan is the trust Him.

Readings for Biblical period  #7: The Divided Kingdom

Solomon's Son Rehoboam Alienates the Tribes and Splits the Kingdom 1 Kings 12:1-16
The Northern Kingdom - Israel 1 Kings 12:12-20
The Southern Kingdom - Judah 1 Kings 14:21-31
Elijah, Prophet of God 2 Kings 1:1-2:13
Elisha, Successor of Elijah 2 Kings 2:14-18-13:21
The Adventure of the Prophet Jonah Jonah 1:1-4:11
Isaiah Prophesies Judgment and Destruction for Israel and Judah Isaiah 1:1-5:30
Hosea's Covenant Lawsuit Against Israel Hosea 1-2:25; 9:1-11:6
Isaiah Prophesizes the Coming of the Messiah Isaiah 6:1-17; 7:1-9:7; 42:1-66:24

Resources and Recommended Reading:

  1. The Navarre Bible Commentaries: 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings
  2. Anchor Bible Commentaries: 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, 1 Chronicles
  3. "Is the Temple Scroll the Sixth Book of the Torah?", Hartmut Stegemann, Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls, edited by Hershel Shanks
  4. Bible History: Old Testament, Alfred Edersheim
  5. Dictionary of the Bible, John McKenzie, S.J.
  6. Ancient Israel,  Edited by Hershel Shanks
  7. A History of the Ancient Near East, Mark Van De Mieroop

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2008 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.