DAVID (Heb. דָּוִד), youngest son of Jesse of the Ephrathite family that lived in Beth-Lehem in Judah (i Sam. 16:1; 20:27–28; i Chron. 2:13–15; cf. Micah 5:1).
In the Bible
i Samuel 16–ii Kings 2 is our main source for David, supplemented by i Chronicles. Other texts name him, but in the main to emblematize either the dynasty in Jerusalem or a salvific ideal. He appears in superscriptions to many Psalms, on occasion (as Ps. 34:1) with historical references; but it is unclear whether this phenomenon originated as a historical or as a dramatic or musical notation.
Some scholars maintain that, like King Arthur, David is a late invention. But two stelae (Tel Dan, Mesha) indicate that by 830 or so Judah was identified as "the House of David." These stelae confirm that David was an earlier state-builder, and, according to ninth-century usage, the founder of its ruling dynasty. This ninth-century evidence explains his significance in the eighth and later centuries as an icon of Judah and as the progenitor of a line of kings whom yhwh adopted at accession (Isa. 9:5; cf. Ps. 2:6–7; 89:27–28). David's place in the dynastic liturgy long antedates the Exile.
Our sources in Samuel may be divided into three or more categories. In ii Samuel, we have literature that is nearly contemporary with David himself, probably produced mainly in the court of Solomon. Some of this material is continuous with materials in i Samuel. Thus, it is certain that the materials admitting David's affiliation with Achish of Gath in i Samuel and the doublets – narratives with parallel narratives in another source about the same event evincing slight variation – pertaining thereto continue into ii Samuel and issue ultimately into Solomon's ability to extract fugitives from Achish's Gath in i Kings 2:39–44. Thus, at a minimum, i Samuel 25–28:2; 29–30, belong to the same general source as does 2 Samuel. Conversely, i Samuel 23:19–24:23; 28:3–25; 31 all belong to another, parallel narrative.
i Samuel 8–15 represents itself as an account of the introduction of Saul's monarchy, while chaps. 16–31 concerns David's "rise" in interaction with Saul, of the tribe of Benjamin. This text consists of two parallel sources now in combination. A representative division yields narrative sources as follows:
a. i Sam. 9:1–10:13; 13:1–14:52; 17:12–31, 41, 48b, 50, 55–58; 18:1–6a, 10–11, 17–19, 30; 20:1b–24:23; 28:3–25; 31.
b. ii Sam. 8; 10:17–27; 11–12; 15–16; 17:1–11, 32–40, 42–48a, 49, 51–54; 18:6b–9, 12–16, 20–29; 19; 25–27; 28:1–2; 29–30; ii Sam. 1ff.
Both sources contain legendary material, including one version of the account of David's slaying Goliath, which ii Samuel 21:19 identifies as the victim of Elhanan (Ben-Dodo, the Bethlehemite; cf. i Chr. 20:5; Josephus, Ant. 7:302). Further legendary material shared by the sources is the etiology of the phrase, "Is Saul, too, among the prophets?" in 10:11, 19:24. This was originally a proverb, "Is it asked, too, among the prophets?" denoting problematic questions.
It is the material in the b source that seems to continue directly into ii Samuel. Further, the b source concedes, while the a source denies, that David worked as a subordinate of the Philistines. Thus, whether or not the account of David's youth in this source is as early as the material in ii Samuel, it seems to originate earlier than the a source in i Samuel. Arguably, both sources are composite, such that some material in each is early, other material later. All the same, the compilation of the a source postdates the compilation of the b source in this context.
Both sources cover David's youth. a's narrative focuses on Saul (chaps. 13–14; 28; 31). b's narrative shifts from Saul to David in i Samuel 16, and David remains its focus. b has been understood as an anti-monarchic source stemming from a very late period. It presents the monarchy, however, as an institution adopted by humans, and tolerated by yhwh, This view programmed later Israelite views of the monarchy (see Hos. 13:10; Deut. 17:14–15; Judg. 8:22–23). The a source, conversely, treats kingship as lowered from heaven. But, as it centers on Saul, and ends with his death at the Philistines' hands, its date, often thought to be early, is not clear. This source treats Saul's monarchy as an abortion, before the establishment of David's dynasty.
ii Samuel, like the b source, evinces a date roughly contemporary with the events it reports. Foremost, it rebuts charges that David joined the Philistines in Saul's last battle, and incited the assassinations of Abner, Ishbaal, Absalom, Amasa, and all but one of Saul's descendants, not to mention Uriah the Hittite; these are figures whose political relevance, and, no doubt, memory had expired by the time of the Solomonic schism. Also, ii Samuel makes very modest literal claims about David's conquests (see below, achievements), while later sources (Deuteronomy, Joshua, Chronicles, Josephus, and even ii Kings 14:25) make much more grandiose claims. And, poetry preserved in ii Samuel, such as David's laments over Saul and Abner, and his "last words," is unquestionably antique. The syntax of complex sentences in ii Samuel is not, typically, that of later biblical prose. And the order of Israel's borders and components is different than in any later, standard, source. We may add that the settlement patterns, especially of the Negev and Philistia, reflected in the b source (i Sam. 27–30) and in ii Samuel reflect realities of the 10th century, but not of subsequent eras. To take a particular example, i Samuel 27:6 claims that Ziklag remained subordinate to the kings of Judah. As Ziklag lay in the hinterland of Gath, it could not have belonged to kings of Judah after the eighth century b.c.e., and was probably not even settled in the ninth–eighth centuries. Finally, ii Samuel starts a continuous reportage that ends at the end of ii Kings in which reports of external contact are consistently corroborated and never falsified.
In ii Samuel we learn of the death of Saul, David's accession in Judah and civil war with Ishbaal (i Chr. 8:33; 9:39, versus Ishboshet in Samuel – while most commentators believe the original name to have been altered in Samuel to avoid a reference to "Baal," a title rather than a name, that was used of yhwh in Israel, it is possible, despite the absence of the divine name from attested Israelite and Judahite epigraphs, that Samuel's version of the name is correct, and that it represents the Israelite equivalent of Egyptian sbst, "son of Bast," not to say "bastard"). David is then elected king of Israel; he conquers Jerusalem, and brings the ark there from the Gibeonite center, Kiryath-Jearim. yhwh then promises him an eternal dynasty. There follow accounts of foreign conquests, the Ammonite war and David's affair with Bath-Sheba, the Absalom revolt and its aftermath. Interspersed are details about David's offspring, officials, and army. A report about a census and the acquisition of the ground for the temple closes ii Samuel.
i Chronicles 10–21 omits much from i Samuel 31–ii Samuel 24. i Chronicles 22–29 reinterprets Solomon's designation as David's heir, stressing the planning of the temple and its liturgy. Chronicles does not speak of internal tensions, from Saul's time to the end of the Absalom revolt. It contains independent information about officials, but the text is usually derivative or projects later information into the past. However, Chronicles is important as a textual witness for reconstructing early readings in Samuel.
For David's sake, Samuel and Kings claim, yhwh forbears from destroying Judah (not Israel) because of a covenantal relationship. Kings also compares Judah's kings with and sometimes to David. Various prophets – Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel – refer to David as the emblem of the dynasty that will rule Israel in time. After the exile, so does Zechariah (chaps. 12–13). Ezra and Nehemiah, like Chronicles, remember David as a cult founder (for example, Ezra 3:10; 8:20; Neh. 12:24–46). Proverbs and Ecclesiastes cite David as an ancestor of their authors. Ruth presents itself as a story about David's ancestors and furnishes a genealogy to prove this. And, Song of Songs 4:4 mentions one of David's public works (similarly, in a way, ii Kings 11:10, against which cf. ii Kings 14:26–27; 10:16–17; ii Sam. 8:7).
Finally, David appears in the superscriptions of numerous psalms, usually in an indeterminate setting. Several superscriptions stipulate particular conditions (as Ps. 52:2, 54:2) and in some cases psalms incorporate aspects of David's career or status (as 78, 89, 122, 132, 144). No reference is plainly early; Psalms 89, 132 address dynastic promises. Amos, however (6:5), already in the mid-eighth century, portrays David as a poet-courtier. Is the superscription "to David" musical, then, or dedicatory? Probably it has something to do with the king's role in the cult.
In the Tel Dan stela and probably the Mesha Stone, "the house of David" refers to the state administered in Jerusalem – Judah. The audience, learning that Israel "revolted against the house of David," thus (i Kings 12:19) probably took it to mean "revolted against (the state of) Judah." This is the only event in connection with which Kings mentions "the house of David"; the phrase is common, however, in Isaiah (7:2, 13; 22:22; cf. 9:6, 16:5, also 11:1–10) and in the post-exilic era.
name and genealogy
At one time, scholars misidentified a cognate of David's name in Akkadian, and took it to mean, "leader". The root is dwd, usually "(paternal) uncle" or "beloved." However, no text contracts the diphthong. It is always spelled dwd or even dwyd (the y representing a vowel of the /i/-class), never dd (as "uncle" is sometimes written). The possibility of its meaning "beloved" as a bi-form of the root ydd, the root of Solomon's prophetically assigned name, Jedidiah, therefore remains. It is unlikely that there is any relation to the term for uncle.
Several other names are related to this one: d (w)dw (Dodo, Judg. 10:1; ii Sam 23:9,24; I Chr. 11:12, 26; 27:4) and Dodaw (y)ahu (ii Chr. 20:37), in which the diphthong is, however, contracted. Mesha, the late ninth century king of Moab, claims to have taken as booty the 'r'l dwdh, the "Ariel" of (Ataroth's) dwd. He may also report removing the '[r']ly yhwh, two or more such objects dedicated to yhwh, from Nebo. The meaning of "Ariel" is unknown. It may be a sort of hero or statue or icon of a cult founder (for Moabites, ii Sam 23:20 = i Chr. 11:22; also Isa. 29:1, 2, 7, as an epithet of Jerusalem). It also appears as a name (Gen. 46:16; Num. 26:17) and an altar (Ezek. 43:15–16).
Dwd in the Mesha stela is not proprietary to Judah. The inscription attests the fortification of Atarot and Nebo by Omri and Ahab, whose dynasty lent Israel its own dynastic name ("the house of Omri"). Nevertheless, the dwd of Ataroth was a significant item, as singular as yhwh. Since "paternal uncle" is rare as an element in Israelite names, David's name should be understood on Mesha's model. It probably is a divine epithet or hypostasis.
David's father is Jesse. The Hebrew, y_š_y (i Chr. 2:13 '_š(y) is a hypocoristicon for a name name, like Ishbaal, "the Lord is (here)." The patronym is authentic: in direct discourse, David is called "the son of Jesse" only to derogate his claim to royalty. Of these contexts, one is Sheba's call to revolt (ii Sam 20:1); the same cry recurs in i Kings 12:16, at the Solomonic schism: "We have no stake in David, nor legacy in the son of Jesse." It is first an outcry against David, but then against his dynasty (Sheba) and grandson (the Israelites at Shechem in i Kings 12). The antagonistic invocation of Jesse's name is evidence of David's paternity, as is the more positive reference to Jesse in Isaiah 11:1, 10. Finally, an archaic poem, David's Testament, describes him as "David son of Jesse" (ii Sam 23:1), in terms comparable to the introduction of Balaam in oracular verse in Numbers and in the Deir Alla plaster inscriptions. Chronicles also refers to "David son of Jesse" in order to punctuate the narrative (i Chr. 10:14, 29:26; in poetry, i Chr. 12:18). However, the preservation of a patronymic suggest that David's father had an originally negative reputation of his own, or, minimally, had no proper claim to royal status. This inference dovetails with other information, concerning David's rise.
Later materials – the end of Ruth and i Chronicles 2:3–17 – trace David's ancestry back to the eponym Judah. The age of this tradition, which supplies the place of authentic royal ancestry, is probably reasonably old. It is difficult to imagine that the story of Judah's posterity in j (Gen. 38) is divorced from a concern to trace David's ancestry. Even more clearly, p, in the late seventh century, names David's ancestor, Nahshon, as a chief of Judah and husband of Aaron's sister (Ex. 6:23; Num 1:7). Some even argue that the story of David taking his parents to Moab for safekeeping (i Sam. 22:4) reflects the connection to Moab narrated in Ruth: the reverse is more likely: the admittedly peculiar reference in Samuel – which is of a piece with its account of David's relations with peripheral ethnicities – inspired the tale of Ruth.
Every tradition (Ruth; i Sam. 16, 17:15, 58, 20:6, 28) places David's family in Bethlehem. ii Samuel 2:32 refers, unselfconsciously, to the ancestral tomb of Asahel, Joab's brother, there. Around 700 b.c.e., Micah 5:1 shares the tradition. Bethlehem, despite Rachel's tomb being associated with it (Gen. 35:19, 47:8; Jer. 41), was a backwater. David's affiliation with the village is thus secure.
i Samuel introduces David as designee to be the next king. He moves to Saul's court, and betroths one of Saul's daughters (Merab or Michal, depending on the source). In one version, David comes to Saul's court as a musician; in the other he arrives to fight Goliath, whom he dupes by promising close combat while using his sling at a distance. ii Samuel 3 continues with a story of Michal's later delivery to David from her children and former husband, and her subsequent sequestration and childlessness.
During David's service to Saul, a ditty occasions Saul's anger: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his myriads." At the time, David is Jonathan's armor-bearer. His later preservation of Jonathan's son, when allowing the extermination of Saul's offspring, attests this early relationship. Thus, Samuel makes David Saul's ally and a killer of Philistines. The aim of the earliest versions was to deny that he acted as a subordinate to the king of Gath, and that he remained a Philistine ally throughout his reign. David's protection of Jonathan's son Mephiboshet may therefore have been calculated policy, such that the special relationship with Jonathan may have been derived secondarily by an author of one of the two literary sources of ii Samuel. It is uncertain whether David served Saul. No notice relating his men's deeds (ii Sam 21:15–22, 23:6ff.) suggests that he did.
David was the vassal of Achish of Gath. One source claims that Achish rejected him (i Sam. 21:11–16). Another source admits that David worked for Achish but blunts the point of the embarrassment by alibiing David for the battle in which Saul perished. He was in the employ of the Philistine king of Gath, though driven there by Saul's rage, he was present, he was Achish's bodyguard, but was detailed to the rear; other Philistine kings dismissed him as a possible traitor; true, he was away from home, during the battle, but was chasing raiders around the south; and, he killed the messenger of Saul's death, who claimed to have killed him (i Sam. 27; 29–30; ii Sam. 1).
David reigns seven years in Hebron (ii Sam 2:2–4). Ishbaal reigns only two as Saul's successor. There was, however, no interregnum between Saul and Ishbaal (so ii Sam 2:5–9: Abner crowns Ishbaal). Probably, David won northern constituencies after taking Jerusalem after Ishbaal's death. This explains why his alleged conflict with Philistia arises over Jerusalem. In Hebron, David's kingship was marginal, as the site's archaeology and the scant settlement of 11th century Judah suggest: he was a Philistine vassal. He was in name the same throughout his reign. But his taking of Jerusalem could be portrayed as the occasion of Israelite declarations of allegiance to him (ii Sam. 5:1–3), and thus as his declaration of independence from Gath.
historical relations with saul's house
Reportedly on Saul's death, David penetrated into the hills of Judah (i Sam 30:1–2), establishing himself at Hebron. His expansion must reflect service to Achish, as the hills, previously, were virtually empty. From a base in Hebron, on the spine of the hills leading to Benjamin, David waged continued war with Ishbaal, Saul's son, and with Ishbaal's chief-of-staff, Abner (ii Sam. 2–4). At the end of their conflict, Abner and 20 retainers brought Ishbaal's sister, Michal, to Hebron to be David's wife. (i Samuel claims she had been taken from David unjustly.) At the wedding banquet, David's general, Joab, ambushed Abner, and probably his escort. ii Samuel 3 claims that Abner meant to betray Ishbaal, to hand David kingship over Israel. But here, as in the other cases in which Joab kills for David (Uriah, Absalom, Amasa), Joab suffers no penalty. Likewise, Samuel alleges that Michal was betrothed to David (i Sam 19:11–24) before being wed to Palti, an Israelite husband from whom Ishbaal delivered her to David. This narrative strategy transforms her delivery into the settlement of a contractual claim, and thus denies that it was the price of a peacemaking marriage alliance. Later, David sequestered Michal: he refused real alliance with Saul's house and limited the numbers of descendants of Saul. He also kept possession of Abner's corpse.
After Abner's murder, two "Gibeonites," from the town of Beeroth, brought Ishbaal's head to David, who thereafter maintained custody of it. David proclaimed his innocence in the matter and executed the assassins (ii Sam. 4). The killers had good reason to expect a heartier reception; David had good reason for silencing them. Contemporaries must have accused him of ordering Abner's and Ishbaal's deaths.
Before Absalom's revolt, David sought an oracle about the cause of a famine. Conveniently, yhwh attributed it to Saul's war on the Gibeonites, which violated an earlier treaty (of which no one, one expects, had heard). David extradited Saul's surviving sons and grandsons for execution. Only after this did he return Saul's and Jonathan's corpses to the family tomb (ii Sam. 21:1–14). His policy regarding Saulides was to export the living and import the dead.
David exempted only Saul's lame grandson, Jonathan's son. Mephiboshet (Meribbaal in i Chr. 8:34, 9:40) dwelled at the court, while a steward, Ziba, administered Saul's lands (ii Sam. 4:4; 9). After the Absalom revolt, David awarded half the estate to Ziba (16:1–4, 19:25–31). The only other relation to survive the purge was Shimei, who accused David of murdering the entire family (ii Sam. 16:5–10). Solomon later executed Shimei.
A final "Saulide" was David's son – if he was David's rather than Saul's – by Ahinoam of Jezreel, probably one of Saul's wives (below). Absalom assassinates Amnon, David's firstborn. Absalom's punishment is reasonably traditional, conforming to the pattern of expulsion for murder that is reflected in the punishments of Cain and Moses: three years in exile, and two after repatriation under house arrest. Still, this murder of Amnon removes the last vestige of Saul's dynasty, in the form of a wife's son, from the succession. The coincidence seems less coincidental when the narrative reports that David's nephew suggested the rape that Absalom avenged to Amnon (ii Sam. 13:1–5).
David exterminated or permitted the extermination of Saul and his descendants. His hostages (Michal and Mephiboshet), and stories of his youth at Saul's court, friendship with Jonathan, and betrothal to Saul's daughters alibi him for the assassinations of Abner and Ishbaal and the executions of Saul's other descendants. All these presentations serve to insulate David against accusations that must have stemmed from his contemporaries. Any other explanation violates the nature of Near Eastern literary history, and will be too clever by half.
rise to kingship
David first became king in the town of Ziklag, as an appointee of Achish (probably Achaios, or "Achaean") of Gath. After Saul's death, since he is alibied regarding residence in Ziklag for that event, he seems to have claimed sovereignty over Judah from Hebron. Judah at the time was sparsely settled, especially outside the Shephelah. Pastoralists were probably traversing the Negev from Philistia to North Arabia at the time. Judah does not appear in
any clearly premonarchic Israelite tradition (especially Judg. 5:13–18). No such defined geographical entity existed before David occupied Hebron. Benjamin, "the son of the south," was then the name for Israel's southlands, Judah included.
Even in Hebron, David continued to contain Israelites from reaching or threatening the Philistine plain in the Shephelah, particularly at Gath. He may have helped to project a threat against Ekron. He also engaged in marital diplomacy. His first wife, Ahinoam, was from Jezreel in the Jezreel Valley (the southern Jezreel was unoccupied). The Bible's only other Ahinoam was Jonathan's mother: David took her from Saul. Abigail, David's second wife, was probably David's sister. Her first husband, Nabal, was a man of parts in Judah (i Sam. 25; cf. ii Sam. 17:25; i Kings 2:32; i Chr. 2:17). Marriages with Ahinoam and one of Saul's daughters (Michal/Merab) staked a claim on Saul's kingdom. Marriage with Abigail established a claim on Judah. A marital alliance with the king of Geshur (in the Golan) then surrounded Israel. David added appeals to Transjordan to defect from Ishbaal (ii Sam. 2:5–7), made an early alliance with the Ammonites, and, late in his reign, made an alliance with Tyre. Combining the peripheral powers with alliances in Philistia, another border region, David engulfed the northern tribes. He enlisted Gibeonites north of Jerusalem and other mercenary elements, including "Gittites," some of whom stemmed from Kiryath-Jearim, a Gibeonite town. His coalition was directed almost exclusively against the denizens of Israel's heartland.
According to ii Samuel 2, David asked Gileadites (elements in Transjordan) to recognize him as king. In Samuel the collaborators represent the whole of Israel. But the course of David's subjection of the north is far from perspicuous, and may have resulted in real control only after the Absalom result. That the coercion was an element of the process is clear from ii Samuel's defense of Solomon's succession, and from Absalom's rebellion against David, including the tribes of Israel, and Jeroboam's successful revolt against Rehoboam's succession. David was, in the end, a Middle Eastern politician, and can only have ruled by division and terror.
administration and achievements
ii Samuel identified David's officials by place of origin (Ittay the Gittite, for example, is probably Ittay son of Ribay from Kiryath-Jearim) or by ethnic or clan affiliations (Uriah the Hittite, among others). On the same model, i Samuel supplies a list of Saul's officers. i Kings 4 provides an even fuller list of Solomon's officials, mainly provincial administrators. Yet nothing comparable appears later in Kings, again distinguishing writing about the United Monarchy from that about its successor regimes. The reports about the course of bureaucratization attest the development of the state. Later titulature, attested in Kings and in epigraphs, indicates a far more extensive administrative apparatus.
Foreigners serving David as mercenaries, his collusion with Gibeonite aliens in exterminating Saul's house (and his enfranchisement of them in the army and the cult), and the patterns of his diplomacy, threatened Israel. i–ii Samuel insist on his popular election. Still, only David's campaign for reelection after the Absalom revolt indicates a historical, not just literary, dependence on some measure of popular support. Notably, after the Absalom revolt, Joab undoes the compromise reflected in the appointment of Amasa, Absalom's commander-in-chief, to be David's chief of staff. The parallel to Abner's death will not have been lost on contemporary northerners.
The most diagnostic element of any narrative history is its omissions. Samuel is no exception. David introduced a new icon, the ark, into a new capital (ii Samuel 6–7). He did not build a temple, and did not organize a centralized state.
He undertook no public works. Nor did he conquer any lowland fortresses. These silences speak legions about the nature of his bandit state.
David has left the imprint as a state-builder and conqueror on Western consciousness. Still, Samuel, the earliest source about his activity, alleges little in the way of conquest. He fails to expand to Gezer, or in Philistia proper: until Solomon's day, Gezer was "Canaanite." As king, David encounters Philistines only in the vicinity of Jerusalem. He subjects Aram-Zobah, but probably on the field in Transjordan (ii Sam. 10) rather than campaigning to the north. He attacks some elements of population in Ammon, Moab, and Edom. But nothing suggests a campaign north of Dan. The northernmost activity in which David's troops are said to engage takes place at Abel Bet-Maacah. And in Transjordan his only clear achievement, by proxy, is the taking of Ammon's capital, sometime before the Absalom revolt. He garrisons some territory belonging to Damascus, not the city itself. He kills some Moabites. Only in the case of Edom is he said to have taken the whole territory – probably corresponding with the 50 or so caravan stations erected in the Negev in the 10th century.
The only instance in which a real policy history can be reconstructed is that of Ammon. David allied with its king, Nahash, an enemy of Saul's. When Nahash died, David took the capital, installing Hanun, a son of Nahash, as the latter's successor. Later, during Absalom's revolt, along with Gileadite allies, Hanun abetted David against the tribal militias of Israel and Judah. It is no coincidence, then, that Hanun's daughter became the mother of Solomon's successor, no fewer than two years before David's death. Ammon was in thrall to David, but was indispensable to his domestic authority.
Israel's expansion into the lowlands – which Solomon possessed, as texts and archaeological evidence attest – and into Transjordan should, at least in theory, have created a sense of "nationalism." Reality, however, differs from theory, and the narrative of the process of expansion covers the reality up. The mercenary base of the early monarchy kept countryside lineages in fear of losing autonomy. This fear undoubtedly fed Absalom's revolt, directed not against the dynasty, at least among the small population of Judah and that of Benjamin and southern Ephraim, but against David personally. It was a war concerning the succession.
Absalom's revolt was a war of Israel, and much of Judah, and probably parts of Philistia and Canaan, on David. Naturally, the narrative does not mention external enemies or allies – the Ammonites and Gileadites appear only to provision David in need, and the Gittites appear only in the form of David's mercenary army, not as outside supporters. Thus, the narrative does not represent the episode as involving anyone but Judah and Israel – a highly improbable scenario, but one useful for internal dissemination. ii Samuel portrays the revolt as divine vengeance for the cuckolding and murder of Uriah the Hittite. This implies the rebels were on the side of the angels, so to speak. And, Absalom's daughter became Solomon's heir Rehoboam's first wife, clearly in a strategy of national reconciliation. Our text also insists that David actively campaigned for and earned reelection as king after the revolt (ii Samuel 19), winning partly because he promised to replace his hatchet man, Joab, as national commander with the rebel general, Amasa. The text then blames Amasa's assassination, which follows immediately, on Joab, when Sheba son of Bichri revolts – a rebel without an army whose head is unceremoniously hurled over the wall of Abel BetMaacah, probably just then incorporated into the boundaries of David's Israel. With David's professional army dominant, the humiliating campaign for reelection and the appointment of Amasa suggest the importance of claiming popular support.
David's religious policies are obscure. He adopted the ark from the Gibeonite city of Kiryath-Jearim as a state symbol. He also created two state priesthoods – one, from Judah, claiming descent from Aaron, and another from Shiloh, probably claiming descent from Moses. He naturally permitted countryside priests to continue as they had in the pre-monarchic period. While later temple liturgy (as Psalm 89) and the historiography (ii Samuel 7) claim that yhwh endorsed eternal Davidic dynasty, alternative views (as Psalm 132) were fashioned in Judah to explain Israel's secession on Solomon's death.
One Davidic achievement was the establishment of control of movement in the Negev. Arabian caravan traffic to the coast assumed an immense importance at the end of the Late Bronze Age, and thereafter. The spices (including what we would call drugs, for the spice trade was in great measure the drug trade), crossed the Sinai and Negev at Egypt's expense, until Shishak's raid, five years after Solomon's death. Later, Necho, Josiah, and even Nabonidus would contest its direction.
David created a nation, Judah. His dynasty endured for almost 500 years. He also inevitably initiated a rift between popular and elite sovereignty, despite adhering, like Augustus in Rome, to the forms of popular election. Both before and after the Absalom revolt, according to the apology in ii Samuel, David insisted on election by the people, or by the people's representatives. In appearance, David deferred to an Israelite mode of hinterland living that broke the traditional link between city-state monarchies and temple building, such that the shrine was not a permanent structure in the royal capital. In introducing the ark – which Saul had not embraced, and which had previously been tended by Gibeonites, against whom Saul actually waged campaigns – into the capital, David subverted this apparent deference, creating a state shrine. And yet, David's Jerusalem was not a proper city-state – it was more of a bolt hole. It was, in fact, not even a city, as its archaeological markers are all at least in large part absent.
Indeed, more than anything, what marks David's reign politically is an ongoing linkage with and reliance on foreigners, especially Gittites and Gibeonites, and a steady aversion to public works. ii Samuel attributes almost no public building to him. Nor have archaeologists uncovered remains, with the possible exception of the "stepped stone structure" in Jerusalem, that could reasonably be attributed to him. It is true that Stratum vb at Megiddo is often attributed to his reign; however, it contains no clear monumental structure, and may well either antedate his conquest of Israel or reflect a very late period of his sovereignty.
In sum, David was never a builder, never an acolyte of monumental construction. His limited kingdom did not permit him to think of himself in these terms. It was left to his successor – perhaps the son of a mercenary named Uriah – to undertake the organization of states inside Israel and to impose heavy, or usual, taxation on them, so as to undertake construction in the countryside and in the capital. Only from Solomon's time do we have reports and archaeological reflexes of monumental construction.
David played the succession close to his vest. Of his sons, the third, Absalom, killed the eldest, Amnon, and was in turn killed by Joab in his, Absalom's, revolt. The second son, by Abigail, is never mentioned after his birth. The fourth, Adonijah, was widely expected to succeed.
The succession contest recapitulated the tensions of Absalom's revolt. Popular expectation focused (hopefully?) on Adonijah and Joab's support suggests that he was David's designee. Party to the Pretender was the Elide priest, Abiathar. Thus, traditional forces, in the court and at large, stood behind Adonijah's candidacy.
Solomon's succession, sympathetically presented, remains a coup. Behind Solomon stand: Zadok, the Judahite priest; Benaiah, the mercenary captain; and, the mercenaries of the capital, such as the Gittites. Solomon's administration, with its emphasis on public works and the exactions they required, colors the contrast with David. Yet conciliatory maneuvers early in Solomon's reign – Rehoboam's marriage to Absalom's daughter, the writing of ii Samuel to exculpate David from political murders and Israel's population from treason because yhwh encouraged the revolt, and even the construction of the temple with its implications of tax relief for the laborers as a form of tax remission, all suggest that the transition was gradual. Solomon began by pursuing his father's course; only when a threat materialized from Egypt, in his 24th year, did the impulse to modernization assume urgency. For this reason, public works, for example at Megiddo, were not completed before the destruction of the Solomonic layer there. What is more, the Solomonic layers may in many cases have represented facades, at Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer, in the first instance.
reasons for david's place in tradition
David became the template for the future identification of Judah's king as the messiah, yhwh's "anointed": he was the adopted son of yhwh, a notion that derives from the temple royal ideology during the centuries leading up to the Babylonian exile. As a dynastic founder, David personified yhwh's reign over Judah, and, by extension, Israel. Later reinterpretation of the conception of David redivivus – adumbrated in the comparison of Judah's kings to him in the books of Kings and Psalms – and of the enthronement metaphor of his divine sonship led to their ratification as a future hope in a period without Davidic kings (the Restoration). In addition, the image of David as cult founder, full-blown in the presentation of i Chronicles, derives from the assignment to his reign of the dynastic charter, usually associated with temple building, and from the superscriptions to the Psalms.
While Israel's golden age is usually associated with Solomon, the Davidic figure, far more swashbuckling and more tragically human, naturally attracted the attention and the affection of later readers. The glory of David is thus in his commemoration, and in the reverberation of his image through the ages. The idea of a Messiah based on David, the idea of a David in the Psalms, the idea of a David as the progenitor of David – all these things are based on the reception in Judah of the literature, and particularly the historiography, about this king. Thus the literary presentation, starting with Samuel and continuing through Chronicles and into rabbinic literature, created an image that had enduring power throughout the ages.
[Baruch Halpern (2nd ed.)]
In the Aggadah
David's image in the aggadah is many-faceted. The unique status of his monarchy – in contrast to that of the other kings of Israel – is frequently emphasized: "The sovereignty of David shall never lapse" (Yal., Num. 771). The Midrash even declares that God "looks forward to David's being king until the end of the generations" (Gen. R. 88:7), and that "whoever contends against the sovereignty of the house of David deserves to be bitten by a snake" (Sanh. 110a). In this emphasis there is an echo of the dispute which, in its time, divided Judaism after the establishment of the dynasty of the Hasmoneans, who were not of Davidic descent (see *David, Dynasty of).
pharisaic support of david's dynasty
The Pharisees did not deny that, according to the halakhah, kings who were not of the house of David could be appointed (Hor. 13a; et al.); but they made a clear distinction between them by stressing that the dynasty of the House of David was eternal, and by placing limits upon the authority of the other kings: only kings of the House of David could judge and be judged themselves, and not kings of Israel (Sanh. 19a); kings of the House of David were anointed, but not kings of Israel (Hor. 11b); and even when kings of Israel were anointed (when the succession was in dispute), oil of balsam was to be used and not the prescribed anointing oil. It was also ruled: "In the Temple court, the kings of the House of David alone are permitted to sit" (Sot. 41b).
opponents of the davidic dynasty
On the other hand there were extremists who were opposed to the Davidic dynasty. Echoes of it are heard in the talmudic discussion (Yev. 76b–77a) dealing with the permission of Ammonite and Moabite women to intermarry with Jews: "Doeg the Edomite said to Abner, the son of Ner, 'Instead of inquiring whether he [David] is worthy to be king or not, inquire whether he is permitted to enter the assembly of Jews at all.' Why? 'Because he is descended from Ruth the Moabitess!' Abner said to him, 'We have been taught that only an Ammonite [is forbidden], but not an Ammonitess, a Moabite, but not a Moabitess'" (see: *Ammonites and Moabites in the halakhah). According to Aptowitzer, this passage alludes to the efforts of the Sadducees in the Sanhedrin of Hyrcanus to disqualify the House of David from reigning, an effort which they were compelled to abandon by use of force on the part of the Pharisees and their supporters outside the Sanhedrin. In Aptowitzer's opinion, the reference by Josephus (Wars, 1:54ff.) to a revolt in the days of Hyrcanus is to this incident. In this connection the Midrash states (Ruth R. 8:1): "David said before the Holy One, 'How long will they agitate against me, saying, Is he not of tainted descent? Is he not descended from Ruth the Moabitess?'" In order to impress the importance of the House of David upon the consciousness of the people, the rabbis laid down that, "Whoever does not mention the kingdom of the House of David in the blessing 'Who buildest Jerusalem' in the Grace after Meals, has not fulfilled his obligation" (Ber. 48b). In the *Amidah prayer, too, they included a prayer for the restoration of the kingdom of the House of David.
david's physical strength
Already as a youth David displayed extraordinary physical strength, one day slaying four lions and three bears (Mid. Sam. 20:5). With only one throw of his javelin he could kill 800 men (mk 16b). It was only as a simple shepherd, however, that he confronted Goliath. The five stones came to him of their own accord. They represented God, Aaron, and the three patriarchs (Mid. Sam. 21:1). One stone alone, which was guided by an angel, sufficed to kill Goliath (Mid. Ps. to 144). David waged 18 battles – five for his own benefit and 13 on behalf of Israel (Lev. R. 1:4), always attributing his victory to God (Mid. Ps. to 144). When he went to war, David made himself hard as steel (mk 16b).
david as a poet
The rabbis speak in superlatives of David's poetic genius. "While still dwelling in his mother's womb, he recited a poem … he contemplated the day of death and recited a poem" (Ber. 10a). The biblical account of David's playing the harp before Saul is enlarged in the aggadah: "a harp was suspended above his bed … as soon as midnight arrived, a north wind came and blew upon it and it played of itself" (Ber. 3b). The Talmud discusses the question of whether the psalms are to be regarded as entirely David's work or as a collection of compositions by various poets, including David, who edited them. R. Meir's view is: "All the praises stated in the Book of Psalms were uttered by David" (Pes. 117a). The statement (bb 14b) that "David wrote the Book of Psalms, including in it the work of 10 elders" is understood in the light of the Midrash (Eccl. R. 7:19 no. 4): "Although 10 men composed the Book of Psalms, it is named after none of them but after David." The rabbis perceived something of a contradiction between David's preoccupation with poetry and his involvement with Torah, saying, "This is what David meant: 'Midnight never found me asleep.' Until midnight he studied the Torah; thereafter he recited songs and praises" (Ber. 3b).
david as a scholar
David was exalted by the rabbis as a halakhic authority and a Torah scholar, his diligence being such that the Angel of Death was powerless over him because "his mouth did not cease from learning," the study of Torah protecting one from death. It was only when by a ruse the Angel of Death interrupted his study that he was able to claim him (tj, Shab. 30). David's wish was: "May it be Thy will that words of Torah be repeated in my name in this world" (Yev. 96b). His great diligence is also reflected in the statement, "David said, 'Lord of the Universe! Every day I would think of going to a certain place or to a certain dwelling, but my feet would bring me to synagogues and to places of study'" (Lev. R. 35:1); and, "David said: 'The Holy One, blessed by He, has made a covenant with me that I shall master Scripture, Mishnah, Midrash, halakhot, and aggadot'" (Yal., ii Sam. 165). David appears also as a halakhic authority and av bet din (Ber. 4a), and the decree forbidding a man to be alone with an unmarried woman is attributed to his bet din (Sanh. 21b; et al.). "Every one who went out in the wars of the house of David wrote a bill of divorce for his wife, so that she could remarry, should he fail to return and her status be uncertain" (Shab. 56a). He composed many prayers and it was he who set the number of priestly divisions at 24 (Ta'an. 27a).
the bath-sheba episode
The rabbis are frequently openly critical of David. With reference to the episode of Bath-Sheba, however, the general tendency is to exonerate him from all blame, both in respect to the law itself since he decreed that "every one who goes out to war shall write a bill of divorce to his wife" (Shab. 56a), and Bath-Sheba was thus a divorcee; and because of his wholehearted remorse after the deed: "David said before the Holy One, blessed be He, 'Lord of the universe! Forgive me for that sin.' 'It is forgiven you,' He replied. 'Give me a sign during my lifetime,' he entreated. 'During your lifetime I shall not make it known,' He answered, 'But I shall make it known during the life of your son Solomon'" (Shab. 30a). Some go even further, saying: "Whoever says David sinned is mistaken … he contemplated the act, but did not go through with it" (Shab. 56a).
rabbinic criticism of david
The rabbis enumerated other failings of David. In the opinion of the rabbis, it was David's overweening self-confidence which led him to beg God to put him to the test with Bath-Sheba so that he could prove himself comparable in that respect to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Sanh. 107a). They maintained that his tongue was not free from taint. David, in his entreaty to Saul, says, "If it be the Lord that hath stirred thee up against me, let Him accept an offering" (i Sam. 26:19). The rabbis consider this an unbecoming allusion to God, and, in their opinion, David came to grief because of it in the matter of the census: "The Holy One said to David, 'You call me one who stirs up; I shall cause you to stumble over a thing which even schoolchildren know, that which is written, And when thou takest the sum of the children of Israel, according to their number, they shall give every man a ransom for his soul'" (Ber. 62b). Nor was he innocent of slander. He believed in Ziba's calumniation of his master Mephibosheth, that he intended treachery against David (Yoma 22b). He rejoiced at Saul's downfall: "The Holy One said to David, 'David, you sing a song at Saul's downfall? Were you Saul and he David, I would have destroyed many Davids before him'" (mk 16b). He employed inappropriate language in reference to Torah, referring to its words as "songs" (Sot. 35a), and he is responsible for the wrong path taken by his children. "Because David did not rebuke or chastise his son Absalom, he fell into evil ways and sought to slay his father … David treated Adonijah similarly, neither rebuking nor punishing him, and therefore he became depraved, as it is written, 'His father had not grieved him'" (Ex. R. 1:1).
[Israel Moses Ta-Shma]
tomb of david
According to the Bible, David was buried in the "city of David" presumably in the southeast of the present Siloam area (i Kings 2:10). Traditionally the later kings of the Davidic dynasty were also buried there and the Bible refers to the "sepulchers of the sons of David" (ii Chron. 32:33), whose site was still known in the time of Nehemiah (Neh. 3:16). The tombs were in Jerusalem, but were never touched (Tos. B.B. 1:11). According to Josephus Herod broke into David's tomb to rob it, but when he tried to go into the inner chamber tongues of fire shot out (Jos., Ant., 16:7:1). The site is also mentioned in the New Testament (Acts 2:29). The tomb of David was probably destroyed at the time of the Bar Kokhba revolt (135 c.e.), and afterward the exact location of the site was forgotten. However, various sites were suggested by popular traditions over the ages and the one which became generally accepted was the place now called Mt. Zion. This tradition is about 1,000 years old, first being recorded in Crusader times, and was accepted in Jewish, Muslim, and Christian traditions. Benjamin of Tudela (c. 1173) reports a story about the miraculous discovery of David's tomb on Mt. Zion during the repairing of a church on the site. The site was in the hands of Muslims and Christians at various periods and came under Jewish control after the Israel War of Independence in 1948. It became a special center for Jewish pilgrims in the period from 1948 to 1967 because the most revered Jewish site, the Western Wall, was not accessible to Jews and David's Tomb was the closest point to the Old City of Jerusalem. Oriental Jews especially made pilgrimages to the site on all three festivals and particularly on Shavuot, the traditional date of David's death.
In the Liturgy
David figures in the liturgy both as the "sweet singer of Israel" and as the founder of the dynasty which according to Jewish tradition is eternal and is therefore destined to be restored. The concluding blessing to the extended *Pesukei de-Zimra which are recited on Sabbaths and festivals – consisting as they do, both in the Ashkenazi and Sephardi rites, almost exclusively of psalms – states that it is the duty of all creatures to praise and extol God "even beyond the words of song and adoration of David the son of Jesse, Thine appointed servant." A similar reference is made in the Kedusha to the Sabbath morning Amidah. Much more prominent is the hope of the restoration of the Davidic dynasty, and, of course, it has messianic undertones. The subject of the 15th blessing of the Amidah, it is also implied in two passages of the *Grace after Meals. "Have mercy upon … the kingdom of the House of David Thine anointed" and "showeth lovingkindness to His anointed, to David and his seed for evermore." (The addition to the Grace for the Intermediate Days of Sukkot also prays for God to "raise up the fallen tabernacle (sukkah) of David" (Amos 9:11)).
The most intriguing mention, however, is in the third of the four blessings which follow the reading of the haftarah: "Gladden us, O Lord our God … with the kingdom of the House of David Thine anointed. Soon may he come and rejoice our hearts. Suffer not a stranger to sit upon his throne, nor let others any longer inherit his glory; for by Thy Holy Name Thou didst swear unto him that his light should not be quenched for ever. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, the Shield of David." The text of these blessings (with variations) is given in Soferim (13:13); that this blessing ends with "the Shield of David" is already mentioned in the Talmud (Pes. 117b). Various suggestions have been put forward to explain the connection between the prayer and the haftarah. It is bound up with the unsolved question as to the date and the circumstances of the introduction of the prophetic reading. Rabbi J.L. *Maimon (Fishman) puts forward the suggestion that it may have been a polemic against the Samaritans who denied both the sanctity of Jerusalem and the rights of the House of David (Ha-Ẓiyyonut ha-Datit ve-Hitpatteḥutah (1937), 68–69). If the view of *Abudarham, that the haftarah was instituted during the persecutions of *Antiochus Epiphanes as a substitute for the proscribed reading of the Pentateuch, can be accepted, it might equally have been a kind of protest against the royal aspirations of the *Hasmoneans, who were not of royal stock. A curious reference to David occurs in the liturgy of the Blessing of the New *Moon (Kiddush Levanah). It includes the phrase "David, King of Israel is alive and existing." The inclusion of this phrase is undoubtedly connected with an incident related in the Talmud (rh 25a) to the effect that R. Judah ha-Nasi sent R. Ḥiyya to sanctify the moon in a place called Ein Tov and send him the news that this had been done in these words. Moses *Isserles however states that the reason is "that his kingdom is compared to the moon (cf. Ps. 89:38) and like it will be renewed" (oḤ 426:2).
[Louis Isaac Rabinowitz]
The kabbalists saw in David the man who symbolized in the "quality of Kingdom" (middat ha-Malkhut), the tenth and last of the Sefirot. In Sefer ha-*Bahir, it is stated that this quality was offered to each of the three patriarchs, but they asked that they be given their own particular qualities and it was then given to David. David's name is the regular attribute of the Sefirah Malkhut which found its expression in his leadership. As a counterpart to the biblical King David, God has "another David" (David aḥra) who is in charge of all the inhabitants of the upper world, and he is the Shekhinah (Zohar, 3:84a). Together with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, David constitutes the "fourth leg of the *Merkabah"; or of the throne, in an extension of the midrashic saying: "It is the patriarchs who are the Merkabah" (Gen. R. 47:7). The symbolism of the "kingdom" as a Sefirah which has no light of its own but which receives its light from the other nine Sefirot above it, like the moon from the sun, has a basis in midrashic legends. There it is said that David was meant to live only a few hours, but Adam foresaw this and gave David 70 years of the thousand years which were allotted to him (Zohar). His constant study of the Torah, so that "his mouth never ceased reciting the Torah," is explained in Sefer ha-Bahir as his being a symbol for the attribute of "Oral Law," which is also the tenth Sefirah. In Sefer ha-Peli'ah the story of David, Uriah, and Bath-Sheba is explained as a symbolic repetition of the sin of Adam, performed in order to rectify that sin; i.e., the killing of Uriah, who symbolizes the primordial serpent, rectifies the sin, since King David is the reincarnation of the first man (the name Adam being interpreted as the initials of the names Adam, David, *Messiah). Evil and the kelippah (lit. "husk") also find their rectification (tikkun) in David in another way. David was ruddy, like the wicked Esau, but while the redness of Esau was "without any mixture of goodness and beauty," David's redness was rectified by his being "ruddy and withal of beautiful eyes"; for Esau inherited the sword and the shedding of blood, but David inherited the attribute of kingship "to act with mercy and charity and to kill according to the law" (Joseph *Gikatilla, Sha'arei Orah). His descent from Ruth the Moabitess is also repeatedly commented upon in the esoteric manner: David, the first Messiah, like the last Messiah, had of neccessity to descend from a mixture with the sitra aḥra ("other side," i.e., evil) so that he should be able to overcome the evil power which is rooted in the sitra aḥra; for man can only overcome that which is within himself (Joseph *Caro, Maggid Mesharim). When the custom of a melavveh malkah meal, i.e., a fourth meal at the end of the Sabbath day, became widespread (under the influence of Lurianic Kabbalah) this meal was named "King David's meal."
David's importance for Christianity derives from the fact that Jesus was considered the Messiah, son of David. In the Gospels (Mark 12:35–37; Matt. 22:41–45; Luke 20:41–44), Jesus himself does not claim to be a descendant of the House of David, nor do his contemporaries know of such a connection (John 7:41–42). The title "Son of David," bestowed upon Jesus by sufferers turning to him for help, merely denotes the Messiah, a title also bestowed upon Bar Kokhba by Rabbi *Akiva. By Paul's generation, however, Christians already believed that Jesus was descended from the House of David (ii Tim. 2:8; Heb. 7:17). Consequently two distinct and very artificial genealogies of Jesus were traced (Matt. 1:1–7; Luke 3:23–38).
David, like other biblical figures, was considered by Christian authors as a "type" of Jesus, and they explained biblical stories about David as referring to him. For medieval authors, David is the supreme example of the poet. He was the patron of the poets' guild (Meistersinger). The Christians considered David a prophet as well; according to the well-known church hymn Dies irae, he prophesied the End of Days. As David was also the embodiment of valor to the Christians, he was regarded in medieval times as an exemplary knight. In addition he was considered an exemplary king; Charlemagne liked his courtiers to call him "the new David." The Armenian Bagratid dynasty traced their lineage to David and Bath-Sheba, as Ethiopian monarchs do to Solomon the son of David. The Church regarded David as the prototype of a king obeying its precepts, and his anointment by Samuel was the basis for that of kings and emperors by the Church during the Middle Ages.
David (Ar. Dāʾūd, also Dāwūd) was a figure known to the poets of Arabia during the jāhiliyya (heathen period before Muhammad). In their poems David was considered the inventor of coats of mail; they also knew of his connection with the zabūr (Psalms). Occasionally, his son Suleiman (Solomon) is also mentioned as the inventor of coats of mail – various characteristics were attributed to both of them. Muhammad also says that Allah taught David how to make armor (Sura 21:80), as well as how to soften iron (Sura 34:10). Muhammad, as well, mentions that Allah gave the zabūr (see Islam in the *Bible) to David (Sura 17:57).
David's victory over Jālūt (*Goliath) is mentioned in Sura 2:252. David was considered Allah's substitute (khalīfa) on earth in judging men with justice (Sura 38:35–38). Once, two men came to him to judge in their dispute. One of them owned 99 sheep and the second, only one; in spite of this the wealthy man also sought the sheep of the poor man (this seems to be an allusion to the episode of Uriah and the parable told by Nathan the prophet (ii Sam. 11–12)). On another occasion Muhammad mentions a righteous judgment pronounced by David and Solomon in the matter of a field in which strangers pastured their flocks (Sura 21:78). The maximum brevity with which this judgment is mentioned shows that the story itself was very well known. The Midrash (Ex. R. 2:3) cites the test experienced by David who led his sheep through the wilderness, only in order to keep them from robbing [private fields]. Among the tales about David there is one which is influenced by Christianity. In Sura 5:82 it is related that David and Isa (Jesus) cursed a number of the people of Israel because they did not observe the precepts of God. The mention of David together with Jesus seems to indicate that Muhammad received this tradition from Christians. In the post-Koranic literature an important place is devoted to the life of David, which also served as a model in the elaboration of the biography of Muhammad. The events connected with the scheming of Tālūt (Saul), the revolt of Absalom, and the latter's death are cited. In Muslim legends of a later date, mention is also made of David's ties with Jerusalem and his tomb on Mount Zion. In Judeo-Arabic poetry the Davidic kingdom-to-come is referred to.
[Haïm Z'ew Hirschberg]
In Modern Hebrew Literature
David has fired the imagination of many modern Hebrew writers who have depicted different aspects of his life in a variety of literary genres. Haskalah literature did not create a character of depth. Romantic themes, whether it be romantic love or a pastoral yearning, dominated these Haskalah works. Thus the dramatis personae in Melukhat Sha'ul ha-Melekhha-Rishon al Yeshurun ("The Reign of Saul the First King of Israel," 1794), a play by Joseph Ha-Efrati, primarily represent ideas and as such would tend to be one-faceted; the genius of the author however was in creating flesh and blood characters. David symbolizes the romantic yearning to return to the simple life of the shepherd and the peasant. Idealization of the rustic and the rural life is also found in the work of Shalom b. Jacob Cohen, Matta'ei Kedem al Admat Ẓafon ("Oriental Plants in the Soil of the North," 1807), which contains several poems on different episodes in the life of David. In one poem Barzillai rejects David's proposal to live in Jerusalem and David, at the height of his power and glory, comes to the tragic realization that a quiet rural life is preferable to the splendor and intrigues of the court. Nir David ("The Light of David," 1834), a romantic poem in 20 cantos, is a faithful rendering of the biblical story but shows no insight into the character or the events. The romantic yearning of the generation also finds voice in J.L. Gordon's Davidic poems: David is a sentimental romantic hero in Ahavat David u-Mikhal ("The Love of David and Michal," 1857), a historical epic which centers on the love of David the shepherd, later king, and the daughter of Saul. The theme is undying love portrayed through Michal. As in Shalom b. Jacob Cohen's poems, Gordon's David u-Varzillai ("David and Barzillai," 1851–56) portrays an older king whose scepter weighs heavy in his hand. Gordon's beautiful idyllic pastoral tableaus poignantly offset a tired king who, mourning his rebellious son's death, futilely yearns for a simple life. The national ballads of Abba Constantine Shapiro, Me-Ḥezyonot Bat Ammi ("The Visions of My People," 1884) mark a turning point in the ideational emphasis of David. The slumbering David, the redeemer (following the popular legend of David in the cave), awaits to be awakened so that he might save his people. Redemption is also the motif in Ya'akov Cahan's symbolic play David Melekh Yisrael ("David King of Israel," 1919–30, 1937). The redemptive theme, expressed in a lyrical vein, continues into the literature of the renascence period, e.g., in the poetry of Ya'akov Cahan – Kinnor shel David ("The Harp of David"); and of Jacob Fichmann – Evel David ("The Mourning of David," 1932), Yo'av ("Joab," 1934), and Tefillat Erev le-David ("Evening Prayer of David," 1960). Fichman did not choose the heroic pinnacles of David's life for subjects but rather the more human and tender episodes. Evel David and Yo'av are complementary works. The former is based on the legend that after his affair with Bath-Sheba David suffered deep melancholy for 20 years during which time he was deserted by the poetic muse. The poem, permeated by a deeply religious mood, skillfully describes the king's longing for his former state of innocence and poetic inspiration. In Yo'av, an older and wiser David has found his lost inspiration. His heart is again able to turn to God and his longing for God is expressed in poetry and song. But the blare of trumpets toward which Joab draws David's ear disturbs the king's regained idyll; the king's deep emotional conflict dissolves in his succumbing once again to the sound of war. Ḥ.N. Bialik in Va-Yehi ha-Yom ("On That Day," 1965) in the section "Mi-Aggadot Melekh David" ("From the Tales of King David") and Ya'akov Cahan in Mishlei ha-Kedumim mi-Ymei ha-Melakhim ("Tales of Ancient Times from the Times of the Kings," 1943) adapted legends, culled from folk tradition, into poetry and prose.
The more recent works on David do not follow any specific trend but are individualistic interpretations. They often are a reflection of the author's views of the fate of the Jewish people with which David has always been linked and of which he is many times the aspiring symbol. Some contemporary writers have portrayed David as a man of base qualities, others have drawn him as a man of majestic stature. Yemei David ("The Life of David," 1929), by Ari ibn Zahav, is a historical novel dealing mainly with David's youth, while in Sha'ul Melekh Yisrael ("Saul, King of Israel," 1944), a historical play by Max Brod and Sh. Shalom, David is a man whose actions are guided by the iron hand of fate. The David of Zalman Shneur's Luḥot Genuzim ("The Hidden Tablets," 1951) is a sly plotter, a man of intrigues and insatiable appetites. Uri Ẓevi Greenberg's majestic vision of the destiny of the Jewish people and the Land of Israel casts David and his wars (Hod MalkhutDavid – "The Majesty of the Reign of David") as a mystical symbol of a glory to come; at the same time David is also the active symbol of an ideology culminating in the mystic symbol. Moshe Shamir's Kivsat ha-Rash ("The Lamb of the Poor Man," 1957), a historical novella on the life of David, centers mainly on Uriah, the Hittite, portrayed as a loyal subject who loves his king dearly. The underlying theme, explicitly stated in the epilogue by Uriah, is the poison of sin (symbolized by the poisoned arrow that killed Uriah) which seeps through the generations to come.
A number of plays in the 1960s have for theme Davidic episodes. The playwrights did not invest the characters with 20th century philosophy and social outlooks but stressed the use of language, thus illuminating a problem at the root of modern Israeli culture. Benjamin Galai's Sippur Uriyyah ("The Story of Uriah," 1967/8), a tragicomedy, simultaneously dramatizes the biblical tale and an apparently authentic Inca story on a similar theme with scenes alternating between the Incas and the Israelites. Ha-Dov ("The Bear"), later renamed and staged under the title Mored ve-Melekh ("The Rebel and the King," 1968), by Yisrael Eliraz, concentrates on the Absalom/David episode with David drawn as a decadent and weak king. Ya'akov Shabtai in Keter ba-Rosh ("A Crown on the Head," 1969) gave a comic interpretation to the biblical story. The plot, a series of intrigues, portrays in a comic-satirical vein the tension between David and his sons and the struggle between Solomon and Adonijah for the throne.
In the Arts
As king of Israel and psalmist, David has inspired innumerable poems and plays in many languages. Since David in Christian tradition was an ancestor of Jesus, he appeared as one of the so-called prophets in the medieval Ordo Prophetarum; and he also figured in the 15th-century French Mistère du Viel Testament. The motif gained wider popularity during the Renaissance, particularly in France, where David, with Homer and Virgil, was seen as one of the creators of the poetic art. Joachim Du Bellay (1522–1560) wrote La Monomachie de Davidet de Goliath (1560) and Guy *Le Fèvre de la Boderie constantly eulogized the psalmist in works such as L'Encyclie des Secrets de l'Eternité (1571) and La Galliade (1578) which include many verse paraphrases of psalms. La Boderie (in La Galliade, p. 112, citing the talmudic tractate Bava Batra 14b) also refers to the rabbinic tradition that David collected psalms composed from the time of Abraham onward. Two works by French Protestants were a dramatic trilogy by Loys Desmasures (c. 1515–1574?): David Combattant; David Triomphant; David Fugitif (1566), which alluded to the persecution and exile of the Huguenots; and Antoine de Montchrétien's play David (1601). In England George Peele's The Love of King David and Fair Bathsabe dealt more with Absalom than with the biblical romance.
Works of the 17th century include Abraham Cowley's verse epic Davideis (1656), one of the outstanding treatments of the theme, and Christian Weise's play Vom verfolgten David (1684). Literary interest in the figure of David was maintained in the 18th century, *Voltaire's subversive and mocking prose tragedy Saül (1763) dealing mainly with the second king of Israel, being balanced by Saul (1782), a noble and pious tragedy by the Italian poet and playwright Vittorio Alfieri. There is splendid imagery in A Song to David (1763), a hymn of praiseto the psalmist by the English poet Christopher Smart. Some later works on the David theme were Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock's German tragedy David (1722), a pious idyll; Friedrich Rueckert's drama Saul und David (1843); *Heine's poem "Koenig David" (in Romanzero, 1851); and the U.S. writer Joseph Holt Ingraham's religious romance The Throne of David (1860) which ends with Absalom's revolt. The story has retained its popularity in the 20th century, with works such as the U.S. poet Stephen Vincent Benét's King David (1923), and plays by D.H. Lawrence (David, 1926) and J.M. Barrie (The Boy David, 1936). Jewish writers have been prominent among modern interpreters of the motif. Lion *Feuchtwanger used the story of David and Bath-Sheba as the basis for his play Das Weib des Urias (1907) and Richard *Beer-Hofmann wrote a dramatic trilogy including Der junge David (1933). Two other plays by 20th-century Jewish writers were Israël *Querido's Dutch Saul en David (1914) and Bathséba (1940), a play by the Hungarian writer Károly *Pap.
On the whole, episodes of David's life, involving minor biblical characters, are of fairly recent date. They include Arnold *Zweig's three-act tragedy Abigail und Nabal (1913); Abigail (1916), a Yiddish play by David *Pinski; and Abigail (1924) by Grace Jewett Austin. An Oriental curiosity is Abigail (1923), a Marathi drama by Joseph *David of Bombay. Two works on related themes are "Thamar y Amnón," a ballad concluding the Romancero gitano (1928) of the Spanish poet and dramatist Frederico Lorca (1899–1936); and Abiṣag (1963), a dramatic poem about the Shunammite maiden who comforted the aged David, written by the Romanian Jewish author Enric Fortuna. Another work on this theme is Dan Jacobson's Amnon and Tamar (1970).
David appears quite early in both Jewish and Christian art, where he has a major role, especially in illuminated manuscripts. As the traditional ancestor of Jesus, David is depicted from the sixth century c.e. in Byzantine manuscripts of the New Testament (Codex Rossanensis, Rossano Cathedral; Codex Synopensis, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Suppl. Gr. 1286). Seventh-century Syriac Bibles portray scenes from the life of David in the Psalms, Samuel, and Kings (e.g., Paris, cod. Syr. 341). David the musician with a lyre, David the shepherd, David the lion-killer, and David the chosen anointed by Samuel became common subjects in Middle Byzantine psalters (e.g., Paris Psalter, Gr. 139). Their iconography stems mainly from late Antique, early Christian, and early Jewish art. The anointing of David is thus generally similar to the presentation in the wall painting of the third-century synagogue in *Dura Europos. Byzantine representations influenced most West European illumination, from the Carolingian period (the Utrecht Psalter) through the Romanesques to the Gothic (St. Louis Psalter, Paris, Lat. 10525) and the Renaissance (the Breviary of Ecole D'Este, Modena, Estense Library, Lat, 424, Ms. v.g. ii). In Christian illumination, David was usually depicted as a main link in the representations of the Jesse tree. In Hebrew illuminated manuscripts, David is represented as wearing a crown and playing a lyre (e.g., Leipzig Mahẓor, Leipzig University manuscript v. 1102), and also as the founder of the royal House of David (e.g., Kennicott Bible, Bodleian Library, Ms. Ken. 1). In medieval art David frequently appears in media other than illuminated manuscripts. The wooden doors of S. Ambrosio of Milan (fourth century) present a narrative cycle, and scenes are represented in the ninth-century frescoes of S. Maria de Castel Seprio and many 12th-century portals, capitals, and windows at Moissac, Vézelay, Saint-Benoît sur Loire, Chartres, Bourges, and Amalfi.
The young David triumphing over Goliath was a popular subject with the great sculptors of the Renaissance. The subject gave them an ideal opportunity to express the renewed pleasure which they found in the nude, a pleasure which they shared with the sculptors of classical antiquity to whom they turned for inspiration. Some examples are the sculptures of David by Donatello (1430–32, Florence, Bargello), Andrea del Verrocchio (1476, Florence, Bargello), and Michelangelo (1503, Florence, Accademia). Michelangelo's colossal marble statue has a vehement, heroic stance alien to its ancient prototypes. A baroque version of the subject was sculpted by Bernini (1623).
There are paintings of David and Goliath by Titian (1543–44) and Caravaggio (c. 1605–06, Borghese Rome Gallery), and David's triumphal return from the fight was depicted by Nicholas Poussin (1627, Madrid, Prado museum). A painting by *Rembrandt (1628) shows David presenting Saul with the head of Goliath. Another popular representation of the young David shows him playing the harp before Saul. The subject appears in medieval miniatures, and Rembrandt painted the subject twice, in 1630 and c. 1657 (The Hague, Mauritshuis). In the latter version, the angry monarch hides his face behind a curtain, moved to tears by the music. Josef *Israels also painted this subject in the 19th century. David as king and harpist has been painted by Rubens (1610–15, Frankfurt, Stadtmuseum), Rembrandt (1651, Mannheim), and Marc *Chagall (1951).
Of the episodes of David's middle career, the subject of Abigail pleading before David was especially popular in Italy and the Netherlands in the 17th century, and was painted by Rubens and by Simon Vouet (1590–1649). The bringing of the crown to David after Saul's death and his grief over the death of Saul were depicted by Jean Fiuquet, the 15th-century French artist, in a miniature illustrating the Jewish Antiquities of *Josephus (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Ms. Fr. 247, fol 135v.). Standing in front of his massed army, David rends his garments. The story of David and Bath-Sheba has also inspired many artists. In medieval Christian iconography David symbolized Jesus, the coveted Bath-Sheba his bride (the Church undergoing purification by cleansing), and Uriah the Hittite symbolized the devil. In medieval representations of Bath-Sheba bathing, she is shown sometimes in the nude, sometimes half-dressed, and sometimes fully clothed, washing her feet in a tub. There are paintings of the subject by the Flemish artist Hans Memling (c. 1485, Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie), Lucas Cranach (1526, Berlin, Kaiser-Friedrichmuseum), Rubens (1635, Dresden), Rembrandt (1643, New York, Metropolitan, and 1654, Paris, Louvre), and Poussin (1633–34). In a later painting, Rembrandt shows the nude Bath-Sheba deep in thought with a note from King David in her hand.
In the Jewish and early Christian and Muslim traditions, King David is extolled as an ideal model of musical perfection. He is remembered as a poet and musician, or poet-musician who chanted the psalms he has composed for the Glory of God. Consequently, he has become known as "The sweet psalmist of Israel." The Kabbalah invokes his constant study of the Torah emphasizing the idea of rising at midnight to perform a nocturnal singing of psalms.
Interestingly, the great merit accorded to the nocturnal chanting of David's psalms is ardently extolled in the work Ethicon of the well-known scholar and archbishop of the Eastern Jacobite Church Bar Hebraeus (1226–1286). One also finds important references to the virtues assigned to the singing of psalms in writings of the Church's Fathers St. Basil, St. Chrysostom, Clement of Alexandria, and St. Jerome. In Islam, David, who is usually called the prophet Da'ud, is described in the Koran as having the most beautiful voice ever created by God. The development of this motif led to later interpretations associating David's beautiful voice with the powerful charm of his singing.
The different Davidic traditions reveal an interesting case of one ideal common model: David as poet-musician is represented as a symbol of divinely inspired music. Accordingly, this music embodies a kind of universal monistic religious spirituality, which enabled leaders of the three monotheistic religions to become inspired by it in order to support their respective dogmas by means of a special interpretation. Many prominent composers of the 17th and 18th centuries (notably A. Scarlatti, R. Keiser, A. Caldara, G. Ph. Telemann, and F. Veracini) wrote oratorios and operas on David. In the 19th century, the general decline of biblical oratorio and the politically suspect associations of the nationalistic themes inherent in the subject account for the relative paucity of music works about David. A certain renaissance occurred in the 20th century, although most of the works produced, not only by Jewish composers, were of transient interest. Two more important compositions are Arthur Honegger's Le Roi David and Darius *Milhaud's David. Honegger's anti-romantic "dramatic psalm," with minimal stage equipment and action, was written in 1921 to a text by René Morax. Milhaud's David, with French libretto by Armand *Lunel, was commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation for the 3,000th anniversary of the establishment of Jerusalem as David's capital in Jerusalem in 1954.
Descriptive compositions inspired by the figure of David include Menahem *Avidom's David Symphony (1947–48) and Paul Ben *Haim's Sweet Psalmist of Israel for orchestra (1956). David the dancer is depicted by *Castelnuovo-Tedesco in Le danze del Re David (piano solo, 1925). Schumann's Davidsbuendlertaenze (piano, op. 6, 1837) and the March of the Davidsbuendler against the Philistines (in Carnival, op. 9, piano, 1834–35) express his dislike of the musical philistinism around him. Zoltán Kodály's Psalmus Hungaricus (1923) for tenor, chorus, and orchestra is a poetic paraphrase of Psalm 55 combined with a 16th-century Hungarian poem. This work follows an old Hungarian biblical-historical tradition reflecting a contemporary political situation.
David was the patron of the Nuremberg Meistersinger and Hans Sachs's Der klingende Ton (1532) tells of Jonathan saving David from Saul's assassination attempt. Settings of David's lament over Saul and Jonathan include motets by Josquin des Prés, Pierre de la Rue, Clemens non Papa; an oratorio David et Jonathas (attributed to Carissimi); and Marc-Antoine Charpentier's stage music for Bretonneau's play in the 17th century. The oratorio David's Lamentation over Sauland Jonathan (1738) has been attributed to either John Christopher Smith or William Boyce. Johann Heinrich Rolle's oratorio David and Jonathan, based on Klopstock, was written in 1766. The fight between David and Goliath is commemorated in one of Johann Kuhnau's Six Biblical Sonatas (clavichord, 1700), while in the 20th century the theme is dealt with in Hanns *Eisler's Goliath, and Karel *Salmon's David and Goliath (1930). In folk music, an epic song with some dramatic action has been noted in the Kurdish Jewish tradition and in a Ladino ballad, "Un pregón pregono el Rey." The Afro-American spiritual "Li'l David play on your harp" has the David theme as its first verse and refrain. Some musical works about David, traditional or recently composed, have become Israeli folksongs. The best known of these is probably David Melekh Yisrael Ḥai ve-Kayyam.
The Bath-Sheba story occurs in the 18th-century oratorios (Georg Reutter, A. Caldera, Dittersdorf). Porpora's oratorio Davide e Bersabea (1734) was staged and written in London on the initiative of Handel's opponents. Mozart's cantata Davidde penitente (1785) was set to a libretto probably written by Lorenzo *Da Ponte and thus marks the start of their collaboration; the music (1782–83) is drawn largely from the Mass in C Minor (K. 427). On Abigail, the most noteworthy works are on oratorio by Francesco Durante (1736) and the oratoria Nabal, text by Morell, put together by J.C. Smith in 1764 with music taken from various Handel oratorios. Amnon and Tamar are the subject of a Ladino ballad, "Un hijo tiene el Rey David" (M.A. Attias, Romancero Sefaradi (1955), no. 75), and of an opera by Josef *Tal with text by Recha *Freier, which had its première in concert form in Jerusalem in 1960.
[Bathja Bayer /
Amnon Shiloah (2nd ed.)]
Bright, Hist, 171–90; Smith, in: jbl, 52 (1933), 1–11; Albright, Stone, 221–8; Alt, Kl Schr, 2 (1953), 66–75; Cazelles, in: peq, 87 (1955), 165–75; Morgenstern, in: jbl, 78 (1959), 322–5; Hodge, in: Bibliotheca Sacra, 119 (1962), 238–43; Mazar, in: Essays… A.H. Silver (1963), 235–44; idem, in: vt, 13 (1963), 310–20; idem, in: ba, 25 (1962), 98–120; E.H. Maly, The World of David and Solomon (1966); Wright, in: ba, 29 (1966), 83ff.; Weiser, in: vt, 16 (1966), 325–54; Malamat, in: jnes, 22 (1963), 1–17; idem, in: ba, 21 (1953), 96–102; idem, in: zaw, 74 (1962), 145–64; Stoebe, in: bzaw, 77 (1958), 224–43; Bič, in: rhpr, 37 (1957), 156–62; Ap-Thomas, in: jnes, 2 (1943), 198–200; Eissfeldt, in: zdpv, 66 (1943), 115–28; Mowinckel, in: zaw, 45 (1927), 30–58; Nyberg, in: arw, 35 (1938), 329–87; Speiser, in: basor, 149 (1959), 17–25; Vogt, in Biblica, 40 (1959), 1062–63; Elliger, in: pjb, 31 (1935), 29–75; Goldschmid, in: bjpes, 14 (1948–49), 122; Honeyman, in: jbl, 67 (1948), 13–25; Pákozdy, in: zaw, 68 (1956), 257–9; Schofield, in: The Expository Times, 66 (1954–55), 250–2. add. bibliography: W.B. Barrick, "Saul's Demise, David's Lament and Custer's Last Stand," in: Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 73 (1997), 25–41; W. Dietrich (ed.), David und Saul im Widerstreit – Diachronie und Synchronie im Wettstreit: Beitraege zur Auslegung des ersten Samuelbuches (2004); B. Halpern, David's Secret Demons: Messiah, Murderer, Traitor, King (2001); E.A. Knauf, "Saul, David and the Philistines: From Geography to History," in: Biblische Notizen, 109 (2001), 15–18; E. Mazar, "Excavating King David's Palace," in: bar, 23:1 (1997), 50–57, 74; S.L. McKenzie, King David: A Biography (2000). in the aggadah: Ginzberg, Legends, index; A. Rosner, Davids Leben und Charakter nach Talmud und Midrasch (1908); V. Aptowitzer, Parteipolitik der Hasmonaerzeit (1927), index; Alon, MeḤkarim, 1 (1957), 17–18; J. Liver, Toledot Beit David (1959). tomb of david: Z. Vilnay, Maẓẓevot Kodesh be-Ereẓ Yisrael (1951), 163–76. in christianity: Meyer, Ursp, 2 (1921), 446; E. Hennecke, Neutestamentliche Apokryphen (19242), 108f.; J. Liver, in: Tarbiz, 26 (1956/57), 239–43. in islam: ei, s.v.Dāʾūd; G. Weil, Biblische Legenden der Muselmaenner (1845), 202–24; P. Jensen, in: Der Islam, 12 (1922), 84–97; J. Horovitz, ibid., 184–9; H.Z. (J.W.) Hirschberg, Der Dīwān des As-Samauʾal ibn ʿAdijaʾ… (1931), 25, 59–60; H. Speyer, Biblische Erzaehlungen… (1961), 369, 372, 375–82, 403; Tabarī, Tafsīr, 2 (1323 a.h.), 375–84; 17 (1327 a.h.), 34–37; 23 (1329 a.h.), 77–87; Tabārī, Taʾrīkh, 1 (1357 a.h.), 336–43; ibn Wathīma, Qiṣaṣ, Vatican Ms. Borgia 165, fols. 42v.–57v; Thaʿlabī, Qiṣaṣ (1356 a.h.), 227–47; Kisāʾī, Qiṣaṣ, ed. by I. Eisenberg (1922), 250–77. in modern hebrew literature: add. bibliography: M. Itzhaki, "David et Bethsabée: un récit biblique dans la poésie contemporaine," in: Yod, 8 (2002–3), 113–25; L. Perlemuter, "'La brebis du pauvre' Roman de l´écrivain israélien Moshe Shamir," in: Yod, 8 (2002–3), 97–111. in the arts: M. Roston, Biblical Drama in England (1968), s.v., includes bibliography; H. Steger, David Rex et Propheta (Ger., 1961), includes bibliography; L. Réau, Iconographie de l'art chrétien, 2 pt. 1 (1956), 254–86, 308–9 (a bibliography); D. Diringer, The Illuminated Book: Its History and Production (1967); E. Kirschbaum (ed.), Lexikon der christlichen Ikonographie, 1 (1968), 477–90 (includes bibliography).
Traditionally Israel's greatest king, David (Heb. dāwīd, beloved or prince) was a man after God's heart, a central figure in Israel both historically and theologically; he successfully united the tribes in an acceptable monarchy and became the kingly type of the Messiah, Israel's hope of salvation. This article treats in order David's early life, his service under Saul, his life as a fugitive, his life as king, significance of his reign, and finally, iconography of David.
Early Life. David was the youngest son of Isai (or Jesse), who was an Ephrathite from Bethlehem in Judah (1 Sm 17.12) and a grandson of Ruth the Moabitess (Ru4.18–22), though the latter relationship is questioned (see Eissfeldt, 590–591). One tradition (1 Chr 2.13–16) gives David at least six brothers and two sisters, while another tradition (1 Sm 17.12) supposes eight sons (or children?) of Isai. David was an attractive youth (1 Sm 16.12;17.42), a courageous shepherd (1 Sm 16.11; 17.34–36), and a skillful player of the harp (1 Sm 16.18). At God's command Samuel came to Bethlehem to anoint one of the sons of Isai as saul's successor; the purpose and true significance of the anointing, as the subsequent history shows, remained hidden to those who witnessed it, even to Isai and David (1 Sm 16.1–13). Of the two traditions, one in 1 Sm 16.14–23 and one in 1 Sm 17.1–18.5 [see sam uel, book (s) of], that explain how David came to the court of Saul, the former, telling how David had been invited to dispel Saul's melancholy by his music, appears more plausible (see Driver, 179–180).
His Service under Saul. Saul appreciated David's music and appointed him one of his armor bearers (1 Sm 16.15–23). The youth's bravery, however, and his popularity for slaying Goliath aroused Saul's jealousy (1 Sm 17.12–58; 18.5–9). Saul attempted to slay David (1 Sm 18.10–11) and persisted in this intent (1 Sm 19.1), although his son Jonathan had become David's best friend and his daughter Michal was in love with him (1 Sm 18.1–4, 17–27). Saul's repeated attempts to dispose of David indicated also that he considered him a strong prospect for the throne, a threat to the succession of his son Jonathan (see Morgenstern's hypothesis of beena marriage, 323).
The Fugitive. Aware of Saul's jealousy and enmity, David fled and sought refuge in the desert of southern Judah. His visit at Nob (1 Sm 21.2–10) occasioned, through the treachery of Doeg, the slaughter of the priests by Saul (1 Sm 22.9–19); Abiathar, the only survivor of the priests, fled to David (1 Sm 22.20–23). Kinsmen, fugitives, and malcontents rallied to David. By bravery and craftiness David managed not only to escape again and again the clutches of Saul (1 Sm 23.19–24.22; 26.1–25), but also to gain the good will of many (cf. 1 Sm 23.5;25.7–17; 30.26–31). Yet distrusting some of the Judeans (1 Sm 23.12; 25.10; 26.1), David sought protection with the Philistines at Geth (1 Sm 27.1–12); when informed of Israel's defeat at Mt. Gilboa, he mourned in a celebrated dirge the fate of Jonathan and Saul (2 Sm 1.19–27; see Smith, 257–265, for a detailed analysis of the dirge).
King at Hebron and Jerusalem. About the year 1000 b.c., David, 30 years old, became the king over Judah in Hebron (2 Sm 2.1–4). The other tribes followed Saul's general, Abner, and recognized Saul's son, Ishbaal, as their king (2 Sm 2.8–10). The ensuing civil war came to an end with the assassination, sorely against David's will, of Abner and Ishbaal (2 Sm 2.12–4.12). After a reign of seven years in Hebron, David was proclaimed king over all Israel (2 Sm 5.1–5). Having conquered the Jebusite stronghold of jerusalem (2 Sm5.6–10), he made it his royal city. With the intention of making it also the religious capital, he brought the ark there from Cariath-Jarim (2 Sm 6) and appointed Zadok and Abiathar his high priests (2 Sm 8.17). According to 2 Sm 7.1–17, when David was deterred from building a temple by a divine oracle, the prophet nathan assured him of a perpetual dynasty. Many details of zeal for the future temple and the organization of its liturgy are attributed to David in 1 Chr 22.2–26.32, but probably this largely represents the liturgy and personnel of the postexilic Temple projected retrospectively by the Chronicler to the time of David. Little is known of the King's administration except two lists of his chief officers (2 Sm8.15–18; 20.23–26). Perhaps the census (2 Sm 24.1–9) was taken up for administrative purposes, to prepare systematic taxation and conscription. Justice was ministered locally. Although subjects could appeal to the King (2 Sm 14.1–24), there was dissatisfaction with this method (2 Sm 15.1–6). Regarding David's military strength, a picked body guard (2 Sm 23.8–39), foreign mercenaries (2 Sm 20.23), and a standing army (1 Chr 27.1–15) are mentioned. David's outstanding, though self-willed, commander was joab. David's court was modest, but his harem of considerable size; eight wives are named (1 Sm 18.27; 25.42, 43; 1 Chr 3.2, 3, 5), and their number may have been greater (2 Sm 5.13–16). Of his sons six are listed as born in Hebron (2 Sm 3.2–5) and thirteen as born in Jerusalem (2 Sm 5.14; 1 Chr 3.5–9). For the safety of the kingdom, David had to contend with various revolts (2 Sm 15.1–18.33; 20.1–22) and wage war against the Philistines (2 Sm 5.17–25; 23.9–17), the Ammonites (2 Sm 10.1–14; 12.26–31), the Aramaeans (2 Sm 10.15–19), Moab and Edom (2 Sm 8.2, 13–14; 1 Kgs 11.15–18), and Damascus and Zobah (2 Sm 8.3–12). With Hiram, King of Tyre, David negotiated a lasting treaty (2 Sm 5.11–12; see also 1 Kgs 5.12). In Israel's history David's empire had the greatest extension, stretching from the River of Egypt to Kadesh on the Orontes (emended reading of 1 Sm 24.6).
A shadow is cast over David's life and work by his adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband, Uriah the Hittite (2 Sm 11.1–27). Although David confessed his sin (2 Sm 12.1–14), his bad example unleashed the worst passions within his family. Amnon's rape of his half sister Tamar led to his assassination by absalom (2 Sm 13.1–33), followed by the latter's flight, revolt, and death (2 Sm 13.34–18.33). Intrigues of disastrous consequences were carried on for the succession to the throne, which was ultimately gained by solomon (1 Kgs1.1–53). David died c. 961 b.c. after a reign of 40 years. The location of his tomb was still known at the time of Nehemiah (Neh 3.16) and even in the days of Christ (Acts 2.29); but since it was in "The City of David," i.e., on Ophel, it is certainly not to be identified with the modern "Tomb of David," which is located on so-called Christian Sion.
The Significance of His Reign. David was "a man after God's own heart" (1 Sm 13.14; Acts 13.22). This judgment does not imply that David was sinless, but refers to his docile and sincere heart. Sirach gives a more detailed description of David's qualities (47.1–12). Although David was without doubt a great king, later writers
idealized him considerably, holding him up as the model for subsequent kings (1 Kgs 14.8) and especially as the type of the coming Messiah (see T. Vriezen, 48–49, 53, for Deuteronomist view of David). The Prophets see the Messianic King as a descendant of David (Is 11.1, 10; Jer 23.5; 33.15; Mt 9.27; etc.) or even a David redivivus (Hos 3.5; Jer 30.9; Ez 37.24). A unanimous tradition praises David also as poet and musician (2 Sm1.19–27; 3.33–34; 22.1–51; 23.1–7; Sir 47.9), and numerous Psalms have been attributed to him (see psalms, book of).
Iconography. The themes that in the course of the centuries seem to have especially impressed the artistic minds of men are David's fight against Goliath (fresco in Dura-Europos, painting in the catacomb of Domitilla and in S. Maria Antiqua, Rome, 4th century) and David as musician and composer of Psalms (the Paris Psalter, Gr. 139, Bibl. Nationale, Paris, 9th century). The best-known sculptures showing a youthful and athletic David are the works of Donatello, Michelangelo, and Bernini. The most outstanding artist who painted various scenes of David's life was Rembrandt; also to be mentioned are A. F. Maulbertsch, D. Rossetti, A. Böcklin, and M. Chagall.
Bibliography: l. pirot, Dictionnaire de la Bible, suppl. ed. l. pirot, et al. (Paris 1928) 2:287–330. r. de vaux, ibid. 4:743–745. Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible, tr. and adap. by l. hartman (New York 1963) 494–497. h. smith, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary of the Books of Samuel (International Critical Commentary, ed. s. r. driver, et al. New York 1904). s. r. driver, An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament (11th ed. New York 1905). j. l. mckenzie, "The Dynastic Oracle: 2 Sam 7," Theological Studies 8 (1947) 187–218. p. heinisch, History of the Old Testament, tr. w. g. heidt (Collegeville, Minn.1952) 175–191. o. eissfeldt, Einleitung in das Alte Testament (3rd ed. Tübingen 1964). t. vriezen, An Outline of Old Testament Theology, tr. s. neuijen (Newton Centre, Mass. 1958) 48–49, 53. j. morgenstern, "David and Jonathan," Journal of Biblical Literature 78 (1959) 322–325.
David, the second king of the Israelites (reigned ca. 1010-ca. 970 B.C.), was regarded as a model king and founded a permanent dynasty.
David was born in Bethlehem, the youngest son of Jesse of the tribe of Judah. The prophet Samuel, after revoking Saul's designation as king, secretly anointed David as Saul's successor. David attained great popularity by killing the Philistine giant Goliath in combat (1 Samuel 17:49), although another biblical source attributes this feat to one named Elhanan (2 Samuel 21:19). A skilled harpist, David was brought to the royal court to divert Saul with music and alleviate the depression that Saul had succumbed to under the strain of his responsibilities. At court David won the undying friendship of the crown prince, Jonathan, whose sister Michal he married.
After Saul's jealousy had forced David to flee for his life, he had two opportunities to slay the King but magnanimously spared him. Saul eventually met his end at Gilboa, together with three of his sons, including Jonathan. After a period of mourning, David proceeded to Hebron, where he was chosen king by the elders of Judah. Saul's general Abner, however, proclaimed Ishbaal (Ishbosheth), a surviving son of the dead king, as the sovereign. In the civil war that ensued, Ishbaal and Abner were slain. Their deaths removed the last obstacles from David's path to the throne, and about 1010 B.C. he was crowned king of all the Israelites.
After numerous battles David liberated Israel from the yoke of the Philistines and ushered in a golden era for his people. He captured Jerusalem and made it his capital because of its strategic military position and its location outside the boundaries of any tribe. He placed the Ark of the Covenant in a tent near his residence, thereby making Jerusalem the religious, as well as the national, center of all of Israel and preparing the way for his son and successor, Solomon, to erect the Holy Temple there.
David expanded his kingdom to Phoenicia in the west, the Arabian Desert in the east, the Orontes River in the north, and Etzion Geber (Elath) in the south. But internal political troubles overtook David. His son Absalom led a rebellion which was finally suppressed when Joab, David's general, killed him, although the King had ordered that he be spared. David also had to quash an uprising of Saul's tribe, the Benjaminites.
The Bible idealizes David as a warrior, statesman, loyal friend, and gifted poet, yet it does not fail to mention his faults and moral lapses. At one time David callously plotted the death in battle of one of his officers, Uriah the Hittite, so that he could marry Uriah's beautiful wife, Bathsheba. For this he was denounced by the prophet Nathan, and, recognizing that he had committed a great moral wrong, the King fasted and prayed in repentance.
Jewish tradition ascribes to David the authorship of the Book of Psalms and refers to him as the "sweet singer of Israel." The Messiah, too, was to come forth from "the stock of Jesse" (Isaiah 9:5, 11:10), and indeed the New Testament speaks of Jesus as a descendant of the House of David (Matthew 1:16). David's tomb, traditionally assumed to be on Mt. Zion, has become a venerated place of pilgrimage.
The Bible portrays the life and achievements of David in 1 Samuel 16 through 2 Samuel 5, 2 Samuel 19-20, 1 Kings 1-2, and 1 Chronicles 10-29. The chapter on King David in Harry Meyer Orlinsky, Ancient Israel (1954), is recommended. See also Martin North, The History of Israel (1953; 2d ed. 1960); John Bright, A History of Israel (1959); and Mortimer J. Cohen, "David the King," in Simon Noveck, ed., Great Jewish Personalities in Ancient and Medieval Times (1959). □
David (in the Bible)
David, d. c.970 BC, king of ancient Israel (c.1010–970 BC), successor of Saul. The Book of First Samuel introduces him as the youngest of eight sons who is anointed king by Samuel to replace Saul, who had been deemed a failure. The Goliath story underscores his divine election and leads to Saul's obsession with killing him. On the death of Saul and Jonathan in battle, David assumes the throne in Second Samuel. The assassination of a rival king, Ishbosheth, in the north allows David to be crowned king of a united kingdom.
With the capture of Jerusalem, David moves his capital there and plans the construction of a temple. Through prophetic mediation, however, God declares David's successor as the future builder, who will build a "house." God promises to establish the kingdom of his son as an everlasting kingdom. From this promise derives the later hope of a royal Messiah ( "anointed one" ) as an agent of God's establishment of an eschatological kingdom.
Second Samuel charts an era of decline beginning with David's adultery with Bath-sheba and the murder of her husband. Anarchy prevails among his children, leading to the revolt and usurpation of the throne by his son Absalom. David's son by Bath-sheba, Solomon, is nominated king and successor by David, though this was challenged by another son Adonijah. Nevertheless, David remains the model for subsequent monarchs of Israel.
David's musical skill became proverbial, and many psalms were attributed to him. Most of the narrative that recounts David's decline is omitted in the Book of Chronicles. The New Testament confesses Jesus as the "Christ" (Messiah) descended from David, and David is also attested in the Qur'an. Archaelogical excavations have failed, however, to find evidence that would confirm the existence of a powerful and unified Davidic kingdom.
See R. Alter, The David Story (1999); S. L. McKenzie, King David (2000)
DAVID , early Canadian family. lazarus david (1734–1776), born in Swansea, Wales, arrived in Canada about 1760 and helped found the Shearith Israel Congregation in Montreal. His eldest son david david (1764–1824), born in Montreal, was a founder and member of the original board of directors of the Bank of Montreal. samuel david (1766–1824), second son of Lazarus David, married Sarah Hart, daughter of Aaron *Hart of Trois Rivières in 1810. He fought with the British forces in the War of 1812. His diary (unpublished) reflects the conditions of Trois Rivières in the colonial period. aaron hart david (1812–1882) was born in Montreal, the son of Samuel David. He earned a medical degree at Edinburgh in 1835 and practiced medicine in Montreal, becoming dean of the faculty of medicine at the University of Bishops College, president of the Natural History Society of Montreal, and general secretary of the Canadian Medical Association; he held numerous other important medical and scientific positions. Aaron David took a leading part in Jewish life in Quebec province and served as army surgeon in the 1837 Rebellion and the 1866 Fenian Raids. These and other members of the David family were closely involved in the affairs of the Shearith Israel Congregation of Montreal and served actively in the armed forces.
B.G. Sack, History of the Jews in Canada (19652).
[Ben G. Kayfetz]
King David (d. c.962 bc), king of Judah and Israel. In the biblical account he was the youngest son of Jesse, who killed the Philistine Goliath and, on Saul's death, became king, making Jerusalem his capital; he was the father of Absalom and (by his marriage with Bathsheba), Solomon. He is traditionally regarded as the author of the Psalms, though this has been disputed.
It was a traditional Jewish belief that the Messiah would be descended from David, and in Matthew 9:27 two blind men seeking healing from Jesus address him as ‘Son of David’.
St David (6th century), Welsh monk, who since the 12th century has been regarded as the patron saint of Wales. Little is known of his life, but it is generally accepted that he transferred the centre of Welsh ecclesiastical administration from Caerleon to Mynyw (now St David's); he also established a number of monasteries and churches. His feast day is 1 March.
d. c. 960 b.c.
Israelite king who brought his nation close to the zenith of its power. Virtually all that is known about David comes from the Old Testament, and for years historians regarded the facts of his existence with skepticism, but today he is widely accepted as a historical figure. It was under his leadership that the Israelites took Jerusalem (thenceforth the "City of David"), and during his reign the kingdom expanded to more than three times the size of modern Israel.