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Who was King David?

by Rabbi Mendy Hecht


Library » History » Kings | Subscribe | What is RSS?


A. King David was the second1 and probably best-known king of ancient Israel. He was a member of the Tribe of Judah, a descendant of Ruth, and the youngest son of Yishai (Jesse), a gentleman farmer with a large family. He shepherded his father's flocks with his older brothers. He led a quiet life and was not expected to aspire to greatness, yet G-d had the prophet Samuel anoint him to be the next ruler after king Saul. Then, one fine day…

B. …as Israel was at war with its enemy, the Philistines, young David was dispatched by his dad to bring a care package to his older brothers on the battlefront. The two armies waited tensely on either side of a valley while the famed Goliath, a giant of a man who scared the dickens out of his shorter Jewish enemies, bellowed daily his blasphemes and challenged anyone to fight him one-on-one. David stepped forward and killed Goliath with a slingshot-fired pebble to the forehead and subsequent decapitation.

King David was the second and probably best-known king of ancient Israel. He was a descendant of Ruth and the youngest son of Yishai (Jesse), a gentleman farmer with a large family.
C. David eventually became Saul’s son-in-law, marrying his daughter Michal. He became the best friend of Jonathan, one of Saul’s sons. Upon the wartime death of Saul and Jonathan, David became the King of Israel, aggressively expanding and fortifying the kingdom. David lived to the age of 70; the crown passed to his son Shlomo (Solomon), who built the first Holy Temple and under whose rule the Golden Age of Israel truly flourished.

What were David’s lifetime highlights?

1. The resume

David was a powerful king who wisely governed the tribes of Israel, forging them into a united nation. G-d blessed him to be a valiant soldier, a great military strategist, an able administrator, a diplomat, a composer and a musician.

2. The war-hawk

David extended Israel’s lands in the north, triumphing over Israel’s enemies the Canaanites and the Philistines. Prosperity followed, a fact that is today confirmed by archeology. David was originally based in Chevron (Hebron) in southern Judah, but when all 12 Tribes of Israel accepted his rulership he needed a central location from which to govern. An ideal place was the mountain-top city of Jerusalem, where he established his capital.

3. The “Sweet Singer of Israel”

The above is one of the formal titles historically appended to David, on account of his poetic works of praise to G-d known as Tehillim (Psalms). Actually, there are 150 Psalms, but a number of them were written by others, including Moses, Jacob, and the Sons of Korach.2


  • 1. King Shaul's son, Ish Boshet, acted as king for a short time before King David, but was not anointed and thus not considered a true king of israel.
  • 2. See also "Was King David guilty of murder and adultery?" (,1972311/Was-King-David-guilty-of-murder-and-adultery.html).
TAGS: david, king david


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Posted by: Unknown Stranger called Spoiled Princess, Maple Valley, WA on Jan 23, 2005

I like this web site a lot, it tells me a lot about differnt cultures. I am supposed to know about different cultures and who started them for an extra credit paper for Social Studies and it really helps a lot!!! Thank You!!!
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
Third of the three Patriarchs and father of the Twelve Tribes. Lived most his life in Canaan and died in Egypt in 1505 BCE. Also known by the name of "Israel."
Established by King David to be the eternal capital of Israel. Both Temples were built there, and the third Temple will be situated there when the Messiah comes.
1. The fourth son of Jacob and Leah. He was blessed by Jacob to be the leader of the tribes. Consequently, the Davidic royal dynasty is from the tribe of Judah. 2. The southern part of Israel which was occupied by the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and always remained under the reign of the kings from the tribe of Judah.
Cousin of Moses, he led an uprising against him, objecting to the appointment of Aaron as High Priest. He and his followers were miraculously swallowed up by the earth.
1. A prophet and judge who appointed Saul as the first king of Israel in the 9th century BCE. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, named after the abovementioned Samuel, one of the main characters of the book.
First king of Israel, anointed by the prophet Samuel in 878 BCE. Was dethroned because he failed to carry out G-d's command, and the royal crown was transferred to King David and his descendents.
King of Israel who succeeded Saul, becoming king of Israel in 876 BCE. Originally a shepherd, he became popular after he killed the Philistine strongman, Goliath. He is the progenitor of the Davidic royal dynasty -- which will return to the throne with the arrival of King Messiah.
Son of King David, and succeeded him on the throne of Israel in the year 836 BCE. he was the wisest man to ever live. He built the first Holy Temple and authored several books of the Bible.
The Book of Psalms. One of the 24 books of the Bible. Compiled by King David; mostly comprised of poetic praise for G-d. A large part of our prayers are culled from this book.
1. A Moabite woman who accompanied Naomi, the Jewish mother of her deceased husband, back to Israel. She converted, married, and was the ancestor of King David. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, which chronicles the events of Naomi's life.
The Book of Psalms. One of the 24 books of the Bible. Compiled by King David; mostly comprised of poetic praise for G-d. A large part of our prayers are culled from this book.
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.