David is well known as one of the most famous kings in history. This statue, by Cordier in Rome, depicts a strong good king, which he was. Besides the history of David in the Bible as well as throughout Israel, he is the first of the 4 kings in a deck of cards; David- spades, Charlemagne- hearts, Constantine- diamonds, and Alexander- clubs.
In the Bible before David became King of Israel, Samuel (a prophet of Jehovah) said that God was picking a man after His own heart to be king, 1Samuel 13:14.So let's go through the scriptures and let us see why David was a man after God's heart.
Lets go back to the book of Ruth for a moment for the ancestors of David. In the time of the Judges, a Ephraimite man, Elimelech and his wife, Naomi went to live in the land of Moab because of a famine in Israel. They took with them their 2 sons, Mahlon and Chilion and left their home in Bethlehem-Judah. The sons married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. After 10 years or so all of the men died. So Naomi rose up to go back to Israel, for she heard they now had rain. Her daughters-in-law were going with her, but Naomi told the girls to go home to their mothers for she was old, and could have no more sons and it was unsure what waited her in Israel. It was an emotional time of tears. Orpah went back, but Ruth had seen the Lord in the lives of her in-laws and grew to love God. She said," I will go where you go and and where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your God my God.
When they got to Bethlehem, Naomi needed a kinsman redeemer to claim back her family's land. After some action of strong faith by Naomi and Ruth, Boaz filled the bill and ended up married to Ruth. This is a wonderful part of history told in such a small book. Boaz is a type of Jesus in the story and brings love, prosperity, and hope to Ruth and Naomi.
Because of the faith that Ruth had shown in leaving her own country and following the Lord God, Jehovah allowed her to be added to the blood line of the Messiah, Jesus.
Ruth became the Great Grandmother of David who also was born in Bethlehem where she settled with Naomi, even though she was not part of the chosen people of Israel. She was a special woman in the Lord and her line is blessed. The faith and actions of people affect their future generations.
Now we need to go to the 1st book of Samuel for the history of the beginning of the monarchy of Israel. The time of the Judges was around 1380 to 1050 BC. (When you see me write BC, it is always Before Christ)
The High Priest and next to last Judge was Eli. He was a direct descendant of Aaron the first High Priest and Moses' brother, both Levites. He was the Judge in Israel for 40 years in Shiloh. The High Priest ministered to the LORD for the people and stood before the Ark of the LORD (Ark of the Covenant) to burn incense.
This picture is from 1910 and shows the breast plate on the High Priest that had precious stones that represented the 12 tribes of Israel. The turban was probably white or blue and the Tallit (prayer shawl) would also be white and blue.
There was a man from the tribe of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah who had 2 wives, Peninnah and Hannah. Hanna was barren. Every year Elkanah went to Shiloh and sacrificed and worshipped. While there, Hanna prayed to the LORD and asked for a son, and she promised that if she had a son she would loan him back to God for the rest of his life. Eli saw her moving her lips and thought she was drunk, she explained that she had made request to the LORD and Eli said, "Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee they petition that thou hast asked of Him."
God answered her prayer and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son who she named Samuel, (asked of God). Her vow was to raise him a Nazarite and lend him to God when he was weaned, probably 5-6 years old. So she took him to Eli with and offering and there worshipped the LORD. God blessed her for her obedience and she had 3 more sons and 2 daughters, which was the prayer and blessing from Eli. She came to see Samuel at Shiloh probably more that yearly. 1Samuel 2 is Hanna's song to the LORD for his goodness.
So, Samuel trained under Eli and ministered unto the Lord, Jehovah, in Shiloh.
Cistern and walls at the ruins of Shiloh in Israel.
One night Samuel woke up to someone calling his name. He arose and went in to Eli and said he did not call. This happened two more times. So, the third time Eli said it is the LORD, if He calls again, say here I am, your servant, Lord. God called again and the boy Samuel said, "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth."
God then told Samuel that Eli was to be judged because he had not raised his two sons to respect God and turn from evil.
Samuel listened to all the Lord had to say. He told Eli what the Lord had said when he asked him. Eli knew this was God, for a prophet had came and warned him about the evilness of his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas. God had said that they both would die in the same day. Eli was getting old, and knew that his sons would not obey him. Eli said God can do what is right in His sight.
Samuel grew to be the last of the Judges and the first of the Prophets who's books are in the scriptures. He grew up in favor with God and with man. God let none of Samuel's words fall to the ground and appeared to him by the Word of the Lord, 1 Samuel 3:19-21. That means that what Samuel prophesied, God upheld. The Word of the Lord is another description of Jesus, the 2nd person of the Godhead, John 1:1 & 14.
The word of Samuel went out to all of Israel.
The Philistines came up against Israel and at the first skirmish, Israel had to retreat and lost 4000 men. So they went to Shiloh and got the Ark of the Covenant. Now Eli's sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the Ark and went along. When the Ark came into Israel's camp they all shouted for joy. The Philistines were afraid, for they knew the history of Israel and how the Ark of God with them brought them victory. But, they fought hard and took the Ark and killed Eli's sons and 30,000 men of Israel. When word came to Eli, he was sitting on a wall outside. He was 98 years old and mostly blind. When he heard about his sons and that the Ark was taken, he fell off the wall and broke his neck and died, for he was heavy.
The Ark which represented where God would speak from, was not a substitute for faith and obedience. Hophni and Phinehas did not know God. There needed to be 4 priests to carry the heavy Ark; that was God's command. The army and the people were lead away from God by bad leadership. They worshipped pagan gods: Baalim and Ashtaroth.
However, God cursed the Philistines so they put the Ark on a cart and sent it away with to oxen pulling it. It came back to Israel to Bethshemesh.
Many perished because they looked into the Ark. Even the High Priest had to purify himself by elaborate means to enter in the Holy of Holies once a year.
Many perished because they looked into the Ark. Even the High Priest had to purify himself by elaborate means to enter in the Holy of Holies once a year.
They cried out to the people of Kirjath-Jearim and they came and got the Ark and took it to them where it stayed for 20 years.
Samuel was getting older now and and called for Israel to return to the LORD with all their hearts and put the strange gods away and serve only the LORD and He would deliver them from the hand of the Philistines.
Samuel called all Israel to Mizpeh where he prayed for them and offered a lamb to the LORD. Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh. God thundered on the Philistines who were coming to attack and they were defeated. The hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. Samuel judged Israel the rest of his life.
When Samuel was old, he made his sons, Joel and Abiah, Judges in Beersheba, Israel. They did not walk in Samuel's ways and took bribes, dirty money, and perverted judgement. So Israel came to Samuel and told him that his sons were not doing right and they wanted a king like the rest of the nations. Samuel did not like this at all, but he prayed to God about it and the Lord told him to hearken to the people because they had rejected God, that He should reign over them.
Samuel tried to dissuade the people; he told them a king would tax them heavy and take their sons and daughters to work for him, but they would not have it. So God lead Samuel, through circumstances, to a man named Saul who was handsome and tall and the one God had picked to be king over Israel. Samuel showed him the Word of God. Then he poured a vial of oil over Saul's head and told him the Lord had anointed him to be the captain over His inheritance. He also told Saul that he would meet some prophets and the Spirit of the Lord would come upon him and he would be turned into another man. Samuel told him that God would be with him. That he should go down to Gilgal and Samuel would come and offer sacrifice to God. All happened, and Saul did prophecy. But when the people were gathered and cast lots which picked Saul, he could not be found...he hid in the stuff. But he was found and brought before the people and was a head taller than the rest. They shouted, God save the king! Some who had evil intent, despised him and said shall this man save us?, 1Samuel 10.
We haven't forgot about David. He is the second king of Israel, and we are following the reasons and history as told in the scriptures...so have fun reading...
Understand that David was growing up and was a shepherd during this time, and learning to trust and walk with God. He was writing Psalms like Psalms 23...
Almost all of the Psalms were written by David. He is accredited with the invention of some stringed instruments, and the Psalms are sung. I find tremendous strength for my faith by memorizing some of these powerful scriptures. You can see how much that David loved God and had deep trust in Him. David was also brave and depended on God for his existence and protection. He took on large predators (lion and bear) that would try to eat his sheep and killed them with basic weapons and strength.
Now back to the history of King Saul in 1Samuel....
The Ammonites came and besieged Jabash-Gilead. The only way they would make covenant was to blind all the right eyes of those in Jabash. Saul was filled with righteous anger when he heard and got an army together and defeated the Ammonites, his battle cry was for Saul and Samuel. This act settled him in as King of Israel, 1 Samuel 11.
1 Samuel 12 tells how Samuel reproves the people for not trusting God and wanting to have a king to rule over them rather than God. He warned them that they must serve the Lord with all their heart, and if they did wickedly they would be swept away with their king. Samuel's king was God.
After 2 years, Saul reduced his army to 3000 divided between him and his son Jonathan. Jonathan took out a Philistine garrison in Gilgal and the Philistines were massing for a big attack. The word went out in Israel, but the men with Saul were afraid in Gilgal. Saul waited a week for Samuel to come (which was the prophecy given) and make an offering to God and bless Israel against the Philistines. When he did not see Samuel, he offered burnt offerings himself.
Samuel did arrive and said, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee, 1 Samuel 13:13-14. This was done in God's mind, and the one he picked was David.
Saul had shown himself to be a leader in battle against the Ammonites, and during his reign he fought enemies on all sides. But, now he shows his disobedience to the Lord and even though he had the experience of the Spirit of the Lord on him in the past, he had no right to offer this sacrifice, it was the job of the Priest, Judge, and Prophet...Samuel.
Saul's son, Jonathan, was quite a valiant soldier and had big faith. He and his armor bearer went into the camp of the Philistines and killed about 20 men and the rest were scared and took off.
Saul showed his faulty reasoning and arrogance again because he told all his army to fast before the battle to try to persuade God for the victory. All this did was make the army weak. Jonathan did not know his father's order and ate some honey that was on the ground and Saul wanted to kill him for that. Yet it was the faith of Jonathan in God that routed the Philistine army that day, and the rest of the Israel army joined in the battle. The people protected Jonathan and would not let harm come to him, 1Samuel 14. Jonathan was a little older than David. They later became the best of friends.
Samuel was becoming fond of Saul. He came to Saul and told him that God had anointed him to be King of Israel and that God wanted him to destroy Amalek and spare nothing, they had done evil to the children of Israel when they left Egypt. The king of Amalek was Agag.
Saul disobeyed God again and spared king Agag and the best of the livestock.
The Lord said to Samuel, " It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments." And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.
When Samuel confronted Saul about not destroying Amalek, Saul said that he obeyed and brought king Agag as prisoner and the best of the animals to sacrifice to God. Samuel told Saul, "to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king."
Samuel then killed king Agag with a sword. (This may seem very violent for the benevolent God, but He knows the future. One of the descendants of Agag from those who Saul did not kill, was Haman in the book of Esther which came close to killing all of the Israelites.)
Samuel mourned for Saul and did not see him again until the day of his death, 1Samuel 15.
So the LORD said to Samuel, to quit mourning Saul, fill his horn with oil, and go to Bethlehem and the house of Jesse for I have provided me a king among his sons. Samuel told the Lord that Saul might kill him, so God said to take a heifer with him for sacrifice and invite Jesse and his sons.
When Samuel got there he saw Jesse's oldest son, Eliab, right away for he was tall and handsome, and he thought, surely this is the Lord's anointed. But, God said, "Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." So one by one 7 of Jesse's sons came out before Samuel, but none were God's pick. So Samuel said are these all of your children? Jesse says the youngest is out with the sheep. Samuel said we will not sit to eat until he comes. When David arrived, God said to Samuel this is the one, anoint him. He was a good looking lad, with a healthy red color and fair eyes.
So it was done. God had picked David to replace Saul as King of Israel. From that day on the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David and an evil spirit troubled Saul for the Lord's Spirit departed from Saul.
Saul told his servants to find someone who could play the harp and bring him to comfort him.
One of the servants said, "Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him." So Saul sent for David. It did not take long for Saul to love David. When David played for Saul, the evil spirit would leave. Saul wanted David to stay in the palace and when Jesse agreed, he made David his armor bearer, 1Samuel 16.
So now David lives in the king's palace.... his destiny is set.
David's blood line brings about the birth of the Messiah, which we know is Jesus of Nazareth. David is a type (representation) of Jesus. As David wrote in Psalm 23, The Lord is my shepherd...
Be sure to watch for the next blog with the rise of David to King and his life and more of why he was a man after God's heart.
All art, pictures were found on the Internet, credit given in HTML if known. All quotes are from the authorized KJV Bible.