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The name signifies 'well-beloved.' David was the son of Jesse, a descendant of Boaz and Ruth, a Jew and a Gentile: both Jews and Gentiles are to be blessed in the Christ whom David typified. David was anointed when in humility, 'keeping the sheep.' His seven brothers had passed before Samuel, but the one to be anointed must be one after God's own heart, one that would care for and feed God's people. The spirit of Jehovah came upon him from that day. Christ was the true Messiah, whom David prefigured, being anointed at His baptism by the Holy Spirit before entering on His service toward Israel. David's spirit was stirred within him when he heard the boasting of Goliath against the God of Israel, and he then told how in secret he had protected the sheep and had slain the lion and the bear: in the name of God the giant would also be overcome. His faith was in Israel's God, and the giant was slain.

The women's song in praise of David raised the jealousy of Saul, who had more sense of his own importance than care for the Lord's people. He gave his daughter Michal to be David's wife, and thought thus to entrap him; but his wife became his deliverer. This called forth Psalm 59 . He had faith that God would laugh at his enemies: God was his defence and the God of his mercy. Though the Psalms show the experiences of David's inner man, it must not be forgotten that they are prophetic, and his language is often that of the remnant of Israel in the future, and sometimes that of Christ. Psalm 59 : speaks of the heathen who will oppose Christ.

The love of Jonathan and David is beautiful, but Jonathan could not protect David from the hatred of Saul, and David resorted to the priest, who gave him the hallowed bread. The sovereign grace of God rises above the ordinances that are connected with blessing when that blessing is rejected. God's anointed one was rejected and the showbread was considered common. He received the sword of Goliath, and fled to the Philistines. Apparently he was seized by them (cf. the heading of Psalm 56 ); he cried for mercy, for man sought to swallow him up. "Put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?" he said; yet he knew he should escape, for God was for him. He changed his behaviour before the Philistines and assumed madness: connected with this is Psalm 34 . David would bless the Lord at all times: he cried, and the Lord heard him; but the psalm is manifestly prophetic of Christ: see Psalm 34:20 and others. David escaped to the cave of Adullam, and his brethren and his father's house went to him, also those in distress, and those in debt, and the discontented; the prophet Gad was with him, and soon afterwards Abiathar the priest. But the enemy was not inactive, Doeg the Edomite informed Saul of how Ahimelech the priest had helped David, which led Saul to employ even Doeg to slay the family of Ahimelech. This drew forth Psalm 52 : God would destroy the wicked, and the man who had not made God his strength. It must be remembered that the circumstances through which David passed are used by the prophetic Spirit to develop the experiences in the conflict between good and evil, which are to culminate in final deliverance and glory.

When the Philistines attacked and robbed the Israelites, David inquired of the Lord, and smote them with great slaughter. It is beautiful to see how David could inquire of God and receive an immediate answer. Even the city Keilah which he had relieved was against him, the king anointed of God to feed them. He was obliged to wander elsewhere, but Jonathan met him in a wood and encouraged him, assuring David that he knew he would surely be king; and there they made a covenant together: cf. Psalm 63 .

When Nabal had repulsed David's messengers Abigail brought a present, and rehearsed what God would do for David, and appeased his wrath. God smote Nabal, and Abigail became David's wife. Now the Ziphites or Ziphim engaged to aid Saul to capture David. This called forth Psalm 54 , in which David cries earnestly to be saved: strangers had risen up against him; but his faith could say that God had delivered him out of all trouble. David must wander hither and thither, sometimes in the wilderness, sometimes in the mountains, and sometimes in the caves: cf. Psalm 57 and 142. He twice saved Saul's life, for he would not allow his followers to slay the Lord's anointed. He could wait God's time for deliverance, yet, alas, his faith failed him, and at length he said in his heart, "I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul," 1 Samuel 27:1 , and he fled to the Philistines: strange place for David! The Philistines prepared for war with Israel, and apparently David would have joined them, but he was prevented by some of the lords of the Philistines objecting to him, and he was sent back. In this the providential hand of God was seen. But chastisement from the Lord had fallen upon him, for the Amalekites had smitten Ziklag and carried off his family and those of his followers. Recourse was had to God, who never forsook David, and He graciously answered, and told him to pursue. All was recovered, and David was able to send presents of the spoil to his friends. Both Saul and Jonathan were slain in the contest that followed.

David now went up with his followers to Hebron, and the throne being vacant, the men of Judah came and anointed him king over their tribe. Ish-bosheth, son of Saul, was afterwards chosen king by the other tribes. For a time there was continual war between the two houses, but David grew stronger and stronger, and Ish-bosheth weaker and weaker. After David had reigned seven years and six months at Hebron, Abner revolted from Ish-bosheth, who was soon after slain by two of his officers, and David was anointed king over all Israel. All was now changed for David; but, alas, the first thing recorded after getting possession of Zion is "David took more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he had come from Hebron." 2 Samuel 5:13 .

Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David with timber and workmen, and a house was built for David. Psalm 30 would appear to have been indited on its dedication. It was God who had brought up his soul from the grave, had lifted him up and healed him.

Again and again David fought with the Philistines. He burned their idols, and smote them from Geba, to Gazer. He followed on to smite Moab; then extended his border to the river Euphrates, and put garrisons in Syria of Damascus; he smote of the Syrians in the valley of Salt 18,000. All they of Edom became David's servants: cf. Psalm 60 : written after one of these victories, when apparently it had been a hard time for them: but it is also prophetic of the future.

David's great thought, when established in the kingdom, was to find a resting place for the ark, to bring God into the midst of His people. He attempted to bring up the ark, but at first not in God's way, and Uzzah was smitten, which displeased David and made him afraid; but he learned better, and the ark was carried up on the shoulders of the Levites, with sacrifices and much rejoicing. David, girded with a linen ephod, danced before the ark, and as the anointed of God he blessed the people and distributed his good things. Nature in Michal thought it shameful; but David was ready to be 'more vile' and 'base' in his own eyes.

David thought to build a house to Jehovah, for the ark was only within curtains; but God's message by Nathan was that God would build David a house: his kingdom should be established for ever. David's son should build God a house: cf. Psalm 132 , and David's prayer in 2 Samuel 7:18-29 . David's heart went forth in thanksgiving, as he sat before the Lord. David showed grace to Mephibosheth, a descendant of Saul, and brought him to his table; typical of the grace that will in the futurebe shown to the remnant that own their Messiah. His kindness to the Gentile king of Ammon was refused and his messengers were insulted, which brought punishment upon the Ammonites and their allies.

David, now at his ease instead of fighting the Lord's battles, falls into great sin respecting Bath-sheba and Uriah. He had to hear that the sword should not depart from his house, and evil should rise against him in his own family. David confessed his sin, and was told at once that it had been put away; but God's government must be fulfilled, and the child should surely die. David, knowing how gracious God was, remained prostrate while the child lived, but the child died; and Absalom's rebellion followed: cf. Psalm 51 : for the exercises of David respecting his sin.

Sin followed in David's house: the defilement of Tamar, the murder of Amnon, and the flight of Absalom. On Absalom's return he ingratiated himself with the people and rebelled against his father. David fled from Jerusalem and toiled up Mount Olivet. Psalm 3 tells out his heart. He did not lose confidence in God: Jehovah was his shield: he lay down and slept, and awaked, for Jehovah sustained him. God was taking care of him, though he had to drink the cup of sorrow. The counsel of Ahithophel was disregarded, and David was saved. He bore the curses of Shimei, saying in his piety, "The Lord hath bidden him." David was deeply grieved at the death of Absalom, and had to be reasoned into submitting to what was seemly. He returned to Jerusalem and pardoned Shimei. The revolt of Sheba followed, and David feared it might be worse than that of Absalom; but by the wisdom of a woman Sheba alone was destroyed. There were still wars with the Philistines, in one of which David nearly lost his life: four giants were slain, and a song of thanksgiving was rendered to God. 2 Samuel 22 ; Psalm 18 .

In the last words of David he confessed that his house was not as it should be with God. He had signally failed in punishing sin in his family, especially in the case of Amnon and Absalom; yet he counted on the everlasting covenant that God had made with him, ordered in all things and sure . And he looked forward to that morning without clouds. The 'sure mercies of David' will reach Israel through Christ risen. Isaiah 55:3 : cf. Acts 13:34 .

David was tempted by Satan to number Israel: it was allowed of God, for his anger was kindled against Israel, though we are not told what was the occasion of it. The number was no sooner told to David than his heart smote him, and he confessed that he had sinned greatly. A choice of three punishments was offered to him, and he piously chose to be dealt with by God, for he knew His tender mercies were great, rather than to fall into the hands of his enemies. The pestilence broke forth, and 70,000 men fell, and as the angel was about to smite Jerusalem, Jehovah stayed his hand; and David erected an altar on the spot, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. The Lord was entreated for the land and the plague was stayed.

Though David was not allowed to build the temple, he made great preparations for it, with patterns or plans of the various parts, which he had by the Spirit, and he stored up abundance of silver, gold, and other materials. He also charged the princes to aid Solomon in the great work. David also arranged the details of the service, the priests, Levites, singers, etc. He established Solomon as his successor, and his work was done.

Only a few Psalms have been alluded to, those in which the circumstances of David are mentioned in the headings. The Psalms which bear his name were written by him, but only as an instrument; for it was by the Holy Spirit that they were indited: and thus are eminently prophetic. See PSALMS. Psalm 72 ends thus: "Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended."

David is a remarkable type of Christ: when he was hunted by Saul, he foreshadowed Christ in His rejection; and when on the throne he was a type of Christ as a man of war, putting down His enemies previous to His peaceful reign in the millennium, typified in Solomon. The Lord Jesus is often called the Son of David, and yet He is David's Lord, about which fact He Himself asked the Jews. Luke 20:41-44 . In like manner He is called the root and the offspring of David, Revelation 22:16 : being God as well as man He could be both. He also has the key of David. Revelation 3:7 ; cf. Isaiah 22:22-24 . He has the disposal of all things for the church, for the future kingdom on earth, and for the nations generally.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'David'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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