At a young age he tended his father's sheep, a job usually reserved for the least esteemed of the family or its servants. The prophet Samuel makes a special trip to Bethlehem and anoints him the next king of Israel. God chose David to replace Saul who would someday lose his life because he departed from His ways.
A few years after his anointing, David fights and takes the life of Goliath the giant, who was a Philistine living in Gath. His basic faith led the future king to conclude that God would ultimately defend those who are his, something the entire Israelite army lacked the faith to accept. Their focus was on how experienced and physically powerful was the enemy's champion Goliath.
When the Israelites saw Goliath, they ran away in terror . . . David said to Saul, 'Your Majesty, no one should be afraid of this Philistine! I will go and fight him.' (1Samuel 17:24, 32)
From a human standpoint, Goliath had the size and strength to defeat almost anyone. He stood roughly 9 feet, 3 inches (2.8 meters) tall. His protective battle coat, conservatively, was 78 U.S. pounds (35.4 kilograms) heavy! The spear he used in battle was likely 26 feet (7.9 meters) long, with its head alone weighing 17 U.S. pounds (7.7 kilograms). Without faith, it would have been nearly impossible for King David to have defeated such a foe!
Because of a contention over the throne, King David ruled only the tribe of Judah after the death of Saul. His rule over one tribe, which began when he was about 30, lasted seven and one-half years. After this time, all the elders of Israel acknowledge him as the sole ruler over all the tribes.
He continues to have a colorful life even as king. Shortly after becoming ruler over all Israel, he attacks the Jebusites in Jerusalem and captures the city. This is why, to this day, Jerusalem is also called the 'city of David.' It becomes the new capital over a united Israel and the place where he lives. After a few missteps, he eventually brings the Ark of the Covenant into the city. As ruler, he carries out successful military campaigns against the Amalekites, Ammonites, Edomites, Moabites, Philistines, and Syrians.
Unfortunately, many of David's problems are self-inflicted. His illicit affair with Bathsheba, the arranged murder of her husband and attempt at cover up his sins cost him grief, dishonor, the life of a child and trouble within his household.
The sin of taking a census to determine the size of his army, instead of trusting God, cost the lives of more than 70,000 Israelites. His lack of discipline in his own house contributed to his son Absalom rebelling against him and another son Adonijah seeking to inherit the throne instead of Solomon.
The life of King David ends shortly after proclaiming his son Solomon the next ruler of Israel. He dies at the age of seventy after ruling God's people for forty years. The pivotal events and people that occurred while he lived include being anointed leader of Israel as a youth, slaying Goliath the giant, overtaking the Jebusites in Jerusalem and makes the city his capital and bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem. He also writes at least 77 of 150 Psalms found in the Bible.
In our next lesson, we will look at the life of an Israelite captive in Babylon who rose to prominence in the Empire. The captives' name is Daniel.