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A Short Biography of King David of Israel

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

This post was researched, prepared and written by my brother, Gabriel Shaw.

There came the cry of a baby as a woman brought forth a new life. A small hand stretched skyward. The hand belonged to the future King of Israel. Coming from no royal ancestry, God would place him on the throne.

David was born just before 1000 BC in the Judean Hills not far from the town of Bethlehem. He grew up as a shepherd boy, tending his father’s sheep. While he performed this task, he would play his harp to God and would practice using a sling. We know David cared for the sheep just as God cares for us.

While David was a boy, King Saul, the first king of Israel ascended to the throne. In the beginning, he ruled with wisdom, though, after sinning against the Lord, God regretted making him king and the prophet Samuel mourned after Saul. It was then that Samuel was told by God to go to a man named Jesse (David’s own father) and anoint a future king from among his sons. Samuel did as he was commanded and went to Jesse. But after seeing each of Jesse’s eight sons, he knew very well none were chosen to be King. After asking Jesse if he had any more offspring, Jesse replied “Yes, one. David the youngest who is tending the sheep.” David was quickly sent for, and upon arrival, Samuel knew he was the one that God had chosen.

David was then anointed and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him.

Soon after, David was summoned by King Saul himself to play the harp in court, as Saul had been deeply troubled by an evil spirit sent from God, and the music appeared to calm him. One of Saul’s servants knew David and highly recommended his skill on the harp. Saul became fond of David, and David remained in the king’s court. One day while David was home for a short period, Jesse asked him to take some food to his brothers who, at the time were fighting in the Israelite army against the Philistines. The Israelite army was led by King Saul. When David arrived at the camp, he dropped off the supplies and saw the Israelites formed up facing the Philistine battle line. He then ran over to his brothers. At that moment a Philistine champion, named Goliath presented himself, and the Israelites were afraid. Goliath was a giant of man, coming to the height of six cubits and a span (roughly 9 feet). He was fully armed with a shield-bearer going before him. David’s brothers were angry at David for lingering and told him to go at once, but David persisted and said “Who is this philistine to defy the living God?”

David then went to Saul himself and said “I, your servant will go and fight the philistine.” Saul doubted, and David continued “When a lion and a bear came while I was caring for the sheep, I struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. This philistine is no different.”

Significantly, if David had fled from the bear or the lion, he would not have been prepared nor able to fight Goliath. God’s plan for him would not have been able to come to pass. We sometimes just don't know what God has in store for us, this is why we must submit to God’s training and trust in Him as David did.

Now David took his staff, chose five smooth stones (placing one in his sling) and drew near to the Philistine. Goliath scorned him, but David’s trust in his God did not wain. And he said to Goliath, “Though you have a spear and sword, God will deliver you into my hands.”

Goliath moved forward to meet David, and David hastened forward also and slung the stone loose from its cradle. It struck the Philistine in the head, and he fell. David then drew Goliath’s sword and killed him. That day the Israelites won a great victory, and the Philistine host fled.

As the time came to pass, one of Saul’s own sons, Jonathan, began to like David very much and a great friendship was kindled between them. David was now set above all the armies of Israel and proved his worth as a very talented warrior and commander. On one particular day when David returned from a successful engagement with a Philistine force, the women came out and began to sing in the streets “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”

Saul was angered and became jealous of David. A time later while David was again playing the harp to Saul, Saul reached and took a spear, hurling it toward David. It just missed. After this event, things between them cooled down and later on David married Michal, Saul’s own daughter.

However, things grew hot later on when Saul’s jealousy could not be controlled and he sent men to capture David. Michal managed to help her husband escape in time from her father’s men and David left, pursued by Saul himself. A chase began all over Israel, David and his followers were continually pursued but managed to remain hidden. Once, when Saul went into a cave to rest leaving his men behind, David could have killed him then and there, for further back in the cave was David’s own hideout. Saul found out that David had the opportunity to kill him while he slept and he wept before David in apology.

Saul then returned to battling the Philistines, but, after defeating them, he yet again pursued David and his men. After almost catching David, he was recalled to fight the Philistines once more and God was no longer with him. The following battle took Saul’s life, and also that of his son Jonathan. Jonathan had even saved David’s life during the pursuit.

This led to a major upheaval, as Ish-Boseth, the last remaining son of Saul was crowned King. But the house of Judah proclaimed David as the King of Israel. An ancient and miniature version of the American Civil War began - North versus South. Soon though, David was victorious and Ish-Boseth was murdered by David’s men. David was enraged by the killing of Saul’s son as he loathed evil and was always chivalrous. He had even mourned after the death of Saul. After this David officially become King over Israel, and his love for God, brought prosperity to the nation. David was a man after God’s own heart. However, like all men, he was not perfect.

One day while David was in his palace, upon an upper level, he saw a beautiful woman bathing. He sent out messengers to bring her to him. Her name was Bathsheba. David fell in love with Bathsheba, and in doing so he sinned greatly, and she fell pregnant. Her husband, Uriah, was in David’s army. So David commanded Joab, his best general and nephew, to put Uriah, in the front line where he was likely to be killed by the foe they were battling with at the time. The scheme worked and poor Uriah was killed. David then took Bathsheba to be his wife. After this event, Joab despised David, and Nathan the prophet came to David and rebuked him for what he had done. David saw his wickedness and dressed in sac-loth and begged for forgiveness. The Lord forgave David, but as Nathan had said, he and Bathsheba lost the child during birth.

David continued to reign, establishing a mighty empire. He also defeated the Philistines so thoroughly that they never again posed a real threat to Israel. Israel and Judah were in their Golden Age, ruling the small nations of Edom and Moab as well. Jerusalem was established as the capital of Israel. If some may be confused whether David was King of both Israel and Judah, the answer is yes. He was King over the united nations of Israel and Judah, though both were commonly referred to as Israel. The nation rose, growing more powerful and prominent. Though, unfortunately, the current stability and peace were about to be broken. It was caused by one of Davids's own sons, Absalom. Absalom rebelled and there was an uprising in Jerusalem and David and the loyal people in the city were forced to flee. However, Absalom’s forces were later routed in battle by the Israelite army, under the command of Joab. Absalom attempted to flee upon a donkey, but his hair got snagged on a tree branch and going against all orders, Joab killed him. This grieved David greatly, as he had never wanted his son to pay with his life. And he cried “Absalom! Absalom! My son! My son! Would God, I had died for my son!”

David now grew older, though his relationship with God never failed. He ruled with wisdom and trust in God. Even as King he still played the harp, giving thanks to his Lord.

King David now arranged that Solomon would be King after him. Solomon was the son of David and Bathsheba. David also took care of Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth. Solomon would go on to rule the united nations of Israel and Judah with God by his side, just as his father had done. So, as the time came to pass, David, a man who had served God with a blameless heart, sincerely and righteously, who had ruled as a noble, fair and upright King, passed away in his sleep to spend Eternity with his God.

All accounts of David’s life are found in First and Second Samuel, David also wrote many Psalms to God. These writings are found in the Book of Psalms in The Bible. These Psalms are extremely touching and they portray David’s heart and relationship with God.

There is also archaeological evidence that backs up the existence of King David disproving those historians who endeavour to deny the biblical account. The stone Tele Dan Stele was found in 1993 which left no room for doubt, as it specifically mentions ‘The House of David, King of Israel.'

Psalm 7:17 I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness and justice, And I will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.



  1. Helen C. Evans; William W. Wixom, eds. (1997-03-05). The Glory of Byzantium: Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era, A.D. 843–1261. Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 86. ISBN 9780870997778. Retrieved 2018-03-05 – via Internet Archive.

  2. "NOVA | The Bible's Buried Secrets | Archeology of the Hebrew Bible". PBS. Retrieved 2021-07-20.

  3. Steven McKenzie. "King David: A Biography". The Bible and Interpretation. Archived from the original on 2012-06-21.

  4. 1 Samuel 13:8–14 amp

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