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King David, perhaps the greatest ruler of Israel and ancestor of the Lord.
The holy and righteous King David was the second king of all Israel, after Saul, around approximately 1000 B.C. He was also a prophet, having written a great number of the Psalms, and one of the Forefathers of Christ. The Church commemorates him together with all the ancestors of Christ on the Sunday of the Forefathers (December 11-17, depending on the day on which the Nativity falls, and also on the first Sunday after the Nativity, along with Joseph the Betrothed and the Apostle James the Just.

His story

A complete account of the life of King David can be found in the Old Testament starting in 1 Samuel 16, the entire book of 2 Samuel, and 1 Kings 1-2. A slightly edited version of this story, along with some additional specifics of the King's reign, is also found in 1 Chronicles, particularly beginning in Chapter 11.


David was born in Bethlehem as the eighth and youngest son of Jesse. After Saul's disobedience to God (see 1 Sam 15), the Lord ordered the Prophet Samuel to Bethlehem to visit Jesse and anoint one of his son's as the new king. As the youngest, David was left in the fields to tend the sheep while the holy man was visiting his father; however, the Lord revealed to Samuel that none of the first seven sons was his Chosen One, and Samuel inquired of Jesse whether he had another son. Then David was called, and Samuel was told to anoint him. A notable quote concerning David's righteousness occurs in this passage:

But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his [i.e. Eliab, another of Jesse's sons] height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Sam 16:7) 1

Thus David became the Anointed One of the Lord at a young age. Soon he was called upon to visit the court of Saul, who, having forsaken the Lord, was tormented by demons. David was already a talented harp player, and the music he made soothed Saul. Saul liked David and made him his armor-bearer; David also became fast friends with Saul’s son Jonathan.

In this Caravaggio painting, David decapitates Goliath after defeating him. King David was a popular subject in Western art during the Renaissance and afterwards.
Next, the Israelites were having somewhat of a military stand-off against the Philistines, and two of David’s brothers were waiting in the encampment. Jesse sent David with supplies and to get news of his siblings. Now, at this time a huge Philistine champion (either nine or twelve feet tall) had everyday for forty days emerged into the no-man’s land between the two armies to taunt the Israelites, also declaring that man-to-man combat between him and whatever Israelite took up his challenge would effectively determine which side won the battle. David, outraged, took it upon himself to fight the Philistine with the blessing of Saul. Before the two even came to blows, David had felled Goliath using his sling and a stone that hit Goliath in the forehead. He then cut off Goliath’s head with the Philistine’s own sword, and the Philistine armies fled in terror.

Flight from Saul

David’s popularity among the people soon grew; their refrain “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands,