The New Student's Reference Work/David

Da′vid, meaning beloved, the second king of Israel.  He sprang from the family of Judah, and was the youngest son of Jesse.  He is described as a handsome youth, “red-haired, with beautiful eyes and fair face,” when he first distinguished himself in Israel by slaying the Philistine giant, Goliath.  Because of his heroic deed, or because of his skill with the harp, Saul took him to his court and gave him a military command.  But the king became jealous of him, and he had to flee.  In the cave of Adullam, near Gath, he gathered a band of 400 freebooters, which afterward increased to 600, with which he ranged through the country, never attacking the king or his countrymen, but always their enemies.  He had difficulty in avoiding the king’s expeditions sent against him, and finally left Judah, becoming vassal of the Philistine king of Gath.  After the death of Saul and Jonathan, at Gilboa, David reigned seven and one-half years in Hebron over Judah, and on the death of Ishbosheth he was chosen king of all Israel.  He conquered the independent city of Jebus (Jerusalem), and made it the center of his kingdom, building a palace for himself on the highest hill, Zion, and placing the ark of the covenant there under a tent.  In the course of a few years the conquest of the Philistines, Moabites, Arameans, Edomites and Ammonites reduced the whole territory from Egypt to the Euphrates.  In the last year of his long reign of 32 years in Jerusalem, there were popular troubles and two rebellions under his sons, Absalom and Adonijah. He died between 1018 and 993 B. C.  David is by far the greatest of the kings of Israel.  He was courageous and skillful in war and prudent and far-seeing in government.  He also was the greatest poet of his time, and the founder of the religious lyric poetry of the Hebrews—“the sweet singer of Israel.”