Handout #23: King David (Heb: Melech Dohvid), Jesse, 7 wives, Bat-shua, Samuel, Goliath, Michal, Jonathan, loss of exaltation, showbread, Saul, D&C 132:39 June 2014

David, (Heb. דָּוִיד) second king of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah. According to Matthew and Luke he was an ancestor of Jesus. Born 1040 b.c. in Bethlehem, died 970 b.c. in Jerusalem. David was the eighth and youngest son of Jesse from the kingly tribe of Judah, a direct descendent of Ruth the Moabite. His parents: Jesse – Ishai, son of Obed, grandson of Ruth and Boaz, and Nitzevit, ancestress of Kings of Judah. Not named in Bible. Her grandson was King Solomon.

According to the Jerusalem Talmud, David was born and died on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (Feast of Weeks), commemoration of the day God gave Torah to Israel. David was a special gift to his nation.

David had 7 children by different wives:
David was married to Ahinoam, Abigail, Maacha, Haggith, Abital and Eglah during the 7-1/2 years he reigned in Hebron as king of Judah.

After David moved his capital to Jerusalem, he married Bathsheba. Each of his first six wives bore David a son, while Bathsheba bore him four sons. Altogether, scripture records that David had 19 sons by various women, and one daughter, Tamar.

The most authoritative source for David’s wives is 1 Chronicles 3, which lists David’s descendants for 30 generations. This source names seven wives:
1. Ahinoam of Jezreel,
2. Abigail the Carmel, sister or half-sister of David
3. Maachah the daughter of King Talmai of Geshur,
4. Haggith,
5. Abital,
6. Eglah,
Bath-shua (Bathsheba) the daughter of Ammiel, mother of Solomon (Jedidiah) Heb: Schmuel: Solomon’s wife: Naamah, Pharaoh’s daughter.

7. Missing from the 1 Chron 3 list of sons and wives is Michal, daughter of King Saul who reigned c. 1025-1005 B.C. Her omission may be linked to 2 Samuel 6:23, which says, “to her dying day Michal, daughter of Saul, had no children.” The encyclopedia Jewish Women says” there are rabbinic traditions within Judaism that pose three claims about Michal: She was really David’s favorite wife; because of her beauty she was nicknamed “Eglah,” meaning calf or calf-like; she died giving birth to David’s son Ithream.

Equating Eglah with Michal was the rabbis’ way of bringing David’s marriages into line with the requirements of Deuteronomy 17:17, a law of Torah which mandates that the king “shall not have many wives.” David had six wives while he ruled in Hebron as king of Judah. While there, the prophet Nathan tells David in 2 Samuel 12:8: “I would give you twice as much over,” which the rabbis interpret to mean that the number of David’s existing wives could be tripled: from six to 18. David brought his number of spouses to seven when he later married Bathsheba in Jerusalem, so David had well under the maximum of 18 wives.

David is central to Jewish, Christian and Islamic doctrine and culture. He was a great poet. David of Israel was known for his diverse skills as both a warrior and a writer of psalms. In his 40 years as ruler, between approximately 1010 b.c. and 970 b.c. he united the people of Israel, led them to victory in battle, conquered land and paved the way for his son, Solomon, to build the Holy Temple. Almost all knowledge of him is derived from the books of the Prophets and Writings: Samuel I and II, Kings I and Chronicles I, but Chronicles is a retelling, mainly.

David began his life as a shepherd in Bethlehem. The prophet Samuel called him out of the field and anointed him as a future king without the knowledge of the current king, Saul. David simply returned to his sheep. His first interaction with Saul came when the king was looking for someone to play music for him, and the king’s attendant summoned the skilled David to play for him. Saul was pleased with David and kept him in his service as a musician.

The first time David publicly displayed his courage was when, as an inexperienced boy armed with only a stick and a few stones, he confronted the nine-foot, bronze armored Philistine giant, Goliath of Gath (1 Sam 17:4-11). After skilled warriors had cowered in fear for 40 days, David made a slingshot, invoked God’s name, and killed the giant. After this, Saul took David on as commander of his troops and David formed a close friendship with Saul’s son, Jonathan (1 Sam 18:1)

David was successful in battle against the Philistines and this aroused the jealousy of Saul, who tried to kill David by throwing a spear at him. David stayed with Saul, however, and Saul offered him his own daughter, Merav, as a wife. He later reneged on his promise, but offered David his second daughter, Michal (mee khal)

Saul’s jealousy of David grew and he asked his son Jonathan to kill David. The JST of 1Sam 18:6-8,10,16 and again in 19:9, makes it clear that “the evil spirit which was not of God came upon Saul”. Jonathan was a friend of David’s, however, and hid David instead. He then went to his father and convinced Saul to promise not to kill David. Saul promised, and David returned to his service. This promise did not last and, after Saul attempted to kill David a second time, Michal helped David run away to the prophet Samuel in Ramah. 18:30-19:24. Saul tried to kill David at least 12 times. David returned briefly to make a pact of peace with Jonathan and to verify that Saul was still planning to kill him. He then continued his flight from Saul, finding refuge with the king of Moab. On the way, the priest Ahimelech (the divine king is brother) of Nob gave David a weapon. When Saul heard this, he sent Doeg the Edomite to kill 85 of the city’s priests.

While almost half of the Psalms are headed “A Psalm of David” (though the phrase can also be translated as “to David” or “for David”) and tradition identifies several with specific events in David’s life (Psalms 3, 7, 18, 34, 51, 52, 54, 56, 57, 59, 60, 63 and 142), Psalm 34 is attributed to David on the occasion of his escape from the Abimelech, by pretending to be insane. According to the narrative in 1 Samuel 21, instead of killing the man who had exacted so many casualties from him, Abimelech allows David to depart, exclaiming, “Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?”

David is an important figure in Judaism. Historically, David’s reign represented the formation of a coherent Jewish kingdom centered in Jerusalem. David is an important figure within the context of Jewish messianism (belief in a messiah). In the Hebrew Bible, it is written that a human descendant of David will occupy the throne of a restored kingdom and usher in a messianic age.

David is also viewed as a tragic figure; his acquisition of Bathsheba, and the loss of his son are viewed as his central tragedies. David’s adultery with Bathsheba was only an opportunity to demonstrate the power of repentance, and the Talmud states that it was not adultery at all, quoting a Jewish practice of divorce on the eve of battle.

In the Book of Jacob, the Nephite nation begins to practice polygamy, justifying it by the example of David and Solomon. In response the prophet Jacob denounces both David’s taking of “many wives” and the Nephites’ taking of multiple wives.

Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none” Jacob 2:27

He stops short of denouncing polygamy altogether. For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.” Jacob 2:30

The D&C 132:39 states that of David’s sexual relationships, only his relationship with Bathsheba was a sin. “David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.”

Furthermore, according to Talmudic sources, the death of Uriah was not to be considered murder, on the basis that Uriah had committed a capital offence by refusing to obey a direct command from the King. However, in Hebrew rabbinical writings, the Sanhedrin, David expressed remorse over his transgressions and sought forgiveness. God ultimately forgave David and Bathsheba but would not remove their sins from scripture. David lost his exaltation.

Because of David’s transgressions, his eternal blessings were taken from him (TPJS, pp. 188-89). The Lord granted David a continuation of life for another twenty-one years, perhaps because of his immediate and deep remorse (cf. Ps. 51), his acts of repentance, and his continued faithfulness to Jehovah (2 Sam. 12:13, 16; cf. WJS, p. 335). However, he must await in the spirit prison the redemption promised to him (Acts 2:34; WJS, p. 74). Even with the assurance of the Lord’s ultimate mercy (Ps. 86:13), David lost much that God had given him on earth, he fell “from his exaltation” and his wives were given unto another” (D&C 132:39). Yet his personal integrity appears in his insistence that he be punished in place of his people, whom he saw in vision being destroyed (2 Sam. 24:15-17).
David’s partaking of the shewbread, which was reserved only for the priests (see Reading 13-7), was technically a violation of the Mosaic law. Jesus, however, used this incident to show that in times of dire necessity a breach of the ritual law was not a sin(Matt 12:1–8). As Paul said, “the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (2 Corinthians 3:6).
This chapter exhibits an aspect of David’s character that is much to be admired. Although anointed by God’s prophet to be king of Israel, and although Saul constantly sought his life, this chosen servant of the Lord still would not lift his hand against Saul so long as Saul lived (see vv. 5–6). David understood an important priesthood principle, that is, that one has loyalty to those called by the Lord to preside even when they may not function perfectly in their calling. Saul was failing miserably, but David knew that it was the Lord’s responsibility to remove Saul, not his.
Goliath’s height was six cubits and a span. The most widely accepted opinion of the length of a cubit is about eighteen inches or, roughly, the distance from the elbow to the tip of the extended middle finger. A span is said to be one-half the distance from the thumb to the end of the little finger when the fingers are spread as wide as possible. These measurements would make the height of Goliath approximately nine feet, nine inches!

It is commonly believed there were men in ancient times whose height far exceeded seven feet. There are references in the scriptures to giants in the earlier periods of history: in the time of Enoch (see Moses 7:15), in the days of Noah (see Moses 8:18;

Genesis 6:4), and in the time of the Israelites (see Numbers 13:33; Deuteronomy 2:10–11; Joshua 15:8). Called Anakim (meaning “long-necked” or “tall” in Hebrew) by the Israelites, this race of giants seems to have been virtually destroyed in the conquest of
Canaan under Joshua (see Joshua 11:21.

Marlena Baker [email protected]

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