The Life of King David

King David was one of the greatest Kings of the nation of Israel. The life of David is in the books of 1st Samuel and 2nd Samuel

Name: King David of Israel
Place: Israel
When: About 3000 years ago

King Saul

The first King of Israel was a man named Saul. Saul started off well, but he disobeyed a command from God to destroy a wicked race of people.

Lesson 18

Lesson 18 read out in full

Samuel the prophet told Saul that because he had disobeyed God, Saul’s sons would not be king after him (1 Samuel 15). God would choose someone else to be King; a man who would do the right thing for God.

After this King Saul became worse. He had times when he was very depressed (1 Samuel 16:14-22). He ordered his soldiers to kill all the priests of God (1 Samuel 22:6-23). This was a very dark time in the history of Israel.

The selection of the next king

God sent Samuel the prophet to the city of Bethlehem. God had chosen one of the sons of a man named Jesse to be the next king. Jesse had 8 sons, and as each stood before Samuel, Samuel thought that any one could be the one God had chosen. But God was teaching Samuel a lesson.

Samuel saw Eliab(the eldest son) and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things a man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:6-7

This is very important. When we look at someone, we look at how beautiful they are, or how handsome, or the good clothes they wear, and we think, “He must be a good person”. When we see someone in old shabby clothes, we think “He is no good”. But this is not how God looks at us. He does not care how we are dressed or how handsome or beautiful we may be. God looks into our mind – He can look at who we really are. He can see what we are really like. God looked at the youngest son of Jesse, David, and saw a man who would be a good king of Israel. In fact, the Apostle Paul in the book of Acts refers to King David as “the man after God’s own heart”, that is, someone who thinks the same as God.

David’s early life
David the shepherd

David would be the next King of Israel. At that time, David worked as a shepherd. He spent his time outdoors looking after his father’s sheep. David saw the wonder of the natural world that God had made. As he played on his harp, he wrote songs and poetry. In fact, David wrote most of the book of Psalms in the Bible. If you have time, you might like to look at some of David’s Psalms. For example, Psalm 23 is one of the most well known Psalms.

So the young David would be the next King, but only he and his family knew. They were afraid of King Saul, who might have killed David. In time, David became one of Saul’s best soldiers, and married one of Saul’s daughters.

You may have heard the story of David and Goliath. Goliath was a very tall man, and the young David faced him in battle. Goliath had a shield, armour and a sword. All David had was a sling and a stone. God was with David, and so David killed the giant Goliath. It was a great victory for Israel over its enemies. You can read the event in 1 Samuel 17.

King Saul should have worked with David. But Saul thought that David might rebel against him and take the throne. David was forced to run away. For many years, he lived in the countryside, sleeping in caves or the open. Many men and women joined David; these people were sad because of what King Saul was doing. David lived in fear, but he knew that he would be king one day. He believed that God would keep his promise.

King Saul chased David around the country. Many times David could have easily killed Saul and become King immediately. But David would not do it. He trusted God. One day, David would be King. God would decide the day, not David.

David becomes the king

Later, King Saul and his sons were killed in a battle, and David became King.

David was a poet and a musician, and when he was King, he organised the people for the worship of God. He set up choirs, and laid out what should be done at the house of worship for Israel.

David wanted to build a Temple for the worship of God, but God would not let him. God said that David’s son would build a Temple in the city of Jerusalem. God made promises to David, and we see how the promises mentioned about the coming King: Jesus Christ. Read what God promised David in 2 Samuel 7:11-16. Also see what God’s messenger said to the mother of Jesus in Luke 1:32.


God had made promises to Abraham many years before. The promises of God were like a chain that reached through all the years. There would be a King to come, and he would be God’s Son. His Kingdom would never end, and David would be alive to see it! So we see that God would make David alive again! Jesus will sit on David’s throne, as King over Israel and the whole world.

We are still waiting for Jesus to return, and make those who have followed him alive again, including King David. If we follow Jesus Christ, we too can live in that Kingdom to come, when Jesus will be King over a New World – a world at peace.