The Life of David



Mary Giangreco


Before David was born his destiny was designed by God.  His great grandparents were Boaz and Ruth and his grandfather was Obed who gave birth to Jesse, David’s father.  David spent the beginning of his life caring for his father’s sheep and spending many days and nights alone with God.  This was the beginning of David’s destiny and it would seem to him that this was all there was in his life.  But was it?

God Privately Anoints David as King

Destiny began for David when Prophet Samuel came knocking on his father Jesse’s door.  Samuel was on a mission by God to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to be king.  At the time Saul from the tribe of Benjamin was reigning king.  Saul disobeyed God one too many times.  God had His eye on a shepherd boy who had a heart after His own heart (I Samuel 13:14).  At the house, Samuel, one by one, met Jesse’s sons and not one of them was chosen by God to be anointed king.  God gives Samuel a key on who to anoint, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him.  For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7).  All the seven sons of Jesse were brought before Samuel and yet God did not choose one of them.  Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?”  Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is keeping the sheep.”  And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him.  For we will not sit down till he comes here.”   David entered into the house of his father.  Samuel heard, the Lord say, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” (I Samuel 16:11-12).  

I Samuel 16:13

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.  So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.

David’s first anointing began with Samuel the prophet and it took place privately among the members of his family. “The Spirit of the Lord came upon David,” this is an expression relating to empowerment for a God-given task.  David’s anointing was an external symbol of an inward work of God.  The operation of the Holy Spirit in this case was not for regeneration, but for empowerment to perform his role in God’s program for Israel.1

David Defeats Goliath

Jesse sends David on an errand to see how his sons Eliab, Abinadab and Shammah are doing.  Jesse loads him up with supplies for his brothers and “ten cheeses for the captain of their thousands” (I Samuel 17:17-18).   Upon David’s arrival he heard the words of Goliath and saw that all the men of Israel fled from the armies of the Philistines.  He was ready to fight, after all he killed the lion and the bear to save his sheep, what was this uncircumcised Philistine to him.  David was speaking out of the inward work of God.  But his brothers didn’t believe in him and said he was in pride (I Samuel 17:28).  They apparently had no recollection of, or didn’t take seriously, the anointing of the Prophet Samuel.  Saul is so desperate for a deliver that when he hears the report of David’s words, he offers his armor to David, which David could hardly walk or move in.  This is what he did.

I Samuel 17:40

He took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his handAnd he drew near to the Philistine.

David approached Goliath with the armor of a shepherd.  He had a staff or a club, five smooth stones out of a brook, a shepherd’s bag to hold the stones, a sling in his hand and faith in God.  This was quite a contrast to Goliath’s armor that weighted between four hundred to six hundred pounds.  Saul’s armor was certainly out of the question for David to wear.  Goliath was insulted that a boy was sent to kill him. He insulted him by calling hims a dog (II Samuel 17:43).  Yet this was the truth about himself.  He continued to mock David but David he wasn’t moved by the size of the giant.  He had a heart after God’s own heart and this uncircumcised Philistine was coming down in the name of the Lord. 

I Samuel 17:44-46

And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”

Then David said to the Philistine,” You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin.  But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you.  And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

David literally prophesied his victory and Goliath’s defeat.  David with a sling and a stone struck Goliath and killed him.  He ran over to Goliath and cut off his head.  This was the day God set in place for David to fulfill his military career. 

Whether Saul knew it or not, this began a chain of events of his many attempts to kill David.

David’s Personal Life

Saul offers his daughter Michal for a wife on the condition David gives a dowry of one hundred foreskins of the Philistines.  This was a plot to trap David in the death grip of the Philistines.  But to no avail David brings to Saul what he has requested and he marries Michal, who later saves his life from the hands of her father.  David’s friendship with Jonathan, Saul’s son, is a covenant blessing that also protects him from the plots and plans of Saul to kill him.

Jealousy in the Camp 

Saul, David and the armies of Israel “were returning from the slaughter of the Philistine. It was customary for the women to come out to the cities singing, dancing, playing tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments to meet the king.  The women did not use wisdom in their lyrics and so they sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (I Samuel 18:7).

Saul became very angry and felt threatened that the kingdom would be taken from him.  From that day forward he looked at David with suspicion and made many attempts to kill him.  He threw a spear at him three times and missed (I Samuel 18:11; 19:8-10).  He schemed to have him killed by the Philistines, asking for one hundred foreskins for his daughters hand in marriage (I Samuel 18:17-19, 20-30).  Saul tried to get Jonathan and all his servants to kill him (I Samuel 19:1-7).  He sent messengers to David’s house to kill him, twice in one night (I Samuel 19:15-16, 17-20).  David goes to Samuel in Ramah and Saul sends messengers there to kill him (I Samuel 19:20).  The first set of messengers began to prophesy because the Spirit of the Lord came upon them.  Saul sent other messengers and they too prophesied (I Samuel 19:21).  Saul goes to Ramah and the Spirit of the Lord comes upon him and he prophesies (I Samuel 19:22-24).  Saul plans to kill David the first day of a feast.  He didn’t succeed and proceeds the second day of the feast to plot to kill him (I Samuel 20:24-26, 27-30).  Saul proceeds with many strategies to kill David; seeking him in the wilderness of Ziph (I Samuel 23:14-18);  sending spies to find him (I Samuel 23:19-24); sending his army after him (I Samuel 23:25-29).  Saul was a desperate man and desperate men do desperate things.  He made war on Keilah to kill David (I Samuel 23:8-13).  Saul while going after David with three thousand men fell into David’s hands and he spared Saul (I Samuel 24:1-22).  There was yet another time Saul went after David and a second time he spared Saul’s life (I Samuel 25:1-25).

David a Man of Honor

David would not touch God’s anointed nor do his prophets harm (Psalm 105:15).

He stands fast at the report of Saul’s death.  He returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, spent two days in Ziglag and on the third day a man, an Amalekite, arrived from Saul’s camp spoke of the battle and reported Saul and Jonathan’s death.  He further reported, Saul leaned on his spear and didn’t die.  In despair Saul requested that the Amalekite kill him.  The Amalekite took Saul’s crown and bracelets.  David was disturbed by the report and tore his clothes, mourned, wept, and fasted for Saul and Jonathan (II Samuel 1:1-12).  David said to the young Amalekite, “How was it you were not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?” (II Samuel 1:14).   David gave the order to kill the Amalekite.  The blood of the Amalekite was on his own head for killing God’s anointed. 

The real story is Saul was severely wounded by an arrow shot by the Philistine archers.  He requested that his armor bearer kill him.  It was better to die at the hand of his armor bearer than to be turned over to the Philistines who would torture, abuse and make a mockery of him.  The armor bearer refused to kill his king.  Saul decides to fall on a sword and the armor bearer saw that Saul was dead; decides to fall on his own sword and die with him (I Samuel 31:1-5).  The young Amalekite was most likely the first to pass by Saul and so he took it upon himself to pick up the crown and bracelets and look like a hero in the eyes of David.  But the young Amalekite was just that, young.  He didn’t know the ways of the Hebrews or God’s ways.  He thinking he was bringing a good report to David and would receive a reward.  His only reward was the wrath of David who would defend the honor of Saul and his covenant friend Jonathan.  The Amalekites story was bogus.

David is Anointed King Over Judah

II Samuel 2:4

Then the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah…

This anointing recognized his rule in the southern area of Judah.2  At last the day of David’s kingship had come.3  Privately, Samuel anointed him when he was a shepherd boy a number of years ago.  On this day, he is made king by the people and the men of the tribe of Judah, the heritage of his family.  This marked the fulfillment of the prophecy of Judah being the ruling tribe and of the king of Judah becoming the ancestor of the coming Messiah who was to be the eternal King of Judah and all Israel.  David was thirty years of age at this time, which would make his experiences from the slaying of Goliath to his kingship about ten to twelve years.4

David is Anointed King Over All of Israel

II Samuel 5:3

Therefore all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord.  And they anointed David king over Israel.

David’s third anointing resulted in the unification of the twelve tribes under his kingship.5  David bound himself formally to certain obligations toward the Israelites, including their rights and responsibilities to another and to the Lord.  It is said of David that he, “behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him” (I Samuel 18:14).  In this particular administration he did just that, especially, when he demonstrated his loyalty to Saul even after his death.  When speaking to the men of Jabesh Gilead he refers to Saul as “your master” (II Samuel 2:7).  The wisdom of God on him, did not want to create any animosity with the men of Israel.  He desired to win them over with “a heart after God’s own heart” and not force Israel into submission.  



David was the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons.  He cared for his father’s sheep.  He was mocked by his brothers for being a shepherd and in spite of their mockery he killed Goliath the giant.  He killed the lion and the bear defending the sheep, now it was time to kill a giant named Goliath, defending a nation.  It seemed so far fetched that this shepherd boy would become a king with all the persecution that was generated against him by the ruling king Saul.  It was what was hidden inside David that really counted.  Only God knew, the empowerment of the anointing by the hand of Samuel would bring to light the inward work that was of God.  When people looked at David they only saw a shepherd boy, not a king.  But when God looked at David He saw the destiny He proposed for him and saw a warrior king emerging and one who would bring a nation together. 

Returning from a great slaughter of the Philistines David and Saul were greeted by the handmaidens of the cities who sang encouragement.  Their encouragement was Saul’s discouragement because they gave greater praise to David than to Saul.  Jealousy began to fester in Saul’s heart and David’s life was in danger.  He became a fugitive.  For many years, with a call on his life to be king, he was hunted as a common criminal by Saul and his armies.  David did nothing to offend Saul, “he behaved wisely in all his ways and the Lord was with him” (I Samuel 18:14).  Yet in spit of Saul’s attempts to kill David he never retaliated or looked for revenge.  What kept David sane was, he would not touch God’s anointed (Psalm 105:15).  There were times when David had the advantage over Saul, yet he would not harm or kill him.  David eventually became king after Saul died, having killed himself, after receiving a fatal wound during the battle against the Philistines.  David reigned over Judah seven years and six months.  He reigned in Jerusalem thirty three years over all of Israel and Judah (II Samuel 5:5).  He had quite a life running from Saul; it didn’t go to waste, it prepared him for the time when he would be king.  David was known in the courts of the Lord, in that heavenly realm as, “a man after his own heart” (I Samuel 13:14).