Jewish Personalities

King David

1. Dovid Ben Yishai was the third king of the united Kingdom of Israel, ruling after Saul and Ish Boshet.

2. David was a great-grandson of Boaz and Ruth the Moabite — the righteous convert whose story is related in the Book of Ruth. His father was Yishai. His mother’s name is not mentioned in the Bible, but according to our sages, it was Nitzevet the daughter of Adal.

3. As a youth, David was anointed king by the prophet Samuel. Samuel was commanded by G-d to go to the home of Yishai in Bethlehem to anoint one of Yishai’s sons. Samuel was impressed with the firstborn son Eliav, but G-d chose David.

4. After David’s anointing, King Saul began to suffer from depression, and his servants suggested that he get someone to play the harp to calm his agitation. They suggested David for this purpose, Saul liked the idea, and he appointed David to be his weapons carrier.

5. In Saul’s court, a strong friendship developed between David and Jonathan, the son of Saul, and they made a covenant with each other. Jonathan gave David his uniform, sword, bow and belt.

6. After David’s victory over Goliath, and his impressive successes on the battlefield, Saul promoted David to the role of “captain of thousands”. Saul became insanely envious of him.

7. Saul kept trying to kill David, until in one of these attempts, David shows him from a distance the corner of Saul’s coat that he had cut off, thereby proving that he can easily kill Saul but refrained from doing so. Saul bursts into tears and declares: “You are more righteous than I.”

8. Saul promises David that he will no longer harm him, and will even support his coronation as king: “And now, behold, I know that you will rule, and the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand.”

9. After the death of Saul and his sons, David was anointed king of Judah. He began the Davidic dynasty that ruled the kingdom of Judah for close to 400 years, until the destruction of the First Temple.

10. King David is the symbol of Israel’s ideal king: a righteous and humble king, a Torah scholar and a prophet. Due to the Book of Psalms that he composed, David was called the “sweet singer of Israel”. The messianic King will be a descendant of David, and therefore we pray: “May the Merciful One set up for us the fallen sukkah of David.” 

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