David was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be king but did not officially begin his reign until after the death of King Saul. Upon Saul's death, Abner, the captain of Saul's army, made Saul's son, Ishbosheth, king over Israel, but the house of Judah followed David. There was continued conflict between the house of Saul and the house of David, but David grew stronger and the house of Saul became weaker.
After both Abner and Ishbosheth were murdered, all the elders of Israel came to David at Hebron and anointed him as king when he was 30 years old. It was seven years later that David and his men went to the city of Jebus. The people of Jebus said to David, “You shall not come in here!” But David took the city which came to be known as Jerusalem, the stronghold of Zion, the City of David. From here, he reigned an additional 33 years. During David's reign, he defeated the Philistines, the Moabites, the Syrians, the Edomites and the Ammonites, subduing Israel's enemies. Israel's boundaries extended over both sides of the Jordan River, and as far as the Mediterranean Sea.
When David decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, his first attempt failed, quickly ending with Uzza's death. When David realized that only Levites were to transport the ark, he made the appropriate corrections. His second attempt was a success, complete with a magnificent celebration with singers, musicians, and offerings.
After bringing the Ark back to Jerusalem, David realized that the Ark sat in a tent while he had a palace. So David consulted with Nathan the prophet about his desire to build a temple for God. At first, Nathan told David to do all that was in his heart. But that night God told Nathan to tell David that he would not be the one to build the temple, but that it would be his son instead.
David's preparations for the temple were extensive and he generously gave of his personal wealth: 100,000 talents or approximately 3,750 tons of gold, a million talents or approximately 37,500 tons of silver, several tons of bronze and iron, and hewn stones. He also had massive amounts of cedar logs imported and stored. When the time came for Solomon to supervise the construction, he was well supplied.
Despite his successes, David's carelessness with Bathsheba was a dreadful error that set in motion a series of heartrending consequences in David's personal life. But by God's grace, David and Bathsheba's second-born son was Solomon, continuing the line that led to Jesus Christ. In comparison to modern-day national leaders, who deceitfully cover their indiscretions, David's immediate humility, honesty and admission of sin pleased God. David didn't excuse or justify his actions, but confessed his wrongdoing, and faced the consequences like a man.
Personal problems continued for David when his son, Amnon, raped his half-sister, Tamar. In revenge, David's son, Absalom, who was also Tamar's brother, killed Amnon then fled the city. He later returned and began rallying the support of 200 men with the intention of rebelling against David and taking over his kingdom. David left Jerusalem, fearing his life. When Absalom arrived in Jerusalem, he took over the city and shamelessly slept with David's concubines who had been left in the palace. But David's soldiers killed 20,000 of Absalom's soldiers, and killed Absalom as well.
David then returned to Jerusalem, though he grieved deeply over the death of his son. In David's old age, his oldest son, Adonijah, declared himself king, but David publicly anointed Solomon. Though Solomon initially pardoned Adonijah, after David's death Solomon had him executed for conspiracy.
David unified Israel and built the military, treasury and national dignity to an unparalleled height. He conquered all surrounding enemies and established an empire that was so powerful that his son Solomon never had to fight a war. Of all the kings, there was none like David, to whom the Lord promised that “David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel.” (Jeremiah 33:17) David was a versatile man who enjoyed and also suffered a multiplicity of life's experiences, but in the end was the most beloved king of all time.
Now these are the last words of David. “He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, like the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after rain.”
(1 Samuel 16 - 31; 2 Samuel 1 - 24; 1 Kings 1:1 - 2:11; 1 Chronicles 11 - 29)