How to Study and Understand the Life of King David

Psalm33v11David is not easy to study. While many of us have met him initially as an inspirational Bible story, when you start to delve into the details of his life and try and understand his actions, the going gets tough.

I have found a great deal of misinformation and rumour, plus a lack of simple resources, which is why I started this project. There is so much detail and not enough detail! Explanations are housed in words which are easily missed in the text; plus as chapters sit end to end, timing is lost.

Plus there is another annoyance to navigate: during the millennial reign of Christ on Earth (the second coming as covered in Revelation 20 etc.), David will again reign over Isra’el, taking away from the forces of darkness, one of their favourite play things. Look at the news on Isra’el and you will see the turmoil the nation it is always in. Isra’el is a focal battleground between good and evil, thus the enemy has invested a great deal of time in discrediting it’s returning ruler through claims of rape, homosexuality, lust and the inappropriate use of power.


So, how do we get to the bottom of David’s story and use his life experiences to forge a closer walk between ourselves and the Lord? Here are the lessons I have learnt.

1. Read through 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Kings 1, and 1 Chronicles slowly and as many times as you can. You will also find that Bible Hub’s free online interlinear Bible will ‘save your bacon!’ It has cleared up many misunderstandings for me. You can access it here, plus the Hub has many versions of the Bible so you can compare the different ways individual verses have been interpreted from Hebrew roots.

2. When you want to understand where David’s heart was at, you must go to the Psalms. They provide the essential, human balance to the historical narratives of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles.

3. Be familiar with the Laws delivered by Moses in Deuteronomy and Leviticus. Without understanding these, you’re sunk. In those books the enemies of God are stated, as are all the rules that David was expected to uphold. They will also explain the culture and tabernacle.

4. Don’t forget to add psychology! I see many theological points of view which completely forget that David was a loving father, a husband and a grieving human. You need to look at him through the eyes of a parent, husband and human… not only as a theological example of spiritual premises.

5. Learn as much as you can about how Isra’el developed as a nation from Abraham onwards. Then you will get the bigger picture of how David was pivotal to the nation’s development. I also found it helpful to research the other Kings of Judah, particularly the righteous ones, to see how they compared to David.

6. When you listen to anyone (including me) talk about David, go back to the Bible and check your facts! You would not believe the masses and masses of silly mistakes I have seen through other’s work. It’s easy to mix up names, jump to conclusions about timing and to attribute ideals held by our culture to an old world where they just don’t fit! Love everyone, judge no one, but go back to the Lord and the Word of God and check, check, check!

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7. Give yourself plenty of time. It is not enough to go to a commentary or do a little research online and have the story straight. (See point 6.) The biggest errors I have found are on opinion web sites that look like they are theologically sound. I am still fixing misunderstandings on tiny details that I have made, so none of us is perfect. It’s a process that needs patience. Initially this site was to be a book in which I allowed eighteen months of research. The more I learn, the more I realise that eighteen months is not enough.

8. Don’t presume the entire content of any commentary reference book is correct. Some were written pre Isra’el becoming a nation, so they are prophetically outdated. I have seen a commentary on 1 Kings written with an overt bias against David. Other authors sometimes rely on the research of people who have gone before them, which is great, except errors in understanding and details can be easily passed down that way. If you check the Bible and ask the Lord for wisdom, you’ll soon find the truth.

9. Do not judge. Not David, not anyone whose work you are reading or listening to: no one, dead or alive. The Lord commands this. If you see a mistake, bless them and move on!
~ Luke 6:37: “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.”
~ Matthew 7:2: “For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you.”
~ Luke 6:37: “Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. Set free, and you will be set free.”

10. Read as many different points of view as you can and study the background culture.

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