The Life of King David: Simplified Chronological Reference

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David ben Yishai: Born: 1040 BC, Bethlehem – (Beit-Lechem לָ֑חֶם )
Died: 970 BC, Jerusalem – (Yerushalayim יְרוּשְׁלֶם )
Father: Jesse son of ‘Oved – (Yishai ben ‘Oved יִשַׁ֔י ) Mother’s name unknown.

“After these things He gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.’ From the descendants of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Saviour, Jesus, after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.”
Acts 13:20-24
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1. Pre-Leadership Period (Covers several years.)

~ Annointed by the Prophet Samuel. – 1 Samuel 16 – He then waits in obscurity until he is called to serve. (Samuel: Sh’mu’el שְׁמוּאֵל֙ )

~ David (Daviyd דָוִ֑יד ) begins to play to Saul, to calm Saul’s demons. – 1 Samuel 16 – He gains favour. (Saul: Sha’ul שָׁאוּל )

~ David defeats the Philistine giant, Goliath in the valley of Elah, and is given an exalted command position in Saul’s army. – 1 Samuel 17 (Elah הָאֵלָ֗ה ) (Philistine: P’lishti פְּלִשְׁתִּי ) (Goliath: Golyat גָּלְיָת )

~ David and Jonathan bond as brothers. – 1 Samuel 18 (Jonathan: Yonatan יְה֣וֹנָתָ֔ן )

~ David is promoted in Saul’s court, is successful in all he does and Saul becomes jealous and demotes David. – 1 Samuel 18 – David marries Michal (Mikhal מִיכַל ).

~ Saul continually attacks David in efforts to kill him. – 1 Samuel 19 – Michal helps David to escape. David goes to Samuel in Ramah. Saul’s assassination attempts are foiled by the Spirit of God. (Ramah רָמָה )

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2. In Hiding (Seven years or so.)

~ Jonathan also assists David with information and in escaping. – 1 Samuel 20 – A covenant bond is made, which is fulfilled in 2 Samuel 9.

~ David flees to Nob , then sins by lying to the Priests to get food. He collects Goliath’s sword. – 1 Samuel 21 The priests are later killed by Saul, as they helped David. (Nob / Nov נֹ֔בֶה ) (Priests: cohen כֹּהֵן )

~ He escapes to Philistine territory in Gath, and has to feign madness to escape. – 1 Samuel 21 (Gath / Gat בְּגַֽת )

~ David flees to a cave in Adullum. – 1 Samuel 22 – He gets his parents to safety in Moab. (Mo’av עָר ). (Adulluam / Adulam עֲדֻלָּ֑ם )

~ A Prophet tells David to go to the forest of Hereth in Judah. Saul finds out. – 1 Samuel 22 Saul is furious with Jonathan for supporting David and relinquishing his birthright to Saul’s throne. (Hereth / Chereth חָ֫רֶת )

~ David comes out of hiding to liberate Ke’ilah and is nearly caught by Saul. – 1 Samuel 23 – He is then betrayed by the men of Ziph (Zif זִיף ). (Ke’ilah קְעִילָה )

~ David retreats to the caves/strongholds of Engedi. – 1 Samuel 23 (Engedi / Ein-Gedi גֶּֽדִי )

~ Saul hunts David, but David spares his life and cuts off a piece of his cloak (an act of seizing power). David repents of acting before the Lord’s timing and confronts Saul, who weeps and is sorry. – 1 Samuel 24

~ David goes to Pa’ran Desert and meets and marries Abigail. – 1 Samuel 25 (Pa’ran פָּארָ֑ן ) (Abigail / Avigayil אֲבִיגַ֫יִל )

~ The men of Ziph betray David again. – 1 Samuel 26

~ Saul finds David, but David again spares his life, only taking his spear and water jug. Saul repents again when confronted. David knows this is meaningless. – 1 Samuel 26

~ Exhausted, David sins by retreating into Philistine territory (Ziklag) for safety and becoming an outlaw. Saul stops hunting him. – 1 Samuel 27 (Ziklag צִיקְלָג )

~ David is nearly forced into going to war against Isra’el with the Philistines; he has to return home as he is identified as a Hebrew with an ominous reputation as a warrior. Saul and Jonathan are killed in this battle. – 1 Samuel 28 and 31

~ David, returning to Ziklag, finds the place plundered. He goes after the offending Amalekites and all wives, children and property are returned to him and his men, unscathed. – 1 Samuel 30 – David’s leadership is tested. (Amalekites / Ameleki עֲמָלֵקִ֗י )
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3. King of Judah (Seven and a half years)

~ David mourns for Saul and Jonathan. (Sauls’ remaining son, Ish-bosheth, takes the throne of Isra’el.) – 2 Samuel 1 and 1 Chronicles 11 (IshBoshet אּישׁ־בֹּ֫שֶׁת ) (Isra’el. יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל )

~ David asks the Lord what to do, is instructed to go to Hebron and is crowned King of Judah. – 2 Samuel 2 and 1 Chronicles 11 (Hebron / Hevron בְּחֶבְר֑וֹן ) (King: Melek מֶ֫לֶך ) (Judah: Y’hudah יְהוּדָה )

~ Abner , who is commanding Isra’el’s army, starts lengthy wars against Judah. Judah wins.- 2 Samuel 2 and 3 (Abner / Avner אֲבִינֵר )

~ Abner changes tactics and starts to gain support for Judah, within the tribe of Benjamin. Joab (David’s side) suspects treason, not assistance and kills Abner against David’s wishes. (Complex, please read it.) – 2 Samuel 3 (Benjamin: Binyamin בִּנְיָמִן ). (Joab / Jo’av יוֹאָב )

~ Ish-bosheth, King of Isra’el, is murdered in his bed by traitors (not David.) – 2 Samuel 4 – (David takes Ish-bosheth’s wives, but it’s not mentioned here. To take another King’s wife is a sign of having conquered that King. Absalom later does this with David’s concubines. – 2 Samuel 15 onwards.) (Absalom / Avshalom לְאַבְשָׁל֣וֹם )

~ Allegiance is sworn to David; Joab takes Jerusalem from the Jebusites and David is installed as King over all Isra’el, uniting Judah and Isra’el as one Kingdom, under God. Michal is returned to him. – 2 Samuel 5 and 1 Chronicles 14 (Jebusites: Y’vusi יְבוּסִי )
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3. King of the United Kingdom of Isra’el  (Thirty-three years)

~ The Philistines attack Isra’el. – 2 Samuel 5 and 1 Chronicles 14 – It takes two battles for Isra’el to subdue them.

~ David unsucessfully, then successfully brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. He dances in celebration and loses Michal’s favour. – 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 13, 15 and 16 (Ark of the Covenant אָרוֹן הַבְּרִית )

~ Peace settles over Isra’el. David wants to build a temple to replace the Tabernacle, to house the Ark. – 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles 17 – Davidic Covenant is established by the Lord / Adonai. The Messiah will come from David’s lineage. (Tabernacle מִשְׁכָּן )

~ David has won wars and subdued a number of enemy nations which are listed here. – 2 Samuel 8 and 1 Chronicles 18 – He reigns with justice and is fair to everyone.

~ Covenant with Jonathan is fulfilled. – 2 Samuel 9

~ The Ammonites and Syrians go to war against Isra’el. Isra’el prevails. – 2 Samuel 10 and 1 Chronicles 19 (Ammonites: Amon עַמּוֹנִי ) ( Syrians: Aram אֲרָם )
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4. Disintegration of David’s Personal and Family Life Due to Sin (Twenty year period?)

~ David falls for BathSheba, murders her husband, is confronted by the Prophet Nathan; then their son dies. (This takes place over a year or more. Within that period, the next incident occurs.) – 2 Samuel 11 and 12 (BathSheba / Bat-Sheva בַּת־שֶׁ֫בַע ) (Nathan / Natan וְנָתָ֤ן ) Solomon is born and BathSheba is promised that Solomon will be the next King.

~ David captures Rabbah and annihilates the Ammonites in line with the Laws of Moses (an eye for an eye in Deuteronomy 19. This reference has been cleaned up to slavery in non-literal translations, but that is unlikely to be the case. Please please visit the Law and Disorder page on this site for a full discussion on this topic.) There are no more in Isra’el until after the death of Solomon. [Ref: 1 Kings 5:4] – 2 Samuel 12 and 1 Chronicles 20 (Rabbah רַבָּה )

~ David’s son, Amnon, rapes his half-sister, Tamar. David fails to take action. Two years later, Absalom deviously has his men kill Amnon, then Absalom into hiding. – 2 Samuel 13 (Amnon ַאַמְנֹ֗ןן ) (Tamar וְתָמָ֥ר )

~ Joab arranges a reconciliation between David (who has shunned Absalom) and Absalom. Several years have gone by, but David, although pining for his son, still refuses to see him for several more years. – 2 Samuel 14

~ Absalom attempts to overthrow his ageing father’s throne. David leaves Jerusalem so that the battle to retake his throne is carried out in the safety of the countryside. Absalom is killed by Joab, against David’s express wishes. – 2 Samuel 15 through to 18

– This covers a six month period. (All the incidents with Amnon, Absalom and Adonijah), come as a result of David’s sin with BathSheba and cause him great guilt and grief. On his return, he keeps his defiled concubines in seclusion, as an act of mercy. Again, please visit the Law and Disorder page for more information.) (Adonijah / Adoniyah אֲדֹנִיָּ֥ה )

~ David is reinstated as King over all Isra’el, whilst still heavily grieving Absalom’s death. The Israelites are angry at his favouritism towards the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. – 2 Samuel 19

~ Sheba ben Bikhri, a Benjamite, rebells against David as King. There are factions in Isra’el which nearly lead to civil war. – 2 Samuel 20 (Sheba ben Bikhri בִּכְרִ֖י בֶּן־ שֶׁ֥בַע )

~ David has to rectify a three year famine, which is a result of Saul’s sin against the Gibeonites. – 2 Samuel 21

~ David is sick and is not longer able to function in battle as a warrior. (Gibeonites: Giv’on וְהַגִּבְעֹנִ֞ים )

~ Psalm of praise for release from all enemies. – 2 Samuel 22

~ David’s last song is recorded in a Psalm. – 2 Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 11 – This could be placed here, as his failing health hindered him from continuing to write; or it could just be a timing quirk. Chronicles does not record all events in a sequential order either. For example, BathSheba is separated from the Ammonite war, even though there are overlaps.

~ Psalms 69,70 and 71 record accusations of theft against David Melek, which appear to have occurred at this stage of his life, though, they may refer to accusations that he had had Ish-bosheth murdered to take the throne. I am unsure about this, so please pray and research further.

~ David sins by calling for a Census at a time when both he and the Lord are angry with Isra’el for Absalom and Sheba’s revolts against God’s chosen king. The Lord lets David chose the punishment. A plague occurs as a result, killing 70,000 people throughout the nation. – 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21; cross reference with Exodus 30:11-16, rules for a Census.

~ David buys land for the site of the new temple, which his successor will build. – 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 22 (the threshing floor of Araunah אֲרַ֙וְנָה֙ )
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5. David’s Final Days (Two year period.)

~ In old age, he is always cold. (His symptoms are consistant with diabetes mellitis and diabetic heart disease, as are the sores, life-threatening sickness and tiredness previously mentioned in the Psalms and 2 Samuel. See this page for more information.) BathSheba’s first son, Solomon is appointed successor and crowned King, after Adonijah tries to take the throne from his infirm, sixty-eight year old father. – 1 Kings 1 (Solomon: Shlomo וּשְׁלֹמֹה֙ )

~ David leaves the Kingdom of Isra’el in excellent working order for Solomon. He obtains assistance for the new young King and his final instructions to Solomon are recorded. 1 Kings 2 and 1 Chronicles 23 to 29

~ David dies, aged seventy, on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (Feast of Weeks).
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Legacy: During his lifetime, King David has:

• Gone from being a shepherd, the youngest child in the family, to killing giants, then to ruling a once divided Kingdom, under God.
• Has the most qualified and superior soldiers in top ranks in his military. The army has suffered no lasting defeats.
• Is a fair and just ruler. (2 Samuel 8)
• Has subdued every enemy of Isra’el and won a peace that lasted until the end of King Solomon’s reign. (Roughly 45+ years in total.)
• Enlarged the territory of Isra’el to ten times it size. (60,000 square miles.)
• Built a strong, well organised economy.
• Built a new palace and has undertaken extensive planning for the building of the temple, as well as gathering all necessary materials and writing songs for the pilgrims who will come to the temple.
• Gave all of his own personal wealth as a provision for the temple to be built. (1 Chronicles 29:3-5 New Living Bible)
• Has become one of the most iconic spiritual leaders of all time, with the Psalms being revered and sung to this day (three thousand years later) and being prayed frequently in both the Medieval periods and still today, in Synagogues around the world. His heir, Solomon, also gave us the book of Proverbs, Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes.
• Birthed descendents who gave us Jesus, the long promised Messiah. (Jesus: Yeshua or Joshua, Ἰησοῦς, οῦ, ὁ in Greek) (mashiach: anointed מָשִׁ֫יחַ )


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