How King David Would Want To Be Remembered

There is a simple answer to this question – David would want his life to do one thing: point the way to God.

Unlike his son, Absalom, King David never built a monument to himself. [2 Samuel 18:18 despite 2 Samuel 14:27] He never asked that the temple be named after him, or for Solomon to have a plaque installed on the wall with his name on it. He did not leave behind golden, ostentatious palaces, as his son Solomon did [1 Kings 10:21]; neither did he build himself an impressive funerary monument as the Egyptian kings did. Instead, this is what we hear David saying in his old age.

“My life is an example to many,
because You have been my strength and protection.
That is why I can never stop praising You;
I declare Your glory all day long…

But I will keep on hoping for Your help;
I will praise You more and more.
I will tell everyone about Your righteousness.
All day long I will proclaim Your saving power,
though I am not skilled with words.
I will praise Your mighty deeds, O Sovereign LORD.
I will tell everyone that You alone are just.
O God, You have taught me from my earliest childhood,
and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things You do.
Now that I am old and grey,
do not abandon me, O God.

Let me proclaim Your power to this new generation,
Your mighty miracles to all who come after me.
Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.
You have done such wonderful things.
Who can compare with You, O God?

You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
but You will restore me to life again
and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
You will restore me to even greater honour
and comfort me once again.
Then I will praise You with music on the harp,
because You are faithful to your promises, O my God.
I will sing praises to You with a lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
I will shout for joy and sing Your praises,
for You have ransomed me.
I will tell about Your righteous deeds
all day long,
for everyone who tried to hurt me
has been shamed and humiliated.” Psalm 71:7-8, then 14-24

In his last words (below), David focusses not on his military prowess, or his leadership achievements, instead he states the blessing that the Lord has bestowed upon him.** This is typical of David. When he talked about his achievements, it was always alongside what God had done; and despite the extensive suffering and loss he had been through, there was no bitterness, complaint, or resentment present.

David’s Last Words
These are the last words of David:
David, the son of Jesse, speaks:
David, the man who was raised up so high,
David, the man anointed by the God of Jacob,
David, the sweet psalmist of Isra’el.

“The Spirit of the LORD speaks through me;
His words are upon my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke.
The Rock of Israel said to me:
‘The one who rules righteously,
who rules in the fear of God,
is like the light of morning at sunrise,
like a morning without clouds,
like the gleaming of the sun
on new grass after rain.’
“Is it not my family God has chosen?
Yes, He has made an everlasting covenant with me.
His agreement is arranged and guaranteed in every detail.
He will ensure my safety and success.
But the godless are like thorns to be thrown away,
for they tear the hand that touches them.
One must use iron tools to chop them down;
they will be totally consumed by fire.” 1 Samuel 23

In 2 Samuel 22, he gives a greater list of what has happened in his life, and note that the glory always goes back to God. For example:
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my saviour;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.
He is my refuge, my Saviour,
the One who saves me from violence.
I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and He saved me from my enemies.”
Notes: ** If it seems egotistical in some ways, remember that David lived in a shame/honour culture, where a king who has been shamed is discredited and thrown out of office by his people, so culturally, it is necessary to state how he is honourable and honoured. However, David wrote much more extolling the glory of the Lord. Please see my master list of verses which demonstrate David’s humility.

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When You Just Lose It – Masculinity and Keeping it Real

Many of us try to be spiritually perfect. We balance work, family, finances, church, friends, Bible study, praise and worship and prayer like an overloaded waitress, with an armful of precariously tipping plates. It’s often too much. We ultimately hit the floor, exhausted and moaning.

But that is not acceptable.

In church we sing about being overcomers, being able to do all things in God. ALL of them. It’s true. We can. The Word of God is very clear that when we focus on the Lord and depend on Him for strength, even the smallest faith can do mighty miracles.

But we still fail and hit the ground.

So where do we go for encouragement? To the Word of God. We look at Moses, at Joshua, at Paul and at David, and we feel inadequate, as we didn’t lead people out of oppression, conquer cities, or spread the Gospel despite huge odds and… Sorry, hang on. Did I just list David as a perfect role model of a spiritual giant? I did.

So then, how do you react to this?

“Word soon reached Joab that the king was weeping and mourning for Absalom. As all the people heard of the king’s deep grief for his son, the joy of that day’s victory was turned into deep sadness. They crept back into the town that day as though they were ashamed and had deserted in battle.

The king covered his face with his hands and kept* on crying, “O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Then Joab went to the king’s room and said to him, “We saved your life today and the lives of your sons, your daughters, and your wives and concubines. Yet you act like this, making us feel ashamed of ourselves. You seem to love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that your commanders and troops mean nothing to you. It seems that if Absalom had lived and all of us had died, you would be pleased. Now go out there and congratulate your troops, for I swear by the LORD that if you don’t go out, not a single one of them will remain here tonight. Then you will be worse off than ever before.” “ 2 Samuel 19:1-7 [* 2 Samuel 18:33]

That does not sound like the David I know. I admit that he had his failings, but the Psalms overflow with faith and his ability to press through anything. This man was a battle hardened warrior with over thirty years of service under his belt. I read this account of David losing his son and almost feel uncomfortable. My biggest hero really lost it, at a time when as a leader, it was a poor decision for both strategy and morale.

Let’s look closer at this. King David had lost his son. But that son was a sociopath who had deceitfully taken over the kingdom and had defiled ten of his father’s wives, in public. Should that diminish David’s reaction?

David’s raw emotion and vulnerability is what makes him so strong a role model. We can relate to him because he is so much like us. I often battle with being like Jesus. It’s not just the problem of trying to become holy, it’s just that as much as I adore Him, I cannot relate to Him. He had a connection with the Father I should hope to achieve, but realistically, I don’t even think is possible for me. Others may be able to do it, but me? Sadly, no. But David. I see David struggle, rejoice, sin, repent, bounce back and I relate. He’s far more human and real to me because he sometimes just loses it.

In our modern, western society, where we hold emotions in, we need David so badly. Men in particular need to be reminded that the toughest, best and most successful men cry: and often in public. “David walked up the road to the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went. His head was covered and his feet were bare as a sign of mourning. And the people who were with him covered their heads and wept as they climbed the hill.” 2 Samuel 15:30

“I am worn out from sobbing.
All night I flood my bed with weeping,
drenching it with my tears.
My vision is blurred by grief;
my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies.” Psalm 6:6-7

In the Psalms, David also freely weeps a number of times, including over the sins of his fellow Israelites. Being a real man, or woman of God, means you don’t have to smother emotions and always look strong. It means you can react with raw honesty: spread the contents of your heart out before the Lord, and allow Him to deal with whatever stresses you are under. Psychology tells us not to hold it in, and the Bible backs this up.

Lamentations 2:19 (on sin) “Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord.”

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

Falling down is human. At times, we need to fall in order to allow the Lord to lift us up, and set us on the right path. What matters more than falling down, is how we get back up again. When David collapsed over the death of Absalom, he got up again.

“So the king went out and took his seat at the town gate, and as the news spread throughout the town that he was there, everyone went to him.” 2 Samuel 19:8

Ashalim_stream_(Nahal_Ashalim),_Judean_Desert,_Israel_(1)From there he prepared to return to his throne in Jerusalem and rule until Solomon was anointed King. That didn’t mean he stopped grieving, inwardly and outwardly. Knowing David, he would have depended on the Lord for help to get through this unbearable pain.

Not wanting to ask for help, or show weaknesses, is a trait of the flesh; it is not a godly one. The Word never asks us to suck it up and push pain away. Instead, we are encouraged to admit our sin and frailty, and to take our sins and grief to the Lord. That is the way of the righteous.

As David admitted his weak moments…

“My heart pounds in my chest.
The terror of death assaults me.
Fear and trembling overwhelm me,
and I can’t stop shaking.” Psalm 55:4-5

… so should we. That way, we open up our hearts to the Lord’s help.

“Give your burdens to the LORD,
and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” Psalm 55:22

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King David’s Health and Death: the Likely Cause, Diabetes


I once searched for opinions on King David’s (Daviyd’s) cause of death and couldn’t find one. All we know from 1 Kings 1 that was that he was so cold, he couldn’t get warm, no matter what was done. For a hot climate, that’s extreme.

I researched ‘disease caused hypothermia,’ and came across a list of 123 causes. That list was way too large to search through, so I gave up. Then I found people online talking about the ‘venereal disease psalm.’ They were quoting Psalm 38:7 “For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.” That got me searching into probable causes for that symptom. They include ecenzma, which is likely in a hot climate; and also, bacterial folliculitis, which is where the hair follicles, in areas of the body that don’t get much ventilation, become infected. These kinds of skin problems are also common with diabetes.

15875174_sThe Better Health Channel says: Some types of diabetes have no symptoms, and can go undiagnosed for a long time, but some common symptoms can include:

-Being more thirsty than usual;
– passing more urine;
– feeling tired and lethargic; (2 Samuel 21:15-17, Psalm 6:2, Psalm 31:9 and 38:10)
– slow-healing wounds; (Psalm 31 and 38, causing people to avoid him. Psalm 38 mentions infection.)
– itching and skin infections, particularly around the genitals; (Psalm 38:7)
– blurred vision; (Mentioned in Psalm 38)
– nausea and vomiting; (This could, perhaps, explain his being bent over in pain.)
– weight loss; (Psalm 31:9 and 102:5 which is also an unmarked Psalm of David whose wording matches Psalm 6.)
– mood swings. (These could have accompanied diabetic heart disease and his mood is obvious in Psalms 6, 41, 30, 31, 38, 55.)

Psalms 6 and 69 also mention unrelenting pain which would accompany Daviyd’s symptoms (and possibly could also be caused by wear and tear plus the injuries he incurred on the battlefields); and in Psalm 41 he indicates that he has been on his sickbed again. So the Psalms that tell of illness are Psalm 6, 30, 38, 41 and 55; plus 102 talks about sickness coming upon him in midlife, which is consistent with what I am saying here.

Psalm 69 does also refer to pain, but it is unclear as to whether it is physical or emotional in cause. The Psalm laments treasonous persecution by a close friend, which broke the King’s heart. It is noteable that his illness is recorded in correlation with traumatic life events. This is typical of diabetes and chronic illness. Stress exacerbates symptoms and causes worsening, or relapses.

The treatment for diabetes involves getting insulin levels back to normal. In Daviyd’s time, that would have been no easy achievement. The healers of the day used a local plant named Sharp varthemia (Chiliadenus iphionoides), whose properties are now being formally researched. By the grace of God, that could have been enough to keep him going. In Psalms 56:5 and 103:3 Daviyd talks about the Lord rescuing him from all his diseases and death. All denotes multiple health issues and linking death with these events, certainly spells out how serious they were. Having friends with diabetes and researching this topic has left me astounded that Daviyd survived to the age of 70, with only the most basic treatment. It’s Godly providence in action!

Another symptom worth noting, is his heart palpitations, which Daviyd writes of in Psalms 38 and 55. Diabetic heart disease is a common complication of diabetes. It can cause coronary heart disease (CHD), heart failure, and/or diabetic cardiomyopathy. Those who have diabetes have the same risk of heart disease, as someone who has already suffered a heart attack. It is made worse by stress, creates a feeling of depression and doom and occurs at a younger age, than when heart disease normally affects people. It fits in with what Daviyd has described.



The Jewish Population and Diabetes

29200701_mr3x3xrrrThere is long standing statistical evidence, that diabetes is a major health problem within Jewish communities, particularly as Jews typically marry other Jews, so health issues can develop from less variety being present in the gene pool. *The Jewish Encyclopedia addresses diabetes and interestingly, says: “Sudden emotional excitement, grief, terror, worry, and anxiety may each and all be followed so closely by diabetes that there is no room for doubt as to their having occasioned it. It is well known as a result of commercial disaster. “When stocks fall, diabetes rises in Wall Street,” says Dr. Kleen.” The worst symptoms appear to occur after the deaths of Daviyd’s sons Amnon and Absalom. It is after he has had to deal with the famine and is over thirty years into a stressful reign as king. This seems plausible.

The article goes on to state: “It has been observed by many clinicians that the Jews bear diabetes better than other races; thus, Van Noorden (l.c. p. 176) states that it is remarkable how some patients will endure glycosuria for years without much discomfort, succumbing at lastperhaps after decadesto what is supposed to be heart-failure. This peculiar type of diabetes, and this remarkable endurance by the human body of the anomalous metabolism of diabetes, are more frequently met with among women than among men, and almost exclusively among Jews.

Dr. Stern has pointed out another peculiarity; viz., that Jews dying of diabetes succumb through coma more frequently than non-Jews. Thus, while the ratio of fatal coma cases occurring in New York city in 1899 to the total mortality from diabetes was as 60 to 202, or 29 per cent, coma occurred in 43 per cent of the cases of diabetes among Jews.”

If you think you may have diabetes, please see a doctor.


Other References:

– Hypothermia is a frequent sign of severe hypoglycaemia in patients with diabetes.
– Folliculitis
– Hypothermia and Diabetes
– Hypothermia WebMD Diabetes is listed as the first cause.
– *The 1906 Jewish Encyclopaedia, Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetic Heart Disease as a Complication of Diabetes
– What is Diabetic Heart Disease? Causes, Symptoms etc.

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Was King David Clinically Depressed or Bipolar?

Image Copyright Cate Russell-Cole. All rights reserved internationally.

Image Copyright Cate Russell-Cole. All rights reserved internationally.

Because the Psalms record the highs and lows of his life, people have referred to him as being bipolar. It is highly unlikely. Please see this page on David’s personality and read about the Psalms for a better answer to the bipolar issue.

As far as depression goes, I find David to be a highly motivated, active, productive, life-loving man. He didn’t want to die and he wept and mourned when he had excellent reason to. I cannot find extensive evidence of repeated instances of clinical depression which had little or no cause, though it could have been the case. I will keep an open mind. What I can see, is plenty of reason for reactive depression, associated with multiple instances of grief. This occurred when his first son to BathSheba died, then Amnon raped Tamar, then Absalom murdered Amnon, all within several years. Earlier in his life, I see him being realistically afraid and worn out at times, but not experiencing depressive episodes.

As a social worker, understanding grief psychology is part of my role. The worst grief is associated with losing a child. It is magnified to an unbearable extent when that loss has been associated with a murder which has been committed by another one of your own children. For David this is then magnified even further, as the prophet Nathan had forewarned David, that these things would happen as a result of his sin with BathSheba. Add severe guilt to grief and you have pure, living hell which David never fully recovered from.

Parents whose sons have been incarcerated for murder go through a grief process like no other. When two children are involved in the murder, it is a triple loss (death and loss of trust in the surviving son, plus separation due to incarceration), plus their emotional and mental energy is pulled in two directions. People cannot be totally supportive and sympathetic towards both children at the same time, there is simply not enough energy in an overloaded heart for that. In David’s case, he grieved Amnon’s death (his heir to the throne) and rejected Absalom for a long time.

Absalom was obviously terrified of approaching his father (who had a passionate temper and under the Laws set down through Moses, should have had Absalom executed), so Absalom sought sanctuary. The relationship between David and Absalom never fully repaired, though David grieved heavily went Absalom overthrew him as ruler and was subsequently executed by Joab, against David’s orders.

Under circumstances such as these, long term depression can only be expected. In addition, David withstood conspiracies to overthrow his position as king, he was frequently persecuted for the strength of his faith and he was ill, which can also lead to low mood swings. In the same situations, you wouldn’t feel too cheery either.

If you would like to understand more about what a parent goes through when a child commits murder, read this article. ( Though I warn you, it will tear your heart out. Also read this post for a greater understanding of the problems which would have occurred in David’s life and family.

I know David did the wrong thing with BathSheba, and some of what occurred after is also due to poor parenting and bad role modelling; however the penalty is abhorrently severe. But that is what life without grace is like. My heart really goes out to him. David had a hard life in many ways.

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Please note that this does NOT apply to any of the images on this site except for the free Psalm images which are marked as free. Most photos are purchased stock photos. It is ILLEGAL for you to take and use them, whether for yourself, commercially or for a non-profit venture such as a church or Bible Study. If you have not bought these photos from the source, the stock photography company has every right to sue you.