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David: Seeking a Heart Like His, Biblical Study by Beth Moore


In 1 Samuel 8 – 2 Samuel 6, we are given the story of David’s ascension from shepherd boy to King. Before any King ruled Israel, the Israelites were governed by prophets. However, under the authority of the sons of the Prophet Samuel, the Israelites demanded a King to rule over them so that they could be like the rest of the nations. Reluctantly, Samuel obeyed the Lord and anointed the first King of Israel, Saul. Although Saul was chosen by God, he strayed from and disobeyed God. Therefore, the Lord rejected Saul and Saul’s House, and He transferred the kingship to David and David’s House. David gained recognition by playing the harp for Saul, defeating the Philistine giant Goliath, and killing tens of thousands of Philistines. Saul was very jealous of David’s popularity with the Israelites, so for many years, the King tried to kill David. But the Lord was with David and was faithful with His promise. Thus, David became King of the House of Judah, and with some help from Saul’s military commander, Abner, David later became King of all Israel. One of his first actions as King of Israel was to conquer the City of Jerusalem and move the ark of God to the city. When the ark was successfully transported into the city, David celebrated with all his might and humbled himself in the sight of the Lord.

Background (1 Samuel 8 – 1 Samuel 13)

Summary The people of Israel wanted to be governed by a King, so the prophet Samuel anointed Saul as the first King of Israel. However, Saul did not obey the Lord’s commands, so God transferred Saul’s kingdom to David.

1 Samuel 8 : The prophet Samuel appointed his sons as judges over Israel. However, the people were not pleased, and they requested to have a King govern them. The Lord acquiesced and instructed Samuel to give them a King.

1 Samuel 9 : Kish instructed his son, Saul, to go look for some lost donkeys. While Saul was searching for the donkeys near the territory of Benjamin, he and his servant decided to go visit the seer, Samuel. When Saul and his servant met Samuel, the prophet told Saul that God had a message for him.

1 Samuel 10 : Samuel anointed Saul as King of Israel. Then, Samuel assembled the tribes of Israel and introduced them to their first King, Saul, son of Kish.

1 Samuel 11 : Saul received a message that the Ammonites were threatening Jabesh Gilead. The Lord’s anger burned in Saul, so he gathered the Israelites and rescued the people of Jabesh Gilead from the Ammonites. Then, Samuel went to Gilgal and confirmed Saul’s kingship in front of the Lord and the Israelites.

1 Samuel 12 : Samuel told the Israelites that they did an evil thing by requesting a king. Despite their decision, Samuel reminded them to serve the Lord with all of their hearts, and he stated that he would continue to pray for them.

1 Samuel 13 : Saul’s son, Jonathan, attacked the Philistines, and this angered the Philistines. Therefore, they gathered against Saul, and Saul’s army became afraid. When Saul saw that his men were afraid, he felt compelled to offer burnt offerings and sacrifices to God. However, this action broke God’s Law, given in the Books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus, which stated that sacrifices could only be given at specific places and by priests that had been anointed by God (Deuteronomy 12:13-14, Leviticus 17:1-9). Since Saul disobeyed God’s command, God declared that Saul would lose his kingdom to another, “a man after his own heart”. This man is later revealed to be David.

Week 1 (1 Samuel 14 – 1 Samuel 17)

Summary : Samuel anointed Jesse’s youngest son, David, to be King of Israel. The Spirit of the Lord left Saul and entered David. Since the Lord rejected Saul, Saul was troubled by an evil Spirit. David was recruited to play the harp for Saul, which would temporarily relieve Saul’s suffering.

1 Samuel 14 : Jonathan and his armor-bearer snuck into the Philistine camp and killed many Philistines, which caused confusion and distress in the enemy camp. Clearly, the Lord was with Jonathan, because this event led to the defeat of the Philistines, despite a lack of weapons in Israel, and despite Saul’s poor judgement. Saul made a reckless oath that prevented his men from eating any food, which left them fatigued and tired, and it nearly led to Jonathan’s death.

1 Samuel 15 : For the second time in the Book of 1 Samuel, Saul disobeyed God’s instructions. God told Saul to completely destroy the Amalekites and everything that belonged to them, but Saul and his men kept the best sheep and cattle, and they spared Agag King of the Amalekites. Since Saul did not completely destroy all the sheep, cattle, and King, Samuel visited Saul for the last time. Samuel told Saul that it is better to obey the Lord, and that because of this sin, the Lord rejected Saul as King of Israel.

1 Samuel 16 : Samuel went to Jesse of Bethlehem and anointed Jesse’s youngest son, David. David was handsome, ruddy, and with a fine appearance, but he was not Jesse’s first choice. At the same time that the Spirit of the Lord came upon David, the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul. Saul became plagued by an evil Spirit, and in order to get relief from the evil Spirit, Saul chose David to play the harp. Saul was pleased by David, and David also became Saul’s armor-bearer.

Ruth was David’s great-grandmother: Ruth + Boaz -> Obed -> Jesse -> David

1 Samuel 17 : David defeated the Philistine giant, Goliath. David’s oldest brother, Eliab, was angry with David. However, David argued that the Lord was with him when he protected the sheep from the lions and bears, and so the Lord would also be with him when he faced the Philistine. David refused to wear armor, a helmet, and a sword. Instead, he only took a sling and 5 smooth stones to face Goliath. After Goliath’s defeat, the Israelites plundered the Philistine camp.

Week 2 (1 Samuel 18 – 1 Samuel 21)

Summary : After killing Goliath, David killed tens of thousands more Philistines. David’s successes angered Saul, and Saul attempted to kill David on several occasions. In fear for his life, David fled to Ahimelech the priest in Nob.

1 Samuel 18 : Jonathan loved David like himself and made a covenant with David. However, Jonathan’s father, Saul, despised David, because the people claimed that David killed tens of thousands of Philistines, whereas Saul only killed thousands of Philistines. In his anger and jealousy, Saul tried to kill David. First, he threw a spear at David while David was playing the harp. Second, he married his daughter, Michal, to David, because he hoped that she would betray David.

1 Samuel 19 : For the second time, Saul tried to kill David by hurling his spear at David. That night, David fled to Samuel at Ramah. His wife, Micah, covered for him at the house. Saul and his men went to Ramah to kill David, but at Ramah, the Spirit of the Lord overwhelmed Saul and his men, and they prophesied with the other prophets.

1 Samuel 20 : Next, David fled to Jonathan. They devised a plan to test whether or not Saul truly wanted to kill David. When Saul erupted in anger that David did not attend the meal, and threw his spear at Jonathan, then Jonathan was convinced that David’s life was threatened. Jonathan confirmed his friendship with David, and instructed David to flee.

1 Samuel 21 : This time, David went to Ahimelech the priest in Nob. Ahimelech gave David 5 loaves of bread and the sword of Goliath. The 5 loaves of bread symbolized the provision of God and God’s covenant with David. Next, David fled to Achish king of Gath. At Gath, David was afraid, so he acted like a madman.

Week 3 (1 Samuel 22 – 1 Samuel 25)

Summary : David continued running from Saul. Although Saul killed the priests at Nob for assisting David, David did not kill Saul when he had the opportunity to. David also spared the life of Nabal, despite being treated poorly by him. Samuel died.

1 Samuel 22 : David traveled from Gath to a cave in Adullam, to Mizpah in Moab, to the forest of Hereth. At the cave in Adullam, David’s family came to him, and he became a leader of the distressed, discontented, and indebted. Doeg the Edomite, who was Saul’s head shepherd, saw David in Nob. Therefore, Saul visited Ahimelech at Nob, and since the priests at Nob sided with David, Saul had Doeg kill all of the priests.

Psalm 142 : Written when David was at the cave in Adullam

Psalm 52 : Written after David received news about the deaths of the priests in Nob

1 Samuel 23 : Only one priest, Ahimelech’s son Abiathar, escaped Saul’s massacre at Nob. Through Abiathar, the Lord instructed David to defeat the Philistines and save Keilah. Afterwards, David fled from Keilah to the Desert of Ziph, and then to Desert of Maon. Saul searched for David in this area, but while he was searching, Saul received news that the Philistines were raiding his land, so he cut off his search.

Psalm 54 : Written after David after David’s location was betrayed by the Ziphites to Saul

1 Samuel 24 : Saul re-commissioned his search for David in the Desert of En Gedi. One evening, Saul rested in the cave that David was hiding in. David cut off a piece of Saul’s robe, and in the morning, David told Saul that he spared the King’s life, because Saul was anointed by God.

1 Samuel 25 : Samuel died, and he was buried at his home in Ramah. David sent his men to Nabal to request provisions, however, Nabal refused David’s request. In response, David armed his men and prepared to kill Nabal and all the men in Nabal’s family. While David was preparing to attack Nabal, Nabal’s wife, Abigail learned about her husband’s ill response. So, she secretly prepared food and water to appease David. When Abigail humbled herself before David and requested his mercy, her request was granted, and David did not attack Nabal. A few days later, Nabal suddenly died, and David married Abigail. We also learn that David had married Ahinoam of Jezreel, and that Saul had given David’s other wife, Michal, to Paltiel.

Week 4 (1 Samuel 26 – 2 Samuel 1)

Summary : David had a second opportunity to kill Saul, but again he spared Saul’s life. He did not have the authority to kill the Lord’s anointed. While David was living with the Philistines in Gath, Saul consulted the witch of Endor, who raised Samuel from the dead. The spirit of Samuel told Saul that Saul’s Kingdom would be given to Jesse and that Saul would soon die. Indeed, Saul became critically wounded in a battle with the Philistines and killed himself.

1 Samuel 26 : The Ziphites again betrayed David’s location to Saul. One night, David snuck into Saul’s camp and stole the spear and water jug that were next to Saul’s head. Again, David did not kill Saul, because Saul was God’s anointed King.

1 Samuel 27 : David decided to hide from Saul among the Philistines, so he went to Achish King of Gath. Achish trusted David and gave him the land of Ziklag to live in. While David lived among the Philistines, he raided many tribes and gained Achish’s favor.

1 Samuel 28 : Saul was afraid of the Philistines, so he sought out a medium in Endor to raise Samuel from the dead. The spirit of Samuel said that the Lord had departed Saul, because he failed to obey the Lord when he faced the Amalekites. Samuel also said that Saul and the army of the Israel would fall to the Philistines, and that Saul’s Kingdom would be given to David son of Jesse.

1 Samuel 29 : The other Philistine commanders did not feel comfortable fighting alongside David, so they told Achish to send David and his men home. Although Achish trusted David, Achish’s military commanders did not, so he commanded David to return to Ziklag.

1 Samuel 30 : When David returned to Ziklag, he discovered that the Amalekites had burned the city and taken captive all of the women and children. Therefore, David and his men searched out the Amalekites and destroyed them. David retrieved all of the women and children, and all of the all the stolen plunder. He chose to distribute the plunder to all of his men, even including the men who stayed behind in the Besor Ravine because they were too tired to fight against the Amalekites.

1 Samuel 31 : The Philistines were fighting against Israel, and they killed Saul’s sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malki-Shua, at Mount Bilboa. The Philistines also critically wounded Saul. In his distress, Saul killed himself with his own sword. Saul’s armor-bearer also killed himself. Thus, Samuel’s words were fulfilled that Saul would die and Israel would be handed to the Philistines.

2 Samuel 1 : An Amalekite reported to David that Saul was dead. This Amalekite claimed to have killed Saul himself. David executed this liar for supposedly killing the Lord’s anointed, and then he wrote a song of lament for Saul and Jonathan.

Week 5 (2 Samuel 2 – 2 Samuel 6)

Summary : David was first anointed King of Judah. Then, after the death of Ish-Bosheth, David was anointed King of all Israel. He conquered the city of Jerusalem and transported the ark of God to Jerusalem.

2 Samuel 2 : David settled in Hebron and was anointed King of Judah. Saul’s son, Ish-Bosheth, was anointed King of Israel. David’s army (led by his nephew, Joab) and Saul’s army (led by Abner), met at the pool of Gibeon and slaughtered one another. In the end, David’s men won. During this battle, Joab’s brother, Asahel, relentlessly chased Abner. When Asahel refused to stop his pursuit, Abner killed him with a spear. To revenge his brother, Joab and his men pursued Abner until Abner asked them to cease, at which point Joab’s army returned to Hebron.

Time + Conflict = Change

2 Samuel 3 : Over time, David’s House grew stronger, whereas Saul’s House grew weaker. The King of Israel, Ish-Bosheth, wrongly accused Abner of adultery. Therefore, Abner made a pact with David to transfer Israel to David’s Kingship, just like the Lord had promised. When David’s commander, Joab, learned that Abner visited David, and was allowed to leave in peace, he became angry. Joab wanted revenge for his brother’s death, so he deceived Abner into meeting him privately. Without consulting David, Joab murdered Abner. When David learned about Joab’s actions, David cursed Joab and mourned for Abner.

2 Samuel 4 : Two raiders killed Ish-Bosheth and brought the King’s head to David in Hebron. Because these men murdered an innocent King in his own bed, David executed the two raiders.

2 Samuel 5 : Following the death of Ish-Bosheth, David was anointed King of Israel. At this time, David was 30 years old. David also conquered Jerusalem (aka the City of David). David also took many more wives.

2 Samuel 6 : David and his men transported the ark of God to Jerusalem. According to God’s Laws (Exodus 25:10-16, Numbers 4:5,15), the ark was supposed to be carried using poles and covered with a cloth. However, David’s men used oxen to pull the ark of God on a cart. In route, Uzzah touched the ark, and God’s anger burned against him. Thus, God killed Uzzah. This frightened David, so instead of bringing the ark to Jerusalem, David brought it to Obed-Edom. While the ark was with the House of Obed-Edom, they were blessed by God. When David heard about the ark’s blessings, he transported the ark from Obed-Edom to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, David danced “with all his might” before the Lord and the ark. He also offered sacrifices and offerings to God. At home, Michal reprimanded David for his vulgar behavior, but David explained that is appropriate to be humiliated and undignified in the face of the Lord.

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