Wednesday, October 15, 2008

David

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Although King David was not the first king of Israel (King Saul was the first), he is the most famous. In fact, he is considered to be the ideal Jewish king--pious, scholarly, philosophical, poetic and a victorious warrior.

There are far too many episodes in David’s life to fit into any one Jewish Treat, so let us begin with the origins of King David:

The eighth son of Jesse (Yishai) and Nitzevet, David could almost be called an after-thought to the family. According to the Midrash Yalkut Hamechiri, he was conceived after his parents had separated, when his mother disguised herself in order to be with her estranged husband. Her pregnancy was thus looked upon with great (but unfounded) suspicion.

After King Saul lost his right to the throne by disobeying a direct commandment from God, the Prophet Samuel was led to Bethlehem in the territory of Judah to find the next king. Since God had instructed him that the next king would be a son of Jesse, Samuel invited the family to an offering ceremony. David was not even called in from the field. Jesse’s seven elder sons were all tall and robust, but God rejected each of them. Only when Samuel inquired about any other children, did they call David from the field. When David appeared, “ruddy, with fine eyes, and good looking” (I Samuel 16:12), God instructed Samuel to anoint him.

This first anointing of David as king was not public, and David would not be recognized as king until Saul died several years later.

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