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Hebrew king who ruled 1000-961 B.C. A shepherd boy, he was the son of Jesse, a Bethlehemite (Ruth 4:22). He was introduced to the court of King Saul because of his skill as a harpist. Then he achieved unexpected fame in his duel with Goliath, when he killed the gigantic soldier with a slingshot (I Samuel 17). His feats as a warrior continued to win him such admiration that Saul felt overshadowed and tried to kill David (I Samuel 18:6-11). The latter had to flee and become a roving outlaw with a band of soldiers he organized (I Samuel 19). After Saul and his sons died (I Samuel 31:6), David became King of both Judah and Israel for a period of forty years (II Samuel 5:4-5). Perhaps his most historic achievement was the capture of Jerusalem from the Philistines and its establishment as the religious capital of all Israel. The most shameful episode in David's life was his conspiracy to kill Uriah the Hittite in order to marry his widow, Bath-Sheba. Nathan, the prophet, delivered Yahweh's stern rebuke to David for this crime. As a punishment, Bath-Sheba's child died within a week of its birth. A later son of David and Bath-Sheba, however, was accepted by Yahweh and lived to become King Solomon (II Samuel 11, 12). David's life was a mixture of good and evil, but the judgment of history has been that, on balance, he was a great king, loyal to Yahweh, a great military figure, and a resourceful administrator (I Kings 2:12).
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.