David, a shepherd, was the son of Jesse of Bethlehem. He was anointed by Samuel to be successor to Saul who was first king of the united Israel. David entered Saul’s service as a musician, but when David defeated Goliath, the Philistine champion, Saul became jealous. Soon Saul tried to kill David, but Saul’s son Jonathan, who was David’s close friend, helped him to escape. David lived as an outlaw for a time. Once Saul entered a cave where David was hiding. Instead of killing Saul, David secretly clipped off the corner of Saul’s robe, showing his loyalty to the king. Eventually, Saul died in battle with the Philistines, the men of Judah made David their king.
After winning a war against the followers of Saul’s son, David was chosen as ruler by all the tribes of Israel. His reign began in 1000 BC. He captured Jerusalem and made it his capital. David broke the Philistine power, united the country, brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, and established Jerusalem as the religious center. He committed adultery with Bathsheba, but repented. He was forced to flee from Jerusalem when his son Absalom rebelled, but when Absalom was killed, David grieved deeply. Shortly before David died, he indicated that his son Solomon should succeed him on the throne. God promised David that one of his sons would always be on the throne, and the New Testament finds this promise fulfilled in Jesus.