David and Bathsheba.
After Joshua’s conquest of the Promised Land of Canaan, it was substantially under the control of the Israelites. The Israelites moved into their Promised Land, settling-in and raising families in their land that was their promised gift from Yahweh, the God of Israel.
David’s ancestors, such as his great-great-grandparents Rahab and Salmon, lived during the notable time of Joshua’s armies obtaining control of the land of Canaan. Both Rahab and Salmon were instrumental in the conquest of Jericho, leading to Joshua’s successful take-over from the indigenous groups of Canaanites that occupied the land.
Even though Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute, she holds honor with the Israelite people, as she was instrumental in Joshuas army’s success. Working with the love of the Lord in her heart, Rahab protected the spies that came to scout out the ‘impenetrable’ city of Jericho. Because of Rahab’s courage to stand with the Israelites, Joshua and his men were able to conquer the city of Jericho and then move forward with future successes in Canaan.
Eventually some years later after Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, rule over the land evolved into a period of time known as the ‘Judges’. This era received its name due to the rule by as a series of judges who were chosen by God to govern His people. David’s great-grandparents, Ruth and Boaz lived in Bethlehem during this period of time, and were known for their extreme faith and dedication to the Lord.
During the time of settling the Promised Land, Israel did not have friendly neighbors around its borders, and was surrounded by many pagan nations. Even within the Promised Land, pockets of indigenous pagan Canaanites still existed in and among the Israelites who had settled after Joshua’s conquest. With this ‘incomplete conquering’ of Canaan and its inhabitants, the Israelites were exposed to many cultures, all who worshipped pagan entities.
Many Israelites intermarried with the native pagan Canaanites, even though this was against God’s commandments. As a result, this intermarriage, many Israelites adopted the Canaanite pagan culture and religion. This eventually led to many of the Israelites to turn away from God and to become idolatrous, pagan worshippers in order to ‘fit in’ with the people among them.
The pagan cultures surrounding the Israelites were wealthy and powerful. This especially seemed intriguing to the Israelites who had recently served as slaves in Egypt, prior to their exodus to the Promised Land under the leadership of Moses and Joshua.
The Israelites therefore tended to admire the other nations and cultures around them as these pagan cultures flourished with decadence and power. Seeing as these surrounding nations were governed by kings, who exuded prestige and opulence, the Israelites came to envy their way of life.
The period of Judges was characterized by the Israelites’ disobedience to God. The era described in the book of Judges had the typical, cyclical pattern of the Israelite people’s disobedience in their turning away from God, which resulted in God delivering them into the hands of their enemies who surrounded them.
The oppression that resulted then caused people to repent and temporarily turn back to God, but only for a while, as soon they would again become disobedient.
These cycles of turning away from the Lord, then back to Him again when oppression overcame them, is referred to as Deuteronomic cycles. This cyclic pattern was predicted and warned about in the Book of Deuteronomy.
During this period of time, God’s chosen judges attempted to govern and lead His people in order to avoid the havoc that resulted from the peoples’ disobedience.
However, as soon as a Judge would die, the people would again become disobedient and as a result turned further away from the Lord.
Being governed by Judges was not an ideal situation as far as the Israelites were concerned, and the people longed for a different kind of leader. Rebellious and envying other nations, the Israelite people turned from the Lord and longed for a monarchy. The Israelite people desperately wanted a king to rule over them.
Samuel was the last in a long line of the Judges, and served as God’s prophet to listen to His people. As Samuel became older, the people of Israel asked Samuel to give them a king to replace him to rule over them so that they could be similar to the other nations encompassing their borders.
Even though God knew that this would eventually be destructive to the nation of Israel, He complied with the people’s wish to be governed by a human king.
Pearl: This request by the people was actually disrespectful of the Lord, as it showed their lack of trust in the Almighty. The Lord was their king and He had consistently demonstrated how He had waged war for them and protected them throughout the centuries.
God actually anticipated His people’s desires to have a human king, as he saw how they desired to be like other nations and the pagan cultures around them. Even though it was against the Lord’s plan, he would allow them to choose their first king who would govern them.
How did the people choose a king?
The period of the Judges ended with Samuel as the last of Israel’s Judges, as well as one of the last of the many prophets in that era.
Even though Samuel would give up his role as a ruling judge, he still had a very important job to do for the Lord.
Samuel was chosen by God to be instrumental in bringing about the transition of Israel becoming a Monarchy through being the one who anointed Israel’s first-ever king.
However, Samuel was hesitant to follow the people’s request of granting them a human king, and asked the Lord for direction.
Samuel prayed and God answered him by saying,
“Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then obey their voice, only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”
(1 Samuel 8:7-9)
From these verses, it is apparent that the Lord was obviously displeased and saddened with the people’s request for a king, as He himself was their king.
God was also displeased because His people aspired to be like other nations, as God’s people were designed by the Almighty to be unique!
Since Creation, God had governed His people through giving His Word through priests, judges and prophets. Most importantly, Israel was His ‘chosen nation.’
Now, God’s people were turning away from Him once again.
Importantly, Israel was not to be like other nations and through the Laws given to Moses, God’s treasured people were to be different. Other nations were fraught with immoral practices,
including the worship of pagan idols. Other nations’ people did not have belief and faith in the one, true God of Israel.
God protected and loved His people, whereas the pagan gods of other nations were false and useless. The Israelites now wanted to exchange their uniqueness of worshipping the one true God for the things of world, such as a king who would condone the practice of idolatry and not uphold Mosaic Law.
All because the Israelite people had envied the Canaanites who had remained after the conquest of the Promise Land. They had succumbed to the materialistic temptations of this world and now they wanted to be just like the pagan Canaanites.
The Israelites thought that having a king would make them powerful, and would give them ‘status’ among other nations that surrounded their borders.
Pearl: God’s answer to the people’s request for a human king was to have Samuel give them a king, in the person of Saul.
Saul would become Israel’s first king.
Saul from the tribe of Benjamin was actually slated only to be a temporary ruler. The permanent ruler of Israel was destined to come from the tribe of Judah, as was stated in Jacob’s blessing (Genesis 49:10). The choice of Saul being of the tribe of Benjamin is hinted at in Jacob’s prophecy to his son, Benjamin, “and kings will come out of your loins”, referring to Saul who was a descendent of Benjamin (Genesis 35:11).
However, due to the conditions under which this king was requested, the Lord only would appoint His temporary ruler for His people until the proper time came for a king of God’s own choosing.
In reference to Saul, the first king of Israel, the prophet Hosea said of the word of God,
“He destroys you, O Israel, for you are against me, against your helper. Where now is your king, to save you in all your cities?
Where are all your rulers – those of whom you said, Give me a king and princes?
I gave them a king in My anger, and I took him away in My wrath.” (Hosea 13:11)
Israel had asked for the wrong king of king (1 Samuel 8:4-9) when they asked for a king to rule them. They wanted to exchange their unique glory as people of the Almighty God, for status in the world.
But for now, against God’s warnings, Saul was appointed the first king of Israel.
The Israelites were pleased with their new king and looked forward to being a monarchy. After all, Saul was impressive and looked-the-part, as he was handsome and tall. He was the epitome of a leader in appearance, but we shall see this was in appearance only.
As for Saul,
“There was a Benjamite, a man of standing, whose name was Kish son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bekorath, the son of Aphiah of Benjamin. Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else.”
(1 Samuel 9:1-5)
God will however eventually reject Saul from being king of Israel.
Saul demonstrated many character-flaws not fitting of a king, including lack of leadership and true caring for his people. His main flaw however, being his disobedience and rebelliousness of the will of the Lord, lead to his ultimate demise.
In time, God directed Samuel, the prophet, to anoint the King of Israel of God’s choosing, rather than man’s choosing.
David the shepherd-boy, son of Jesse, grandson of Obed and the great-grandson of Ruth, the Moabitess, and Boaz of the tribe of Judah, will be God’s future choice for the King of Israel.
Through the lineage of David, God will work to further His ultimate promise of the coming Messiah.
Jesus Christ, a descendant of David will fulfill God’s promise of salvation for humanity, and will be the Messiah of Israel and of the world.
Isaiah 11:1-16, entitled The Righteous Reign of the Branch, “ The Messiah will transform the world,” describes the Messiah’s triumph over evil,
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.” (Isaiah 11:1-5)
The reference to Jesse, David’s father who is of the lineage of Judah, indicates that the Messiah will come from the heir of David. This verse continues the theme found in Isaiah 7:10- 14, and Isaiah 9:1-7.
Isaiah, in 11:1-5, portrays the Messiah as a shoot growing from a stump remaining after God’s judgment against the Israelites’ first choice of their king. The Messiah, descending from Jesse, unlike humanity before him, will bear the fruit of a new world.
The apostle Paul refers to this verse in Isaiah when he talks about the “armor of God” in Ephesians 6. The parallel Paul makes is to ‘put on’ the armor, meaning to put on or ‘wear’ the Messiah, Jesus Christ, as spiritual warfare against evil.
(Ephesians 6:11, 13-14)
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. “
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand firm.
Stand therefore having fastened on the belt of truth and having put on the breastplate of righteousness and as hoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.”
Pearl: As God’s choice for the King of Israel, what would turn out to be David’s legacy?
We will see that he was a great leader and protector of his people, an esteemed warrior, and even a great politician.
However, of paramount importance in regards to David’s legacy, was that he had a heart for the Lord.
“For the LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16:7)
Ultimately, as part of God’s Masterplan, through David’s offspring will come God’s promised savior for humanity, Jesus Christ.
The step-by-step unfolding of God’s plan, first realized in King David, and later fulfilled in the promised son of David, the Savior Jesus Christ, is summed up by the Apostle Paul in Acts 13:17-23,
“The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. And for about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness.
And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance.
All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.
Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul, the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin for forty years.
And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king of whom he testified and said, I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.
Of this man’s offspring, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus as he promised.”
God fulfilled many promises to the leaders of Israel, especially to David and his Messianic heir.
As God stated in His Covenant with David, He promised the Eternal Throne through the Davidic Dynasty,
“I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.
And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.”
(2 Samuel 7:12-16 ~ The Davidic Covenant
The arrival in history of the son of David, the one who will rule on the Eternal Throne forever, is stated in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
As Matthew writes in his Gospel, the making of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, stems from David.
Matthew demonstrates Jesus’ legal Jewish claim to the throne, emphasizing Jesus’ legal descent from David and Abraham.
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1:1)
Pearl: Throughout Biblical history Jews kept extensive genealogical records in order to establish a person’s heritage, rights and inheritance. Due to his background as a tax collector before becoming a disciple of Jesus, Matthew had extensive scribal and record-keeping skills. As a Galilean Jewish-Christian, he was also well versed in the Hebrew Bible and in Messianic prophecy.
Therefore Matthew’s writing of Jesus’ descent from David draws from Hebrew Messianic expectations, and emphasizes Jesus’ legal claim to the throne of Israel and eternity through David.
Matthew’s opening words in his Gospel carried special significance to the Jewish people, as their ancestry was importantly intertwined with the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants.
The name Jesus (Greek: Iesous) was most likely not used by Matthew, as this was the everyday name for Jesus’ Hebrew name of Yeshua or Yehoshua (Joshua), meaning “Yahweh saves” (Nehemiah 7:7, Matthew 1:21).
As stated in Matthew 1:1, Jesus is known as Jesus Christ, where Christ (Greek: Christos) is derived from the Hebrew word mashiakh, (mashiach/messiah), meaning ‘anointed’ leader by God. This is especially significant as the word anointed points back to David as the anointed King of Israel. The designation of Messiah harkens back to Hebrew Bible prophecy in the promise of an anointed one who would righteously rule God’s people as stated in the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:11-16).
Through Matthew stating that Jesus is a son of David, the Jewish people would have had images of a Messiah with the royal lineage from David, who would rule in eternity.
Jesus Himself mentions He is from the lineage of David in the Revelation to John, stating that He is both David’s son and his Lord, the source of his royalty,
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and descendent of David, the bright morning star.”
In mentioning that Jesus was also a son of Abraham, Matthew reaffirmed to the Jewish people the Abrahamic Covenant where God’s calling and Covenant with Abraham established Israel as a ‘chosen people’. What was also implied and is exegeted Matthew’s rendition of Jesus’ genealogy in his authored Gospel, is the Lord’s promise that the whole world (all nations) would be blessed through Abraham’s line as was written in Genesis 12:1-3; 22:18.
“I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.”
“and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed because you have obeyed my voice.”
Luke, in his Gospel also claims Jesus’ descent from David. In contradistinction to Matthew’s account, Luke emphasizes Jesus’ biological descent from David and Adam.
Pearl: The promise of God to Abraham (the Abrahamic Covenant) saying that his descendants will be a blessing to all nations is fulfilled in the Davidic Covenant and ultimately with the coming of Jesus Christ with the New Covenant.
God made a covenant with Abraham saying,
“Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them. So shall your offspring be.”
“Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.
I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you.
And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant.” (Genesis 17:4-7)
With the above background and context, we now will delve deep into the life of David. By first- hand experiencing his joys, trials, sins, and ultimately his repentance, we will come to see his complete surrender to Almighty God.
Importantly, we will also take a behind-the-scenes approach to the life of Bathsheba, as she is wife of David who produced the offspring who is in the ancestral line of Jesus.
Through Scripture, we will begin to understand the Lord’s intentions as to why David was His chosen son to be a prominent figure in the enduring dynasty from which the ultimate Messiah, Jesus Christ, the savior of humanity will spring forth, bringing blessings to all nations.
As an integral part of God’s divine Masterplan is that through David and Bathsheba, He is preparing the way for the ultimate salvation of humanity through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Other Ebooks by Dr. Jana Jones McDowell
Jana Jones McDowell DVM, DAVCA, DAVECC has spent a lifetime practicing Veterinary Medicine and former Professor at a College of Veterinary Medicine.
A Christian, Dr. Jones began her research into Biblical studies a number of years ago, focusing on “context.”
Her research revolves around the “context,” with the study and application of the Judaica Books of the Prophets and the Hagiographa (A new English translation of the Hebrew Masoretic text and commentaries by Rashi and other Rabbinical scholars), and the books of the Midrash Rabbah. The basis of this was the exegesis of the Hebrew bible with application to the origins of Christianity.
Now retired, Dr. Jones spends time researching and applying the depth of her studies into books and as a student of the Israel Bible Center, studying deeper into Jewish context and the application to Christianity.
Dr. Jones and her husband, reside in the southwest with their horses, bengal cat named Ravi and their border collie, Sarah.