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David, a Youth Who Was Initially Not Reckoned With in His Family

Updated on February 5, 2020
OGUNDARE OLUSEGUN profile image

Studying the bible is always good. For years, I have been studying the bible and I found it wonderful

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This write up on David is centered on his early stage in life. The other phases of his life namely: marital, troubled (or challenges passed through with the King), kingship periods and others are not under the purview of this brief write-up. I trust that you will gain one or two things from this short exposition on one of the most famous persons who ever lived in the land of Israel.

History About him in Brief

Chabad.com says, David was given birth to in Bethlehem, in the land of Judah in the year 2854 (904 BCE) during the era of Samuel the prophet. He was the youngest of eight children mentioned in first Samuel (1Sa. 17:12-15). But in the book of first chronicle 2:13-15 only seven was mentioned. The new Westminster dictionary of the bible says of this documentation that one of them may have died without issue which makes the author not to mention his name the sons of Bethlehemite.

He was only 10 generations removed from Judah, one of Jacob's 12 sons and a descendant of Ruth, the renowned Moabite convert.

A red-cheeked, bright-eyed and handsome young man, he used to tend to the sheep of his father, Jesse.

He has at least two sisters: Zeruiah and Abigail. The bible though did not make mention of his mother’s name, but the Talmud identifies her mother as Nitzevet, a daughter of a man named Adael.

Online Wikipedia says this of David that the Hebrew bible describes him as the third king of the United Monarchy of Israel and Judah after Ishbosheth (2Sa. 2:10). He was a young shepherd whose fame started rising when he was singing for the king, albeit after killing goliath the enemies of Israel his fame rose to the heavens.

Historians of the Ancient Near East agree that David probably existed around 1000 BCE, but they cannot say much about him as a historical figure. Historians earlier on believed that there is no evidence about him apart from those written in the bible. However, their beliefs were negated when they found the Tel-Dan-Stele, an inscribed stone erected by a king of Damascus in the late 9th/early 8th centuries BCE to memorialize his triumph over two enemy kings contain the phrase in Hebrew: ביתדוד‎, bytdwd, which most scholars translated as “House of David”.

David is well represented in post-biblical Jewish written and oral tradition, and he is copiously made mention of in the New Testament. Early Christians traced Jesus genealogy to David. He is made mention of in the Quran too.

David’s Meaning

The name David in Hebrew is written as “דּויד דּוד”, Romanized form is dâvid dâvı̂yd (phonetic spelling is daw-veed', daw-veed') which means loving. The new Westminster dictionary of the bible says, it means beloved. The term “dawidum” was in common use along the Upper Euphrates, around 1700 BC, meaning chieftain.

David Prior Samuel’s Commanded Sacrifice

David has been unknown all this while as well as his family members. This is because most of the times if not all the times, documentations are always focused on the leader of a country, rich people in the country and I presume this is also the practice till date among the journalists all over the world.

This also entered the church, and much focus has been on the people who have made it in the society neglecting the poor ones who have one way, or another saved the town as the author of the book of Ecclesiastes says.

There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:

Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.

Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. (Ecc 9:14-16)

Therefore, the people of the world also strive to become big at all cost in the world, that is why we are witnessing so many atrocities here and there, because people are concerned with the means of making it and wouldn’t mind to take dubious means to attain their goals, “let just be one of the people that would be regularly mentioned in the society” they would say.

However, when King Saul misbehaved and God was pissed off of his leadership, he decided to bring another person to the limelight and the person he has sought out was David. However, David could not be brought to limelight without his family’s involvement, thus, God asked his prophet, Samuel, to go through his parents, his lineage.

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(a) Invitation to the Sacrifice

The prophet after hearing what the Lord says, sent message to Jesse that there would be special sacrifice in his house, and he must ensure that all his sons were present at the sacrifice.

And the LORD said unto Samuel, how long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. (1 Sa 16:1)

(b) David’s Name was Omitted

Jesse received the message for the sacrifice, but David was conscientiously left out of those to be invited for the sacrifice by his father, perhaps because he was the youngest son of all his sons.

Jesse received the message and gathered his sons together, but he omitted David because he does not consider him important being at the sacrifice that time.

He did not consider him important to be there because much focus is always on the first son in the land of Israel, that was what Isaac wanted to do with Esau (Gen 27:1-4) and all bible students would remember what Jacob also said of Rueben his first son (Gen 49:3). Prophet Moses in his accounts in the book of Deuteronomy clarifies it by saying that double portion of all inheritances belong to the first son.

But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his. (Deu 21:17)

Thus, Jesse did not think the issue of the special sacrifice would involve his last son, who of course wasn’t around then, perhaps left for the work very early in the morning and he decides that he should be left alone to continue with his work, the family’s work, since his elder ones are soldiers, it may be a kind of protective offering or sacrifices for the family, and those who needed such most are the senior children because they always go to the battle field with the King.

And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, there remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.

And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.

Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, send me David thy son, which is with the sheep. (1 Sa 16:11-12 & 19)

Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul.

And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.

And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul.

But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem. (1 Sam 17:12-15)

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(c) He Was Omitted Perhaps Because of His Age

The bible says David was in his youthful age when he fought with the giant, Goliath.

And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. (1 Sa. 17:42)

Since his three brothers were already enlisted in the army of Israel and according to the law given unto them, before a man would be enlisted in the army, he would have attained the age of 20 years and above. It is logical to say that he was under 20 years of age.

From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies. (Num 1:3)

e-bible.com and gotquestions.org while explaining the likely age of the young boy says, if three of his elder brothers were already in the army and he was the least of them all, assuming he was given birth to by the same mother who gave birth to his elder brothers, with no children in between them, that is those sisters we read of, of Jesse family, it is logical to assume that the young man would be in between age 10 and 15 years when he was anointed by Prophet Samuel.

This we can corroborate with what Jacob did when he sent Joseph to his brethren who were in the field looking after the cattle and sheep. It was stated that he was aged 17 then.

These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. (Gen. 37:2)

This means at this age, fathers do not unnecessarily expose their children to war, most importantly that the law itself has said that they should not be exposed to war at this age.

Having arrived at what his age would likely be at this time, it is logical to say that the young man was deliberately exempted from the list of those who shall be consecrated for the sacrifice by his father because of his age, for he does not see the need for him to be included neither invited for the special sacrifice.

(d) He Takes Care of Himself Regularly

Though he was a shepherd, young shepherd, yet he was said to be very handsome. This means that the youth takes time to take care of himself, his physique, his health.

And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. (1 Sa 16:12)

A person who has received an emergency message from his father that he needs to be with them as soon as possible could not have time to bathe neither do some cleanup before he gets to where the Prophet and his other siblings were. This shows that the young man has been regularly taken care of himself and he has not lost touch with beautifying himself.

It is appalling to say that many people do not take care of themselves most importantly those of us who are males we would be saying that beauty is for those who are ladies and we need not look clean and handsome.

This young man shows us otherwise, that irrespective of the work we are doing we need to take care of ourselves, we need to be looking neat and clean always.

Here, we shall note that the family was yet to be popular neither rich, but at that he ensures that what they have he was living within the means of it, to take care of himself, look well and neat. We should learn to live within our resources, within our means and via that be taken care of ourselves.

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(e) Shepherding

He had been overseeing animals without issues in the desert, ensuring that all animals were accounted for on each occasion, even if it means putting his life at risks to see that this is achieved. Thus, he had to confront and kill dangerous animals without notifying anyone in his family.

And David said unto Saul, thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:

And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.

Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.

David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee. (1 Sa 17:34-37)

One of the responsibilities of a good leader is ensuring that he properly looks after his followers, without announcing it to the world. But today, contrary is the case, we see our so many preachers and pastors telling their congregations how they have spent several days on the mountain for their sakes, how they have fasted for so and so length of days and months for their sakes, and thus they need to compensate them for this, they need to increase what they are given as offering

amongst other things because of their sacrifices on the congregation.

David couldn’t say this to anyone, neither could it say it to the cattle and sheep that he was overseeing for saying it to animals does he expect them to give him something for that? He waits and believes that his reward would only come from God, he believes that though his siblings and parents were not seeing but God was seeing him and whatsoever he does then would be fully repaid back by God when it is time. And this indeed happened, for he was repaid beyond his imaginations at the right time.

David and siblings
David and siblings | Source

(f) Siblings’ Disposition

His siblings’ disposition to his shepherding was that it was normal thing, after all they had pass through the stage too, perhaps with their father and or with some other colleagues. But David’s case was different for he faced the situation alone during his days and what he experienced, they perhaps did not experience for such is life, what a person would experience others may not experience it, even if they have passed through the path before.

David Anointed by Samuel
David Anointed by Samuel

David After the Sacrifice

When he got to the venue of the sacrifice and he was anointed before his brethren, his brethren yet did not attach much importance to what has happened perhaps because there was yet a king on the throne and except a king dies, another king cannot be enthroned.

Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah. (1 Sa 16:13)

His brethren confirm what Jesus says that a prophet is without an honor except among his own people.

And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. (Mat 13:57)

His brethren were looking at him and relating with him as they were before, the least of them, and he also was not proud he lives and behaves himself normally.

However, people outside their family have noticed the difference that has come upon him and could recommend him to the king when the king was passing through some psychological breakdowns.

Then answered one of the servants, and said, behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him.

Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, send me David thy son, which is with the sheep. (1 Sa. 16:18-19)

May I say that, your brethren, your siblings and those you normally relate with may not note anything spectacular about you at the inception of your life, all you need to do is continue to do what is right, continue to follow the Lord, because at the right time he himself will promote you. But when you want to prove that you have become something, then you will be abased.

David at the Battle-field

After the sacrifice and anointing, and in fact the invitation to be playing for the king for his healing, this does not send a signal to his siblings or perhaps if it does it wasn’t strong enough for their reactions on the warfront, one of the most historical wars Israelites fought according to the bible shows this, because they antagonized him.

And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.

And David said, what have I now done? Is there not a cause? (1 Sa. 17:28-29)

Even at this point he neither despise nor revile his elder ones, all he said was there is a cause for everything in life and that nothing happens per accident.

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Some of us on noticing and hearing something like this from our people we would have flared up and rain on them abusive words, telling them that have they forgotten what happened before as if they were dummies.

How we react to what people say matters, how we react show the kind of spirit we have in us, and it shows whether people will want to be associated with us or leave us alone.

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Outcome of Silencing Goliath

It was after silencing Goliath that his fame started coming out and he started gaining recognition among his siblings and in fact among the entire people of the nation.

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You Can Also Break Limitations

Are you yet to be recognized among your siblings? Are you still struggling to get your articles published? Is your business still at the lowest ebb despite all trials? To this and other negative things that you perhaps may be passing through and which you have been looking unto God for assistance, I want to tell you that you should keep trying because it is the person who braces himself or herself up and continue to do what he knows how to do, what he has been trained to do and keeps improving on himself daily, that is the person who shall break limitations and would gain recognition among the people, but if you backed out now, the wisest king in his words in the book of Proverbs says, your power is limited.

If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. (Pro. 24:10)

People also say, “winners do not quit, and quitters do not win”. Do you wish to win? Then keep improving yourself, keep trying you are nearer the days of your manifestations than before.

David broke limitations at the end of it all, what has been eluding him for long he possessed back, his siblings and others started reckoning with him and he after all said and done became a world figure till date.

© 2020 OLUSEGUN

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