In both books, Samuel I and Samuel II, King David is depicted as a true, but imperfect, example of an ideal king. When David was first introduced, he was a young boy, but quickly proved himself to be a strong leader, as he defeated Goliath, the giant. But as he takes his role as king, and gets older, his judgment and decisions aren’t always smart ones. I believe as a moral and political leader, King David was a good king, despite his sinful nature, and there is a lot to learn from his kingship.
King David’s decisions showed he was a decisive and an effective king. He captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites and took it for his own home. (Samuel II: Chapter 5, 6-7) 6: And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke unto David, saying: ‘Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither’; thinking: ‘David cannot come in hither. ‘ 7: Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion; the same is the city of David.
By David going and taking over the city of Jerusalem, it shows how he his a committed leader, and that he wanted to take this city and transform it to the capital of the holy land. In god’s eyes, this must be an extremely powerful act, as David is truly showing his loyalty to Hashem. We can also conclude that by David winning this battle, he must be a strong military leader. Despite some of the eventual imperfections of David, he still defeated his enemies and because of that the nation prospered. One of his great displays of devotion to God would be when he brought the ark from the house of Abinadab to Jerusalem. Samuel II: Chapter 6, 15-16) 15: So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the horn. 16: And it was so, as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, This showed the people of Jerusalem his devotion to God, and he openly displayed his devotion by bringing it openly. David was aware how the Ark of the Covenant was most sacred and powerful item to his people, so by bringing it to Jerusalem, people would give him more support and recognize him for being a strong religious leader.
Even though we study today that this wasn’t the best way for David to prove he is a good religious leader, we still look up to him, as his purpose is what really counts. I believe a lot of us could learn from that, to be more open in our worship and show our devotion publicly to God. I believe David’s heart was in the right place and God knew that, that is why he blessed him in his reign. David wanted to build a house for the Lord, but instead God built a house for him. (Samuel II: Chapter 7, 5-6) 5: Go and tell My servant David: Thus said the Lord: Shalt thou build Me a house for Me to dwell in? : for I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. God made a covenant with David in which God promised to make David a great and everlasting dynasty. David showed great devotion to the lord, but fell short of his glory. The lord saw he was whole-heartedly devoted to him and therefore he made an everlasting covenant with David. I believe it was David’s “good intentions” that God did not see David’s his sinful nature, because God doesn’t expect perfection, just devotion.
The fact that David acted in a way that he constantly dedicated himself to God, and tried to do the right thing, is what God saw him for, and we can learn from that because people have a sinful nature sometimes, but God still cares for us. I think it is important to remember David was a human, granted he had responsibilities as a King, but he shouldn’t have been expected to be perfect. Like all humans, he had weaknesses, which got him into trouble. David had several “downfalls” in his reign.
One example of David’s downfalls is when he committed adultery. (Samuel II: 11, 4) 4: And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness; and she returned unto her house. This act is perhaps one of the reasons why people have controversy over David, and if he was a “good” king or not. I believe it can be compared to that of the incident of our president Clinton. David was a human like Clinton and, given they were leaders who represented a nation, were both human.
My point is that pressures are put on those with power and people expect them to be perfect when really they are not that different from us. I’m not saying that what they did was okay, but I’m just trying to understand it more. It was a sin, what they did, but God knew their hearts, and in David’s case the Lord still blessed him. I believe the greatest thing we can observe from King David would be that God called him a king after his own heart. (Samuel I: Chapter 13, 14) But now your kingdom shall not continue.
The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you The fact that God says this, and understands that David is a man of heart, is the most significant to learn from all of David’s actions. It was the fact that David was willing to confess his wrongdoings and admit his sins, then repent that saved him, and showed God his devotion to him. I admire David’s whole heartedness and I believe that is the most important thing I’ve learned from him.