From Shepherd to King

God promised David the kingship over Israel. Yet it took more than 20 years for that promise to be realized.

Born in Bethlehem of Judea, David was the youngest of eight sons (1 Sam. 16:1, 10–11). As a boy he served as a shepherd; and once, in a show of bravery and faith in God, he killed a lion and bear to defend his father Jesse’s flock (17:34–36).

As instructed by God, Samuel the prophet anointed David king when David was about 12 years old (16:1–13). About five years later, David faced the Philistine giant Goliath and again demonstrated bravery and faith (17:1–49). During this period he served King Saul by playing his harp in the royal court.

As David matured, he eventually commanded men in battle. However, David’s popularity and heroic exploits awakened Saul’s jealousy (18:1–9). Seeing he was in constant danger of being killed by Saul, he fled.

According to some scholars, David may have been between 21 and 30 when these events occurred. Hunted like an animal, he wandered the land and looked for safe havens. During those lonely years, David may have wondered if God’s promise would ever be realized. He may also have composed Psalms 6, 7, and 11 during this difficult time.

Saul and his three sons eventually died in a battle with the Philistines at Mount Gilboa (1 Sam. 31:3–6). Still in exile, David mourned for them (2 Sam. 1:17–27).

It was probably in 1011 B.C. when David was finally crowned king of Judah (2:1–4). He was 30 years old. Seven years later, at 37, he was crowned king over all of Israel (5:1–5).

God moved His servant David from shepherding a flock to shepherding His Chosen People. The process took time, but God is ever faithful to keep His promises.

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