New Catholic Dictionary – David

detail from an illumination on parchment by André Beauneveu, 1402, Bibliothèque Nationale, ParisArticle

Prophet and king of Israel, born Bethlehem, c.1085 B.C.; died Jerusalem, c.1015 B.C. The son of Jesse, and a shepherd-boy, he was anointed by the prophet Samuel in place of Saul, whom God had rejected. When Saul was ill, David was brought to soothe him by playing on his harp; in reward he was made Saul’s armor-bearer. During the Philistine war, David, relying on God, slew the giant Goliath and won the friendship of Jonathan, son of Saul. He then received a permanent position at court, and married Michol, daughter of Saul, but Saul’s jealousy of his popularity forced him into exile. He married Abigail as his second wife. When Saul and Jonathan fell at Gilboa, David, by God’s command, went up to Hebron to claim the throne. He was supported by Juda, but the rest of Israel, led by Abner, was faithful to Isobeth, son of Saul. At Hebron six sons were born to him, including Amnon, Absalom, and Adonias. At Isobeth’s death David was accepted by all Israel. By his successful wars David made Israel an independent state, established his capital in Jerusalem, and transported thither the Ark of the Covenant. During the Ammonite war David sinned with Bethsabee, wife of Urias, and married her after indirectly murdering Urias. The intensity of his contrition for this crime brought him God’s pardon and made him a model for penitents. His pardon was followed, however, by heavy crosses; Amnon’s incest and Absalom’s fratricide, rebellion, and death caused him shame and sorrow. The last days of his thirty-three years’ reign in Jerusalem were disturbed by the ambition of Adonias to prevent the succession of Solomon, his son by Bethsabee. He was buried on Mount Sion. His prophecies embodied in the Psalms are literally Messianic, and he himself as a great theocratic king typifies the Messias. Feast, 29 December.

MLA Citation

  • “David”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 24 October 2012. Web. 27 January 2022. <>