David is the most popular hero of the Bible, his story is told in The First and in the Second Books of Samuel. He descended from the tribe of Judah, started his career as a shepherd, and was anointed by the prophet Samuel, 'And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward' (1 Samuel 16:13).
At the age of 18 David was admitted to king Saul’s entourage as a musician. The main concern of the king was the war with the Philistines, among whom fought the giant Goliath. David asked Saul’s permission to fight Goliath. David killed Goliath with a stone thrown from his sling and then beheaded him with Goliath's own sword. On seeing this the Philistine army fled.
See:Caravaggio David with the Head of Goliath, David with the Head of Goliath.
Rembrandt. David Playing the Harp before Saul, David Presenting the Head of Goliath to King Saul.
Titian David and Goliath.
victory, Saul made David a military commander and began to give him many
serious and dangerous tasks. Saul was jealous and afraid of David's popularity,
youth, strength, cleverness and hoped that during some of the battles he
would be killed. Meanwhile David found sympathy and support in Saul's own
family: the friendship with Saul's son Jonathan
lasted till the death of the latter, and Saul's daughter Michal
fell in love with David. She became David's wife and helped him to escape
her father's attempt to kill him. After several attempts on his life, David
fled to Samuel, where Saul did not dare arrest him.
See: Cima da Conegliano. David and Jonathan.
Rembrandt. Departing of David and Jonathan
found out about David's situation 'and everyone who was discontented, gathered
to him; and he became captain to them' (1 Samuel 22:2). Thus David became
an outlaw and a leader of his personal army. There was an episode when
David could have killed Saul, when the latter was alone and unarmed, but
he refused to take advantage of the situation.
See: Count Feodor Tolstoy. David Refuses to Kill Sleeping Saul.
managed to surround Saul with all his sons on the Mount Gilboa; the sons
were killed, to avoid capture Saul fell on his own sword. When David found
out about their death he mourned for them.
See: Jean Fouquet. Report of Saul's Death to David.
Saul’s death David became the king and unified his kingdom by capturing
Jerusalem. He made it his capital, constructed the royal palace there.
He is considered to be a great musician of the time and the author of the
Book of Psalms.
David had many wives, the most important of them were: Michal, daughter of Saul; Abigal, who was able to calm David’s anger; Bathsheba, who gave birth to the next King of Jews, Solomon.
See: Ferdinand Bol. David's Dying Charge to Solomon.
Andrea del Castagno. The Youthful David.
Lucas Cranach the Elder David and Bathsheba.
Nicolas Poussin The Triumph of David.
Andrea del Verrocchio David, David.