The Israelites Ask for a King

The Israelites Ask for a King

Israel’s first king, Saul, proves disobedient. He is succeeded by David, with whom God makes a covenant for an everlasting kingdom

AFTER the days of Samson, Samuel served as prophet and judge in Israel. The Israelites kept telling him that they wanted to be like other nations and have a human king over them. Although this request was an affront to Jehovah, he directed Samuel to comply. God selected a humble man named Saul to be king. In time, though, King Saul turned haughty and disobedient. Jehovah rejected him as king and told Samuel to appoint another—a young man named David. It would be years, though, before David would become king.

Likely when still in his teens, David visited his brothers who were serving in Saul’s army. The whole army was terrified of one enemy warrior, a giant named Goliath, who kept taunting them and their God. Indignant, David accepted the giant’s challenge to meet in combat. Armed with only a sling and a few stones, the young man went out to meet his opponent, who was over nine feet (almost 3 m) tall. When Goliath mocked him, David replied that he was better armed than the giant, for David fought in the name of Jehovah God! David felled Goliath with a single stone and then beheaded him with the giant’s own sword. The Philistine army fled in terror.

At first, Saul was impressed with David’s courage and placed the young man over his army. But David’s successes made Saul bitterly jealous. David had to flee for his life and live as a fugitive for years. Still, David remained loyal to the king who was trying to kill him, reasoning that King Saul had been appointed by Jehovah God. Finally, Saul died in battle. Before long, David became king, as Jehovah had promised.

“I shall certainly establish the throne of his kingdom firmly to time indefinite.”2 Samuel 7:13

As king, David dearly wished to build a temple to Jehovah. However, Jehovah told David that one of his descendants would do so. That turned out to be David’s son Solomon. God rewarded David, though, by making a thrilling covenant with him: His family line would produce a kingly dynasty unlike any other. Ultimately, it would produce the Deliverer, or Seed, promised in Eden. That one would be the Messiah, meaning “Anointed One,” appointed by God. Jehovah promised that the Messiah would be the Ruler of a government, or Kingdom, that would last forever.

Deeply grateful, David gathered vast quantities of building materials and precious metals for the temple project. He also composed many inspired psalms. Near the end of his life, David acknowledged: “The spirit of Jehovah it was that spoke by me, and his word was upon my tongue.”2 Samuel 23:2.

Based on 1 Samuel; 2 Samuel; 1 Chronicles; Isaiah 9:7; Matthew 21:9; Luke 1:32; John 7:42.