David and Bathsheba
Let's read the story. Read II Samuel 11:1-5, 14-17, 27; 12:1-7, 13. This represents the core of the first events in the story of David and Bathsheba.
2 Samuel 11
1 In the spring, when kings go off to war, David sent Joab, along with his servants and all the Israelites, and they destroyed the Ammonites, attacking the city of Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
2 One evening, David got up from his couch and was pacing back and forth on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. 3 David sent someone and inquired about the woman. The report came back: “Isn’t this Eliam’s daughter Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 So David sent messengers to get her. When she came to him, he had sex with her. Then she returned home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to David. “I’m pregnant,” she said.
14 The next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 He wrote in the letter, “Place Uriah at the front of the fiercest battle, and then pull back from him so that he will be struck down and die.”
16 So as Joab was attacking the city, he put Uriah in the place where he knew there were strong warriors. 17 When the city’s soldiers came out and attacked Joab, some of the people from David’s army fell. Uriah the Hittite was also killed.
26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband Uriah was dead, she mourned for her husband. 27 After the time of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her back to his house. She became his wife and bore him a son. But what David had done was evil in the Lord’s eyes.
2 Samuel 12
1 So the Lord sent Nathan to David. When Nathan arrived he said, “There were two men in the same city, one rich, one poor. 2 The rich man had a lot of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing—just one small ewe lamb that he had bought. He raised that lamb, and it grew up with him and his children. It would eat from his food and drink from his cup—even sleep in his arms! It was like a daughter to him.
4 “Now a traveler came to visit the rich man, but he wasn’t willing to take anything from his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had arrived. Instead, he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the visitor.”
5 David got very angry at the man, and he said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lordlives, the one who did this is demonic! 6 He must restore the ewe lamb seven times over because he did this and because he had no compassion.”
7 “You are that man!” Nathan told David. “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: I anointed you king over Israel and delivered you from Saul’s power.
13 “I’ve sinned against the Lord!” David said to Nathan.
1. The tale is familiar. Some sages argue she was destined for David despite the seeming unethical nature of it all, both his liaison with her and his treatment of Uriah. Commentators find fault with Uriah, but really….God judges David harshly as having sinned, having done evil in the eyes of God. 11:27. Again, sages rush to defend David, though it rather sickens me to read it. Rashi, really….
2. The story shifts, as it must, to his repentance.
Rebuke and Repentance
1. It’s important to note that this awful story we get was not erased from the record, which the House of David clearly had the power to do, but rather is right there, fully and prominently in all its ugliness. This is hardly the sort of kindness and righteousness that had characterized the entirety of the David story up until now.
2. Nathan rebukes David with a parable of selfish cruelty. David castigates the rich man in the story, saying he should die. Nathan tells David it is he, and that God will punish David by the sword as he has punished Uriah in the ways he did. His act scorned God (by immorality) along with scorning Uriah.
3. The redeeming feature of this story - and indeed its huge significance - is that David immediately and fully takes responsibility, repents, and confesses. Leaders rarely do this, and rarely did it in the Bible. We all err, and David did in major ways. How quickly and fully do we acknowledge and turn back - that is the issue here. 12:13. Psalms 51:6. David there fully confesses, wants others to know of his sin and avoid doing it themselves, and understand the importance of repentance to spiritual and ethical elevation.
The Birth of Solomon
1. With more punishments ahead, life goes on. Bathsheba gives birth to Solomon (peace), whom God loves and intends as his successor. Thus, the boy was given a second name, too - Jedidiah (beloved of HaShem).
2. David completes the conquest of Ammon in harsh fashion, perhaps because they had a history of treachery and he wanted to send a deterrent to others in the form of a lesson. 12:26-31.
The Violation of Tamar, the Murder of Amnon, and Absalom’s Flight and Return
1. Amnon violates his sister, Tamar. 13:1-14. He then expels her in disgrace. (It was later said in the Talmud because of this event David and his court instituted the law that an unmarried woman may not be secluded with a man [Sanhedrin 21a]).
2. Absalom is enraged, tries to comfort Tamar, and later has Amnon killed. Although Tamar’s violation angers David, it does not appear David brought him to justice. Why? Unclear. This may have added to Absalom’s fury.
3. David mourns. Absalom flees. Was all this part of the punishment God continued to inflict on David? Many sages say yes. Was it “bad parenting?” Was there simply unabated evil in these boys? Ah, the uncertainties of life! David grieves Amnon for years. Should he have punished him after the rape? Then his soul pined for Absalom, but it seemed also that he wanted to punish him. Ah, parenting….
4. Joab tries a scheme to reunite David and Absalom. 14. There are many comments on all the forces and factors at work on David in keeping the friction going. Joab has a woman tell David a parable close to the tale of Absalom, trying to garner his support, and then tells him it’s really a case for bringing Absalom back for the sake of “tranquility.”
5. David deduces it was Joab who initiated this. David sends for Absalom to come back but does not seem ready to reconcile or rehabilitate. Perhaps this is to avoid making it look condoned. Problem: Absalom seems to want more, perhaps to be crown prince. Is violent. David gives Absalom what appears to be a perfunctory kiss. Is David acting justly/compassionately, or not? Unclear.
1. Absalom prepares to rebel, garnering resources and support. Legitimate appeal? Demagogic? Corrupt and tyrannical? Wanting to be king, or merely a judge? Whatever, his effort was effective. After several years, he “stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” 15: 6. A humiliating blow to the kingdom.
2. Is this a continuing punishment by God for David’s misdeeds? There will be killing and sexual immorality which are measure-for-measure for David’s tale with Bathsheba. Absalom surely uses it to his advantage. Or is Absalom just a bad egg? Bad parenting on David’s part? Injustice with respect to the violated sister? Weakness in dealing with Absalom before the matter got out of hand?
3. One of David’s advisers joined Absalom, and “the people with Absalom continually increased.” 12. The situation becomes so dire that David had to go into exile. 13-18. Some sages say David could have defeated Absalom but chose, in righteousness, not to do so. It would have been extremely deadly. Also, he may have felt this was part of his punishment. Humility. Faith in God.
Problems and the Beginning of a Strategy Back for David
1. Friends arrive. Some sent to pose as supporters of Absalom. Ittai supports him. Folks in the country support him - “the entire land was crying in a loud voice.” 23. The Levites and the priests brought the Ark to protect David, but David thought it needed to be sent back and remain in Jerusalem. He placed his faith entirely in God as to whether he would be returned. 25-26. Psalm 3 relates to David’s fleeing his son.
2. David loses Ahithophel, a counselor. Painful. Referred to in psalms 3:2 and 55. He climbs, crying, head wrapped, barefoot, up the Mount of Olives to pray. Hushai is dispatched to Jerusalem to associate with Absalom, in effect, as a spy, to neutralize Ahithophel.
3. Confrontation with Shimei shows that as long as David gave wounds with Saul and his family time to heal, they still festered. One understands how right God was as to the bloodshed that would characterize David’s long reign. This work of profound change in leadership does not happen quickly, easily, or without pain and suffering. 16:5-14.
David was patient and humble in reply. He felt confident in God and was impervious to an ungrounded attack, felt the attack was without merit, and said so calmly to the fellow, thinking, though the curse of a king was wrong, it was the best way to respond and go on. Further, given the matter with Absolam, this was minor.
4. Hushai win’s Absalom’s trust. Ahithophel gives immoral advice and develops a plan to rally nation for Absalom and deliver a surprise attack on David. Hushai repudiates plan. David will be more formidable than suggested and that time should be taken to build and deploy a greater force, with Absalom at the lead. Absalom agrees. Hushai sends informers to David. 17.
5. Absalom pursues David more quickly and with less support than was called for in the plan. David is provisioned and prepares for battle.
6. A dramatic turn is imminent for David. Has he been punished sufficiently? Does God want to restore him now? Has he patiently outlasted misfortune and been wise in suffering and waiting and now planning?
7. David organizes - counts troops, instals new command structure, implements discipline, divides into 3 divisions under leading generals. All this, occasioned by being outnumbered. Team suggests he not accompany them because he’s the target; he agrees. This could have led to psalm 20.
8. David wants them to be gentle with Absalom, just to capture, not to kill. Some say he still thought this was part of his punishment, all, his responsibility. Or soft toward son? David’s group prevails in massive war. Absalom is captured but then killed by Joab, who must’ve decided this was necessary to stop rebellion. 18.
9. David hears the good news about the victory and then the death of Absolam. He grieves bitterly. The people join him. Joab chastises him for being unfair and humiliating (in showing love to the traitor) to those who put their lives at peril for defeating the rebellion. Joab wanted David to go out and express gratitude to the warriors and supporters. David accepted his point and did so. 19.
A leader’s willingness to be reproached by a trusted lieutenant, listen, accept, and follow advice is crucial. But David will remember with some regret what Joab did.
The Personal Saga
Roughly half of Samuel II has related to David’s personal saga, all the way from his liaison with Bathsheba to Absalom’s death and defeat. Why? Perhaps it’s because this is more than the tale of the king of a nation. It could be that it is also about sovereignty over one’s self and soul as well as of the state. We learn as much about the human being, Oedipus, as much as we do the king, Oedipus. In the Bible, God is as interested in our learning about these personal and family matters as military matters and those of statecraft.
We err in serious ways; we stray from God and the way of justice, righteousness, and mercy. And we pay a price for it. Often the price extends measure for measure. If in the family, it may have repercussions in the family, from one generation and into the next. How do we respond? Do we confess? Do we take responsibility? Do we show compassion? Do we keep compounding the problem? Do we quit, or do we move forward? Do we extend damage to others? Or do we try to limit the pain and punishment? Do we go too far the other way and suffer too much or allow punishment to hurt the innocent or those who help us? All these questions arise in these chapters.
The answers we find help guide us forward. Are there better questions in need of answers than these to show us how to lead in the conduct of our lives? I haven’t found any.
David Returns to Jerusalem - Challenges and Leadership Issues
1. Though he had been driven in exile, David was welcomed back. The issue of how the people had so largely flocked to Absalom is obscured.
2. It’s unclear whether David replaces Joab (for killing Absalom?), OR, as Malbim suggests, under Joab. Replacing Joab would be an odd act, given his loyalty, effectiveness, and power, though there were reasons, including his having acted on his own to kill Absalom.
3. David spares Shimei. Odd.
4. Other matters face him, including the other tribes resenting Judah’s role in welcoming him back. David sends Amasa to subdue the rebellion by Sheba. 20: 4-7. Joab is clearly still involved and rises to kill Amasa and takes command in the exercise. How? Why? Though judgments are made by commentators, it’s unclear. yet, when Joab comes back, he remains head of the army. David does later instruct Solomon to punish Joab for certain barbaric acts (I Kings 2:5-6), he keeps him on in the lead. 20:23.
Interesting decisions a leader must make as to subordinates. Joab was loyal, effective, tough, capable of speaking truth to power. Yet, there were excesses. When does too much of the latter force a leader to neglect the former? It’s a balance, and it’s instructive to see how David played it.
The 3 Year Famine and Continuing Wars
1. David wonders if the famine is caused by idolatry or other transgression. David seeks out cause, as one must. Finding it was not due to their own failings, which would have required turning and repair, he would be free to seek God’s support and intervention.
2. This was apparently due to a sin of Saul many years earlier against the Gibeonites. Some say instead it was because Saul had not properly been buried and mourned. In any event, David sought to atone to the Gibeonites. They asked for 7 descendants of Saul’s to hang as a punishment, allegedly for his killing seven of them. Some justify David’s turning them over on the grounds that these 7 were actually involved in the atrocity at Nob. Unclear. This ends the famine.
Doing justice to others, even when painful to administer, is crucial to leadership.
3. Four more wars - mostly with Philistines. David was in mortal danger in one of them. 21:15-17. Fellows don’t want him in direct battle anymore as now past his physical prime, worried about “the lamp of Israel” being extinguished. Meaning: Divine protection. Also, he spreads spiritual light to entire nation and its land. Rambam: “heart of nation.”
Song of Gratitude - Chapter 22
1 David spoke the words of this song to the Lord after the Lord delivered him from the power of all his enemies and from Saul.
2 He said:
The Lord is my solid rock, my fortress, my rescuer.
3 My God is my rock—I take refuge in him!—
he’s my shield and my salvation’s strength,
my place of safety and my shelter.
My savior! Save me from violence!
4 Because he is praiseworthy,
I cried out to the Lord,
and I was saved from my enemies.
5 Death’s waves were all around me;
rivers of wickedness terrified me.
6 The cords of the grave surrounded me;
death’s traps held me tight.
7 In my distress I cried out to the Lord;
I cried out to my God.
God heard my voice from his temple;
my cry for help reached his ears.
8 The earth rocked and shook;
the sky’s foundations trembled
and reeled because of God’s anger.
9 Smoke went up from God’s nostrils;
out of his mouth came a devouring fire;
flaming coals blazed out in front of him!
10 God parted the skies and came down;
thick darkness was beneath his feet.
11 God mounted the heavenly creatures and flew;
he was seen on the wind’s wings.
12 God made darkness his covering;
water gathered in dense clouds!
13 Coals of fire blazed out of the brightness before him.
14 The Lord thundered from heaven;
the Most High made his voice heard.
15 God shot arrows, scattering the enemy;
he sent the lightning and whipped them into confusion.
16 The seabeds were exposed;
the earth’s foundations were laid bare at the Lord’s rebuke,
at the angry blast of air coming from his nostrils.
17 From on high God reached down and grabbed me;
he took me out of deep waters.
18 God saved me from my powerful enemy,
saved me from my foes, who were too much for me.
19 They came at me on the very day of my distress,
but the Lord was my support.
20 He brought me out to wide-open spaces;
he pulled me out, because he is pleased with me.
21 The Lord rewarded me for my righteousness;
he restored me because my hands are clean,
22 because I have kept the Lord’s ways.
I haven’t acted wickedly against my God.
23 All his rules are right in front of me;
I haven’t turned away from any of his laws.
24 I have lived with integrity before him;
I’ve kept myself from wrongdoing.
25 And so the Lord restored me for my righteousness,
because I am clean in his eyes.
26 You deal faithfully with the faithful;
you show integrity toward the one who has integrity.
27 You are pure toward the pure,
but toward the crooked, you are tricky.
28 You are the one who saves people who suffer,
but your eyes are against the proud.
You bring them down!
29 You are my lamp, Lord;
the Lord illumines my darkness.
30 With you I can charge into battle;
with my God I can leap over a wall.
31 God! His way is perfect;
the Lord’s word is tried and true.
He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
32 Now really, who is divine except the Lord?
And who is a rock except our God?
33 Only God! My mighty fortress,
who makes my way perfect,
34 who makes my step as sure as the deer’s,
who lets me stand securely on the heights,
35 who trains my hands for war
so my arms can bend a bronze bow.
36 You’ve given me the shield of your salvation;
your help has made me great.
37 You’ve let me walk fast and safe,
without even twisting an ankle.
38 I chased my enemies and destroyed them!
I didn’t come home until I finished them off.
39 I ate them up! I struck them down!
They couldn’t get up;
they fell under my feet.
40 You equipped me with strength for war;
you brought my adversaries down underneath me.
41 You made my enemies turn tail from me;
I destroyed my foes.
42 They looked around, but there was no one to save them.
They looked to the Lord, but he wouldn’t answer them.
43 I crushed them like dust on the ground;
I stomped on them, trampled them like mud dumped in the streets.
44 You delivered me from struggles with many people;
you appointed me the leader of many nations.
Strangers come to serve me.
45 Foreigners grovel before me;
after hearing about me, they obey me.
46 Foreigners lose their nerve;
they come trembling out of their fortresses.
47 The Lord lives! Bless God, my rock!
Let my God, the rock of my salvation, be lifted high!
48 This is the God who avenges on my behalf,
who subdues peoples before me,
49 who rescues me from my enemies.
You lifted me high above my adversaries;
you delivered me from violent people.
50 That’s why I thank you, Lord, in the presence of the nations.
That’s why I sing praises to your name.
51 You are the one who gives great victories to your king,
who shows faithful love to your anointed one—
to David and to his descendants forever.
1. Despite travails, suffering, war, rebellions, David focuses here again on gratitude to God for all His goodness. He appears to believe that God does all for the good. At the least, we can see David as doing his duty irrespective of what happens.
2. This song essentially is psalm 18. Salvation from adversity. Words of prayer and encouragement for anyone at any time in personal times of trouble.
3. Abarbanel - 4 parts: God is our protector; God saves David from enemies; God delivers David from misfortune and grants him power to overcome/vanquish enemies; David’s praise of God.
4. General view follows Rashi - this song was written when David was in old age.
5. A. God is strong, place of strength and shelter, source of salvation, and has been so in challenges throughout his life. More reliable than any human promise, and especially saving from injustice.
B. Praise of God comes first, even before prayer of supplication and certainly before victory/salvation.This praise is due because of constancy of God’s help, though strife and opposition that have also been constant in David’s life.
Chaim Soloveitchik argues from Psalms 13:6 that praise comes only once God has dealt kindly, even though one trusts God will be kind all along.
C. It was bad. David had led a difficult and challenging life in which peril was ever-present in his undertakings. Pains of death encircled him causing extreme distress. Torrents of godless men frightened him, as if in a flood. Pains of the grave surrounded him. Snares of death confronted him.
D. David’s prayer first sought heightened awareness of God’s presence and greatness, and then that the Source of mercy and justice would make the prayer efficacious. An idea that the righteous are protected by God.
E. Assuredness that God heard and answered. The quaking of the earth or smoke arising in nostrils or devouring fire fro mouth - this could be God’s acting against the wicked who bedeviled David and Israel.
F. God bends down the heavens, as if to say inclines world-ward and human-ward to bring Divine will to bear.
G. God mounts a cherub and flies down. A protective angel? Some say the “active intellect” that watches over the righteous? One that comes quickly?
H. Darkness as shelters and the dark water - Ibn Ezra says this suggests God hides so his work is concealed and His direction is obscured by laws of nature and cause and effect.
I. Brilliance before him burned fiery coals. God is brilliant brightness within the darkness, especially the light for His beloved, while the clouds barrage the enemy with fiery coals.
J. God thunders, perhaps scaring and disrupting the enemies, sending forth arrows and lightning, scaring and scattering them.
K. Depths of sea become visible, foundations, laid bare - perhaps metaphors for miraculous manner of God’s impact.
L. God sent from on high to take David out of deep waters - words of personal rescue, saving him from mighty foes, bringing out to a broad space (as we were brought out of the narrows, Egypt), released from danger.
M. Idea that God desires the righteous and rewards righteousness. 21-27. David notes that he was vigilant against his sin. 24. He accepted chastisement immediately and repented when he sinned.
N. God is David’s lamp, illumines his darkness, gives him understanding, spiritual light, the direction to ultimate good. (This doesn’t say there is no darkness. There was abundant darkness in his life, but this empowers him to overcome “a troop,” even walled cities.)
O. God is a Rock, Fortress of Strength, makes one’s feet swift, “stood me upon my heights,” trains my hands for battle, with strength, shield, with humility to see God’s gifts as source of success, sure footedness, girded me with strength. 31-40.
P. God rescues “from the strife of my people.” How often the challenge for a leader is largely strife and division in one’s own people. 44.
Q. The fourth part of the song - gratitude to God - God lives! God rescues and gives strength to prevail. David gives thanks and sings to God’s name. 48-51.
Last Words of David - Chapter 23
1 These are David’s last words:
This is the declaration of Jesse’s son David,
the declaration of a man raised high,
a man anointed by the God of Jacob,
a man favored by the strong one of Israel.
2 The Lord’s spirit speaks through me;
his word is on my tongue.
3 Israel’s God has spoken,
Israel’s rock said to me:
“Whoever rules rightly over people,
whoever rules in the fear of God,
4 is like the light of sunrise
on a morning with no clouds,
like the bright gleam after the rain
that brings grass from the ground.”
1. Last words in 1 may mean last prophecy, a song of gratitude at the close, or a completion of work, including the Psalms and his service.
2. An account of his life, lived as “the spirit of God who spoke through me.”
3. An account of successful leadership: “Like the morning light when the sun shines - an unclouded morning, brighter than the glistening rain upon the herbage of the earth.” Uninhibited light. Perhaps sunlight that is intensified when reflected off wet vegetation (Rashi). Or a sunny morning after a night’s rain, optimum situation for growth of vegetation, thus a metaphor for optimism, growth, and thriving success (Artscroll note to 4)
4. Security of his leadership and house is grounded in the fact that the covenant (Torah) is firmly established in his house. 5.
5. To the contrary, godless men are like “a windblown thistle” which cannot even be taken by hand because it becomes harder and more dangerous over time, leading to needing to be burnt. 6-7.
Important to name and describe the mighty warriors who led the way for David. One sees in the traits and achievements of these lieutenants what a leader requires to succeed. Joab’s name is not mentioned, but most think he was of such a high rank it wouldn’t appear here.
David’s Census; God’s Anger: Site of the Temple - 24
1. God is angry at the sin of the people, but the source of the sin is unclear, perhaps Absalom’s revolt, the cause of the famine, or support for Sheba’s rebellion.
2. “Incited,” David proceeds to take a census, though this is proscribed in Torah and Joab protested to that effect. Was it greed or other inappropriate desire to know success? Was it based on more a reliance on the people’s greatness than God? Yet, when done, David knew he had sinned and confessed as such, without excuses. David gets a pick of punishments and chooses a period of additional famine, which is given an early end, in response to David’s prayer, in which he seeks to take all the blame.
3. David goes to buy land for an altar to God. It had been Araunah’s threshing floor. Interesting that this understanding of Temple location, where turning toward God, would take place in the future, came at a time in which David was repenting his waywardness and seeking to make an offering to seek an end to the pestilence.
4. Some say God chooses to reveal the location now because it was tied to a case of turning to God in righteousness. This was always David’s wish - to construct the Temple, and God blesses him with this vision and opportunity to get it started in his old age. Chronicles goes into greater detail about that activity.
5. This last chapter sums up David’s leadership - hardship, difficult choices, loyalty and turning back to God after error, personal sacrifice, service to God and he people, and, finally, historic spiritual accomplishment (Artscroll) > a troubled life in which David was continually challenged and emerged greater than before. God found David to be a true servant, always dedicated to serving God.
6. David and the sanctuary shared the same mission - to serve God and be a dwelling place for God’s presence on earth.
David’s Death - I Kings 2
1 David’s time was coming to an end. So he commanded Solomon his son, 2 “I’m following the path that the whole earth takes. Be strong and be a man. 3 Guard what is owed to the Lord your God, walking in his ways and observing his laws, his commands, his judgments, and his testimonies, just as it is written in the Instruction from Moses. In this way you will succeed in whatever you do and wherever you go. 4 So also the Lord will confirm the word he spoke to me: ‘If your children will take care to walk before me faithfully, with all their heart and all their being, then one of your own children will never fail to be on the throne of Israel.
10 Then David lay down with his ancestors and was buried in David’s City. 11 He ruled over Israel forty years—seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem.
1. David’s charge to Solomon: after instructing to be strong and become a (heroic) man (who fears sin), David says first to safeguard God’s charge, to walk in His ways, to observe all that’s in the Torah so that he will succeed. This includes acting maturely and wisely, after consideration and reflection, and avoiding impetuosity.
2. Sages see many elements to this charge, but grounded in faith that if the children safeguard their way, walk before God sincerely, with all their heart and soul, they will never be cut off.
3. David says in addition Solomon must establish justice, reward the virtuous, and punish evildoers (Radak).
Interesting he now indicts Joab and wants Solomon to punish him (or be wary of him). Lots of disagreement of sages on this!
David urges care with Shimei, whom he did not trust, though he showed him forbearance.
Appendix from Artscroll
1. “Sweet singer of Israel” - closeness to God was manifest and ability to arouse sparks of holiness.
2. Facets of his greatness:
a) faith in God was complete;
b) uncompromisingly devoted to the Jewish people;
c) great humility;
d) when he sinned, no excuses, acknowledged error, and sought to get right;
e) model of a mentor for repentance;
f) constantly worked at refining and improving all aspects of his character;
g) great warrior and charismatic leader, lifting nation from defeat to triumph and confidence;
h) most famous feat of defeating Goliath had miracle in it and showed God’s support and place in his life; and
i) composer of psalms that have helped people in so many ways throughout the years.
3. Inner struggle - a physical warrior, but perhaps more a spiritual warrior, who fought his own bad inclinations as effectively as he did physical foes. His nearness to God and his ultimate success was the reward, one could say, of these conquests over self.
4. Giving hope to future sinners - his confession immediately after sin and unreserved repentance serve as a model for turning. God wants most this of erring humanity as essential for its survival.
5. Negation of self - David sees himself as nothing but a tool to serve God. Devotion to the people, with modesty, and to God.
6. Nothing of his own - look at letters of name: a) dalet, (dal means pauper), b) vav, reaches upward aspiring for growth and accomplishment, c) another dalet, because his accomplishments were for Israel and God, not for himself; he remains a pauper.
7. Historic pattern - challenges, redemption comes through difficulty and struggle, leading up to Messiah and Final Redemption - Judah and Tamar, Ruth and Boaz, and so on.
8. His role in the Temple - David sincerely wanted it, the first time after the long period of the Judges, yet he ended up being a table-setter for Solomon, a builder of foundations. Akin to Moses who brought the people to, but not into, the Promised Land? He sees the land, acquires the land, raises the funds and makes plans, all after doing the hard and difficult work of winning the battles, consolidating authority and unity and strength in the nation - all of which was necessary to build the Temple. So, it indeed is David’s House, and as we read in Rosh Hashanah 25a: David, King of Israel, is alive and enduring.
All, marks of a great leader!
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