23:1 The favorite of the songs of Yisrael
The Hebrew words n’eem zemirot yisrael (נעים זמרות ישראל),‘ the favorite of the songs of Yisrael’ or ‘ the sweet singer of Israel,’ are a reference to King David. Though much of this chapter focuses on his worldly accomplishments, King David is an intensely spiritual person who strives with every ounce of his being to serve Hashem. According to the Sages (Sanhedrin 16b), King David had a harp hanging by his bed which would wake him when the wind blew its strings in the middle of the night. He would then arise and spend the rest of the night in study and praying. In addition to being a scholar, King David is the author of most of Sefer Tehillim, the Book of Psalms, excelling not only in Torah study but also in prayer. And when he sins, he repents with a broken heart. Though his wish to build God’s Holy Temple is not granted, he is able to make many of its preparations. King David serves as the quintessential leader who uses all of his talents, and all aspects of his personality, to serve Hashem and His people.