|King of Israel|
|Reign||ca. 1000 BCE|
|Born||Bethlehem, Judah, Israel|
|Died||Jerusalem, Judah, Israel|
City of David (Jerusalem)
|House||House of David|
In the biblical narrative, David is a young shepherd who first gains fame as a musician and later by killing Goliath. He becomes a favorite of King Saul and a close friend of Saul's son Jonathan. Worried that David is trying to take his throne, Saul turns on David. After Saul and Jonathan are killed in battle, David is anointed as King. David conquers Jerusalem, taking the Ark of the Covenant into the city, and establishing the kingdom founded by Saul. As king, David commits adultery with Bathsheba, leading him to arrange the death of her husband Uriah the Hittite. Because of this sin, God denies David the opportunity to build the temple, and his son Absalom tries to overthrow him. David flees Jerusalem during Absalom's rebellion, but after Absalom's death he returns to the city to rule Israel. Before his peaceful death, he chooses his son Solomon as successor. He is honored in the prophetic literature as an ideal king and an ancestor of a future Messiah, and many psalms are ascribed to him.
Historians of the Ancient Near East agree that David probably existed around 1000 BC, but that there is little that can be said about him as a historical figure. There is no direct evidence outside of the Bible concerning David, but the Tel Dan Stele, an inscribed stone erected by a king of Damascus in the late 9th/early 8th centuries BC to commemorate his victory over two enemy kings, contains the phrase ביתדוד, bytdwd, consisting of the Hebrew words "house" and "David", which most scholars translate as "House (Dynasty) of David". Ancient Near East historians generally doubt that the united monarchy as described in the Bible existed.
David is richly represented in post-biblical Jewish written and oral tradition, and is discussed in the New Testament. Early Christians interpreted the life of Jesus in light of the references to the Messiah and to David; Jesus is described as being descended from David. David is discussed in the Quran and figures in Islamic oral and written tradition as well. The biblical character of David has inspired many interpretations in fictional literature over centuries.