Was David really a man after God’s own heart?

But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’ (Act 13:22 NLT)

Paul, in speaking to the Jews and the God-fearers justified the uniqueness of David and the majesty of his line using, believe it or not a conflation of an enthronement psalm and Samuel’s judgment upon Saul –

But now your kingdom must end, for the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart. The LORD has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.” (1Sa 13:14 NLT)

I have found my servant David. I have anointed him with my holy oil. (Psa 89:20 NLT)

Not being taught how to read the bible, I understood Paul to mean that David was beloved of God, but instead, it seems that in contrary to Saul who was chosen according to Israel’s heart, David instead is chosen according to God’s. I don’t think the text is talking about God’s love of David, but that it was God’s will that David was chosen, which presents some problems on Sovereignty. Not only that, but David’s line is given the Throne of Israel, forever. Of course, the Son of David is literally Solomon, who during the so-called intertestmental times, was the archetype of Israel’s hero. From the Odes, to the Psalms, to Wisdom to various other books, Solomon was the soon-coming Son of David.

Of course, that has its own problems, I reckon. I mean, it wasn’t Judah who had the Birthright, but Joseph,

The oldest son of Israel was Reuben. But since he dishonored his father by sleeping with one of his father’s concubines, his birthright was given to the sons of his brother Joseph. For this reason, Reuben is not listed in the genealogical records as the firstborn son. The descendants of Judah became the most powerful tribe and provided a ruler for the nation, but the birthright belonged to Joseph. (1Ch 5:1-2 NLT)

Of course, during the time of Christ, there is evidence of sects looking for two Messiah’s, one of Judah and one of Joseph.

The Chronicler, who does a great job of heightening David’s career, also notes that David is the ideal King, but also, whatever promises was made to David, transferred to Solomon,

Then Solomon prayed, “O LORD, you have said that you would live in a thick cloud of darkness. Now I have built a glorious Temple for you, a place where you can live forever!” Then the king turned around to the entire community of Israel standing before him and gave this blessing: “Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who has kept the promise he made to my father, David. For he told my father, ‘From the day I brought my people out of the land of Egypt, I have never chosen a city among any of the tribes of Israel as the place where a Temple should be built to honor my name. Nor have I chosen a king to lead my people Israel. But now I have chosen Jerusalem as the place for my name to be honored, and I have chosen David to be king over my people Israel.‘”

Then Solomon said, “My father, David, wanted to build this Temple to honor the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. But the LORD told him, ‘You wanted to build the Temple to honor my name. Your intention is good, but you are not the one to do it. One of your own sons will build the Temple to honor me.’ “And now the LORD has fulfilled the promise he made, for I have become king in my father’s place, and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the LORD promised. I have built this Temple to honor the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. (2Ch 6:1-10 NLT)

And of course, the most important and famous of the Messianic promises made to Solomon,

‘Furthermore, the LORD declares that he will make a house for you– a dynasty of kings! For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who will build a house– a temple– for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, like any father would do. (2Sa 7:11-14 NLT)

The immediate intention of this promise was Solomon, who claimed that he had fulfilled God’s promises to David.

Just throwing some thoughts around here, but it seems to me that David, while a great warrior who murdered once he committed adultery, might have married his sister, ate the Bread of the Presence, and in the end, paid a heavy price (as did the entire kingdom) for his sin. Yet, he is seen as the archetype for the Messiah, Christ Himself.


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10 Replies to “Was David really a man after God’s own heart?”

  1. It’s all about grace. David didn’t deserve to be king. Quite the opposite. And neither do we deserve to be saved. That’s the gospel.

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