Why David?

My quick Google search of the blogosphere turned up more than 70 million blogs devoted to depression, 98 million to dogs, and over 102 million to Beyonce.

By contrast, when I sought out blogs devoted to David and to his writings, I was surprised. All I found was a paltry handful. Some of them were strictly academic and others had not been updated in years. Now, I could have found those results discouraging and interpreted them as loud and clear messages that there must be a widespread lack of interest in “things Davidic” in the 21st century, so I might as well toss away the notion of creating a David-focused blog. But I chose to see it as an opportunity.

That, however, is not a sufficient and objective answer to the question “Why David?” This should be: the blogosphere’s lack of attention to David stands in stark contrast to that of the Bible.

Consider these facts:

David’s name appears in Holy Scripture more often than any other name. Far more. In fact, references to David occur more frequently than those to Moses and Abraham combined. This is true whether we base the count on the Hebrew Bible alone or the combined canon of Old and New Testaments, which together comprise the Christian Bible.

Two entire books of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), 1 and 2 Samuel, are devoted to the life of David. The renowned translator and Hebrew scholar Robert Alter titled his recent translation and commentary of those books The David Story.

Of greater importance than the repetition of his name in scripture are the words used to describe David. Particularly the words of the prophet Samuel to Saul, as he informed him that David would be Israel’s new King (1 Samuel 13:14): “The Lord has already sought out for Himself a man after His own heart and the Lord has appointed him prince to his people…” (Alter).

Ironically, it is also the lack of biblical repetition of the phrase “a man after His own heart” that establishes its, and David’s, significance. That string of words, that specific description, is unique in scripture. Yes, the simple fact that God describes David that way should be enough to rivet our attention. But realizing those very words are reserved for David and David alone has the impact of adding an exclamation point. Pay careful attention, the text is telling us. And the early believers did. The designation spoken through the prophet in the Old Testament is repeated once more in the New Testament in Acts 13:22: “And when He had removed him [Saul], He raised up David to be their King, of whom He testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after My heart, who will do all My will.” (ESV)

Going back to how often David’s name appears in scripture, I should point out that 24 of the 1078 times it occurs it is part of the phrase “Son of David” and 16 of those references appear in the Gospels (principally Matthew, written for a Jewish audience). While that Son of David, the good Jewish boy, the fully God and fully man Savior and Redeemer of the world walked this earth, he prayed and studied and learned from the faith and life and words of his forefather. Jesus knew that those ancestral psalms were God-breathed and that some of them were prophetic and referred to Him. They were among the last words He spoke from the cross.

That is “Why David.”