King David was fatally human in almost every respect. His own lust brought great pain, and ultimately death, to others, and he was often self-serving. But his very grave flaws do not conceal the fact that he was considered one of the greatest Kings of Israel, and that although he sinned boldly, he repented boldly as well.
After King Saul died, David became king. He was a humble man and wanted to please God. One day, however, when he was on a walk, he saw a beautiful woman bathing on the roof of her home. He desired her. Her husband, Uriah, was away at war, and David sent his messenger to retrieve the woman, named Bathsheba. He slept with her and she became pregnant.
His original crime was compounded by another ruthless act — he ordered Uriah to be sent to the frontlines of battle so that he would die and be done away with. David did not see the error of his ways until the prophet Nathan came to him and told him a story of a poor man who had a sheep that he loved very much. The sheep was his only one. He raised it with his own children, shared his meager food with it and let it drink from his cup and sleep leaning against his chest.
Figure 4-2: King David
A rich man who had numerous herds of animals had a visitor. The rich man, however, was unwilling to take from his own herds, so he took the poor man's only lamb.
When David heard this story, he considered it a great outrage. He said, “As the Lord lives the man who has done this deserves to die … because he had no pity.” (2 Samuel 12:5–6)
Nathan then looked David squarely in the eye and said, “You are the man.” David suddenly realized the horror of what he had done and he repented. But although the Lord took away David's sin, the newborn child born of Bathsheba grew sick. David fasted and prayed and wept for the child, but when he was just seven days old the child died.
David comforted his wife, and then the two conceived another child, named Solomon.
David captured Jerusalem and made it the capital of the kingdom. He placed there a new tabernacle. The Lord promised David that “his kingdom would stand forever.” And he is often associated with Christ's unending kingdom, as one of his ancestors.
In the mind of the Church, David is connected to the Psalms, which are full of rage, grief, repentance, and hope. These hymns express his life of sin, his repentance, and God's mercy to him.