King David: the Role Model for Success

            October 2013    
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King David, King Saul and Michal, the daughter of King Saul and wife of King David

By Avi Lazerson


Assembled there with King Saul's army are several of Yishai's sons. Yishai sends David to bring food to the sons who are assembled with King Saul. When David arrives on the scene, he finds that Saul has offered a large reward to whom ever will kill Goliath but there are no takers. David is taken aback by Goliath's curses and is incensed; who is this person that he dare curse the army of God?

With the honor of God dear to David he takes up his sling to do battle with Goliath and as everyone knows David kills Goliath and the Jewish army routs the Philistine army. When they return home to a cheering crowd, the women sing their praises to Saul who kills thousands and to David who kills ten thousands. This praise was not well received by King Saul who now feels slighted by David and from this point on the relationship becomes increasingly strained even though Saul gives his daughter Michal to David as a wife.

The feeling between King Saul and David become increasingly strained and King Saul tries to kill David. David is forced to flee from Saul and twice King Saul goes out with an army looking for David. Once David and a few friends are hiding from Saul in a cave when Saul decides to go into the cave to relieve himself. David's friends urge him to kill Saul since it is Saul that is hunting him for the purpose of killing him. David refuses saying that Saul has been anointed by God to be king; it is not for him to kill the person that God has selected to be king; rather it is God's job.

So instead of harming Saul, David tears a corner of Saul's clothing and after Saul leaves the cave. David sneaks out and calls to Saul from a distance explaining to him that he could have easily killed him but he has no grudge against Saul and only wishes him well. Saul hearing this and seeing the tear in his clothing has a change of heart and leaves David alone.

However, soon afterwards Saul decides again to do away with David. This time as Saul is marching with his army to find David, they camp close to where David is. When the camp goes to sleep, David sneaks into the camp. His friends again urge him to kill Saul but David explains that Saul has been anointed by God and it is not for David to take Saul's life; that is for God to do. David instead takes Saul's spear and canteen and then from a hill top ledge he calls out to Saul to show him the spear and canteen indicating that he could have easily enough killed him but he bears no malice. Saul again repents of trying to kill David and goes away leaving David in peace.

Later in time, Saul and his sons are eventually killed in battle with the Philistines and David becomes first the king of Judea and then after the death of Ish-Boshet, the remaining son of Saul, is accepted by all of the Jews as their king.

Finally David decides to build his palace next to Mount Moriah and to have the Ark of God brought there from nearby. A great ceremony is made of bringing the Holy Ark to what will become Jerusalem and David dressed in regal robes leads the procession by dancing and singing in front of the Holy Ark.

As he returns to his home from a great day of bringing the Holy Ark closer to its final resting place he is greeted by Michal, his wife, the daughter of the former King Saul, who criticizes him for dancing like an 'imbecile' in front of the Holy Ark. David responds to her that he is dancing in praise of the God who selected him and took him from being a shepherd and raised him up to become the King of Israel in place of her father, Saul. From that day on, Michal was unable to bare children as a punishment for criticizing David.

That is a very short concise review of certain aspects of David's life.

Now let us understand this story in a deeper mode so that we too can learn from it and draw it into our lives.

King Saul was selected and then rejected from being king of Israel, Why? Basically because he used his own intelligence to contravene the will of God. He was instructed to kill out the Amalites and instead he decided to bring back the king alive to show the people. He should have just done exactly what the prophet had told him to do. This misuse of his own intelligence to supplant the will of God could not be forgiven.

David, on the other hand, had no strong ego to prop up rather he felt strongly for the honor of God. To dishonor God was a major disgrace in his eyes and he was willing to risk his life to fight in order that God's honor be restored. Yet for his own honor he had little regard.

That was the retort that he told Michal. She had been brought up as a princess and knew royal honor and its accords. Because of this she criticized David's public dancing as a disgraceful action that no king should do. David on the other hand told her that it was not his honor that mattered but rather the honor of God.

Because David was more concerned with the honor of God than his own, he was rewarded by God to have his descendents be the kings of Israel, the greatest rabbis of many generations, and that the righteous messiah should come from him.


In many synagogues through out the word a simple sign is posted close to the stand where the cantor stands. On it is written a phrase from Psalms 16:8, "I have God in front of me at all times." This is what King David has written but more than just written, his life was a life that exemplified that concern for God above that of his own.

We who rarely have consideration of God in our lives are to read these words of David and to draw inspiration for our lives from that singular message that King David has left us. If in reality if we were able to begin to merge the concept of God into our lives and live our lives with the knowledge that in deed God is standing with us at all times; our daily lives would be much different. But until that time when we can do it, we still can draw inspiration from the words of the holy and righteous sheepherder who became King of Israel.


from the October 2013 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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