Monday, December 06, 2010

King David's Israel

Nadene Goldfoot

David, king of Israel, lived from 1,000 BCE to to 960 BCE. He was born in Bethlehem to Jesse. At age 25 he was the armor-bearer to King Saul, Israel's first king. He became friends with the king's son, Jonathan. After showing that he had great military skills in a war with the Philistines, he was able to marry the king's daughter, Michal. Eventually Saul became very jealous of David.

David settled in Hebron and declared himself king of Judah. After ruling for eight years he captured the Jebustite's Jerusalem and made it his capital. He then moved the ark there. He became a great military leader, taking in much land. He fought the Philistines and annexed the entire coast. He defeated the Edomites which gave the Israelites an outlet to the Red Sea at Ezion-Geber. Then he crushed Ammon and Moab who became two of Israel's subjects and defeated Aram (Syria) and annexed large territories, including Damascus and as far as the Euphrates River. He even signed treaties with Tyre and Sidon and extended the frontiers to an extent never again attained.

The bible tells us that King David's Israel was quite large, much larger than it is today. To the West was the Mediterranean Sea, to the East the Syrian Desert, to the South the Brook of Egypt (Wadi El-Arish) to Kadesh Barnea as far as the Valley of Zoar south of the Dead Sea and in Transjordan from the river of Arnon to Mt. Hermon and to the Valley of Iyon. The total surface was 17,500 square miles of which 45% was in Transjordan in the East which is now called Jordan. The Promised land included most of Syria and covered 58,000 square miles. This whole area was Israel under Kings David and Solomon. Jerusalem has also been called "The City of David."

This warrior king was quite the lover with several wives and involved in the scandal of Bathsheba, suffering from his actions. He was endowed with the skill of writing the Book of Psalms that people of many religions read to find solace .

Reference The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

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