David[lower-alpha 2] is described in the Hebrew Bible as king of the United Monarchy of Israel and Judah.[6][7] In the Book of Samuel, David is a young shepherd who gains fame first as a musician and later by killing the giant Goliath, champion of the Philistines. He becomes a favorite of King Saul and a close friend of Saul's son Jonathan. Worried that David is trying to take his throne, Saul turns on David and tries to kill him, leading the latter to go on the run and operate as a fugitive for several years. After Saul and Jonathan are killed in battle against the Philistines, a 30-year old David is anointed king over all Israel and then conquers Jerusalem, establishing the city as his capital, and taking the Ark of the Covenant into the city to be the center of worship in the Israelite religion.

Statue of King David (1609–1612) by Nicolas Cordier in the Borghese Chapel of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy
King of Israel
Reignc. 1010–970 BCE[lower-alpha 1]
Diedc. 970 BCE
18+ children:
HouseHouse of David
MotherNitzevet (Talmud)

According to the Biblical narrative, King David commits adultery with Bathsheba, leading him to arrange the death of her husband Uriah the Hittite. David's son Absalom later schemes to overthrow David and, during the ensuing rebellion, David flees Jerusalem, but returns after Absalom's death to rule Israel. David desires to construct a temple to YHWH in which to house the Ark but, because he shed much blood,[8] YHWH denies David the opportunity to do so. David goes on to rule as king until his death at age 70, prior to which he chooses his son Solomon, born to him and Bathsheba, to be his successor instead of Adonijah, David's eldest surviving son. David is honored in the prophetic literature as an ideal king and the forefather of a future Messiah, and many psalms are ascribed to him.[9]

Historians of the Ancient Near East agree that David probably existed around 1000 BCE, but that there is little else that is agreed on about him as a historical figure. The Tel Dan Stele, an inscribed stone erected by a king of Damascus in the late 9th/early 8th centuries BCE to commemorate his victory over two enemy kings, contains the phrase in Hebrew: ביתדוד, Beit David, which most scholars translate as "House of David". The Mesha Stele, erected by King Mesha of Moab in the 9th century BCE, may also refer to the "House of David", but this is disputed.[10][11] Apart from this, all that is known of David comes from the biblical literature, the historicity of which is doubtful,[12] and there is little detail about David that is concrete and undisputed.[13][14]

David is richly represented in post-biblical Jewish written and oral tradition, and is discussed in the New Testament. Early Christians interpreted the life of Jesus in light of the references to the Messiah and to David; Jesus is described as being descended from David in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The biblical character of David has inspired many interpretations in art and literature over centuries. In the Quran and hadith, David is mentioned as a prophet-king of God.[15][16]