A Character Analysis of David

             David clearly was a man after God's own heart.  One way this is shown is in his traits of grace, mercy, patience, kindness, and also justice.  (These are also some of the fruits of the Spirit--Galatians 5:22, evident in the lives of those who obey God--Acts 5:32.)

             One example of David's godly traits was when 200 of David's 600 men were too exhausted to fight the Amalekites, some of the other 400 men who were evil troublemakers did not want to give any plunder to their weaker partners.  They only wanted them to get their wives and children back.  However, David gave the same thing (plunder and possessions) to those who stayed with the supplies as those who fought and had victory over the Philistines (1 Samuel 30:9-25).

             Another display of godliness is given when David showed kindness to the Ammonite king, Hanun, because his father, who just died, had also shown him kindness, and David wanted to express honor and sympathy toward the king.  When Hanun saw David's men coming, he disgraced them by shaving off half their beards and half of their clothes at the buttocks because he thought David's actions were done with evil intent.  (Do not do as a Christian.  This could happen if I think I can judge the motives of men's hearts--1 Corinthians 4:5--or if I judge with unrighteous judgment and not as I hear--John 5:30.)  The Ammonites knew this displeased David so they hired 33,000 soldiers (20,000 of which were Arameans).  When David heard this, he sent Joab out to attack them.  The Ammonites and Arameans fled before Joab in battle.  Then, the Arameans regrouped.  So David gathered all Israel, attacked them and struck them down.  The remaining Arameans and their kings saw what happened so they made peace with David and became subject to him.  I noticed how David spared the people and was at peace with them as long as they surrendered.  They did not have to join his cause, but they had to be subject to him and probably pay tribute.  (For account see 2 Samuel 10:1-19.)

             An Amalekite confessed with his own mouth that he had finished Saul off who had already fallen on his own spear.  David had him struck down on the spot for killing the Lord's anointed (2 Samuel 1:1-16).  This is a good example of David's justice and respect for what God has established.


            David also showed justice by cursing Joab (and his descendants) for taking revenge on Abner for killing Joab's brother Asahel.  They did this even though David had sent Abner away in peace (2 Samuel 3:22-39).


            Recab and Baanah went and murdered Ish-Bosheth (David's enemy) while he was sleeping on his bed in his own home.  When they brought David the news, he had them killed because they killed an innocent man, in his own house, on his own bed

(2 Samuel 4:1-12).  David loved righteousness and hated wickedness.


            The above examples show me that David was not a man bent on killing people but was a man interested in doing what was right and just and fair and doing what God wanted him to do.  "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).


            Some secondary external things about David (1 Samuel 16:18): he plays the harp well, he is a brave man and a warrior, he speaks well, and he is fine-looking.


            The Spirit of the Lord came on David in 1 Samuel 16:13 when Samuel anointed him with oil.


            David trusted God (Psalm 4:3; 13:4; 21:7; 28:7; 52:8; 1 Samuel 17:37,46-47), and he feared God rather than man (or even beasts of the field).  This is clearly evident in the story of David and Goliath.  It was nothing extraordinary for David to fight and defeat Goliath because the Lord would give David victory over the taunting Goliath.  David came in the name of the Lord his God, who had also given him victory over the lion and the bear.


            Because the Lord was with David, everything he did had great success.  This is spoken of David while he was in his early years of being a shepherd boy, a killer of Goliath, and a servant of Saul (1 Samuel 18:14,30).


            David was very humble and did not think he was something special (1 Samuel 18:18,23).


            David was feared by Saul more and more as the Lord continued to bless David (1 Samuel 18:15,29).


            David did some things that, on the surface, do not appear to be righteous: not telling the priest the truth about his mission as he ran from King Saul, eating the consecrated bread that only the priests were supposed to eat (1 Samuel 21:1-6), and killing every man and woman of the Geshurites, Girzites, and Amalekites so no one could tell Achish that David was not really attacking the people of Judah, Jerahmeel, or other Israelite towns (1 Samuel 27:8-11).  I do understand that we are to walk by the Spirit and not by the letter of the law, but I do not understand all of the things that David did.  Jesus did, however, use the actions of David as examples for us when He spoke to the Scribes and Pharisees showing them that the letter of the law kills, but the Spirit of the laws gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6).  He said, "But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless" (Matthew 12:7).  Jesus is the Son of God and is Lord of the Sabbath; therefore it is not wrong for Him to heal or do good on the Sabbath--the same goes for us as Christians (Matthew 12:1-15).


            Although it appears that David did some unscrupulous things, David was righteous.  He would not harm Saul who was his master and who was the Lord's anointed.  He was even convicted for just cutting off a piece of his robe while Saul was relieving himself in the cave where David and his men were hiding (1 Samuel 24:1-22).  In these instances of being in the cave and in the desert of Ziph, David's men encouraged and prodded him to strike Saul down because "obviously" the Lord had delivered Saul into David's hand, but David refused to strike him down (1 Samuel 26:1-25).


            In the situation with Nabal, David and Abigail, David saw the blessing in being spared from needless bloodshed and avenging himself.  As a result, the Lord directly struck down Nabal for him (1 Samuel 25:1-44).


            David even spared Shimei, who cursed him and pelted him and his men with stones.  Again, David was urged by other men twice (once when Shimei cursed David and once when Shimei repented of his sin) to kill Shimei, but he would not (2 Samuel 16:5-14; 19:21-23).  This is true sensitivity to the leading of the Lord.  I believe that this also shows David's faith in the Lord that either he needed punishment or Shimei would get his reward soon enough.  The closer our walk with the Lord is and the more we seek Him, we can have perfect trust that He will take care of our needs (Matthew 6:25-34).


            David prayed for God to be just: punishing the wicked (Psalm 5:10; 7; 9:5-8; 10:15; 12:3-4), and blessing the righteous (Psalm 5:11-12; 7).


            David had many enemies and cried out to the Lord continually for deliverance (Psalm 3; 54; 55:1,17; 59:1-17; 60:5; 69:14-18).


            David was a warrior but did not make rash decisions concerning fighting battles, wars, etc.  When the Amalekites destroyed Ziklag and captured all the women, children, and elderly, David did not take off to "save the day."  Instead, he inquired of the Lord who told him to go and be victorious; so he went (1 Samuel 30:1-25).  Consider the situation.  This was not just a matter of whether or not he thought he could save the stolen people and possessions.  "David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters.  But David found strength in the Lord his God." (1 Samuel 30:6)  There was a continual fear of God before the eyes of David.  He did not fear man and his devices.  I see this as one of the keys in knowing the will of God in my own life.  (See also his response to the Philistines in 1 Chronicles 14:8-17 or 2 Samuel 4:17-25)


            David knew that there was a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).  The fact that Joab had struck down men in peacetime aroused David to command Solomon to, according to his wisdom, not allow Joab's grey head to go down to the grave in peace (1 Kings 2:5-6).  David had the wisdom to know the when to use the sword and when not to.  His son spoke this wisdom in Ecclesiastes 3:8 saying that there is,"A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."


            And regarding Shimei, whom David swore on oath he would not kill, David told Solomon to bring his head down to the grave in blood according to his wisdom also (1 Kings 2:8-9).  Ultimately, because of the disobedience of Shimei's heart, all Solomon had to do was command him to stay in his town or he would die and David's command was fulfilled.  Shimei disobeyed, and therefore perished.  (See 1 Kings 2 also for David's commission of who Solomon was to show kindness towards.)


            David was not one slow to praise the Lord.  In fact, David even gained the title of Israel's singer of songs (2 Samuel 23:1).  The Book of Psalms is full of psalms and songs that David wrote giving praise, honor, glory, power, and blessing to God.  The Lord was his rock, his refuge, his high tower, his fortress, his strength, and this was reason enough for David to praise Him continually (Psalm 34:1).  He did not care what others thought of him: even if it meant his wife despising him because he disrobed before the Lord in the sight of the people.  I want to grow in imitating his faith in God (Christ-likeness) more and more as I mature in the Lord.


            While staying in Ziklag, David had many people who joined with him to turn Saul's kingdom over to himself.  Of interest is how David handled the related situations.  A little background: David was banished from the presence of King Saul so he was staying in a stronghold in the desert for safety.  Here men from Judah and men from Benjamin, who were Saul's kinsmen and had remained faithful to Saul up to the present time, came to David for the purpose of joining him.  "David went out to meet them and said to them, 'If you have come to me in peace, to help me, I am ready to have you unite with me.  But if you have come to betray me to my enemies when my hands are free from violence, may the God of our father see it and judge you.'  Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said, 'We are yours, O David!  We are with you, O son of Jesse!  Success, success to you, and success to those who help you, for your God will help you.'  So David received them and made them leaders of his raiding bands" (1 Chronicles 12:17-18).  I believe that this took a tremendous degree of faith on David's part because he laid down his own understanding and yielded to the fact that God had brought men from his foe's camp to support his efforts.  I want the same trust, Lord willing, according to the measure of faith that God has given me.  An instance could be where a terrible heckler and blasphemer surrenders to the Lordship of Christ, and I must now accept him as a believer in our home fellowship.


            Nevertheless, David did not sit with deceitful men, nor consort with hypocrites.  He abhorred the assembly of evildoers and refused to sit with the wicked (Psalm 26:4-5).  I apply this to my interactions at school.  There are certain things necessary to corroborate on concerning course material, etc.  But how is my free time spent?  Is it spent talking about vain things and about things that are going to wear out and be rolled up like this earth (Hebrews 1:11-12)?  I continually pray for wisdom and boldness so that I will make effective use of every opportunity the Lord gives me to declare His word (even though it may not be every day or even every other day that the opportunity arises).


            David does sin by laying with Uriah's wife, Bathsheba, by having Uriah the Hittite killed purposely in battle (2 Samuel 11) and by taking Bathsheba as his wife.  This displeased God.  What pleased God, however, is how David completely repented of his sins and the evil he had committed-he did not fall beyond recovery.  David was forgiven for his sin and punished through the loss of his son, and David worshipped God and continued to serve Him.


            Personally, I would not want to have the same interaction with my son (if I ever have one) as David had with his son Adonijah.  David had little involvement with Adonijah's affairs.  "His father had never interfered with him by asking, 'Why do you behave as you do?'" (1 Kings 1:6).  Adonijah ultimately ended up conspiring, but not succeeding, to take the kingdom from his brother Solomon.  Absalom, another one of his sons, also attempted to take over the kingdom.  He made his attempt before Adonijah did and nearly took the kingdom from David.  He also slept with his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel (2 Samuel 16:21-22).  Absalom, of course, flaunted his good looks with the addition of his long, thick hair (2 Samuel 14:25-26), but this is not the pattern that we are to follow as servants of God, delighting to do His will and to be pure and spotless vessels who are above reproach (see 1 Corinthians 11:14).


            As David makes clear, he has set his hopes on the Lord, the God of Israel.  His desire and his seeking after the Lord is greater than any other thing (greater than any reward that silver, gold, rubies, wealth, or any other thing can give).  The Lord is strengthening me to turn all of my desires toward His commands and to desire to be taught all of His ways (Psalm 119).  Times I find myself "dwelling" on things such as personal provisions or things that need to be done, I am turning these things over to the Lord and resting in the fact that His timing may not be my timing.  And, as a result, my desire for doing the Lord's will is increasing and desire for the other things such as my own will or timing is diminishing.  This is what I see David doing: seeking the Lord with all of his heart and walking in righteousness in the strength of the Lord (Psalms 63:1-11; 71:5-8).