According to the Tanakh, David was the second king of the unified Kingdom of Israel but was effectively the first to establish a united Israelite monarchy. The traditional timeline suggests that he was born around 1040 BCE in Bethlehem. The prophet Samuel identified him at a young age as God’s chosen future king of Israel. David gained the favor of the reigning king, Saul, by defeating the Philistine giant Goliath. Saul later grew fearful of David’s rising popularity and sought to kill him. After the Philistines defeated and killed Saul and assassins killed his son, David became king over the unified Israelite kingdom. He conquered Jerusalem in circa 1003 and made it his new capital. Israel became a regional power as David defeated the Philistines and other enemies and fully united the twelve tribes of Israel. Despite personal failings, David is remembered as a successful and just king. David died around 970 BCE, naming his son, Solomon, successor to the throne of Israel.
David is a celebrated figure in all three Abrahamic traditions. David was responsible for making Jerusalem the center of the Jewish world and he holds a special place in Judaism and in the modern state of Israel as a symbol of Jewish political unity and strength. Jews place particular significance on him as the founder of the House of David, which God promised to establish eternally. Jews who believe in the coming of a Messiah believe he will come from the line of David. In Christianity, Jesus’ descent from David according to the New Testament is held as proof of his fulfillment of biblical prophecy as the Messiah. Muslims also respect him under the name Dawood as a prophet. In addition to his political role in ancient Israel, he is traditionally credited with the authorship of much of the biblical Book of Psalms, as he was a gifted musician.
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