The David Tradition

David in the Biblical Tradition

Dear Daily Devotion

I hope you found the short series on Women Jesus Met interesting.  Over the next few weeks we are going to be looking at the David Tradition in the Old Testament with reflections written by the Rev’d Dr Janet Tollington.  For many years Janet taught Old Testament at Westminster College in Cambridge.  Despite being retired she continues to be actively involved in teaching and supervision and we are very grateful for her taking the time and trouble with this new series.  She writes:

The figure of David is one of the most significant in the Christian Bible.  Remembered as the first divinely appointed king of all Israel, the founder of a dynasty of Judean kings and an ancestor of Jesus, it may come as a surprise to learn that virtually nothing exists beyond the biblical texts to establish his historicity.  That is not an issue that need concern us.  What matters in relation to our faith and discipleship are the theological traditions that are rooted in ‘a son of Jesse’, that grew over the centuries and reached fulfilment in Jesus, a son of David, Son of God.

Stories about David are told in 1 Samuel 16 – 1 Kings 2, many of which are retold in 1 Chronicles 11-29 although sometimes with significant variations.  These locate him around 1000 BCE and his connections with both Bethlehem and Jerusalem give importance to these places in other biblical narratives. David’s legacy developed over the years into the messianic hopes of both Jewish and Christian traditions; and these are expressed in many of the books of the Hebrew Bible, as well as the Gospels and other New Testament texts.

Over the next 4 weeks we will look at many stories of David, some very familiar and others that are probably less well known.  As the series develops we will move away from the main narratives to see how traditions about David emerged in the Psalms, some later prophetic texts and on into books of the New Testament.

As we journey together I hope that we will discover more about our humanity through these stories; and about God’s enduring faithfulness and amazing capacity to transform brokenness into new life.  There is much to challenge us in these traditions; and much to inspire us too. So come with me as we explore the figure of David, trusting that God will bring us to a fuller understanding of how this tradition can enrich our faith as we continue walking the way of Jesus.

I hope our journey with David over the next few weeks will be useful.

with every good wish


The Rev’d Andy Braunston
Co-ordinator, Daily Devotions from the URC


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New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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