The Book of Psalms

David was the spiritual heir of the Prophet Samuel. In the chain of Tradition, beginning with Moses at Mount Sinai,

David was the sixth, as follows: Moses, Joshua, Pinehas, Eli, Samuel, David. David was to his people not merely a king of unsurpassed valor, but the spiritual leader as well. He had surrounded himself with the greatest and wisest spiritual leaders of his time, namely, Mephibosheth, Ahitophel, Ira the Jairite, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the prophet Nathan, and the seer Gad. They formed the Highest Court of Israel (Sanhedrin) under the presidency of King David.

David's life was a sacred one, consecrated to G‑d and to his people. It was not so much by his valor and courage that he won the hearts of his people, as by the saintliness of his character, so touchingly expressed in his Book of Psalms, which is perhaps the most popular of all the books of the Bible. For simple poetic genius, for pathos, sweetness, and heartfelt piety, the Book of Psalms is unique.

The Psalms of David comprise every phase of his life. In the history of David, his exile, persecution, struggles, and eventual triumph, the Jewish people, collectively and individually, find a faithful prototype of their own life. No wonder the Book of Psalms had throughout the ages served as a boundless source of inspiration, courage, and hope.

The Passing of David

David passed away on the Sabbath which coincided with the festival of Shavuot, in the year 2924 (837 years before the Common Era). His reign lasted for forty years, (2884-2924); the first seven years he reigned in Hebron over the tribe of Judah, and the remaining thirty-three years he reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel. For six months, however, he was in exile during the revolt of Absalom.

To the Jewish people, King David is not dead. His memory lives on forever in his Book of Psalms and in the Messianic hope of Israel. For, as our Prophets have promised us, Messiah will be a descendant of David, King of Israel.