Episode 24: David and Kingship

Show Notes

Join our hosts as they discuss scriptural portrayals of King David. Who is David in the Bible and the Qur’an? How does this figure allow us to understand Biblical and Qur’anic concepts of kingship, including the idea of a king-messiah?

The Bible presents a complex portrait of David, who is called from his youth to rule as a “man after his [the LORD’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14 RSV) and is understood to be the ideal king. Yet, Biblical descriptions of kingship have been noted to be ambivalent; what do the nuances of David’s ascent tell us about the institution of kingship in scripture? Moreover, does David’s provocative incitement against Goliath and his fervent language of praise suggest pious devotion or cunning political machinations? Are these intrinsically opposed?

In the Qur’an, David is both a prophet and king, and the Qur’an further refers to David as khalifa, a title that bears both political and religious implications. Qur’anic exegetes interested in the relationship between political and religious authority have thus focused their attention on David’s role.

However, both the Bible and the Qur’an also immortalize King David as a penitent sinner. In the Bible, David’s lust for Bathsheba is juxtaposed with his piety and kingly virtue. If the ideal king of the Bible is presented in a morally nuanced way, does this reflect a complex understanding of the institution of kingship itself? How have Qur’anic exegetes understood descriptions of David’s penitence in light of his impeccability and infallibility as a prophet?

Finally, how do the Qur’an and the Bible each associate David with music-making and praise of God? How and to what extent does the figure of David serve as a model for Christ? Join our hosts in order to explore these and other fascinating questions.

Further Resources:

Barron, Robert. Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible; 2 Samuel. Ada, MI: Brazos Press, 2017. 

Mohammed, Khaleel. David in the Muslim Tradition. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014.

Murphy, Francesca. Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible; 1 Samuel. Ada, MI: Brazos Press, 2010.

IMAGE CREDIT: Wiki Creative Commons