Early Life and Heritage
As the youngest son of chief Yishai, Dawid was seemingly destined to be a shepherd or herdsman on his father's estate. He had shown early promise to those who knew him, but that had not included his father or his brothers. As he grew to manhood, the young man had proven strong and given to a study of his ancestors. He had come to believe, as many of them had, that the world around him was no 'accident.' It's creator, though, had to be far greater than any of the man-like deities that the Pelesti and other Khami touted as gods. Reason dictated that all that was had not been made by someone so small.
In his studies, he learned of the struggles of the Abrami and the descendants of Abram's nephew Lot. These related peoples had intermarried extensively with the people of the land, but had kept together through the birth of sons to fathers. The Abrami had absorbed much of the people of Moab and Ammon, Lot's sons, to form a powerful confederation that had taken on Egypt to rescue the Yitsaqi from slavery. His ancestor Nakhshon had taken as his wife a woman of Jericho after the sacking and destruction of that ancient city. Mighty chiefs had arisen in the tribe of Yahuda of which his father was the latest. His great grandfather, Boaz, had married the widow of a cousin to redeem the family land that was in foreclosure. The woman was Ruth, from among the Moabim. Dawid knew and respected the diverse peoples of the land.
It has been supposed that Dawid's mother was indeed a Moabitess, for he entrusted his parents to the chief of that associated tribe when king Shaul was out to kill him. However, this fact has been lost to history, for few women's names are recorded except when differentiating among the mothers of famous sons among the polygamy common in ancient times. Yishai had eight sons, all of whom would at times fight in Shaul's army. However, Samuel had sought the young man from among the flocks for his considerable skill with the sling. Shaul's own kinsman had allegedly taught Dawid the basics, but he had quickly perfected the weapon to rival the best of the left handed warriors. Shaul had wanted one of his own tribe for the task of training his soldiers in the sling's use, but Samuel had held out for the best - a son of an old friend.
Musician and poet
Dawid, as a chieftain's son, had been educated under the best teachers in all of Juhuda. As a result, he had learned to read the ancient language of his people. The records of the great general Mosheh were enthralling. The famous leader, an adopted son to the king of the Mitsraim, had gathered preserved texts going back to Abram, or maybe even further, that gave a record of mankind since the very beginning. The stories were devoid of the myth and legends that embellished the histories of all other peoples of which Dawid was aware. Lists of names of individual leaders were attached to exploits that were altogether repeatable. Even the long ages of the first people were not beyond reason.
Having absorbed all the literature available in Yitskaq, David had begun to write his own. Most of his compositions, though, were not on clay or parchment, but in song. He would compose his stories in poetic form and put them to music. His songs would one day be required reading in all of Yitskaq and successor nations of Yahuda and Yaqob. Even to the present day, among Arbi and Yahudi alike, there is no better Abrami literature. The tunes he used, of course, have been lost. But modern archeologists, in finding drawings and even pieces of ancient musical instruments have working theories of how the tonal variants would have sounded.
However they sounded, though, they had been good enough to sooth the manic depressive king Shaul, in the days between battles when he would ask for a musician to play in his presence. It didn't always work, and Dawid on a few cases came close to being speared by the man in a rage. The king, becoming unable to control his fits, had asked his mentor Samuel to bring the best musicians in the land, and Dawid had met the bill. Of course, the king was hardly in a mood to actually recognize those called in at such times. And so, when Samuel resorted to the shepherd poet as a skilled sling expert, the king didn't recognize his new champion.
Dawid proved himself in battle against a Khami giant who stood fifty percent taller than king Shaul, the biggest man among the Yitskaqi tribes. The Pelestim, it was believed, had descended from Kham's wife. The history of the intermarriage of peoples before the destruction of the world of the Ancients was largely unknown, but some among those peoples had been giants as was the Pelseti warrior challenging the armies of Shaul. There had been many of these giants in the early days of conquest, but only a tiny clan remained in the cities by the Great Sea. Goliath and his brothers had been trained since infancy to be soldiers. The sling had been the best option in taking them down in close quarters.
A single stone, easily hidden inside one's hand, had been all it took. Dawid had knocked the giant into a coma and then cut his head off with the Pelesti's own sword. He was a hero even before Shaul's forces had routed the the enemy's army, slaughtering thousands as they ran. Dawid would become an effective leader of Shaul's armies, soon earning the king's trust. Shaul gave Mikal to the young man as his wife to ensure that he did not go back to his sheep. The union, though, was dissolved by the king's decree after his insanity had led him to jealousy with his adopted son. Mikal would have five children by another man before Dawid had demanded her to return to him after her father's death (see below).
After a decade of living as a fugitive and an outlaw, Dawid became one of a number of contenders for the throne of Yitskaq. He was not "first in line" in the conventions of dynasties go, but only one dynasty had been tried among the chieftains of the Yitskaqi Confederaton before that, and it had ended badly. What usually had happened was the wealthiest or strongest among clan leaders would assume the role of leadership. That had been how Dawid's father had come to prominence. And so, Shaul's son Ish-Besheth became king for a period of seven years. Treachery among Ish-Besheth's own court had led to his assassination, and the crown went to Dawid rather quickly after that.
As king Dawid was able to defeat all but fortified city-states of the Palesti. These coastal cities became subject to his rule, but had refused to surrender. Taxes and garrisons of troops kept them in line until shortly before the Babili destroyed Yeru-Shalem (the capital that Dawid built at the site of Abram's famous meeting with Sem). The city, and its palace, would become one of the wonders of he ancient world. For four hundred years his descendants would rule from there.
As the nations around Yitskaq saw it growing more powerful under Dawid, border skirmishes began. The Ashurim and Khetim to the north and the Mitsraim to the south flexed their muscles to show the new monarch that they would expect co-operation and concessions to their established protocols. Alliances were made, both inside Yitskaq and without. The most effective uniting factor inside the kingdom had been Dawid's largely political marriages to women of the most powerful tribes within Yitskaq. The numerous wives, though, would end up raising their sons to be king, none of them realizing that only one would serve as a successor at any one time.
Apart from his military prowess, Dawid had built the greatest center for what amounted to El worship in all of Yitskaq. His son and successor would expand it to greater dimensions still, but would introduce altars to the tribal and national so-called gods of the surrounding lands. This would never have happened under Dawid's watch, for he had come to a strong conviction that the mighty beings of other lands were all just exaggerated men at best. He was of the conviction that the true El - "Mighty One" - could not be reduced to an image, even a representative one. Such a Mighty One could not be envisioned, but just expected to exist. The worship center, though, was open to all kinds of activities under loose guidelines for those who believed in the creator as an entity. It was this design that would lead to Shemaloh's abuses.
Marriages and family
Dawid would take as his first bride Mikal, daughter of the first king of Yitskaq. He had been in his early twenties, and not wise as to the ways of women, but he had become a hero and Shaul had wanted to seal the loyalty of his most recent champion. This marriage would be annulled by decree of her father, who would give her to Palti Ben-Laish, a minor official in his court. This move had been in spite of the legal marriage to Dawid. Mikal would be torn between the two men, giving Palti five sons, but be forced back to Dawid after he became King. None of her children would be considered David's legally, and the couple would have but one sickly child, one Ithre-Am, who died infancy.
Before that forced remarriage, though, David would marry Ahinoam, the widow of the former king Shaul. This had been a political necessity, in order to secure the loyalty of the rest of the family after Ish-Bosheth's assassination. Though Ahinoam was much older, she was able to have one more child, David's first, by the name of Amnon.
In his campaigns to secure the borders, Dawid met with resistance, one such man being a man named Nabal. Dawid's would have killed the man and his family if it had not been for the quick thinking of the man's wife Abigail. As a result of her actions, she was able to save herself and her husband's lands. Nabal, though, would soon die of heart disease. When this happened, Dawid would marry her. They would have two sons, Daniel and Khilead. These sons, though would fail to live to adulthood due to childhood diseases.
One of the political marriages of Dawid, was to Ma`akhah, daughter of Talmai, governor of the autonomous province of Gehur. The people of that province were distant cousins of the Abrami, being Aramim. This marriage would produce Abshaloh and Tamar, and the first contender to overthrow Dawid's throne in his later years.
Dawid would take two concubines while ruling in Hebron during the civil war. The first one's name was Khagith, who bore him Adoniel. The other was Abital, who gave him a son named Shepat-El. As their names indicate, Dawid was attempting to establish his reign on the authority of the creator god Abrami had claimed was above all other so called gods (elomim). He was "the" Mighty One, or simply El. Adoniel meant El is my Master, while Shepat-El means El is the judge. Dawid would be the most prolific writer of the existence of El in all of history. Even to this day Natsareti scholars who have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that a divine being must exist have not written as eloquently of it as did Dawid three thousand years ago.
Dawid would also take as his bride the widow of one of his greatest generals, Uriel of the Kheti. The Kheti were of a Khami, having settled in the land during the days that the Yacobi were in Egypt. Most of them had been wiped out in the invasion in the days of Mosheh and El-Shua`, but the remnant had survived to become a loyal minority group in the land. Uriel, whose name meant Light of the Mighty One, reflected his parent's acceptance of El, the creator. Bathsheba, his young bride, had been the hit of official functions all around Yeru-Shalem. Rumors of an affair with the king surfaced but were not proven by witnesses. The only evidence was the birth of a child after the official marriage that some said was too early. But the child died within a week and some sources claimed that it had been born premature with little hope of survival. This union would produce Shelomoh and Nathan.
Finally, in his old age, a young woman by the name of Abishag would be called in to "nurse" the king. Dawid's other wives and concubines had not been able to rouse him in his final illness, and so Abishag had shared his bed in an attempt to revive his circulation. The most reliable reports indicate that the attempt was unsuccessful.
Death and Legacy
In the night, in the midst of a clammy cold sweat and convulsions, the great king David died at the age of eighty years. His nurse Abishag had refused to sleep with him in this condition, though she stayed in the room up to the end. It was she who closed his eyes after he breathed his last. She had then dressed in widow's garments and walked down the hall to Bathsheba's room to let her know that her husband was dead. A state funeral had already been arranged, and messengers in royal chariots covered the land and beyond before the third day had passed.
Adoniel, the oldest surviving son of Dawid, moved to declare himself the king. It was his right, and it would have worked but Bathsheba, Dawid's favorite wife, declared Adoniel's claim void, since he was the son of a concubine. It would be her oldest son Shelomoh who would reign. Adoniel's backup plan backfired, though, for he declared his intentions to marry Abishag, the last woman to share his father's bed. The young woman, thirty years Adoniel's junior, agreed with Bathsheba's blessing. Shelomoh saw through the ploy, though, and considered the move treason. The first official act of the "golden age" of Yitskaq, therefore, was a royal execution of a prince who might have been king.
Dawid left a strong monarchy in place, though, with a commitment from the Yahudi tribe to remain in charge of Yeru-Shalem, the palace, and the temple to El for as long as there were people in the land. A collection of Dawid's songs was added to the history passed down from Mosheh and El-Shua` - becoming the core of Yitskaqi literature for the rest of the history of the Abrami people. Shelomoh would add to the writings, and the royal scribes would record the acts of the kings along the way, but the works of Dawid Ben-Yishai would be the greatest of them all.