King David - Bible Study Activities  

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Golden head wreath

Famous Bible Kings

Statue of the young David

The boy David uses lateral thinking

Beautiful young woman, one of the Fayum coffin portraits

Bathsheba's story

Moses

Great Bible Heroes

Winged protecters on the side of the tomb of Tutankhamun

David & archaeology

Savage dog

Bible Archaeology: War

Ornate decoration on an ancient building

Bible Architecture: Jerusalem 



 

Bible text
for David's story

 


'The West Wing'

The West Wing was criticised for its naive view of politics. 
'What rock did these morally pure creatures crawl out from under?' asked one TV critic.
 
Is the Bible too soft on King David?

 


 




 


 

 

 

Activities for individuals or groups


Learning from David

Make a list of situations in your life where you've faced what seemed like insurmountable odds - 

  • just as David did when he attacked the rocky fortress of Jerusalem, 

  • or when he faced Goliath. 

Now go to Young People in the Bible to see how David used lateral thinking to solve the problem. Can you use the same sort of strategy to solve your own problems, focusing on your own particular strengths?


Focus questions for the story of David

The face of Uriah in Rembrandt's painting of David and Uriah; it shows grief and perhaps awareness of impending death

The face of Uriah in Rembrandt's painting of David and Uriah: exhausted grief and perhaps awareness of impending death

1. Go to Bible Text for David's story, and choose one episode from David's life. Read the story in your Bible, then spend some time thinking about it.
2. In the story, who speaks and who listens? Who acts? Who gets what they want? If you were in the story, which person would you want to be friends with? Which person would you want to avoid?
3. What is God's interaction with the main characters? What does this tell you about the narrator's image of God? Do you agree with this image?
4. What is happening on either side of the story, in the chapters before and after it? Does this help you understand what is happening?
5. The narrator has chosen to tell some things and leave other things out. What has been left out of the story that you would like to know?
6. Are these types of people still present in the world? Does it remind you of some aspect of your own story?


Writing David's biography

David has one of the best documented lives of the ancient world. We know his origins, his achievements, his family quarrels, his failings, and his gradual lapse into senility.

Write a short biography of David, or at least an outline of his life (see Bible Text: David for help with this). Open book

  • Collect your data

  • Organise it into time sequence or subject matter

  • Match a Bible text to each time sequence or subject

  • Read these texts carefully, noting the nuances of the passage and jotting down questions as you go

  • Write character outlines for each person

  • Divide David's life into separate sections

  • Write a list of questions for each section

  • Answer the questions, making each answer a paragraph or set of paragraphs

  • Read your responses from start to finish, to make sure you have the correct sequence of events and to spot any important bits you might have missed

  • Polish your material by editing out unnecessary words or phrases

Congratulations! You've written David's biography.


Movies about power and its effects

Can you name 
the films?

Can you see a connection with David's story?

'The Postman Always Rings Twice': lovers murder the woman's husband, but suffer for it

Man For All Seasons: Henry VIII unscrupulously kills anyone who gets in his way
The Godfather: the corruption of power Citizen Kane: his immense power distances him from reality 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence'- a David takes on a Goliath

Answers HERE (see 'David')   Can you think of others?


I'm only human...

Da Vinci, Head of a Warrior David is often presented as the great hero/king, but a reading of his story shows he was anything but perfect. Choose one of the events where the narrator presents him as less than perfect. What failing does this story highlight? Why do David's actions disappoint us?
Now think about the following questions: why do we wish our leaders to be perfect? how do we react when they are not? 
Do we have the same high expectations of ourselves in our daily leadership roles - for our children, our friends, our community?


Popular monarch convicted

Defense Team Appeals to a Higher Court

'On Thursday October 23, Rabbi Barkan's Tanach class convicted King David of murder for killing an Amalekite youth, a lad who untruthfully took responsibility for the death of King Saul. Lawyers on each side presented witnesses from the first chapter of Samuel II...  
The case was remanded to the class for sentencing, but no consensus was reached; some called for the death penalty while others argued for a few years in prison. Each member of the class is writing an appeal to the court to uphold or to overturn the conviction.' 

(Activity developed by students of Chicagoland Jewish High School)

Choose an event in David's life where his actions are questionable, and hold a simulated trial by jury where his motives and actions are examined in detail.

 


 

In depth study of an event in David's life

1. Pick one of the episodes in David's life. What were the most interesting moments in the story?
David's interactions with his family, especially his daughter Tamar, were anything but happy 2. In the story, who s
peaks and who listens? Who acts? Who gets what they want? 
3. If you were in the story, which person would you
want to be friends with? Who would you want to avoid?
4. What is God's interaction with the main characters? What does this tell you about the narrator's image of God? Do you agree with this image? Is it yours?
5. What is happening on either side of the story, in the chapters before and after it? Is this important?
6. The narrator/editor has chosen to tell some things and leave other things out. What has been left out of the story that you would like to know?
7. Are the elements of the story still present in the world? How is the story relevant to modern life, especially your own?  

 


Find out more...

Bible Archaeology: David    Archaeological finds linked to David

Bible Archaeology: War    David was almost constantly at war

Bible Architecture: Jerusalem 
The city that became David's capital

Top Ten Bible Heroes
   David, the bandit leader who became a king

Young Bible People 
David uses lateral thinking as he confronts Goliath

Bathsheba, Bible Woman   David blots his copy-book with Bathsheba

 

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Bible Stories: People of the Old Testament - Bible Study Resource:       King David: shepherd boy, musician, wily warrior and King