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Who Was King David? Fun Facts and Teaching Tips About Israel's Second King

Donna is a retired Christian educator who writes creative lesson plans for Sunday school, children's ministry, and home education.

Who was King David really? As a Christian educator working in early childhood education, I've noticed that as adults, we are so familiar with some Bible stories we forget they are fresh and brand new to children.

In fact, kids may have lots of unanswered questions about Bible characters. They want to know if David ever got into trouble (like they do) or if he had brothers and sisters and so much more.

Teaching Kids About King David

I've found it helps to keep a list of facts about people like King David handy when preparing lessons and activities. That way, I can personalize lessons for age appropriateness and help the kids realize that David was a child just like them in many ways.

Here's a cheat sheet of information I've created about King David that you may find useful in your own classroom, home school environment, or for family devotion time. As a bonus, I've included some fun extension activities for lessons about David and Goliath.

David and His Family

Here are some fun facts about David's family that kids will like:

  1. Jesse was David's father. The Bible does not tell us his mother's name.
  2. He had seven brothers and two sisters.
  3. He was the youngest of Jesse's sons.
  4. David's job was taking care of the family's sheep (shepherd). In addition to being a shepherd, David was a poet, musician, writer and warrior.
  5. Jesse sent David to take bread and corn to his three older brothers at the battlefield where Goliath was.
  6. David was supposed to bring his father a pledge (a lock of hair from each of his brothers) to prove that they were still alive when he returned from the battefield. (1 Samuel 17:18).
  7. Samuel was surprised God chose David rather than one of his older brothers to be the next King.

David and King Saul

  • Saul was jealous of David's popularity with the Israelites.
  • Even though Saul tried many times to kill David, when David had a chance to kill Saul, he did not do it because Saul was God's anointed (chosen) king.
  • David became king when Saul was killed during a battle with the Philistines. According to 2 Samuel 5:4, David was thirty years old when he became king.
  • David's reign as king of Judah lasted for almost eight years. His reign as king of both Judah and Israel lasted for 33 years.

David and Jonathon

David and Jonathon (King Saul's son) were best friends. Because Jonathon was Saul's first son to be born, the throne was supposed to be his when his father died. However, God chose David to be the next king instead. Even though David would one day have the throne and the title that should have been his, Jonathon was not jealous of David. When his friend Jonathon was killed in battle, David found his son Mephibosheth and adopted him as his own son.

Fun Facts About David the King

The Bible calls David a "man after God's own heart." Even though David sometimes made some poor choices, he was always sorry for what he did wrong. He repented and asked God to forgive him.

Jerusalem was called the city of David. This nickname was given to it when David conquered the area. He made the city the center of his reign as king and brought the Ark of the Covenant there. His son, Solomon, would later build Israel's first temple and provide a permanent home for the sacred Ark.

Jesus is often referred to as son of David, and he is a descendant of David through his earthly father Joseph.

David and Goliath

David is famous for killing the giant Goliath with one small stone, but he also killed a lion and a bear when he was just a young boy. Did you know that in Hebrew, the word "goliath" means splendid?

All the odds were against David in this battle with the giant. Goliath was wearing armor to protect himself - about 270 pounds of armor, according to Roger Christopherson.

Some of the pieces of his armor were a helmet, brass leg coverings, and a coat of mail. Additionally, he had a shield bearer who went before him for protection.

David wore no armor and went into battle alone. King Saul offered his armor to David, but it was too bulky and heavy for the young lad. (1 Samuel 17:42 refers to David as a "youth."

David used Goliath's own sword to cut off his head. While the Bible does not say exactly how old David was at this time, according to Barnes' Notes on the Bible, he was about 20. The story of David and Goliath in the Bible is always a favorite with most students.

Fun Math Problems for Older Students

  1. Did you know that Goliath was over 9 feet tall? According to 1 Samuel 17:4, he was 6 cubits and one span. If one cubit equals 18 inches and one span equals 9 inches, exactly how tall was he? (Let the kids do the math for themselves just for fun.)
  2. The Bible says the head of Goliath's weighed 600 shekels. If a shekel equals .403 ounces, how much did the spear head (not the entire weapon) weigh? (Hint: 600 x .403 will tell the kids how many ounces the spear weighed. Help them convert the answer into pounds.)

David and Goliath Word Scramble

Use the words in the word bank below as clues to unscramble these jumbled letters and learn some vocabulary words from the story of David and Goliath.

Scroll to Continue

Word Bank: battle, David, Goliath, Samuel, Saul, Philistine, giant, stone, slingshot, sword

  1. glisstohl
  2. liipshtein
  3. ddavi
  4. tgain
  5. oghaitl
  6. aumels
  7. netos
  8. usla
  9. wodsr
  10. etlbta

Teacher's answer key: slingshot, philistine, david, gaint, goliath, samuel, stone, saul, sword, battle

Using This Information to Teach

Preschool and elementary students are still in the concrete rather than abstract thinking mode. So, when we say David was just a boy when he killed Goliath, they might wonder how a child like them could kill anyone!

It helps them understand and internalize lessons better when they can relate to people like King David in terms of their childhood world.

The information presented here can be used with a wide range of grade levels by simply modifying it to suit your needs.

Simplify (where necessary) for early childhood education classes, and use it as is for upper grade levels.

Turn the statements into questions to make quick pop quizzes or homework assignments. For instance, the statements "Jesse was David's father. He had seven brothers and two sisters " can become two questions:

  1. Who was David's father?
  2. How many brothers and sisters did David have?

For elementary students who are reading and writing independently, you can change these into fill-in the blank questions with a word bank:

Use the word bank to fill in the blanks in the sentences below.

Word bank: Jesse, seven, two.

  1. David's father's name was ___________.
  2. David had _________ sisters and __________ brothers.

However you chose to use this information, the key thing is to just have fun with your children and students as you discover together the answer to "Who was King David in the Bible?"

© 2012 Donna Cosmato

Which of these facts about King David surprised you the most?

JESS JONES on October 28, 2016:

Love how you explained facts and gave a a few lessons on how to teach this!

Thank you so much!

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on January 08, 2015:

Deborah, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub about King David. I'm always fascinated by the backstory of biblical figures like David. I'm glad you liked it!

Deborah Morrison from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on January 07, 2015:

I enjoyed reading this hub and learning about many details that I was not previously aware of in relation to King David. I had no idea that there was no mention of who King David's mother was. This leaves me wondering who King David's mother was and why her name is not included. King David was a great warrior, going into battle alone with no armor. Also, it is most interesting to discover that he was a talented with poetry and music. King David is most certainly a fascinating character.

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on December 31, 2014:

Thanks for the positive input and up vote G Ivanova. I really appreciate your kind words.

G Ivanova on December 31, 2014:

Donna, thank you for the useful information. I love how you provide activities for the kids in this article. Definitely voted up.

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on May 31, 2014:

Thanks jessyk for reading and taking time to leave some feedback on this hub about King David. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Jessy Katz from Boston on May 20, 2014:

This was a great hub idea! always nice to read and learn about new things,

especially about history.

Dream Lover from Zagreb on March 14, 2014:

David is the best ;) Stories from the Bible are so instructive. I love your hub :)

Sandy J Duncan from Kansas City, Kansas on January 11, 2014:

I love this hub. I'm brand new here and would love for your critique from your expertise on my post about Harry Potter and Christians. I'd sure appreciate your feedback. So if you get the time take a look and let me know. Thanks again for this great hub.

jessica on December 17, 2013:

this is great for my project about david

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on June 07, 2012:

Thanks, Ricky, I'm glad this one hit the spot with you!

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on June 06, 2012:

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting Donna. This is a great idea, good subject and a great show of your creative side. This is a fun hub. Big thumbs up.

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on May 29, 2012:

Thank you for your kind words and feedback always exploring! I'm so glad you enjoyed this little lesson on King David.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on May 29, 2012:

This is a great educational hub. Well researched. Voted up all the way...

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on May 28, 2012:

Thanks for reading and commenting on this, Sparrowlet! My students have so many questions about famous Bible figures that I never lack for research subjects to satisfy their curiosities. Interestingly enough, I always learn some new facts myself. I never knew that Goliath's armor weighed so much - he must have been huge!

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on May 28, 2012:

Thank you for taking time to leave your feedback on this hub, Dave, and how wonderful to hear from someone who was named for this great king! Isn't it interesting to know that the wisest man in the whole world (Solomon) and the greatest man who ever lived (Jesus) were both from the lineage of King David?

Katharine L Sparrow from Massachusetts, USA on May 28, 2012:

Interesting! Didn't know anything about King David!

Dave Mathews from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA on May 28, 2012:

Donna: Indeed God holds a special place in His heart for King David who I am named for. It was through David's lineage that Jesus the Son of God, entered the world as a human.

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on May 28, 2012:

Thank you, Donna! I always value your input on my religious writing because of your background and expertise on the subject. I hope this helps others bring the Bible to life for all those little learners out there:)

Donna Cosmato (author) from USA on May 28, 2012:

Thanks for reading and commenting on this, Deborah. David is one of my favorite OT Bible figures as well. I'll check my FB account and make sure we are friends:) Have a wonderful Memorial Day, and I love your new picture!

Donna Sundblad from Georgia on May 27, 2012:

Great hub. It provides a wealth of information about King David and how to use it to teach the next generation. Voted useful and up.

Deborah Brooks Langford from Brownsville,TX on May 27, 2012:

this is excellent.. I love David and everything about him and yes you are right he made mistakes but he was truly sorry.. God Loves that.

I am sharing this on my prayer page on Facebook

are we friends on Facebook?

I am Deborah Brooks Langford

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