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(about 1040–961 B.C.)

The great prophet, warrior, and conqueror, King David, ruled two kingdoms: Judah and Israel. Chosen and anointed by God, he succeeded Saul as second king of the united kingdom of Israel. His forty-year reign was known as the golden era—the most brilliant, glorious time in the history of Israel. He secured the boarders of the country, united the tribes, and established a government according to the will and laws of God. The entire nation enjoyed unprecedented prosperity under his reign.

David, the great grandson of Boaz and Ruth, was the youngest of eight sons born to Jesse, of the tribe of Judah. He grew up tending his father’s flocks on the hillsides of Bethlehem, his birthplace. A gifted young musician and poet, David was described as “beautiful” to behold (1 Samuel 1:12). While David was yet a child, the Lord sent Samuel the prophet to anoint him in place of King Saul, whom God had rejected for disobedience.

Young David proved faithful and brave. When a Philistine giant defied all of Israel to combat, David met the challenge.

“Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Isreal, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand…And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands,” (1 Sam. 17:45-47)

With God’s help, David defeated the brute. This victory earned him a position as courtier at the palace of King Saul. But David’s popularity made Saul so jealous that he eventually ordered him killed. David fled the palace and lived in exile as an outlaw. After Saul and his son Jonathan were killed in battle, thirty-year-old David returned to claim the throne. He conquered the city of Jerusalem and declared it the capital of his kingdom and the religious center of his people. To that end, the new king transported the Ark of the Covenant from Cariathiarim to the City of David.

Through a series of battles and conquests, King David enlarged the nation’s borders as far as the Euphrates. During this campaign David fell into the sin of adultery with Bathsheba and arranged for the death of her husband, Uriah. These sins brought a series of calamities upon him and his kingdom during the last twenty years of his life. Through David’s deep sorrow and pleadings for forgiveness of his sins, we find an example of true contrition.

Early on King David had set his heart on building a temple unto the Lord, but God told him he could not —that his son Solomon was chosen for that honor. Nonetheless, David spent several decades and huge fortunes amassing all of the raw materials needed: timber, gold, silver, brass, and so forth to be used in this magnificent monument.

Shortly before his death, King David assembled all of the leaders of Israel to collect their contributions and money offerings for the new temple, and he announced that Solomon was appointed of God to build the great edifice. David turned over all of the materials, including the pattern for the temple, to Solomon. Then he offered what is believed to be his last public address, wherein he blessed and praised the Lord for all of Israel’s generous contributions. The entire congregation was then called to pray and offer sacrifices unto the Lord. The official anointing of Solomon as king followed. David died shortly thereafter of natural causes, sometime around his seventieth year.

King David was a prophet of God who spoke by the Spirit and had many revelations. Of all the wonderful sermons, teachings, psalms, laws, lyrics, music, poetry, leadership, righteous works, and prophecies that came by and through this great king, his last humble words to Solomon were uttered by a man who understood that ultimately, through sin, he had failed his God. His example stands as a powerful testimony to the world of the importance of enduring to the end. After his last public address, we find two versions of King David’s last words to his son—one in 1 Kings and one in 2 Samuel.

Last Words (spoken publicly)

1 Chronicles 29:10–19
Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.

Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? For all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.

O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.

O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee: And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision.”

2 Samuel 23:1–5
The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.

1 Kings 2:1–4
I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.

About the Author

Kathleen Ryan - Author of Last Words for the Last DaysKathleen Ryan is an award-winning writer and public relations professional. Originally from Massachusetts, she moved to Florida where she resided for 25 years before relocating to rural Alabama.
Kathleen launched her writing career in 1980, and since then has written more than 1,200 articles for national and international magazines, newspapers and trade publications, in addition to editing, co-authoring, and ghost writing a variety of specialty books.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, her life-long service has included: Area Media Specialist, Stake Relief Society President, Sunday School Teacher, and Church Educational System (CES) Instructor for both Seminary and Institute classes.

The inspiration behind the book...

... I knew God answers our prayers in His time when we're really ready to receive it, and I believed with all my heart that He would answer mine...(read the full story)

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