I mentioned during worship last week, we are at times marked by the sins of our loved ones. Not counted as sin against us but as sin that effects our lives. This was apparent in the early life of David. He wrote “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psalms 51:5 (ESV).
According to an ancient Talmudic tradition, there were lots of questions surrounding David’s birth. This is the history taught in that Jewish tradition, and while you won’t find this in Old Testament history of Samuel (what Judaism refers to as part of the prophets) it gives some real insight into David’s childhood.
David’s father Jesse was a highly respected man in his community for his immense knowledge of
the law. Later in life, though, Jesse began to question his own legitimacy as a true Israelite. See, Jesse was the son of Obed, the son of Boaz and Ruth the Moabitess. Since the law formally forbid the marriage of those outside the law, Jesse began to struggle deeply. Because of this, he sent his Israelite wife, Nitzevet, away and planned on siring a new heir with a Canaanite servant since “neither was a true Israelite.”
The servant truly cared for her shunned mistress and they planned to switch like “Rachel and Leah.” That night Nitzevet conceived a boy, David, but Jesse remained unaware. Nitzevet never revealed this secret to her husband or the community to keep from embarrassing him. Jesse chose to have compassion on his wife, since it appeared that she had conceived illegitimately, but ordered his sons to treat the child as an outsider.
David was treated with this kind of distain for his entire early life until he showed great prowess in the court of king Saul. And yet this lowly youngest child of a potentially illegitimate Israelite was the greatest king of Israel and forefather to the Mes
siah. “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;” 1 Corinthians 1:27 (ESV)
Just to reiterate, this is a story based on Jewish tradition. There are even some historians who question some of the accuracy. Nevertheless, God has a remarkable way of working through the most difficult situations in our lives for the sake of His glory and His kingdom.
If you want to learn more about David’s early life check out this website.