The holy and righteous King David was the second king of all Israel, after Saul, around approximately 1000 B.C. He was also a prophet, having written a great number of the Psalms, and one of the Forefathers of Christ. The Church commemorates him together with all the ancestors of Christ on the Sunday of the Forefathers (December 11-17, depending on the day on which the Nativity falls, and also on the first Sunday after the Nativity, along with Joseph the Betrothed and the Apostle James the Just.
After the death of King Saul, David became the King of the Hebrew people. David, who was meek and pious, steadfastly believed in the true God and tried to do His will. He had endured much persecution from Saul and other enemies but did not become embittered, did not lift his hand against Saul, as he was the Lord’s anointed, but placed all his hope in God, and the Lord delivered him from all his enemies. But it came about that David fell into great sins. Then he repented to the depth of his soul for them. At night he washed his couch with tears, and afterwards improved himself and loved God more and more.
Thus once towards evening, King David went for a walk on the roof of his house and saw a very beautiful young lady. David wanted to have her as his wife. He found out that this lady was called Bathsheba and that she was the wife of Urias the Hittite (cf. II Sam. 11:2). At that time Urias was at war (the war then was with the Ammonites). David very much desired the death of Urias. The King could not get rid of this evil, sinful desire and ordered the military commander to place Urias in the front during the battle so that he would be killed. David’s wish was fulfilled. Bathsheba, discovering that her husband was dead, wept for him.
When the time of mourning came to an end, King David sent for Bathsheba and took her into his house, and she became his wife. Thus King David accomplished a great evil, a two-fold sin, before the eyes of God. Soon Bathsheba bore a son, but David did not notice that he had committed a great sin in the eyes of God.
Then, at God’s command, the Prophet Nathan went to King David and said, "There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had only one little ewe lamb, which he had purchased, and preserved and reared. It grew up with him and his children together, ate of his bread and drank of his cup, slept in his bosom and was to him as a daughter. Once a traveler came to the rich man, and he took not a lamb from his own flocks to slaughter for the traveler, but he took the poor man’s lamb and slaughtered it for the guest."
The Psalms of David are often read and sung in church at Divine Services. The sacred book in which all these psalms or songs are found is called the Psalter. The Psalter is the most frequently used book of the Old Testament. Many Christian prayers are composed with words from the psalms in this book.
David reigned for forty years and died a very old man. While still alive he appointed his son Solomon as his heir. The high priest Zadok and the Prophet Nathan anointed him King. Before his death David bequeathed to Solomon his wish that the Temple of God be built without fail.