David: God’s Chosen King

Workshop Leaders’ Bible Study

This workshop leader’s Bible study is a historical, theological, and contextual introduction to the David: God’s Chosen King rotation of Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest workshop rotation program.  It is intended to provide workshop leaders with:

·        A historical context for understanding the Bible story.

·        A Biblical context for reading and teaching the story.

·        The theological basis for the concepts to be taught to the children.

In Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest program, workshop leaders attend a one-hour Bible study two weeks prior to the start of a new rotation.  This Bible study helps workshop leaders understand how the concepts to be taught to the children are derived from the Bible story and how the lessons in the rotation fit together to reinforce the concepts.  It also provides an opportunity for the workshop leaders to grow in their own faith and understanding of the Bible.

It will be helpful to have a chalkboard, whiteboard, or flip chart for writing down questions or observations during the Bible study.

Note:  This is not a comprehensive study of the text, but only a few notes to help provide context and background for workshop leaders.  Consult titles cited in the reference list at the end of these notes for more information.



            1 Samuel 16:1-13

Memory verse for this rotation:

            “The Lord said, ‘People judge others by what they look like, but I judge people by what is in their hearts.’” 1 Samuel 16:7 (CEV).


·       God has a plan and is in control.

·       God sees and understands things we do not.

·       God sees our hearts and not our outward appearance.

·       God chooses unlikely people to do God’s work.

·       The Holy Spirit goes with people who do God’s work

Prayer Concerns & Prayer

·        If workshop leaders do not know each other, give them an opportunity to introduce each other and say which workshop they will be leading.

·        Begin the Bible study by praying for God’s guidance as teachers begin a new rotation.

Reading the text

Ask a workshop leader to read the text aloud.  Since this rotation focuses on an entire chapter, you might want to divide the reading among three or four workshop leaders.

Ask the workshop leaders what questions came to mind as they heard the story or read it before the Bible study.  Write down any questions that arise and will need to be answered during the Bible study.


Historical, Theological, and Biblical Contexts

1 and 2 Samuel



            It is believed that the books of 1 and 2 Samuel were originally one book and were divided later into two so that the scrolls would be smaller and easier to handle (Birch, 950).  The debate about who wrote Samuel and when is long, complicated, and unresolved.  For our purposes, it will suffice to say that 1 and 2 Samuel most likely started with some core stories that were compiled and edited by one or more people.  They  were probably fixed in their final form during the time of exile in the sixth century BCE (Birch, 956).



            1 and 2 Samuel are not true history and yet they tell the story of a particular historical period in the life of Israel.  They also tell the story of God at work in the life of Israel but they do so without ignoring the economic, political, and social factors at work as well.  In his commentary, Walter Brueggemann challenges us not to be tempted by an “excessively pious” reading or by an excessively rational reading of the text (2-3).  Brueggemann calls us to hold the theological and the historical/rational in tension as we read the narrative found in Samuel (5).  Once again, as we have found so often in scripture, we are faced with the unique genre of a theological narrative that seeks to tell us of the history of the people of God and of God at work in the world.



I have chosen to offer you the outline presented by Brueggemann who in his commentary states that he has “organized the material in rather conventional units, which . . . reflect a rough scholarly consensus” (6).

I Samuel 1-7  The Rise of Samuel

I Samuel 8-15  The Rule of Saul

I Samuel 16:1-II Samuel 5:10    The Rise of David

II Samuel 5:11-8:18    The Reign of David

II Samuel 9-20     The Family of David

II Samuel 21-24  Memories of David



            The books of 1 and 2 Samuel tell the story of a dramatic and important period of transition in Israel.  When Samuel begins, Israel is a loose gathering of tribes that have little or no central economic, political, social or religious systems or controls (Brueggemann, 1 and Birch, 949).  They are threatened militarily by the Philistines.  In 1 Kings, the book that follows Samuel, we find a firmly established monarchy and centralized economic, social and religious structures (Brueggemann, 1).  Rather than offering themes as such, Brueggemann offers the following three factors that were “at work in this social transformation”.

  1. In this transition, Israel was adjusting to certain “social, economic, political, military, and technological pressures” that were an important influence during this time (Brueggemann, 1).
  2. “The transition was wrought through the extraordinary personality of David” (Brueggemann, 1).
  3. Yahweh, the God of Israel, plays “a central part in this transition, sometimes acting and speaking directly, sometimes governing in hidden ways” (Brueggemann, 2).

In essence what Brueggemann is saying here is that the authors/editors of 1 and 2 Samuel recognized that the changes in Israel were brought about through both human activity (on a broad scale and more specifically by David) and through the activity of God who worked both directly and through the events of history to bring about God’s divine purposes.  “Our interpretation must pay attention to the way the Samuel narrative characterizes the transformation as a convergence of sociohistorical, personal, and theological factors” (Brueggemann, 2).  To neglect one or to overemphasize the other would be a mistake.

1 Samuel 16:1-13


            The section from 1 Samuel 16:1 through 2 Samuel 5:10 is often referred to as “The Rise of David” and is thought of as one of the several literary units that were put together to form the books of Samuel (Brueggemann, 119).  According to Bruce Birch, the story of David’s anointing was probably added by a prophetic historian (1094).  Birch goes on to say that the overriding theme of this section is that “the Lord was with David” (1095).  Brueggemann points out that David is introduced three different times and that this first introduction shows him as God’s chosen one.  David is first brought into the story by God, not by human intervention (Brueggemann, 120).


Interesting Words/Phrases/Ideas


            If we go back to the three factors pointed out by Brueggemann we can see each of them at work in this story.

  1. Both Samuel and the town elders respond to political pressures by showing fear, but in this story it is God alone who is controlling events.
  2. This is our first (of several) introductions to David and we learn that not only is he the man whose heart God has seen and chosen, but he is handsome as well!
  3. Yahweh chooses David.  David is brought into the story by God not by human action.


Workshop Summaries

Ask each workshop leader to summarize his or her workshop.  As they do so, point out the concepts that each lesson reinforces.  Ask workshop leaders if they have any questions about the logistics or practical application of their lesson.

Antioch Arcade: The children will play a game using optical illusions to learn that things and people are not always as they appear.  They will discuss the idea that God sees things we do not and that God judges us by what is in our hearts.

Holywood:  The children will review the story and all the concepts by watching the story of David’s anointing in the movie King David starring Richard Gere.  They will also draw a picture of what God sees in their hearts.

Good News: The children will hear and discuss in detail the story of David’s anointing.  They will also play a game called mirrors and discuss how God can see what is hidden in our hearts.

Praising Puppets:  The children will watch or perform a skit that shows how we can not always tell someone’s gifts and abilities by their outward appearances.  They will learn that God has created each of us for a purpose and God equips us for that purpose.

Review Questions

Return to the questions that were gathered at the start of the hour.  Have they been answered?  Are there any further questions about the Bible story or about the lessons?

Closing Prayer

Close the Bible study with a prayer.


Birch, Bruce C. “1 and 2 Samuel.”  The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. II. Leander Keck, et al. editors. (Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1998). (pp.949-967 and 1094-1115).

Brueggemann, Walter “First and Second Samuel.” Interpretation. James Luther Mays, et al. editors. (Louisville, John Knox Press, 1990). (pp. 1-7 and 127-134).