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Tomb of David

The Tomb of David Monument

The Tomb of King David monument was located near the southwest corner of first century Jerusalem. (See Sketch of 1st Century Jerusalem). The monument stood just behind the Palace of Caiaphas.

Herod had built the monument as a memorial and as a shelter for those who visited the tombs. The Bible makes it clear that David was buried in the city of David, "So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David" (1 Kings 2:10). It is a matter of speculation where the real spot was for the tomb of David, whether it was the western hill or on the southeast hill in the city of David.

What we know for certain is that King David was buried in Jerusalem, His sons were buried in Jerusalem, His tomb still existed in 1st century A.D. Jerusalem, as Peter observed in Acts 2:26, as well as Josephus, Cassius Dio, and the Talmud. Herod built a monument for the tomb, but the original spot has not been determined.

Today the traditional tomb of David is located on the western hill of Jerusalem (modern Mt. Zion), just outside the old city.

King David died in 960 B.C. at the age of 70, we know he was 70 years old because 1 Kings 2:11 says he reigned for 40 years and 2 Samuel 5:4 says he began his reign at the age of 30.

"David [was] thirty years old when he began to reign, [and] he reigned forty years."
-2 Samuel 5:4

"So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. And the days that David reigned over Israel [were] forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem."
- 1 Kings 2:10-11

"And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward."
- 1 Samuel 16:11-13

And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.
- 1 Samuel 13:13-14

1 Chronicles 21:26 - And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering.

1 Kings 8:16 - Since the day that I brought forth my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build an house, that my name might be therein; but I chose David to be over my people Israel.

1 Kings 2:11 - And the days that David reigned over Israel [were] forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.

2 Chronicles 32:33 - And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death. And Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.

Acts 2:29 - Men [and] brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

Also see Josephus' Description of Second Temple Jerusalem

Heart Message

David's Tomb

It's been said, "To plan your life, start at your funeral and work your way back." How do you want to be thought of after your death? Who will speak at your memorial, and talk about what you've added to their life?

Peter pointed to the tomb of King David in his first sermon after the resurrection to the crowds of Jerusalem. He made reference to something important David wrote by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. People are still speaking about King David. God is still using the life he lived. What was it about David that left such a mark on history? Why did God say of him, "A man after my own heart"?

Whatever David's qualities are, we in this world, do not easily recognize them. It seems that unless God touches our own heart to see as He does, we would overlook someone like David.

David's oldest brother didn't think much of him at a battle with the Philistines. David, the youngest, left a shepherd in charge of his sheep, because Jesse his father sent him to bring food to his brothers at the battle, and to see how they were doing.

When Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, "Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle."

"Now what have I done?" said David. "Can't I even speak?" He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. 1 Sam 17: 28-30

At an earlier time, the prophet Samuel was sent by God to the house of Jesse, and told that the he would find the next King of Israel there, and to anoint him.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, "Surely the LORD's anointed stands here before the LORD." But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Sam 16:6,7

The prophet had a worldly criteria for judging whom God would consider equipped and worthy to be Israel's next king. But Samuel quickly learned that God judges by a different scale. In fact David's own father Jesse, did not invite David to the meeting with the prophet.

Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, "The LORD has not chosen this one either." Next Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, "The LORD has not chosen this one either." Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, "The LORD has not chosen these." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Are these all the children?" And he said, "There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep." Then Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here." 1 Sam. 16:8-11

In David's old age, Absalom his son, betrayed him, and caused him to flee to the wilderness. But first he had to steal the hearts of Israel, and cause the entire nation to be offended at David. How did he do that? That's a topic for another time. But from the wilderness, with Absalom in control of the palace, David wrote, "LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, "There is no help for him in God." Selah. But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head."

What are those qualities recognized by God, but unseen by the world? Can you recognize a David, called by God but not recognized by the world, and at times, even hated? Can you recognize the anointing of God? Be careful, many cult leaders use this principle to separate people by spiritual pride into following a so-called David.

Yet the Scripture does call us to see people more as God sees them, rather than judging according to what the world sees as important. Perhaps you are a David, with a heart after God. Don't expect to be recognized easily. But be content with serving humbly, with God's calling on your life, and shepherd those around you, care about God's sheep, and pursue Him with all your heart. You'll leave many grateful people behind at your funeral, you're life will still matter after your death, and more importantly, you'll meet One who is grateful in heaven!

David said about him: (Messiah) " 'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; will fill me with joy in your presence.' "Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay." Acts 2:25-31.