David’s Family 


David’s mother.  Few references to David’s mother appear in the Scriptures, and she is never named. This is surprising, considering sixty-six chapters are used to tell of David’s life.

This has led to speculation that there was some stigma connected with her.

Since David, while a fugitive, entrusted his mother and father to the king of Moab (1 Sam. 22:3), some suggest that Jesse may have taken a Moabitess wife, as had his grandfather, Boaz.

Other speculation centers on this perplexing sentence in Psalm 51: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (v. 5). Calvinists use this as a proof

text for their doctrine of Total Hereditary Depravity, but the Scriptures teach that we are not “born in sin”—that each is responsible for his own sins, not the sin of his ancestors,

including Adam (Eccles. 7:29; Ezek. 18:4,19, 20; Zech. 12:1; Mt. 18:3; 19:14; Acts 17:29; Rom. 2:6; 1 Cor. 14:20; 2 Cor. 5:10; Gal. 6:5; etc.).

 David was not referring to his own sinfulness, but rather to the sinful environment in which he was conceived and born. The words may be a poetic reference to a sinful world—

 the words “In sin my mother conceived me.” The psalm is about the sin of adultery; could David have been saying that his mother was guilty of that

sin? Some believe that David was an

but there may be a darker meaning in illegitimate, unwanted child, an embarrassment to the rest of the family.

We may never unravel the mystery of David’s mother, but every indication is that he was fond of her and took care of her (1 Sam. 22:3; 2 Sam. 19:37).

David’s sisters. David’s two sisters, Zeruiah and Abigail, and their offspring are named in 1 Chron. 2:16, 17. One of Zeruiah’s sons was named Joab. When Abigail (or Abigal) is

mentioned in 2 Sam. 17:25, she is identified as Zeruiah’s sister (who had a son named Joab). It is stated that she was “the daughter of Nahash,” instead of Jesse.

Various explanations have been given:

(1) “Nahash” was another name for Jesse.

(2)  "Nahash” was the name of one of Jesse’s wives.

(3) Jesse married a widow with two daughters, who had previously been married to a man named Nahash.

Too little information is given to be dogmatic on the point.

David’s relationship with the rest of the family. Putting all of the speculation together, it is possible that David was a halfbrother or stepbrother to all or some of his siblings. This might

help explain why he was something of an outsider.





Easton's Bible Dictionary


(1.) King of the Ammonites in the time of Saul. The inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead having been exposed to great danger from Nahash, sent messengers to Gibeah to inform Saul of their extremity. He promptly responded to the call, and gathering together an army he marched against Nahash. "And it came to pass that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them [the Ammonites] were not left together" (1 Sam. 11:1-11).

(2.) Another king of the Ammonites of the same name is mentioned, who showed kindness to David during his wanderings (2 Sam. 10:2). On his death David sent an embassy of sympathy to Hanun, his son and successor, at Rabbah Ammon, his capital. The grievous insult which was put upon these ambassadors led to a war against the Ammonites, who, with their allies the Syrians, were completely routed in a battle fought at "the entering in of the gate," probably of Medeba (2 Sam. 10:6-14). Again Hadarezer rallied the Syrian host, which was totally destroyed by the Israelite army under Joab in a decisive battle fought at Helam (2 Sam. 10:17), near to Hamath (1 Chr. 18:3). "So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more" (2 Sam. 10:19).

(3.) The father of Amasa, who was commander-in-chief of Abasolom's army (2 Sam. 17:25). Jesse's wife had apparently been first married to this man, to whom she bore Abigail and Zeruiah, who were thus David's sisters, but only on the mother's side (1 Chr. 2:16).

Smith's Bible Dictionary

→ King of the Ammonites who dictated to the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead that cruel alternative of the loss of their right eyes or slavery which roused the swift wrath of Saul, and caused the destruction of the Ammonite force. (1 Samuel 11:2-11) (B.C. 1092.) "Nahaph" would seem to have been the title of the king of the Ammonites rather than the name of an individual. Nahash the father of Hanun had rendered David some special and valuable service, which David was anxious for an opportunity of requiting. (2 Samuel 10:2)

→ A person mentioned once only- (2 Samuel 17:25)-in stating the parentage of Amasa, the commander-in-chief of Absalom's army. Amasa is there said to have been the son of a certain Ithra by Abigail, "daughter of Nahash and sister to Zeruiah." (B.C. before 1023.)




NAHASH - na'-hash (nachash, "serpent"; Naas):

(1) The father of Abigail and Zeruiah, the sisters of David (2 Sam 17:25; compare 1 Ch 2:16). The text in 2 S, where this reference is made, is hopelessly corrupt; for that reason there are various explanations. The rabbis maintain that Nahash is another name for Jesse, David's father. Others think that Nahash was the name of Jesse's wife; but it is not probable that Nahash could have been the name of a woman. Others explain the passage by making Nahash the first husband of Jesse's wife, so that Abigail and Zeruiah were half-sisters to King David.

(2) A king of Ammon, who, at the very beginning of Saul's reign, attacked Jabesh-gilead so successfully, that the inhabitants sued for peace at almost any cost, for they were willing to pay tribute and serve the Ammonites (1 Sam 11:1 ff). The harsh king, not satisfied with tribute and slavery, demanded in addition that the right eye of every man should be put out, as "a reproach upon Israel." They were given seven days to comply with these cruel terms. Before the expiration of this time, Saul, the newly anointed king, appeared on the scene with an army which utterly routed the Ammonites (1 Sam 11:1 ff), and, according to Josephus, killed King Nahash (Ant., VI, v, 3).

If the Nahash of 2 Sam 10:2 be the same as the king mentioned in 1 Sam 11, this statement of Josephus cannot be true, for he lived till the early part of David's reign, 40 or more years later. It is, of course, possible that Nahash, the father of Hanun, was a son or grandson of the king defeated at Jabesh-gilead by Saul. There is but little agreement among commentators in regard to this matter. Some writers go so far as to claim that "all passages in which this name (Nahash) is found refer to the same individual."

(3) A resident of Rabbath-ammon, the capital of Ammon (2 Sam 17:27). Perhaps the same as Nahash (2), which see. His son Shobi, with other trans-Jordanic chieftains, welcomed David at Mahanaim with sympathy and substantial gifts when the old king was fleeing before his rebel son Absalom. Some believe that Shobi was a brother of Hanun, king of Ammon (2 Sam 10:1).

W. W. Davies

It is reasonable to think that David's mother was not Proper or legitimate relative to Jewish law. She was probably not thought of in the same light as one who was a Hebrew and had never been married before.  This would provide another aspect to what David said in Psalms 51.  However, this cannot be proved.

In any case the actual wording in Psalms 51 does not support the thought of original sin as it reads. V. M.


Psalms 51  and David's Family articles

List of Moral Government articles