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The Legacy of David PDF Version
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A terrecotta plaque of young King David playing a lyre
Source:The Jewish World
When the Jewish people settled in Canaan following four decades of nomadic wandering, they formed a new civilization. Faced with an onslaught of threats from neighboring peoples, the Jews implemented a strategy utilized by other nations - they elected a king in 1020 BCE. This significant departure from Jewish tradition (until then, the role of monarch had been exclusively reserved for the divine) ushered in the leadership of Israelite kings, most notably the famous King David.

This lesson looks at the historical forces that gave rise to the monarchy, allows students to debate the wisdom of electing a king, examines the biblical and archaeological basis for reign of King David, and considers the legacy of King David in art and culture.

Grade Level:
Middle School, High School

Subjects Covered:
World History, Geography, Art History, Language Arts

Students will understand the formation of the Jewish community in Canaan and the factors that led to the election of its first monarchy. Students will investigate the highlights of the reigns of Saul and David. Students will also explore the lasting impact of ideas about King David on Jewish tradition and Western culture.

Students will be able to:
  • locate Canaan on a world map;
  • explain the reasons behind the Jewish people's decision to elect a king;
  • describe the reigns of Saul and David;
  • suggest reasons why King David has had an enduring impact throughout history.

Suggested Time Frame:
Two to three 45-minute class sessions.

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