We all know the story of David and Goliath. David, a young man from Israel, challenged a giant named Goliath of the Philistines. Although David appeared not be cut out to be a warrior, he insisted that God was on his side. With only a slingshot and five small stones, he killed the giant with one hit to his skull. Because of this victory, David gained fame in Israel. The current king, Saul, invited David to his court as a musician. We are told by the bible that David was placed into kingship by Yahweh himself. God sought a "man after his own heart" to replace Saul on the throne. After Saul's death, David succeeded him as the king of judah. Under David's rule, he went to war with many neighboring nations and ultimately expanded Israel by conquering the territory of Judah and Jerusalem. David was the first real king of the nation of Israel and he reigned for 33 years.
At the end of David's rule, it was time to appoint a successor. Out of his many sons, he chose Solomon, the son of his favorite wife, to succeed him to the throne. Solomon was thereby charged with the duty of completing David's work, continuing his legacy, and keeping the ways of Yahweh. While david's reign was a time of war and conquest, Solomon's rule was known as a time of peace, called the Golden Age of Israel. Perhaps more than that, Solomon was known for his contribution to the arts by mandating the contruction of the first Temple of Judaism.
The second commandment of the Hebrew bible reads, (insert Hebrew reading of the commandment), which translates to, "You shall not make for yourself a graven image". Thus, the art of this era of Judaism's history is mostly manifested as architecture rather than sculpture. The Ark of the Covenant was the "holy cabinet" that held the original stone tablets engraved eith the ten commandments. During king David's rule, the Ark had been captured by the Philistines. However, David sent an army to recapture the Ark and brought it to Jerusalem. Although no one knows what the ark looked like, it is the inspiration for modern versions that hold the Torah in today's synagogues.
David also took measure during his rule to design the Future Temple. Although David could not see this project through to completion, Solomon took over and completed the task after his father's death. He hired a man named Hiram of Tyre to construct the bronze framework. He utilized the manpower of slaves and foreign artisans to construct the temple. It is estimated that it was complete in 957 BCE. The actual appearance of the Temple is under speculation, because it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, but details of its dimensions are listed in the bible. Regardless, it served as the ideal model for future synagogues and churches to come after it.
As a musician in Saul's court, David was told to have played the kinnor and the lyre. He is credited for organizing the first worship music. He had a tremendous influence on the music of the Psalms. 78 of the 150 Psalms in the Bible are "Psalms of David". It is unknown whether he is the actual author or if they were written for him or about him, but it is known that some are dated after his time, therefore he could not have written all of them. Psalm 30, for example, is a Psalm of david that was written for the dedication of the Temple, which was after his death.
The Song of Songs, sometimes called the Song of Solomon, was king Solomon's major contribution to music. He is believed to have written this book of the bible, but it is possible that it was written by someone else and dedicated to him. The book is a dialogue between two lovers, thought to be representative of the church and God.
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