David Asks God Direct Questions
Samuel, Kings, Chronicles
And David enquired of God, saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? … (from 1 Chronicles 14:10, KJV)
Bible Bits observed David asking this very direct, specific question to God, and we wondered how often the Bible records David doing this.
So we looked for as many examples of David — the man after God’s heart and hero of Jewish/Christian Godly history — asking God a direct question as we could find. These come where David’s story is told in the historical books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. And we limited our search to the king, songwriter, and sometimes prophet David.
Here’s what we found, per the New English Translation:
1 Samuel 23:10 Then David said, “O LORD God of Israel, your servant has clearly heard that Saul is planning to come to Keilah to destroy the city because of me. (NET)
1 Samuel 23:2 David asked the LORD, “Should I go and strike down these Philistines?” The LORD said to David, “Go, strike down the Philistines and deliver Keilah.” (NET)
1 Samuel 23:4 So David asked the LORD once again. But again the LORD replied, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand.” (NET)
1 Samuel 23:12 David asked, “Will the leaders of Keilah deliver me and my men into Saul’s hand?” The LORD said, “They will deliver you over.” (NET)
1 Samuel 30:8 David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Should I pursue this raiding band? Will I overtake them?” He said to him, “Pursue, for you will certainly overtake them and carry out a rescue!” (NET)
1 Samuel 30:15 David said to him, “Can you take us down to this raiding party?” He said, “Swear to me by God that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to this raiding party.” (NET)
2 Samuel 24:10 David felt guilty after he had numbered the army. David said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly by doing this! Now, O LORD, please remove the guilt of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” (NET)
2 Samuel 2:1 Afterward David inquired of the LORD, “Should I go up to one of the cities of Judah?” The LORD told him, “Go up.” David asked, “Where should I go?” The LORD replied, “To Hebron.” (NET)
2 Samuel 5:19 So David asked the LORD, “Should I march up against the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” The LORD said to David, “March up, for I will indeed hand the Philistines over to you.” (NET)
2 Samuel 5:23 So David asked the LORD what he should do. This time the LORD said to him, “Don’t march straight up. Instead, circle around behind them and come against them opposite the trees. (NET)
In this example, David may be asking himself a rhetorical question:
2 Samuel 6:9 NET) 9 David was afraid of the LORD that day and said, “How will the ark of the LORD ever come to me?” (NET)
We can ask this every day:
2 Samuel 7:18 King David went in, sat before the LORD, and said, “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that you should have brought me to this point? (NET)
David worships. He may have asked a question or two to the Lord:
2 Samuel 12:20 So David got up from the ground, bathed, put on oil, and changed his clothes. He went to the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then, when he entered his palace, he requested that food be brought to him, and he ate. (NET)
2 Samuel 21:1 During David’s reign there was a famine for three consecutive years. So David inquired of the LORD. The LORD said, “It is because of Saul and his bloodstained family, because he murdered the Gibeonites.” (NET)
Here David seems to be asking himself a rhetorical question. Yes?
1 Chronicles 13:12 David was afraid of God that day and said, “How will I ever be able to bring the ark of God up here?” (NET)
Do you go to God when you face the Philistines?
1 Chronicles 14:10 David asked God, “Should I march up against the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” The LORD said to him, “March up! I will hand them over to you!” (NET)
1 Chronicles 14:14 So David again asked God what he should do. This time God told him, “Don’t march up after them; circle around them and come against them in front of the trees. (NET)
1 Chronicles 17:16 David went in, sat before the LORD, and said: “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that you should have brought me to this point? (NET)
Do you go to God when you defy God? Do you go to God when you sleep with Bathsheba and murder her husband?
1 Chronicles 21:17 David said to God, “Was I not the one who decided to number the army? I am the one who sinned and committed this awful deed! As for these sheep – what have they done? O LORD my God, attack me and my family, but remove the plague from your people!” (NET)
This item comes some years following the reigns of David and his son, king Solomon. It refers to a conversation between God and David, but does not explicitly show David asking a precipitating question:
2 Chronicles 33:7 He put an idolatrous image he had made in God’s temple, about which God had said to David and to his son Solomon, “This temple in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will be my permanent home. (NET)
Here is Solomon, referring to his father:
1 Kings 5:5 So I have decided to build a temple to honor the LORD my God, as the LORD instructed my father David, ‘Your son, whom I will put on your throne in your place, is the one who will build a temple to honor me.’ (NET)
1 Kings 8:18 The LORD told my father David, ‘It is right for you to have a strong desire to build a temple to honor me. (NET)
Our final two examples again have God speaking to David, and are from the “Lord said to my lord” accounts in the gospels.
(Mar 12:35-37 While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he said, “How is it that the experts in the law say that the Christ is David’s son? 36 David himself, by the Holy Spirit, said, ‘The Lord said to my lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”‘ 37 If David himself calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” And the large crowd was listening to him with delight. (NET)
(Mat 22:43-44 He said to them, “How then does David by the Spirit call him ‘Lord,’ saying, 44 ‘The Lord said to my lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”‘? (NET)
So, there they are.
We will let these references to David’s conversations with God stand on their own without comment, other than to suggest that it is a good practice for Jews and Christians to ask questions of God.
Did we miss any of David’s inquiries to the Lord God?
What will we find in the prophets? In the gospels? Does Paul ever ask God a direct question? Does Christ? (Why would he?)
And the Psalms: to what extent do we see David and other song writers making statements to God vice asking questions to God? Do we see God responding to psalm writers?
Job. Job is in large part an ongoing record of Job speaking to and questioning God.
Our image at the top is of Solomon, where David’s son drops his crown and asks God for wisdom. We used a portion of Govert Flinck’s 17th century work, now held in the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, Solomon Asking for Wisdom.
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Thanks go to the New English Translation Bible. The NET is a super rich source of notes zooming in on translation and Hebrew/Greek language interpretation issues.
Blessings to you! We pray that God blesses you!
Please read the actual Bible for yourself. 🙂 And when you encounter material which leaves you scratching your head, ask God about it!