The Great Prophet and King David, who lived about the 11th century before Christ, is one of the great prefigurements of our Lord. One of his greatest contributions to the Christian faith is the book of Psalms; many of these hymns prophecy the coming of the Messiah and Savior of the world.
David was advised by Samuel throughout his life. He stabilized Israel and fortified it well against enemies, and is also known as the Psalmist, composing songs and poems that glorify God, describe His nature and coming, and our faith.
David’s life prefigures the power, wisdom, and earthly arrival of Christ. God’s choosing David as king before Saul’s reign had ended mirrors Christ bringing a new order to the world. God’s support of David in battle reflects Christ’s power on earth. David also once danced, rejoicing and in a state of undress, before the Ark of the Covenant. This image is repeated in the New Testament when John the Baptist leapt for joy in his mother’s womb when he encountered the unborn Jesus within the New Ark, the Theotokos.
David was only human and committed many sins, but he always recognized his guilt and confessed his sins before God. God said, “I will raise up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will prepare his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish his throne forever” (2 Kgd. 7:12-13). God refers not only to David’s son and successor Solomon, and his building of the Temple, but also points to the “kingdom” established by Christ, who would be born of David’s line.
In the icon, David wears the gold crown and his red and blue-purple robes of a king. He is also shown as a Psalmist, writing, “O Lord how great are they works, in wisdom hast thou made them all” (Ps. 103:24). His eyes are raised, showing his devotion to God.
The Prophet David is commemorated by the Orthodox Church on the Sunday after Christmas.