I would like to know when David, the king of Israel, was born.

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    Welcome to Christianity.SE! When you have a moment, please take our tour and visit our help center to learn more about us. This question might be more easily asked on our sister site, Judaism.SE. May 2 '18 at 18:11

David was born 1041 bc, maybe plus or minus a year.

David was 30 years old when he began to reign and he reigned 40 years.(2 Sam 5:4)

Multiple lines of evidence put the end of his reign/start of the reign of Solomon at 971 BC.

The evidence is found in:- 1. Edwin Thiele's "Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings";

  1. William Hamilton Barnes evidence from the Tyrian King Lists;

  2. Kenneth Kitchen's evidence from Egyptian chronology;

  3. 1 Kings 6:1, Ezekiel 40.1 and Leviticus 25:9,10, together with

  4. the Seder Olam.

The Seder Olam probably written in the second century AD says that Ezekiel's Jubilee in Ezekiel 40:1 was the 17th. It was a Jubilee Year because in that year New Year's day, Rosh Hashanah, was on the 10th day of the month (see Leviticus 25:9,10). For 48 out of 49 years New Year's Day happens on the 1st day of the month. The Jubilee Year happens every 49 years. Ezekiel 40:1 is counted from the destruction of Jerusalem 587 BC, and was in 573 BC.

A translation of the Seder Olam says:

And so it says (Ez. 40:1): “In 25th year of our exile, on the day of the New Year, on the tenth of the month, 14 years after the destruction of the of Jerusalem.” When did he Ezekiel have this vision? At the beginning of a Jubilee period. If they staid for 17 entire jubilee periods, how can there be an excess of 17 years?

See http://www.betemunah.org/sederolam.html and look at the section in part 2 under Joshua (chapters 11 and 12), and the paragraph starting "Caleb said to Joshua "I was 40 years old when Moses..", etc.

The author of the Seder Olam does not know how to find 17 "extra" years from the time of the beginning of the Jubilee Cycle to the 14 year after the destruction of Jerusalem (in 587 BC). These difficulties of the author of the Seder Olam are not important to us. What is important is that he says there were 17 jubilee cycles: for this assertion he must have had access to information held by the priests in Jerusalem which no longer exists.

573 BC + (17 jubilees * 49 years) = 573 + 833 = 1406 (year of entry into Canaan and year the Jubilee cycles first began)

1406 + 40 years in the wilderness = 1446 (date of exodus)

1446 - 479 (as per 1 Kings 6:1) = 967 BC (Temple of Solomon started to be built)

967 BC + 4 (as per 1 Kings 6:1) = 971 BC (Start of Solomon's, end of David's reign)

971 +70 (as per 2 Samuel 5:4) = 1041 BC (year of David's birth).

3 Extra Biblical evidences of the existence of David:-

In 1993 AD the "House of David" inscription was found at Tell Dan, the first extra Biblical evidence that David actually existed. The inscription related to events in the year 841 BC, and defeat of Ahaziah. "We thus gain a clear mention of David as dynastic founder of the kingdom of Judah about 150 years after his death". (See "On the Reliability of the Old Testament" by Kenneth Kitchen, Eerdmans, (2003), pages 92,93 and 615).

The stela of Mesha king of Moab also mentions the "House of David" from about the same time. "This was some six generations after his (David's) death" (Kitchen, page 93).

Shoshenq I of Egypt lists his achievements at Karnak. One of the places he speaks of which is in south Judah/Negev region is a place called "Heights of David". This would have been within 50 years of David's death. (Kitchen, p93)

Postscript: I should have provided a link to the archaeologist Eilat Mazar's article, first published early 2006: "Did I find King David's Palace?" :- https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-sites-places/jerusalem/did-i-find-king-davids-palace/

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    +1 This is the first answer to have the basic dates in agreement with scholarly evidence. Your supporting evidence is very thorough. I want to understand better the relationship of all these points.
    – Bit Chaser
    Nov 13 '18 at 17:41

According to the New International Version Study Bible, David began to reign in 1010 B.C. and died in 970 B.C. After King Saul died, David ruled over Judah from 1010/1011 and then conquered Jerusalem in 1004. His family line comes through Boaz and Ruth, then Jesse (Ruth 4:18-22). The New Living Translation Study Bible notes make this comment:

The book of Ruth ends with a genealogy of ten generations,from Perez, the sonof Judah (Jacob's son),to David the grandson of Obed... That Ruth and Boazwere ancestors of Israel's greatest king is a majorreason for the inclusion of this small book in the O.T.

David was the youngest of Jesse's sons when Samuel anointed him (1 Samuel 16:10-13). David is believed to have been twelve to sixteen years of age when this happened. The NIV Study Bible places this even at around 1025.

That would place David's birth around 1040 B.C.

God promised David a descendant to rule on the throne forever and the genealogy of Jesus is traced back to David in both Matthew and Luke's gospels.


The exact date of David's birth is not known, and there is no evidence of his reign or existence anywhere except for in the Bible. Most historians agree however that his reign was around 1000 B.C.1, and it is plausible that David died near 962 B.C. If he lived 70 years, then that would but his year of birth around 1032 B.C.

1 Encyclopedia Britannica

  • Sorry ShemSeger but this post is 25 years out of date. Oct 23 '19 at 21:19

If you add the lengths of the reigns of the kings of Judah in 1 & 2 Kings you get 393.5 years, which is very close to the 390 years of iniquity of the "house of Israel" (Samaria) in Ezekiel 4:4-6, Samaria never had a king who did right in the sight of the LORD and although the nation of Israel {Samaria} ended in about 722 BC the "house of Israel" or tribes went on, many of them moved or had moved to Judah, see 2 Chronicles 35:16-19. If we count back from the accepted date of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC and add the 390 years (probably more accurate than the adding of the reigns), you get 976 BC for the split of the kingdom under king Rehoboam. Then add 40 and 40 for the reigns of Solomon (2 Chronicles 9:30) and David (2 Samuel 5:4), you get 1056 BC for the beginning of David's reign. David was thirty years old when he became king (2 Samuel 5:4), therefore it appears that David was born in 1056+30=1086 BC.


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