In Acts 13:22 David is said to be a man who's heart accords with God's own heart:

Berean Literal Bible And having removed him, He raised up David to them as king, to whom also He said, having carried witness: 'I have found David the son of Jesse a man according to My heart, who will do all My will.'

In his Psalms he is often vindictive towards his enemies:

New International Version Psalm 3:7 Arise, LORD! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.

However Jesus taught different type of attitude toward one's enemies:

BSB Luke 6: 27But to you hearing I say: Love your enemies, do good to those hating you, 28bless those cursing you, pray for those mistreating you. 29To the one striking you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from the one taking away your cloak, do not withhold the tunic also. 30Give to everyone asking you, and from the one taking away what is yours, do not ask it back. 31And as you desire that men should do to you, do likewise to them.

32And if you love those loving you, what credit is it to you? For even sinners love those loving them. 33And indeed, if you do good to those doing good to you, what credit is it to you? For even sinners do the same. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive back, what credit is it to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, that they might receive the same amount.

35But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He is kind to the ungrateful and evil. 36Be you merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

And vice versa... why doesn't Jesus' praying and teaching involve invections against Rome?

Is Jesus advocating an exaggerated love ethos in his teaching or are the Psalms deficient, despite God's evaluation of David's heart?

  • David was a soldier, praying for victory in battles against invaders.
    – Lucian
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 19:52
  • @Lucian: Psalm 137:9 (NIV) "Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks."
    – user17080
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 21:57
  • @Lucian I do hope you'll put forth your idea as an answer so it can be scrutinized.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 22:28
  • @AbuMunirIbnIbrahim: David did not live to see the Babylonian captivity. Besides, children can be quite annoying sometimes, as I'm sure Enlil would agree. :-)
    – Lucian
    Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 1:05
  • @Lucian The parenting psalm?!
    – Ruminator
    Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 1:46

1 Answer 1


The problem of the vindictiveness expressed by some psalm-writers (including David) is addressed in The One Volume Bible Commentary edited by J.R. Dummelow (MacMillan Publishing: New York. 1908, 1909), page 326 as follows:

Let us remember at the outset the distinction between the OT. and NT. standards in this matter. We must not expect to find in the OT. the humility arising from the deep sense of sin, or the meek forgiving spirit, inculcated by the Lord Jesus Christ. To judge the Psalmists by these standards is unfair, and the attempt to explain away the plain meaning of their words in order to palliate a moral fault, is unsound exegesis. . . .

The distinction familiar to us between hating the sin and being angry with the sinner, and the possibility of loving the offender with a desire to save him, were not present to the mind of the Psalmist. Evil and evil-doer were for him identical, and in this respect he stands upon a lower ethical plane than the Christian.

The reference at Acts 13:22 about David's being a man after God's own heart is a quotation from 1 Samuel 13:13-14 where the prophet Samuel told King Saul that he would be removed from office and replaced by another (who turned out to be David). "And Samuel said to Saul, 'You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the LORD your God, with which he commanded you. For then the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD had commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.'" (ESV) The replacement king would be a man after God's own heart in comparison with Saul, who was disobedient. This did not mean that David would be another Jesus before his time.

David was a man after God's own heart to accomplish the divine will at that time. The sermon recorded in Acts 13 indicates the historical circumstances under which David was made king. The full text of Acts 13:21-22 reads: "Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, 'I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.'" (ESV) A little later in that same sermon, it is explained how David was a man after God's own heart: "For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption." (Acts 13:36, ESV, emphasis added)

We must not, then, put David on a level with Jesus and expect the same high standards from him as revealed in Jesus Christ.

  • @AbuMunirIbnIbrahim Thanks, I realized that in the night.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 11:37

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