His son Solomon was certainly disliked by his own people as the bible attests to,

So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel came to Rehoboam and said, 4“Your father put a heavy yoke on us. But now you should lighten the burden of your father’s service and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”

But was king David liked by his people? We know that right after he fought off Goliath the women adored him and sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” But did he fall into disfavor in the end of his reign?

We do find numerous rebellions against him, some instigated by his own sons like Absalom. This would suggest that the people did not like David anymore and were looking for new leadership. Why wasn't king David liked by his people? Did he abuse them like his son Solomon did?

  • This phrase represents the contempt and deceit of women against David, who thought only of accomplishing missions. 1 Sam 18:4. David did not have a standard Soldier behavior, and this, of course, displeased the women...
    – Betho's
    Feb 28, 2020 at 10:39

2 Answers 2


The short answer is Yes, David was undoubtedly very well liked as you have referenced (1 Sam 18:7, 29:5). However the longer answer and what I believe to be your real question is why in the end was David losing the favor of the people ?

Simply put it all stems from David’s sin with Bathsheba. 2 Sam 13 details the events. Amnon (the son from this union) rapes his half sister Tamar who is Absaloms sister. David becomes furious but does nothing. Most likely his unwillingness to punish this act stems from the guilt and shame of his own actions that produced this situation. Absalom then kills Amnon after David yet again indulges his sons strange request (2 Sam 13:27).

After 3 years in exile Absalom returns after Joab manipulates the situation and lives in Jerusalem another 2 years before David formally forgives him and sees his face. Absalom resents his father as a result and seeks to usurp his fathers throne. The answer to your question is found in the next chapter, Absalom steals the heart of the people(2 Sam 15:6)

David was a great king and a not so great father, reluctant to punish and quick to indulge. He spoiled his sons and suffered the consequences.


The Scriptures suggest that David was a popular king.

And when all the people came to cause David to eat meat while it was yet day, David sware, saying, So do God to me, and more also, if I taste bread, or ought else, till the sun be down. 36And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them: as whatsoever the king did pleased all the people. 37For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to slay Abner the son of Ner. — 2 Samuel 3:35-37

This passage is speaking of a time when David mourned for Abner, one of king Saul's generals previously, after he was murdered by Joab. David began to fast for Abner's sake, and the people encouraged him to eat, but he refused to. When he refused to, the people were pleased by it for no other reason than that it was David's decision. That indicates that David was well-liked by the people. However, this event took place before David committed adultery with Bethsheba, and before Absalom attempted to overthrow him.

It is possible that, after it was known that David had committed adultery, many of the people lost their respect for him, seeing as adultery was (and is, certainly) a great sin, and was to be punished with death invariably. That could explain why Absalom was supported enough by the people to almost be able to overthrow him, but only after he committed adultery.

However, after Absalom was killed and his rebellion ended, and David wept for him, the text says,

And it was told Joab, Behold, the king weepeth and mourneth for Absalom. 2And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son. — 2 Samuel 19:1-2

The people acted in this instance in a similar way that they did in the former one in that they shared David's emotion, although they may not have necessarily had the same reason as David for it, and so they likely shared his emotion only because he was their king; this indicates that David was well-liked. This also indicates that a minority of the people were responsible for the rebellion, although they were enough for it to almost have been successful.

In addition to these things, the fact that David was often seen as the ideal man in Jewish literature suggests that he was very popular with the people of his time, because they caused that reputation of him to continue after he died. This makes sense, since David was a successful militaryman and a very pious man, whom God had blessed.

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