David, the "elect of God," (1) was descended from a family which itself belonged to the elect of Israel. Those ancestors of his who are enumerated in the Bible by name are all of them men of distinguished excellence. Besides, David was a descendant of Miriam, (2) the sister of Moses, and so the strain of royal aristocracy was reinforced by the priestly aristocracy. Nor was David the first of his family to occupy the throne of a ruler. His great-grandfather Boaz was one and the same person with Ibzan, the judge of Bethlehem. (3) Othniel, too, the first judge in Israel after the death of Joshua, and Caleb, (4) the brother of Othniel, were connected with David's family. As examples of piety and virtue, David had his grandfather and more particularly his father before him. His grandfather's whole life was a continuous service of God, (5) whence his name Obed, "the servant," and his father Jesse was one of the greatest scholars of his time, (6) and one of the four who died wholly untainted by sin. (7) If God had not ordained death for all the descendants of our first parents after their fall, Jesse would have continued to live forever. As it was, he died at the age of four hundred, (8) and then a violent death, by the hand of the Moabite king, (9) in whose care David, trusting in the ties of kinship between the Moabites and the seed of Ruth, left his family when he was fleeing before Saul. Jesse's piety will not go unrewarded. In the Messianic time he will be one of the eight princes to rule over the world. (10)
In spite of his piety, Jesse was not always proof against temptation. One of his slaves caught his fancy, and he would have entered into illicit relations with her, had his wife, Nazbat, the daughter of Adiel, not frustrated the plan. She disguised herself as the slave, and Jesse, deceived by the ruse, met his own wife. The child borne by Nazbat was given out as the son of the freed slave, so that the father might not discover the deception practiced upon him. This child was David. (11)
In a measure David was indebted for his life to Adam. At first only three hours of existence had been allotted to him. When God caused all future generations to pass in review before Adam, he besought God to give David seventy of the thousand years destined for him. A deed of gift, signed by God and the angel Metatron, was drawn up. Seventy years were legally conveyed from Adam to David, and in accordance with Adam's wishes, beauty, dominion, and poetical gift (12) went with them.