Only a few kings ascended the throne of Israel and ruled a unified kingdom of 12 tribes. David was the second king of a united kingdom of Israel and Judah. He was anointed king as a boy but did not ascend to the throne until after Saul’s death. King David went on to rule over Israel for several decades. So, how old was he when he died?
King David was around 70 years old when he died. He was 30 when he became king over all of Israel and ruled for 40 years (2 Samuel 5:4-6). He died of old age, having been blessed with a long and prosperous life (1 Chronicles 29:28). While his son (Solomon) and grandchild (Rehoboam) shared similarly short life spans, God promised David He would establish his throne forever.
What the Bible and Scholars Say
The Bible does not give a specific age for King David’s death. However, it’s possible to know his age by examining biblical evidence. In 2 Samuel 5:4-5, we are told that In Hebron, King David reigned over Judah for seven years and six months. He also reigned over all of Israel and Judah in Jerusalem for an additional thirty-three years.
The Bible also says that David was 30 years old when he became king of Israel. His reign lasted 40 years, and he died of old age, having been blessed with a long and prosperous life (1 Chronicles 29:28). Based on this biblical evidence (age at start of reign + years reigned = death age), King David was at least 70 years when he died.
70 years was considered old because life expectancy became lower after the floods. Besides, the Bible also points to David being an old man by saying, “he died at a good old age.”
How Did King David Die
The Bible doesn’t specify King David’s cause of death. But it gives us clues when it mentions that he died at a good old age and enjoyed a long life. So, his death can be attributed to natural causes. King David was buried in the city of David (1 Kings 2:10).
The Bible also speaks of the aging king’s inability to keep warm no matter how many covers were placed on him. So David’s servants found a young woman (Abishag) to lie in his bed to keep him warm (1 Kings 1:1–4). Scholars believe the inability to keep warm suggests hypothermia. Older adults are more vulnerable to hypothermia because their body’s response to cold can be diminished by several factors, including aging.
Although his age and cause of death have not been explicitly stated, King David is one of the well-known figures in the Bible, and for good reason. God describes David as a man after his own heart (Acts 13:22). David was 30 years old when he became king over all of Israel. His age at this particular time is the same as when Jesus began his ministry. This shows there is biblical significance to age 30. In fact, the priests officially entered ministerial service at age 30 (Numbers 4:3), Joseph was 30 years old when he became a Governor of Egypt (Genesis 41:46), and Ezekiel received his first vision at age 30 (Ezekiel 1:1). This age symbolizes (completion) physical and mental maturity.
During his reign, King David conquered neighboring territories and expanded the kingdom of Israel. He also united the tribes and established Jerusalem as the capital. Moreover, his contributions extended beyond warfare. One of King David’s greatest works and legacy was the Book of Psalms.
David Was Anointed as King at Around 15 Years
David was the youngest child in Jess’s family. When Samuel came to the house of Jesse to anoint the next king of Israel, David wasn’t amongst the sons who came to meet him. Jesse had seven older sons, and Samuel likely thought one of them was supposed to be king. After all, God revealed to Samuel that Israel’s true king and Saul’s replacement would come from the tribe of Judah and the family line of Jesse of Bethlehem.
In fact, Samuel took one look at Eliab (David’s oldest brother) and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord” (1 Samuel 17:28). But God, as it’s often the case, chooses the most unlikely person, and David ended up being anointed to become king. David was just a young boy most likely pre-adolescent or an adolescent of 15 years old at that time.
David (Under 20) Fights Goliath
The story of David and Goliath is one of the most popular in the Bible. It happened when King Saul and his men (people of Israel) were at war with the Philistines. Amongst the people that the armies of Israel had to fight was a Philistines giant named Goliath. King Saul’s army (which included three sons of Jesse) was scared of Goliath.
When David is sent by his father to take provisions to his three elder brothers, he hears about Goliath and agrees to fight him. But his elder brother and King Saul object to the plan. In fact, King Saul doubts David’s ability because he is a young man/youth: “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth” (1Samuel 17:33).
The term youth or young man that Saul uses to describe David’s age is broad. However, it shows that David was a teenager not older than 19 years because only men aged 20 and above were allowed to join the army (Numbers 1:3). As a result, David defeated Goliath when he was under 20.
King David was around 70 years old when he died. The Bible doesn’t state the exact cause of death. However, evidence points to death by natural causes. King David is remembered as the eighth and youngest son of Jesse, who initially seemed like an unlikely choice to become the King. Despite his humble beginnings as a shepherd, God chose David to be a leader over all of Israel. He is also known for his military victories and skill as a poet and musician.