29 December: St. David, king and prophet

Holy Church considers many Old Testament figures to be saints. 

Today when you open your trusty copy of the 2005 Martyrologium Romanum you will find, just below the St. Thomas Becket, this interesting entry:

2. Commemoratio sancti David, regis et prophetae, qu, filius Iesse Bethlehemitae, gratiam invenit ante Deum et oleo sancto a Samuele propheta unctus est, ut populum Israel regeret; in civitatem Ierusalem Arcam foederis Domini transtulit ac Dominus ipse mox ei iuravit semen eius in aeternum mansurum esse, eo quod ex ipso Iesus Christus secundum carnem nasciturus esset.

 

I am sure some of you readers can come up with your renderings of the Latin original, either in a smoother version or perhaps in a slavishly literal way.

Changing tracks slightly, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art the other day, I saw a very fine painting of King David, part of a series with other Old Testament figures.

These are elements from an altar piece by Florentine painter Lorenzo Monaco (known also as Piero di Giovanni +1422).

Moses is at the top left.  Next to him is Abraham.  Below him on the bottom right is Noah with his ark. 

David is on the bottom left, holding a psaltery.

When you get the audio guide at the Met and listen to experts talk about the works, sometimes you get a sample of period music.  In this case, you get to hear some music played on a psaltery.

I dug around a bit and found some psaltery music on Youtube and elsewhere.

You can hear in this file a sample of bowed psaltery (also psaltry) together with a small harp, also appropriate to David, as well as plucked psaltery in two versions of a Medieval Lament for Tristan.

Listen as you do your translation!

When you go to the Met, you will surely have the chance to see these four paintings.  They are in the same room as the Madonna and Child by Duccio di Buoninsegna, a must see.

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9 Responses to 29 December: St. David, king and prophet

  1. Lee says:

    The commemoration of St. David, who, the son of Jesse of Bethlehem, found grace before God and was anointed with holy oil by the prophet Samuel that he might rule the people of Israel; he brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord into the city of Jerusalem and the Lord swore to him an oath that his seed would remain forever, from him would be born according to the flesh Jesus Christ.

  2. Tom in NY says:

    The commemoration of St. David, king and prophet. He was the son of Jesse of Bethlehem, found grace before God, and was anointed to rule Israel by Samuel the prophet with holy oil. He moved the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord to Jerusalem, and the Lord himself soon swore to him that his line would remain for eternity, for from himself Jesus the Anointed would be born in the flesh.

    Note parallel from “unctus” to “Christus”. There’s a stained glass window to King David at the Tindley Temple UM congregation in Philadelphia. A synagogue would not have images of persons, and it appears King David is not a popular subject for Christian stained glass iconography.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  3. Marius2k4 says:

    The commemoration of Saint David, King and Prophet, who, the son of Jesse of Bethlehem, found grace before God and was annointed with sacred oil by Samuel the prophet, that he would reign over the people of Israel; He transferred the Ark of the Covenant into the City of Jerusalem, and the Lord himself soon swore that his seed would persist into eternity, for from out of which very seed Jesus Christ would be born according to the flesh.

  4. MikeM says:

    “The commemoration of Saint David, king and prophet, the son of Jesse of Bethlehem, who found grace before God and was anointed with sacred oil by the prophet Samuel in order that he would reign over the people Israel; He brought the Ark of the Covenant into the City of Jerusalem and soon after, the Lord Himself swore that his line would endure forever, for from this line Jesus Christ would be born into the flesh.”

    That took me awhile… I need to revive my Latin abilities.

  5. Tom in NY: it appears King David is not a popular subject for Christian stained glass iconography.

    I don’t know about that. I have seen windows of David, especially in choir lofts.

    I bet people here could provide photos of glass of David from their parishes.

  6. Supertradmom says:

    Many years ago, when I was in Rome, I attended Mass at the Venerabile. An Anglican divine brought a casket with part of the bloody dalmatic and a piece of Becket’s skull in a gorgeous casket, which was placed on the altar during Mass. After Mass, the faithful could go up and kiss the casket. I did so and had a long, hard look at the relics. Can anyone help me identify the Anglican Church in Rome where these relics are kept? I have forgotten.

    As to secondary feasts, is December 24th still the Feast of SS. Adam and Eve?

  7. Supertradmom says:

    FYI, I have seen many icons among both Orthodox and Catholic Byzantines of St. David King. Also, there is always a reference to him in any stained glass windows which show the Jesse Tree, the genealogy of Christ, such as in Chartres. I remember also seeing an English sculpture of David, King in England, perhaps at Wells Cathedral. I shall try and find out for sure. Or is someone else recalls Medieval sculptures of the saint, let us know.

  8. Mark R says:

    Just to add to Supertradmom, in Eastern Churches, both Catholic and schismatical, it is quite common to have the prophet and other worthies of the Old Testament depicted as saints…even Solomon. I miss that practice. One might find in their churches either on the ikonostas or each prophet painted in his own “medalion” in a row, flanking an ikon of Our Lady of the Sign…very appropriate.

  9. irishgirl says:

    Those are very cool paintings, Father Z-and the music as well!

    I’ve seen pictures of windows in Chartres Cathedral that depict King David with his crown and harp.