Optional Introductory Text:

[This is a story of a generation of the God of Israel:
Count yourselves sure:
The Lord lives in these words.
They rest not alone in the holy scriptures
They stir not alone from the pulpit;
They are the foundation of our faith.

I proclaim to you now:
These are the acts of David, son of Jesse,
Who was made King over Israel,
Who was beloved of Jonathan:
Who reigned with the Spirit of God.]

II. David’s Lament

O for the promise of Israel!
That I should be their crownèd king!
Behind me is the grave of Saul,
The chosen one, the broken rod of Yahweh,
Usurper of Your might.
And I should be his heir?
For with his end, comes death
And justice served;
Even the righteous in Your eye
Return so quickly to the dust.
Yet what is this child’s gaze
And empty love that fills my friends,
My brothers, all my people?
You sons of Benjamin,
You daughters of Ephraim,
You servants of Judah:
Wherefore am I your king?
Am I so magnificent?
So beloved of our Maker
You should enthrone me,
Fit me with a royal crown
And forget that I was a shepherd
To your flocks?

I would the days returned to me again
Where sheep as those, and I, would roam
Not thinking more than does a son,
The seventh of their number
And least of all in the favor
Of the Lord.

III. A Psalm of the People, on the Announcement of David as King

The pride of the people shall melt away,
And renewed, shall rejoice in the Lord!
For the deceiver has been judged and put away!
In his place, the righteous one raised up!

Hallelujah, Son of Jesse!
Praise to the King of Israel:
David, the Beloved of Yahweh!

In our vanity is evil multiplied,
And in our selfishness, wrongdoing.
We stray from you, O God of Creation
And return with hearts sick for sadness.

Were it not for David, stump of Jesse,
The least among the lesser,
We should have walked into the fire
Where not even the hand of the Lord redeems.

Hallelujah, Son of Jesse!
Praise to the King of Israel:
David, the Beloved of Yahweh!

[David stops the music and addresses the people.]

What am I, sons and daughters of God?
No more than the least, no greater than Saul.
What is said of me, O Israel?
What gifts have I earned
That make me fitter to a throne than he?
The Lord, our saving God, has said so:
For I passed before Samuel,
And he waits now to crown me,
One among thousands the better.
But what is a boy who is king?
What does a sheep-herder know
Of the government of people?
If you give me your oaths, they are empty;
If you pledge me your lives, they are forfeit.
For no child sits on a throne before Yahweh;
No son of Jesse, no son of God.
I abdicate this throne to you now!
Give over your praise to a worthier soul
And a spirit more fitting of God.

[David exits, and silence lingers for a few moments. The people
repeat, slowly and unsure:]

People:
The pride of the people shall melt away
And renewed, shall rejoice in the Lord…

IV. The Love Song of David and Jonathan

J: What has this people done to you?
David, my brother, my friend,
Why do you spurn the crown
And leave your people lost?

D: Is the crown mine to take?
Was I bred from the womb
To be small, and then to rise?
What if the Lord has us wrong?

[Jonathan removes his garments and hands them to David. With them, too, he gives his sword and his bow and he kneels before Jonathan.]

J: Son of Jesse, my beloved,
Wheresoever you go, I shall go
Whatsoever you ask of me,
It shall be done for you;
Do not think on what is right
For the Lord who is all-knowing
Guides your path and makes it straight.
For you, the mountains shall fall
And the enemies of Israel put
Under your feet.
Remember, I love you:
Forget not that this people loves you
Unto the your death, my king,
My beloved, the servant of my God.

[David drops Jonathan’s clothes and bends down to him.]

D: Jonathan, why do you torture me?
Saul has fallen before us; your father.
What is a boy to make of life, without his father?
To whom shall a man pledge his loyalty
When the blood of his family runs cold?
You bend your knee in service to no one;
I cannot accept your allegiances,
I do not accept your service.
You’re mine, Jonathan, but not
As a captain of soldiers,
Nor as the officer of a court.
For I love you, Jonathan, son of Saul
And your love you owe no one
But to God, and whomsoever He wills.

J: David, do you not see the will of God?
There is a figure already enthroned;
He is the seventh born of my father’s servant
Jesse the Bethlehemite.
You have said so: What is a boy without his father?
You would not be without Jesse,
And it is, as a son of Jesse, the Lord
Has chosen you.

D: My Father is eternal, wrought in heaven.
And yours is the same Father.
Would He not wish simply love for his sons?
Does not the Omnipotent breathe within us?
Why should I inherit a kingdom
That is plagued with lands and famines,
With priests and apostate?
When I could love you, simply,
Dear Jonathan, soul of my soul?

[Jonathan begins to cry, then stops himself, and lowers his other knee.]

J: The will of my father’s Father be done:
It is the end of the age of Saul, the Usurper.
It is now the age of the kingdom of gladness,
The reign of King David of Israel.

V. The Coronation of David, King of Israel

People: From the mouth of the Lord
Is our covenant restored:
Our rightful king delivered to Israel
On the plains of Hebron,
In the sight of the most High.

Hallelujah, Lord of Hosts!
Your people shall be faithful
To the one given glory in Your name!

[Samuel anoints a nervous David, unsure of his kingship, kneeling on a precipice before the people.]

Samuel:
Son of Jesse, Salvation of Israel:
The Spirit of the Lord has brought you
Out of the cage of the darkest destiny
And set you upon the throne of his people,
Priests in the line of Aaron and Melchizedek.
Wrest this nation’s enemies from their strongholds
Upset the strong who prey upon the weak;
And may the Lord God have mercy on you,
And bless you, and make you holy:
This, and your reign over the chosen people of God.
Grant, O Lord, that it be unto all a beacon of light,
An age of joy, and the paragon of everlasting peace.

Jonathan [softly, as Samuel anoints David]:
Oh my David! You take for us all the highest seat
And enjoy the favor of the Lord.
I am one among thousands who adore you!
Forget you not:
The ministry of this people is in your hands.

[Samuel places the crown on David’s head.]

Samuel:
Sons and daughters of Israel,
Behold your king, David, son of Jesse!

[The people erupt in praise and singing.]

People:
The pride of the people has melt away
And renewed, we rejoice in our Lord!

Praise and thanks to God the Almighty,
Honor and glory to our King!