Wives of King David: King David’s Children

King David

King David

We’ve been studying the lives and lessons from the wives of King David, including the childless wife, some nameless concubines, a bed warmer and an almost wife.

Rape of Tamar

Rape of Tamar

But what about his children?

Only one daughter is mentioned by name.  She is Tamar, daughter of Maacah.  Her name is Hebrew and means date palm, palm tree or a date {the fruit}.  She was raped by her half-brother Amnon, who grew to hate her after the deed.  Biblical law states that a man who rapes a virgin must marry her.  However, Amnon refused to marry her. Her brother Absalom later murdered Amnon for this act.  We are told she remained a “desolate woman.”

David had at least 21 known sons, two of those were unnamed infants that died, who are mentioned in the Bible.

The first group of sons, most often mentioned, were born to David while he was in Hebron and King of Judah.

Absalom killed Amnon for raping his sister

Absalom killed Amnon for raping his sister

  1. Amnon, which means faithful, was the son of Ahinoam of Jezreel. He was David’s firstborn.  He raped Tamar and was murdered by Absalom.
  2. Daniel {or Kileab} was the son of Abigail of Camel. His name means God is my judge. There is no record of his life, leading scholars to believe he died young.
  3. Absalom, which means Father of Peace, was the son of Maacah and brother of Tamar. After the rape of his sister he killed his half-brother, Amnon.  He was killed by Joab, the nephew of King David.
  4. Adonijah was the son of Haggith. His name means The Lord is my God. He is described as building an army.  He tries to marry Abishag and  Solomon has him put to death.
  5. Shephatiah, which means to judge or govern, was the son of Abital.
  6. Ithream was the son of Eglah. His name means superiority or advantage.

David went on to have more sons after he moved to Jerusalem and became the King of Israel. The ones we know by name are from his wife, Bathsheba.

  1. The infant son born to Bathsheba who died because of David and Bathsheba’s sin.

    King Solomon

    King Solomon

  2. Shimea {or Shammua} is  the first son of Bathsheba mentioned in 1 Chronicles 3:5. His name means fame.
  3. Shobab is also thought to be the son of Bathsheba. His name means returned or turned back.
  4. Nathan, meaning a gift from God, is the son of Bathsheba. He is considered to be the maternal line through the Virgin Mary found in Luke’s Genealogy of Jesus. He is mentioned as David’s son in 2 Samuel 5:14, 1 Chronicles 3:5 and 1 Chronicles 14:4. He was most likely named for the prophet Nathan who admonished David for his sin with Bathsheba.
  5. Solomon is the son of Bathsheba. He followed his father, David, as king and became the wisest of men. His name means peace and there was peace throughout the land during his reign. He built the Temple of the Lord.  Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, is from Solomon’s line.

The other sons mentioned by name that were born to David’s other wives.  I have been unable to find additional information on these sons of David, however I have included the meaning of their name.  I find it very telling of David as a man after God’s own heart that the vast majority of his sons names give praise to God.

King David had many sons

King David had many sons

  1. Ibhar—He chooses
  2. Elishua—God is salvation
  3. Elpelet—God is deliverance
  4. Nogah—brightness, clearness
  5. Nepheg—weak, slacked
  6. Japhia—enlightening; appearing
  7. Elishama—God helps; God hears
  8. Eliada—knowledge of God
  9. Eliphelet—the God of deliverance
  10. Jerimoth–elevated, he is exalted**
  11. Unnamed son whom died in infancy

King David saw the demise of many of his sons.  This was prophesied to him by God after his affair with Bathsheba.  There are many other sons we do not know what their final outcome may have been.

What we do know is that two of his sons with Bathsheba went on to provide descendants who became the earthly parents of Jesus, the Messiah.  After all prophecy did say, the Messiah would come from the House of David.

**other meanings found of the name Jerimoth {2 Chronicles 11:18} are he that fears or rejects death; heights

Pictures from Wikipedia and FreeBibleImages.org


  • Very helpful for my study, thank you!

  • Donna

    I’m confused, you said that Shimea {or Shammua} is believed to be the first son of Bathsheba to survive. His name means fame. But 2 Samuel 12 says after the son born as a result of David and Bathsheba affair died, David went to comfort her, he lay with her and she bore Solomon. Could you clarify that for me?

    • This is a great question and I had to go back to the Bible for answers. There is great debate over where Solomon falls in the birth order due to the two scriptures which mention David and Bathsheba’s children. 2 Samuel 12:24 says, “Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her; and she gave birth to a son, and he named him Solomon.” Which leads to the belief he was the second son born, but then 1 Chronicles 3:5 says, “These were born to him in Jerusalem: Shimea, Shobab, Nathan and Solomon, four, by Bath-shua the daughter of Ammiel.”

      Given the fact Solomon followed his father as king, it seems likely he was the oldest surviving son of David and Bathsheba.
      I searched several commentaries for explanations and found two primary theories and explanations. The first states, Solomon was king and the greatest of the brothers, which was why he was listed last in 1 Chronicles.
      The other commentary stated Solomon’s brothers were listed before him to emphasis they were just as important as Solomon, who was king and gained the king’s inheritance. Hence, his brothers were listed before him as they would have gained a larger portion of their mother’s inheritance.

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