What King David Could Teach Donald Trump

By Michael Brown Published on October 9, 2016

For many months now, critics of Donald Trump have asked his Christian supporters, “So, you heard about the latest scandal with your candidate? He’s a vulgar, immoral man. How can you possibly vote for him?” His supporters have responded: “Well, look at King David in the Bible. He committed adultery and murder, and God still used him. He was even called a man after God’s own heart! So, if God could use a man like David, he can certainly use Donald Trump.”

To be candid, comparing Trump to David is like comparing apples to Leer Jets — in other words, the two are so different that they’re not even in the same category — but that doesn’t mean that Trump could not learn a lot from David, especially at a time like this, when the Trump campaign is still reeling from the latest scandal, the video tape of Trump with Billy Bush.

But before I explain what David could teach Trump, let me emphasize how inapt the comparison is between them.

First, David was a man after God’s own heart, meaning, a man who loved the character of God and the ways of God and the Word of God, a man who sought to please God, a man who longed deeply for God. None of this, even faintly, can be said of Donald Trump — at least, to this point in his life.

Just consider these words of David, written in the Psalms and see if you can imagine Donald Trump speaking them sincerely, let alone writing them: “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward” (Ps. 19:7-11).

Or how about these words? “Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering. Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness. I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked. I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O LORD, proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds” (Ps. 26:1-7).

Shall I quote hundreds of other verses like this, verses which Trump has likely not even read his entire life?

I join many others in praying that Donald Trump would become a man after God’s own heart, but to compare him to David is to miss the point badly.

Second, David’s sin with Bathsheba, committing adultery with this married woman and then having her husband, Uriah, killed, was an absolutely horrific act, one for which he paid dearly. In fact, you could argue that his life was never the same after his sin. But it was the exception to the rule of his life, which is why Scripture said that “. . . David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite” (1 Kings 15:5).

In the case of Trump, ungodly behavior has been the pattern of his life, the rule rather than the exception, something for which he was known and of which he was proud. Again, the comparison breaks down dramatically.

Third, when David was confronted with his sin, he pointed no fingers, offered no justification and did not seek to minimize his guilt. Instead, he confessed his sin in the most humble, broken and contrite terms, pleading for undeserved mercy.

And this is where King David could teach Donald Trump a valuable lesson.

When the video comments were released over the weekend, Trump immediately tweeted out an extremely tepid “apology,” minimizing his guilt, attacking Bill Clinton and apologizing “if anyone was offended.”

This was extremely disappointing, since what matters now is not what he said and did more than a decade ago — is anyone really surprised by that? — but rather how he responds today. That is ultimately how he be will judged and how his supporters will evaluate his character.

A few hours after his tweeted “apology,” he issued a more substantial apology on video, repudiating his 11-year-old comments but still pointing a finger at former president Bill Clinton.

I would encourage Mr. Trump to get on his knees, all alone, to take out his favorite Bible, and to read Psalm 51 out loud. (Remember: This is the man who said publicly that he didn’t feel the need to ask forgiveness.) Let him read these words of repentance written by David after he was confronted by the prophet Nathan about his adultery and murder.

David pointed the finger at himself alone, stating, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” (Ps. 51:4), and he didn’t minimize his sin: “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me” (Ps. 51:3).

He also recognized how utterly polluting his sin was, pleading with God to cleanse him: “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! . . . Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Ps. 51:2, 9-10).

Americans are a forgiving people, also tending to side with the victim, and given the media’s frenzied attacks on Trump now, he could easily be perceived as the victim rather than as the womanizing victimizer of the past — but only if he humbles himself deeply.

So here’s what he must do (maybe even in the debate tonight?). With heartfelt contrition, he must restate how utterly ashamed he is of his past transgressions, which he does not minimize or deny, he must say that he has asked God to forgive him, asked his family to forgive him and asked his supporters to forgive him.

Then he must reaffirm that although that is the man he once was — and he is ashamed of it — that is not the man he now is, as his family and friends can attest. And because he has done wrong in the past, he is the ideal person to do what is right in the future, having learned from his errors. He can be the poster boy of reformed behavior!

And he must do this without comparing his sins to the even worse sins of Bill Clinton and without, for the moment, talking about the campaign.

There will still be several weeks to promote his campaign agenda and, when he is criticized, to expose the media’s hypocrisy, covering for Bill Clinton (and Hillary Clinton) while crucifying him. But now, let him act in the spirit of Psalm 51. Whether he wins the election or not, he will be a better man for it, and the nation will be the better for it as well.

And David would surely tell him, “Whatever you do, don’t let pride dictate your actions. In this case, it could be the difference between the White House and a failed campaign, if not between life and death.”

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  • Pablo Gabriel Mendieta

    Dear Dr. Michael Brown,
    Your article is super awesome and Biblically brilliant!!!
    I have been praying on my knees that, if it is God’s will, tonight we hear what you said from Donald Trump’s sincere heart, and from his lips, that is, a genuine repentance, and clearly stating that he asked God for His firgiveness. Of course, the ultimate supernatural miracle would be if Donald would sincerely say that he has surrendered to Christ, and that he has accepted Jesus as his only Saviour and Lord of his life. If that happens, I believe, that would be a powerful Christian conversion testimony not only to our dear USA, but also to the entire world.

    Thank you for your wonderful Ministry!
    Pablo Gabriel Mendieta
    Citizen of the USA, and native citizen of Argentina.

    • maggie matheson

      Your article is very helpful as I am struggled with the latest revelations. I said to my husband I think Mr. Trump has been touched by the Christians he has come to know. He seems to understand some of the big issues the country is facing and has come under a tremendous amount of attack from a very biased even hateful media. I think once again without any real teaching on repentance he has not been truly contrite. He, as Mike Pence said, is a proud man. If he was truly broken about his past sins, he would have a much better chance of recovering from this. Instead, he is hitting out at people he knows have the motivation to destroy not only him but the conservative Christians. They hate him and he knows it. The only way he would not want to defend himself and hit back is by the Spirit of God. Is it possible that when he comes to Florida that some Godly Christian men could come along side and help him see that if he isn’t truly contrite and humble it will hurt him. I believe that it is possible that God raised him up but is wanting to use him as an example to the Nation that repentance is the way forward for everyone, including the leaders. Then maybe true revival could begin and God will restore America and make her truly great once again.

  • john appleseed

    You’re asking Trump not to let pride dictate his actions?
    This is the man who said, “Show me someone without an ego, and I’ll show you a loser.”

    • john appleseed

      More Trump quotes:
      “Ariana Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision.”
      “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of a__.”
      “Women have one of the great acts of all time. The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers. The person who came up with the expression ‘the weaker sex’ was either very naive or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye — or perhaps another body part.”
      “My favorite part [of ‘Pulp Fiction’] is when Sam has his gun out in the diner and he tells the guy to tell his girlfriend to shut up. Tell that b___ to be cool. Say: ‘B___ be cool.’ I love those lines.”
      “If I were running ‘The View’, I’d fire Rosie O’Donnell. I mean, I’d look at her right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I’d say ‘Rosie, you’re fired.’”
      “Can you imagine the parents of Kelli … when she said, ‘Mom, Dad, I just fell in love with a big, fat pig named Rosie?’”
      “Rosie’s a person who’s very lucky to have her girlfriend. And she better be careful or I’ll send one of my friends over to pick up her girlfriend. Why would she stay with Rosie if she had another choice?”
      “You know who’s one of the great beauties of the world—according to everybody—and I helped create her? My daughter, Ivanka. She’s 6 feet tall, she’s got the best body.”
      “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
      “I’ve known Paris Hilton from the time she’s 12–her parents are friends of mine–and the first time I saw her, she walked into the room and I said, ‘Who the h___ is that?’”
      Regarding Carly Fiorina: “Look at that face. Would anybody vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?! I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”
      Regarding Megyn Kelly: “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her — wherever.”
      Regarding various women:
      “It must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees.”
      “How do the breasts look?”
      “I bet you make a great wife.”
      “Well, you never get to the face because the body’s so good.”
      “You have to treat ’em like sh__.”
      And he does. Besides cheating on his wives, Trump “boasts about having poured a whole bottle of wine down Marie Brenner’s back after she wrote a story on him that he hated,” New York magazine reported. “Well, it wasn’t a bottle, actually—it was a glass,” Brenner told The Daily Beast. “I didn’t even notice it was happening, because like everything with Donald, it was a stealth maneuver. It came from behind.”
      In 2012, Trump called in to TMZ and threatened to show defense attorney Gloria Allred his pen__. “I think Gloria would be very, very impressed with [my pen__],” said Trump.
      Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean wrote about what is allegedly known as “The Trump Rule”—that pageant contestants are forced to parade in front of pageant owner Trump so that he could play his own personal version of Hot or Not. “Many of the girls found this exercise humiliating…Some of the girls were sobbing backstage after [Trump] left, devastated to have failed even before the competition really began…even those of us who were among the chosen couldn’t feel very good about it—it was as though we had been stripped bare.”
      Last year, The New York Times reported on a Trump meltdown. It happened during a legal procedure, when a lawyer requested a brief break from the proceedings to pump breast milk:
      “When the lawyer, Elizabeth Beck, asked for a medical break, Mr. Trump and his lawyers objected, demanding that the deposition continue. Ms. Beck said it was urgent—she needed to pump breast milk for her 3-month-old daughter, and she took the pump out to make a point. Mr. Trump erupted. ‘You’re disgusting,’ he told Ms. Beck, in a remark that is not disputed by either side. He then walked out of the room, ending the testimony for the day.”
      Trump also mistreats men, BTW. In 2001, during an on-air fight with gossip columnist A.J. Benza, he bragged for half an hour about stealing the gossip columnist’s former girlfriend, model Kara Young. “A.J., any girl you have, I can take from you if I want,” Trump said during the argument. “You’re full of s___. So any girl you have, I can take. That I guarantee. That was proven before.”
      Trump has never apologized for any of these actions or statements.

    • Chip Crawford

      I think Mr. Trump is a change agent, and that he is undergoing change himself.

  • Chip Crawford

    Saul of Tarsus may go down better as an example of redemption in a “bad” human being who was turned around for much higher purpose. David was attractive and generally good and beneficial. Trump, however, has friends and his kids were obviously raised for higher ground. Christianity is a vibrant factor because of grace, which is not a sop, but the divine supply of power to get something done. Jesus coming to earth to pay the price for sin and enable men and women to be raised up is all about lifting up folks who have the checklist of sins and shortcomings such as the one Mr. Appleseed details below.

    • Judith Stockstill

      The main reason for voting in Mr. Trump has been, and continues to be, to prevent Mrs. Clinton from getting in. If she gets in, all of Mr. Obama’s horribly destructive and demoralizing rulings will be continued. The other 2 on the ballot are of no effect. Mrs. Clinton doesn’t know what “truth” means, thus Bengazi and destroyed emails. Precisely, what is your goal, what do you want for the next 4 years? Mr. Obama has dragged the USA down to the pits! Do you want to stay there? Mr. Trump plans to implement corrective measures. Yes, he regrets his conduct 11 yrs ago. People change. Give him a chance. Do you want 4 more yrs of the misery we’ve been put through these past 8 yrs? I certainly don’t!!!

      • Chip Crawford


  • HisChild

    Yep, David was a seasoned man of God. Donald Trump has just begun his journey with the Lord. I’m more seasoned than Mr. Trump and I still have a lot to learn also. How about you Mr. Brown, do you elevate yourself even above the Apostle Paul, who stated he had not yet attained or had already been perfected, but instead he pressed on? (Phillipians 4:12). I believe Mr. Trump’s heart has been humbled before the Lord and I’m certain that true to God’s own word ~ HE will lift him up.

    • Dena

      When a person is truly saved their life is changed. They humble themselves and repent of their sin. If a person is still living a life of sin, I question their salvation as being genuine. Becoming a Christian and grace isn’t a free ticket to sin all you want too.

      • HisChild

        You’re right, Dena. Perhaps I was remembering when I first accepted Jesus into my life. After that, He became Lord of my life. I can see this process in Mr. Trump, too.

  • Too bad Trump didn’t do this. I would have reconsidered my NeverTrump position.

    We still have to wonder what is still being held back. Supposedly, some people from ‘The Apprentice’ is saying they have much worse on b-roll. The Clinton campaign will get their hands on it.

  • GG

    Dr. Brown I greatly respect your work and labor of love for the Lord. Yet in concerns me greatly that you are seriously considering voting for a man who boasted about sexually assaulting women. Let’s be very clear here SXSUALLY ASSULTING women. (Mr. Trump’s salvation and contrition is another issue altogether) At some point our Christina convictions must stand for something, you speak of moral and cultural revolution, while at the same time you are “considering” vote for Mr. Trump. There are three other candidates in the race, if you cannot vote for Mrs. Clinton, what about the other two candidates you never really mention them, or even a possible write-in candidate.
    I am puzzled by your lack of clarity on the issue of Mr. Trump, even after the latest revelations your repose left some things to be desired. I suspect this may be a blind spot for you, and if so please consult Wayne Grudem’s recent release on the issue it may be helpful to you at this time. Your credibility as a voice of moral clarity is being called into question. Please reassure us that you discernment is not unduly impaired.

  • Bobo

    I WILL NOT be voting for Trump. …and I definitely will not be voting for Hillary Clinton. At this point, I will simply write-in a name. Who that will be, I haven’t decided yet.

    To those of you that are willfully ignoring what’s right in front of you to justify voting for Donald Trump, I only have one thing really to say at this point.

    Here’s your King.

    • Terry Mather


  • Emily Wheatley

    How may I find your similar article of correction to Secretary Clinton?

  • David Quelle

    I recommend everyone take time to read the story of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar praised the God of Daniel on more than one occasion but he never really surrendered to Him. It wasn’t until God humbled him by removing his position and making him beast-like that Nebuchadnezzar finally humbled himself before the Lord. God could do the same to Trump or Clinton if He chose to. Who is God’s choice for our next president? I don’t have a clue, they are both clearly immoral and lack a fear of the Lord. God could humble either of them if he chose to. God will receive the glory in the end regardless of who takes office.

  • Dena

    I feel that a vote for Trump is condoning his lewd behavior. Has he changed? Does he still trash talk woman in private? I wish he said he has changed in his apology. Instead he brushed it off as locker room talk and then changed the subject. A weak apology.

  • Problem with this comparison is we see King David’s life all in an instant almost, and we know his life from young adulthood to end. We know he went from shepherd to richest man in the kingdom, and ruled the kingdom, and even after raping (it wasn’t just adultery, but Basheba was forced into what she had to do) and murdering to cover it up, King David did NOT SEE HIS WRONG!

    Oh wait, you say he did, LATER. Again, you are seeing David’s story with the ending. Donald is still being used by God and will, even as the ruler of America, be confronted with his ego, pride and selfishness and lust like David was. There was a span of time that David didn’t get it. While I believe Trump has started to “get it”, he is still being worked on. He still has yet to fully repent…don’t give up on him doing that. Nathan didn’t give up on David even when he didn’t get it.

  • sevines

    Oh, look, Dr. Brown knows how to build strawmen and tear them down. Good job, genius.

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