Chapter 43 of Tehillim records a psalm of "Dovid the maskil"

לדוד משכיל אשרי נשוי פשע כסוי חטאה

I never knew that Dovid Hamelech, of all people, was associated with the enlightenment!

What kinds of things did Dovid Hamelech do that made him a maskil?

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Dovid Hamelech writes about himself and his peers (Tehillim 90:9):

כי כל-ימינו, פנו בעברתך; כילינו שנינו כמו-הגה

We turned all our days towards [studying] Hebrew, we spent our years doing things like editing/correcting.

So he seems to have spent a lot of time in very maskilishe endeavors.

  • Eh, how do we take this as a proof that David was a maskil and not just a grammarian? – ezra Feb 15 '18 at 19:57
  • @ezra The OP didn't ask for proof that he was a maskil, just some examples of maskil activities that he did. The proof was provided in the question post. – Y     e     z Feb 15 '18 at 20:02
  • 1
    +1 but this was actually written by Moshe... – wfb Feb 16 '18 at 1:23

In fact, we are told that David was a maskil in every possible way (Shmuel I 18:14)

וַיְהִי דָוִד לְכָל-דְּרָכָו, מַשְׂכִּיל

And David was in all his ways a maskil

Not only that, Saul saw that David was very much a maskil, and was frightened of him (Shmuel I 18:15)

וַיַּרְא שָׁאוּל, אֲשֶׁר-הוּא מַשְׂכִּיל מְאֹד; וַיָּגָר, מִפָּנָיו

And Saul saw that he was a major maskil and he was afraid of him

  • Very good! I added some verses in for you. Feel free to fix my loose translation. – Y     e     z Feb 15 '18 at 20:14
  • @Y ez. Thanks. Currently on my phone so cutting and pasting pesukim is a bit complicated. Your translations look good to me – Joel K Feb 15 '18 at 20:23
  • Kol hakavod!! So far the best answer – ezra Feb 15 '18 at 21:26

Tehillim 53:1 and 54:1 note that he was a Maskil of songs. He must have composed poetry in Hebrew or some other equally Maskilish activity.


We will not be able to answer this question because David went to great lengths to hide his maskilic activity. We are told in Tehillim 142:1 that he was only a maskil when he was in the cave (משכיל לדוד בהיותו במערה). As all his maskilic tendencies were confined to the cave there are no witnesses or evidence as to what he was doing.


He and Bat Sheva had Shlomo, the wisest man that ever lived.

I would imagine that he got much of his wisdom from his father who taught him many wise things, so David had to have been wise. One proof - when G-d appears to Shlomo in a dream and says you can request anything whatsoever, Shlomo asks for wisdom. Seriously, doesn't it take a smart kid to know to ask of that from G-d? Where do you think he got this wisdom from? From his father!

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