(Jesʹse) [shortened form of Isshiah, meaning “Jehovah Makes Forget”; or, possibly, a shortened form of Abishai].
Father of King David of the tribe of Judah; grandson of Ruth and Boaz and a link in the genealogical line from Abraham to Jesus. (Ru 4:17, 22; Mt 1:5, 6; Lu 3:31, 32) Jesse fathered eight sons, one of whom apparently died before producing any sons of his own, which may account for the omission of his name from the genealogies of Chronicles. (1Sa 16:10, 11; 17:12; 1Ch 2:12-15) The two sisters of David, Abigail and Zeruiah, are nowhere called Jesse’s daughters, but one is called “the daughter of Nahash.” (1Ch 2:16, 17; 2Sa 17:25) It may be that Nahash was the former husband of Jesse’s wife, making her girls half sisters to Jesse’s sons, unless Nahash is another name for Jesse, or even the name of his wife, as some have suggested.
Jesse was a sheep owner living at Bethlehem. After King Saul turned away from true worship, Jehovah sent Samuel to Jesse’s home to anoint one of his sons as king. Jesse brought in the seven older boys, but when Jehovah chose none of these Jesse was obliged to call his youngest son David from pasturing the sheep; this son was Jehovah’s choice.—1Sa 16:1-13.
When Saul summoned David to play the soothing harp for him, aged Jesse sent along a generous gift and later granted permission for David to remain some time in attendance at Saul’s court. (1Sa 16:17-23; 17:12) Later, when it appears that David was back again tending the sheep, Jesse sent him with some provisions for the three oldest boys, who were in Saul’s army. (1Sa 17:13, 15, 17, 18, 20) During the time David was outlawed by Saul, Jesse and his wife were given asylum in Moab.—1Sa 22:3, 4.
Often David is called “the son of Jesse,” disparagingly, by persons such as Saul, Doeg, Nabal, and Sheba (1Sa 20:27, 30, 31; 22:7-9, 13; 25:10; 2Sa 20:1; 1Ki 12:16; 2Ch 10:16), but more respectfully in other instances, for example, by David himself, Ezra, and Jehovah God.—1Sa 16:18; 17:58; 2Sa 23:1; 1Ch 10:14; 12:18; 29:26; Ps 72:20; Lu 3:32; Ac 13:22.
The prophetic promise that “the root of Jesse” would ‘stand up as a signal for the peoples’ and would judge in righteousness finds fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the one who, because he is immortal, keeps the genealogical line of Jesse alive.—Isa 11:1-5, 10; Ro 15:8, 12.