Rev. Raymond Schoder/Superstock

A youthful David, shown with what must be his first mustache and beard, strains to hear the dulcet tones of his music, in this detail from Rembrandt’s 1657 oil painting “David Playing the Harp Before Saul.” Despite his youth, David is selected over his seven older brothers to reign as Saul’s successor. Though this contravenes the standard Near Eastern laws of primogeniture, which favor eldest sons, it matches the pattern established in Genesis and Exodus, in which Abel, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Joseph, Perez, Ephraim and Moses all supersede their elder brothers.