I was typical in the time David lived for a man to have a large family. Children were considered to be a blessing from God and in particular, sons were a sign of God’s favor. Although it was intended that a man have only one wife, it was customary for men to have multiple wives based on their ability to financially support them. Therefore, the number of wives a man had was an indication of his wealth.
David had at least seven wives and 20+ children. During the first seven years of his reign as king, while he was living in Hebron, he had six wives. After he became king of all Israel and was living in Jerusalem, he married his seventh wife Bath-Shua (1 Chronicles 3:5). It appears that the children born by Bath-Shua became David’s primary family and eventually, one of her sons, Solomon succeeded David as king of Israel.
Solomon, who was probably the richest man to ever live, had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Even though Solomon was capable of supporting all of his wives, it is questionable whether or not he actually loved any of them. As king of Israel, he only needed one heir and could not have spent any considerable amount of time with his children given that there were probably hundreds if not thousands of them.
David’s intention of establishing God’s kingdom on Earth led him to the battlefield where he was extremely successful and obedient in following God’s commands, but his home life was a different story. Somehow, David missed the point when it came to setting a good example in his home. There is only one way to explain his failure as a father. The love he had for God did not translate into loving other people.