Many have heard of the star of David and are somewhat familiar with it but may not know its history or significance. We know who David is, but often not what the star signifies.
The six-pointed star of David has become a common symbol for both Judaism and for Israel. In Hebrew, it is actually known as a Magen David, meaning that it is a shield of David. There are many theories and explanations for what the star and the shape of the symbol actually mean. The symbol consists of two distinct triangles, one points up and the other points down. These are said to point to God and to man to symbolize the relationship between the two. Franz Rosenzweig also says that the six points of the star may represent two important triads. Firstly, the triad of creation, revelation, and redemption, which are three main themes across the biblical story and the history of Israel. Secondly, the triad of God, Israel, and the Gentile world. Up until the very early church days after Jesus’ resurrection, that was pretty much how the Israelites divided up their worlds. There was God, there was Israel, and there was everyone else (the Gentiles). Thus, the star symbolizes those two important triads.
It has also been theorized that the six points represent the six aspects of the Divine Spirit as laid out in Isaiah 11:2:
“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of the knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”
Isaiah 11:2 (NASB)
Thus, the six points would represent wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord. It is also said that the six points may indicate the extend of God’s sovereignty in being north, south, east, west, up, and down. The star also has 12 lines constructing its perimeter which may represent the 12 tribes of Israel.
Regardless of what the symbol actually means, it was adopted officially by Jews in Prague in the 17th century and later by the Zionist movement in 1897. Since then, it has been used as a symbol for Judaism, Jewish culture, and Israel.
So, what does this all mean to the average Christian? Well, biblically, the star of David is not mentioned in God’s Word. Everything we know about it comes from either tradition, rabbinical tales, or history outside of the Bible. Some say that the shape of the star was the shape of King David’s shield; some say it was the symbol on King Solomon’s signet ring; some say it was simply invented by a Jewish leader. Unfortunately, none of these are either confirmed or denied by the Bible.
Despite not having a particular role or meaning in the Bible, it has come to represent Israel, the nation of God’s people in the Old Testament, and should be treated as such. The star of David should be seen with pride and respect as it has come to symbolize God’s divine choosing of the nation and His work which He did through them throughout history. It truly is not merely a symbol of a nation or a people group, but a symbol of God’s choosing to work alongside humanity rather than purely above them.