First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…
FOLIO XLVI verso and XLVII recto

The Lineage of Christ is here continued from Folio XLII verso, where the line of descent was brought down to include Jesse and all of his children, except David, with whom the present branch of the genealogy therefore begins. And so here the Psalmist makes his debut. Strumming on a harp, he gracefully steps forth upon the root-branches of his genealogical tree. He wears his crown and his regal robes, which the artist has turned aside to expose the king's shapely leg. He moves forward as though about to dance to his own music. The costume, a tight-fitting outer garment with skirt, sleeves puffed and slashed, and the pointed shoes, are well done according to medieval fashion, but are hardly consistent with the period under consideration.

From the main trunk upon which David stands proceed three branches—one straight downward to King Solomon, his favorite son; another to the left, portraying the children of David born at Hebron; and a third, which proceeds to the opposite folio (XLVII recto), portraying the children born to him at Jerusalem:

  1. Solomon Rex, although shown at full length, appears as a rather diminutive figure. His body is dwarfed, his head is large, and the crown he wears is of greater diameter than the king himself from shoulder to shoulder. He carries the orb and scepter, and is clad in an embroidered and fur trimmed robe. His footwear is rather meager, and he gives the appearance of having stepped forth in his stocking-feet.
  2. The Sons of David at Hebron, shown to his left (Folio XLVI verso), are given as follows: First (Primus), Amon (Amnon), 2nd, cheliab (Chileab, also called Daniel), 3rd, Absolon (Absalom), 4th, Adonias (Adonijah), 5th, Saphacias (Shephatiah) and 6th, hietra (Ithream). This group is represented by a single woodcut, and there is nothing of particular interest about any of the portraits. Each emerges from a floral cup, and all are connected by a vine-like stem.
  3. The Sons of David at Jerusalem are represented by a single woodcut that occupies almost one half of the opposite page (Folio XLVII recto). For purposes of identification the names are here repeated, firstly as given in the Chronicle, and secondly according to the text of II Samuel 5:13-16: Namely, Salma (Shammuah), Sab (Shobab), Nathan, Salomon (Solomon), Jabaar (Ibhar), helisua (Elishua), Nepheg, Japhia, helisama (Elishama), helida (Eliada), and helifelech (Eliphalet). And a rather quarrelsome lot these men appear to be. They stare and glare, frown and droop at the mouth, and gesture with both hands.


The Queen of Sheba is represented opposite Solomon by a small woodcut of exquisite design. Her headdress and flowing veil as well as other raiment are entirely medieval. In her extended hand she offers Solomon a beautiful piece of jewelry, probably a cup or chalice, and no doubt one of the good will offerings of her visit from the land of Arabia.


The Murder of Abner is represented at Folio XLVII recto by a small woodcut approximately 3½" square. Abner has just returned to Hebron. Joab, the commander of David's forces, has taken him aside in the gate, as if to speak to him quietly; but he "struck him there under the fifth rib, that he died, for the blood of Asahel, his brother." (II Sam. 3:27) The incident is quaintly depicted. The men stand in a doorway, face to face, each with one leg extended forward as though engaged in a dance. But Joab is driving his trusty blade of no mean dimensions into Abner's back, producing in the latter a vacant far away look.


Gad, Nathan and Aseph are represented at Folio XLVII recto in a triple portrait, above which appears this inscription: "These three prophesied in the time of David; and Nathan was David's brother's son, and an adopted son of Jesse."

  • Gad was a prophet and particular friend of David, the history of whose reign he wrote (I Chron. 29:29). He came to David when the latter was in the cave Adullam (I Sam. 22:5). He then began his career of counselor, under divine direction, which eventually won him the title of "the king's seer." (II Sam. 24:11,13; I Chron. 21:9)
  • Nathan was a distinguished prophet of Judea, who lived in the reigns of David and Solomon and enjoyed a large share of their confidence (II Sam. 7:2). To him, David first intimated his design to build the temple, and he was divinely instructed to inform the king that this honor was not for him but for his posterity. Nathan was also charged with the divine message to David upon the occasion of his sin against Uriah, which he conveyed under the significant allegory of the rich man and the ewe-lamb. Nathan was one of David's biographers (I Chron. 29:29) and also Solomon's (II Chron. 3:5).
  • Aseth or Aseph (correctly Asaph) a Levite, was the chief leader of the temple choir, and a poet. (I Chron. 6:39). Twelve of the Psalms are attributed to him, namely Ps. 50 and Ps. 73 to 83. He is also spoken of as a "seer" in connection with David (II Chron. 29:30). The "sons of Asaph" were probably a school of musicians.