What is the History of the Star of David?

The Star of David has become known worldwide as a symbol of modern Judaism, but…

  • What is its history?
  • How did it become such a prominent symbol?
  • What does it represent?

The History of the Star of David

  • 3rd and 4th Century

There have been archaeological findings of the Star of David in Israel from as early as the third or fourth century. 

  • 11th Century:

The first use of the Star of David as a symbol of Judaism seems to be around the 11th century. It was used as a decoration in the Tanakh manuscript.

  • 14th Century: 

Its use became more widespread several hundred years later, in 1354, when Charles IV, the King of Bohemia at the time, created a red flag for the Jews living in Prague. 

The flag included David’s shield (the star) and Solomon’s seal. After the Prague flag was created, usage of the Star of David spread across Jewish communities. The Jews of Budapest also received a similar red star, and the image was regularly seen on flags, architecture, and artwork throughout Central Europe.

  • 17th Century: 

In the 17th century, in Vienna, Judenplatz (or Jewish Square in English) was marked with a hexagram shape to distinguish it from the rest of the city. It was also around this time that it was used as the architecture of the synagogue in the Middle East and North Africa.

  • 19th Century: 

In 1897, the First Zionist Congress elected to use the Star of David to represent the organization and the overall Jewish community. 

  • 20th Century

As a result of the vote of the First Zionist Congress, the Star of David became even more visible to the general public throughout the early 20th century. For example, it was heavily used to indicate Jewish affiliations in athletics. 

  • A Jewish sports club in Vienna, Austria, competed with uniforms that had the Star of David on their chests. 
  • A Jewish basketball team in Philadelphia also wore a Star of David on their jerseys. 

Of course, many people associated the Star of David with the way the Nazi regime identified Jews during World War II and the Holocaust. Jews were required to wear yellow Stars of David on their breast and back. 

White Israeli flag with blue Star of David and two blue stripes.
  • 21st Century

Today, the flag of Israel contains a blue Star of David on top of a white background. The flag was adopted on October 28, 1948, just months after the country was officially established. Israeli leadership opted to use the Star of David as a nod to the First Zionist Congress.

How Did the Star of David Become Such a Prominent Symbol?

As you can see from the Star of David’s history, the symbol was adopted and carried over from generation to generation. The yellow star that Jews were forced to wear during World War II took the symbol and added the meaning of martyrdom and heroism.

It is important to note that the Star of David, though it has no biblical or Talmudic authority, still became the general sign of Judaism and Messianic Believers.  

What Does the Star of David Represent?

The six-pointed Star of David is associated with the Jews and Israel. In Hebrew, it is known as a Magen David (shield of David). It is made of two triangles, one laid over the other, forming the shape of a hexagram.

However, in a number of Psalms and other passages, David, and others, write about the shield of God. Make a note of the word “shield” in the seven verses below…

  1. “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.”—Psalm 91:4
  1. “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.”—Proverbs 30:5
  1. “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”—Psalm 18:2
  1. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.”—Psalm 28:7
  1. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”—Psalm 84:11
  1. “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.”—Psalm 119:114
  1. “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”—Ephesians 6:16

Click here to download your copy of Psalm 91 prayer!

The Takeaway for One New Man Believers

David was known as a man of war. He was brave and had a heart that chased after God. When he went into battle, he must have found his security and confidence, not in his physical shield, but rather the Lord as his shield. He knew that his God went before him, behind, below, above, to the right, and to the left of him in every battle. Because of God’s shield, he did not need to be afraid. He cried out to God, and God provided and protected. The Star of David truly is a representation of the Lord being our shield.