Bloemaert was apprenticed to his father Abraham who was a significant Utrecht painter and later undertook a study journey to Italy. The scene with the penitent king David appears in art only rarely. David is searching his conscience, as he had sent Uriah into battle for certain death to gain his wife Betshabe, with whom he later conceived a son who became seriously ill and finally died. The king in prayer had put away the symbols of his power - the sceptre and crown. There is a harp on the table which is his attribute.