R' Dovid Kimchi lived in Narbonne, Provence (in Southern France) where he was
born and died. He was a major grammarian and the author of one of the most
important Biblical commentaries. He was the son of another famous grammarian
and rabbi, Rabbi Yosef Kimchi, who passed away while R' Dovid was still young.
R' Dovid studied under his older brother, Rabbi Moshe, who also authored
several volumes on grammar.|
R' Dovid's first book was a work on grammar titled Michlol, the second section
of this work is known as Sefer HaShoroshim - The Book of Roots - a dictionary
of Biblical word roots. Later he began to write his famous commentary on
Tana'ch, (the Jewish Scriptures) beginning with a commentary on Divrei HaYamim
(Chronicles), which he wrote at the request of one of his father's students.
There is much discussion of R' Dovid's system and style of commentary, but most
seem to agree that he emphasized p'shat - the basic meaning - with stress on
clarity and readability.
Late in his life, R' Dovid became involved in the controversy surrounding the
works of the Ramba'm (Maimonides) and the general issue of studying philosophy.
R' Dovid defended the Ramba'm and wrote many letters opposing the Rambam's
critics. He agreed, in principle, with the legitimacy of philosophical study,
but only for knowledgeable and God-fearing Torah scholars.