Skip to content Skip to navigation

2 Samuel

History—2 Samuel Setting

  • The empires of the ancient middle east had lost their overwhelming power and influence.
  • Hittites lost their significance.
  • Assyria was declining.
  • Egypt, through internal fighting, had lost its power
  • The Philistines became Israel’s greatest enemy.
  • God had selected Judah to be the tribe of kings (Genesis 49.8-12). Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin (1 Samuel 9.1-2); David was from Judah (1 Samuel 16.1-13; Matthew 1.3-6).
  • David brought together the tribes and formed them into a strong monarchy. He captured Jerusalem, the Jebusite fortress, and made it his capital.
  • Second Samuel covers the major events in David’s life.
  • He developed Israel into a military power that was able to throw off the yoke of the Philistines and Canaanites. Israel under David became the dominate power in the area.
  • He, through military victory and alliances, extended his control to Egypt in the southwest and to the Euphrates in the northeast.
  • The events took place from soon after the death of King Saul (2 Samuel 1.1) to David’s purchase of the threshing floor from Araunah the Jebusite (about 1010 BC to 970 BC) so that he might build an altar to the Lord and sacrifice "that the plague may be held back from the people" (2 Samuel 23.21). The plague was God’s discipline because David numbered the people.

History—2 Samuel Author

  • Jewish tradition says that Samuel wrote 1 Samuel 1-24, and that Nathan and Gad finished 1 Samuel and added 2 Samuel. Possibly, a later editor finalized the book under God’s inspiration.
  • It is very likely that most of the Samuels were written during the time of David and Solomon (1010-930 BC).

History—2 Samuel The Book

  • Originally, 1 and 2 Samuel were one book. When the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek around 150 BC, the editors combined Samuel and Kings and it became the complete history of the Israelite monarchy—1, 2, 3, 4 Kingdoms.
  • Sometime later, editors followed the Greek pattern and separated Samuel and Kings into 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings.
  • The Samuels took their final form soon after the division into the northern and southern kingdoms (1 Samuel 18.16 and 27.6; 2 Samuel 5.5; 19.43).

Story in 2 Samuel

  • The story begins with David’s grief over Saul’s death (1). David was then formally installed as king (2). He consolidated his rule by friendship and alliances with neighboring powers. Though there was a challenge to David’s rule by Saul’s house (2-4), David was recognized by Judah and Israel, and ruled from Hebron for seven and one-half years, then took Jerusalem for his capital (5). David then moved the ark to Jerusalem (6). God made a covenant with David, promising to build and perpetuate David’s dynasty (7).
  • At this point David began to subdue his enemies and strengthen his support (9-20). During David’s wars to establish his rule, he sinned with Bathsheba against the Lord and Uriah (11). Nathan the prophet rebuked David and announced the Lord’s discipline. David confessed his sin and God forgave him (Psalm 51), yet consequences of his sin followed him throughout his life (12).
  • Amnon, David’s son, was killed by Absalom, another son (13). Absalom also led a revolution against David which ended with Absaloms’s death (15-18). David now began to regain his kingdom and authority (19-21).
  • He then composed a psalm of praise to the Lord for delivering him from his enemies (Psalm 18 and Psalm 22). After all of this David again publicly sins by taking a census of his military. David confessed this sin to God and was forgiven. He purchased a threshing floor from Araunah, who live in Jerusalem, to build an altar for the Lord. There he sacrificed to the Lord and interceded for the nation that the Lord might stop the plague, which He did (24).

Key Verses: 2 Samuel 7.12-13

  • 2 Samuel 7:12 "When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. 
  • 2 Samuel 7:13 "He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

2 Samuel Theme: Kingdom of Israel

  • Despite the fact that Israel had always been a rebellious and complaining people, God kept the Abrahamic Covenant and established His theocracy through the sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—The Kingdom of Israel—through His chosen King, David, with its spiritual center in Jerusalem. In keeping with His grace and promises, and knowing that David would publicly sin many times, God promised David that his dynasty would last forever.

2 Samuel Overview Outline

  • David gains political, spiritual, and military victories, 1-10.
  • David sins, confesses, is forgiven and disciplined, 11-12.
  • David experiences revolution, bloodshed, sorrow, and return, 13-20.
  • David reestablishes his authority, 21-24.

2 Samuel Chapter Titles

David gains political, spiritual, and military victories, 1-10.

  • Chapter 1: The Amalekite’s Announcement
  • Chapter 2: Abner for Saul vs Joab for David
  • Chapter 3: Joab murders Abner
  • Chapter 4: Rechab and Baanah murder Ishbosheth
  • Chapter 5: Elders anoint David king over Israel
  • Chapter 6: The Ark to Jerusalem
  • Chapter 7: Davidic Covenant
  • Chapter 8: David defeats Philistia, Moab, Zobah, Aramea, Edom
  • Chapter 9: David restores Mephibosheth
  • Chapter 10: David defeats Ammonites and Arameans

David sins, confesses, is forgiven and disciplined, 11-12.

  • Chapter 11: David, Uriah, and Bathsheba
  • Chapter 12: David’s discipline and confession

David experiences revolution, bloodshed, sorrow, and return, 13-20

  • Chapter 13: Amnon, Tamar, and Absalom
  • Chapter 14: Joab brings Abalom
  • Chapter 15: Absalom Conspiracy
  • Chapter 16: Absalom takes Jerusalem
  • Chapter 17: Absalom plans war
  • Chapter 18: Joab kills Absalom
  • Chapter 19: David crosses the Jordan
  • Chapter 20: Sheba the Benjamite rebels

David reestablishes his authority, 21-24

  • Chapter 21: Hanging, bones; Philistines
  • Chapter 22: David’s hymn of praise
  • Chapter 23: David’s Military Hall of Fame
  • Chapter 24: David’s military census

Main People—David

  • David Tribe of Judah, Son of Jesse, King of Israel, Psalmist (2 Samuel 23.1). He was the second king in Israel and ruled after Saul, though he was the first king from the ruling tribe, Judah. He began as a shepherd, was Saul’s armor bearer, was anointed by Nathan to be God’s king of Israel (1 Samuel 16).
  • He killed Goliath, was pursued by Saul (17), and at Saul’s death was inaugurated King of Israel (2 Samuel 5). God promised him (Davidic Covenant, 2 Samuel 7.4-17) that his descendents, and especially his greatest descendant, Jesus the Christ (Matthew 1.1; Romans 1.3) would rule forever over Israel
  • His most noted sons were Absalom (3.3, mother was Maacah), Nathan (1 Chronicles 3.3, Bathsheba), and Solomon (12.24, Bathsheba).
  • He was noted for his faith and loyalty to the Lord (Psalm 22 and 23), and though he publicly sinned numerous times he always returned to fellowship with the Lord by confessing his sin to Him (Psalm 32, 2 Samuel 12.1-15; Psalm 51; 1 Kings 15.3-5).
  • God said that David was a "man after His own heart" (1 Samuel 13.14; Acts 13.22, 36); that is, one who, in spite of his sin, always returned to fellowship with God and desired to do God’s will.
  • David was a great military leader and author of many at least 73 Psalms.
  • Principle: David’s greatness was his consistent desire to do God’s will, his faith in the Lord, his loyalty to the Lord, his willingness to honestly confess sin and failure to the Lord, and his spiritual and national leadership.

Main People—Nathan the Prophet

  • Nathan was God’s prophet during the reigns of David and Solomon. Nathan delivered God message to David that he would not build the temple, but through his son [Solomon] David’s descendants would reign forever over Israel (Davidic Covenant) ( 2 Samuel 7.1-17; 1 Chronicles 17.1-15).
  • God, through Nathan, reproved David for his sin with Bathsheba and against Uriah (2 Samuel 12.1-15).
  • Nathan helped to ensure that Solomon would follow David as king when Adonijah conspired to take the throne (1 Kings 1.11-34). He also advised David (2 Chronicles 29.25).
  • Nathan wrote Acts of David (1 Chronicles 29.29) and Acts of Solomon (2 Chronicles 9.29) and left them as records.
  • Principle: Prophet’s faithful service is crucial to the spiritual and national life of the nation.

Main People—Uriah and Bathsheba

  1. Uriah was a Hittite soldier who courageously and loyally served David in his army (2 Samuel 23.39). He apparently accepted the Hebrew faith (2 Samuel 11.11). Bathsheba was his wife. During a battle at Rabbah, David and Bathsheba committed adultery. In order to cover this up David had Uriah sent to the battle front where he was killed (2 Samuel 11.6-21). Bathsheba was Solomon’s mother (1 Chronicles 3.5).
  2. Principles: Uriah’s Loyalty to commanders. Grace to Bathsheba.

Main People—Mephibosheth

  • Son of Jonathon (2 Samuel 9.6), grandson of Saul, not Mephibosheth, the son of Saul (2 Samuel 21.8-9). At the news of Saul and Jonathon’s death, his nurse fled with Mephibosheth (age 5). She fell and Mephibosheth was lamed in the fall (2 Samuel 4.4). David kept his oath to Jonathon (1 Samuel 20.11-16, 42) and brought him to Jerusalem and gave him an honored place at his table (2 Samuel 9.1, 6-13). We learn of loyalty to one’s friends and one’s oath.

Main People, Abner

  • Saul’s nephew and commander in chief of Saul’s army (1 Samuel 14.50). He killed Asahel, Joab’s brother, after trying to disuade Asahel from pursuing him (2 Samuel 2.18-23). Joab treacherously killed Abner at Hebron (2 Samuel 3.27).
  • Principle: Loyal commander, yet a little naïve at times.

Main People, Joab

  • David’s nephew (2 Samuel 2.18) and commander in chief of David’s army (2 Samuel 5.8). Joab was at different times efficient, brutal, loyal, and wise (2 Samuel 11.6-26; 12.26-31; 18.14.33; 24.2-4). He was replaced by Amasa and later restored. Joab finally faltered by supporting a revolt against David and Solomon (1 Kings 1.5-53). Benaiah, in league with Solomon, killed Joab (1 Kings 2.28, 34).
  • Principle: Strong leadership, yet pride and bad judgment get in the way.

Main People—Absalom

  • Absalom was David’s third son (2 Samuel 3.3). He was handsome and had a full head of hair (14.25-26). He avenged the rape of his sister, Tamar by Amnon, his brother. Afterward, he fled to Gesher where he stayed three years, followed by two more years of banishment from his father (13). David welcomed him back, but Absalom soon revolted against David, entered Jerusalem and was anointed king (2 Samuel 19.10).
  • David’s army defeated Absalom and his army in the forests of Ephraim. While Absalom fled on his mule, his head caught in tree branches. Joab and 10 soldiers killed Absalom while he hung there.
  • Principle: A son’s pride, power lust, and rebellion can destroy families, people, and nations.

Key Words Used

  • David, 286 times
  • Kingdom, 8 times (3.10, 28; 5.12; 7.12, 13, 16; 16.3, 8)
  • House, 102 times (1.2; 2.4, 7, 10, 11; etc.)
  • Anointed, 15 times (1.14, 16, 21; 2.4, 7; 3.39; 5.3, 17; 12.7, 20; 14.2; 19.10, 21; 22.51; 23.1)

Key Doctrines

  • Davidic Covenant
  • Sin has consequences
  • Divine discipline
  • God graciously forgives and continues to work through the sinner who has confessed his sin.
  • Spiritual and national leadership.

Lessons For Us Today

  • My "heart" attitude is most important. Do I want to do God’s will? Am I sensitive to His word and his leading? Do I continue to focus my life on the Lord and his will. To do otherwise, makes me vulnerable to sin, failure, discipline, heartache, and ridicule.
  • When I sin, I need to confess that sin and continue to live the Christian life. Even if the sin has consequences, God will use that to work his will and blessing.
  • Sin does not stop God from using me. When I sin, even what people call "big sins," am I willing to accept God’s grace and continue to serve him in the job he has given me. Guilt over past sins is a rejection of God’s grace and a distraction to living the Christian life. Nourished guilt is actually a form of pride.
  • Take responsibility for whatever leadership God has given me. Do the best job I can do.

Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 1 Corinthians 10.12

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2.1