2 Samuel

Introduction to the Book of 2 Samuel

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Bill Fairchild

The book of 2 Samuel records the rise, fall, and restoration of King David.  As David conquers the land and unites the Jewish people, we see his courage, honesty, compassion, and faithfulness to God.

Then David makes a tragic mistake by committing adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband Uriah the Hittite killed to cover the sin.  The baby born of that union dies.  Even though David confesses and repents, the consequences of that sin follow him the rest of his life.

As we read of David's ascent and military victories through the first ten chapters, we can't help admiring this obedient servant of God.  When he descends into sin, selfishness, and a horrifying cover-up, admiration turns into revulsion.  The remainder of 2 Samuel documents sordid stories of incest, revenge, rebellion and pride.  After reading David's story, we find ourselves saying, "If only..."

The poignancy of the book of 2 Samuel is that David's story is our own story.  We all desire to love God and obey his commandments, but we fall into sin, over and over.  In despair, we realize we cannot save ourselves through our futile attempts at perfect obedience.

2 Samuel also points the way to hope:  Jesus Christ.  David lived halfway between the time of Abraham, with whom God made his original covenant, and Jesus, who fulfilled that covenant on the cross. In chapter 7, God reveals his plan for salvation through David's house.


 
David is remembered as "a man after God's own heart."  Despite his many failures, he found favor in God's eyes.  His story is a sharp reminder that despite our sins, we too can find favor in God's sight, through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.     

Author of 2 Samuel

Nathan the prophet; Zabud, his son; Gad.

Date Written

About 930 B.C.

Written To

The Jewish people, all later readers of the Bible.

Landscape of 2 Samuel

Judah, Israel, and the surrounding countries.

Themes in 2 Samuel

God created a covenant through David (2 Samuel 7:8-17) to establish a throne that would last forever.  Israel no longer has kings, but one of David's descendants was Jesus, who sits on a heavenly throne for eternity.

In 2 Samuel 7:14, God promises a Messiah:  "I will be his father, and he will be my son." (NIV)  In Hebrews 1:5, the writer attributes this verse to Jesus, not to David's successor, King Solomon, because Solomon sinned.  Jesus, the sinless Son of God, became the Messiah, the King of Kings.

Key Characters in 2 Samuel

David, Joab, Michal, Abner, Bathsheba, Nathan, Absalom.

Key Verses

Samuel  5:12
Then David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel. (NIV)

2 Samuel 7:16
"Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever." (NIV)

2 Samuel 12:13
Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." (NIV)

2 Samuel 22:47
"The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!  Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!" (NIV)

Outline of of 2 Samuel

  • David becomes king of Judah and Israel (1:1-7:29).
  • David conquers Israel's enemies (8:1-10:19).
  • David sins with Bathsheba, has Uriah killed (11:1-12:23).
  • Bathsheba gives birth to Solomon (12:24-31).
  • Amnon, son of David, rapes his half-sister Tamar (13:1-22).
  • Absalom, David's son, kills Amnon and returns to Jerusalem (13:23-14:33).
  • Absalom rebels against his father and is killed (15:1-20:26).
  • David praises God; exploits of his Mighty Men (16:1-24:25).

Old Testament Books of the Bible (Index)
New Testament Books of the Bible (Index)

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Your Citation
Zavada, Jack. "2 Samuel." ThoughtCo, Feb. 12, 2017, thoughtco.com/book-of-2-samuel-701128. Zavada, Jack. (2017, February 12). 2 Samuel. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/book-of-2-samuel-701128 Zavada, Jack. "2 Samuel." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/book-of-2-samuel-701128 (accessed December 13, 2017).