2 Samuel

This book records the main events of the time when David was ruler. It is a collection of great stories. They tell the history of that time. There are also life stories. But the book also has many important lessons. And they are lessons for Christians today.

Acceptable (Chapters 1-12)

In 1 Samuel, we discovered something. God rejected Saul as the king of his people, Israel. (Read 1 Samuel 15:23, 26 and 16:1.) However, Saul continued to rule. Then he died in a battle at a place called Gilboa. (Read 1 Samuel 31:3-6.) After that, David could begin to rule. He already knew his duties. God had given them to him some time before. (Read 1 Samuel 16:1, 12, 13.) Now he could start to do them.

The men of the tribe of Judah accepted David as their king. They did this in public (2 Samuel 2:4). At first, the other 11 tribes were against this idea. Then, all of Israel's tribes accepted him. The first section of the book explains this.

[Note: Jacob was Isaac's son. Jacob had 12 sons who became 12 tribes. God changed Jacob's name to Israel. And his 12 sons became the 12 tribes of the nation called Israel.]

There are five main subjects:

Opposition (1-5). Abner was Saul's captain. He was efficient. But he did not think that David should be king. It should be Saul's son, Ish-Bosheth. And Abner tried to persuade the people. He wanted them to agree with him (2:8-10).

Joab was David's captain. He was a cruel man (2:8-10). He was also dangerous. And he soon disagreed with Abner. Their purposes were different (2:18-32). Abner later joined David's side. But Joab and Abner were never friends. Joab would not stop until he killed Abner (3:27).

David knew about Joab, his chief army officer. Joab was always plotting. And he was cruel too (3:27-39). David realized that Joab would always cause trouble.

Some people are not as good as they could be. And the only reason might be their choice of friends. Their friends might be bad. They might not be helpful. But these friends might control them. And it was like this with David and Joab.

Two men killed Ish-Bosheth, Saul's son (4:5-7). So David became the only king. He ruled all the nation of Israel (5:3).

Ambition (6-7). Much is terrible in the first chapters. And there are awful murders. So, it is a delight to read these next chapters.

David had two spiritual ambitions. He wanted to bring the Ark back to Jerusalem (6:2). And he wanted to build the Temple (7:1-3). Two people tried to stop him. First, there was his wife, Michal (6:16-24). And there was Nathan (7:3-17). However, they were completely different. Michal was proud and she had a bitter attitude (6:20). Nathan, the prophet, was a humble man. And he obeyed God (7:4-5, 17).

These two chapters show David's spiritual state. He was eager to please God. And he was sincere.

Extension (8). David really wanted to do what was right. He prayed that God would bless his time as ruler (7:29). And God certainly answered that prayer. David won more and more battles. And he extended his vast kingdom. Chapter 8 records the details. (Compare 1 Samuel 2:30.)

Kindness and pity (9-10). There are two events here. They are next to each other. And they both show something about David. They show that he was generous (9:1; 10:1-2). The word ‘kindness’ is a translation. The Hebrew word is ‘hesed’. This word means several things. It means kindness and love. It also has the meaning of mercy. It can mean the special covenant love too. This word is in Psalm 23:6. ‘…love will follow me’. David knew God's mercy (kindness) in his own life. So he wanted to show that same attitude to other people.

These two chapters show two reactions. They are complete opposites. Someone enjoyed David's kindness (9:13). Other people refused it (10:3-5).

Sin (11-12). One sin soon produces another sin. David sent some people with a message. They showed kindness to the foreign king. The new king in the land of Ammon could have accepted them. He could have welcomed them. Then there would have been no war between them. Joab would probably not have fought them (11:1). And the awful incident in 11:2-27 might not have happened. This event had an effect on David. And Joab had even more power over him (11:14, 18, 21).

God showed certain things to Nathan, the prophet. Nathan was completely loyal to God and to his words. We see this fact again in 12:1-15.

Revolution (Chapters 13-18)

The previous chapters showed that there was trouble in the family. Now, the nation was unhappy too. There is a lesson here. Sin produces more sin. Its effect gets worse too. And its influence increases.

Absalom's anger (13). Absalom hated authority. So he caused much trouble. And it affected the whole nation. It started with an evil idea from David's nephew. His name was Jonadab. There are five important words in 13:3. They are ‘Now Amnon had a friend...' They warn us about friendships. Amnon listened to his friend. And he died as a result of this (13:28-29). Amnon's death was Absalom's fault. So he ran away.

Absalom's return (14). Absalom returned to Israel. Joab was the main person who made this possible (14:2, 18-20, 22-23). But Absalom was still not grateful. He burned Joab's fields (14:30).

Absalom's plot (15). Absalom made the people want to follow him. He made them believe a lie. The lie was that he would be a better king than David was. The times were very hard. But there were still loyal people in the city called Jerusalem. (Read 15:15, 19-21 and 32-37.)

Absalom's assistant (16). Ahithophel was a man who gave advice. Most people thought that he was good. But he was not loyal to David. He joined Absalom (16:15).

Absalom's enemy (17). Hushai was David's friend. But he pretended that he was Absalom's friend. And he suggested a plan to Absalom. So, David had time to escape (17:8-15).

Absalom's death (18). Absalom was very proud of his long hair. And it probably caused his death (18:9).

Return to Power (Chapters 19-24)

This is the book's final section. It is about David's return. There are five parts.

A return home (19). We read about three men (19:18-30). Their names are Shimei, Mephibosheth and Barzillai. Each man is an interesting study. It is like a short ‘life story’ of each man.

We should consider how we would meet the King (the Lord Jesus) when he returns.

We might regret many things when we meet him. This would be like Shimei.

We might make excuses when we meet him. This would be like Mephibosheth.

We might meet him with great joy and no shame. This would be like Barzillai.

A wicked soldier (20). Joab was anxious. He thought that Amnon was taking his job. Therefore Joab killed him (17:25; 19:13; 20:4, 8-13).

A mother with great love (21). Rizpah lived in very bad times. There was terrible cruelty. And there was much that was unjust. However, there could still be loyal people. There could still be heroes. And the story of Rizpah shows this. Her great love for her sons never changed (21:10).

A grateful worshipper (22:1-23:7). This word means one who worships. This was David's song of thanks. It is about four things. It is about security and mercy. It is about power. And it is about how God guided him. God showed David what to do. And David was grateful.

There is an extra list in this section (23:8-39). It is a list of heroes and brave soldiers.

A loyal prophet (24). This prophet was called Gad (1 Samuel 22:5). He recorded some events about David's time as ruler. (Read 1 Chronicles 29:29.) We should be like Gad. People might not want to receive our message. We might even know that this is probable. But we should continue to declare God's words like Gad.