Return to Front Page

Introduction to the Books of the Bible

Return to

Contents Page

2 Samuel




BOOK :   2  Samuel

Description : historical book telling of the ups and downs of the reign of King David

Author: Possibly a combination of Samuel, Nathan and Gad

Date written : somewhere about the turn of the first millennium BC


Chapters : 24


Brief Synopsis:

•  Gets its name from 1 Samuel of which it was originally the second part

•  In it we see David as King of Judah and then of the whole of Israel.

•  He captures Jerusalem and eventually establishes the Ark in it.

•  He becomes a great king.

•  Then he lusts after the wife of another and arranges for the death of her husband.

•  He is chastised by the Lord and the following events are the Lord's disciplining him.



Outline :


Ch.1-20 David established as Israel 's second king
Ch.1 David's lament over Saul & Jonathan
Ch.2-4 David as king over Judah
Ch.5 David as king over all Israel
Ch.6-9 Blessing on David
Ch.10-12 David's failure
Ch.13-20 David's punishment
Ch.21-24 Final reflections on David's reign


Key Verses:


David mourns for deaths of Saul and Jonathan

1:12 They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the LORD and the house of Israel , because they had fallen by the sword.

David becomes king of Judah and vanquishes Saul's family

2:1,4 In the course of time, David inquired of the LORD. "Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah ?" he asked. The LORD said, "Go up." David asked, "Where shall I go?" "To Hebron," the LORD answered….. Then the men of Judah came to Hebron and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah .
3:1 The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.

David mourns that Abner has been murdered

3:38,39 (Of Abner) Then the king said to his men, "Do you not realize that a prince and a great man has fallen in Israel this day? And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May the LORD repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!”

David established as King of Israel

5:1-5 All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, "We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the LORD said to you, `You will shepherd my people Israel , and you will become their ruler.' " When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron , the king made a compact with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel . David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.
6:12,17,18 So David went down and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. They brought the ark of the LORD and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the LORD. After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD Almighty.
7:1,2 After the king was settled in his palace and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, "Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent."
7:11-13 The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
8:14 The LORD gave David victory wherever he went.

David's failure

11:1-4 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her.
11:14-17 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, "Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die." So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David's army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.

David Disciplined

12:7-12 This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: `I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah . And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.' "This is what the LORD says: `Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel .' "

David flees Jerusalem

15:13,14 A messenger came and told David, "The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom." Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, "Come! We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately, or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin upon us and put the city to the sword."
18:6,7,15 The army marched into the field to fight Israel , and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. There the army of Israel was defeated by David's men, and the casualties that day were great--twenty thousand men….. And ten of Joab's armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him.

David numbers Israel (Pride) & is judged

24:1-4 Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, "Go and take a census of Israel and Judah." So the king said to Joab and the army commanders with him, "Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are." But Joab replied to the king, "May the LORD your God multiply the troops a hundred times over, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king want to do such a thing?" The king's word, however, overruled Joab and the army commanders; so they left the presence of the king to enroll the fighting men of Israel .
24:10-12 David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the LORD, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O LORD, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing." Before David got up the next morning, the word of the LORD had come to Gad the prophet, David's seer: "Go and tell David, `This is what the LORD says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.' "



Concluding Comments

•  As you may have gathered from all the headings above, 2 Samuel is really all about David.

•  It starts revealing his heart of compassion as he mourns the deaths of Saul and Jonathan.

•  We then saw him becoming king over all Israel and establishing himself as a warrior king who clearly has the blessing of the Lord upon him.

•  Despite all this we then have his fall in respect of Bathsheba and Uriah.

•  It is said that much is demanded of him whop has been trusted with much, and this may explain the discipline that comes upon David as a result of that failure.

•  Similarly later on, the Lord (via Satan – see Chronicles) provokes him to do what he is commanded not to do – number his army as an act of pride, and open the way for judgment to fall on the nation (which it deserves) in such a manner that David, the shepherd-king will feel anguish for his sheep.

•  This story of David has its ups and downs and in that respect is not comfortable, but it contains many lessons that we would do well to heed.


Additional Bible Studies on this site: