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Series Theme: Why Read the Bible: 2 Samuel





Why Read 2 Samuel: Well, if you have just read 1 Samuel you will have followed David the godly guerrilla fighter to the point where king Saul has been killed. In 2 Samuel we follow David who is acclaimed king over Judea and then within a few years, king over all Israel. 2 Samuel is somewhat of a roller coaster ride:

Part 1:

•  David the guerrilla fighter becoming king (ch.1-5), a fulfilment of the Lord's intent declared back in 1 Sam 16,
•  David the triumphant fighter-king (ch.6-10) making Israel supreme over all their neighbours and bringing security to Israel.

Part 2:

•  David's downfall in committing adultery and plotting a murder (ch.11)
•  David receiving a sentence from the Lord in very clear terms (ch.12)
•  a family upset that David fails to deal with properly but which paves the way for his son, Absalom, to rise up against him (ch.13-15)
•  David having to leave Jerusalem while Absalom takes over as king (ch.16,17)
•  having to send his troops against Absalom and Absalom being killed (ch.18)
•  David thus returning to Jerusalem to continue being king. (ch.19)

Note: chapters 15 & 16 are specific fulfilments of the Lord's word of sentence over David for his sin with Bathsheba, with chapters 13 & 14 providing the means for that fulfilment. Chapters 17 to 19 show that that sentence was not terminal.

Part 3:

•  Having been restored to kingship, David has to deal with a rebellion (ch.20), then put right a past wrong (ch.21).
•  Chapter 22 is simply one of David's psalms of praise,
•  Chapter 23 reveals the valiant men behind the throne,
•  Chapter 24 brings a strange incident to the fore, a judgment that was probably more to do with Israel's failure to be completely obedient to the Lord, but which cuts David to the heart as it reveals his pride.
•  The book rather leaves David's story hanging, and his old age, his part played in bringing Solomon to be the next king, and his eventual death are left to the next book.


The Contradictory Nature of David: 1 & 2 Samuel seen together show us a man of humble origins, very godly and frequently seeking the Lord for guidance, utterly reliant on the Lord, determining to honour the Lord and never act against His anointed, Saul.


He is revealed, despite being a warrior, as sensitive and mindful of those close to him who he seeks to honour and he anguishes every time someone close to him is killed, even when they had been against him. He is described as a man after God's own heart (1 Sam 13:14, Acts 13:22) and yet he is shown as far from perfect.


He almost goes overboard in his grief over the deaths of his enemies and has to be rebuked for it by one of his generals, he was unknowing about his own family which leads to family strife and him almost losing the throne, he commits adultery with Bathsheba, plans the murder of her husband, and later on, in a peak of pride, counts his fighting men, incurring the judgment of God.


Despite his failures, the divine record reveals five significant things about David:

1. He  had not failed to keep any of the Lord's commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite. ” (1 Kings 15:5).

2. What is even more remarkable is the record in following books where David is shown as the benchmark for subsequent kings (e.g. 1 Kings 3:12-14) where we regularly find such wording as “as David your father did” or “like David did.” The throne in the south, in Judah is often referred to as his throne (see Jer 13:13, 17:25, 22:2)

3. Even more, he becomes the Old Testament marker for the family of the Messiah as witnessed in many prophecies (e.g. Isa 11:1, 9:6,7, 16:5, 55:3) and thus Jesus became known as the Son of David  (see Jn 7:40-43, Mt 1:1, 1:20, 9:27, 12:22,23, 15:22).

4. Although he becomes Israel's most famous warrior king whose successes bring Israel into a new place of security from their enemies, there is a gentle and godly side of David that, given the opportunity, seeks to avoid death and conflict. At the end his pastoral heart is revealed as he refers to his people as his sheep [24:17]. When he is confronted with the deaths of Saul, Jonathan, Abner, Amnon and Absalom, his depth of anguish and loss is remarkable, together with an awareness of what could have been but which has now been lost, and how the sovereignty of God is trampled on when some of his hard-hearted warriors take lives (notably Joab.)

5. something we could easily miss but which is exemplary about David, is the speed with which he owns up to his sins when confronted. He never makes excuses!


Before we finish with David, we must remember his instructions to Solomon in 1 Kings, as to how he must establish his kingdom and particularly deal with those who had been troublesome to David and might become troublesome to the new kingdom. Justice may have been delayed under David for the sake of expediency, but it will be necessary before Solomon can be established. Thus, when we conclude 2 Samuel, we need to then quickly move on to see the continuing history of David in the beginning of the next book.





To go directly to any chapter, please click on the chapter number link below:

Part 1: David Established


Ch.1 - News of Saul's Death & David's lament

Ch.2 - David as King of Judah & conflict with Saul's house

Ch.3 - Upsets & Murder

Ch.4 - Ish-Bosheth Murdered

Ch.5 - David Becomes King Over Israel

Ch.6 - The Ark Brought to Jerusalem 

Ch.7 - The Lord to Build a House  

Ch.8 - David's Triumphs & Organisation

Ch.9 - David & Mephiboshet

Ch.10 - Victory over the Ammonites & Arameans


Part 2: David's Fall & Disciplining


Ch.11 - David & Bathsheba

Ch.12 - David's Sentence

Ch.13 - Amnon& Tamar

Ch.14 - Absalom returns to Jerusalem

Ch.15 - Absalom's Coup ousts David from  Jerusalem

Ch.16 - David leaves, Absalom established in Jerusalem

Ch.17 - Contradictory Advice enables David to Escape

Ch.18 - Absalom Killed

Ch.19 - David returns to Jerusalem


Part 3: David Re-established


Ch.20 - A Rebellion dealt with

Ch.21 - The Gibeonites Avenged

Ch.22 - David's Song of Praise

Ch.23 - Mostly about David's Mighty Men

Ch.24 - David's Census & Judgment




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