OVERVIEW OF 2 SAMUEL
Author: Basically unknown. Samuel bears the title being the pivotal last prophet-priest-judge over Israel. Since he died before the end of 1 Samuel, he may have contributed to the first book, but unlikely he contributed to 2 Samuel. It was most likely compiled by several authors collaboratively over time.
Date: Like 1 Samuel, portions of this book could have been written as early as Samuel’s time until even as late as Israel’s captivity by the Assyrians and exile starting around 740 B.C, and even as late as the Babylonian captivity and exile after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. until their return in 538 B.C.
Audience/Purpose: To show the people of Israel how God established David as their one king in spite of inside and outside opposition, and would form through him an everlasting throne for His people.
1-10 - David’s reign established through righteousness and God’s promise
1:1-27 - David discovers Saul was killed by the Amalekite and avenges and laments his death
2:1-27 - David anointed king of Judah, Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth anointed king of Israel, and war between them
3:1-21 - Abner abandoned Ish-Bosheth to join David, agreed to bring Saul’s daughter, Michal, for his wife
3:22-39 - Joab murdered Abner from revenge on brother, David mourned Abner and prayed curse on Joab
4:1-12 - Ish-Bosheth killed by two of his own men for David, but David avenged his death
5:1-25 - David anointed king over united kingdom, took over Jerusalem and defeated Philistines
6:1-23 - David brought ark to Jerusalem, Uzzah touched it and died, Michal despised David, had no children
7:1-29 - God promised David everlasting throne, David praised God humbly for His promised blessing
8:1-18 - God further established David by helping him defeat and subdue surrounding enemy nations
9:1-13 - David treated kindly Jonathan’s crippled son Mephibosheth as his own
10:1-19 - David defeated Ammonites and Arameans for humiliating his men showing sympathy for their king
11-20 - David’s reign threatened by his sin and its consequences
11:1-27 - David lusted after and slept with Bathsheba who became pregnant, had Uriah her husband killed
12:1-23 - Nathan confronted David, pronounced judgment on his household, David repented, but child died
12:24-31 - David had Solomon with Bathsheba and defeated the Ammonites
13:1-39 - David’s son Amnon raped his sister Tamar, his brother Absalom killed him and fled, David informed
14:1-31 - Joab sent woman to incite David to bring back Absalom, which he did and David welcomed him
15:1-37 - Absalom plotted, gained support, including Ahithophel, David fled, sent Hushai to spy on Absalom
16:1-14 - Ziba said Mephibosheth betrayed David, Shimei defected to Absalom, David restrained judgment
16:15-18:18 - Absalom followed Hushai over Ahithophel, Israel lost, Absalom killed, Ahithophel’s suicide
18:19-19:8a - David mourned Absalom’s death, Joab rebuked him for discouraging men, David responded
19:8b-40 - David offered kindness to Amasa, Shimei, Mephibosheth, and Barzillai
19:41-20:26 - Israel and Judah disagree on claim to David, Joab killed Amasa, David’s enemy, Sheba, killed
21-24 - David’s reign re-established and restored
21:1-14 - Famine due to Saul’s killing Gibeonites, who avenged them killing Saul’s, David spared Mephibosheth, God answered prayer for land
21:15-23:7 - God gave David and his men victory over Philistines, David praised and proclaimed God’s favor
23:8-39 - David’s mighty men
24:1-25 - David took census, God struck Israel with plague, David’s repentance and worship brought mercy
Gospel Threads in 2 Samuel
David showed great kindness to Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son and Saul’s grandson, by bringing him into his household and giving him a seat around his table because of Jonathan’s loyal friendship. God has shown us, His rebellious enemies, great kindness because of the obedient faith of His Son, Jesus Christ, who mediated for us between us and God. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men - the testimony given in its proper time.” (1 Tim. 2:5)
David’s adultery with Bathsheba, his complicity in her husband’s death, and his pride in taking the census brought guilt upon him, but God forgave and restored him because of his contrite heart. “David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men…” (2 Sam. 24:10) God’s grace comes to the humble, to those who express godly sorrow for sin (2 Cor. 7:8-11). We experience forgiveness and renewal through genuine repentance because of Jesus’ atoning death on the cross.
God promised and preserved for David an everlasting kingdom (2 Samuel 7:12-16), which He eventually fulfilled in Jesus Christ. God faithfully established David’s reign over Israel against threats from without and within. He also preserved David’s throne until the time of Jesus Christ, who fulfilled God’s prophetic promise. Jesus’ authority was unrecognized and opposed by many and in the end He was rejected and killed, but God validated His eternal reign by raising Him from the dead. (Acts 2:29-32)
David often showed grace and restraint and even stood against vengeance out of his love for God and His righteousness. This is what seemed to make him a man after God’s own heart and was what God honored by His own faithfulness to David. Jesus never lifted a finger to hurt anyone, but chose rather to endure suffering and harm from others in order to do God’s will.
Gospel Applications from 2 Samuel
Acknowledge your unworthiness before the Lord, but also humbly acknowledge and ask for His grace and mercy to come to you through Christ.
Confess and express godly sorrow for specific personal sins against God and others.
Recognize and submit to Jesus as your resurrected King, placing your hope in the promise of eternal life and joy with Him in heaven.
Patiently, humbly, and lovingly endure hardships and opposition for Christ’s sake.
Discuss which of the gospel truths and applications you find most helpful. Also, what other New Testament/Gospel parallels and applications do you see from 2 Samuel?