Book of 2 Samuel
The second book of Samuel continues the journey of the people of Israel as they establish themselves as a true nation with a ruling monarchy. It is the story of how David’s Kingdom was established and continued for forty years. First and Second Samuel were really written as one book but divided into two near the second century before Christ when seventy scribes translated the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament.
The division of the books into 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel follows the story of David well, since 2 Samuel begins with David learning of Saul’s death and then the story follows how David’s throne continues to grow and expand as God blesses His people. By chapter five, all of the tribes are unified with David as king. David’s positive exploits are praised throughout the first ten chapters, but beginning in chapter 11 are some of the most difficult stories in the Old Testament. This series of stories begins in chapter 11 when David has an affair with Bathsheba. David begins to experience many difficult situations after that, including the death of his child, the rape of his daughter by his son, his son Amnon’s murder, and the struggle between David and Absalom where David has to flee the kingdom, and the ultimate death of Absalom and return of David. Towards the end of 2 Samuel, once again God is shown faithful to David by offering forgiveness and giving him success over his enemies. This forgiveness and favor of God shows the reader how God works even in the most difficult circumstances.
Foundational stories in 2 Samuel (and where to find them):
- David laments the death of Saul and Jonathan: Chapter 1
- David made king of Judah, Ish-Boseth made king of Israel: Chapter 2
- David made king over the united kingdom (Judah and Israel): Chapter 5
- The ark brought to Jerusalem: Chapter 6
- God’s covenant with David: Chapter 7
- David and Bathsheba: Chapter 11
- David’s child dies: Chapter 12
- Solomon is born: Chapter 12
- Amnon and Tamar: Chapter 13
- Absalom’s story: Chapters 13-15
- David flees Jerusalem: Chapters 15-17
- Absalom’s death: Chapter 18
- David’s song of deliverance: Chapter 22
Where 2 Samuel fits in the whole story of the Bible: 2 Samuel is foundational to the establishment of Israel as a “Kingdom” and David’s throne as the one that will rule forever and from which the Messiah will com. In 2 Samuel 7:16, God makes a promise to David. This promise states, “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” God is promising that the Messiah will come through David’s line—that David’s family line will reign forever. For us this means that the Messiah—the promised one—Jesus—will come from David. God is promising that there will one day be a perfect King who will reign perfectly. Although David had his sins, the Messiah will wash away the sins of the whole world and will be the only King forever.
What does this mean for us?
The story told in 2 Samuel is one of an imperfect man following God. David is promised the kingdom, yet he fails. Because he acknowledges his failures and repents of them, God is faithful to him. We can live life knowing that God loves us despite our failures. When we ask forgiveness and repent, God is patient and faithful to us. He has sent Jesus, David’s descendent, to die on a cross for our sins and to bring us back to Him. He reigns forever as the true King who rules over His people.