Bible Study: 2 Samuel – Summary of the Book

Summary of the Book of 2 Samuel

Originally the books of 1 and 2 Samuel were one book. The men who translated the Septuagint from Hebrew to Greek separated the book into two parts. They are two separate books to this day.

The book of 2 Samuel is one of the books of history in the Bible. Like the other books of history, it does not seem to have a targeted audience. It covers a time period of approximately 40 years. This was from the death of Saul until the end of the life of King David.

Author

Tradition held that Samuel wrote the book. However, that is not likely. Samuel died in 1 Samuel 25:1. If Samuel wrote at least part of the books of Samuel, then whoever finished what is now 1 Samuel probably wrote 2 Samuel.

Possible authors are Gad or Nathan (1 Chronicles 29:29). The book could have been finished before the death of David. Even though David did not die until the next book, whoever wrote the first book would have probably included some information about David’s death if his death had happened when the book was written.

Date Written

This book covers the death of Saul, which was approximately 1007 B.C., and it includes almost all of David’s reign. David died in approximately 960 B.C.

Purpose of 2 Samuel

The book of 2 Samuel is a history of the reign of King David. It covers from the death of Saul until Solomon prepares to take the throne. There is nothing else covered in the book besides the kingdom under David. It puts the Davidic covenant into historical perspective.

Key Verses

2 Samuel 7:12-16 “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.”

2 Samuel 19:4 “But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

2 Samuel 22:2-4 “And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.”

Key Word

  • David – Used more than 280 times.

Interestingly, the name David is the third most often used name in the whole Bible. Moses and Abraham are first and second respectively.

Main Characters

David, Abner, Absolom and Joab.

Outline of 2 Samuel

David advances the kingdom by taking united control over all of Israel and claiming some of the Promised Land that the Israelites never gained full dominion over. The book can be divided into large chunks based on where the reign extended.

  1. David Reigns Over Judah (2 Samuel 1-4)
  2. David Reigns Over All Israel (2 Samuel 5-20)
  3. David Reigns Over Himself (2 Samuel 21-24)

Summary of 2 Samuel

The end of 1 Samuel marked the end of King Saul. However, 2 Samuel opens with a brief scene giving more details to the death of Saul (chapter 1). David was crowned king in Judah, but one of Saul’s sons was proclaimed king in Israel. A civil war in the divided nation ended with David being crowned king over the whole country (chapters 2-5).

David had been ruling in Hebron, but then moved to Jerusalem. He also moved the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. (Chapters 5, 6)

The desire to build a permanent dwelling place for God arose in David. David vowed to build a temple for God, but God would not allow him to do so. However, God did give him the promise, which is now known as the Davidic Covenant, that his son would build the temple. In 2 Samuel 7:4-16, the covenant states four promises to the house/family of David: 1. that David would have a son to rule in his stead; 2. that David’s son would construct the temple that David desired to build; 3. that the kingdom would be established on David’s family forever; and 4. that God would never remove His mercy from the house of David.

Bolstered by the promises of God, David took Israel into successful campaigns to win some of the Promised Land that had never been fully claimed. (Chapters 8-10)

David fell into a series of problems. Some were brought on by his own actions, some were caused by those around him. David began a dark time of not living for the God who had brought him this far in his life.

David’s adultery with Bathsheba is recorded in chapter 11. David slept with, and impregnated, the wife of one of his own “mighty men,” Uriah (2 Samuel 23:22, 39). David later had Uriah killed because he chose to be faithful to the king and his country-men in battle rather than fall into the trap David set to cover his own sin. The son born to David and Bathsheba died.

The children of David began causing problems. While David is known today as a great man of God, he apparently had trouble teaching moral character to his own children. The next several chapters (12-18) are dedicated to David’s relationship to his children and their relationships to one another. It is all quite negative.

The final chapters of the book, chapters 19-24, cover various battles, victories and struggles that David had as king over Israel. Some of the information in these chapters seems to be more informational than chronological.

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