2 Samuel
Willmington's Bible at a Glance

2 Samuel at a Glance

This book records the 40 year reign of King David, much of it (33 years) from Israel’s new capital, Jerusalem, into which city he would bring the Ark of the Covenant. The account also describes God’s special promise to the King (the Davidic Covenant), the birth of Solomon, the terrible moral failures of David and the tragic divine punishment that followed.

Bottom Line Introduction


What will happen now? In essence, Second Samuel records for us both the triumphs and the tragedies which will follow. Most of Israel’s beautiful Psalms were written during this time.

Facts Regarding the Author of this Book

1. Who? Gad and Nathan. Both these men who were prophets, ministered to David. For Gad’s ministry, see 1 Sam. 22:5; 2 Sam. 24:11-19 and that of Nathan’s ministry, 2 Sam. 7:2, 3; 12:1-14. Each man would later write a book about the life of David (1 Chron. 29:29).

2. What? The books of 1 Samuel 25 – 2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles.

3. When and where? Possibly around 970, from Jerusalem.

4. Why? The trials, transgressions, and triumphs of David.

5. To whom? Israel.

Key Events

1. David's anointing as king by the tribe of Judah in Hebron

2. David's anointing as king by all 12 tribes, followed by the capture of Jerusalem

3. David brings the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem

4. The giving of the Davidic Covenant

5. David's terrible sins of adultery and murder

6. David's divine rebuke through the prophet Nathan, the birth of Solomon

7. The rebellion against David led by his son Absalom

8. David's great deliverance song of praise to God

9. David's sin of numbering the people

Key Individuals

1. David: Israel's second king who was crowned following Saul's death

2. Abner: Saul’s military commander who attempted to keep in power by supporting the dead king’s son Ish-bosheth

3. Joab: David's cruel military commander who would eventually murder Abner

4. Michal: David's first wife who was chastened by her husband for ridiculing his devotion to God

5. Nathan: godly and fearless prophet who soundly rebuked David for his sins of adultery and murder

6. Mephibosheth: crippled son of Jonathan who was befriended and cared for by King David

7. Bathsheba: wife of one of David's soldiers with whom the king committed adultery

8. Uriah: husband of Bathsheba whom David arranged to have killed upon discovering Bathsheba was pregnant with the king's child

9. Solomon: second son of David and Bathsheba who would later become Israel's most powerful and wisest king

10. Absalom: rebellious son of David who would later instigate a revolt against his father

11. Amnon: wicked son of David who raped his half-sister and was killed for this by her full brother, Absalom

12. Tamar: David's daughter who was raped by Amnon

13. Zadok: this co-high priest proved faithful to David during Absalom's revolt and helped his king regain the throne following the rebellion

14. Ahithophel: one of David's counselors who betrayed the king by siding with Absalom during the rebellion

15. Shimei: a relative of King Saul who cursed David and threw rocks at him during Absalom's rebellion

16. Ornan: farmer who sold David a threshing floor in Jerusalem to mark the spot where the death angel stopped his deadly plague

Key Places

1. Hebron: David's capital city during the first seven and a half years of his reign

2. Jerusalem: David's capital city during the final 33 years of his reign

3. Kiriath jearim (also, Baal-judah): city where the Ark rested until David removed it to Jerusalem

4. Lo-debar: home of Mephibosheth, Jonathan's crippled son

5. The Kidron Brook: crossed by the broken-hearted David, as he fled from Jerusalem at the beginning of Absalom's revolt

Unique Features

1. This book describes the actions of a fearless prophet (Nathan, chapter 12), and a faithful priest (Zadok, chapter 15). The ark of God is carried into Jerusalem, once during a celebration (chapter 6) and the other during a revolution (chapter 15).

2. Two of the Old Testament’s most significant events transpire in the early part of this book:

The city of Jerusalem becomes David’s capital (chapter 5).

The ark of the covenant is found and brought into the city (chapter 6). These events would prepare the way for the building of the first temple in the days of King Solomon.

3. Several vital spiritual lessons may be learned from this book:

The law of harmonizing God’s way with God’s will: Both are equally important and must be understood by a believer doing a work for God. This is clearly seen in the way the ark came to Jerusalem.

a. God’s will was for David to bring the ark into the Holy City. This David did.

b. God’s way was for the priests to carry it. At first David did not obey this, which resulted in sorrow and death (6:1-7).

The law of sowing and reaping. After David’s prayer of repentance (see Ps. 51), God graciously forgave him for his twin sins of adultery and murder (chapter 11), but the king still harvested the bitter fruits of his iniquity. These fruits were tragic indeed. They involved the death of an infant son, the rape of a daughter by her own brother, the murder of that brother by another brother, and the rebellion against David by his favorite son, who was himself later executed by David’s military commander.

4. This book records the final two of three anointings of David.

The anointing in Bethlehem by Samuel (1 Sam. 16).

The anointing in Hebron by two tribes (2:4)

The anointing in Hebron by all twelve tribes (5:1)

5. We read of a victor sorrowing, not gloating over the death of his enemy (1:17-21). This attitude is in perfect harmony with that of God’s who once said, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezek. 33:11).

6. It gives us the second of three all-important biblical covenants.

The Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3). This has to do with a land (Canaan) and a people (Israel).

The Davidic Covenant (7:4-16). This has to do with a king to rule in that land over that people.

The new Covenant (Jer. 31:31). This has to do with changed hearts so that the people in the land will allow that king to rule over them.

7. The book of Second Samuel also offers scripture’s most beautiful example of kindness of the heavenly Father for poor, lost, and crippled sinners. This is seen through the relationship between David and Mephibosheth, crippled son of his beloved friend. The lesson here is clear. God seeks to save and care for poor lost sinners because of his great love for Christ, who died to redeem them (9:6-13).

8. It warns us to always be on guard, for often the brightest lights cast the darkest shadows! (11)

9. We learn the sobering lesson on just how a father’s life style can serve either as a good or bad role model. David’s sins of adultery and murder were copied and compounded by rape, murder, and rebellion in the lives of his children! The law of sowing and reaping is nowhere more clearly illustrated than in the tragic (13-15) results of David’s sin with Bathsheba.

10. We read that even the godliest counselor can, on occasion, unintentionally, give the wrong advice! (7:1-13)

Comparison with Other Bible Books

1 Chronicles:

Both 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles cover the same basic material, the last days of Saul and the 40-year reign of David (Mt. 1 and Lk. 3).

Titles for and Types of Jesus

1. The Seed of David (7:13). See also Rom. 1:3.

2. Israel’s Rightful King (5:1-3)

3. The God of Redemption (7:23)

4. The Lord of Hosts (7:26)

5. The Fortress and Deliverer (22:2)

6. The Shield and Refuge (22:3)

7. The Merciful One (22:26)

8. The Illuminating Lamp (22:29)

9. The Tower of Salvation (22:51)

10. The Rock of Israel (23:3)

Dr. H. L. Willmington
Founder & Dean, Willmington School of the Bible
Founder & Dean, Liberty Home Bible Institute
Professor, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary

Copyright © 2007 by Harold L. Willmington. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved.

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