Exploring the Bible // 2 Samuel
First Samuel ended with the death of King Saul and 2 Samuel picks up directly after these events. The book covers the entirety of David’s reign over Israel and concludes with his final days of life. We will see that, although David was a man after God’s own heart, he made mistakes along the way. But God was gracious and still used David in tremendous ways.
DAVID BECOMES KING OVER JUDAH (CH. 1-3)
In 1 Samuel, David was often attacked and sought after by Saul. But all through that, even when David had the opportunity to, he never retaliated against Saul. He believed God would take care of him without him having to harm Saul. Chapter 1 in this book shows us that this faithfulness was honored. It’s a chapter that proves God came to David’s defense. All those years on the run and being hunted, now, have been vindicated. Three times in this chapter it is said, “the mighty have fallen.” This is a reference to Saul and it’s a proclamation that God defends His people.
In chapter 2, David is finally appointed king, but not over the entire kingdom. Saul’s commander, Abner, made Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth, king over Israel while David was made king over Judah. The nation was split and this led to a civil war.
DAVID BECOMES KINGS OF ISRAEL (CH. 3-5)
Abner was later killed by one of David’s men and Ish-bosheth murdered by men who were supportive of David, but not sent by David. David actually had the two men killed who had murdered Ish-bosheth for their evil. After these deaths, David was appointed king over Judah as well, uniting the nation.
DAVID’S SUCCESSFUL REIGN (CH. 5-9)
David’s reign started out successfully. He defeated the Philistines when they came against Israel. He brought the ark back to Jerusalem. God established a covenant with David that his son would be established as king, one day, and that this son would build a temple to the Lord. David conquered more enemies—twice in chapter 8 it says, “The Lord made David victorious wherever he went.”
This section concludes in chapter 9 with David taking in Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth. Remember how close David and Jonathan were? After Jonathan was killed in battle his son was taken away for protection. But now that David was king, he wanted to honor Jonathan. He was told Jonathan had a son and so David had him brought to the palace. Mephibosheth was treated as one of David’s sons.
DAVID’S DARK YEARS (CH. 10-20)
This is where David’s reign, and life, take a dark turn. In chapter 11, Israel is at war, however David is not with them. This was David’s first mistake—he should have been leading his men in battle. Instead, he stayed back at the palace and it was here, being where he shouldn’t, that temptation came knocking.
David and Bathsheba
There was a married woman named Bathsheba bathing one night. David saw her from the roof of his palace and temptation set in. There is even a progression of the temptation from thought, to word, to deed. David saw her and thought she was beautiful. Then he inquired about her. And then he had her brought to him.
This is a warning sign for us that when thought sets in, run in the opposite direction. Don’t allow it to go to word, and certainly not deed.
David slept with Bathsheba and they conceived a child. In an attempt to cover his sin, David dug deeper into sin. One act snowballed into greater trauma when David had Bathsheba’s husband sent to the frontline in battle, where he was killed. David had essentially committed murder to cover his sin.
David eventually made Bathsheba his wife and they had a son. However, God was not pleased with David and Bathsheba’s sin so he sent the prophet Nathan to confront David. David was remorseful and repented from his sin, however, this is what God said to David through Nathan: “And the Lord has taken away your sin; you will not die. However, because you treated the Lord with such contempt in this matter, the son born to you will die.”
Their son died from illness seven days later. But David and Bathsheba conceived another child and to them Solomon was born.
Trouble in the Family
Family drama only got worse in David’s family. His son Amnon raped his daughter (Amnon’s half sister) Tamar. Tamar’s full brother, Absalom, killed Amnon for his treacherous act. He then fled for a bit, returned to Jerusalem, and after David had grieved the death of Amnon, he brought Absalom back into the fold. However, Absalom had harvested bitterness towards David for his lack of response in the matter. After earning David’s trust, he conspired to steal the kingdom from David. By sitting at the city gate for a few years, Absalom earned favor with the people and overthrew David.
David and his family were able to escape from the city. This was a dark time for David and there are psalms written in this period of his life (Psalm 3 & 63). Words that express hurt and sadness. Who wouldn’t feel the same—being overthrown and cast out by a child?
David was restored to the throne after Absalom was killed by men faithful to David (but not ordered by David) but the revolts didn’t end there. In chapter 20 another attempt was made for David’s throne by a man named Sheba, however, it was unsuccessful.
THE END OF DAVID’S REIGN (CH. 21-24)
The end of David’s life includes a few noteworthy occurrences. In chapter 21 Israel again goes to battle against the Philistines and wins. There is a beautiful song of Thanksgiving in chapter 22, by David.
In chapter 24 David again sins when he has a census taken of the military. The reason it was sinful in the eyes of God is because it came from a place of pride. David was either taking an account of his military to glory in its size or to assess taking on more land than God had granted. Either way, God was not in it and David’s motives impure. As a result, illness fell on the people and 70,000 men lost their lives. David repented and interceded on behalf of the people. In the final words of 2 Samuel, David built an altar to the Lord.
WHAT WE CAN LEARN
God wants a heart surrendered to Him. And although He is gracious and good, there are still consequences to our actions. No one is above temptation; not even David, who was a man after God’s own heart. But when we fail, we should respond as David did—repentant. If you have sinned, turn towards God and repent. Turn away from the sin. There may still be consequences but know that when God forgives, you are free. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock where I seek refuge.” 2 Samuel 22:2-3 (CSB)