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2 Samuel Essentials

2 Samuel Essentials


At the height of his reign, David decided to honor God by building Him a great house: a temple to replace the more portable tabernacle. Surprisingly though, God rejected and reversed David’s offer. Instead of David’s building God a house, God promised to build David a house—a dynasty that would last forever with a king who would reign eternally (2 Samuel 7:1–17). Centuries later, when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would give birth to Jesus, he quoted that very promise and told her that the Lord would fulfill it through her child (Luke 1:32–33).


A New Covenant (The Davidic Covenant)

David felt it strange that, while he lived in a palace, God had only a tent (7:1-2). So he decided to build a temple. But God said that he didn’t want David to build a house for him; rather he would build a house for David (7:4-11), promising him an eternal kingdom (7:12-16). These words of promise are known as the Davidic covenant. David responded to God’s words with a prayer of humble gratitude and praise (7:18-29).


Even the man after God’s own heart fails

Failure in his personal life, through adultery and conspiracy to murder (11:1-27). Through confessing quickly, however (in contrast to Saul who excused sin or blamed others), David was forgiven (12:1-25).


Failure in his family life, through weak fathering. David failed to discipline Amnon when he raped Tamar (13:1-21), and Absalom when he avenged her (13:23-39). When David eventually allowed Absalom to return from self-imposed exile (14:1-33), Absalom interpreted this as weakness and gathered people (15:1-6), finally leading a coup (15:7-12). David fled, leaving his country in civil war (15:13-17:29). It fell to Joab to deal with Absalom (18:1-18) and persuade David to return (18:19-20:26). Failure in leadership, through counting his soldiers. Whether an act of pride, or lack of trust in God, he was judged for it (24:1-25). Not even the king was exempt from God’s discipline (7:14).


The Christ of 2 Samuel

As seen in the introduction to 1 Samuel, David is one of the most important types of Christ in the Old Testament. In spite of his sins, he remains a man after God’s own heart because of his responsive and faithful attitude toward God. He sometimes fails in his personal life, but he never flags in his relationship to the Lord. Unlike most of the kings who succeed him, he never allows idolatry to become a problem during his reign. He is a true servant of Yahweh, obedient to His law, and an ideal king. His rule is usually characterized by justice, wisdom, integrity, courage, and compassion. Having conquered Jerusalem, he sits upon the throne of Melchizedek, (“Righteous King”; see Gen. 14:18). David is the standard by which all subsequent kings are measured.

Of course, David’s life as recorded in chapters 1–10 is a far better portrayal of the future Messiah than is his life as it is seen in 11–24. Sin mars potential. The closest way in which he foreshadows the coming King can be seen in the important covenant God makes with him (7:4–17). David wants to build a house for God; but instead, God makes a house for David. The same three promises of an eternal kingdom, throne, and seed are later given to Christ (Luke 1:32, 33). There are nine different dynasties in the northern kingdom of Israel, but there is only one dynasty in Judah. The promise of a permanent dynasty is fulfilled in Christ, the “Son of David” (Matt. 21:9; 22:42), who will sit upon the throne of David (Is. 9:7; Luke 1:32).


Key Verses: 2 Samuel 7:12, 13; 22:21—“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (7:12, 13).

“The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me” (22:21).


Key People in 2 Samuel

David —greatest king of Israel; also a shepherd, musician, and poet; direct ancestor to Jesus Christ (1:1–24:25)

Joab —military commander of David’s army (2:13–3:39; 8:16; 10:7–12:27; 14:1–33; 18:2–24:9)

Bathsheba —committed adultery with David; became queen of Israel and mother of Solomon; direct ancestor of Jesus (11:1–26; 12:24)

Nathan —prophet and advisor to David; urged him to repent of his sin (7:2–17; 12:1–25)

Absalom —son of David; attempted to overthrow the throne of Israel (3:3; 13:1–19:10)


Key Doctrines in 2 Samuel

Davidic covenant —God’s promise to David to extend his throne and kingdom forever (7:12–16; 22:51; Genesis 49:8–12; Numbers 24:7–9,17–19; 2 Kings 8:19; 2 Chronicles 13:5; 21:7; Psalm 89:20–37; Isaiah 16:5; Acts 15:16–18; Revelation 22:16)

Sin —Israel’s sin created personal and national consequences (6:6–7; 12:13–14; Genesis 3; Numbers 4:15; 15:30–31; 1 Kings 11:38; 13:34; 2 Kings 21:12; Psalm 106:43; Isaiah 22:14; Jeremiah 19:3; Ezekiel 7:3; 18:30; John 8:34; Romans 2:5; Hebrews 10:4,26–31)

Messiah —foretold to David by Nathan to be the anointed king who will triumph over all nations opposed to God (7:12–16; 22:51; Matthew 1:16–17; 12:22; Mark 1:1; John 7:42; Acts 2:30–33)

God’s Character in 2 Samuel

God is kind —2:6

God is a promise keeper —7:12–13

God is provident —17:14–15

God is true —2:6

God is unequaled —7:22

God is unified —7:22

God is wise —7:20

God is wrathful —6:7; 21:1; 24:1,15,17


Key Words in 2 Samuel

Ark: Hebrew ‘aron ––6:2,4,10,12,17; 7:2; 11:11; 15:24—can be translated “chest” (2 Kings 12:9) or “sarcophagus” (Genesis 50:26), but most often appears in the phrase ‘aron haberith , which means “ark of the covenant.” The ark was a wooden chest overlaid with gold (Exodus 25:10–22), housing the Ten Commandments (Exodus 40:20), Aaron’s staff, and a pot of manna (Hebrews 9:4). It sat in the Most Holy Place as a reminder of Israel’s covenant with God and His presence among them. When the Israelites became careless with the ark (1 Samuel 4:1–11), God allowed it to be captured in order to demonstrate that His covenant relationship with them transcended symbols and superstitions. What He required was continual obedience to His covenant and a contrite heart surrendered to Him (Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 57:15).

Jerusalem: Hebrew yerushalaim ––5:5; 8:7; 11:1, 15:8,29; 16:15; 17:20; 19:19; 24:16—related to the word for “peace.” During the reign of King David, Jerusalem was made the political and religious capital of Israel and became central to the unfolding of God’s redemptive plan. Jerusalem is described variously in the Old Testament as the city of God (Psalm 87:1–3), the place where God has put His name (2 Kings 21:4), a place of salvation (Isaiah 46:13), the throne of God (Jeremiah 3:17), and a holy city (Isaiah 52:1). The prophets foresaw an approaching time when Jerusalem would be judged because of its iniquity (Micah 4:10–12), but in pronouncing judgment they could also see its glorious restoration (Isaiah 40:2; 44:25–28; Daniel 9:2; Zephaniah 3:16–20). This vision of a restored Jerusalem included the hope of a New Jerusalem in which God would gather all His people (Isaiah 65:17–19; Revelation 21:1–2).

Mighty Men: Hebrew gibbor ––1:25; 10:7; 16:6; 17:8; 20:7; 23:8,22—emphasizes excellence or unusual quality. In the Old Testament, it is used for the excellence of a lion (Proverbs 30:30), of good or bad men (Genesis 10:9; 1 Chronicles 19:8), of giants (Genesis 6:4), of angels (Psalm 103:20), or even God (Deuteronomy 10:17; Nehemiah 9:32). The Scriptures state that the mighty man is not victorious because of his strength (Psalm 33:16) but because of his understanding and knowledge of the Lord (Jeremiah 9:23–24). The phrase mighty God is used three times in the Old Testament, including Isaiah’s messianic prophecy of the birth of Jesus (Isaiah 9:6; 10:21; Jeremiah 32:18).


Teaching Outline

  1. David’s Triumphs (1:1–10:19)
  2. Saul’s Death (1:1–27)
  3. David Anointed King of Judah (2:1–7)
  4. Civil War Exists with Israel, Ruled by a Son of Saul (2:8–4:12)
  5. David Becomes King of All Israel (5:1–5)
  6. David Takes Jerusalem (5:6–16)
  7. David Defeats the Philistines (5:17–25)
  8. David Brings the Ark to Jerusalem (6:1–23)
  9. God Promises to Establish David’s Kingdom (7:1–29)
  10. David Defeats Enemies (8:1–18)
  11. David Keeps His Promise to Jonathan (9:1–13)
  12. David Defeats the Ammonites (10:1–19)
  13. David’s Troubles (11:1–20:26)
  14. Personal and Moral (11:1–12:31)
  15. Family (13:1–18:33)
  16. Nation (19:1–20:26)

III. David’s Trials (21:1–24:25)

  1. Famine (21:1–14)
  2. Warfare (21:15–22)
  3. Praise (22:1–51)
  4. Confidence (23:1–7)
  5. Control (23:8–39)
  6. Census (24:1–25)[1]


[1] Lawrence O. Richards, The Bible Reader’s Companion, electronic ed. (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991), 202.

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