Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


Second Samuel

Second Samuel was taught by Dr. James Modlish





Second Samuel is distinctively the book of David's reign. It opens with David's accession over Judah, immediately after Saul's death, and closes just before David's death, when he is "old and stricken in years." The book therefore covers a period of some forty years; for that was the duration of David's reign. Chapter (5:4-5), says: "David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah." It will be helpful, then, if we always remember Second Samuel by this - that it is the book of David's forty years' reign.


II. Composite Authorship

The authorship of Second Samuel is far from certain, though the likeliest indications still favour the older view that while Samuel himself is responsible for the first twenty-four chapters of the first of these two books which bear his name, the remaining chapters, to the end of Second Samuel, are the work of the two prophets, Nathan and Gad. See (1 Chron. 29-30).

As already mentioned, I and II Samuel were originally one book, the present division being handed down from the Septuagint. Despite those who complain that the separation of the one book into two is "without reason or necessity," there is this definite I advantage, that it marks off the epochal reign of David, and presents it as a subject of outstanding prominence, deserving our special study. As David was the real founder of the monarchy, the reorganizer of Israel's religious worship, the preeminent hero, ruler, and poet of his people, and as his dynasty continued on the throne of Judah right up to the Captivity, and as the promised Messiah was to come of the Davidic line, it is not surprising that so much prominence should be given to him.


III. The Tragic Divide

This second book of Samuel, as Matthew Henry is quick to observe, falls into two main parts. Alas, there is no mistaking it. David's great sin, recorded in chapter (11), marks the sad divide, right in the middle of the book and right in the middle of David's forty years' reign, for it falls about the end of the first twenty years. Up to this point all goes triumphantly for David; but after this there are ugly knots and tangles, grievous blows and tragic trials. In the first part, we sing David's triumphs. In the second part, we mourn David's troubles.

A. Defeat of the Ammonites and Syrians by the men of Israel under the command of Joab (10:1-11:1).

B. David and Uriah, the latter's death in battle, and David's marriage with Bathsheba (11:2-27).

C. Nathan's parable and David's conviction of sin (12:1-15a); the king's grief and intercession for his sick son ? (vs. 15b-25); siege and capture of Rabbah, the Ammonite capital (vss. 26-31).

D. Amnon and Tamar (13:1-22); Absalom's revenge and murder of Amnon (vss. 26-36); flight of Absalom (vss. 37-39).

E. Return of Absalom to Jerusalem (14:124); his beauty, and reconciliation with the king (vss. 25-33).

F. Absalom's method of ingratiating himself with the people (15:1-6); his revolt and the flight of the king from Jerusalem (vss. 7-31); meeting with Hushai (vss. 32-37a); Absalom in Jerusalem (vs. 37b).

G. David's meeting with Ziba (16:1-4), and Shimei (vss. 5-14); counsel of Ahithophel and Hushai (16:15-17:14); the news carried to David (vss. 15-22); death of Ahithophel (vs. 23).

H. David at Mahanaim (17:24-29).

I. The revolt subdued, death of Absalom, and reception by David of the tidings 0 8:1 -19:8a) .

J. Return of the king to Jerusalem, and meetings with Shimei, Mephibosheth, and Barzillai the Gileadite (19:8a-43).

K. Revolt of Sheba the Benjamite, and its suppression by Joab with the death of Amasa (20:1,2,4-22); the king's treatment of the concubines left at Jerusalem (vs. 3); the names of his officers (vss. 23-26).

L. Seven male descendants of Saul put to death at the instance of the Gibeonites (21:1-14); incidents of wars with the Philistines (vss. 15-22).

    [1]. David's son of thanksgiving and praise (chapter 22).

    [2]. The "last words" of David (23:1-7); names and exploits of David's "mighty men" (vss. 8-39).

M. The king's numbering of the people, the resulting plague, and the dedication of the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite (chapter 24).



A. To Record Some Highlights of David's Reign. Of course this history book does not pretend to be comprehensive. The authors, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, selected those events from this period of David's life which would serve to impart the message God intended for the reader. Some events not recorded here, but occurring about the same time, are found in other books, such as I Chronicles. (The Bible portions describing David's life are (1 Sam. 16-1 Ki. 2:11; 1 Chron. 11-29); and many psalms. There are fifty-eight New Testament references to David. For study on the biography of David, consult a harmony of these books by William Day Crockett.)

B. To Teach Important Spiritual Truths. Among the truths which you will be observing as you proceed in your study are those about God and His relationship to the believer. Many may be learned of the will of God, the help of God, dependence on God and rewards of God. For a preliminary study on the believer's dependence on God, read these verses: (2:1; 6:16,21; 7:18; 8:6,14; 12:16; 22:1). The book also teaches much about sin and its workings, punishment and pardon.



David, son of Jesse, was a man after God's heart, and in a life-span of some seventy years "served his own generation by the will of God" (Acts 13:36). David stood out as a bright and shining light for the God of Israel. His accomplishments were many and varied; man of action, poet, tender lover, generous foe, stern dispenser of justice, loyal friend, he was all that men find wholesome and admirable in man, and this by the will of God, who made him and shaped him for his destiny.

David was not perfect, and the recording of his sins in the Bible should serve as warning to us to guard against the Subtle temptations of Satan.

Though David's career was marred by sins, he was honest and contrite enough to acknowledge his sins and seek God's forgiveness. No man in the Bible gives a more instructive example of confession than David.

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