Series: Best Book In the BibleEvery Christian knows the importance of reading their Bible, but many are overwhelmed with the task of devouring such a monstrous book! Often times, when Christians lose steam in their yearly reading plans, they can become frustrated and feel defeated. It is for this reason that individual book studies can be a lifesaver. In the Best Book in the Bible series, we will provide entry points into faithful study through “selling” you on why you should fall in love with the various books of the Bible.
Every Christian believer, if you were to ask them, would tell you that they would desire to be a man/woman after God’s own heart. The essence of that desire is a longing for closeness with God. But what does this actually look like? Despite all his faults and failures, David was considered to be such a man. By studying the life of David we get a window into the kind of king-leader God Himself chose for the people of Israel; we also get a shadowed view of the coming King—the Son of David, who will rule over all the kingdoms of the earth. With great excitement, we turn to 2 Samuel, the best book in the Bible.
Main Themes: Lessons in Leadership through the life of David.
“When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall 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. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son…” (2 Samuel 7:12-14a)
“The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation,” (2 Samuel 22:47)
Originally, 1 and 2 Samuel were one book, but have since been divided. While 1 Samuel focuses on the interwoven story of Samuel, Saul, and David, 2 Samuel is primarily about the life and faith of King David. Generally, the book can be broken down into two main sections: David’s Triumphs and David’s troubles.
(1:1—12:31). The opening verses recap the death of Saul in order to make way for his successor, David. While many would tend to rejoice at the death of one’s enemies, David mourns the great loss of Saul and Saul’s son, Jonathan. Chapters 2 through 4 chronicle David’s fight for the throne, as those loyal to Saul oppose David’s ascension. When the last major opponent—Ish-bosheth—is killed, the path is cleared for David to be crowned king over all the tribes of Israel.
The ascension to complete rule is relatively gradual, as we learn that David reigns over Judah from the city of Hebron for 7 and a half years (5:4), before capturing Jerusalem, aptly named “the city of David” (5:7). In chapter 6, we walk with David as he recaptures the ark of the covenant, which had previously been stolen by the Philistines (1 Sam. 4), and brings it to Jerusalem with great joy.
Second Samuel chapter 7 acts as a narrative detour, as it pauses the story a bit to introduce us to a covenant made concerning David’s kingdom. However, don’t gloss over this chapter, as this is one of the most important points in all of the Old Testament—the announcement of the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:12-16; cf. Ps. 89:3-4, 34-36). While God had previously promised to Abraham a people, He promises to David an eternal kingdom. While this does establish the kingly line of David, it is ultimately fulfilled in the kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings.
Chapter 8 picks up the story, as we see David continue his triumphant military quests (see also chapter 10). However, we see David’s merciful side in chapter 9 when he shows kindness to Saul’s grandson Mephibosheth, and welcomes him in as his own son.
Chapters 11-12 constitute a low point in David’s glorious reign; the first sign of trouble in paradise. In chapter 11, David first sees Bathsheba and lusts after her. His depravity goes deeper, as he has her husband Uriah killed so that he may take his wife. But Nathan the prophet comes to David and convicts him of his sin (12:1-12). Although David repents (see Pss. 32 and 51), David and Bathsheba’s baby dies as a judgment. It’s hard to think of chapters 11 and 12 as constituting “David’s Triumphs” but it is here we see David—a man after God’s own heart—grieved over his own sin and pleading for God’s forgiveness with heart that is truly broken (see Ps. 51:10-17).
(13:1—24:25). Chapter 13 starts us down a long path of spiritual decline, as we watch David lose control of his family. It’s like watching a carwreck in slow motion. First, we see David’s son Ammon commit incest with Tamar, which is avenged by David’s other son Absalom who kills Ammon and then flees. When Absalom returns, he begins a series of rebellions against his own father David. By the middle of chapter 15, David is sent into hiding and Absalom assumes the throne of Israel, even laying with his father’s concubines (ch. 17). It all comes to a head when Absalom is killed by David’s men. Despite the fact that Absalom rebelled and sought David’s life, David mourns the loss of his wicked son (18:33).
Chapters 19 and 20 bring us through David’s return to Jerusalem and his subsequent efforts to unite all Israel again under his kingship. Chapters 21 through 24 wrap up David’s story, as we see him respond to a famine in Israel. Chapter 24 ends on a rather low note, as David falls guilty to the temptation to faithlessness. Up to this point, David had trusted solely in God for strength and protection, but here we see him conduct a census of his army, proving that he trusts more in numbers than in God’s provision. God punishes this sin severely, as 70,000 people in Israel die.
What Makes This Book So Great:
The study of David is a fascinating one, as we see a man transfixed on the glory of God. From his youngest days, we see a man of boldness, conviction, tenderness, strength, and faith tackle insurmountable obstacles. However, we also see David’s sinful human side. Even though his sins, like ours, are awful, David also teaches us what true repentance looks like.
One feature of 2 Samuel that stands head-and-shoulders above the rest is the Davidic Covenant. And even though God proved faithful not to remove the line of David from Israel, He proves His perfect faithfulness even more when we realize that He has provided for us the Everlasting King; One without sin, who will reign forever with perfect judgment and righteousness.
While the book can be divided into 2 sections, it is helpful to study it in 4 or 5 sections. Focus in on all aspects of David’s faith and virtue. What do you see? Examine yourself as you approach David’s sins. Do you see the absolute depravity of rejecting the commands of God? Finally, study the Davidic Covenant, cross-referencing it with Psalm 78. Your appreciation for Matthew 1:1-17 should increase.
- John J. Davis & John C. Whitcomb, Israel from Conquest to Exile: A Commentary on Joshua – 2 Kings. (B&H, 1994).
- Cyril J. Barber, The Books of Samuel, Volume One: The Sovereignty of God Illustrated in the Lives of Samuel, Saul, and David. (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux, 1994).
- Ronald F. Youngblood, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Volume 3) – Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992).
Note: Find the rest of the Best Book in the Bible series here: EntreatingFavor.com/BestBookSeries.