Survey of 2 Samuel

Book Type: Book of History; the tenth book of the Old Testament; the tenth book of the Bible.

Author: The book itself does not name its author, though tradition records Samuel as the primary writer. The books of 1 and 2 Samuel were originally composed as one combined text. Neither 1 Samuel nor 2 Samuel seem to be in absolutely chronological order. This Scripture was likely completed by Samuel and other godly leaders of Israel who served through the end of the recorded events.

Audience: First and Second Samuel were originally completed as one book, written to the Jewish people. This text records history, and demonstrates the importance of faithfully following God's commands. Starting in 1 Samuel, it explains the transition of Israel's leadership from judges to kings, beginning with the progression of leadership from Samuel to King Saul and then King David.

Second Samuel reminds the Jewish people of David's triumphs and troubles. This illustrates the many lessons involved with obedience and disobedience to the Lord, as well as the Lord's mercy when David repents of his sin.

Date: Unknown. It was clearly written after the division of Israel and Judah in 931 BC since these lands are often noted as separate kingdoms. Because its contents do not reflect the later events of the exile to Babylon, it was likely written prior to this time, sometime between 931 and 722 BC.

Overview: This book consists of 24 chapters and includes three main sections. The first section covers the period of David's emergence as king and his triumphs (2 Samuel 1—8). Following reports of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan (2 Samuel 1), David is anointed king over the tribe of Judah and continues to grow in power and success (2 Samuel 2—4). David later becomes king over all Israel (2 Samuel 5:1—5) and conquers Jerusalem as his new capital (2 Samuel 5:6–16). His reign extends to victories over the Philistines, Moabites, Arameans, and Edomites (2 Samuel 5:17—8:18).

The second section chronicles the troubles of David's kingly reign (2 Samuel 9—20). David expresses compassion to Saul's grandson Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9), but also commits adultery with Bathsheba and is responsible for the death of her husband (2 Samuel 10—12). David's family experiences rape (2 Samuel 13:1–22), the murder of his son Amnon (2 Samuel 13:23–39), problems with his son Absalom (2 Samuel 14), and the rebellions of Absalom and Sheba (2 Samuel 15—20).

The third section provides information regarding the end of David's reign. This includes a judgment regarding Gibeon with Israel (2 Samuel 21:1–14), another war with the Philistines (2 Samuel 21:15–22), David's song of praise (2 Samuel 22), David's last words (2 Samuel 23:1–7), a record of his mighty men (23:8–39), and the Lord's judgment against David for participating in a census (2 Samuel 24).

Key Verses (ESV):

2 Samuel 7:16: "And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever."

2 Samuel 19:4: "The king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, 'O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!'"

2 Samuel 22:2-4: "He said, 'The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.'"