Monday, October 11

Book Overview: 2nd Samuel

Following up as the second part of the Book of Samuel, 2nd Samuel gives the account of King David's reign as King, the acts that he committed, the good works - and bad works. The infamous stories of David and Bathsheba, Absalom, and others, are found in this book.

This is the ninth Book Overview in a series of 66 Books. These overviews are written so that it may provide readers with details about the book, things that they may have missed, and will hopefully peak your interest so that you will read the book, the entire Bible in fact, as God wants us to do. Now, onto the Book of 2nd Samuel.

Title: Books of Samuel [2nd Samuel] (English), Sefer Sh'muel ספר שמואל (Hebrew) The two books of Samuel were originally written in Hebrew, as one collective work. However, the books were split into two separate works, since by different authors.

Authorship:Traditionally, the authors of these two Books of Samuel are said to be Samuel, Gad, and Nathan. Samuel is believed to have written the first 24 chapters of 1st Samuel. Whereas Gad, who was the companion of David (1 Samuel 22:5), is believed to have continued the history from that point, and Nathan is believed to have completed the Books of Samuel, and was probably the one who arranged the two books in the form that we now have. (1 Chronicles 29:29).

Written: Sometime between 1043 BC - when Saul was crowned King, and just before 1004 BC - when David captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites. It was written between 1043-1004 BC.

Summary: "2 Samuel documents the life and reign of David as Israel’s king. David committed numerous and despicable sins, yet God calls him a man after his own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). 2 Samuel shows that although we humans are full of sin, we can lead a godly life." (NIV)

Overview: 2nd Samuel 1-10 - David's lament; David recognized as King
2nd Samuel 6 - Ark of the Covenant Comes to Jerusalem
2nd Samuel 6; 12 - Abner and Ishbaal
2nd Samuel 7 - God's promise of a dynasty lasting forever
2nd Samuel 11-18 - Rejection of David; Bathsheba 
2nd Samuel 12 - The prophet Nathan
2nd Samuel 21 - Account of Rizpah
2nd Samuel 19-24 - David's Restoration to the Throne

While 1st Samuel covered the life of the prophet Samuel, the life of King Saul, and the early years of David, 2nd Samuel continues where 1st Samuel left off - and David is in exile and is given news of the King's death. King David was called "a man after God's own heart," referring to his active skill as a Psalmist.

The first part of 2nd Samuel describes how David came to be king, whereas the second part shows how court life and sparks between family members made a chaotic order out of his happy life. The book ends with David giving an offering to stop a plague. 1st Kings picks up with David making Solomon King.

Points: As we have discussed in previous overviews, you can find multitudes on the different facts, aspects, and insights into these books from different authors and sources. The intention is only to provide a few points, to show things you may or may not have known.

David became King around 1004 BC
A very important footnote is 2nd Samuel 7:12-16. It is a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ, though the first part can be taken in such a way that it refers to Solomon - but not the entirety.. "When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by human beings, with floggings inflicted by human hands. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me, your throne will be established forever."

Going along with the above passage, it is true that, while David did not live on this Earth forever, when Jesus returns to set up his 1,000-year reign, followed by his Eternal Reign, Jesus, descendant of David (human-terms) will be reigning. Certain scriptures scholars have taken to mean that when Jesus returns, and the saved return with him, that David will be the Prince, whereas Jesus will be King.

Absalom, son of David, is prominently featured in this book. He may not share the fame of Solomon, but this wicked son is still there, as you can see in the text. Absalom committed many heinous crimes - sleeping with his father's women, plotting a conspiracy to kill his father, other such things. When Absalom was pursued, his hair caught in a tree, where Joab went with his man and stabbed him to death with three javelins.

The giants first mentioned in Genesis, of the same kind that David killed in his youth (Goliath) are mentioned yet again. "In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jair the Bethlehemite killed the brother of Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver's rod. In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot - twenty-four in all. He also descended from Rapha." (2nd Samuel 21:19-20)

The Angel (messenger) of the Lord, whom many believe to be Jesus pre-incarnate, makes yet another appearance in this book, though brief. 2nd Samuel 24:16, "When the angel stretched out his hand t destroy Jerusalem, the Lord relented concerning the disaster and said to the angel who was afflicting the people, 'Enough! Withdraw your hand.' The angel of the Lord was then at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." (See entry: "Who is The Angel of the Lord?")

David was the king who expanded Israel's borders. While David was told about God's Temple, due to his lifestyle choices, he was not allowed to build the Temple. That task was given to his son, Solomon.

I hope you have enjoyed this long-overdue book overview of 2nd Samuel. Be sure to keep an eye out for the next, on 1st Kings.

Next Book Overview: Book of 1st Kings
Next Book Overview: Book of 1st Samuel

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