A Summary of Book of Second Samuel

No one knows who penned the Book of 2 Samuel, as the prophet Samuel was not alive to write the account. The book highlights the reign of King David and gives historical context to the Davidic Covenant. In this article, you will learn more about this book, as well as the highs and lows that David encountered during his rule.

The Book of Second Samuel traces the reign of King David. First, the text highlights his rule over the territory of Judah, and then later mentions his rule over the rest of the nation of Israel. David’s ascension to the throne is discussed, as well as his sin of adultery and murder. With these actions, he also faces consequences, which will affect not only himself, but also his family and his nation.

From chapters 1 to 10, the triumphs of David are highlighted in the Book of Second Samuel. However, there is a downward shift regarding David’s life and rule that unfolds between chapters 11 and 20. The last part of the book offers an appendix that presents details regarding the rest of David’s reign, which is found from chapters 21 to 24.

At the start of the book, David gets news that Saul and his sons have died. He declares a period of mourning, and soon after, he is crowned king over Judah. Saul still has one surviving son, Ish-bosheth, who is crowned king over Israel. A civil war erupts and in the process, Ish-bosheth is killed. The Israelites then ask David to reign over them as well , events that are described in chapters 4 and 5. Next, David relocates the capital of the country from Hebron to Jerusalem, and later moves the Ark of the Covenant as well. He makes plans to construct a temple in Jerusalem, but God does not give his seal of approval.

God instead, promises David four things:

David would have a son that will become his successor.
David’s son will build the temple.
David’s lineage will occupy the throne forever.
God would never take His mercy from David’s house.

Many neighboring enemy nations attempt to defy Israel, but David is successful in leading his people to many victories. In chapters 8 to 10, David is kind to Jonathan’s family by taking in his crippled son. But then, David hits a snag. He starts to have lustful thoughts for a lovely woman named Bathsheba. He commits adultery as he expresses his desire for her. He then has her husband murdered, as seen in chapter 11. When Nathan the prophet confronts David regarding his sin, David admits his guilt. Because of this, God forgives the king. His consequence would be to see unfortunate circumstances befall his own household. His troubles come in the form of his firstborn son, Amnon, who rapes his half-sister, Tamar.

Tamar’s brother Absalom retaliates by killing Amnon and then flees to Jerusalem rather than face the anger of his father. We learn later on that Absalom leads a revolt against David. The revolt attracts the attention of people who were once associates of David. In the end, David is forced out of Jerusalem and Absalom becomes king for a short period of time. As a usurper, Absalom is overthrown and although David does not want death to come to his son, he is killed.

David experiences unrest towards the end of his reign. In chapter 20, the men of Israel wish to split from Judah, and David must put an end to the uprising. Other highlights of the book include a three-year famine in the land, a song of David, and a plague.

A few significant quotes from Second Samuel includes: “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16) and “But 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 19:4).