Author: Nathan the Prophet, Zabud, Gad
II Samuel continues the account of the life of David at the point where I Samuel concludes. The poignancy of the book of 2 Samuel is that David’s story is our own story. We all desire to love God and obey his commandments, but we fall into sin, over and over. In despair, we realize we cannot save ourselves through our futile attempts at perfect obedience.
Two key passages to pay attention to:
II Samuel 7:12-13 – “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will 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.”
II Samuel 22:21 – “The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.”
II Samuel 11 is a pivotal chapter for the entire book. It records the tragic sins of David regarding Bathsheba and her husband Uriah. All of the widespread blessings on David and his family and kingdom are quickly removed as God chastises him.
Observations about II Samuel
1. David is the halfway point between Abraham and Christ
2. II Samuel records the highlights of David’s forty-year reign; his 7 years over Hebron and 33 years over Judah and Israel.
3. The nation of Israel enjoys God’s blessings when David is obedient to God and suffers hardship when David disobeys God.
4. David may sometimes fail in his personal life, but he never fails in his relationship with God. Even when he fails, he is penitent and returns to God.
5. Unlike most kings who succeed him, David never allows idolatry to become a problem during his reign.
6. He is a true servant of God. He is obedient to God’s law and he is an ideal king. David’s rule is often characterized by justice, wisdom, integrity, courage, and compassion.
There are 3 divisions to II Samuel
Chapters 1 through 4 cover the seven-year reign of David over the territory of Judah. Even though Saul is David’s murderous pursuer, David does not rejoice in his death because he realizes that Saul was divinely anointed as king. Saul’s son Ishbosheth is placed by Abner as a puppet king over the northern tribes of Israel and is later murdered by his own men, making David king of Israel. David soon captures and fortifies Jerusalem and makes it the civil and religious center of the now United Kingdom. Under his rule, the nation prospers both politically and spiritually and the military grows in strength as well. David brings the Ark of the covenant to Jerusalem and seeks to build a house for God. His obedience at placing the Lord at the center of his rule leads to great national blessings.
II Samuel 11:2 – “And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.”
For reasons unknown, several things occurred that lead to David’s sin and fall from grace. During a time of war, David chose to stay in Jerusalem and let someone else (Joab) fight his battle for him. Perhaps he had taken for granted the part that God played leading up to this point and thought the battle would be too boring or that the living arrangements during the battle would be too uncomfortable. Either way, David was resting at home and upon walking on his roof, sees a beautiful woman and inquires of her. He learns that she is Bathsheba, wife of Uriah, a Hittite warrior in David’s own army. He ignores these facts and sends messengers to bring her to him. She becomes pregnant, which prompts David to send for Uriah in hopes that his return will cover up the transgression. Uriah refuses David’s offer to go home for the night, which ultimately causes his death. David has Uriah placed in a precarious battle and Uriah is killed on the frontlines.
The disobedience of the king produces chastisement and and confusion at every level. David’s glory and fame fade, never to be the same again. David confesses his guilt when confronted by Nathan the prophet and is restored by God. The domino effect of his sins, however, continue as the baby born to David and Bathsheba dies, his son Amnon commits incest, and his son Absalom murders Amnon. Absalom’s rebellion against his father continues and David is forced to flee from Jerusalem, setting up Absalom as the king. God keeps Absalom from pursuing his father until David has time to regroup his forces. Joab kills Absalom in direct disobedience of David’s orders to spare him. A revolt forms against David, leading to a war that Joab wins by defeating the rebels.