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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

2 Samuel

- 2 Samuel

by Thomas Constable

Introduction

Second Samuel continues the history begun in 1 Samuel. Please see my comments regarding 2 Samuel’s title, date, authorship, scope, purpose, genre, and themes and characteristics, in the introductory section of the 1 Samuel notes.

OUTLINE

(Continued from notes on 1 Samuel)

V.    David’s triumphs chs. 1-8

A.    The beginning of David’s kingdom 2Sa_1:1 to 2Sa_3:5

1.    David’s discovery of Saul and Jonathan’s deaths ch. 1

2.    David’s move to Hebron 2Sa_2:1-4 a

3.    David’s overtures to Jabesh-gilead 2Sa_2:4-7

4.    Ish-bosheth’s coronation over Israel 2Sa_2:8-11

5.    The conflict between Abner and Joab 2Sa_2:12-32

6.    The strengthening of David’s position 2Sa_3:1-5

B.    The unification of the kingdom 2Sa_3:6 to 2Sa_5:16

1.    David’s acceptance of Abner 2Sa_3:6-39

2.    David’s punishment of Ish-bosheth’s murderers ch. 4

3.    David’s acceptance by all Israel 2Sa_5:1-12

4.    David’s additional children 2Sa_5:13-16

C.    The establishment of the kingdom 2Sa_5:17 to 2Sa_8:18

1.    David’s victories over the Philistines 2Sa_5:17-25

2.    David’s relocation of the ark to Jerusalem ch. 6

3.    The giving of the Davidic Covenant ch. 7

4.    The security of David’s kingdom ch. 8

VI.    David’s troubles chs. 9-20

A.    David’s faithfulness ch. 9

B.    God’s faithfulness despite David’s unfaithfulness chs. 10-12

1.    The Ammonite rebellion ch. 10

2.    David’s unfaithfulness to God chs. 11-12

C.    David’s rejection and return chs. 13-20

1.    Events leading up to Absalom’s rebellion chs. 13-14

2.    Absalom’s attempt to usurp David’s throne chs. 15-20

VII.    Summary illustrations chs. 21-24

A.    Famine from Saul’s sin 2Sa_21:1-14

1.    Saul’s broken treaty with the Gibeonites 2Sa_21:1-6

2.    David’s justice and mercy 2Sa_21:7-9

3.    David’s honoring of Saul and Jonathan 2Sa_21:10-14

B.    Four giant killers 2Sa_21:15-22

C.    David’s praise of Yahweh ch. 22

D.    David’s last testament 2Sa_23:1-7

E.    Thirty-seven mighty men 2Sa_23:8-39

1.    Selected adventures of outstanding warriors 2Sa_23:8-23

2.    A list of notable warriors among The Thirty 2Sa_23:24-39

F.    Pestilence from David’s sin ch. 24

1.    David’s sin of numbering the people 2Sa_24:1-9

2.    David’s confession of his guilt 2Sa_24:10-14

3.    David’s punishment 2Sa_24:15-17

4.    David’s repentance 2Sa_24:18-25

Conclusion of 2 Samuel

When 1 Samuel opened, Israel was a loosely connected affiliation of tribes with little unity and loyalty. The judges led her, many of whom were weak and ineffective. Her worship was in disrepute due to corruption in the priesthood and even among the judges. She was at the mercy of her surrounding enemies. She was weak in influence and was struggling economically.

By the end of David’s reign, 150 years later, Israel stood united as a nation behind a king who represented Yahweh’s will faithfully. She had a revived priesthood that enjoyed support from the throne, and the prospect for a permanent temple located in the capital city was bright. She was militarily strong, and she controlled her environment politically and geographically. She enjoyed an influence in the world that was already powerful and growing. Furthermore her economy was strong. Most importantly she was led by a king who was normally submissive to Yahweh’s authority.

David’s most important contribution was probably uniting the political and religious life of Israel. He symbolized this by setting up both the political capital and the worship center of Israel in one place: Jerusalem. This effectively united the covenant traditions of the patriarchs and Moses with the newer provision of a human monarchy. David realized that he was not only Israel’s political head but also her representative before God. He persuaded Israel of this dual role and so prepared her to function as the servant of the Lord in providing salvation for the other peoples of the world. [Note: Merrill, Kingdom of . . ., p. 286.]

These changes had taken place because Yahweh had brought fertility to Israel. When the Israelites followed the Mosaic Covenant, God’s revealed will for them, obedience resulted in blessing and life. When they did not obey, they experienced discipline and death.

The writer employed various literary devices to emphasize his main spiritual lessons. Primary among these was conflict and resolution. In every major section there is at least one conflict, and often there are several, in which God either exalted the faithful, or put down the arrogant, or both. Another device is the reversal-of-fortune motif by which he showed that Yahweh can and does change people’s lives as they respond to His Word, for good or for ill. A major chiasm, beginning with Hannah’s prayer and ending with David’s prayers, ties 1 and 2 Samuel together. Other frequent chiasms help the reader appreciate the writer’s emphasis, such as the one in 2 Samuel 21-24.

"The broad theology of 1 and 2 Samuel is that God rules justly in the affairs of men. Furthermore, He requires that men live justly under His rule. The leader (whether judge or king) must represent Yahweh’s justice in the rule of God’s people. Failure to follow the patterns of righteousness established by God led to chastisement of the ruler and the people he ruled. This message was usually presented by a prophet who stood between God and the king as well as the people." [Note: Heater, p. 146.]

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