Lesson 2 of 6
In Progress

Outline of 2 Samuel

1. David Becomes King of Judah (2 Samuel 1:1-3:5)

The first major section of 2 Samuel describes how David became king over the southern tribe of Judah.

A. David Laments the Deaths of Saul and Jonathan (2 Samuel 1:1-27)

David laments the deaths of Saul and his friend Jonathan in a poignant elegy. After hearing the news from an Amalekite warrior who claims to have killed Saul, David has the warrior killed for having put the Lord’s anointed to death.

B. David Anointed King of Judah (2 Samuel 2:1-11)

David reigns over Judah, but Ishbaal, Saul’s son, reigns over the other tribes.

C. David Defeats the House of Saul (2 Samuel 2:12-3:1)

In a civil war between David’s forces and the forces of Ishbaal, David’s forces prevail, signaling the end of Saul’s house and the beginning of David’s rise.

D. Sons Born to David in Hebron (2 Samuel 3:2-5)

This is one of four lists that serve to demarcate the first four sections of 2 Samuel. Here it is a list of David’s sons born to him in Hebron (see 5:13-16; 8:15-18; and 20:23-26).

2. David Becomes King of Israel (2 Samuel 3:6-5:16)

David’s accession to the throne of Israel follows the same pattern as his accession to Judah’s throne.

A. The Murder of Abner (2 Samuel 3:6-39)

Following Abner’s attempt to transfer leadership from Ishbaal to David, Abner is murdered by Joab for killing Joab’s brother Asahel in battle. Great care is taken to absolve David of any complicity in the death of Abner, Saul’s cousin; in fact, the king protests his innocence and mourns the passing of the famous warrior.

B. The Murder of Ishbaal (2 Samuel 4:1-12)

Once again, David is presented as completely innocent of the death of a rival for the throne of Israel–this time Ishbaal, Saul’s son. Upon hearing of Ishbaal’s death, David responds in ways similar to his response at hearing of the deaths of Saul and Abner.

C. David Anointed King of Israel (2 Samuel 5:1-5)

The tribe of Judah had already anointed David as king. Now the tribes of Israel commit themselves politically to David by anointing him king of Israel as well. David consolidates his rule by making the politically neutral Jerusalem his capital and home and by defeating the Philistines, twice, all because “the LORD was with him.”

D. David Captures Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:6-12)

By conquering the Jebusite city of Jebus, which separated Jerusalem from the northern tribes, changing its name to Jerusalem, and making it his capital, David successfully united the 12 tribes under his rule.

E. Children Born to David in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:13-16)

This is one of four lists that serve to demarcate the first four sections of 2 Samuel. Here it is a list of David’s children born to him in Jerusalem (see 3:2-5; 8:15-18; and 20:23-26).

3. David Consolidates the Kingdom (2 Samuel 5:17-8:18)

These chapters present David’s efforts to consolidate his kingdom. Military success against the surrounding peoples (5:17-25; 8:1-14) frames David’s cultic activity in bringing the ark to Jerusalem and prayer (6:1-23; 7:18-29), which, in turn, encloses the all-important promise of a Davidic dynasty (7:1-17).

A. David Defeats the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:17-25)

In stark contrast to Saul, David succeeds in delivering Israel from the oppression of the Philistines.

B. David Brings the Ark to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:1-23)

David brings the ark of the covenant, the symbol of God’s presence, to Jerusalem. This has the effect of making Jerusalem the Holy City, Israel’s religious center, as well as David’s political capital.

C. God’s Covenant with David (2 Samuel 7:1-29)

In this pivotal text, God promises that David will always have a son on the throne of Judah. God’s promise of a Davidic dynasty holds sway over much of the theological message of the Old Testament and becomes the basis for the messianic expectations that arose following the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E.

D. David Expands the Empire (2 Samuel 8:1-14)

A variety of materials have been gathered together to summarize David’s wars, describe the extent of his kingdom, and make the theological point that “the LORD gave victory to David wherever he went.”

E. David’s Administrators (2 Samuel 8:15-18)

This is one of four lists that serve to demarcate the first four sections of 2 Samuel. Here it is a list of David’s administrators (see 3:2-5; 5:13-16; and 20:23-26).

4. David’s Court (2 Samuel 9:1-20:26)

These chapters (and 1 Kings 1-2) are either an extended narrative describing the struggle for who will succeed David on the throne or, as most think now, an extended narrative describing the consequences of David’s sin with Bathsheba.

A. David’s Covenant Loyalty to Jonathan (2 Samuel 9:1-13)

In his covenant with Jonathan, David had promised to show loyalty to Jonathan’s family (1 Samuel 18:1-4; 20:14-17). In this story, David shows kindness to Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth.

B. War with the Ammonites and the Arameans (2 Samuel 10:1-12:31)

David’s wars with the Ammonites and the Arameans provide the context for his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and his arranged murder of her husband, Uriah, the Hittite. David’s sin will have serious repercussions for the remainder of the book.

C. Like Father, Like Son (2 Samuel 13:1-14:33)

Three stories form a sordid tale of rape, murder, and reconciliation. Just as David’s sexual misappropriation of Bathsheba had ended in the murder of Uriah, David’s sons mirror his behavior in Amnon’s rape of Tamar and Absalom’s murder of Amnon.

D. Absalom Rebels Against David (2 Samuel 15:1-19:43)

Absalom, impatient to become king himself, gathers support and foments rebellion against his father, David, forcing him to flee Jerusalem. David is emotionally torn between preserving his throne and preserving the life of his rebellious son.

E. Sheba Rebels Against David (2 Samuel 20:1-22)

Civil war again breaks out between Israel and Judah, this time under Sheba’s rebellion. David’s quick response preserved the unity of the nation. As before, Joab is blamed for the bloodshed.

F. David’s Administrators (2 Samuel 20:23-26)

This is one of four lists that serve to demarcate the first four sections of 2 Samuel. Here it is a list of David’s administrators (see 3:2-5; 5:13-16; and 8:15-18).

5. Epilogue (2 Samuel 21:1-24:25)

The final four chapters of 2 Samuel comprise an epilogue or appendix that gathers together several traditions, arranging them in a concentric fashion: (A) a narrative of national disaster, (B) tales of David’s warriors, (C) a poem, (C’) a poem, (B’) tales of David’s warriors, (A’) a narrative of national disaster.

A. Narrative of National Disaster (2 Samuel 21:1-14)

Gibeonite vengeance for Saul’s attempt to exterminate them in violation of a long-standing promise is matched by the compassionate concern for the dead shown by Saul’s concubine and by David himself.

B. David’s Warriors (2 Samuel 21:15-22)

These four brief accounts of single combats are similar to that between David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. Together with 2 Samuel 23:8-39, a second grouping concerning David’s warriors, they frame two poetic pieces–“David’s Hymn” and “David’s Last Words.”

C. David’s Song of Praise (2 Samuel 22:1-51)

In this magnificent hymn, which also appears as Psalm 18, David reflects upon his reign as king and God’s deliverance. David expresses thanks to God for many acts of deliverance by singing God’s praise.

D. David’s Last Words (2 Samuel 23:1-7)

Functioning together with David’s song of praise (chapter 22) as a counterpoint to the Song of Hannah, which opened the books of Samuel, David’s last words affirm that God will remain faithful to the everlasting covenant between God and the house of David.

E. David’s Warriors (2 Samuel 23:8-39)

These four brief accounts of single combats are similar to that between David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. Together with 21:15-22 they frame two poetic pieces–David’s song of praise and David’s last words.

F. David’s Census (2 Samuel 24:1-25)

A terrible plague, seen as God’s judgment upon David for taking a census of the people, is averted after David, following the advice of a prophet, acquires some land in Jerusalem, builds an altar, and sacrifices to the Lord.