Summary of 2 Samuel
Second SamuelThe judge who anointed the first two kings of Israel More continues the story of King DavidSecond king of Israel, David united the northern and southern kingdoms. More begun in 1 Samuel, including his military victories, centralization of the cult in the new capital of Jerusalem, and God’s promise of an eternal dynasty. David’s human failings–as a person, as a father, and as a king–as well as God’s judgment and graceGrace is the unmerited gift of God’s love and acceptance. In Martin Luther’s favorite expression from the Apostle Paul, we are saved by grace through faith, which means that God showers grace upon us even though we do not deserve it. More, complete this portrait of Israel’s greatest king.
The life of David, presented so graphically with all the faults of the human condition, can serve as a mirror of our own humanity. Seeing how God works in and through David can help us discern the activity of God in our own relationships with the Lord and with others.
WHERE DO I FIND IT?
Second Samuel is the tenth book in the Old Testament. It follows 1 Samuel and precedes 1 Kings.
WHO WROTE IT?
Ancient tradition identifies Samuel as the author of the first twenty-four chapters of 1 Samuel and asserts that the rest of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel were completed by NathanThe prophet who condemned David for adultery and promised that God would establish a Davidic dynasty More and GadA son of Jacob and one of the 12 tribes. More. Today, many scholars believe that 1 and 2 Samuel are part of the Deuteronomistic HistoryDeuteronomistic history refers to the narrative contained in the books of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings. This narrative, probably written in the age of Israel’s exile (mid-6th century B.C.E.), recounts Israel’s history prior to the exile. More (DtrH) and that various older traditions have been gathered together and edited by a nameless exilic editor or editors.
WHEN WAS IT WRITTEN?
The final event recorded in Kings occurred in 561 B.C.E. Since the return from Babylon (538 B.C.E.) is not recorded, one assumes that 2 Samuel reached its final form sometime between these two dates (561 and 538). It was written during the Babylonian exile as part of the Deuteronomistic History, though the older traditions that comprise much of the narrative are considerably earlier than this.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Second Samuel recounts the long reign of David, beginning with his becoming king over JudahJudah was the name of Jacob’s fourth son and one of the 12 tribes. More and Israel, followed by his brilliant military success and consolidation of the kingdom, and concluding with his failures as a human, a father, and a king.
HOW DO I READ IT?
Second Samuel looks like a history of the new institution of kingship in Israel. While important historical information is presented, some of it is at odds with the presentation found in 1 Chronicles. Both Chronicles and Samuel should be read as theological, rather than historical, presentations of the early years of the monarchy. Second Samuel is part of a larger narrative (the Deuteronomistic History) designed to demonstrate the reasons for the fallThe fall refers specifically to the disobedience of Adam and Eve when they listened to Satan rather than adhering to God’s command not to eat the fruit from the tree. When people act contrary to God’s will, they are said to fall from from grace… More of the northern kingdomThe Northern Kingdom consisted of ten of the twelve tribes of Israel and lasted for 200 years until it was destroyed by Assyria in 721 B.C.E. In the northern kingdom the kings were evil. Prophets like Elijah and Amos railed against them and their evildoing. More of Israel in 722/721 B.C.E. and Judah’s exile to Babylon in 587/586 B.C.E.