About this book
The Second Book of Samuel is actually the second half of a single book that was divided into two parts,1 and 2 Samuel, because together they were too long to fit on one scroll. Most of 2 Samuel is a history of the rule of King David.
After the death of King Saul, the people of the Judah tribe chose David to be their king. And for the next seven years David was at war with Saul's son, King Ishbosheth of Israel. Then David became king of the entire nation.
David captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites, made it his new capital, and brought the sacred chest there. He wanted to build a temple to honour the Lord and as a place to keep the sacred chest, but the Lord refused to let him do so. Instead, the Lord promised that David would be a powerful ruler and that one of his descendants would always be king.
David conquered the enemies of Israel and became the ruler of a small empire. But he also had an affair with Bathsheba, the wife of an army officer who was away at war. As a result, the Lord allowed David to have serious troubles later on, and many of those troubles came from within his own family. For example, one of David's sons, Amnon, raped David's daughter Tamar. Amnon was then killed by David's son Absalom, who later led a rebellion against David.
David wasn't perfect, but he was loyal to the Lord and worshipped only him. And for as long as Judah continued as a nation, the Lord kept the promise he made to David:
Now I promise that you and your descendants will be kings. I'll choose one of your sons to be king when you reach the end of your life and are buried in the tomb of your ancestors. I'll make him a strong ruler, and no one will be able to take his kingdom away from him … I will be his father, and he will be my son.
A quick look at this book
1. David mourns for Saul (1.1–27)
2. David, king of Judah (2.1—4.12)
3. David, king of all Israel (5.1—6.23)
4. The Lord's promise to David (7.1–29)
5. The wars of King David (8.1—10.19)
6. David's affair with Bathsheba (11.1—12.31)
7. Violence in David's family: Tamar, Amnon, and Absalom (13.1—14.33)
8. Absalom leads a rebellion (15.1—20.26)
9. Other events from David's rule (21.1—22)
10. Two poems by David (22.1—23.7)
11. David's warriors (23.8–39)
12. David counts the people of Israel, and Israel is punished (24.1–25)