Lesson 90: 2 Samuel 1–10
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“Lesson 90: 2 Samuel 1–10,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)

“Lesson 90,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 90

2 Samuel 1–10


After the death of Saul, the kingdom of Israel was divided into two factions: the Northern Kingdom, also known as Israel, and the Southern Kingdom, also known as Judah. David became the king of Judah, and Saul’s son Ishbosheth became the king of Israel. The two kingdoms engaged in a long war. David’s forces prevailed, and David was anointed king of all Israel. A man named Uzzah was killed by the Lord because, without authority to do so, he took hold of the ark of the covenant as it was being transported to Jerusalem. The Lord instructed David not to build a temple, and the Lord blessed David as he reigned righteously as king.

Suggestions for Teaching

2 Samuel 1–6

David becomes king of all of Israel and brings the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem

Bring two neckties to class. Invite a student who does not know how to tie a necktie to attempt to tie one correctly. After this attempt, ask the student what he or she could do to successfully tie the tie. Invite the student to ask another member of the class who knows how to tie a necktie to demonstrate with the second tie. After the first student successfully ties the necktie, ask him or her:

  • Why was tying the tie easier when you asked someone for guidance?

Explain that as students study 2 Samuel 1–10, they will see how David sought the Lord’s guidance so he could successfully accomplish what the Lord had asked him to do. Invite students to take a moment to ponder their lives and identify areas where they would like to receive the Lord’s guidance. Encourage them to look for truths in these chapters that can help them seek the Lord’s guidance.

Summarize 2 Samuel 1–5 by explaining that after David mourned the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, he was anointed king of the tribe of Judah. One of Saul’s sons, Ishbosheth, became king of the remaining tribes, and his forces engaged in a long war with David’s forces. After David and his armies prevailed, David was anointed king over all of Israel.

Explain that one of David’s first challenges as king of Israel was battling the Philistines. Write the following questions on the board:

What did David ask, and what did the Lord tell him?

What did David do, and what was the result?

Invite students to read 2 Samuel 5:18–21 silently, looking for answers to the questions on the board. After students read, divide them into pairs, and ask them to share their answers with each other.

Invite a student to read 2 Samuel 5:22–25 aloud. Ask students to follow along, looking for what the Lord told David when the Philistines came up to battle a second time.

  • According to verse 23, what did the Lord tell David to do? (You may need to explain that the Lord told David to instruct his forces to circle around behind the Philistines and attack when they heard the wind blowing in the trees.)

  • Why was David successful in his military campaign against the Philistines? (He inquired of the Lord about what he should do and then acted on the direction he received. You may want to suggest that students mark the phrases “David inquired of the Lord” in verses 19 and 23 and “David did so, as the Lord had commanded him” in verse 25.)

  • What principle can we learn from David’s example of inquiring of the Lord and following the Lord’s direction? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: If we inquire of the Lord and follow His direction, then He can guide us and help us succeed in our righteous endeavors.)

  • Why do you think it is important not only to ask the Lord for guidance but also to follow His direction?

Invite students to respond to the following questions in their class notebooks or scripture study journals (write these questions on the board):

When have you asked for and received direction from the Lord? What were you prompted to do? What was the result as you acted on that prompting?

After sufficient time, invite several students to share with the class what they wrote. Invite any students who would like to share their testimonies to do so. Encourage students to always seek the Lord’s direction and be willing to follow it.

To prepare students to study 2 Samuel 6, invite a student to come to the front of the class. Place your scriptures on a table or desk, and begin to push them off the table. Ask the student:

  • If these scriptures begin to fall, what will your natural reaction be?

Ask students to explain how they would react if the scriptures did fall and the student caught them but was then punished for doing so. Explain that something similar happened while David was transporting the ark of the covenant from Gibeah to his new capital, Jerusalem. Invite a student to read 2 Samuel 6:3–7 aloud. Invite students to ponder why Uzzah was punished for doing something that seems helpful.

  • Why do you think the consequence for trying to steady the ark when the oxen stumbled was so severe?

Invite a student to read aloud the statements below. Ask students to listen for anything that helps them understand this account better:

“The ark was the symbol of God’s presence, His glory and majesty. When first given to Israel, the ark was placed in the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle, and not even the priest was allowed to approach it. Only the high priest, a type of Christ, could approach it, and then only after going through an elaborate ritual of personal cleansing and propitiation [regaining God’s favor by repenting] for his sins” (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2001], 188). When moving the ark, priests were required to use poles running through rings on the sides to carry it. According to Numbers 4:15, the consequence for touching the ark without authorization was death.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:

Maxwell, Neal A.

“Some may reason that [Uzzah] was only trying—though mistakenly—to help out. But given the numerous times the Lord had saved and spared Israel, including the high dramas of the Red Sea and of the manna from heaven, surely He [the Lord] knew how to keep the ark in balance!” (Meek and Lowly [1987], 15).

  • Why do you think Uzzah was punished for steadying the ark?

Explain that steadying the ark can be compared to trying to correct something in the Church without having received the authority to do so. Provide students with copies of the following statement by President David O. McKay, and invite a student to read it aloud. Ask students to follow along, looking for additional dangers that come from seeking to correct or direct Church leaders or members without the authority to do so.

David O. McKay

“It is a little dangerous for us to go out of our own sphere and try unauthoritatively to direct the efforts of a brother. You remember the case of Uzzah who stretched forth his hand to steady the ark. He seemed justified when the oxen stumbled in putting forth his hand to steady that symbol of the covenant. We today think his punishment was very severe. Be that as it may, the incident conveys a lesson of life. Let us look around us and see how quickly men who attempt unauthoritatively to steady the ark die spiritually. Their souls become embittered, their minds distorted, their judgment faulty, and their spirit depressed. Such is the pitiable condition of men who, neglecting their own responsibilities, spend their time in finding fault with others” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1936, 60).

  • What are the consequences of seeking to “steady the ark,” or trying to direct or correct Church leaders?

  • What principle can we learn from the account of Uzzah? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: Those who attempt to direct God’s work without His authority bring spiritual death upon themselves. Write this principle on the board.)

  • How are people today trying to correct or direct God’s work even though they lack the authority to do so? (Some examples may include advocating that women be ordained to the priesthood and criticizing the Church for sanctioning marriage between a man and a woman only. You might discuss other examples that may be more relevant to your students, such as criticizing local leaders.)

You may want to testify that we can avoid spiritual death and the other consequences of steadying the ark by trusting in the Lord and His chosen servants. Invite students to ponder how they can avoid steadying the ark.

Summarize 2 Samuel 6:8–23 by explaining that after this incident, David brought the ark into Jerusalem amid great joy and celebration. David’s wife Michal criticized David’s joyous behavior, which had a negative effect on their relationship.

2 Samuel 7–10

David obeys the command not to build a temple and is blessed in his reign as king

Consider drawing a simple picture of a house and a tent on the board.

Old Testament teacher resource manual

Invite students to read 2 Samuel 7:1–2 silently, looking for where David was living and what concerned him.

  • According to verse 2, what did David not feel right about?

  • What do you think David wanted to do?

Invite a student to read 2 Samuel 7:5, 12–13 aloud. Ask students to follow along, looking for what the Lord told David about building a temple. Invite students to report what they find.

Explain that the Lord told the prophet Nathan that David should not build a temple. However, the Lord said He would establish David’s house (his throne and kingdom) forever. He also said that one of David’s descendants would build the temple. In 2 Samuel 7:18–29 we read that David expressed his heartfelt awe and gratitude that the Lord would bless him so greatly.

Summarize 2 Samuel 8–10 by explaining that the Lord blessed and preserved David as he reigned in righteousness. David honored the covenant he had made with Jonathan—he received Jonathan’s son into his home and gave him all of the inheritance belonging to the house of Saul.

Conclude by testifying of the truths you have discussed in today’s lesson.

Commentary and Background Information

2 Samuel 6:1–7. Steadying the ark

President Brigham Young taught the following about steadying the ark: “Let the Kingdom alone, the Lord steadies the ark; and if it does jostle, and appear to need steadying, if the way is a little sideling sometimes, and to all appearance threatens its overthrow, be careful how you stretch forth your hand to steady it; let us not be too officious in meddling with that which does not concern us; let it alone, it is the Lord’s work” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1954], 66).

“In modern revelation the Lord referred to [Uzzah steadying the ark] to teach the principle that the Lord does not need the help of men to defend his kingdom (see D&C 85:8). Yet even today there are those who fear the ark is tottering and presume to steady its course” (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2001], 188). Some members of the Church may see problems and be frustrated with the way they feel their leaders or others are addressing those problems. They may feel that even though they do not have the authority to do so, they need to correct the course of their ward or even of the Church. However, “the best intentions do not justify such interference with the Lord’s plan” (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, 188).