Introduction to the Book of 2 Samuel
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“Introduction to the Book of 2 Samuel,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)

“2 Samuel,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Introduction to the Book of 2 Samuel

Why study this book?

The book of 2 Samuel begins by narrating David’s rise and reign as king of Israel, illustrating the Lord’s generosity and kindness to those who are faithful to Him. However, in recounting the sins of David and his sons Amnon and Absalom, this book also shows the sorrow and tragedy that accompany violations of the Lord’s commandments. Through their study of the book of 2 Samuel, students can learn that if we are not faithful in keeping the commandments of God, we can make mistakes that will dramatically alter the course of our lives and bring harmful consequences upon ourselves and others.

Who wrote this book?

It is uncertain who wrote 2 Samuel. The books of 1 and 2 Samuel were originally one book of scripture. (See Bible Dictionary, “Samuel, books of.”)

When and where was it written?

It is uncertain when and where 2 Samuel was written.

What are some distinctive features of this book?

The book of 2 Samuel chronicles David’s anointing and reign as king of Israel. David is remembered as the greatest king in Israel’s history. Because of David’s faithfulness, the Lord blessed and honored David. However, 2 Samuel illustrates that even the most righteous can fall if they are not diligent in keeping the commandments. Chapter 11 explains how David’s decision to commit adultery with Bathsheba led David down the path of deceit and further sin. The remainder of 2 Samuel describes the suffering and pain that befell the house of David. This account bears a valuable testimony that we need to guard against temptation and ensure we are keeping the commandments of God.


2 Samuel 1–10 David becomes king, first of the tribe of Judah and then of all of Israel. He takes the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem and offers to build a temple, but the Lord forbids him from doing so. The Lord is with David as he defeats many nations. He exercises wise judgment and governs his kingdom with both justice and mercy.

2 Samuel 11–12 David lusts after Bathsheba and commits adultery with her. Bathsheba conceives a child, and David tries to make it appear as though Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, is the father. When this plan does not work, David then arranges for Uriah to be killed in battle and takes Bathsheba as a wife. The Lord reveals to Nathan the prophet what David has done, and Nathan exposes David’s sin by means of a parable. Nathan prophesies of the tragedy and misery that will come upon David and his household.

2 Samuel 13–24 David’s family is fractured by lust and murder. His son Absalom conspires against him and seeks the throne. David strives to reign uprightly and is able to maintain control of the kingdom.