“Unit 18: Day 4, 2 Samuel 1–10,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 18: Day 4,” Old Testament Study Guide
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 Ish-bosheth 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 because he took hold of the ark of the covenant without authority 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.
List some of the ways you benefit from having the Lord’s guidance in your life:
As you study 2 Samuel 1–6, look for truths you can learn from David’s example of seeking the Lord’s guidance in order to accomplish what the Lord had asked him to do.
In 2 Samuel 1–5 we read that after David mourned the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, he was anointed king of the tribe of Judah. One of Saul’s sons, Ish-bosheth, became king of the remaining tribes, and his forces engaged in a long war with David’s forces. David and his armies eventually took control. David was then anointed king over all of Israel.
Read 2 Samuel 5:1–10. The conquest of Jerusalem by David was an important historical change for Judah and Israel; the capital was moved from the Judean city of Hebron to a neutral location that both the southern and the northern tribes of Israel supported.
One of David’s first challenges as king of Israel was battling the Philistines. Read 2 Samuel 5:18–21, looking for what David asked the Lord and what the Lord told him.
How did David respond to the Lord’s instructions? What was the result?
Read 2 Samuel 5:22–25, looking for what the Lord told David when the Philistines came up to battle a second time.
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.
- Complete the following assignments in your scripture study journal:
Answer the following question: What two things did David do that made him successful in his military campaign against the Philistines?
Complete the following principle based on what we can learn from David’s example: If we inquire of the Lord and follow His direction, then …
Write about a time when you asked the Lord for guidance and followed His direction. What was the result as you acted on that prompting?
Early in his reign, David transported the ark of the covenant, which contained the tablets upon which the Ten Commandments were written, to the new capital, Jerusalem. “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 for his sins” (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2001], 188).
Read 2 Samuel 6:3–7, looking for what happened as the Israelites were transporting the ark to Jerusalem.
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 (see also 1 Chronicles 15:2). Why do you think the consequence for Uzzah trying to steady the ark when “the oxen shook it” (2 Samuel 6:6) was so severe?
The following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles can help you understand why the consequence was so severe: “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 , 15).
- Based on your understanding of what the ark represented, explain in your own words why Uzzah was punished so severely.
Steadying the ark can be compared to trying to correct some perceived problem in the Church or with a leader without having the authority to do so.
Read the following statement by President David O. McKay, looking for additional dangers that come from seeking to correct or direct Church leaders or members without the authority to do so: “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).
You might consider writing the following truth in the margin next to 2 Samuel 6:3–7: Those who attempt to direct God’s work without His authority bring spiritual death upon themselves.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What did President McKay say happens to people who try to “steady the ark”?
How might people today try to correct or direct God’s work even though they lack the authority to do so?
What can you do to avoid “steadying the ark” in your own life?
In 2 Samuel 6:8–23 we read that 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.
Read 2 Samuel 7:1–2, looking for where David was living and what concerned him.
Because David did not feel right about the ark of the covenant (which represented the Lord’s presence) being housed in a tent, he desired to build a temple, or another house where the Israelites could keep the ark.
Read 2 Samuel 7:5, 12–13, looking for what the Lord told David about building a temple.
The Lord told the prophet Nathan that David should not build a temple (see 1 Chronicles 22:8). 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.
Read the chapter headings for 2 Samuel 8–10. In these chapters we learn that the Lord blessed and preserved David as he reigned in righteousness.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 2 Samuel 1–10 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: