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The Second Book of Samuel, commonly called Second Samuel and written as 2nd Samuel (or simply 2 Samuel) is the tenth book of the Old Testament and also the tenth book of the Bible. 2nd Samuel chronicles the events that took place during the time of David's reign as king over Israel, the exploits that he undertook, the battles he had fought, the transgressions with Uriah the Hittite's wife, Bathsheba, and the misfortunes that fell upon him and his family.
Beginning where 1 Samuel left off, the story of David continues with a report of the death of King Saul in battle. Following a civil war against Saul's son Ishbosheth, David takes the throne of all twelve tribes of Israel. He would be successful up unto the time that he foolishly committed adultery with the wife of one of his closest friends.
After this, his hold on Jerusalem, the new capitol, was threatened time and time again. Having had many sons by many wives, several of whom rose up against him before his favorite son, Solomon ascended to the throne.
The largest theme throughout Second Samuel, is David's establishment as the King of Israel. In the beginning of the book God promises David that his throne would endure forever. God kept this promise with David throughout the events in the text.
While the first ten chapters document the rise of David as King and his power, chapter eleven documents the darker nature of David. As all humans have sinned, David sins against God by murdering Uriah and taking his wife, even after having great power.
Based on internal testimony, the final draft of this book was not written until the days of the divided kingdom after the death of Solomon. As with 1 Samuel, the human hands used by God to write and edit its "sequel" are not known with any certainty today. The material indicates that eyewitnesses would have provided written records of the life and times of Israel's great king.
The writings of the prophets Nathan and Gad were undoubtedly the primary sources, but other records may have been consulted. However, it is important to realize that First and Second Samuel has first existed as a single book. At first, the two books were known as "the First Book of Kings" by the Hebrews. In later Greek translations, the name "Samuel" and subsequent division came with Latin and later with most modern translations of the Bible.
Second Samuel itself is a historical account. As the standard historical account, it contains many chapters each with several paragraphs that give many details on historical events. All of the sentences of the historical account are declarative. As with most historical accounts, there is much dialogue which documents the conversations between different people.
While Second Samuel is a historical account, it contains dialogue from people that would be considered "Poetry". The first instance of this is David's lament for Saul and Jonathan, which is similar to the poetic style of the Book of Lamentations (this lament was also recorded in the Book of Jasher). Yet again David makes anther lament when Abner, the former commander-in-chief of Saul's army died. David also gives a prayer after God established his throne, which reflects the same writing and musical praise style in the Book of Psalms. David also sings a song of praise after he had been delivered from all his enemies, this is also recorded in the Book of Psalms. The final words of David themselves were even poetic, perhaps purposely, because of the significance of them
There are also many records in Second Samuel, that are written in a style meant specifically for record keeping. The records in Second Samuel are all about governmental officials, and military workers who belonged and were under the jurisdiction of the House of David.
I. David rules at Hebron
- A. David learns of Saul's death (1:1-16)
- C. David's contest with Israel (2:1-4:12)
II. David rules at Jerusalem
- A. The Capture of Jerusalem (5:1-25)
- B. The Bringing up the Ark (6:1-23)
- C. The Davidic Covenant (7:1-29)
- D. The extension of the kingdom (8:1-10:19)
- E. David's sin with Bathsheba (11:1-12:31)
III. David's flight and return (15:1-17:23)
- A. Absalom's usurpation and David's escape (17:24-19:7)
- B. The Civil War (17:24-19:7)
- C. David's return to Jerusalem (19:8-43)
IV. Last days of David's reign
- A. Sheba's rebellion (20:1-26)
- B. Gibeonite's revenge (21:1-14)
- C. War against Philistia (21:15-22)
- D. Song of Deliverance (22:1-51)
- E. David's last testimony (23:1-7)
- A. David's Mighty Men (23:8-9)
- B. David's unwise census (24:1-25)