The Old Testament | The Books of History

2 Samuel

Things to know
Where does the book begin?

The book begins just after King Saul died.

Where does the book end?

The book ends just after David made his last sacrifice*.

People to know


Places to go

David sang a sad song.
2 Samuel 1

David became king.
2 Samuel 5

God made a promise to David.
2 Samuel 7

David sinned* and the prophet* told a story.
2 Samuel 11-12

David’s sang a song of praise.
2 Samuel 22

The Story of 2 Samuel

The second book of Samuel is a book of stories. The stories tell us about the life of David. It is a record of his life. That means that all of these stories are true.

After king Saul died, Israel* broke into two parts. People called the north part Israel*. They called the south part Judah. Judah and Israel* fought to see who would be the next king. The first stories in the book tell how David became king of all parts of the land.

When David became the king, the people were happy. They saw that David would be a good king. He took back the city of Jerusalem from their enemies. He made it a great city. He brought the ark* of God there.  David even wanted to build a temple* for God in Jerusalem. But God sent the prophet* Nathan to say that David would not build a temple*. Instead, one of David’s sons would build a house for God in Jerusalem. And God would give one of David’s sons a kingdom* that would last for ever.[1]

David did many great things as king. He built a strong army. He made the nation strong. In many ways, he set an example of how people should follow God. He was kind to Saul’s family. He gave thanks to God for helping him defeat his enemies. He wrote beautiful songs of praise* to God. He spoke prayers that showed how he put his trust* in God.

David was a great king. But David was not a perfect king.  He was not the king that Moses or the prophets* had hoped for.[2] You can see this when you read the last parts of the book. There, you read many sad stories about David. David took another man’s wife. David then murdered this man. David told some lies. And David made some decisions about his family that were not wise.

David did many things that did not please God. But there was a good part to these stories. When David saw what he had done wrong, he returned to God. He confessed his evil* actions to God. He accepted God’s punishment. And he kept on trusting God. God said some very hard things to David.[3] But David did not turn away from God. He believed that God is good. David believed that God would keep his promises.

In the last part of this book, we read about David’s last days. We see his last act of worship*. We read his last words. David had many problems in his life. He still had many enemies. He had made many mistakes. But David never lost his hope* in God. He sang praises to God because of the promises that God made. One of those psalms* is included near the end of 2 Samuel.[4]  David wrote his ‘last words’ at the end of that song. In those words, he told how he hoped in God’s everlasting* covenant’.[5]

David spent his last years building a great army. He surrounded himself with great soldiers. But the last thing David did was one of the most important. He purchased some land so he could make a sacrifice* to God. That land would become the place where God’s temple* would be built.

  • [1] 2 Samuel 7:15,16
  • [2] See Genesis 49:10
  • [3] 2 Samuel 12:11-12
  • [4] 2 Samuel 22; see Psalm 18
  • [5] 2 Samuel 23:5

The Old Testament | The Books of History