Summary of 2 Samuel
Chapter by Chapter:
2 Samuel 23-24: Rulers Must be Just/David Sins; The Lord Sends Pestilence
After learning of Saul’s defeat by the Philistines, David sings a song lamenting over the deaths of Saul and his friend Jonathan. David travels back to Hebron where his followers and the tribe of Judah anoint him as king. During this time, Saul’s chief commander, Abner starts a sort of insurrection and instates Saul’s son, Ish-Bosheth as King of Israel. War follows between Abner’s men and the army of Joab (David’s general). Ish-Bosheth falsely accuses Abner of sleeping with one of his concubines, Abner decides to defect and go to the side of David. David welcomes Abner, and Abner convinces the other tribes of Israel to recognize David as king of Israel. Two of Ish-Bosheth’s men betray their ruler and cut his head off to present to David. David is horrified that these men committed such a crime and have both of them publicly executed. The tribes declare David, King.
David leads the Israelites onward into battle, conquering the city of Jerusalem. He builds a palace there and calls the area the “City of David” aka “Zion”. David takes care of a massive Philistine threat and manages to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. The Ark is brought in an elaborate procession with singing and dancing. Michal (David’s wife) is upset over his embarrassing act of dancing and singing. David’s prophet Nathan receives a message from God, the message is good. Israel will be granted rest from opposition and promises that the kingdom of David will last forever. David continues in enlarging his borders and making diplomatic relations with surrounding foreign nations.
One day, from the roof of David’s palace he sat and watched a woman bathing. Her name was Bathsheba, David summons for the woman and brings her into his bedroom and sleeps with her. He finds out shortly later that she became pregnant as a result of this lustful act. David, to try and cover up his sin calls for Bathsheba’s husband Uriah to be sent to the front lines, so he will die on the battle field. Uriah is killed on the battlefield and David marries Bathsheba. Nathan (David’s prophet) confronts David about this and tells him a parable. The parable is about a wealthy man who steals a poor man’s only prized sheep. David is outraged over this act of selfishness and that is when Nathan tells David that the story is about HIM! Nathan predicts that God will come down on David and his household for his sin. David repents and fasts for many days, but still when his son is born he dies during childbirth! Afterward David is forgiven and Bathsheba bares another son, Solomon.
David’s older son Amnon falls in love with his half-sister Tamar and rapes her. David is furious but does nothing. Tamar’s brother Absalom however is very unhappy and wants to do something about it. So he invited Amnon out to the country, where he and David’s other sons murder Amnon. Absalom flees to a city of refuge for 3 years. David, after having mourned for Amnon, allowes his son Absalom back to Jerusalem.
After coming back, Absalom plots a conspiracy to overthrow David and his throne. Through warmth and kindness and deceit he is pronounced King by his followers and David is forced to flee Jerusalem with his men and the people of the country side weep as they see him flee. One of Saul’s family members sees them and screams/shouts obscenities while throwing rocks at David and his men. David tells his men to just let him be. Absalom enters Jerusalem and in a display of defiance, rapes David’s concubines. Absalom’s aides advise him to attack David immediately, while another aide (a spy for David) convinces Absalom to wait and Absalom takes that aides advice. With this delay, David manages to get an army built up large enough to kill 20,000 of Absalom’s men in the forests of Ephraim. Absalom while riding through the forest in battle is caught by a branch and hangs. Joab finds him hanging in the tree and ignores David’s instructions to treat Absalom gently and drives three spears into Absaloms hanging body. When David finds out about the death he screams for his son.
To the frustration of his officials, David shows mercy to all of Absalom’s supporters who approach him for forgiveness, especially Absalom’s commander Amasa. David sends messengers to the leaders of Judah, and the tribe welcomes him back to Jerusalem. The remaining tribes (Absalom’s chief supporters) fear that David will be angry at them. An uprising follows, but Joab traps the rebels in a city and the city’s residents hand over the severed head of the rebel leader. Angered that David has shown mercy to Amasa, Joab stabs Amasa one day while pretending to greet him.
David rebuilds his throne with continued acts of local diplomacy and with military victories over the Philistines. He composes a song praising God as a loving and kind deliverer, and the narrator briefly recounts the feats of David’s most famous fighting men.