A Man After God’s Own Heart: Why Study Second (II) Samuel

If you want to learn about the 40 year reign of King David, II Samuel is the Bible book to study. After seeing this anointed, amazing man of integrity rise up to national prominence in I Samuel, here we see him take the throne of Israel. In some ways, he sets the stage for ‘Israel’s golden age’ where enemies are subdued, Jerusalem is captured and made capital, the Ark of God is brought to the royal city, and plans are made for a glorious temple.

Yet, the Bible gives a candid portrait of our hero: he transgresses the law of God, commits covetousness, theft, adultery, and murder, then pays for those sins for the rest of his life. Despite this colossal moral failure at the height of his success, David did what only the minority ever do: he repented. This, and his heart of worship, demonstrate that he continued to be a man after God’s own heart. II Samuel will help you to learn invaluable lessons of God’s interaction with His people and how to walk uprightly.


The original name of the book comes from Samuel, or shmu’el. This can be translated ‘heard of God,’ ‘petitioned of God,’ or even ‘his name is God.’ Though it, along with II Samuel, were originally one account in Hebrew, in the 285 BC Greek language translation of the Hebrew Bible, known as the Septuagint (LXX), separates the two books.


The consensus is that II Samuel is a compilation from the prophets Gad and Nathan. Apparently, there is some reference from the Book of Jasher (1:18). Written after death of Solomon but before the Assyrian captivity of 722 BC, there are hints of the rivalry between Judah and Israel. This rivalry erupts into a full-blown schism in I Kings 12. Lessons about obedience and blessing, disobedience and punishment, also are prominent themes in II Samuel.


Jesus is the ‘root and offspring of David’ (Revelation 22:16), the heir to his throne who will reign forever. He is the ‘man after God’s own heart’ (I Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), the faithful servant of God who rules from the throne first established by Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18), which is Jerusalem.


II Samuel is the story of David’s 40 year reign. It begins with some great triumphs, like the elimination of the Ishbosheth threat, conquest of Jerusalem, subduing of the Philistines, alliance with Tyre, bringing the ark to Jerusalem, and receiving the Davidic covenant. 

However, after David became successful and careless, he sinned grievously. This began a period of tragedy, including the death of his faithful mighty man Uriah the Hittite, the death of his infant son by Bathsheba, the rape of his daughter Tamar, the murder of her treacherous half-brother Amnon, the rebellions of Absalom and Sheba, a famine because of the Gibeonites, and the dreadful plague after the foolish census.

The theme: Obedience to God (chapters 1-7) bring God’s blessing; however, sin (11) brings punishment (12-24). To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).


And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever — II Samuel 7:12-13

The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me II Samuel 22:21


    The Davidic covenant (7; I Chronicles 11): This is one of the most important parts of the Bible. It is by this covenant that David is promised a son and heir who would reign from his throne forever. In addition, David son will be simultaneously God’s Son. This ‘Son of David is known as ‘the Messiah,’ the ‘anointed one.’ Of course, this Son is none other than Jesus of Nazareth. When He came the first time, He was crucified as ‘The King of the Jews.’ When He comes the second time, it will be to reign over the whole world from David’s throne in Jerusalem.

   Sin of David: The Bible does not try to air-brush the faults of its heroes and David is no exception. His sin with Bathsheba and the subsequent trouble in his family serves as a warning to us all. Galatians 6:7 says Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Let us remember that we will reap what we sow, therefore let us sow to the Spirit, not to the flesh.


I.         Victories of David (1:1-10:19)

    Political Victories (1:1-5:25): Reign in Hebron, overcoming the Ishbosheth threat, conquest and reign in Jerusalem, defeat of the Philistines, alliance with Tyre
    Spiritual Victories (6:1-7:29): The ark is brought to Jerusalem, Davidic covenant ratified.
    Military Victories (8:1-10:19): Over the Philistines; Moabites, Zobah, Syrians, and Ammonites. He also remembers his covenant with Jonathan and treats his son Mephibosheth with respect.

II.      Sin of David (11:1-27)

    David covets Bathsheba
    David steals Bathsheba
    David commits adultery with Bathsheba
    David murders her husband, Uriah the Hittite

III.    Judgment in David’s Family (12:1-13:36)

    Nathan’s prophecy and David’s repentance
    Infant son of Bathsheba and David dies; Solomon is born
    Amnon rapes sister Tamar
    Amnon murdered by Tamar’s brother, Absalom

IV.   Judgment in David’s Kingdom (13:37-24:25)

    Absalom’s revolt
    Absalom murdered, rebellion ends
    Sheba’s revolt & execution
    Famine due to the Gibeonites
    Mighty men and Philistine war
    Foolish census
    Plague as a judgement for the census
    Sacrifice at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite


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