This book traces the history of Israel from the death of Saul to the end of David’s reign. We get a special glimpse of God’s hand in human events. We see how David rose to power because God selected him. We see how David’s heroic exploits were possible because God was with him. And we see how David’s disappointments show God’s justice and mercy.
It is not known for sure who wrote the book of II Samuel, but it tells David’s story and is named after the prophet who anointed David and guided him in living for God.
The book records David’s crowning as king over Judah in Hebron, and then king over all of Israel in Jerusalem (1-5). Chapter 6 tells how he brought the ark of the covenant back to the tabernacle. From here through chapter 10, it tells how he sustained victory after victory on the battlefield. However, he was not always victorious.
The record of lust, adultery, and murder is not easy reading as we see how David stumbled and fell into sin with Bathsheba (11-12). He also had serious family problems as his son Amnon raped his sister Tamar. When David found out about this, he was very angry, but he did not punish Amnon. When his son Absalom learned about the rape, he began to hate his brother and ended up murdering Amnon (13).
This was not the end of David’s family problems as Absalom caused the entire nation to rebel against David and crowned himself king. Eventually he was defeated and died (14-18). After this, the kingdom was in disarray, but David was able to take charge once again and successfully ruled until he turned it over to his son Solomon forty years later.
The story of this fallen hero does not end in tragedy. Through repentance, his fellowship and peace with God were restored, but he had to suffer the consequences of the sins he committed. The consequences stayed with him the rest of his life as a reminder of his sinful deeds and his need for God.
In spite of David’s terrible sin, he was a king who governed God’s people by God’s principles and one whom God blessed. As we read this book, we see his characteristics of faithfulness, patience, courage, generosity, honesty, modesty, and penitence. We can learn valuable lessons from his sins and his repentance.