2 Samuel

Introduction to II Samuel

See the Introduction to I Samuel for background information on both I and II Samuel. The two books were originally considered as one book when first incorporated by the Israelites into their sacred Scriptures. As noted there, it is probable that the two prophets Nathan and Gad were primarily responsible for the material in II Samuel, since Samuel himself had died before any of the events recorded therein. Both Nathan and Gad had served David as prophets, both outlived David, and both wrote accounts related to David’s reign (I Chronicles 29:29).

This book deals almost entirely with the reign of David. It records the establishment of Israel’s (eventually Judah’s) capital at Jerusalem, and also the great Messianic promise to David (II Samuel 5:6-9; 7:12-16). The account of his great sin concerning Uriah and Bathsheba is found in II Samuel 11–12, and the rebellion of Absalom in II Samuel 15–18. The book closes with the account of his sin and punishment concerning his self-willed census-taking (II Samuel 24), near the end of his reign.

It is worth noting that the two books of Samuel and the two books of Kings were called in the Septuagint translation the four “Books of the Kingdom.” The Latin Vulgate later called them the four “Books of Kings.” It was not until the sixteenth century that the present terminology for the four books began to be used.

In view of the subject matter in II Samuel, it could well have been called the book of David. As such, it is one of the key books in the Old Testament.

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