Book of the Week 10: II Samuel

Hebrew Name: Shmuel Bet

Human Author: Unknown                                                  

OT or NT: Old Testament

Number of Chapters: 24

Basic Facts

  1. II Samuel is the tenth book of the Bible.
  2. II Samuel is classified as a book of history.
  3. I Samuel and II Samuel were originally one book.
  4. The Hebrew name for II Samuel is Shmuel Bet, which means “heard by God – two.”
  5. II Samuel is named after Samuel the judge. His name means “heard by God.”

Story of the Book

The story of II Samuel begins just after the death of king Saul. The story continues as God has David anointed as king over Judah and then over all of Israel. (Ishbosheth briefly reigns over northern Israel except for Judah until David is anointed as king of all Israel.) II Samuel also contains the stories of Israel’s conquest of the surrounding nations under David: David’s conquering of Jerusalem, bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, God’s promise to David of an eternal dynasty through his royal line, and David’s faithfulness to Jonathan. The book finishes out with David’s sin with Bathsheba, the prophet Nathan confronting David, trouble in David’s family including the death of two of his sons, a time of national rebellion against king David, and the end of David’s reign. The book focuses on God establishing his covenant with king David and God’s promise of an everlasting reign through his royal dynasty.

Jesus Foreshadowed in II Samuel

II Samuel 7:8-17 is perhaps one of the most important passages in the Old Testament. In this passage, God announces what He will do for David by giving him a son to succeed him on the throne of Israel. The immediate context is clear that this passage is about Solomon, David’s son and heir to the throne. God's promise that this son of David would build a house for God is fulfilled when the Temple is built under Solomon’s command (II Samuel 7:13; I Kings 6:1-38). In addition, God promises to punish David’s son when he commits iniquity (II Samuel 7:14). This also proves this verse is not about Jesus but about Solomon, for Jesus never sins (Hebrews 4:15). However, the promise to establish the throne of Solomon forever goes beyond Solomon’s life: “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever” (II Samuel 7:16). From history, we know that the reign of David’s line ended when the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and carried the last remnant of Judah into exile in 586 BC. Therefore, the only way this promise of God could be fulfilled is if an everlasting king is established who will reign forever. Jesus Christ, the human heir in the royal line of David and the divine Son of God, is the only one who can fulfill this promise. The eternal reign of the risen and reigning Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to David (Luke 1:33; Revelation 11:15).