Highlights From Bible Reading: 2 Samuel > Information for personal study
Jehovah’s Word Is Alive
Highlights From the Book of Second SamuelDOES recognizing Jehovah’s sovereignty require our perfect obedience? Does a man of integrity always do what is right in God’s eyes? What kind of individual does the true God find “agreeable to his heart”? (1 Samuel 13:14) The Bible book of Second Samuel gives satisfying answers to these questions.
Second Samuel was written by Gad and Nathan, two prophets who were close to King David of ancient Israel. Completed in about 1040 B.C.E., toward the end of David’s 40-year kingship, the book is primarily about David and his relationship with Jehovah. This thrilling narrative relates how a strife-torn nation becomes a prosperous united kingdom under a valiant king. The gripping drama is packed with human emotions expressed with deep intensity.
DAVID BECOMES “GREATER AND GREATER”(2 Samuel 1:1–10:19)
David’s response to the news of the death of Saul and Jonathan reveals his feelings for them and for Jehovah. In Hebron, David is appointed king over the tribe of Judah. Saul’s son Ish-bosheth is made king over the rest of Israel. David goes on “getting greater and greater,” and some seven and a half years later, he is made king over all Israel.—2 Samuel 5:10.
David captures Jerusalem from the Jebusites and makes it the capital of his kingdom. His first attempt to transfer the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem results in disaster. However, the second attempt succeeds, and David dances for joy. Jehovah makes a covenant with David for a kingdom. David subdues his enemies as God continues to be with him.
Scriptural Questions Answered:2:18—Why were Joab and his two brothers identified as the three sons of Zeruiah, their mother? In the Hebrew Scriptures, genealogies were usually reckoned through the father. Zeruiah’s husband may have died prematurely, or he could have been considered unsuitable for inclusion in the Sacred Record. It is possible that Zeruiah was listed because she was David’s sister or half sister. (1 Chronicles 2:15, 16) The only reference to the father of the three brothers is in connection with his burial place at Bethlehem.—2 Samuel 2:32.
3:29—What is meant by “a man taking hold of the twirling spindle”? Women customarily did the weaving of cloth. Therefore, this expression may refer to men who were unfit for such activities as warfare and who were thus obliged to do the work usually done by a woman.
5:1, 2—How long after Ish-bosheth’s assassination was David made king over all Israel? It seems reasonable to conclude that Ish-bosheth began his two-year-long kingship shortly after Saul’s death, about the same time David began his in Hebron. David ruled over Judah from Hebron for seven and a half years. Soon after being made king over all Israel, he shifted his capital to Jerusalem. Hence, about five years elapsed after Ish-bosheth’s death before David became king over all Israel.—2 Samuel 2:3, 4, 8-11; 5:4, 5.
8:2—How many Moabites were executed after Israel’s conflict with them? The number may have been determined by measuring rather than by counting. It seems that David had the Moabites lie down side by side on the ground in a row. Next, he had the row measured with the length of a line, or a cord. Apparently, two line measures, or two thirds of the Moabites, were put to death, and one line measure, or one third of them, were spared.
Lessons for Us:2:1; 5:19, 23. David inquired of Jehovah before taking up residence in Hebron and prior to going up against his enemies. We too should seek Jehovah’s guidance before making decisions that affect our spirituality.
3:26-30. Revenge reaps sad consequences.—Romans 12:17-19.
3:31-34; 4:9-12. David’s lack of vindictiveness and ill will is exemplary.
5:12. We should never forget that Jehovah has educated us in his ways and made a good relationship with him possible.
6:1-7. Though David was well-meaning, his attempt to move the Ark in a wagon was in violation of God’s command and resulted in failure. (Exodus 25:13, 14; Numbers 4:15, 19; 7:7-9) Uzzah’s grabbing hold of the Ark also shows that good intentions do not change what God requires.
6:8, 9. In a trialsome situation, David first became angry, then afraid—perhaps even blaming Jehovah for the tragedy. We must guard against blaming Jehovah for problems that result from ignoring his commands.
7:18, 22, 23, 26. David’s humility, exclusive devotion to Jehovah, and interest in exalting God’s name are qualities for us to imitate.
8:2. A prophecy uttered some 400 years earlier is fulfilled. (Numbers 24:17) Jehovah’s word always comes true.
9:1, 6, 7. David kept his promise. We too must endeavor to keep our word.
JEHOVAH RAISES UP CALAMITY AGAINST HIS ANOINTED(2 Samuel 11:1–20:26)
“Here I am raising up against you calamity out of your own house,” Jehovah says to David, “and I will take your wives under your own eyes and give them to your fellowman, and he will certainly lie down with your wives under the eyes of this sun.” (2 Samuel 12:11) What is the reason for this pronouncement? It is David’s sin with Bath-sheba. Though repentant David is forgiven, he is not spared the consequences of his sin.
First the child that Bath-sheba gives birth to dies. Then David’s virgin daughter Tamar is raped by her half brother Amnon. Her full brother Absalom murders Amnon in revenge. Absalom conspires against his own father and proclaims himself king in Hebron. David is forced to flee Jerusalem. Absalom has relations with ten of his father’s concubines left behind to take care of the house. David returns to his kingship only after Absalom is killed. A revolt by the Benjaminite Sheba ends in Sheba’s death.
Scriptural Questions Answered:14:7—What is symbolized by “the glow of my charcoals”? The glow of slow-burning charcoal is used to denote a living offspring.
19:29—Why did David respond the way he did to Mephibosheth’s explanation? Upon hearing Mephibosheth, David must have realized that he erred when he took Ziba’s words at face value. (2 Samuel 16:1-4; 19:24-28) Very likely, this irritated David, and he did not want to hear anything further about the matter.
Lessons for Us:11:2-15. The candid account of David’s shortcomings testifies to the fact that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.
11:16-27. When we commit a serious sin, we should not try to cover it over as David did. Rather, we should confess our sin to Jehovah and seek help from the elders in the congregation.—Proverbs 28:13; James 5:13-16.
12:1-14. Nathan set a fine example for appointed elders in the congregation. They are to help those who fall into sin to correct their course. The elders must discharge this responsibility skillfully.
12:15-23. Having the correct view of what befell him helped David to respond properly to adversity.
15:12; 16:15, 21, 23. When it appeared that Absalom would ascend to the throne, pride and ambition led the brilliant counselor Ahithophel to become a traitor. Having intelligence without humility and loyalty can be a snare.
19:24, 30. Mephibosheth was truly appreciative of David’s loving-kindness. He willingly submitted to the king’s decision about Ziba. Appreciation for Jehovah and his organization should move us to be submissive.
20:21, 22. The wisdom of one person can avert a disaster for many.—Ecclesiastes 9:14, 15.
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