SOURCE FOR QUESTIONS
2 Samuel 1:1 through 9:13
KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“Wherefore thou art great, O Lord God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.” (2 Samuel 7:22)
The Book of 2 Samuel is really a continuation of the Book of 1 Samuel. Originally, the two were written together as a history for the people of Israel and Judah. Together, the two books chronicle the transition in Israel from the time of the judges to the rule of the kings. They specifically tell the accounts of Samuel, Israel’s last ruling judge; Saul, Israel’s first king; and David, Israel’s second and greatest king.
The Book of 1 Samuel is concerned mostly with the reign of Saul, his downfall, God’s appointment of David to become the next king, and how God put the shepherd boy David into a position to become king.
The Book of 2 Samuel records the culmination of God’s plans for David. Finally, after David had spent many years running and hiding from Saul and his armies, the deaths of Saul and Jonathan had opened the throne to David. After asking God what he should do, he moved to Hebron and became king of Judah, but it was not until seven and a half years later (2 Samuel 5:5), that he finally was able to govern the unified kingdom of Israel. His reign lasted a total of forty years and six months.
Of note in this account is David’s attitude. No matter what happened, he was determined to honor God, and to honor Saul as God’s anointed king before him. This attitude is evident in the first chapter, when David learned of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan. David tore his clothing as a sign of mourning, and wept and fasted to show his grief. In chapter 1, verses 19-27, the author included David’s beautiful expression of honor and lament for the two men.
Although David had known for years that he would be Israel’s next king, his patient attitude regarding his actual appointment was exemplary. During the years of civil war between Judah (who had installed him as their king) and Israel (who were following Saul’s son Ish-bosheth and his advisors), David was willing to leave the matter with God. His attitude showed that he knew God would work it all out in His own time.
In chapters 6 and 7, the author tells how David brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem, and of David’s desire to build a permanent house of God to replace the Tabernacle. God honored David’s desire to please him by promising him that his throne would be established forever (2 Samuel 7:16).
Chapter 8 tells of David’s military victories, and chapter 9 tells the story of how David honored the descendents of Saul and Jonathan through Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth.
SUGGESTED RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS
- What was David’s immediate reaction when he learned of Saul’s death? What does this reveal about David’s character? 2 Samuel 1:11-12
Instead of rejoicing that his enemy was dead, David mourned the death of God’s anointed. He remembered Saul and honored him. This shows David as a man of integrity and honor. Ask your class what the natural reaction of a person would be in David’s position. Discuss what our attitudes and feelings should be when someone who opposes us fails. A hypothetical situation could be that a coworker who persecutes a Christian is demoted or fired from a job.
- In 2 Samuel 1:17-27, the author included David’s lament for Saul and Jonathan. Why do you suppose he did this?
This was the author’s way of establishing that David did not arrange for the deaths of Saul and Jonathan. His lament showed David’s honor of them in spite of the circumstances. This would have been an important aspect of establishing David as a person who was worthy to be Israel’s king. The people of Israel and Judah were observing David’s reaction. Bring out that those around us are also observing our reactions. If we honor God even in difficult times and we do not have a vengeful spirit, others will notice, and our credibility and witness will be increased.
- In 2 Samuel 2:18-28 and 3:17-39, the author tells about the civil war between Israel and Judah, including the report of the deaths of Asahel and Abner. Asahel was fighting for David (Judah), and Abner was on the side of Saul’s family (Israel). What is the end result of conflicts between individuals, families, and organizations?
The end result may be bitterness, pain, division, etc. In this case, the people from both sides knew each other. It is obvious from Abner’s response to Asahel that he did not want to kill him because he respected Asahel’s brother, Joab. Saul’s disobedience to God had far-reaching consequences even after his death, and one of these consequences was a bloody civil war that put brothers, friends, neighbors, and loved ones against each other in battle.
It is important to obey God and live as peaceably as we can with those around us. However, some conflict is inevitable within the human family. When we face conflict, we need to be sure our attitudes are right toward God and those around us, and do our best to resolve the issues with humility and soft words.
- The two traitors who killed Ishbosheth in chapter 4 expected to be rewarded by David for eliminating his rival. What was David’s reaction when they brought him Ishbosheth’s head?
Instead of rewarding them as they expected, he had them executed for their cold-blooded killing of a righteous man. David trusted in God; he knew that God had promised him the throne of Israel, so he did not need traitors to go and kill the king in order to get it. He knew that God would fulfill His promises. Lead your students into a discussion regarding how God will bring His will to pass without our intervention or the intervention of others.
- In 2 Samuel 6:1-11, what was David’s mistake in moving the Ark as he did? (See Exodus 25:10-22) In light of Exodus 25:22, why was it important for the Ark to be moved to Jerusalem?
The Ark was designed by God to be moved using staves that were passed through rings attached to the corners of the Ark. It was to be moved by the sons of Levi whose duty was to care for the Ark. Instead, David decided to transport the Ark in an ox-cart. When the cart became unstable, Uzzah, who was not a Levite and had not been cleansed, reached out to steady it. This was a grave offence, as we can read in Numbers 4:15. The Ark was a holy thing, and if it was touched by anyone other than the chosen priests, that person would die. God did not want the holiness of the Ark to be breached, so he killed Uzzah instantly when he touched the Ark.
The Ark was important because it signified God’s presence in Israel. In Exodus 25:22, God promised that His Spirit would dwell between the cherubims on the Mercy Seat of the Ark. This was a visual demonstration of God’s presence. Also, the Ark contained artifacts to remind the people of special times when God had protected and cared for them. Both for spiritual and morale reasons, it was important for the Ark to be in the capital city of David’s kingdom.
- In chapter 7, David expressed his desire to God to build a permanent dwelling for Him. What was God’s response to David’s desire?
Although it was not God’s plan for David to build His house, He was pleased with David’s desire to honor Him, and He gave David a number of promises. In verse 16, we read where God told David, “ . . . thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.” David trusted God to fulfill that promise. Jesus, a descendent of David, sits on the throne in Heaven forever fulfilling this promise that God made to David.
- In chapter 9, David sought out Saul’s descendent, Mephibosheth. What was his purpose in this, and how might this meeting have been different than what Mephibosheth expected it to be?
David wanted to honor Jonathan. He did this by restoring Saul’s land to Mephibosheth, giving him servants to work the land, and creating a permanent place for him at the king’s table. Mephibosheth might have expected that David would want to kill him since he was Saul’s last remaining heir and could have possibly made a claim to the throne. Instead, David gave him an honored place in the kingdom. Discuss why it is important to do right even though it might appear to be personally damaging.
- Throughout the text of this lesson, there are many incidents that show the quality of David’s character. What kind of person was David, and how did he please God?
David was a godly man who tried to walk before God with integrity and faithfulness. He continually showed respect for those who could have been his enemies, and he honored the places of authority that God allowed them to have.
In addition to this, David trusted God to bring about His plan for him. On several occasions people tried to help the plan along by killing David’s rivals, and they were met, each time, with punishment and dishonor rather than being rewarded for eliminating an enemy.
- In examining your own life, what are some elements of David’s character that you could cultivate in your own spiritual walk?
Use the students’ responses to develop a list of David’s admirable qualities. Discuss how we can nurture these qualities in our own lives. David honored God in his treatment of others, and he trusted God to work out His plan in David’s own life.
Just as he did for David, God has a plan for each of us. Sometimes it takes a while for God’s plan to come to completion. We can chafe at having to wait on God, or we can follow David’s example and use our waiting time to carefully develop godly character in our lives.