Updated: Mar 9, 2021
4. The parts of the book are three. I. The happy state of King David and his Kingdom (2 Samuel 1-10). II. The unhappy state of King David and his Kingdom because of great sins (2 Samuel 11-18). III. The restoration of King David and his Kingdom for the better (2 Samuel 19-24). A Synoptic Table, and the Interpreters of the book, Ancient, Reformed, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Hebrew.
With respect to the order of the book, in the first place is described in it the Kingdom of David, initially of Judah only, then also of Israel, and so with the state of the Twelve tribes hitherto flourishing, and increasing by amazing degrees of prosperity (2 Samuel 1-10). Second, the state of the same Kingdom, and especially of King David, changed for the worse, after he himself, having sadly slipped into adultery and murder, turned the wheel of his own flourishing condition (2 Samuel 11-18). Third, the happier state of the King and Kingdom, restored somewhat to its former condition (2 Samuel 19-24). Therefore, these three parts of the book are able to be established in a general way.
I. The happy state of King David, and of his Kingdom, Chapters 1-10. See:
1. The grief of David on account of the calamitous death of Saul and Jonathan, with which related (verses 1-12), he exacts punishment of the one that was professing himself killer (verses 13-16), and laments death of the heroes with a mourning song (verses 17-27): chapter 1.
2. The succession of David unto the Kingdom of Judah, with the men of Judah anointing him at Hebron (verses 1-4), who then, thanking the men of Jabesh for the kindness shown to Saul, promises his care of them (verses 5-7): chapter 2:1-7.
3. His succession to the Kingdom of Israel. See:
a. The impediment, Ish-bosheth obtruded by Abner. See:
α. The attempt of Abner, who, being about to obtrude Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul, upon the Kingdom of Israel (verses 8-11), with war arising from both sides, is routed with his own (verses 12-32): chapter 2:8-32.
β. The losses of Ish-bosheth, but the advances of David, his numerous offspring, the restoration of his wife Michal, and the league of the Israelites revolting from Ish-bosheth by the labor of Abner (verses 1-21), whom Joab soon perfidiously murders, with David grieving and protesting much (verses 22-39): chapter 3.
γ. The murder of Ish-bosheth (verses 1-8), and the punishment of death inflicted by David upon the villains (verses 9-12): chapter 4.
b. The succession of David itself, with the hindrance removed (verses 1-5): chapter 5:1-5.
4. The affairs prosperously conucted:
a. Ecclesiastical, as:
α. The occupation and renewal of Zion (verses 6-10), at which time also friendship was entered upon with the King of Tyre (verse 11), his family enlarged (verses 12-16), and the Philistines, invading the kingdom, repulsed in two battles (verses 17-25): chapter 5:6-25.
β. His care in conveying the ark from Kiriath-Jearim to Zion (verses 1-3), in which conveyance Uzzah, rashly stretching his hand to the ark, is immediately stricken dead by God (verses 4-7); for which reason dismayed, David commits the ark to Obed-edom (verse 8-11), until, having heard of his prosperity, he brings it to himself with much dancing, being derided by Michael in vain (verses 12-23): chapter 6.
γ. His plan concerning the building of the house of God, approved by Nathan at first (verses 1-3), but soon prevented by the same at the commandment of God, with God declaring that it is reserved for his seed, and revealing many things concerning his Kingdom, to be perfectly fulfilled in Christ (verses 4-17), for which David professes super abounding thanks to the Lord (verses 18-29): chapter 7.
b. Political, as:
α. War against the Philistines, Moabites, Damascenes, and Edomites, conducted with perfect success (verses 1-6), with vast spoils of gold and brass rendered and consecrated to God: and with the King of Hamath, sending gifts, received into confidence (verses 7-14): with the whole polity appointed in an illustrious manner (verses 15-18): chapter 8.
β. David’s piety toward the house of Saul (verses 1, 2), and his liberality toward Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan, on account his recollection of the covenant made with Jonathan (verses 3-13): chapter 9.
γ. War against the Ammonites, who had treated David’s legates shamefully, conducted with success, with Joab and Abishai as Generals (verses 1-14): whom, furnished with new auxiliaries, he smites again, and forces to seek peace (verses 15-19): chapter 10.
II. The unhappy state of King David, and of his Kingdom, because of his great sins, Chapters 11-18. See:
1. The cause of the unhappiness, namely, David, remaining at home at leisure, with war renewed against the Ammonites (verses 1), committing adultery with Bath-sheba, whose husband, Uriah, he sends to Joab, to be exposed to enemies in a disadvantageous place in the battle and killed (verses 2-25), with the widowed wife of the same afterwards received into the bonds of marriage (verses 26, 27): chapter 11.
2. A most grievous rebuke of David by Nathan, who, in a parable inquiring what is right, at length recalls him to an awareness of his sin, and promises pardon to him upon repentance, although conjoined with punishments: chapter 12:1-14.
3. David’s various punishments, sent on account of the preceding sins. Now, they are:
a. The death of his infant son, born from their secret intercourse, for whose life he pleads in vain with fasting, weeping, and payers. Yet, this punishment is tempered by the subsequent birth of Solomon, the storming of Rabbah, and the grievous punishments exacted from the Ammonites: chapter 12:15-31.
b. The incest of Amnon with his sister, Tamar, whom, as he was at first obsessed with her, so, having forced her (verses 1-14), he then casts her out, hating her (verses 15-19): with Absalom, to whom Tamar had fled, arranging to have him killed at a feast (verses 20-33), and living in exile with his maternal grandfather for three years (verses 34-39): chapter 13.
c. The exile of his son, Absalom, from which, by the effort of Joab, who suborned the woman of Tekoah to plead the case of the exile before David by a parable (verses 1-20), having been recalled, and for two years excluded from the company of the King (verses 21-29), with the same Joab helping, he at length obtains free admission to his Father (verses 30-33): chapter 14.
d. The treachery of Absalom, having been restored to the favor of the King, whereby he, taking up impious arms against him, drives him from the Kingdom: chapters 15-18. See:
α. The flight of David from the city on account of the conspiracy of his son (verses 1-17), yet devising in the midst of that flight the things that were pertaining to the overthrow of the counsels of Absalom (verses 18-37): chapter 15.
β. The harassment of David in exile, both by Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, by whom deceived, he awards his master’s goods to him (verses 1-4): and by Shimei, the son of Gera, by whose criminal abuses flayed, he, being conscious of the Divine judgment, abstains from vengeance (verses 5-14): and by Absalom, openly coming together with the concubines of his father, with Hushai in the meantime flattering Absalom, who had come into Jerusalme, with ambiguous words, and insinuating himself into his counsel (verses 15-23): chapter 16.
γ. The machinations of Ahithophel against David, whose counsel is overcome by Hushai, suggesting to Absalom counsel, beneficial to David, but destructive to him (verses 1-21), relying upon which David passes over Jordan, and is aided by supplies from his friends: Ahithophel, on the other hand, in sorrow over frustrated counsel, hangs himself (verses 22, 23): David forces his way out of new danger (verses 24-29): chapter 17.
δ. The defeat of Absalom, inflicted on him by the army of David, and the generals Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, but with David remaining in Mahanaim (verses 1-8), with Absalom fleeing into a forest, and there, while he was hanging suspended by his hair from an oak, killed by Joab (verses 9-15), buried, and greatly mourned by his father (verses 16-33): chapter 18.
III. The restoration of King David, and his Kingdom, unto a better state, Chapters 19-24. See:
1. The restoration of David to the Kingdom after his immoderate mourning over the death of Absalom: with the tribe of Judah and the rest of the tribes of Israel competing in his restoration (verses 1-15), where also is the entreaty of Shimei (verses 16-23), the restoration of Mephibosheth (verses 24-30), and the adoption of Chimham, recommended by Barzillai, into the family of the King (verses 31-43): chapter 19.
2. The bringing back of the King to Jerusalem by the tribe of Judah, with Sheba, the son of Bichri, impious leader of a new rebellion of Israelites, subdued by Joab (who treacherously killed Amasa) and Abishai, by whose death all agitation was repressed (verses 1-26): chapter 20.
3. The matters conducted by him after his full restoration:
a. Laudable, of which sort are:
α. The punishment of seven sons of Saul and their burial with Saul on account of the Gibeonites previously killed by Saul, asked by these, with famine pressing the land, for an atonement: chapter 21:1-14.
β. Four battles against the Philistines, in each of which a single giant was killed, waged by David with great success: chapter 21:15-22.
γ. The ἐπινίκιον/victory song of David, published by him at the end of his life (verse 1), wherein he celebrates God by recollecting His blessings, and promises to celebrate Him unto posterity (verses 2-51): chapter 22.
δ. The last words of David, in great part Prophetic (which are, as it were, his swan song and testament) (verse 1), in which, with thanks given to God for the blessing upon his house, he professes his faith in the coming Christ, and threatens destruction upon the sons of Belial, the enemies of Christ (verses 2-7), where also a catalogue of the leaders of David’s army is woven together, and his highest tribunes are commended for their strenuous management of affairs (verses 8-39): chapter 23.
b. Censurable, as when he, in measuring the strength of the people, by the instigation of Satan esteeming the power of his kingdom, not so much in Divine favor, as in the multitude of the people, numbers the people (verses 1-9), and stirs against himself the grievous anger of God, who, with a choice of three punishments given to David, and the three days’ pestilence chosen by him, pours out His anger upon the people; but He, soon taking pity upon penitent David and people, appoints an altar to be raised to Himself, and sacrifices to be offered in the place determined (verses 10-25): chapter 24.