The second book of Samuel, or 2 Samuel, is all about King David. All the great tales about this mythical figure of King David can be found here. This follows up on 1 Samuel, where he had his troubles with King Saul. Here King David is center stage with all of his problems. In fact, the book ends with King David still in control, although there are hints of his departure with his last words.
Obviously, like the first book of Samuel, the final redaction was sometime in the sixth century before Christ, as part of the Deuteronomist history tradition. The main source of this work was probably the Court History of David. That would include chapters nine to twenty (9-20) in 2 Samuel. It really reads like a historical novel.
2 Samuel begins with the brutal murder of the Amalekite messenger who brought David the news that Saul and Jonathan were dead. David lamented the death of both of them in an eulogy. David then became King of Judah at Hebron. Finally, he was accepted by the remaining tribes after the defeat of Abner, Saul’s leader of the army, and Saul’s son Ishbaal. Both of them were killed by Joab, David’s nephew, the leader of David’s army. However, David was not pleased at their deaths.
David then captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites. He made it his royal city and residence by bringing the Ark of the Covenant from Abinadab to Jerusalem. This story of David is about the consolidation of the monarchy in Israel. Yahweh caused Israel to prosper under David’s rule. Obviously David defeated all his enemies.
David wanted to build a temple for Yahweh, but the prophet Nathan told David that he was not to build a temple. Instead Yahweh was going to build David an everlasting dynasty. His descendants would be theocratic kings, speaking for God, like the divine rights of kings. David extended the rule of Israel.
David tended to tolerate the wickedness of his sons. He let Joab, his nephew and leader of the army, kill people as he saw fit. David, however, was very generous to Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s crippled son. Along with his many victories against many enemies, David had time to make Bathsheba his 8th wife. Nathan the prophet rebuked David as the infant son of Bathsheba died. Then she gave birth to another son called Solomon. With so many wives there was bound to be intrigue, violence, murder, incest, and bloodshed among his many children.
Then his son exiled son Absalom led a rebellion against his father David. Absalom had killed his brother Amnon, who had raped his sister Tamar. David was forced to leave Jerusalem. Eventually. Joab led an attack to get David back to the throne. However, in the fight Joab killed Absalom which also upset David. There was another rebellion, and of course, Joab put it down and killed the rebels.
The book ends with David’s own words of praise, like Psalm 18 because Yahweh had delivered him from all his enemies. However, David lives on in this book. In fact, one of his last acts is the erection of an altar from on threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 2 Samuel is really David’s book, his life and times.