Jared Smith's Bible Reading

26 Bible Reading – The Book Of 2 Samuel

A Transcript Of The Video Study

This is the twenty-six study in the series, and we are looking at the book of 2 Samuel. As you know, the remaining thirty books of the Old Testament fit into one of three sections of history—the United Kingdom of Israel, the Divided Kingdom of Israel and the Exile/Return of Judah. The book of 2 Samuel belongs to the first of these time periods, and is the eleventh book to appear on the timeline.

The time period covered by the book is around 40 years. There are 24 chapters, and it takes approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes to read in a single sitting.

According to 1 Chronicles 29:29,30, we have reason to believe the book was written by two prophets—Nathan and Gad. As you may remember, these men also wrote the last chapters (25-31) of 1 Samuel, so it stands to reason, since originally 1 and 2 Samuel were one book, that Nathan and Gad are the authors also of 2 Samuel.

Apart from the human authorship, 2 Samuel is a divinely inspired book, meaning God breathed out His words through Nathan and Gad. The words of this book, therefore, are the words of God. They are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. They are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that we might be matured in the faith, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Tim 3:15-17)

In the book of 1 Samuel, you will remember we have the record of four men—Eli, Samuel, Saul and David. Eli and Samuel were both judges, whereas Saul and David were both kings. Eli was a priest-judge, whereas Samuel was a prophet-judge. Saul was the first king of Israel, David was the second king of Israel. The first quarter of the book records the ministries of Eli and Samuel, whereas the last three quarters of the book records the reigns of Saul and David. The reigns of Saul and David overlap each other, for while David was anointed king during Saul’s reign, yet he would not be appointed king until after the death of Saul. Henceforth, 1 Samuel actually records the reign of king Saul, with David fitting into the context of his story. The book ends with the death of Saul, which means the book of 2 Samuel begins with the reign of David and the whole of the book records the forty years David sat on the throne of Israel.

This then brings us to consider an overview of the book.

As a whole, the book is a record of the troubles David encountered during his forty year reign as king. These troubles can be arranged under two headings. First, the troubles David faces in chapters 1-10, which are not those of his own making—they were circumstantial problems outside of his control. In essence, he is confronted with a civil war that breaks out in the kingdom of Israel, and attempts to secure the peace and restore unity among the people. The main antagonists in this first section of the book are Abner, the captain of Saul’s host, and Ishbosheth, one of Saul’s sons. However, the troubles David faces in chapters 13-24 were those of his own making—they occurred as a direct result of David’s sinful and foolish decisions. These sinful and foolish decisions are recorded in chapters 11 and 12—David’s Fall and Restoration. You may remember the infamous story. He commits adultery with Bathsheba, and then kills her husband along with several other valiant warriors. It is a result of these actions, that God warns David whatsoever he sews, that shall he also reap—if you sew to the wind, you will reap the whirlwind. And that is precisely what occurred in the latter part of David’s life. His sin led to perpetual conflicts within his family and the nation. And you see, that brings us to chapters 13-24, which is a record of the domestic and national conflicts within David’s family and kingdom, with Absalom (David’s son), and Sheba (a man belonging to the house of Saul), serving as the great antagonists.

There are, therefore, three main sections to the book of 2 Samuel. Chapters 1-10 and Chapter 13-24 sharing the common theme of David’s troubles, the first section being those problems David faced which were not of his own making, whereas the second section being those problems David faced which were of his making. And then, the middle section of the book (chapters 11 and 12) serve as the transition, or bridge, between the first and last sections. It is all about David’s fall and restoration. Now, I have drawn up a more detailed structure of the book, but because of our time restraints, I have chosen not to cover the material for this study. Having said that, I believe you will benefit from the more detailed structure, and therefore I would like to encourage you to examine the notes which I have uploaded to the online resources of the Association of Historic Baptists.

This then brings me to say something about the characters which are recorded in the book of 2 Samuel. If I may use the framework of sovereign grace as the backdrop against which to arrange the characters, according to my estimate, there are 188,692 men and women recorded in the book. Of this number, 9 may be safely identified as belonging to God’s elect people—Saul, David, Abigail (one of David’s wives), Solomon, Nathan the prophet, Gad the Prophet, Bathsheba, Bathsheba’s son who died in infancy, a wise woman; only 2 may be clearly set aside as those belonging to the non-elect—Nabal (Abigail’s husband), Sheba (man of belial); leaving the remaining 188,681 men and women as having no clear testimony identifying the group to which they belong. I should also point out, while speaking of the characters referenced in the book, there is at least one elect angel whose ministry is recorded in the last chapter of the book—the angel of the LORD (a good angel, a messenger sent by God).

Now, it is good we take a few minutes to examine some of the testimonies of these men and women.

Let’s begin with the angel of the Lord. Here is the backdrop: David, having been lifted up with pride, wanted to know how many Israelites were enlisted as soldiers throughout his kingdom. He wanted this knowledge, not of necessity in order to fight an enemy, but out of pure curiosity to satisfy his desire to know how large was his kingdom. In consequence of David’s sin, the Lord sent an angel (simply identified as “the angel of the LORD”) to inflict upon the Israelites a plague, which killed 70,000 soldiers. That is quite a serious judgment imposed upon David, who was so caught up with the numbers of his army. Now, who exactly was this angel of the Lord? This was none other than one of the elect angels Jehovah had set apart from eternity as a special object His love. You see, in the same way that Jehovah divided the human race between those He set apart as special objects of His love and the others He set aside as objects of less love, so He did with the angelic host—there are elect and non-elect angels. Of course, one of the great differences between the angelic host and the human race, is that God has chosen to redeem sinners among the members of the human race, whereas He has made absolutely no provisions of salvation for the angels which sin. In fact, the elect angels have never sinned, for having been set apart as objects of special love, it pleased the Lord to confirm them in their state of righteousness, so that they will not sin against the Lord. Henceforth, we have recorded in 2 Samuel this reference to one of God’s elect angels.

Let us now look at the human race, and beginning with the non-elect, we have a reference to a man named Nabal. This was the husband of Abigail, whose story is recorded in 1 Samuel. It is beyond question, at least in my mind, that he is numbered among God’s non-elect people. And then, the only other name I have felt comfortable marking down among the non-elect is a man named Sheba. He is identified as “a man of Belial”, meaning he was an idolator and therefore an unregenerate sinner. It was this man who instigated an insurrection against David, and I can find no evidence prior to his death that he was numbered among the Lord’s elect people. Henceforth, he stands forever as “a man of Belial”—an idolator and blasphemer.

Let us now consider the testimonies of those belonging to God’s elect people.

I begin with Saul, the first king of Israel, whose story is recorded in 1 Samuel. His name is mentioned in various parts of 2 Samuel, but I have nothing more to add to his testimony than that which we have read in 1 Samuel. I believe there is sufficient evidence to place him among the Lord’s elect people.

We then have Abigail, a very wise and gracious woman, who became one of David’s wives. As her story is also recorded in 1 Samuel, and I have already alluded to it in the previous study, I therefore have nothing more to add to her testimony in this study.

We then have the two prophets—Nathan and Gad. Of course, these are the men who wrote the last chapters of 1 Samuel and the whole of 2 Samuel, so I have no doubt that they were numbered among the Lord’s people. Both of these prophets assume an important role throughout the book of 2 Samuel, discharging an important ministry in the life and reign of King David.

You see I have included Bathsheba among God’s elect people. However, this isn’t because I have found a testimony of her salvation in the book of 2 Samuel—I haven’t found any such evidence. Rather, I place her among the Lord’s people because there are other parts of the Bible which indicate she was a special object of God’s love. One scripture in particular is that of Proverbs 31, where we are given a description of a virtuous woman. It is my understanding the teachings of that chapter were given to Solomon by his mother, which of course, was none other than Bathsheba. Now, we cannot read the attributes of a virtuous woman recorded in Proverbs 31, and come to any other conclusion than the woman described was one who was acquainted with God through saving grace. Henceforth, Bathsheba is one of God’s elect people.

The next person I wish to highlight is Solomon—David and Bathsheba’s second son. Not only did he write the books of the Song of Solomon, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, all of which bear witness to his salvation, but there is also a little statement in the book of 2 Samuel which quite clearly identifies Solomon as a special object of God’s love. It was after the death of Solomon’s older brother, who died in infancy, that we read in 2 Samuel 12:24: “David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him.” Do you see the last words of this text? “And the LORD loved him.” As the Lord loved Jacob, so He loved Solomon. As the Father loves all the vessels unto honor whom He has set apart as special object of affection, so He loves Solomon, justifying him by the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, and, at the appointed time in his life, regenerating him according to the effectual power of the Holy Spirit. Yes, my dear friends, Solomon is numbered among the Lord’s chosen and redeemed people.

Now, I have also included among the Lord’s elect Solomon’s older brother who died in infancy. David certainly bears testimony of his salvation. You see, after the child died, David’s servants were puzzled why the king fasted and wept prior to his son’s death, but no longer fasted and cried after his death. In 2 Samuel 12:22,23, David told his servants—“While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” Do you see? David said that it was not possible to bring back his son from the dead, but it was certain that he would join his son after his own death. What else could this mean but David confessing his confidence that his infant son was numbered among the Lord’s people, and that they would be reunited in heaven?

This, of course, is a reminder that the new birth is unconditional. You see, Jesus told Nicodemus the only way for a sinner to enter into the kingdom of God is if her/she is born again. This is true for every person, for all of us come into the world, conceived in sin and shaped in iniquity. If an infant is to enter into the kingdom of God, he/she must get there the same way as all other sinners—it must be by the new birth. If, therefore, David would see his son in heaven, then his son must have been born again. And, if his son had been born again, then the new birth was not depended on faith or repentance. I hope you understand this point, my dear friends. So many people today believe that a sinner can only be born again if he/she believes on Christ and repents of sin. But if that is true, then the new birth is conditional on the faith and repentance of the sinner. And if that is true, then no infant child can ever enter into the kingdom of God, for he/she is not able to exercise faith or repent of sin. You see, we believe a sinner savingly believes on Christ and repents of sin because he/she has been born again, whereas the vast majority of professing Christians believe the sinner can only be born again if he/she savingly believes and repents of sin. They have it all backwards. They are putting the chart before the horse. They are making what should be the fruit and result of regeneration, the root and condition for regeneration. Well, as I have said, the testimony of David’s infant child confirms the new birth is unconditional, based purely on the sovereign and effectual power of the Holy Spirit.

Well, looking again at those numbered among the Lord’s people, we have someone without a name, identified only as “a wise woman”. Who is this wise woman? Well, in 2 Samual 20, Joab is hunting down Sheba, the man who instigated an insurrection against David. He has surrounded a city in Bethmaachah, where Sheba has sought refuge, and is preparing his men to invade the city walls. However, from behind the walls comes the voice of this wise woman, requesting to speak with Joab. He postpones the attack, approaches the wall, and gives ear to her words. She tells him, in 2 Samuel 20:19: “I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel: why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the LORD?” In response to her gracious and judicious words, he vowed not to destroy the people in the city. Forthwith, she ordered her people in the city to lay hold on Sheba, after which she threw his decapitated head to Joab over the city walls. Now, you see how she identifies herself as one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel—I take this to mean she was in possession of union with Christ, bearing the fruit of the new nature, among which are peace and faithfulness. She calls herself “a mother in Israel”, which is a reference to the great influence and respect she had earned among her people, in no small measure due to her faith in Christ. She refers to the inheritance of the Lord, which I believe is a reference to her being an heir of God through Christ. And of course, the scriptures identify her only as “a wise woman”—is this not also a fruit of one’s new nature in Christ, for of Him are we in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Yes, this wise woman was vessel of honor, redeemed by Christ and regenerated by the Spirit of God.

This now brings us to the final name numbered among the Lord’s elect people—King David. His testimony unto salvation can be found scattered throughout the entire book, but it is to the last chapters I would ask you to give special attention. The whole of chapter 22 is the record of a Psalm David wrote in honor of the Lord, the content of which is the same as the 18th Psalm. Read 2 Samuel 22 alongside Psalm 18, and you will find the spiritual yearnings and experiential confessions of a man whose heart had been regenerated by the Spirit of God. However, apart from the twenty-second chapter and the 18th Psalm, the clearest testimony of David’s salvation is found in his last words, recorded in the twenty-third chapter. Speaking by prophesy concerning the coming Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, David testified —2 Samuel 23:2-5: “The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.” This, of course, speaks of David’s great faith in the everlasting covenant, or the gracious covenant, of the TriUne Jehovah, made known to him by the experience of the New Birth. It is by virtue of the new birth; by virtue of his soul’s union to Christ; that he knew with all assurance the terms and promises of the gracious covenant are in all things ordered and settled. And you see, this was all his desire, it was all his hope and salvation.

Ah, my dear friends, is this also your testimony? Can you say, in the honesty and integrity of your heart, that God has made known to you His gracious covenant? Can you see the perfection and glory of the gracious covenant, ordered in all things, and sure? Is this all your desire, and hope and salvation? If so, then you may include your name among this list of honored saints—sinners saved by grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, regenerated and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. May it please the Lord to assure our hearts in the gospel of Christ, building us up in our most holy faith, growing us in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus. And I pray, the Lord will reveal Himself and His covenant to us all, as we read through the book of 2 Samuel this week. Well my friends, mt time is up. Until we meet again next week, I would like to wish upon you every blessing of the Lord!