The book of 2 Samuel can be divided into two main sections—David’s triumphs (chapters 1-10) and David’s troubles (chapters 11-20). The last part of the book (chapters 21-24) is a non-chronological appendix which contains further details of David’s reign.
The book begins with David receiving news of the death of Saul and his sons. He proclaims a time of mourning. Soon afterward, David is crowned king over Judah, while Ish-bosheth, one of Saul’s surviving sons, is crowned king over Israel (chapter 2). A civil war follows, but Ish-bosheth is murdered, and the Israelites ask David to reign over them as well (chapters 4-5).
David moves the country’s capital from Hebron to Jerusalem and later moves the Ark of the Covenant (chapters 5-6). David’s plan to build a temple in Jerusalem is vetoed by God, who then promises David the following things: 1) David would have a son to rule after him; 2) David’s son would build the temple; 3) the throne occupied by David’s lineage would be established forever; and 4) God would never take His mercy from David’s house (2 Samuel 7:4-16).
David leads Israel to victory over many of the enemy nations which surrounded them. He also shows kindness to the family of Jonathan by taking in Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s crippled son (chapters 8-10).
Then David falls. He lusts for a beautiful woman named Bathsheba, commits adultery with her, and then has her husband murdered (chapter 11). When Nathan the prophet confronts David with his sin, David confesses, and God graciously forgives. However, the Lord tells David that trouble would arise from within his own household.
Trouble does come when David’s firstborn son, Amnon, rapes his half-sister, Tamar. In retaliation, Tamar’s brother Absalom kills Amnon. Absalom then flees Jerusalem rather than face his father’s anger. Later, Absalom leads a revolt against David, and some of David’s former associates join the rebellion (chapters 15-16). David is forced out of Jerusalem, and Absalom sets himself up as king for a short time. The usurper is overthrown, however, and—against David’s wishes—is killed. David mourns his fallen son.
A general feeling of unrest plagues the remainder of David’s reign. The men of Israel threaten to split from Judah, and David must suppress another uprising (chapter 20).
The book’s appendix includes information concerning a three-year famine in the land (chapter 21), a song of David (chapter 22), a record of the exploits of David’s bravest warriors (chapter 23), and David’s sinful census and the ensuing plague (chapter 24).
For a more detailed summary select the link below.
The Book of 2 Samuel Summary