When Responding to Loss

Explore the Bible Series

November 2, 2008


Background Passage:II Samuel 1:1-4:12

Lesson Passage:


Introduction: II Samuel extends the Davidic narrative after the death of King Saul; in fact, the entire book centers on the monarchy of David.As we have seen, Davidís pilgrimage to the throne did not prove easy.For years a jealous Saul sought Davidís ruin, and, even after Saulís demise, the new king had a difficult path to power.He will become monarch in stages, and every step along the away proved difficult.


Bible students should appreciate the stark candor of II Samuel.The narrative details Davidís great successes, but it does not conceal his horrible failures.Even in I Samuel the text reveals some unseemly events in Davidís rise to prominence: his alliance with the Philistines, feigning insanity, occasional seasons of deception, and his brutality in dealing with some of his enemies.Before we complete our study of II Samuel we will discover even more sinister moral failures in David: adultery, deception, conspiracy, and murder.God forgave David, but it still seems difficult to comprehend why God dealt with Davidís failures in one way and with Saulís sins in a different manner.These things, perhaps, can only be understood in the mysterious counsels of God.


I and II Samuel originally existed as one document.Traditionally, this work has been attributed to the Prophet Samuel, but the text records the prophetís death in I Samuel 25:1; therefore, he could not have written the materials contained in II Samuel.No one, with any certainty, can identify the author of this narrative. Conservative Bible scholars generally believe this important work of history was completed during the Exile, drawing on sources that date to the time of Samuel. Much of II Samuel is paralleled by passages in I Chronicles.



Lesson Outline:


I.                   Davidís Response to Saulís Death (1:1-27)

A.    The false report of the Amalekite messenger (vv. 1-16): Three days after the Battle of Mount Gilboa an Amalekite man arrived in Davidís camp at Ziklag.The messenger told David of the death of Saul and Jonathan, but he fabricated some of the story.He recounted that the Philistines had mortally wounded the king, but the messenger lied about killing Saul.Perhaps the man believed David would delight in Saulís demise and, therefore, would reward the man who claimed to kill Israelís king.After a season of bereavement, David ordered the execution of the Amalekite messenger.

B.     Davidís dirge for Saul and Jonathan (vv. 17-27): In this lament David refers to the Book of Jashar, apparently an ancient account of acts of bravery by the heroes of Israel.Joshua 10:13 also makes reference to Jashar, and, though the book has been lost, David was clearly familiar with its content.David thus extolled the greatness of Saul and reflected on his deep affection for Jonathan.


II.                Davidís Early Days as King of Judah (2:1-4:12)

A.    Anointing at Hebron (2:1-7): The Lord directed David to take his family to Hebron, about twenty miles south of Jerusalem, and there the men of the region anointed David king of Judah. Samuel, of course, had already anointed David, but this ceremony in Judah confirmed the Lordís choice of the new monarch.Also, David honored the men of Jabesh-gilead for the kindness they showed in recovering the body of Saul.

B.     Ish-bosheth named king of Israel (2:8-11): Ish-bosheth was the last surviving son of Saul.We know little about him, but his name meant ďson of shame.ĒAbner, commander of Saulís army, used Ish-bosheth as a pawn and anointed Saulís son as king of Israel.This monarchy only lasted two years, and the record of his assassination is recorded in Chapter Four.

C.     Abnerís warfare against Davidís army (2:12-32): Abnerís forces met Davidís army, under the command of Joab, at Gibeon. At first the commanders limited to fighting to a few champion warriors, but the battle soon escalated to engage the full force of both armies.Asahel, a brother of Joab, pursued Abner in the battle, but Abner killed him. After much bloodshed, Abner and Joab agreed to an armistice.

D.    Abnerís attempt to defect to Davidís cause (3:1-39)

1.      The advance of Davidís house (vv. 1-5): God blessed David.The kingís family grew as did his military success over the remnant of Saulís army.

2.      Abnerís defection (vv. 6-25): Abner, in an effort to assert his power in Israel, had relations with one o Saulís concubines, and Ish-bosheth took exception to the bold action of Abner.Ish-boshethís protest angered Abner, and the general threatened Israelís king.After his confrontation with Ish-bosheth, Abner arranged a meeting with David to negotiate the transfer of Israelís power to Davidís authority.The conference with David went well, and Abner initiated efforts to reunite the Lordís people.Joab returned from a raid soon after Abner left Hebron, and Davidís commander was outraged at Abnerís boldness.Without the kingís knowledge, Joab conspired to murder Abner.

3.      The murder of Abner (vv. 26-39): Joab killed Abner, but David did not know of the murdererís intent. The king did not punish Joab, but he did grieve for Abner and arranged for the fallen manís honorable burial.

E.     The murder of Ish-bosheth (4:1-12): Two Benjamites, Baanah and Rechab, conspired to assassinate Ish-bosheth.The conspirators came to Ish-boshethís house, and as the king tested in his bed, the two men killed him and mutilated his body.Thinking that David would reward their violence, the men bought Ish-boshethís head to Hebron.David, of course, did not honor their murderous scheme, and the king had both men executed.