The Book of 2Samuel covers the 40-year reign of King David, Israel’s greatest king. The first half of the Book covers the first 20 years of David’s reign. These chapters cause us to rejoice with David over his many triumphs. The last half of David’s reign is covered in 2Samuel 12-24. As we read these chapters, we find ourselves mourning with David over his many family troubles which spill over to effect his kingship in Israel.
The turning point in David’s reign are the events narrated in 2Samuel 11, which occurs almost right in the middle of his 40-year reign. David’s adultery with Bathsheba and his subsequent killing of Uriah sets the stage for what happens in 2Samuel 12-24. Even though David sincerely repents at the rebuke of Nathan the Prophet, and the LORD forgives David, it is made very clear to David that the LORD will not spare him from the consequences of his sinful actions (2Sam. 12:10-12)
One of the immediate effects is the death of the child conceived by David and Bathsheba (2Sam. 12:18). In 2Samuel 13, David’s son Amnon rapes his half sister Tamar in a despicable act of betrayal. David seems slow to discipline Amnon for raping his virgin daughter Tamar. His passivity results in David’s son Absalom murdering Amnon (2Sam.13:29). Eventually, Absalom mounts a coup against his father which forces David to flee from Jerusalem for a short time (2Sam. 15). Eventually, David’s army commander kills Absalom against David’s explicit instructions.(2Sam. 18:11-15). The rebellion of Absalom is thus subdued and David returns to Jerusalem to be the king of Israel.
In 2Samuel 12 – 24, not only do we see the troubles in David’s family, but we also see an ongoing struggle between the 10 northern tribes of Israel with the 2 southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin. David is from the tribe of Judah. By the end of 2Samuel, David consolidates his reign over all Israel, uniting both the northern and southern tribes under his kingship.
As mentioned in yesterday’s blog, David is an important type of Christ. Despite his sins, David remains a man after God’s own heart because of his responsive and faithful attitude toward God. He sometimes fails within his family life, but he never goes away from the LORD. “Unlike most of the kings who succeed him, he never allows idolatry to become a problem during his reign…..David is the standard by which all subsequent kings are measured”(Wilkinson).
We can learn many important lessons from David’s life. One of the most important is that when we walk in faithfulness to LORD, blessings inevitably follow (2Samuel 1-10). Even though difficulties may come, the LORD will cause us to triumph in the midst of our battles. On the other hand, when someone in covenant with the LORD falls into sin, God will forgive us when we repent and ask for forgiveness (1John 1:7), but he will not necessarily spare us from the consequences of our sinful folly (1Cor. 10:6-13). Let us not presume on God’s grace, but let us seek to live faithfully to the LORD and with others. In Christ’s love and service, Pastor John