Updated April 25, 2013
Chapters covered: 1Sam. 1 through 2Sam. 17.
The Book of Samuel (one book in the Hebrew) is broken down into two books in the English, 1Samuel and 2Samuel. I have completed the exegesis of 1Samuel, which runs a little over 4000 pages. Therefore, I treat each chapter as a separate document, so the links below will take you to each chapter individually. The idea is, this should be everything that you need to know about this book, including the morphology of the Hebrew. Now, since some of those who read this are not interested in the Hebrew, or do not grasp the significance for including it, I have placed the Hebrew in grey tables which can be easily skipped over. My intention was to provide one place where you could go to get every bit of information that you want on the book of Samuel.
If you have ever read either 1 or 2Samuel critically, you will have a lot of questions: (1) why did God bring in Samuel from outside the priestly line? (2) Why did God allow the Ark of God to fall into disuse during the ministry of Samuel (and kingship of Saul)? (3) God allows a medium to bring Samuel back from the dead; why did God allow that? After all, Samuel, when coming back from the dead, did not tell Saul anything that he did not already know. He certainly did not come back in order to convey new information. (4) Why do we study this odd narrative about Joab bringing an actress into the court of David in order to bring Absalom back into Jerusalem?
All of these questions, which have never been correctly explained before, will be thoroughly examined and explained, and with these explanations, you will develop a much firmer grasp of Scripture as well as a greater appreciation for what God has done historically. These are not simply historical incidents which some old Bible guy recorded; these are things which are recorded for a reason, and these are things which have actual application to your life as a believer in Jesus Christ. A pastor who examines this exegesis and teaches it from the pulpit will be the first pastor, to the best of my knowledge, to ever teach these things publically.
Now, don’t get all weirded out at this point. I am not going to give you a bunch of brand new doctrines which are different from those already delivered to us; this is, a study of this book is not going to upend your doctrinal foundation, or get you interested in joining some cult of some sort; these questions have doctrinal answers and fit in very well with the essential doctrines that we have learned and have believed in (see the Doctrinal Statement).
As an aside, even though I have attended Berachah Church for over 30 years, these are not my notes re-worked from R. B. Thieme, Jr.’s excellent study on the life of David. On most chapters, I refer back to my old notes to make certain that I did not leave anything out; however the bulk of this study is original, with view toward contemporary events. There are a great many things in these chapters that Bob did not cover.
I believe that I have solved the problems with the graphics in all documents and the Hebrew characters have always displayed correctly in the PDF documents. From 2Samuel_07 forward, the Hebrew characters will also display correctly in the HTML documents as well (which is made possible by WordPerfect X4 and forward):
For some reason, the Return to Chapter Outline link works in these documents, but the Return to Chart and Map Index does not. They both should take you to about the same place in the document.
The problem with the pdf files is, they are quite large and they may not display on a computer with limited memory. If that is the case, then you should be able to right-click the link, choose save as, and put the file on your hard drive and open it there using Adobe Acrobat Reader. That will give you a complete view of the graphics and the Hebrew characters.
Now and again, I have seen that I have made some mistakes in spelling as well as in the morphology (I took the information from Owen, but changed it whenever there was a mistake in his work). If you discover mistakes, then I would want to know what they are so that I could change them and update the documents. I enjoy studying the Word of God, but I so hate to proofread.
As to the computer problems noted above (internal document links that don’t work; acrobat files that you cannot view on the web), quite frankly, I don’t have a clue how to fix them.
The Same problems noted above for 1Samuel are also true of the 2Samuel files. At this point, I have not written the introduction for 2Samuel and I have recently completed 2Sam. 1–16.
Brief Chapter Synopses
Note: This is a new section, and I have only included recently completed chapters.
2Samuel 6 (HTML) (PDF) is all about David bringing the Ark of God from where it had been stored for the past 40 or so years into Jerusalem, the newly established capital of Israel. He failed to learn the mechanics of properly moving the Ark, and, as a result, a man died. David stopped right then and there, the Ark was put into a temporary storage, and then, a few weeks later, after studying the Bible, David figured out how to do it right. There was a great celebration in bringing the Ark successfully into Jerusalem.
There are several important topics covered in this study. Why didn’t Samuel restore Tabernacle worship when the Ark was returned? More importantly, why didn’t God cause Samuel move the Ark back to the Tabernacle and restore full Tabernacle worship? Why did David fail in bringing the Ark into Jerusalem the first time? David has sacrifices being offered up every 6 steps; what is that all about? Michal, David’s wife (Saul’s daughter), after the ceremony of the moving of the Ark, was upset—why? Even though 2Sam. 6 deals with a real, historical incident, what do the various symbols of this chapter represent? What are the offerings all about? Why does God the Holy Spirit bother to give us the list of food which David sends home with those attending this ceremony?
2Samuel 7 (HTML) (PDF) begins with David progressing logically to the idea that, since he lives in a palace, it does not seem right that the Ark of God reside in a tent, so David proposes that he build a permanent structure for God (a Temple). He asks the prophet Nathan what he thinks, and Nathan tells him, “That sounds like a great idea; go ahead and do it.” Then God appears to Nathan and tells him that David will not do this, but that his son would. Then God gives the Davidic Covenant, which is a marvelous set of promises made by God to David, which promises also make reference to the Messiah to come, Who would be in David’s line.
The first question which ought to pop into your head is, since David is said to be a man after God’s own heart, why doesn’t God allow David to build a Temple? There are some verses and portions of verses which are difficult to interpret. The phrase the law [custom] of Adam [man] is one of these phrases.
For those of you who have a weak background when it comes to the history of Israel, I have written a brief history of Israel, from Abraham to the dispersion of Judah, the southern kingdom, to the return of the Jews to the land, and all the way to the Roman attack and destruction of Jerusalem in 70 a.d. In this chapter of Samuel, I have gone into great detail about the Divine Dynasphere, the power realm within which the believer operates. This is how our lives today find their proper pattern in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. The term and concepts were originally developed by R. B. Thieme Jr. and presented in greater detail in Christian Integrity, a book available from Berachah Church.
Other important topics covered in this study: God’s exclusive nature and being—the Scripture testifies to the exclusiveness of the God of Israel. God’s redemption of Israel typifies God’s redemption of mankind. What we learn from obvious textual errors. God’s relationship with Israel is eternal (including all of God’s covenants with Israel). Links to God’s many promises on the internet. The name Jehovah is applied to all members of the Trinity.
2Samuel 8 (HTML) (PDF) is all about David at war. He goes to war against the Moabites, Aram of Zobah, Aram of Damascus, and the Edomites. This is one of the few chapters of Samuel where there is a very serious copyist error, where the text reads Syria (Aram), but it should be Edom instead. Although the book of Samuel is probably more riddled with copyist errors than any other book of the Old Testament, these errors tend to be fairly minor and have no appreciable effect upon any doctrine. However, this error is a biggie, along the lines of that great copyist error found in 1Sam. 14:18, where Saul is said to have called for the Ark of God, but he really called for the Ephod of God. There are topics in this chapter which are extremely important and timely for the believer of the 21st century (of any century): we examine war and the concept of a righteous war (which is very applicable today) as well as the divine perspective of Israel and her enemies. There is also a fascinating organizational structure of the first half of this chapter, but I did not discover this until I got to 1Chron. 18, the parallel chapter in Chronicles (HTML) (PDF). There is a second half to this chapter where we see the men under David and we examine their various responsibilities. In this second half of 2Sam. 8, we run into several problems: the parallel priesthoods, who is the father of whom (Abiathar or Ahimelech?), and who or what exactly are the Cherethites and the Pelethites.
2Samuel 9 (HTML) (PDF) is another look into David’s downtime. What do normal kings do during their downtime (when they are not at war or presiding over governmental matters)? They may gather with their drinking buddies and drink and eat at feasts and party for weeks on end (Daniel 5:1–12). However, another might build great edifices and engrave in prominent places his name and deeds. Another might multiply possessions to himself, looking to find fulfillment in all that he owns (Eccles. 2:4–10). Another might go looking for a new wife or simply chase after women (2Sam. 11). David searches out a member of Saul’s family, the rival dynasty, in order to shower grace upon him. What he uncovers is Mephibosheth, a son of Jonathan, who is no longer living on to the property of his grandfather Saul, but being cared for by another family, while Ziba, a former servant of Saul’s, enjoys Saul’s property. This is a fascinating narrative with great spiritual implications and foreshadowing. This chapter of Samuel gives us an important look into the character of David, and better helps us to understand how Jesus Christ sees us. Some of the topics of this chapter include such things as the destruction of the spiritual life of African Americans, liberation theology, slavery, slavery in the United States (a different take on this than you have read elsewhere—for instance, every African-American living in the United States should get down on their knees and thank God for the slavery of their ancestors), God’s treatment of the helpless, handicaps, and the importance of faithfulness in the little things (even if no one is looking). However, what is most striking about this book is, its spiritual parallels. God the Holy Spirit did not just throw this chapter into the middle of 2Samuel as human interest, but this book has a clear and powerful spiritual message. One more thing: there is a slip of the pen in this chapter by the authority, which reveals to us who the authority or this chapter is.
2Samuel 10 (HTML) (PDF) documents wars between Israel, Ammon and Aram. There are 2 options with regards to this chapter and 2Sam. 8: (1) they are descriptions of the same event or (2) they are descriptions of 2 different events. The details are quite different from 2Sam. 8 (which differences will be discussed in detail in this exegesis), so we are describing different wars. However, there appears to be a fairly long period of time in between these chapters (at least a decade). One thing that is different in this chapter is, I went back and listened to the teaching of R. B. Thieme, Jr. on this chapter, to make certain that I did not miss anything in my own exegesis. Some of the topics which are covered are: Principles of Warfare, Why all of this War and Tactics in the Bible?, the historical background for this chapter, the arrogance in Hanun’s state department (Hanun is the new king of Ammon), arrogance and leadership (with several modern examples), The Principle of Offensive Action, The Principle of Mass, Thieme on Elite Forces, what exactly is a flying column, fighting from interior lines, fighting from exterior lines (and other military jargon which Thieme would toss around), and Freedom and Equality. There are examples in this chapter of how a believer can properly interpret history. I wrote this chapter during the last half of 2009 and for a couple months into 2010, and then did some extensive revision in 2011 so there are many modern-day applications (our current president and his actions make for many excellent applications). This chapter is filled with maps, so that you will be able to visualize what is happening, and which army came from where.
There’s one more thing: Joab will be trapped between 2 armies and at a tactical disadvantage; so, how was he able to prevail? There are enough textual clues which reveal not only his strategy and tactics, but exactly why he was able to defeat Aram’s mercenaries. This is exclusive to this commentary; you will not find this in any other commentary on this chapter.
2Samuel 11 (HTML) (PDF) is all about David’s great sin where he first commits adultery with the wife of one of his greatest soldiers and he then arranges for that soldier to be murdered on the battlefield. God the Holy Spirit chose to devote 9 chapters of Samuel to David’s sin and the discipline which he received for this sin. Furthermore, there were several psalms written about this same incident. There are few topics in the Word of God which are given this much coverage, so what happens here is obviously important. There are a lot of theories presented as to what was going on with David, the most recent theory being the Interlocking Systems of Arrogance, which R. B. Thieme, Jr. developed about 3 or so decades ago. Therefore, we are going to delve into this doctrine, and compare it to the other theories which help to explain David falling so far out of fellowship. Bob also developed another doctrine around this section of the Word of God, which he called Installment Discipline, which is somewhat of a misnomer, but an important facet of David’s life, which doctrine will also be introduced in this study.
Included in this rather lengthy study of 2Sam. 11 are the following subjects: Loyalty versus Integrity; the Will of God; David’s Wives and Children; Polygamy and Sexual Arrogance; Escaping Addictive Behavior; David and Sexual Arrogance; the Timing of the Death of a Believer; and Military Ethics, David and Joab. There will be several doctrines either covered in this chapter or alluded to: Sexual Arrogance, Adultery, The Ark of God, Dying Grace, Liberation Theology, Polygamy, and the Will of God. Also, 5 new gates have been added to the Interlocking Systems of Arrogance: Religious Arrogance, Sin Nature Weakness Arrogance, the Arrogance of Addictive Behavior, Manipulative Arrogance, and Compartmentalization Arrogance.
2Samuel 12 (HTML) (PDF) covers 3 topics: (1) Nathan goes to David and causes him to look at himself and his sin; (2) David’s son by Bathsheba dies; and (3) Joab calls in David for the final assaults against Rabbah’s acropolis (the intent here is to preserve David’s reputation). In this and subsequent chapters, God will apply installment discipline to David. Strictly speaking, it is not discipline throughout much of the next 10 years, which will be explained in the exegesis. As we progress, you may think that David’s punishment and public humiliation is too much. However, it will become clear why God’s punishment of David was extremely harsh and public. There are 3 reasons, each of which is important. If God did not punish David this much, these 3 things would not have come to pass. There was a lot to cover in this chapter; this exegetical treatise is nearly 275 pages long. When you are done with this chapter, you will understand nearly everything that you need to know about it.
Included in 2Samuel 12 are the following doctrines: Degeneracy Sins (Addictive Behavior); Nathan’s Objectivity in the Use of His Spiritual Gift; David’s Sin is Explained; some of the hidden literary structure of this chapter is revealed; Why God’s Prophecies May Not Seem Precise; The Law of Natural Consequence; Why God Disciplines David Publically; Why God Allows David’s Innocent Son to Die; David’s Return to Routine; David’s Leadership Function, and Why Solomon Would Built the Temple and Not David. Several doctrines are referred to in this chapter as well: The Doctrine of Sexual Arrogance; The Doctrine of the Edification Complex (updated and expanded); Fasting; the Angelic Conflict; and Revolution. This is a chapter in the Word of God which has rarely, if ever, been exegeted correctly. 2Sam. 11 and 12 both begin about 10 chapters of the Word of God which have lain fallow, for the most part, for centuries. The information and application is quite up-to-date, as is the rest of the Bible.
2Samuel 13 (HTML) (PDF) In 2Sam. 13, David continues to receive "discipline" for his sin with Bathsheba. At this point, it is more suffering for blessing. David had sex with Bathsheba and then had her husband killed in battle, so this type of behavior--a result of David's sexual addiction--plays out in such a way that it hurts him. His son Amnon rapes his daughter (Amnon's half-sister) Tamar; and David is manipulated into being a part of Amnon's scheme. Tamar's brother Absalom is extremely upset, but he holds it in, and he manipulates David so that Absalom is able to kill Amnon in revenge. It is a sordid, tit-for-tat payback that David receives. Furthermore, in both crimes, David is manipulated into being a part of the crime. Without David, there is no rape of Tamar; without David, there is no killing of Amnon.
You may be surprised, but there are a lot of modern applications of this chapter. David's wives were essentially single mothers--single mothers on the dole, if you will. David had some contact with them, but not enough to raise these boys properly. His children live off the state and his boys, for the most part, are damaged souls. We will examine the sexual obsession of Amnon, the symbiotic relationship between Amnon and his lazy layabout friend Jonadab, who will put into motion one of the most clever schemes in royal history--and almost every commentator misses just how brilliant his scheme is. It is said that we live in an entitlement society; no one is better suited to illustrate this than Amnon, who was raised to think that he is entitled to everything, and yet without work or effort. Long before there was psychiatry, there was Amnon, the perfect illustration of the psychopathic personality. His disturbing lack of empathy, along with most of the other characteristics of a psychopathic personality, are all found in this chapter.
Samuel is probably the most poorly preserved book in the entire Bible. If God is all-powerful and this is His Word, then Why Isn't the Word of God Perfectly and Supernaturally Preserved? There are several half-verses missing in your Bible that will be restored, and the other textual problems of this chapter will be resolved. And that question will be answered. You will find this one of the most fascinating chapters in the entire Bible. As an aside, let me add one point when it comes to examining a chapter which has been exegeted. The Hebrew exegesis is arranged in such a way that, you can quickly skip over it to get to the text. Do not feel like you need to read the Hebrew exegesis. Now, if you ever come to the translation of a verse and wonder, "Where does he get this from?" Then the Hebrew exegesis is right there, so that you can see why this or that verse was so translated; and the Strong's and BDB numbers are always included so that you can do further research if you believe that is necessary.
2Samuel 14 (HTML) (PDF) 2Samuel 14 is one of the most unusual chapters in the Word of God, and, insofar as I know, no one has ever pointed out why. This is a self-contained chapter, a chapter which is written like a play. It has a prologue: 2Sam. 13; it has an epilogue: 2Sam. 15–19. But it stands by itself as a literary unit, as if a play. There are two unnamed characters: the king and the woman from Tekoa; and two named characters: Absalom and Joab. Of the 33 verses in this chapter, only 6 of them lack dialogue. Three of those verses describe Absalom, as one might describe a character in a play. Interestingly enough, within this play of 4 characters, Joab hires an actress to give a performance for the king, except that, he does not know until the end that this is a performance.
2Samuel 14 explains how David accepts Absalom back into the city of Jerusalem. It is an odd narrative, which may confuse the reader at first. Joab believes that Absalom should be next in line for the throne, and that it is safer for David for Absalom to expect to be king as a matter of due course than for him to be in a nearby kingdom and contemplate military action against David. So, Joab, who has probably tried previously to talk the king into bring Absalom back; resorted to doing this through an intermediary. Joab brings an actress into the picture, who will cause David to reconsider his decision concerning Absalom. However, it is quite important that we given some thought to why this chapter is here, apart from its historical perspective. Certainly, it would be a leap to have Absalom living in a foreign kingdom in one chapter, and, in the next, be back in Jerusalem fomenting revolution. So, historically, this explains how this happened. However, the Bible is not merely an historical book. Therefore, there must be more to this chapter than simply drawing a straight line from point A to point B. This will be explained within the exegesis of this narrative.
There is a part of 2Sam. 14 which has never been correctly taught. Nearly every commentator, good and not-so-good, says that the problem at the end is, David does not fully forgive Absalom. He half-forgives Absalom, and that causes all of the trouble down the road. This is wrong, particularly because David forgives Absalom in the very last verse of this chapter. If half-forgiveness was the problem, then David “solved” that problem at the very end of the chapter. However, Absalom will rebel against David, so, quite obviously, fully forgiving Absalom is not the key. The key to their relationship ought to be justice, not love; and that helps to explain everything. You might say, this is the key that unlocks the problem of David’s relationship to Absalom in 2Sam. 14.
This is the most extensive examination of 2Sam. 14 found anywhere. There is ground plowed here which has never been explored before. There is a great deal of information hidden in the dialogue about Absalom, David and Joab. Absalom reveal some wicked brilliance at the end of this chapter. Like every chapter of the Bible that I have exegeted, this is filled with applications to our lives today, even though this incident took place 3000 years ago within a royal family. There are also great theological points which are revealed in this chapter, unearthed here for the first time. And there are things in this exposition which you may be surprised to find: the Bible and human beauty; the Phi constant, the criminal personality, the similarity of the conflicted emotions of David and Bathsheba, the psychology of being a king and making royal decisions, flattery, justice, forgiveness, human viewpoint solutions and Chick-fil-A. Also, parallels are drawn between Absalom and our current president.
2Samuel 15 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD). 2Samuel 15 is an amazing chapter. The events of this book took place early on in the 10th century b.c., and yet have application to the 2008 and 2012 elections in the United States and to clandestine warfare.
500 years before Sun Tzu was King David of Israel; King David knew the art of warfare before Sun Tzu did, and it is recorded in the Holy Bible.
2Sam. 15 is one of the most dramatic chapters in the Bible, yet, generally ignored and unknown to the average believer. Absalom will organize a revolution against David, almost under his nose; and David and his men will leave Jerusalem, in part, to preserve the lives of those David was responsible for. Then David will organize the first intelligence network recorded in human history.
To give you an idea how up-to-date this chapter of the Bible is, note what an 1871 commentary said of 2Sam. 15, which very nearly describes the 2008 campaign of Barack Obama: This dissatisfaction was artfully fomented by Senator Obama, who addressed himself to the various suitors; and after briefly hearing their tale, he gratified everyone with a favorable opinion of his case...[he] had an air of extraordinary generosity and disinterestedness, which, together with his fawning arts in lavishing civilities on all, made him a popular favorite. Thus, by forcing a contrast between his own display of public spirit and the dilatory proceedings of the court, he created a growing disgust with the Bush administration's government, as weak, careless, or corrupt, and seduced the affections of the multitude, who neither penetrated the motive nor foresaw the tendency of his conduct. Of course, this commentator had Absalom in mind rather than Senator Obama; and King David instead of Bush. Indeed, as the Bible tells us, there is no new thing under the sun.
One of the great topics of this chapter is, covert warfare, otherwise known as, when is it legitimate for a Christian to lie, deceive, steal, betray, fornicate and murder? Got your attention? The legalistic and self-righteous Christian is going to have some difficulties with this chapter of the Word of God.
Other doctrines in this chapter include Revolution, True Leadership, God’s Plan for Believers in a Disaster, the Geographical Will of God, and Why David was a Great Man and a Great King. Topics include clandestine warfare; how the people viewed David as a king (why Absalom’s rebellion took hold); how the believer must be objective and flexible; and why there are two priests in the time of David; and how the lies of a counterinsurgent are different from the lies of the revolutionary.
This is one of the most amazing chapters in the Word of God.
2Samuel 16 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD) This section of the Scriptures continues to be up-to-date, as it covers such topics as people who use war and revolution for their own profit; how does an army treat disgruntled and hostile civilians in wartime; and the low-information citizen (whose parallel today is the low-information voter).
We see David leaving Jerusalem and the people he runs into at his exit; and Absalom enters into Jerusalem, and he also interacts with the two most important people in this revolution: Hushai and Ahithophel.
There are many parallels in this study to contemporary and recent politics. However, the key is, the informed believer with doctrine can correctly interpret current events, while some of the most learned and educated people around cannot. We also compare Absalom’s ground game with President Obama’s ground game in 2012.
There are verses in this chapter which, insofar as I know, have never been fully explained. V. 20, for instance, reads: Absalom [later] asked Ahithophel, “[You all] give regarding you [all] counsel: what should we do?” This is an amazing verse and tells us a great deal about Absalom. I am not aware of any commentator who realizes this (although several translators appear to get the gist of this verse). We have both a movie parallel to this verse as well as an historical parallel.
Absalom will ask for and take Ahithophel’s advice. However, for the man behind the man, there may be personal motives attached to his advice. Therefore, we will look at how Ahithophel’s advice benefits Absalom and how it benefits Ahithophel.
2Samuel 17 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD)
These lengthy exegetical studies are done for several reasons: (1) to put you into the center of the action, so that you understand all that is going on, along with the thinking of the principals involved. (2) To give you one place to go where the material of this chapter is thoroughly laid out, with alternative texts considered. (3) Every word of the Hebrew for this chapter is found along with its morphology, and then 3 different translations are provided as well.
In 2Sam. 17, David is leaving Jerusalem as Absalom enters into Jerusalem. Absalom has asked advice of his chief advisor Ahithophel at the end of the previous chapter, and he was told to publically rape David’s mistresses. While Absalom is occupied doing this, Ahithophel forms a plan, which is to take 12,000 soldiers and pursue David immediately (presumably while Absalom is still busy with the mistresses). Although Absalom likes the plan, he called in Hushai for a second opinion, not knowing that he is David’s mole. Hushai has the difficult task of immediately coming up with another plan which is inferior to Ahithophel’s excellent plan, and then selling it to Absalom as better than Ahithophel’s plan. He succeeds. Ahithophel goes home to end his life, Hushai contacts David’s intelligence network, to tell them what Absalom is planning, and Absalom probably continues raping David’s mistresses while a larger army is raised.
Meanwhile, David’s intelligence network springs into action, bringing information to David, despite Absalom’s soldiers watching carefully for suspicious movement. Because of the intelligence report, David crosses over the Jordan River and goes to Mahanaim, as an army is gathered for Absalom and he crosses over the Jordan to look for his father David. The chapter ends with David receiving logistical support from 3 different sources.
God the Holy Spirit in this text gives us the nuts and bolts of war, including the strategy and tactics, the meetings, the decisions, the clandestine warfare which is occurring, and the way that the characters complement as well as clash with one another, which is Absalom’s downfall. In fact, this chapter sets us up for Absalom’s eventual defeat, due to being undermined through clandestine warfare, sanctioned by God.
The doctrines and charts found in this chapter include: God and Revolution; Revolution and Warfare Requires a New Set of Values for the Believer; Links to the Doctrine A Personal Sense of Destiny; David’s Line Including Abigail; the Nahash’s of Scripture; The Sharing of our Material Goods with the Servants of God; and Legitimate Lies in Scripture.