Today we begin the book of 2 Samuel. Our story begins two days after the death of Saul (1 Sam 31:4) and David’s attack on the Amalekites (1 Sam 30:17-18). We see that one of Saul’s men finds David (1:2). Note that he bows before David, acknowledging him as king. The man fabricates the story about killing Saul (v. 10). He hopes to find David’s favor by bringing him the crown of the king. But David’s reaction is just the opposite. He has the man (an Amalekite, ironically) executed (v. 15). And David sings a song of lament for Saul and Jonathan (vv. 19-27). In verse 20 we see that idea of not giving the enemy the satisfaction of the kill. David extols Saul’s and Jonathan’s military prowess (vv. 22-23). In verses 25-26 David laments the death of his best friend. We see that David is humble even in the victory God has brought him.
In chapter 2, we see that God is still with David. He answers David’s request for guidance (2:1), leading him back to his homeland. There, he is anointed the king of Judah (v. 4). In verse 8, we see why new monarchs killed the offspring of the former king. Abner crowns Saul’s son Ish-bosheth king (v. 9). We see a divide between Israel and Judah that will be fixed (temporarily) under David. But for now, Israel and Judah are enemies. We see that there is a battle between the two kingdoms (vv. 12-17), and that David triumphs over Israel. Asahel pursues Abner (he was the commander of Saul’s army, and Saul’s cousin – see 1 Sam 14:50), and in their battle he is defeated by Abner (vv. 19-23). Note that Abner did not want to battle with him (v. 22). Then, Abner is pursued by Asahel’s brothers, Joab and Abishai. Abner again does not want the battle between Israelites to continue (v. 26). We see a hope of reconciliation in Abner. And Joab relents (v. 28).
In chapter 3, we see that God is still with David and against the house of Saul (3:1). In the lineage of David’s sons in verses 2-5, note that David has added more wives. In verses 6-11, we see that there is discord in the leadership of Israel. Abner was only fighting against Judah out of his loyalty to Saul (v. 8). But now that changes. In verse 9, we see that Abner knows that God is with David. In verse 12, we se that Abner really wielded the power in Israel. When he offers a treaty to David, David agrees on the condition that Abner bring David’s first wife, Michal, to him in Judah (that’s five wives, so far).
In verse 17 we see that Abner was the one resisting a united kingdom. Though he is now for David (v. 21), Joab does not trust him (vv. 24-25). So Joab goes behind David’s back and calls Abner back to Judah (v. 26), and Joab and Abishai avenge their brother (v. 27, 30). Note that David does not punish Joab, except to pronounce a curse on him (v. 29, 39). Joab and David will have a complicated relationship (as will Joab and David’s son, Solomon). David presides over Abner’s funeral (vv. 31-32). In verse 36, we see the great favor David already had with the people.