The First Book of Samuel The First Book of Kings


As this is a continuation of the preceding history, without any interruption, it can scarcely be called another book. Originally this and the preceding made but one book, and they have been separated. For a general account of both, see the preface to the First Book of Samuel. It is generally allowed that this book comprehends a period of forty years.

It has been divided into three parts: in the first we have an account of the happy commencement of David's reign, cc. 1-10. In the second, David's unhappy fall, and its miserable consequences, cc. 11-18. In the third, his restoration to the divine favor, the reestablishment of his kingdom, and the events which signalized the latter part of his reign, cc. 19-24.

2 Samuel 1:1-16. Why Did David Kill the Man Who Had Killed Saul at the King's Own Request?

A careful reading of 1 Samuel 31:1-6 and 2 Samuel 1:1-16 shows two different accounts of Saul's death. The man who came to David and reported that he had killed Saul at Saul's insistence was not Saul's armor-bearer. When the armor-bearer refused to kill his master, Saul fell upon his sword rather than fall into the hands of the Philistines. His armor-bearer then followed suit and also died.

"The whole account which this young man gives is a fabrication: in many of the particulars it is grossly self-contradictory. There is no fact in the case but the bringing of the crown, or diadem, and bracelets of Saul; which, as he appears to have been a plunderer of the slain, he found on the field of battle; and he brought them to David, and told the lie of having despatched Saul, merely to ingratiate himself with David." (Clarke, Bible Commentary, 2:308.)

That David understood the Amalekite's motives is clear from 2 Samuel 4:10. David's lamentation over the death of Saul was sincere and deep. Instead of being grateful for the death of his most violent enemy, he truly mourned for the tragedy that had befallen Israel.

2 Samuel 1:4-10. What did the young Amalekite tell David?

2 Samuel 2:1-11

After Saul died, the tribes of Israel did not immediately flock to David and accept him as king. Abner, the captain of Saul's host (his commanding general), set up one of Saul' sons as the new king (see vv. 8-9). The tribe of Judah accepted David as king, but for seven years there was no unity, and two opposing kings reigned (see v. 11). David may have refused to take action against Ishbosheth because he had covenanted with Jonathan not to retaliate against Saul's family when he came to power (see 1 Samuel 20:14-16).

2 Samuel 1:14-16. Why did David have the young Amalekite killed?

2 Samuel 1:17. For whom did David lament?

2 Samuel 2:1. How did David know that he should go to Hebron?

2 Samuel 2:2-3. Who went with David to Hebron?

2 Samuel 2:4. What did the men of Judah do when they came to David?

2 Samuel 2:8-10. What did Abner, "captain of Saul's host" do with Saul's son Ish-bosheth? (2 Samuel 2:8)

The contest between the men of Abner and the men of Joab at the pool of Gibeon was more than a simple grudge match. Abner was the leader of the forces of Ishbosheth, Saul's son. Joab was David's commander. Thus, in the clash between the two kingdoms, champions were chosen to determine the winner. The challenge to let the young men "play before us" (v. 14) meant to let the twelve representatives battle for each side.

When the twelve from each side had killed each other, no clear winner was shown, so both sides erupted into a furious battle, which David's men won. When Asahel, Joab's brother, gave chase to Abner, Abner yelled back that Asahel should content himself by taking the armor of one of the younger men, but Asahel refused.

"It seems Asahel wished to get the armour of Abner as a trophy; this also was greatly coveted by ancient heroes. Abner wished to spare him, for fear of exciting Joab's enmity; but as Asahel was obstinate in the pursuit, and was swifter of foot than Abner, the latter saw that he must either kill or be killed, and therefore he turned his spear and ran it through the body of Asahel. This turning about that he might pierce him is what we translate ‘the hinder end of his spear.' This slaying of Asahel cost Abner his life." (Clarke, Bible Commentary, 2:313.)

2 Samuel 2:30. How many of David's servants had been killed?

2 Samuel 2:31. How many of the men of Benjamin and Abner were killed?

2 Samuel 3:1. What happened during the long war between the house of Saul and the house of David?

2 Samuel 3:2-5. How many sons were born to David in Hebron?

2 Samuel 3:7-8. How did Ish-bosheth offend Abner?

2 Samuel 3:12. What covenant did Abner want to make with David? (See also 2 Samuel 3:12a)

2 Samuel 3:26-27, 30. Why did Joab kill Abner? (See also vv. 18-23)

2 Samuel 3:28-39. How did David respond to Abner's death?

2 Samuel 3:35-37. How wise was David?

2 Samuel 4:5-7. What did the two captains do to Ish-bosheth?

2 Samuel 4:10-12. How did David reward them? Why?

2 Samuel 5:3. What did all the elders of Israel do to David at Hebron?

2 Samuel 5:4. How old was David when he began to reign?

2 Samuel 5:6-7. Where did David go after being anointed king over Israel?

2 Samuel 5:6-10. David Conquered Jerusalem and Made It His Capital City

The origin of the city of Jerusalem is lost in antiquity. The first biblical reference to the city may be in Genesis, which states that "Melchizedek king of Salem" (Jerusalem) and "priest of the most high God" met Abraham returning from his battle with the kings and blessed him (Genesis 14:18). He was the one to whom Abraham paid a tithe of all he possessed. When Joshua crossed the Jordan the Jebusites, a Canaanite tribe, possessed the city. This people held Jerusalem until David captured it about 1000 BC, although Israel may have temporarily conquered the city soon after their invasion of the land of Canaan (see Joshua 10).

David wisely chose this city as his capital, for Jerusalem was a city between the northern and southern tribes of Israel but it belonged to neither of them because it was still held by the Canaanite Jebusites. The manner of conquering the city has been much discussed because of the problematical word rendered "gutter" (2 Samuel 5:8). The word most likely designates a channel or a shaft, as it is similarly used in Mishnaic Hebrew. The shaft running up perpendicularly from a water conduit cut into the rock fifty feet west from Gihon, discovered by Sir C. Warren in 1867, would have given people inside the city walls access to water in time of siege and would have made a possible avenue for invaders to enter and open the gates of the city from within. Joab is said to have accomplished that initial entry (see 1 Chronicles 11:6).

The sarcasm of the Jebusites' saying David would have to overcome "the blind and the lame," as if such would have been sufficient to defend the city, was returned to them by David, who thereafter scathingly referred to all the Jebusite defenders as "the blind and the lame" (vv. 6, 8).

2 Samuel 5:11. Who build David a house?

2 Samuel 5:11-12. Who Was Hiram, King of Tyre, and What Was His Connection with Israel?

About midway between present-day Beirut and Haifa in Israel was the port city of Tyre, one of the ancient and most important cities of the Phoenicians. The name Hiram appears to have been the family name for a king or series of kings of Tyre who were contemporaries of David and Solomon. Best known of these Hirams is he who sent masons, carpenters, and cedars from Lebanon to build David's palace in Jerusalem (see 2 Samuel 5:11; 1 Chronicles 14:1). Later, Solomon was greatly assisted in the building of the temple in Jerusalem by this same Hiram, or another of the same name (see 1 Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 2).

2 Samuel 5:19. Why did David inquire of the Lord?

2 Samuel 5:20-21. What was David able to do?

2 Samuel 5:22-25. What did the Lord tell David to do when the Philistines came again?

2 Samuel 6:1-3. Why did David and thirty thousand "chosen men of Israel" go to Gibeah?

2 Samuel 6:1-11. Why Was Uzzah Slain?

The ark of the covenant was a sacred vessel that housed some of the holiest objects in Israel's history. To touch the ark or its contents was strictly forbidden by the Lord. Only authorized Levites, and they only under certain specified conditions, could handle the sacred instruments (see Numbers 4:15). Uzzah may have exhibited some bold presumption when he sought to touch that which God had forbidden to be touched. Even if Uzzah's intention was simply to keep the ark from falling, it should be remembered that God was fully capable of steadying His own ark had He wished to do so. While much of the story is not known, it is an excellent example that the commands of God are sacred and must be observed precisely as the Lord decreed. There are many modern-day implications (see Reading 26-23).

2 Samuel 6:6-7. Why did Uzzah die? (See also D&C 85:8)

2 Samuel 6:9-10. Why did David put the ark in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite?

2 Samuel 6:11-12. Why did David take the ark to the city of David?

2 Samuel 6:12-23. Why Was Michal Offended When David Danced?

"When the ark came (i.e. was carried) into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and there she saw king David leaping and dancing before Jehovah, and despised him in her heart ... Michal is intentionally designated the daughter of Saul here, instead of the wife of David, because on this occasion she manifested her father's disposition rather than her husband's. In Saul's time people did not trouble themselves about the ark of the covenant [1 Chronicles 13:3]; public worship was neglected, and the soul for vital religion had died out in the family of the king. Michal possessed teraphim, and in David she only loved the brave hero and exalted king: she therefore took offence at the humility with which the king, in his pious enthusiasm, placed himself on an equality with all the rest of the nation before the Lord ...

"... The proud daughter of Saul was offended at the fact, that the king had let himself down on this occasion to the level of the people. She availed herself of the shortness of the priests' shoulder dress, to make a contemptuous remark concerning David's dancing, as an impropriety that was unbecoming in a king ... With the words ‘who chose me before thy father and all his house,' David humbles the pride of the king's daughter. His playing and dancing referred to the Lord, who had chosen him, and had rejected Saul on account of his pride. He would therefore let himself be still further despised before the Lord, i.e. would bear still greater contempt from men than that which he had just received, and be humbled in his own eyes [see Psalm 131:1]: then would he also with the maidens attain to honour before the Lord. For whoso humbleth himself, him will God exalt [Matthew 23:12]." (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:2:336-38.)

2 Samuel 6:18. What did David do when he had finished offering sacrifices?

2 Samuel 6:20, 20a. Why was Michal upset with David? (See v. 20a)

2 Samuel 6:23. What blessing was denied Michal?

2 Samuel 7:1-2. What did David say to Nathan the prophet?

2 Samuel 7:1-17. Why Was David Not Allowed to Build the Temple?

David's motivation for wanting to build a permanent house for the Lord (the tabernacle built by Moses in the wilderness was then about three hundred years old) was proper and good, but the Lord, through Nathan, denied him permission to do so. No specific reason was given here, only a blessing on David's house. In the account in Chronicles, however, David told Solomon that it was revealed to him that he had seen too much war and bloodshed to build the house of the Lord (see 1 Chronicles 22:8).

2 Samuel 7:12-13. What did the Lord tell Nathan to say to David about a house of the Lord?

2 Samuel 7:16. Was David's House and Throne Established Forever?

This verse is an example of a dualistic prophecy, that is, a prophecy with a double meaning. It promised that David's lineage would continue on the throne, and unlike Saul's lineage, would not be overthrown after his death. But it is clearly a Messianic prophecy as well. Jesus, the Messiah, was called David, He would hold the key of David, and He would sit upon the throne of David. Clearly, only one person can sit upon the throne of David (that is, rule over the house of Israel) forever and ever, and that one is Christ. He came into mortality as a descendant of David and as an heir to his throne both physically and spiritually. Elder James E. Talmage explained the significance of the genealogies of Jesus given by Matthew and Luke as establishing Jesus' right to the throne.

"At the time of the Savior's birth, Israel was ruled by alien monarchs. The rights of the royal Davidic family were unrecognized; and the ruler of the Jews was an appointee of Rome. Had Judah been a free and independent nation, ruled by her rightful sovereign, Joseph the carpenter would have been her crowned king; and his lawful successor to the throne would have been Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." (Jesus the Christ, p. 87.)

2 Samuel 7:18-20. What questions did David ask the Lord?

2 Samuel 7:29. What blessing did David ask the Lord?

2 Samuel 8:6, 14. What did the Lord do for David wherever he went? (See also Map 7)

2 Samuel 8:10-11. What did David do with the silver and gold he obtained from all the nations he subdued?

2 Samuel 9:6-7. What did David say to Mephibosheth, Jonathan's son?

2 Samuel 9:9-10. What did David say to Ziba?

2 Samuel 10:1-2. Why did David send his servants to Hanun, king of the Ammonites? (See also Bible Dictionary, p. 607, s.v. "Ammon, Ammonites")

2 Samuel 10:3. What did Hanun's servants say to him?

2 Samuel 10:4. What did Hanun do to David's servants?

2 Samuel 10:6. Why did the Ammonites hire the Syrians?

2 Samuel 10:12. What did Joab say to encourage his army? (See also Alma 46:12)

2 Samuel 10:17-19. Why did the Syrians fear "to help the children of Ammon any more"?

2 Samuel 11:1. What did David's army do to the children of Ammon? When?

2 Samuel 11:2. Why Was David Walking on His Roof?

Many homes in the Holy Land, both then and now, had flat roofs. In the heat of the Middle East, much of the people's time was spent walking or sitting on their roofs in the refreshing cool of evening or in the day to catch a daytime breeze. The roof of David's palace was probably high enough that he could have looked into the inner courts of a number of homes nearby.

2 Samuel 11:2-4. What did David do after he saw Bath-sheba washing herself?

2 Samuel 11:3–27. What Great Lesson Can We Learn from These Verses?

"Things were getting too easy for David; he had leisure to stay at home while Joab and his men were out fighting Ammonites and Syrians. In his leisure he looked from his rooftop at his neighbor's wife. Leisure and lust led to adultery and then to murder, which sins had eternal repercussions, as well as tragic earthly results. It is one of the shocking and serious warnings of the Old Testament that a man may be ever so good and great and eminent and still have weaknesses which can lead to deeds that entirely overshadow and defeat the better self!" (Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:185.)

2 Samuel 11:5. What did Bath-sheba tell David?

2 Samuel 11:8. What did David tell Uriah to do?

2 Samuel 11:9-11. What did Uriah do instead? Why?

2 Samuel 11:14-15. What did David tell Joab to do?

2 Samuel 11:16-17. How did Uriah die?

2 Samuel 11:27. What happened to Bath-sheba after she had mourned for Uriah?

D&C 132:39. What did the Lord say about what David had done? (See D&C 132:39)

2 Samuel 12:1. Why did Nathan the prophet come to David?

2 Samuel 12:1-4. Murder and Adultery Carry Their Own Consequences

"As happens too frequently, it is only when a sinner knows that his sin is known that he begins to repent! The figure of Nathan boldly accusing the king to his face by an allegorical parallel is impressive, though not as surprising in Bible stories as it would be in accounts of other peoples where the will of God was not such a recognized factor in determining the morality of men and in specifying the results. Nathan's allegory was skillfully drawn, and his climatic ‘Attah ha ish!' (‘Thou art the man') must have crashed in upon the conscience of David like the harbingers of doom's day.

"His repentant feelings were no doubt sincere, but he could not repent enough to restore the life of his friend, Uriah, nor the virtue of his wife. Though he later hoped and prayed that his soul would not be left forever in hell (the spirit prison), yet the eternal destiny of doers of such twin sins does not look good. (See Psalms 16 and 51; then see Hebrews 6:4-6; Revelation 22:14-15; D&C 132:27; 76:31-37; 29:41 and 42:18, 79.)" (Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:185.)

2 Samuel 12:5-6. How did David react to the parable of the ewe lamb?

2 Samuel 12:7-12. What did Nathan tell David?

2 Samuel 12:13. David Is Still Paying in Hell for His Sins

The Joseph Smith Translation says, "The Lord also hath not put away thy sin" (JST, 2 Samuel 12:13).

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, commenting on David's sin, said: "David committed a dreadful crime, and all his life afterwards sought for forgiveness. Some of the Psalms portray the anguish of his soul; yet David is still paying for his sin. He did not receive the resurrection at the time of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter declared that his body was still in the tomb, and the Prophet Joseph Smith has said, ‘David sought repentance at the hand of God carefully with tears, for the murder of Uriah; but he could only get it through hell: he got a promise that his soul should not be left in hell.' Again we ask: Who wishes to spend a term in hell with the devil before being cleansed from sin?" (Answers to Gospel Questions, 1:74.)

2 Samuel 12:14, 18-19. What happened to Bath-sheba's child? Why?

2 Samuel 12:15-25. Was the Death of the Child a Punishment from God?

"The child born of their illicit union did not live, but there is no reason to look upon that as ‘punishment' of the child for the sins of the parents. Removal from this earth by the hand of the Lord must come at one time or another and can be a blessing to an individual, brought about for his best interest at whatever time the Lord sees it to be optimum. The parents did suffer remorse over it. After David knew that the baby was dead, he ceased mourning, however, and philosophically and hopefully explained, ‘I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.'

"It appears that David promised Bathsheba that her next son would be his royal heir, for actions later were taken upon such an assumption. (See verse 24 and I Kings 1:17, also, I Chronicles 22:9.)" (Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:185-86.)

2 Samuel 12:24. What was the name of bath-sheba's next son?

2 Samuel 12:26-29. Why did David go to the Ammonites?

2 Samuel 13:14-18. What two great evils did Amnon do to Tamar?

2 Samuel 13:19-20. What did Tamar do?

2 Samuel 13:22. What did Absalom say of his brother?

2 Samuel 13:28-29, 32. What happened to Amnon? Why?

2 Samuel 14:1. Why did Joab seek the return of Absalom?

2 Samuel 14:19. What final qustin did David ask the woman of Tekoah?

2 Samuel 14:19-20. What did the woman answer?

2 Samuel 14:21. What did David command Joab to do?

2 Samuel 13:38; 14:28. For how many years had Absalom been away from David? (See 2 Samuel 13:38; 14:28)

2 Samuel 14:29-32. What did Absalom do when Joab refused to come to him?

2 Samuel 14:33. What happened when Absalom "came to the king"? (2 Samuel 14:33)

2 Samuel 15:1-6. How did Absalom steel the hearts of the children of Israel?

2 Samuel 15:13. What did the messenger say to David?

2 Samuel 15:14. Why did David flee from Jerusalem quickly?

2 Samuel 15:25-28. What did David tell Zadok to do?

2 Samuel 15:32-37. What did David tell Hushai to do?

2 Samuel 9:9-12. Who was Ziba? (See 2 Samuel 9:9-12)

2 Samuel 16:3. What did Ziba tell king David about Jonathan's son Mephibosheth?

2 Samuel 16:5-8, 13. What did Shimei do when David and his group passed by him?

2 Samuel 16:10-12. Why did David refuse to let Abishai smite Shimei?

2 Samuel 16:15. Where did Absalon go?

2 Samuel 16:20-21. What did Ahithophel counsel Absalom to do?

2 Samuel 16:23. Of what value was the counsel of Ahithophel?

2 Samuel 17:1-3. What did Ahithophel counsel Absalom to let him do?

2 Samuel 17:7-13. What was the counsel of Hushai?

2 Samuel 17:15-21. How did David know what Absalom was going to do?

2 Samuel 17:23. What did Ahithophel do when Absalom rejected his counsel?

2 Samuel 17:25. Whom did Amasa replace as captain of Absalom's host?

2 Samuel 18:2-3. Why did the people want David not to go with them to battle?

2 Samuel 18:5. What did the king charge his captains concerning Absalom?

2 Samuel 18:9, 14-15. How did Absalom die?

2 Samuel 18:33. What did David do and say when he heard of Absalom's death?

2 Samuel 19:5-7. What did Joab tell David to do? Why?

2 Samuel 19:13. Whom did Amasa replace as captain of David's host?

2 Samuel 19:14. What message did the men of Judah send to David?

2 Samuel 19:23. What did David swear to Shimei? (See also 2 Samuel 16:5-13)

2 Samuel 19:29. How did David deal with Mephibosheth for being disloyal?

2 Samuel 19:32, 39. What did Barzillai do for David? What did David do in return?

2 Samuel 20:1. Who was Sheba? (See also 2 Samuel 16:7a)

2 Samuel 20:2. Who followed Sheba?

2 Samuel 20:3. What did David do for the concubines he had left in Jerusalem? (See also 2 Samuel 16:21-22; Deuteronomy 24:1-4)

2 Samuel 20:8-10. What happened to Amasa, David's captain?

2 Samuel 20:16-22. What did the wise woman of Abel do?

2 Samuel 21:1. Why was there a famine in the land? (See also Joshua 9:3-17)

2 Samuel 21:4-6. What did the Gibeonites ask of David?

2 Samuel 21:9. What did the Gibeonites do with the sons of Saul?

2 Samuel 21:16-22. List four men whom David and his servants slew.

2 Samuel 22:1. How did David praise the Lord? (See also Bible Dictionary, p. 653, s.v. "David")

2 Samuel 22:2. What is the Lord to David? Why?

2 Samuel 23:2. By what power did David speak?

2 Samuel 23:3. What must rulers do?

2 Samuel 23:8-38. Whose deeds did David extol?

2 Samuel 23:8. What did Adino the Eznite do?

2 Samuel 23:14-18. What did Abishai do?

2 Samuel 24:1-2. What did David command Joab to do? Why?

2 Samuel 24:9. How many men were in Israel? In Judah?

2 Samuel 24:10. How had David sinned?

2 Samuel 24:11-12. What did the Lord instruct the prophet Gad to tell David?

2 Samuel 24:13. List the three judgments that the Lord allowed David to choose from.

2 Samuel 24:16, 16a. Why did the angel refrain from destroying Jerusalem? (See 2 Samuel 24:16a)

2 Samuel 24:17-25. What did David do to stop the plague?

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