Lesson 13: Conclusion
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Congratulations on making it to the end of the books of Samuel. I hope that you have been blessed by your study of the stories and poems recorded by God’s inspired writers. Since we have already covered all the chapters of 2 Samuel, you may be wondering why there is an extra lesson at the end of this study. Just like any other book of the Bible, the story of 2 Samuel is not an isolated story, but a small part of a continuous narrative that leads to the foot of the cross. The question we want to ask ourselves is this: Now that we understand 2 Samuel, how does that help us understand the rest of the Bible?
We are going to answer this question by “zooming-out” from the David story. First, we will look at how 2 Samuel relates to the story of David’s son Solomon. Then we will zoom out further to look at how understanding David’s story should shape our perception of the rest of the Old Testament. Finally, we will look at how David is a vital figure in the story of Jesus. As the story of the bible unfolds, you may be surprised to discover that the biblical authors framed their narratives, poetry, and prophecies around the unforgettable promise God made to David in 2 Samuel 7.
The Reign of Solomon: The Promise Kept
Read 1 Kings 1
1 Kings, the book of the bible that follows 2 Samuel, opens with a short story about how David’s son Adonijah attempted to make himself king without David’s blessing. There are many interesting points about this story that we won’t be covering, but I do want to highlight that this chapter makes clear that David intended for his son Solomon to be king, even though Solomon was not the obvious choice.
Who was David’s oldest living son? Remember that Absalom was the oldest living son before his death.
Who was Solomon’s mother? What is the significance of this?
Read 2 Samuel 12:24-25. What does the Bible say about Solomon?
Solomon was neither the oldest nor the most prominent of David’s sons. Instead, the selection of him as king was based on Solomon’s character and his potential for success in leading God’s people.
Read 1 Kings 2:1-4.
Compare this to 2 Samuel 7:12-16 and Psalm 89:29-37.
What do David’s words in 1 Kings 2:3-4 reveal about his understanding of God’s promise?
As the reader of God’s word, I think we are meant to read David’s exhortation to Solomon in 1 Kings 2 and take pause. While I think David trusted that God promised a throne to his family, David implies in verse 4 that God’s promise was conditioned on Solomon’s obedience. David assumed that he and his descendants had to remain faithful and righteous to receive God’s promise of an eternal throne.
But God’s promise was not conditioned on the righteousness of David’s house. God accounted for the sin of David’s descendants in 2 Samuel 7:14-16, and promised that while sin would have consequences, David’s throne would endure forever.
Think about it: Do we receive salvation because of our righteousness or God’s righteousness? Use scripture to support your answer. Then, read Ephesians 2:1-10. How can doing right works because we are saved, be confused with doing right works to become saved?
Read 1 Kings 8:10-21. This is Solomon’s speech following the completion of the temple.
Compare this passage to 2 Samuel 7:5-16. Was God’s promise fulfilled?
Read 1 Kings 8:22-26. Compare this to 1 Kings 2:4.
Just as God promised, the temple was built by David’s son, Solomon. At this point in the story of Israel, the nation appeared to have reached the fullness of God’s promise to give them a land of their own (see Genesis 15:18-21). They were fully occupying the boundaries of the promised land, they were worshiping God in a permanent building, and they had a dynastic king ruling their nation. Solomon too proved to be the son of David that God described in 2 Samuel 7:12-16. He built the temple and dedicated himself and Israel to serve the God who kept his promises to David, and to Israel as a whole.
Read 1 Kings 9:1-9
What promise did God confirm to Solomon if he remained obedient? What consequences were promised if Solomon chose to worship other gods?
After Solomon’s prayer to dedicate the temple, God responded with a blessing and a warning. The blessing affirmed God’s commitment to providing a lasting kingdom to David’s descendants. However, if Solomon or his descendants failed to follow God, their nation would lose the promised land and the temple itself would be destroyed.
At first read, it might seem like God is now setting conditions on the unconditional promise he made to David. Far from it! God is simply restating the conditions of a promise He made to the nation of Israel long before the time of David.
Read Deuteronomy 29:16-28 (with special attention to 24-28), Deuteronomy 30:11-20, Samuel 12:13-15.
How do these passages relate to the promise God makes in 1 Kings 9:1-9?
For the nation of Israel, living in the promised land had always been conditional on their obedience. God had not changed his promise when the kings began to rule over Israel. Even though a permanent temple had been established in the land, God’s statement to Solomon affirmed that this would not prevent the exile and destruction promised if the king or the nation chose to follow other gods.
While exile and punishment are the promised result of disobedience, notice that God does not mention anything about the kingdom being taken away from David’s descendants. The promise of the forever kingdom, ruled by David’s descendant, remained intact, even if David’s descendants failed to follow the one and only God.
The intersection of the promises in these covenants creates some tension for us as readers and begs several questions. What will happen if the kings do disobey and bring disaster on Israel? How will the eternal kingdom continue if there is no land to rule? Is the only way for God to keep his promises for all the kings to be obedient to Him?
These are all valid and important questions to ask, and they are not answered immediately. But when they are, they reveal how God’s ideal, everlasting kingdom would exceed any expectation that could be devised by human understanding.
Read 1 Kings 11:1-13 and 29-40.
What caused Solomon to turn away from God? What did God promise as a result?
How did God still honor his promise to David?
It does not take long for God’s promises to be tested. God gave Solomon everything a king could want including riches, land, peace, and wisdom. Despite all that, Solomon failed to remain faithful to God and instead began to worship foreign gods to appease his many foreign wives. In response, God proclaimed the loss of the kingdom for Solomon’s son. While God promised to take most of the kingdom of Israel away, he preserved a smaller kingdom for Solomon’s son in deference to His promise to David. Even though David’s descendants could not maintain their obedience, even for one generation, God never failed to be faithful to His words (2 Timothy 2:11-13).
The Divided Kingdom and the Exile: The Promise that Remains
Solomon’s sin caused the division of God’s people into two kingdoms. The larger kingdom was promised to Jeroboam and was referred to throughout the remainder of the Old Testament as Israel, the Northern Kingdom, and eventually, Samaria (which became the capital city). While Jeroboam received control of this kingdom directly from the Lord, he immediately turned from God and built golden calves for the Israelites to worship instead. In response, God appointed a prophet to tell Jeroboam what to expect in return for his idolatry.
Read 1 Kings 14:7-11
How is Jeroboam compared to David?
What will be the consequence for Jeroboam’s disobedience?
Jeroboam’s unfaithfulness caused the Northern kingdom to never have a leader whose heart followed the Lord. He was succeeded by a series of evil kings who murdered and waged war to occupy the throne of Israel and who continued the idolatrous practices that Jeroboam established. This kingdom, although physically strong at times, spiritually weakened to the point that God allowed the nation to be captured by the Assyrian nation.
However, true to His promise, God preserved the Southern Kingdom for the house of David. This kingdom was made of two tribes and got its name from the larger tribe, Judah. Unlike the Northern Kingdom that was ruled by many different families, Judah was ruled by a descendant of David from beginning to end. However, not all the kings followed God as David did.
Read 1 Kings 15:1-5 and 2 Chronicles 14:1-9. Compare the descriptions of these two kings.
Throughout 1 Kings, 2 Kings, and 2 Chronicles, the kings of Judah are divided into two groups: Those who followed God as David did, and those who did not. When the kings who followed God were in power, the whole nation turned their hearts towards God. However, when the kings who didn’t follow God ruled, the nation similarly turned away from God. As we read about each king, the comparison to David reminds the reader to consider the promise of the lasting kingdom. When we encounter a king who does evil, we are meant to wonder, do we really want David’s family reigning forever?
Read 2 Kings 21:1-19 and 25:1-21. What happens to the Kingdom of Judah and to the temple?
After the disastrous reign of King Manasseh, God made known through his prophets that the kingdom of Judah would face exile. He allowed a foreign people, the Babylonians, to invade Jerusalem and to destroy the temple that Solomon had built, just as He had promised. As the temple burned and the people were taken captive to Babylon, I am sure that some of God’s people wondered if the promise of the eternal throne was now void. The promised land was lost, and a son of David no longer ruled over God’s people. In the midst of this calamity, God used the prophet Jeremiah to remind the people that although they had failed, God never fails to keep his promises.
Read Jeremiah 33. What does God say about his promise to David and the people of Judah?
What does this passage tell you about the nature of God?
Despite the loss of the land and of the temple, God’s promise for a lasting kingdom had not ended. This promise is echoed in the words of the prophets who reminded the people that the king that was promised was still coming.
Read these passages. What do they confirm about God’s promise to David? What new information do they tell us about the coming king?
- Isaiah 9:6-7.
- Isaiah 11:1
- Jeremiah 23:5-6
- Micah 5:2
Read 2 Kings 25:27-30. Who is preserved after the exile of Judah?
God’s words through his prophets were meant to encourage His people to look forward to this king from David’s line. Even the end of 2 Kings offers hope for the promise to be fulfilled. While many of David’s descendants were killed, one, Jehoiachin, remained alive and well in Babylon. He is also called Jeconiah elsewhere in the Bible.
Read Matthew 1:11-16. What king is the descendant of Jeconiah? How is this king like the descendant described in Jeremiah 33:14-16?
Jesus: The Promise Fulfilled
The fulfillment of God’s promise to David was a baby, born in a manger in David’s hometown of Bethlehem. This baby, whose father was God and whose mother was a descendant of David, would save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). His earthly father, Joseph, was also a descendant of David and would protect the child from earthly kings who attempted to harm him (Matthew 2).
As we have already discussed in other lessons, the first verse of the New Testament heralds God’s faithfulness to His promise when it states, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1:1). At the time of Matthew’s writing, the remaining faithful Jewish people believed the prophets and were waiting for the “Son of David” who would reestablish the everlasting kingdom. By using this phrase, Matthew is clearly stating that Jesus is the descendant of David who will rule forever (Luke 1:30-33).
As you continue to read the rest of the New Testament past that powerful first verse, your eyes should be drawn to any mention of David in connection with Jesus. Here are a few. Notice who is making the connection, what they are calling Jesus, and why they are seeking him out.
- Matthew 9:27-31
- Matthew 12:22-32
- Matthew 15:21:28
Throughout Jesus’ time on earth, it was often the most unlikely person who recognized his power and purpose. From a non-Jewish Canaanite woman to blind men in need of healing, those who were considered the least in society could see that Jesus was indeed the promised “son of David.”
Think about it: What do these stories tell you about Jesus’ kingdom?
Read Mark 1:14-15. What did Jesus proclaim?
Remember that question I asked as we read about David’s descendants: do we really want David’s family reigning forever? Jesus answered that question with a resounding yes! The Old Testament shows us that no man could ever rule God’s people in perfect justice and righteousness (Jeremiah 33:15). When Jesus comes, as fully God and fully man, he revealed that he is the only one capable of ruling the world in perfection forever. When he began his ministry, he proclaimed that God had come to rule the Earth, just as it should have been from the beginning (Mark 1:14-15). As Jesus spread his message of belief and repentance, he revealed what kind of kingdom he would rule.
- One of physical restoration: Matthew 8:1-17
- One of control over creation: Matthew 8:23-27
- One of power over demonic forces: Matthew 8:28-34
- One of power to forgive sins: Matthew 9:1-8
The kingdom that Jesus revealed in his time on Earth is one we want to abide in forever. Unlike the kings that came before him, whose sin brought destruction and death on their people, Jesus took on the sin of his people to grant them access to his perfect, everlasting kingdom.
Read Revelation 21:1-22:1-5. How is the final kingdom of God described? Who is its ruler? What is the city called? Is there a temple? How long will this kingdom last?
Think about it: Do you think David knew how God was going to fulfill His promise? Use scriptures to support your answer.
There is so much more to be said about the kingdom that Jesus rules. I pray that you will continue to seek the purpose and perfection of this kingdom in every aspect of your life. As we close this study of 2 Samuel, I encourage you to continue to search for and appreciate the purposeful connection between the reign of King David and the reign of King Jesus. Through the reign of David, God showed his people just a small taste of what a just and righteous king would look like. He also showed that a better king was needed. Jesus will be blessed by the realization that despite all the wrong in the world, God will always keep his promises.
by Christi Smith