Judges accentuates the need of the people for a king. Ruth promises the coming of the king. The Books of Samuel record his actual arrival. First Samuel begins with the birth of the prophet Samuel (c. 1140), the last of Israel’s judges. In 1 Samuel 4, the Philistines capture the Ark of God at Shiloh. Then, in 1 Samuel 10, Samuel anoints Saul as King at the insistence of the people (c. 1070) and contrary to the warnings of Moses (Deut. 17).
But God rejects Saul (1 Sam. 15), and Samuel anoints David as king (c. 1065, 1 Sam. 16). A long struggle ensues as Saul seeks to destroy his rival. David exercises great patience waiting on God’s time to assume the official leadership of the kingdom. In the meantime, Samuel dies (1 Sam. 25) and is mourned by the people (c. 1057). Finally, Saul is wounded in battle against the Philistines and, rather than being found by the enemy, he ends his own life by falling on his sword (c. 1055, 1 Sam. 31).
After mourning Saul’s death, the men of Judah anoint David as their King (c. 1053, 2 Sam. 2). Meanwhile, under the command of Abner, the remnants of Saul’s army anoint Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, as King over Israel. Civil war breaks out between the house of David and the house of Saul. After the assassination of Ishbosheth (2 Sam. 4), David becomes king over all Israel (2 Sam. 5).
At this point, David sacks the stronghold of the Jebusites. Mount Zion becomes the City of David. At this time, the Lord also gives the Philistines into the hand of David. And the Ark of God is returned to Jerusalem with great pomp and celebration (2 Sam. 6).
All of the preceding prepares the way for God’s covenant with David (c. 1042).
When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son (2 Sam. 7:12-14).
David is astonished by God’s promise, “Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord GOD. You have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind” (2 Sam. 7:18-19, emphasis added).
David proceeds to consolidate the kingdom against all opposition. Once accomplished, he calls for a census against the advice of Joab, the commander of his army (c. 1017, 2 Sam. 24). God answers with a plague, and 70,000 men die. The prophet Gad directs David to build an altar and offer sacrifices (2 Sam. 24:18). God answers David’s sacrifice, halts the plague, and thus reveals the location for His temple, His chosen place for worship (Deut. 12, 2 Chron. 22:1). Second Samuel closes with David representing the people before God as both a king and a priest.
The kingship of David foreshadows the Kingship of Jesus Christ (Luke 1:32). And as predicted and foreshadowed, Jesus Christ, our King, came into the world. The temple of old foreshadows the church of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 6:16). And as foreshadowed, Jesus Christ is building His place of worship, the church (Matt. 16:18). Thus we see that 1-2 Samuel, like the rest of Israel’s history, “were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come” (1 Cor. 10:11).