2 Samuel 5 King David
David was anointed king over the tribe of Judah (2 Samuel 2:1-4), and later became king over all Israel (2 Samuel 5:1-3); about fifteen years from the time he was anointed to become king by the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 16:6-13).
- 2 Samuel 5:4 says, “David was thirty years old when he began to reign,” meaning he was about fifteen years old when he was first anointed by Samuel (and likely still a teenager when he defeated Goliath).
- Read 2 Samuel 5:6-7, 17-25, and find what were some of David’s first accomplishments as king.
- Note that the Lord’s command for the Israelites to drive out all the heathen nations from the land of promise was still in effect, even though it had been between 300 and 400 years since the children of Israel first entered Canaan under the leadership of Joshua.
- Verse 10 states, “David went on, and grew great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him.”
- Regarding David’s many wives and concubines (verse 13), the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith that they “were given unto him of me” (D&C 132:39).
2 Samuel 6 Do Not Touch the Ark
Having taken Jerusalem from the Jebusites and established it as his home and capital city for the land of Israel, David now determines to move the ark of the covenant there (verses 1-2). Evidently, David wanted all Israel to know that the Lord Jehovah (whose presence was represented by the ark) was with Israel. But a problem occurs:
- Read Numbers 1:51; 4:15, regarding the Lord’s strict instructions for moving the ark of the covenant.
- In 2 Samuel 6:3-4, how did they decide to transport the ark?
- How did they celebrate the bringing out of the ark? (verse 5).
- Along the way, at “Nachon’s threshingfloor,” the oxen “shook” the ark; presumably meaning the oxen stumbled, causing the ark to shift (verse 6).
- How did Uzzah react to the danger of the ark falling off the cart? (verse 6).
- What was the consequence for Uzzah’s disobedience? (verse 7).
This can be considered a harsh penalty against Uzzah, who was trying to help in an important endeavor. But the Lord’s declarations in Numbers 1 and 4 were clear, and at a time of spiritual reformation among Israel, the people needed to understand the supreme importance of obedience to God. Their history to this point has shown their tendency to take lightly or to ignore the law of Moses, constituting a rejection of the Lawgiver.
In 1831-32 the Prophet Joseph Smith was dealing with a difficulty within the Church, partially created by the Missouri misdeeds of Bishop Edward Partridge (see D&C 64:17). In D&C 85:8, Joseph wrote that Bishop Partridge’s behavior was like unto one who “putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God.” God’s work is His, and His commandments and instructions are to be followed, without setting forth to correct our leaders or otherwise take it upon ourselves to do things our own way (happily, Bishop Partridge repented and remained faithful and obedient the rest of his life).
Back to the ark: The incident with Uzzah made David “afraid of the Lord” and ponderous over how to continue forth (2 Samuel 6:9-10). What followed, in verses 11-15, 17? How can you better bring the “presence” and blessings of the Lord into your life, your household, and your community?
2 Samuel 7 The House of God
David’s desire was not only to showcase the ark of the covenant as a symbol of God’s presence among the Israelites, but also to build a “house,” a temple of God:
- Read verses 1-3, regarding the conversation between king David and the prophet Nathan.
- What did the Lord tell Nathan, in verses 4-7? Note that the Lord emphasized that He had not called upon any of the previous leaders in Israel to build a temple, and that He was not calling David to do so.
- Read 1 Chronicles 22:5-8 to find why the Lord did not want David to build the temple.
- Instead, the Lord tells Nathan to say to David, “the Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house” (verse 11).
- The “house” the Lord promised to David is to be through David’s posterity, which will include the Savior, Jesus Christ (verses 12-13, 16).
- Read the sweet, humble reply of David to the Lord, in verses 25-29.
- We can—and should—offer our best to the Lord. But in the end, His blessings upon us far exceed anything we can do.
2 Samuel 11 David’s Adultery and Murder
What helps you to stay morally clean? When you are tempted, what do you do to resist? Like King Saul, David tumbles tragically. Read verses 1-15, and consider the following commentary:
- Verse 1: David was in the wrong place, for rather than leading Israel to battle, he sent Joab in his place, then continued to tarry at Jerusalem.
- Verse 2: David was likely not guilty for noticing the beauty of Bathsheba (whose name means “daughter of the covenant”), but between verses 2 and 3 he had to make a supremely important decision.
- Verse 3: Unfortunately, David made a very poor decision, choosing to find out more about Bathsheba.
- Verse 4: At this point, David could still turn back and avoid catastrophe, but he went further by having Bathsheba brought to him. It is reasonable to conclude that Bathsheba was innocent in this ordeal, for David was the king and because the prophet Nathan referred to Bathsheba as a “little ewe lamb” (2 Samuel 12:3). The consequences of David’s actions led him to subsequently break the 6th, 7th, 9th, and 10th commandments (murder, adultery, bearing false witness, and coveting a neighbor’s wife; it may also be said that heviolated the 1st commandment by putting something else before God). Read James 1:14-15, about what lust can do to a person.
- Verse 5: Because Bathsheba’s husband Uriah (whose name means “The Lord is my light”) was away doing battle in the service of David’s army, Bathsheba’s being “with child” could not be attributed to Uriah. (Being a “Hittite,” Uriah was likely a non-Israelite who had convert to the belief in and worship of Jehovah.)
- Verse 6: David demanded to have Uriah sent home from the battlefield, in hopes he would have relations with his wife, thus shielding David from suspicion.
- Verses 7-13: David constructed a false pretense to Uriah, then sent him home in hopes that he would sleep with Bathsheba, but Uriah’s honor and loyalty repeatedly prevented him from going home.
- Verses 14-15: David, void of the Spirit, takes steps to make matters even worse. Though not performed by his hand, David is clearly guilty of murder and should have been stoned to death for this great sin (see Genesis 9:6; Leviticus 24:17, 21; Numbers 35:30; 2 Nephi 9:35).
- The Lord said that those who lust “shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit” (D&C 42:23). He also said about adulterers, “they shall not have the Spirit, but shall deny the faith and shall fear” (D&C 63:16).
2 Samuel 12 The Prophet Nathan Visits David
Perhaps David thought that his sins were not known, but of course the Lord knew:
- Read the parable told by the prophet Nathan to David, in verses 1-6, plus the first sentence of verse 7. How do you think David must have felt?
- Read Nathan’s continued admonitions from the Lord, in verses 7-9. Perhaps a contributing factor to some of our sins is a failure to remember the tremendous blessings the Lord has given us.
- What are the consequences that Nathan said would come upon David, in verses 10-12?
- In verse 13, David finally confesses, but it is better to confess without being confronted. Then Nathan tells David in this verse that “the Lord also hath [not] put away thy sin; thou shalt not die” (JST change inserted; the Lord is saying that David would not be put to death).
2 Samuel The Rest of the Book
The remaining chapters of 2 Samuel relate the following:
- 2 Samuel 13:1-6, 11-29—some of the evils that Nathan foretold would come upon David and his family begin to happen; first with David’s son Amnon forcing himself upon his half-sister Tamar; then Absalom (another son of David) has Amnon put to death.
- 2 Samuel, chapters 14-19 chapter headings—more of the of the horrible things prophesied by Nathan for David and his family.
- 2 Samuel, chapter 22 heading—a psalm of David, expressing praise and thanksgiving to the Lord; evidencing David’s humble-hearted repentance and return to the Lord.
1 Kings 3 A Wise and Understanding Heart
In 1 Kings 1, David declared that Solomon (his son with Bathsheba) is to succeed him as king (see 1:5-13, 28-41). Then in 2:1-3, just before dying, David counseled Solomon to be strong and to walk in the Lord’s ways:
- Solomon becomes a righteous king, and the Lord appeared to him in a dream. Read 3:7-13. What did Solomon ask of the Lord? What things did the Lord promise to give him?
- What gifts do you feel the Lord has given you? Read D&C 46:7-12 and consider other gifts you would like to seek.
- 1 Kings 3:16-28 is the well-known account of two women who each claimed to be the mother of the same child. Solomon’s resolution of the problem showed that the Lord had indeed given him wisdom. Has there been a time in your life when you needed wisdom from God to make an important decision?
- In chapters 4-7, Solomon reigns over a large, prosperous, peaceful kingdom of Israel, and he builds the temple in Jerusalem (more than 400 years after the entry into the promised land).
1 Kings 8 The Dedication of the Temple
Solomon prepared for the temple dedication by moving the ark of the covenant and the rest of the items from the ancient tabernacle into the new temple, followed by innumerable burnt sacrifices to the Lord (verses 1-9, 62-64).
- What happened next, in verses 9-10? Have you attended a temple dedication? What was your experience?
- Verses 22-53 contain the dedicatory prayer, offered by Solomon. In his prayer, Solomon presented to the Lord various future possible scenarios in which the Lord’s people would need His mercy and care, pleading that the Lord would answer their petitions (for example, read verses 23, 28-30, 33-36, 51-53).
- Some have interpreted verses 41-43 to be a prophecy of the 1841 visit of Apostle Orson Hyde to the land of Israel, where he prayed from the Mount of Olives (overlooking the Temple Mount) for the Lord to bring to pass the return of the Jews to their land of promise.
- Read verses 54-58, wherein Solomon bore testimony to his people of God’s goodness.
- In 1 Kings 9:1-9, the Lord again appeared to Solomon and promised blessings for Israel’s obedience, but warned of the consequences if Israel were to return to the worship of false gods.
- 1 Kings 10:23-24 tells that Solomon exceeded all other kings of the earth in riches and in God-given wisdom.
1 Kings 11 Solomon’s Fall
Like Saul and like David, Solomon also foolishly falls:
- Read verses 1-11, 33, and list why and how Solomon and his people fell.
- Then, in verses 14, 23, 26, the Lord “stirred up” adversaries against Solomon; Hadad and Rezon “abhorred Israel” (verse 25) and became enemies.
- Jeroboam “lifted up his hand against the king” (verse 26) and Ahijah prophesied to Jeroboam that he would become ruler of ten of the twelve tribes (all but Judah and Benjamin; verses 29-31); therefore, Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam (verse 40).
- This is the genesis for the division of the united kingdom of Israel that David had established; the ten tribes will become the northern kingdom, and Judah (with Benjamin) is to become the southern kingdom.
- Solomon died and his son Rehoboam became king (verse 43).
Three Kings Who Started Good and Ended Bad
- Saul: compare 1 Samuel 9:2 to 1 Samuel 15:26-28.
- David: compare 1 Samuel 18:14 to 2 Samuel 12:9-10.
- Solomon: compare 1 Kings 3:3, 12 to 1 Kings 11:2-5.
Remember the dire warnings of the prophet Samuel in 1 Samuel 8:10-18, when the people of Israel demanded a king. Note also the sad statement of the Prophet Joseph Smith, in D&C 121:39.