Second Samuel begins exactly where First Samuel leaves off. Saul is killed in battle against the Philistines. David is informed of Saul's death by a man who claims to have dealt the death blow. David rewards him with his own death because he took it upon himself to end the life of "the Lord's anointed." David is told to go to Hebron by God and reigns in Hebron (a city in Israel) for 7 years. He also praises the people of Jabesh Gilead for their act of honor and kindness to Saul and his family.
Meanwhile, Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, rules part of the kingdom of Israel with Abner as the ruling military leader. There is fighting between Abner's men and David's men led by Joab. After seeking to spare Asahel, Joab's brother, in battle, Abner must finally kill him in defense. The battle is soon halted. Ishbosheth accuses Abner of sexual infidelity with one of his concubines, and Abner gets fed up with Ishbosheth and makes an agreement to turn over the remainder of the kingdom to David. Joab discovers that David allowed Abner to leave unharmed, and he secretly catches up to him and kills Abner out of vengeance for his brother. David points out his ignorance and innocence regarding Abner's murder. He mourns his death, and the people are pleased with his honoring of Abner. Two men kill Ishbosheth while he sleeps. They bring David his head in search of a reward for the death of his enemy. David has them killed because they are guilty of murder. The remaining leaders of Israel ask David to be their king. David takes over Jerusalem and begins to rule the entire kingdom from there. David inquires of the Lord regarding invading the Philistines twice, and he defeats them both times. David goes to get the Ark of the Covenant. A man named Uzzah is killed because he touches the ark. David leaves the ark with Obed-Edom, and Obed-Edom is blessed by its presence. David goes back and gets the ark, taking much greater care to transport it in the prescibed way. He rejoices with the people and dances with only a robe on. His first wife, Michal (Saul's daughter), speaks with disdain to David about dancing in a what she views as an unseemly way. David tells her she ain't seen nothing yet Michal has no more children.
David recognizes the different levels of grandeur between his palace and the shelter of the ark. He voices a desire to build a temple for God and the ark. God tells David that he will not be allowed to build it, but his son will, and David will have a descendant on the throne going forward. David is profoundly humbled by God's kind words and prophecy. David subdues the Philistines, Moabites, Syrians, and other neighbors. David rules justly. Various leaders of government are named. David seeks out a descendant of Jonathon to show his family kindness. He finds and blesses Mephibosheth, Jonathon's son with Saul's wealth and honors him. David seeks to continue and strengthen his relationship with the new generation of leadership within the Ammonites. His messengers are mistreated, and war breaks out between Israel and the Ammonites. This grows into an even larger war with Syria. Israel is victorious.
MAJOR TURNING POINT
David chooses to have adultery with a wife of one of his soldiers. Initially, he tries to cover it up by having Uriah go into his wife while on leave from the battle. Uriah won't. David has him killed. God is UN happy. Nathan, the prophet, tells David a parable about an evil and wealthy man who takes the only sheep a poor man has. As David's anger and judgment burst from his mouth, Nathan points out that David IS the evil wealthy man. David repents, and he is forgiven. However, God declares the baby born in adultery will die. David mourns and fasts and pleads for the life of the baby, but it dies. David and Bathsheba have Solomon. Joab takes cities and challenges David to come out and help finish them off, or Joab claims he'll name the towns after himself. David gains victory.
David's son, Amnon, rapes Tamar. She is a daughter to David from a different mother than Amnon's. Absalom was her brother from David AND the same mother. Absalom has Amnon killed. Absalom flees Israel. David mourns. Joab tries to manipulate David regarding Absalom being away from Israel. David recognizes Joab's involvement, but he chooses to allow Absalom back in Israel. He was not initially allowed to be in David's presence. Absalom finally appears before David, and David kisses him. Absalom begins to position himself to gain power within Israel. Eventually, he stages a takeover of the kingdom. David flees with most of his household. David plants a few spies and friends before he leaves. The flight of David and his household out of the city is chronicled. He meets up with some who help and bless him, and he meets some who curse him. Meanwhile, David's friend who remains his ally asserts himself as a counselor for Absalom. Absalom goes in and sleeps with David's ten concubines. Absalom listens to the counsel of David's friend and spy regarding whether he should pursue David immediately or wait. Because of this, Absalom chooses to go out himself with a large army instead of immediately. David goes across the Jordan and rests. David is told to stay behind while the others fight, and he commands for his leaders to be gentle with Absalom. Absalom gets stuck hanging by his hair in a tree. Joab is told, and he kills him. Israel learns of Absalom's death, and his supporters scatter. David is informed of the victory and of Absalom's death. David mourns deeply for Absalom. Joab rebukes David for giving the appearance of having no appreciation for those who fought for him. David replaces Joab with Amasa as the leader of his military, and he seeks to reunite Israel under him. The people who interacted with David during his flight are revisited during his return. An argument breaks out between Judah and the rest of Israel. This almost leads to another coup and a civil war led by Sheba, a descendant of Benjamin. Joab kills Amasa in cold blood. A wise woman averts civil war by talking with Joab and discovering that Sheba's life would save them from fighting this war. She supervises his death and tosses his head out to Joab.
Next, in chapter 21, we are told of a time when there was a famine in Israel for three years, David seeks God to know why. God tells David it is because Saul killed the Gibeonites whom Israel has sworn not to kill. David speaks with the Gibeonites. They request the death of seven of Saul's descendants. David agrees to this. David takes their remains along with the remains of Saul and Jonathon and bury them in the tomb of his father, Kish. The famine ceases. After this, we are told of several stories of war with various Philistines. In chapter 22, David sings a poetic song of praise and thanks. Next, we read some of David's final words and learn about warriors known as "the mighty men" who served under David. Second Samuel ends with a strange story that reappears in Chronicles. David numbers the people(takes a census). This was forbidden, and God judges Israel, but God gives David a choice regarding what the judgment will be. He chooses to trust in God's mercy. God sends an angel to strike the people, but God stops the angel after some people are killed and before Jerusalem is struck. David is told by a prophet to offer a sacrifice to God, and he does. The plague from God ends.