Inductive Bible Studies,

[Copyright by W. R. HARPER, 1887.]

PREPARED BY PROFESSORS W. R. HARPER (Yale University), W. G. BALLANTINE (Oberlin Theol. Sem.), WILLIS J. BEECHER (Auburn Theol. Sem.), and G. S. BURROUGHS (Amherst College).


Eighth Study.—David's Reign from the Completion of His Conquests.

[The material of this "study" is furnished by Professors Beecher and Burroughs. It is edited by Professor Harper.]



1. This "study," particularly when considered in connection with the view of David's history which is presented1 is not only biographical in character, but also psychological.

2. Note how the private life of David, particularly his sin and its consequences, stands in relation to the general history.

3. Note, again, how this history—the course of events—

(1) discloses the condition and working of David's mind and heart, and yet

(2) reacts upon and influences his personal life and character.

4. Note, still further, how the history of Israel, not only at this period, but also subsequently, was shaped and colored by David's inmost thought and act.


[The literature of this " study" has been already given in connection with "study" seven.]

Prepare for recitation the remaining parts of 2 Samuel, with the parallel passages:

(1) the bringing of the ark to Jerusalem, 6; 1 Chron. 13; 15; 16;

(2) the promise concerning the temple and the "house ' of David, 7; 1 Chron. 17;

(3) Absalom's provocation, crime and punishment, 13; 14 (note especially 13:23,38; 14:28; Jos. Ant. VII. IX. 1);

(4) the fate of Saul's family, 4:4-12; 9; 21:114; 16:1-4; 19:24-30;

(5) circumstances in which the temple site was located, 24; 1 Chron. 21; 22:1;

(6) preparations for the temple and its service, 1 Chron. 22-29:22a (including the first proclamation of Solomon as king, 1 Chron. 23:1 compared with 29:22b);2

(7) Absalom's rebellion (" at the end of forty years," 15:7), chapters 15-19;

(8) Sheba's rebellion, 20:1-22;

(9) David's second cabinet, 20:23-26;

(10) his roll of heroes, 23:8-39; 1 Chron. 11:10-47;

(11) David's illness, and the second proclamation of Solomon as king, 1 Chron. 29:22b-30; 1 Kgs. l.3


1. Removal of the Ark to Jerusalem (6; 1 Chron. 13; 15; 16).

(1) Note the details, and place the scene before the mind in picture.

(2) Read carefully the Psalms which may be considered as illustrating the narrative, e. g. Pss. 15; 24; 68; 101; 132.4

(3) Significance of the event as a national movement, as distinguished from a simple event in David's life; the nation's preparation for it; its consequences as seen in the religious life of the people;


(a) " The anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah," 6:7; why?

(b) Was he a Levite? Was he conforming to Levitical ordinances? cf. Num. 3:29-31; 4:5,15,19,20; 7:9;

(c) the peculiar need of obedience for the good of the nation at this time.

(d) What about the divine severity alleged?

(5) Why was not the tabernacle also brought to Jerusalem at this time? What is to be said of the two centers of worship (1 Chron. 16:37,39,40)?

2. Tribal Jealousies.

(1) In connection with the rebellions of Absalom and Sheba, 2 Sam. 15: 720:22, study the tribal jealousies in Israel, particularly as existing between the other tribes and Judah, see especially 15:7-12;19:11-15,41-43; 20:1,2.

(2) Were these jealousies recent? cf. Judges 8:1; 12:1, etc.

(3) Trace their influence, subsequently, in the history of Israel.

3. Various Readings. Note the readings from the LXX. as found in Kirkpatrick's 2 Samuel, especially the following, 6: 2,3,4; 7: 23; 13:16,21,34; 15:18,27; 21:1; 24: 23.

4. Parallel Pentateuchal Passages.

(1) Compare and state the results of the comparison, 2 Sam. 6:2 with Lev. 24: 16; Deut. 28:10;

(2) 2 Sam. 14:7 with Num. 35:19; Deut. 19:12,13;

(3) 2 Sam. 18:17, with Deut. 21: 20,21;

(4) 2 Sam. 19: 21 with Exod. 22: 28;

(5) 2 Sam. 21:1 with Num. 35: 33,34; Deut. 21:7-9;

(6) 2 Sam. 21:2 with Exod. 34:11-16; Deut. 7:2;

(7) 2 Sam. 21:3,4,6 with Num. 35:31,32; Num. 25:4. Add any other passages you have discovered in your study.

5. Nathan's Prophecy and David's Prayer.5 2 Sam. 7.

(1) Examine the following characteristic peculiarities of the phraseology, and their effect on the interpretation of the chapter:

(a) "Jehovah having given rest to him from round about, from all his enemies,"6 verses 1, 11, compared with Deut. 12:10, and these with Deut. 25:19; 3:20; Josh. 1:13; 22:4; 21:44; 23:1; Heb. 4:8;

(b) "who will come forth from thy bowels," verse 12, compared with Gen. 15:4, and these with 2 Sam. 16:11; Isa. 48:19; 2 Chron. 32:21;

(c) " to thee for a people," "thou art to them for a God," verse 24, compared with Deut. 26:17,18; Lev. 26:45, and these with Gen. 17:7, and these with all later passages in the Old or New Testaments, where Israel or Christians are spoken of as God's people;

(d) "And who are as thy people, as Israel, one nation in the earth?" etc., verse 23, compared for syntax and for contents with Deut. 4:7,8;

(e) "I will be to him for a father, and he will be to me for a son," verse 14, compared with Exod. 4:22; Deut. 32:6, and these with Ps. 89:19-34, and with all later passages in which Israel or the Messiah are spoken of as the son of God.

(2) What is "the law of mankind," "the upbringing law of mankind " (paraphrased in the versions), verse 19, 1 Chron. 17:17?

(3) Which is made prominent here, the house that is to be built to Jehovah, or the house that Jehovah will make for David? verse 11 and those that follow.

(4) Compare verses 14, 15 with Ps. 89:30-34, and these with Lev. 26:44,45, etc. How much stress is to be laid on the "forever" so often repeated in these accounts of Jehovah's covenant with David, with Abraham, and with Israel?

(5) Formulate your conclusions as to the Messianic character of this chapter.

(6) Indicate the relation of the prophecy to subsequent prophecies.

(7) Show how disappointment as to its fulfillment in a lower sense led to a higher, brighter and more spiritual hope and anticipation.

6. Absalom, Ahithophel, etc.

(1) Consider from material gathered from those portions of the narrative in which his actions and words are recorded,7 the character of Absalom; in connection, particularly,

(a) with the provocation of Amnon's unpunished offense and

(b) the wavering and unwise policy of David in punishing his sin, as influencing and calling into play unfortunate and evil natural tendencies of his disposition.

(2) Ahithophel; particularly his ambition, pride and the circumstances of his death, drawing the parallel between his treachery and suicide and those of Judas.

(3) Mephibosheth and Ziba; are there reasons for supposing that Mephibosheth may have been false to David?

(4) Nathan; considering

(a) his courage, devotion, wisdom;

(b) his relations with David, particularly on the three occasions of David's sin (2 Sam. 12), his proposing to build a house for the LORD (2 Sam. 7), and the proclamation of Solomon as king (1 Kgs. 1).

7. David's Character.

(1) Study the character of David as disclosed in his relations with his sons, particularly Absalom.

(2) Show, in this connection, the peculiar evil which polygamy wrought in the family of David.

(3) Contrast the family relations of Saul with those of David, especially the relations of Saul and Jonathan with those of David and Absalom.

(4) Show how the character of David is revealed in the experiences of the rebellion of Absalom,

(a) in connection with Ittai (2 Sam. 15:19-22);

(b) Zadok and Abiathar (verses 24-29),

(c) Shimei (2 Sam. 16:5-14; 19:16-23; 1 Kgs. 2:8,9),

(d) Barzillai (2 Sam. 17:27-29; 19:31-40), etc.

(5) Discover the inner workings of his mind at this period, how he regarded his experiences as related to his sin, and in this light consider his anguish over the death of Absalom.

8. Numbering of the People.

(1) The circumstances relating to the numbering of the people, the plague, and the location of the temple site, 2 Sam. 24; 1 Chron. 21; 22:1.

(2) Compare the narrative of 2 Samuel with that of 1 Chronicles.

(3) What was the nature of David's sin? Why did "David's heart smite him?" How was the sin that of the people as well as of David?8

(4) The narrative in its relation to the topography of Jerusalem.

9. David's Reign and Life.

(1) Compare in general the reign of David with the previous reign of Saul.

(2) Show wherein the nation made permanent advancement, materially and morally.

(3) Show the elements of weakness, danger and disintegration which existed in the national life at the close of David's reign.

(4) Estimate the life of David in its larger relations to the world's history and to the history of the kingdom of God.


1. Indicate on the map the route of the bringing up of the ark and the localities of the two centers of worship (1 Chron. 16: 37,39).

2. Indicate the places connected with the career of Absalom.


1. Show the difference between receiving forgiveness of sin and escaping its consequences. Emphasize, in the light of this distinction, the danger and terribleness of sin.

2. Notice the interpenetration of life, both individual and social. Emphasize, in this connection, the great responsibility for its consequences which sin brings with it.

3. In view of the wide-reaching influence of even a single life upon the progress of mankind and the divine plan for the world, point out the absolute necessity of reliance upon divine grace that we fall not into sin.



1) See also, especially, remarks regarding this matter in the previous "study."

2) The view of the history underlying this arrangement of topics is peculiar in the following respects: (1) in placing the bringing of the ark to Jerusalem after David's conquests (see note on last "study"); (2) in accepting as correct the phrase "at an end of forty years," 15:7, and holding that Absalom's rebellion broke out at the close of the fortieth year of David's reign, that is, at the beginning of the last year of his reign; (3)in recognizing the undoubted fact that there should be a paragraph division after the first clause of 1 Chron.29:22 (see Jour. of Soc. of Bib. Lit. and Exeg., 1885, p. 73); the sacrificial feast on such occasions belongs after the transaction of the important business, and not before; that clause closes the account of the first proclaiming of Solomon as king; the account that follows, that of his being made king the second time, is of a different and later event. These points being accepted, the order of the events will be seen to be that implied in the order of the topics given. Very likely the assembly when Solomon was proclaimed the first time, 1 Chron.23:1;28;29,was at the close of the fortieth year of David, 1 Chron. 26:31, just before the breaking out of the rebellion, and the direct occasion of the outbreak. From the time of the death of Absalom, David was heart-broken; he soon fell into the condition of illness described in 1 Kgs.1, and never rallied from it. except partially, to accomplish the coronation of Solomon.—W. J. B.

3) In connection with these Biblical Lessons the attention of the student may well be directed to Bartlett &Peter's "The Scriptures, Hebrew and Christian," a book which in purpose and execution will be found most admirably adapted to the needs of a student of the Bible. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

4) See Introd. to Kirkpatrick's2 Samuel, pp. 46,47.

5) See Briggs' "Messianic Prophecy," chap. 5, especially pp. 126-132; von Orelli's " O. T. Prophecy," pp. 150-152; Kirkpatrick's 2 Samuel, appendix, note 1, p. 233.

6) Where the translation here given of these phrases differs from that in the versions, the difference is for the purpose of showing the technical form of the Hebrew.

7) The student must exercise care and determination not to form his opinions regarding these and other Scripture characters from general knowledge, but should very thoughtfully study the Scripture text.

8) See Kirkpatrick's 2 Samuel, appendix, note 5, The Numbering of the People.