2 Samuel 1–10

Old Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2003), 127–28


The first ten chapters of 2 Samuel record David’s rise to the pinnacle of his power and popularity. As you study these chapters, look for the relationship David had with the Lord and how he called on the powers of heaven to help him succeed.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Suggestions for Teaching

2 Samuel 1–4. David’s wisdom and integrity helped him unite Israel and Judah. (20–25 minutes)

To help students review 2 Samuel 1–4, divide them into groups of 2–4 people. Have each group look through these chapters and make up a quiz that matches people with something they did: In the first column they list people found in those chapters and in the second column they write a statement describing something each of the people did. Give them a copy of the following example:

Who Did What?

_____ David

A. (Something about Asahel)

_____ Abishai

B. (Something about Ish-bosheth)

_____ Rechab

C. (Something about Abner)

_____ Abner

D. (Something about Rechab)

_____ Joab

E. (Something about Baanah)

_____ An Amalekite

F. (Something about David)

_____ Asahel

G. (Something about Joab)

_____ Baanah

H. (Something about the Amalekite)

_____ Ish-bosheth

I. (Something about Abishai)

Have the groups exchange quizzes and then work on the quizzes in their groups. When everyone is done with their quiz, ask students to compare David’s wisdom and integrity to the other people in those chapters. Ask them what David did in those chapters that was the most admirable and to explain why they think so.

2 Samuel 5; 8. When we rely on the Lord, we can accomplish more than we ever could on our own. (10–15 minutes)

Ask students to imagine they are in a war and their enemy is marching against them. Show a picture of something like a spy satellite, reconnaissance plane, or hot air balloon and ask how it would help them in the upcoming battle. Have them read 2 Samuel 5:17–25 and find what David did that was like getting an aerial view of the enemy.

Help students understand how David’s constant reliance on the Lord resulted in success in his battles with Israel’s enemies. The Israelites prevailed in the two battles with the Philistines because before each conflict David asked the Lord for instructions (see 2 Samuel 5:19, 23).

Have students quickly read 2 Samuel 8 and list some of the nations that David defeated. (Philistines, Moabites, Syrians or Arameans, Ammonites, Amalekites, and Edomites.) Have them read verses 6 and 14 and mark the phrase that explains why David was so successful. Discuss what we can learn from David’s example, emphasizing how much more successful we can be if we faithfully consult the Lord on the challenges we face.

Share the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson:

“Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life [see Matthew 10:39]” (Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations [address at a Christmas devotional, 7 Dec. 1986], 3).

You may wish to add your own testimony of the value of turning to the Lord for help.

2 Samuel 6:1–11. It is inappropriate to try to correct others when we do not have authority. (10–15 minutes)

Make copies of the following two mazes or make two different mazes.

Have two students sit back-to-back in separate desks and not look at what the other student is doing. Give a copy of one of the mazes to one student and have him or her complete it. Then give the second student a copy of the different maze and tell him or her to carefully follow the directions the first student gives to complete it. Have the first student give step-by-step directions to complete the maze he or she has. It should soon become apparent that they each have a different maze and one person cannot accurately tell the other person how to solve the maze he or she does not have.

Tell your students that they will read an account from the scriptures that teaches a principle relating to this demonstration. Read with them 2 Samuel 6:1–7 and ask them why they think Uzzah was slain (see the commentary for 2 Samuel 6:1–11 in Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis–2 Samuel, p. 289). Read Numbers 4:15 and discuss what the Israelites were commanded not to do. Help students understand the sacredness of the ark of the covenant and the restrictions regarding its care.

Have students read 2 Samuel 6:8–10 and ask:

  • How did David feel about what happened to Uzzah?

  • Why do you think he was displeased and afraid?

Read 1 Chronicles 15:2, 11–15 and find out what changes David made in the way the ark was carried. Ask students what they think the Lord might have been trying to teach the Israelites through Uzzah’s death.

Share Elder David O. McKay’s counsel regarding Uzzah from the 2 Samuel 1–12 “Points to Ponder” in Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis–2 Samuel (p. 292). Then ask students how the mazes, Elder McKay’s remarks, and Uzzah’s attempt to steady the ark relate to each other. Help them understand that just as one student did not have a clear understanding of the other student’s maze, we do not have either the authority or the inspiration to direct, or “steady the ark,” of those we have not been called to lead.

2 Samuel 6:12–23. Our reverence for the Lord should influence our behavior in sacred settings. (10–15 minutes)

Ask students how they can identify people who truly love and worship their Father in Heaven. The following questions may be helpful:

  • How do they act, talk, or dress?

  • How do they conduct themselves during the sacrament or during other Church meetings?

  • What is their attitude when they talk about the Church, its leaders, the scriptures, or the temple?

Read 2 Samuel 6:16–18, 20–22 with students. Ask them why they think Michal was offended by David’s actions. Help them understand that Michal criticized David for setting aside his royal robes and dancing with joy before the Lord. Evidently she felt this behavior was beneath the dignity of his position as king. David’s reply expressed his feelings that even though his actions were offensive to Michal, he would continue to show respect for the Lord and the holy ark (see the commentary for 2 Samuel 6:12–23 in Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis–2 Samuel, p. 289).

Ask students what David’s response to Michal’s complaint teaches about his reverence for the ark of the covenant. Invite students to take a few minutes and suggest ways they could show greater reverence to the Lord, His buildings, and His ordinances.

2 Samuel 9. The way we treat others, including those we consider our enemies, is a sign of our commitment to our covenants with the Lord, who redeemed us. (10–15 minutes)

Ask students to think about the cruelest thing anyone ever did to them and how they feel about that person, and even that person’s family. Ask them how they would feel about inviting them over for dinner.

Remind students of what Saul had tried to do to David. In 2 Samuel 9, we learn that one of Saul’s grandchildren, Jonathan’s son, was lame. Read the chapter together as a class and look for what David did for Mephibosheth. Discuss David’s kindness in light of the Savior’s counsel in Matthew 5:38–47 and Alma’s admonition in Mosiah 18:8–9.

Read 2 Samuel 9:7 to discover why David showed Mephibosheth kindness. Ask: What does that teach us about David’s love for Jonathan?