Perek 1: Messengers informed Dovid that Israel fled from the Pilishtim and Shaul and his three sons died in combat. The messenger added that he obeyed Shaul’s plea to help him end his life after falling on his sword. He brought him Shaul’s crown and bracelet as proof. Dovid and his men tore their garments and fasted. Dovid then killed the messenger for killing the King of Israel. Dovid laments in song the deaths of Shaul and his sons, particularly Yonason.
Perek 2: Hashem told Dovid to go to Chevron which he, his wives and men did. There the tribe of Yehuda anointed Dovid as their leader aged 30 (he ruled over Yehuda for 7½ years). Dovid praised Yavesh Gilaad for burying Shaul in a dignified manner. Avner ben Ner appointed Ish Boshes, the son of Shaul as King over the rest of Israel (he ruled over Israel for 2 years). Avner and Yoav (Dovid’s general) agreed to a duel of 12 soldiers on each side; it was an intense battle and Avner was defeated. Asohel brother of Yoav chased after Avner, Avner warned him to stop and when Asohel persisted, Avner struck him beneath the fifth rib killing him. Asohel’s two brothers Yoav and Avishiai pursued after Avner. Binyamin assembled behind Avner; Avner convinced Yoav and Avishai to retreat in order to avoid a civil war. Dovid’s men had killed 360 men of Binyamin and Avner. Asohel was buried in Chevron.
Perek 3: Dovid’s rule strengthened while Ish Boshes’ declined. 6 sons were born to Dovid from his wives. Shaul had a concubine named Ritzpah, Ish Boshes accused Avner of having a relationship with her. Avner was enraged and defects to Dovid who agrees to seal a covenant with him on condition Michal (Shaul’s daughter promised to Dovid as a wife) was returned to him. Avner took Michal from Palti ben Layish. Avner encouraged the Bnei Yisrael to support Dovid as King. Yoav was oblivious to Avner’s agreement with Dovid. He assumed Avner was spying on Dovid and struck him beneath the fifth rib in revenge for the death of his brother- Isohel. Dovid condemns Yoav and laments Avner’s death. No one held Dovid responsible for Avner’s death.
Perek 4: Ish Boshes was shocked by Avner’s death. Yonason had a son called Mefiboshes who was dropped aged 5 by his nursemaid when she heard of Shaul and Yonason’s death; Mefiboshes was therefore lame. Two senior generals of Ish Boshes: Baanoh and Raychov assassinated Ish Boshes and removed his head and brought it before Dovid. Dovid killed them and then cut off their hands and feet for murdering an innocent individual. He buried Ish Boshes’ head.
Perek 5: All of the Bnei Yisrael accepted Dovid as King and ruled over all of Israel for 33 years. Dovid captured the fortress Ir Dovid from the Yevusim; Dovid became very great and Hashem was with him. Chiram sent Dovid wood and carpenters who built Dovid a palace. A further 11 children were born to Dovid and he married new wives and concubines. The Pilishtim initiated war against Israel; Hashem told Dovid to attack from their rear and upon hearing a noise of ‘marching’ should shout and fight. Dovid followed Hashem’s commands and the Jewish people were victorious.
Perek 6: Dovid gathered 30,000 men and they went to move the Aron from Avinodov’s house on a new wagon. The Aron was dislodged and Uzoh tried to grasp it; Hashem killed him instantaneously. Dovid was upset by this and diverted the Aron to stay in the house of Oved Edom for 3 months. During this time, Oved Edom’s household was blessed by Hashem. Dovid moved the Aron to Ir Dovid. This celebration was joyous, many sacrifices were offered, Dovid danced joyfully and blessed the people. Michal rebuked Dovid for not conducting himself in a dignified manner as King. Dovid argued that he was honouring Hashem. Michal did not have a child throughout her lifetime (excluding the son she already had (Midrash) or would bear on her death bed, but not prior to that, (Radak) as a punishment for this.
Perek 7: Dovid told Noson the Novi that it was unfair that he was dwelling in a magnificent palace while the Aron was in a curtain. Hashem responded that he had always supported Dovid in everything he does and he will ensure that Dovid’s descendants will retain the throne and that his son would build the Beis Hamikdosh. Dovid thanked Hashem for helping Israel constantly and prays for Bnei Yisroel and his dynasty.
Perek 8: Dovid defeated the Pilishtim and Moav. Dovid killed (the guilty men) two thirds of the Moavi captives and one third were kept alive and paid a hefty tax to Dovid. Dovid struck Tzovoh and captured over 20,000 soldiers and horses; most of which Dovid destroyed, but he kept 100 horses. Aram Damesek assisted Tzovoh and Israel killed 22,000 of their men. Toi the King of Chamos gave Dovid gifts of gold, silver and copper vessels; Dovid consecrated it with all the spoils. Dovid killed a further 18,000 men on the return home. Dovid ruled and judged over all of Israel with justice and kindness. The other senior jobs are detailed.
Perek 9: Dovid asked Tzivoh, Shaul’s servant about any survivors of Shaul’s household and found Mefiboshes (who was lame). Dovid returned to Mefiboshes his father’s estate and demanded that Mefiboshes eat at his table. Tzivoh was asked to work and harvest Mefiboshes’ land and he agreed. Mefiboshes had a son called Micha.
Perek 10:When the King of Ammon died, Dovid sent men to console him. The officers persuaded Chonun their master that the Jewish delegation came to spy out the land. Ammon cut Dovid’s messengers garments in half and shaved off half of their beards and shamed them. Dovid told his men to stay in Yericho until their beards grow back. Ammon realised that they aggravated Dovid and hired thousands of troops from other countries. They attacked from both sides; Yoav led the best troops against Aram and Avishai, Yoav’s brother led the remaining troops against Ammon. That way they could help each other out if necessary. Aram fled and therefore Ammon ran away, Yoav returned to Yerushalayim and did not pursue after the enemy. Aram regrouped and joined with more armies and waged war; the Bnei Yisrael massacred them killing over 40,000 including the head of their army, Shovach. Ammon made peace and were subservient to Israel.
Perek 11: This is the literal version of events according to the Possukim. Dovid saw a woman- Batsheva bathing on the roof; Dovid sent for her and had relations with her. Batsheva returned home and later informed Dovid she was pregnant. Dovid sent messengers to call her husband, Uriyoh from the battlefield and told him to go home. In this way he would have relations with his wife and it would not be known that she was pregnant from Dovid. Uriyoh disobeyed Dovid and stayed at the palace. Dovid feasted with Uriyoh who became drunk, but still refused to go home. Dovid asked Uriyoh to take a letter to Yoav which stated that Uriyoh should be placed in a dangerous combat zone where he was likely to be killed. Yoav carried this out and sent a messenger to Dovid to relay the current battle updates. The messenger also told Dovid that Uriyoh was dead. Dovid told the messenger to tell Yoav that he did nothing wrong and should strengthen the offensive. Batsheva mourned for her husband, after this she became Dovid’s wife and she bore him the son. Dovid’s actions were bad in the eyes of Hashem.
Perek 12: Hashem delivered a parable to Dovid through Noson. A rich man had many sheep, a poor man only one sheep which he devoted enormous effort into caring for it. A guest came to the rich man and instead of slaughtering one of his own sheep; he took the poor man’s sheep. Dovid ruled that the rich man should be killed and pay four times the value of the sheep. Noson told Dovid that he was the rich man, as he had many wives and took Uriyoh’s wife. As a result, the sword will be prominent in his house and his wives will have relations with other men which will be public knowledge. Dovid responded ‘I have sinned to Hashem’ – an immediate admission of wrong doing. Noson told him that he would not die but their son would die. Their baby became ill; Dovid prayed, fasted and slept on the floor. 7 days later their son died and the servants were reluctant to inform Dovid that the baby had died as he would be devastated. Yet, when he found out the news he ate a meal, bathed, anointed himself and wore new clothes, as at that point there was nothing further he could do. Dovid comforted Batsheva. They gave birth to another son named Shlomo (Yedidyoh) whom Hashem loved. Yoav asked Dovid’s men to help capture the Ammoni city of Raboh which they did successfully. Israel gained a large amount of booty including their King’s valuable crown and punished the inhabitants with taxes and killed the residents (according to Radak). Dovid returned home to Jerusalem.
Perek 13: This is the literal version of events according to the Possukim. Avsholom had a sister named Tamar. Amnon was a son of Dovid born to a different mother. Amnon lusted after Tamar to the point of making himself ill. Amnon carried out Yonodov’s – a friend of Amnon’s plan. Amnon feigned illness and requested Tamar cook for him. He refused to eat the food and asked Tamar to feed him. He then dismissed everyone out of the room and despite Tamar’s entreaties, Amnon raped her. After this sin, Amnon hated her and sent Tamar away disdainfully. Tamar mourned and put ashes on her head. She stayed with Avsholom who consoled her. Dovid was enraged and Avsholom ignored Amnon in hatred. Two years later, Avsholom invited Dovid’s sons including Amnon to attend a sheep shearing celebration. Avsholom told his servants to murder Amnon when he was slightly drunk. They carried this out. Avsholom fled to Geshur. Dovid initially heard that Avsholom had killed all of his children, but even once he realised only Amnon was dead, he was devastated and mourned for many years. Avshalom mourned for three years. After this time Dovid longed for Avshalom and was consoled over Amnon’s death.
Perek 14: Yoav told a woman to ask Dovid for the Halachic ruling in the following invented case. She was a widow with two sons, one murdered the other. The family of the dead brother wanted to kill the murderer, but she was devastated that she would lose both sons. Dovid ruled that the murderous brother should not be harmed. The message was that Dovid should not lose both sons (Avsholom in addition to Amnon) and therefore forgive Avsholom. Dovid thanked Yoav for his advice and requested he bring Avsholom to Yerushalayim. Avsholom was very handsome and had extremely long hair. He bore three sons and one daughter named Tomor. Avsholom lived in Yerushalayim for 2 years but had not seen the King; Avsholom’s servants torched Yoav’s barley field. Avsholom explained his frustration at not seeing his father and Yoav persuaded Dovid to summon him.
Perek 15: Avsholom prepared horses and a chariot with 50 men and befriended the people. Avsholom went to Chevron to offer sacrifices and received Dovid’s consent and blessings. Avsholom declared his rebellion and persuaded many of Israel to support him as King in his attempt to usurp the throne from his father. Dovid was informed and went into hiding with his household, most loyal servants, warriors and the Gittites, however he left 10 of his concubines behind in the palace. Dovid discouraged Ittai the Gittite from accompanying him, nevertheless Ittai was determined. Although Tzodok the Kohen brought the Aron to assist Dovid on his voyages, he demanded that the Aron should be returned (out of respect for the Aron). Additionally, Dovid told Tzodok to remain in Yerushalayim and spy for him. Tzodok would relay the information to his two sons who would inform Dovid. Dovid was informed that Achitofel (Dovid’s former advisor) sided with Avsholom; Dovid prayed that Hashem should distort Achitofel’s advice. Chushai wanted to join Dovid’s brigade, but Dovid requested he join Avsholom’s and spy for Dovid.
Perek 16: Tzivoh (Mefiboshes’s servant) gave Dovid an abundance of food for him and his men. He told Dovid that Mefiboshes remained in Yerushalayim as he believed he would become King. Dovid gave Shaul’s estate which he returned to Mefiboshes to Tzivoh. Shimmi ben Geroh cursed Dovid and threw stones at Dovid’s cohort. Avishai offered to kill Shimmi, but Dovid refused because he felt that it was Hashem who allowed Shimmi to curse him. Chushai (Dovid’s spy) was accepted in to Avsholom’s brigade. Achitofel advised Avsholom to have relations publically with the 10 concubines to show the Israel how serious he was about his rebellion. This was carried out as Achitofel’s advice was respected “like the word of G-d”.
Perek 17: Achitofel proposed that 12,000 of Avsholom’s supporters should launch a surprise attack against Dovid. Chushai disagreed and stressed that Dovid’s men were skilled warriors and that many more troops should be rounded up before they launch an offensive and be led by Avsholom during the day. Avsholom and all of Israel supported Chushai’s plan and Chushai sent informers to advise Dovid; he advised Dovid to cross the River Yarden. The 2 sons of Tzodok were observed by a lad who told Avsholom; a woman hid them in her well and Avsholom’s men did not find them. Dovid and his entire brigade crossed the River Yarden. Achitofel strangled himself to death, upon hearing his advice was not carried out. Avsholom appointed Amosoh, (ironically) Yoav’s cousin and Dovid’s nephew as head of the army (Yoav was with Dovid) Shovi brought an abundant supply of food for Dovid and his men in Machanayim.
Perek 18: Dovid appointed officers amongst his men and divided them into 3 groups led by: Yoav, Avishai and Ittai. Dovid wanted to accompany them, however his men insisted that he was a security risk and should not go with them. Dovid commanded that no one harm Avsholom. Dovid’s army defeated the Israeli army and 20,000 died. Avsholom was riding a donkey and his long hair got caught in the branches of a tree; Avsholom was left suspended midair. A man informed Yoav of this, Yoav criticised him for not killing Avsholom. Yoav thrust 3 spears into Avsholom and 10 of Yoav’s men beat Avsholom and killed him; they buried Avsholom in a pit. Yoav sent a Cushi messenger to Dovid, Achimaatz wanted to relay the news too and persuaded Yoav to allow him to also inform Dovid. Achimaatz arrived first and told Dovid about the victory in battle. Dovid inquired about his son’s welfare and Achimaatz said he did not know what had happened. The Cushi then arrowed and hinted to Dovid that Avsholom had died.
Perek 19: When Dovid heard this, he wept bitterly. Yoav was told about Dovid’s reaction and criticised him saying he is being ungrateful to his devoted troops. Dovid agreed and went to the city gate and showed appreciation to his supporters. Dovid was welcomed back as leader and urged Tzodok with all the other Kohanim and Amosoh to return to Yerusholayim. He offered to make Amosoh leader of the army, Amosoh gathered support from the Bnei Yisrael. Shimmi ben Geroh apologised for rebelling against the King, Avishai disapproved and argued that Shimmi should be put to death; Dovid disagreed and kept him alive. Dovid asked Mefiboshes why he did not accompany Dovid. Mefiboshes claimed Tzivoh ran away with the donkeys, as he was lame and immobile, he argued that Tzivoh deceived Dovid that Mefiboshes was rebelling. Dovid decided that Tzivoh and Mefiboshes split Shaul’s estate. Dovid offered Barzilai (a wealthy supporter of Dovid) to accompany him to Yerushalayim and look after him there; Barzila refused, but asked for his son Chimhom to go in his stead. Yehuda helped Dovid over the Yarden upon his return home; Israel and Yehuda argued about whether Dovid focussed too much on Yehuda over the other tribes.
Perek 20: Sheva Ben Bichri initiated another rebellion and gathered supporters from Israel. Dovid took the 10 concubines he had left in the palace and put them in a guarded house but no longer lived with them. Dovid asked Amosoh to assemble the men of Yehuda within three days. Amosoh was late so Yoav’s men attacked Sheva. Amosoh approached Yoav and Yoav cunningly struck him in the 5th rib with his sword and Amosoh died. Yoav’s men were distracted by the gruesome sight of Amosoh’s dead body, therefore Yoav put it on the side of the road and covered him up. Yoav besieged Ovel attempting to capture Sheva. A woman from the city conversed with Yoav and promised to deliver Sheva in return for being left in peace. They killed Sheva and cast his head over the city wall; Yoav’s troops returned home. A few leaders of different departments (e.g. tax, army) working for Dovid are listed.
Perek 21: There was a famine for three consecutive years; Hashem told Dovid it was due to Shaul killing the Giveonites (the people Yehoshua made a treaty with). Dovid asked the Giveonites how this could be rectified; they demanded seven of Shaul’s descendants be wiped out. Dovid carried this out and hung all seven on a mountain, however he spared Mefiboshes. Ritzpoh a mother of two of the dead, guarded the corpses. This respect of the dead inspired Dovid to bury Shaul, Yonason and Shaul’s descendants’ bones. The Pilishtim attacked and Avishai helped Dovid kill a giant. The Pilishtim initiated a further war, Sibchai struck dead another giant. There was a third war where Elchonon murdered Golias’ brother, a giant. The final war occurred in Gas where Dovid killed a giant with six fingers and toes.
Perek 22: Dovid sang Shiroh thanking Hashem for all His goodness and expressing gratitude for causing the Bnei Yisrael to be victorious in war.
Perek 23: Dovid delivered his final speech. He mentioned how Hashem appointed him as King and stressed the importance of fearing Him. A list of Dovid’s mighty warriors and their achievements are listed. Adino, Elozor and Shamoh, Avishai and Benayah are singled out and mentioned by name. There were three warriors who risked their lives to fetch Dovid water from enemy territory, but Dovid poured it out to Hashem.
Perek 24: Hashem was angry with Bnei Yisroel and incitedDovid to order Yoav to conduct a census of the Jewish population; Yoav discouraged him from doing this. They completed the task after 9 months and 20 days. Dovid realised he had sinned by having a census and confessed his wrongdoing to Hashem. Hashem gave Dovid a choice of three punishments through Gad the prophet: 7 years of famine or 3 months of fleeing from the enemy or 3 days of pestilence. Dovid chose the latter and 70,000 died. Gad the Novi told Dovid to construct an altar on the threshing floor of Aravnoh. Aravnoh offered to give the land to Dovid for free with all his cattle, Dovid refused and paid him 50 silver shekels for the threshing floor and animals. Dovid sacrificed the offering and Hashem forgave the people and the pestilence ceased.