Though many studies have probed the significance of the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam 7:1-17) within the biblical canon, few have endeavoured to explore its significance within the narrative of Samuel. This thesis argues that by weaving references to God’s promises made to David (collectively known as the Davidic Covenant) throughout his narrative, that author of Samuel reveals God’s will to strip away all human pretension by bringing His promises to fulfillment through the lowly David, whose ascension to kingship and endurance therein is owing all to God. In this way, the author fulfills his purpose to demonstrate God’s sovereign working in history to establish His kingdom on earth through His chosen priest-king, a descendant of David, in fulfillment of the promises He made beforehand. Engaging in a literary close-reading of the text of Samuel, the author shows how the narrative of Samuel is shaped towards this end.
In the present environment of high interest in the Book of Samuel, this contribution by James Rutherford is most welcome. Rutherford is well versed in current scholarship on Samuel, but his work moves well beyond this scholarship to contribute fresh insights, not least in respect of the priestly character of King David. And concerning its structure, Rutherford argues that the Book of Samuel as a whole is arranged and narrated so as to draw attention to the centrality of the Davidic Covenant of 2 Samuel 7. Having myself studied 1 and 2 Samuel for decades now, I was nevertheless benefitted at numerous points from Rutherford’s creative interpretive suggestions. His is a work well conceived, well written, and worthy of a serious read.
V. Philips Long
Professor of Old Testament, Regent College
This thesis argues that by weaving references to God’s promises made to King David throughout his narrative, the author of Samuel reveals God’s will to strip away all human pretension by bringing his promises to fulfillment through a lowly man whose ascension to kingship and endurance therein is entirely owing to God. In this way, the Samuel author fulfils his purpose of demonstrating God’s sovereign working in history to establish his kingdom on earth through his chosen priest-king, a descendant of David. The thesis represents an excellent piece of work that does a great job of bringing together into one coherent argument, focused on the Davidic covenant, much of the best recent narrative-critical research on 1-2 Samuel, and from this point of view represents a distinctive contribution to the field of Samuel studies.
Marshall Sheppard Professor of Biblical Studies, Regent College
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1 – Climax in a Covenant: 2 Samuel 7:1-17
Chapter 2 – God’s Promises Unfolding: 1 Samuel 1:1 – 2 Samuel 5:16
Chapter 3 – God’s Promises Tested: 2 Samuel 9 – 24
Chapter 4 – Literary-Canonical Synopsis of Samuel
Appendix – He Shall Build A House for My Name: the Identity of the Offspring in 2 Samuel 7
About The Author