2 Samuel 21-24: A Theological Reflection on Israel’s Kingship

  • Grace Ko Tyndale University College and Seminary
Keywords: Kingship, warrior, Book of Samuel, King David, Messiah


The chiastic arrangement of 2 Sam 21-24 signifies that it is not just a collection of miscellaneous material supplementing the Samuel corpus. Rather it is intentionally arranged so as to function as a theological reflection on Israel’s kingship. This paper shows that the three pairs of literary elements, namely, the two narratives (2 Sam 21:1-14; 24:1-25); the two lists of warriors (21:15-22; 23:8-39); and the two poems (22:1-51; 23:1-7), demonstrate divine responses to Israel’s request for a king. Despite his displeasure of their request, God grants Israel their wish and installs kings for them. The two narratives show the failure of human kingship that brings calamity to the people. The warrior lists are the manifestations of God’s providence in giving them fighters. The two poems reveal divine election of David as his messiah and that Israel’s ideal kingship should be under the governance and supremacy of their divine King, Yahweh.

Author Biography

Grace Ko, Tyndale University College and Seminary

Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies (Old Testament) at Tyndale

Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at Canadian Chinese School of Theology (Toronto)



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