2 Samuel

series: Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

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The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible encourages readers to explore how the vital roots of the ancient Christian tradition should inform and shape faithfulness today. In this addition to the series, acclaimed author, speaker, and theologian Robert Barron offers a theological exegesis of 2 Samuel. He highlights three major themes: God's non-competitive transcendence, the play between divine and non-divine causality, and the role of Old Testament kingship. As with other volumes in the series, this book is ideal for those called to ministry, serving as a rich resource for preachers, teachers, students, and study groups.

The general editor for the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible is R. R. Reno (editor, First Things). Series editors include Robert W. Jenson (Center of Theological Inquiry); Robert Louis Wilken (University of Virginia); Ephraim Radner (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto); Michael Root (Catholic University of America); and George Sumner (Episcopal Diocese of Dallas).

Volumes in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

R. R. Reno
(editor, First Things) on Genesis
Thomas Joseph White (Thomistic Institute at the Angelicum in Rome) on Exodus
Ephraim Radner (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto) on Leviticus
David L. Stubbs (Western Theological Seminary) on Numbers
Telford Work (Westmont College) on Deuteronomy
Paul Hinlicky (Roanoke College) on Joshua
Laura A. Smit (Calvin University) and Stephen Fowl (Loyola University Maryland) on Judges & Ruth
Francesca Aran Murphy (University of Notre Dame) on 1 Samuel
Robert Barron (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles) on 2 Samuel
Peter J. Leithart (Theopolis Institute for Bible, Liturgy, and Culture) on 1 & 2 Kings
Peter J. Leithart (Theopolis Institute for Bible, Liturgy, and Culture) on 1 & 2 Chronicles
Matthew Levering (Mundelein Seminary) on Ezra & Nehemiah
Samuel Wells (St. Martin-in-the-Fields Anglican Church, London) and George Sumner (Episcopal Diocese of Dallas) on Esther & Daniel
Ellen T. Charry (Princeton Theological Seminary) on Psalms 1-50
Jason Byassee (Vancouver School of Theology) on Psalms 101-150
Daniel J. Treier (Wheaton College Graduate School) on Proverbs & Ecclesiastes
Paul J. Griffiths on Song of Songs
Robert W. Jenson (1930-2017; Center of Theological Inquiry) on Ezekiel
Phillip Cary (Eastern University) on Jonah
Stanley Hauerwas (Duke Divinity School) on Matthew
David Lyle Jeffrey (Baylor University) on Luke
Jaroslav Pelikan (1923-2006; Yale University) on Acts
Kimlyn J. Bender (Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University) on 1 Corinthians
Kathryn Greene-McCreight (The Episcopal Church at Yale) on Galatians
Michael Allen (Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando) on Ephesians
George Hunsinger (Princeton Theological Seminary) on Philippians
Christopher R. Seitz (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto) on Colossians
Douglas Farrow (McGill University) on 1 & 2 Thessalonians
Risto Saarinen (University of Helsinki) on the Pastoral Epistles with Philemon & Jude
Douglas Harink (The King's University College) on 1 & 2 Peter
Joseph L. Mangina (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto) on Revelation


"Robert Barron is a great teacher of the Church and a gifted biblical commentator who breaks open the Word of God for our day as Ambrose and Augustine did for theirs."

George Weigel, distinguished senior fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center

"In this book, Barron brings his theological erudition to the task of interpreting Sacred Scripture. The result will be a delight for all his readers. Not only will they relish the many profundities of the text, but they will be able to join the author in wrestling with its various conundrums. Even the challenging parts of David's life are handled in fresh, creative, and--most important--productive ways."

Gary Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology, University of Notre Dame

"Robert Barron has written a beautiful commentary on 2 Samuel, and it will be a tribute to the series. He has a keen sense of the subtlety of the narrative and the imagination to draw theological and spiritual meaning from particulars. Yet he is neither doctrinaire nor heavy-handed; his interpretations always grow out of the story and do not become theological disquisitions. Barron writes well, and this commentary is a pleasure to read. Even serious readers of the Bible will delight in the surprising things he discerns in the narrative."

Robert Louis Wilken, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of the History of Christianity Emeritus, University of Virginia

"In this impressive example of theological exegesis, Robert Barron shows that he is both an outstanding theologian and a masterful interpreter of scripture. The unforgettable narrative of the rise and fall of King David springs to life in Barron's hands. Along the way, he demonstrates that the book of 2 Samuel is not just a literary masterpiece but an essential bridge between the Old and New Testaments."

Brant Pitre, Notre Dame Seminary; author of Jesus the Bridegroom

"Robert Barron is one of the clearest and most compelling Christian communicators I know. He is a scholar, yet he relates easily to all the faithful. As a preacher he reaches both mind and heart. Now, in this major biblical commentary, he has given us a book that measures up to the standard already established by this excellent series. The story of 2 Samuel 'lives and breathes' in Barron's words."

John H. Armstrong, president, ACT3 Network, Carol Stream, Illinois

Praise for the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

"What a splendid idea! Many preachers have been longing for more commentaries that are not only exegetical but theological in the best sense: arising out of the conviction that God, through his Word, still speaks in our time. For those of us who take our copies of Martin Luther's Galatians and Karl Barth's Romans from the shelves on a regular basis, this new series in that tradition promises renewed vigor for preaching, and therefore for the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church in our time."

Fleming Rutledge, author of The Bible and The New York Times and The Seven Last Words from the Cross

"This new series places the accent on 'theological' and reflects current interpretive ferment marked by growing resistance to the historical-critical project. It may be that scripture interpretation is too important to be left to the exegetes, and so a return to the theologians. We will wait with great anticipation for this new series, at least aware that the outcomes of interpretation are largely determined by the questions asked. It is never too late to ask better questions; with a focus on the theological tradition, this series holds the promise of asking interpretive questions that are deeply grounded in the primal claims of faith. The rich promise of the series is indicated by the stature and erudition of the commentators. Brazos has enormous promises to keep with this project, and we wait with eagerness for its appearing!"

Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible makes a most welcome contribution to the church, the academic world, and the general public at large. By enlisting a wide range of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox theologians who differ on much, but who agree on the truth of the Nicene Creed, the series also represents ecumenical activity of the very best kind. It is always a daunting challenge to expound the church's sacred book both simply and deeply, but this impressive line-up of authors is very well situated for the attempt."

Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame

"Preachers and teachers in particular, but thoughtful Christians more generally, have long lamented the slide of biblical scholarship into hyper-specialized critical studies of ancient texts in remote historical context. It is no wonder, therefore, that the Brazos Theological Commentary is being so warmly welcomed. The outstanding array of authors, beginning with Jaroslav Pelikan's splendid commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, is, at long last, reclaiming the Bible as the book of the living community of faith that is the church."

Richard John Neuhaus, author of American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile

"Contemporary application of the Bible to life is the preacher's business. But no worthy contemporary application is possible without a thorough understanding of the ancient text. The Brazos Theological Commentary exists to provide an accessible authority so that the preacher's application will be a ready bandage for all the hurts of life. We who serve the pulpit want a commentary we can understand, and those who hear us expect us to give them a usable word. The Brazos Commentary offers just the right level of light to make illuminating the word the joy it was meant to be."

Calvin Miller, author of A Hunger for the Holy and Loving God Up Close

"For pastors, wanting to get at the theological heart of a text, there is some good stuff. When I am preaching, I usually try to take a peek at the Brazos volume."

Nijay K. Gupta, Portland Seminary

The Author

  1. Robert Barron

    Robert Barron

    Robert Barron (STD, Institut Catholique de Paris) is Bishop of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota. He founded Word on Fire, a Catholic ministry of evangelism, and previously served as rector of Mundelein Seminary and president of the University of Saint Mary of the...

    Continue reading about Robert Barron


"Barron's achievement is crazy good. It would be trite and yet true to say that he writes well or that his commentary reads like a novel. I kept jotting the word eloquent in the margins. . . . Barron's reservoir of allusion is impressive, and his helpful references to history and literature are more than adornment. . . . He helps readers to see the broader story. His grasp of the complex development of David's character is unsurpassed. . . . Most examples of those trying their hand at canonical reflection are restrained, maybe too careful. Barron is daring, even playful, and I have to admit that I love the strategy he employs as he makes his move from a Bronze Age story to the Christian dispensation. . . . As a preacher under weekly pressure to cobble a sermon together, I find myself loving Barron and his book. I want to continue to ponder the way he hints at Christian allusions and to find more danger zones."

Anne Blue Wills,

Christian Century

"Barron trains his theological eye on the account of the rise and fall of King David. He moves through the biblical book chapter by chapter, weaving together insights from the reconstruction of ancient history, biblical exegesis, and the Christian theological tradition. He remains faithful to the biblical story, providing both background and foreground for its interpretation. . . . It is clear that Barron knows this biblical book quite well. He is also well acquainted with the history of its interpretation. This study is a fine example of postcritical doctrinal biblical interpretation."

Dianne Bergant, CSA,

The Bible Today

"The Brazos commentary series fills a niche in the crowded field of biblical commentaries and the latest addition by Robert Barron continues the unique approach admirably. . . . 2 Samuel is a refreshing read with both scholarly and devotional insights throughout. It serves as a supplement to the technical commentaries already available and is more spiritually satisfying than most."

Dean M. Erickson,

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

"[This book] does a nice job demonstrating the place of 2 Samuel in the theological narrative of the whole Bible. . . . The chapters are brief enough and engagingly written so that they will be useful to those preaching these texts."

Ray Van Neste,


"'Delightful' is rarely used, for a variety of reasons, to describe a biblical commentary, but it is an apt label for Robert Barron's 2 Samuel. . . . [It] is a volume that every pastor and Bible scholar should own and reference regularly. Not only will it assist the reader in understanding the particular chapters in 2 Samuel; it will also make them a more competent reader of the entire Bible, since virtually every page is filled with intertextual connections and narrative parallels between 2 Samuel and other parts of the Bible. . . . 2 Samuel is highly recommended for its textual insights, theological depth, and literary skill. Barron's adeptness in weaving together intertextual links, narrative parallels, typology, philosophy, and classic Christian theology make this commentary a rich tapestry filled with insight and erudition. It should be on the shelf of every student of Scripture."

Matthew Y. Emerson,

Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament

"Barron's chapter-by-chapter exposition of 2 Samuel is readable and engaging. . . . He writes with an eye toward Scripture's context and the history of interpretation, even drawing on Dante and G. K. Chesterton. . . . Preachers, teachers, and students would do well to pick up Barron's volume and critically interact with his theological interpretations."

Abram Kielsmeier-Jones,

Bible Study Magazine