This is an in-depth study on the books of Samuel, which tells the story of the beginning of Israel's monarchy, stretching from the miraculous birth of Samuel to the end of David's reign, before the throne was transferred to his son, Solomon. This study is 24 hours long (recorded in 2019). This is worth 3 Bible CEUs.

 

 

1 & 2 Samuel Setting and Structure
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19:45 min
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1 & 2 Samuel Purpose and Themes
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26:52 min
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1 Samuel 1:1-8
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15:10 min
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1 Samuel 1:9-20
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23:02 min
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1 Samuel 1:21-28
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9:37 min
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1 Samuel 2:1-11
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23:35 min
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1 Samuel 2:12-21
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15:44 min
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1 Samuel 2:22-36
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14:47 min
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1 Samuel 3:1-21
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13:34 min
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1 Samuel 4:1-9
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16:01 min
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1 Samuel 4:10-22
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14:59 min
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1 Samuel 5:1-12
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19:23 min
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1 Samuel 6:1-7:1
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23:26 min
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1 Samuel 7:2-17
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17:34 min
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1 Samuel 8:1-5
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16:50 min
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1 Samuel 8:6-22
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9:21 min
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1 Samuel 9:1-27
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23:03 min
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1 Samuel 10:1-16
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13:18 min
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1 Samuel 10:17-27
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21:53 min
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1 Samuel 11:1-15
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17:26 min
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1 Samuel 12:1-25
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13:56 min
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1 Samuel 13:1-10
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16:20 min
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1 Samuel 13:11-23
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16:07 min
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1 Samuel 14:1-23
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21:16 min
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1 Samuel 14:24-52
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22:31 min
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1 Samuel 15:1-35
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21:44 min
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1 Samuel 16:1-13
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19:41 min
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1 Samuel 16:14-23
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9:25 min
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1 Samuel 17:1-20
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15:19 min
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1 Samuel 17:21-40
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16:58 min
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1 Samuel 17:41-58
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19:21 min
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1 Samuel 18:1-16
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12:40 min
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1 Samuel 18:17-30
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14:56 min
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1 Samuel 19:1-24
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11:11 min
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1 Samuel 20:1-42
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14:39 min
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1 Samuel 21:1-15
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18:39 min
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1 Samuel 22:1-23
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26:03 min
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1 Samuel 23:1-29
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14:14 min
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1 Samuel 24:1-22
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25:00 min
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1 Samuel 25:1-19
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18:58 min
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1 Samuel 25:20-44
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20:38 min
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1 Samuel 26:1-25
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20:41 min
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1 Samuel 27:1-12
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20:49 min
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1 Samuel 28:1-25
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23:03 min
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1 Samuel 29:1-11
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10:08 min
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1 Samuel 30:1-31
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13:17 min
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1 Samuel 31:1-13
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21:11 min
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2 Samuel 1:1-27
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13:58 min
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2 Samuel 2:1-11
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14:01 min
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2 Samuel 2:12-32
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10:49 min
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2 Samuel 3:1-21
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13:00 min
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2 Samuel 3:22-39
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11:59 min
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2 Samuel 4:1-12
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14:41 min
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2 Samuel 5:1-25
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19:18 min
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2 Samuel 6:1-23
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18:24 min
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2 Samuel 7:1-13
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19:58 min
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2 Samuel 7:14-29
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18:27 min
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2 Samuel 8:1-18
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11:09 min
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2 Samuel 9:1-13
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15:39 min
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2 Samuel 10:1-19
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13:28 min
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2 Samuel 11:1-3
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19:22 min
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2 Samuel 11:4-27
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19:08 min
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2 Samuel 12:1-14
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21:54 min
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2 Samuel 12:15-31
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15:11 min
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2 Samuel 13:1-13
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13:38 min
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2 Samuel 13:14-19
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17:43 min
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2 Samuel 13:20-22
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14:20 min
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2 Samuel 13:23-39
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14:29 min
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2 Samuel 14:1-33
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19:49 min
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2 Samuel 15:1-12
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14:07 min
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2 Samuel 15:13-37
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16:23 min
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2 Samuel 16:1-23
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13:30 min
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2 Samuel 17:1-29
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22:27 min
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2 Samuel 18:1-8
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19:07 min
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2 Samuel 18:9-33
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19:09 min
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2 Samuel 19:1-23
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19:26 min
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2 Samuel 19:24-43
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13:12 min
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2 Samuel 20:1-22
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21:49 min
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2 Samuel 20:23-26
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17:15 min
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2 Samuel 21:1-14
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25:15 min
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2 Samuel 21:15-22
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9:43 min
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2 Samuel 22:1-22
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18:02 min
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2 Samuel 22:23-51
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19:03 min
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2 Samuel 23:1-39
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17:51 min
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2 Samuel 24:1-14
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18:59 min
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2 Samuel 24:15-25
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23:58 min
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Originally in the Hebrew Bible, the books of 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings were two books called Samuel and Kings. The Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) was the first to divide the books into four books. The Septuagint translators titled these books 1-4 Kingdoms. That division has persisted ever since. The titles 1-2 Samuel were given to 1-2 Kingdoms, while the titles 1-2 Kings were given to 3-4 Kingdoms by Jerome in his Latin translation, the Vulgate (late 400s AD). This shows that the original authors, editors, and translators did not see these books as four separate books but rather a closely linked, multi-volume book.

1 Samuel begins with the conjunction and, meaning it was meant to be read as the sequel to Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, and Ruth. Deuteronomy is the beginning of what scholars call the Deuteronomic History, which includes the books of Deuteronomy through Kings. Judges continues the history of Israel that began in Deuteronomy, of a unified people under the headship of Yahweh who brought them into the Promised Land and delivered the Canaanites into their hands. While the Torah (Genesis–Deuteronomy) tells the story of Israel being promised the land of Canaan and brought to its border, the Deuteronomic History tells the story of Israel living in the land before its exile in 722 and 586 BC.

Who authored the books of Samuel and when are not known. According to 1 Chr. 29:29, the events of King David’s reign were written in the records of the prophets Samuel, Nathan, and Gad. This shows that the books of Samuel were based on the written accounts of several different prophets. An editor later compiled and organized these writings into one book. Samuel could not have been the author of the book as a whole since his death is recorded in 1 Sam. 25:1 and 28:3. The Hebrew title Samuel most likely refers to Samuel not as the author but as the key figure who established the monarchy by anointing Saul and David as the first kings of Israel.

Different parts of the books of Samuel were gathered from different sources into a final narrative story. The final editing was probably made no later than the 900s BC (shortly after the life of David) since 1 Sam. 27:6 states that the city of Ziklag “has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day.” This was not true after the 900s BC.

The purpose of the books of Samuel is to demonstrate that true human kingship is acknowledging and submitting to the person and will of Yahweh as the ultimate sovereign authority over creation and the nations. Unlike in other nations, being king is not about building and maintaining a political, military, and economically powerful nation but about submitting to the will of Yahweh as His image bearer. If one does this, then Yahweh will build the nation according to His purposes, which will bring greater blessings and meaning than anything a human king could ever create on his own. The purpose of kingship is tied directly to Yahweh’s relationship with the king and Israel, which reaches a new level with the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:1-17; 23:1-7). True kingship is obtained when the king in Israel subjects himself to the prophet through whom Yahweh communicates His will. Obedience to the word of Yahweh spoken through the prophet is the necessary condition for a king to be acceptable to Yahweh.

The books of Samuel highlight this purpose through two major events. First is the establishment of the monarchy in Israel (1 Sam. 8-12) under the prophet Samuel. The book begins not with the anointing of Saul as king but with the anointing of Samuel as prophet. The king cannot know the will of Yahweh without the prophet as the mouthpiece of Yahweh. Second is the preparing of David to sit on the royal throne after Saul (1 Sam. 16-31). Saul failed to understand the true purpose of kingship and so was rejected by Yahweh. Yahweh then used the reign of Saul to prepare David to become the kind of king who would submit to the will of Yahweh.

Thus, the second purpose of the books of Samuel is to justify David as Yahweh’s king. The narrator contrasts and develops the reigns of Saul and David to demonstrate clearly that David was the king who understood what true kingship was. This point reaches its climax in the Davidic Covenant, where Yahweh established the line of David as kings forever (2 Sam. 7:1-17). However, this is not a story about David as a great man of God, for David’s sins were just as great as Saul’s, and his actions brought great turmoil to the nation of Israel. Yet where Saul failed to humble himself before Yahweh and justified his sins, David continually demonstrated a desire to know Yahweh and surrender to His will even when he fell under the judgment of Yahweh (2 Sam. 24:11-14).