Kids Club, King David

King David Shows Us Jesus! #13 (Succession)

This lesson was taught at WEPC Kids Club on January 22, 2020.
Main Theme of whole year: “King David shows us Jesus!”  He does it by showing us what a good king looks like!  He does it also by showing us that even good people do terrible things and we need Jesus!  God rescues good people and God rescues bad people.

An Elementary School Lesson on 2 Samuel 2:1 – 4:12

Into the Box

Every week, we look in the box to discover what we are learning about this week.

Pull out board that says SUCCESSION

SUCCESSION is a big word that means the process of inheriting a title, like KING. It’s what happens when a king dies and someone else takes his place.

Recap from last week

David was sad that Saul and Jonathan had died. He was INCONSOLABLE. We can be sad because we know that SADNESS and DEATH and SIN and PAIN does not have the final word.   Jesus has the final word. He proved it on the cross.

But for David… He is sad, he is still in exile, and there is no king in Israel. What’s gonna happen?


In short, the next few chapters outline THE WAR OF SUCCESSION.

The beginning of the War of Succession:

2:1-4 – David goes to Hebron – the place of Abraham’s burial many centuries before. And Judah anoints David as king. But no other tribe does.

Joab is David’s commander.

2:8-11 – Saul’s commander, Abner, crowns Saul’s son, Ish-Bosheth as king.

2:12-13 – a standoff between Abner and Joab.

2:14-17 – a standoff where 24 men all die. (It would be comical, if it wasn’t so sad.) Then a civil war begins.

2:18-32 – Joab wins this battle. Abner flees. Joab’s brother, Asahel runs after Abner. Abner kills Asahel.

The War of Succession:

3:1The war between Saul’s royal house and David’s royal house lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger. But the royal house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.

This was about two years of civil war (2:10 tells us this).

There are four main people in this war:

Ish-Bosheth – Saul’s son, and king of Israel for two years.

Abner – Ish-Bosheth’s general

David – king of Judah for these two years

Joab – David’s general

The end of the War of Succession:

Ish-Bosheth accuses Abner of becoming too powerful (which he was, 3:6)

3:8-10 – Abner gets mad and decides to switch sides.

3:11 – Ish-Bosheth is too scared of Abner. Abner is the real power.

3:17-19 – Abner gets the elders of Israel to back David! They agree.

3:19-21 – Abner goes to David in Hebron to seal the deal.

It seems like everything is turning up for David! But…

Remember there is another man…

3:23-25 – JOAB is furious! He says he is worried about David’s life, but really is just scared that Abner will replace him AND he is mad about the death of his brother!

3:26-27 – Joab murders Abner in cold blood. L

3:28-39 – David’s response is to declare Joab guilty and to disown him. But Joab is too powerful for David to get rid of him. Joab stays as David’s general. We will see him again…

4:1-8 – Meanwhile, now that Abner is gone – the king of Israel is no longer safe. Ish-Bosheth is murdered too. Ugh…

Of these four men, who are the bad guys and the good guys?

  1. Abner – self-sacrificially loyal, but also self-interested power-brokering. As Saul’s general, he would have known that God Himself declared David as king, but he went with Ish-Bosheth instead.
  2. Joab – similar to Abner, but also a cold-blooded murdered.
  3. Ish-Bosheth – entirely passive and not a real leader.
  4. David – works to try to heal the nation, but he doesn’t truly punish Joab for murder.

Point to Jesus

These chapters are a mixed bag. It’s hard to figure out who we should try to be like, and who we should try to NOT be like.

But that’s the thing. This is real life. This is not a Grimm’s fairy tale.

Your life is a real life. And good things happen and bad things happen.

You sometimes do good things and you sometimes do bad things.

That’s what life is!

Life is a mess, but Jesus loves His people!

The point is that God is working in real life.

Jesus is working in your life right now.

Even when it seems dark, He is working. Because the next few chapters show God’s promises coming true!

Broken in the Box

What did we learn about today? SUCCESSION

Life is a mess, but God is working in real life

Break the SUCCESSION board

  • While breaking it, say: “We need something else.”
  • We need Jesus and the power He gives His people. Power to forgive, to love, to boldly move forward in life!

At the end of the year, the first letters of each of the boards will scramble to spell: “King David Shows Us Jesus!”


  • Why should we not try to find heroes and villians in the Bible?
  • How does the Lord Jesus succeed when you fail?
  • How can we encourage ourselves to trust in God’s sovereign purposes when life is a mess?

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