Reading Samuel is like reading an interesting history book. It sounds pretty much like the history of the world – love, betrayal, scandal, bravery, etc. Here’s the take on the characters so far.
David: The King of Israel. A very compassionate man, perhaps too compassionate. Even though his son Absalom tried to kill him and take his throne, he still ordered his troops to take him alive and mourned him when he died. He was also really soft, compared to every one around him. He would forgive those who hurt him. He didn’t try to kill Saul when Saul wanted him dead. In fact, he killed the person who killed Saul. He was described as a man after God’s heart and if gentleness is the prerequisite, he very much deserved the title.
Absalom: Son of David. As arrogant as they get and seemingly as cunning. When his brother Ammon, raped his sister Tamar, he had him killed. I don’t fault him alone for that, though. David didn’t do anything about the crime. Absalom later declared himself King and tried to have his father killed, but was killed by Joab in the ensuing battle.
Joab: Commander of David’s army – at least until he killed Absalom against the King’s orders. He has a reputation for being ruthless. The commander of Saul’s army killed his brother, so Joab killed him. Even though David ordered Absalom taken alive, Joab killed him too, Still, he was strange in certain ways. When Absalom was in exile after murdering Ammon, Joab successfully lobbied for his pardon. And he did serve David faithfully as a commander of his army – right down to killing Uriah (Bathsheba’s husband) so that David could marry Bathsheba.