In 2 Samuel, the direct speech of God is rare and at some points perhaps manipulated, but nevertheless the reader sees that God is indeed a character in the plot, acting both behind the scenes and in the spotlight. An exilic perspective of hearing this narrative would understand that, though Israel has brought on this situation by rejecting God and demanding a king (1 Samuel 8), God does not abandon his promises or his people. The hope is that, even in exile, God is working behind the scenes, and will at some point make a dramatic entrance and once again take centre stage with his divine speech and actions.
The modern reader should be attentive to the manner in which God speaks in the narrative, in that it can be unsolicited, and in that it is very often less frequent than we pretend it to be. We have perhaps become like David, attempting to manipulate God’s word to suit our purposes. The modern reader can be struck by the long chapters of silence, but be comforted and humbled to know that God is indeed at work despite our manipulations.
God, as has been demonstrated through an examination of his speaking, is a character in the narrative of 2 Samuel, alongside David, Nathan and the others. Indeed, “the whole story pertains to God…God is everywhere involved and God…ultimately prevails in all that goes on.”(1)
(1) Wharton, 348.