Two years later, when Absalom's sheepshearers1 were at Baal Hazor near the border of Ephraim, he invited all the king's sons to come there.
Absalom went to the king and said, "Your servant has had shearers come. Will the king and his officials please join me?"
"No, my son," the king replied. "All of us should not go; we would only be a burden to you." Although Absalom urged him, he still refused to go, but gave him his blessing.
Then Absalom said, "If not, please let my brother Amnon come with us." The king asked him, "Why should he go with you?"
But Absalom urged him, so he sent with him Amnon and the rest of the king's sons.
Absalom2 ordered his men, "Listen! When Amnon is in high3 spirits from drinking wine and I say to you, 'Strike Amnon down,' then kill him. Don't be afraid. Have not I given you this order? Be strong and brave.4"
So Absalom's men did to Amnon what Absalom had ordered. Then all the king's sons got up, mounted their mules and fled.
While they were on their way, the report came to David: "Absalom has struck down all the king's sons; not one of them is left."
The king stood up, tore5 his clothes and lay down on the ground; and all his servants stood by with their clothes torn.
But Jonadab son of Shimeah, David's brother, said, "My lord should not think that they killed all the princes; only Amnon is dead. This has been Absalom's expressed intention ever since the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar.
My lord the king should not be concerned about the report that all the king's sons are dead. Only Amnon is dead."
Meanwhile, Absalom had fled. Now the man standing watch looked up and saw many people on the road west of him, coming down the side of the hill. The watchman went and told the king, "I see men in the direction of Horonaim, on the side of the hill."a35
Jonadab said to the king, "See, the king's sons are here; it has happened just as your servant said."
As he finished speaking, the king's sons came in, wailing loudly. The king, too, and all his servants wept very bitterly.