Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornamented robe she was wearing. She put her hand on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.
Her brother Absalom said to her, "Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet now, my sister; he is your brother. Don't take this thing to heart." And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom's house, a desolate woman.
When King David heard all this, he was furious.
Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar.
Two years later, when Absalom's sheepshearers 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.
Absalom ordered his men, "Listen! When Amnon is in high 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."
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, tore 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."
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.
Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. But King David mourned for his son every day.
After Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he stayed there three years.
And the spirit of the king longed to go to Absalom, for he was consoled concerning Amnon's death.
Joab son of Zeruiah knew that the king's heart longed for Absalom.
So Joab sent someone to Tekoa and had a wise woman brought from there. He said to her, "Pretend you are in mourning. Dress in mourning clothes, and don't use any cosmetic lotions. Act like a woman who has spent many days grieving for the dead.
Then go to the king and speak these words to him." And Joab put the words in her mouth.
When the woman from Tekoa went to the king, she fell with her face to the ground to pay him honor, and she said, "Help me, O king!"
The king asked her, "What is troubling you?" She said, "I am indeed a widow; my husband is dead.
I your servant had two sons. They got into a fight with each other in the field, and no one was there to separate them. One struck the other and killed him.
Now the whole clan has risen up against your servant; they say, 'Hand over the one who struck his brother down, so that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed; then we will get rid of the heir as well.' They would put out the only burning coal I have left, leaving my husband neither name nor descendant on the face of the earth."
The king said to the woman, "Go home, and I will issue an order in your behalf."
But the woman from Tekoa said to him, "My lord the king, let the blame rest on me and on my father's family, and let the king and his throne be without guilt."
The king replied, "If anyone says anything to you, bring him to me, and he will not bother you again."
She said, "Then let the king invoke the LORD his God to prevent the avenger of blood from adding to the destruction, so that my son will not be destroyed." "As surely as the LORD lives," he said, "not one hair of your son's head will fall to the ground."
Then the woman said, "Let your servant speak a word to my lord the king." "Speak," he replied.
The woman said, "Why then have you devised a thing like this against the people of God? When the king says this, does he not convict himself, for the king has not brought back his banished son?
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him.
"And now I have come to say this to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid. Your servant thought, 'I will speak to the king; perhaps he will do what his servant asks.