2 Samuel 13:1-5 . AMNON LOVES TAMAR.
18. garment of divers colours--As embroidery in ancient times was the occupation or pastime of ladies of the highest rank, the possession of these parti-colored garments was a mark of distinction; they were worn exclusively by young women of royal condition. Since the art of manufacturing cloth stuffs has made so great progress, dresses of this variegated description are now more common in the East.
19, 20. Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours . . . laid her hand on her head, and went on crying--that is, sobbing. Oriental manners would probably see nothing beyond a strong sense of the injury she had sustained, if Tamar actually rent her garments. But, as her veil is not mentioned, it is probable that Amnon had turned her out of doors without it, and she raised her hand with the design to conceal her face. By these signs, especially the rending of her distinguishing robe, Absalom at once conjectured what had taken place. Recommending her to be silent about it and not publish her own and her family's dishonor, he gave no inkling of his angry feelings to Amnon. But all the while he was in secret "nursing his wrath to keep it warm," and only "biding his time" to avenge his sister's wrongs, and by the removal of the heir-apparent perhaps further also his ambitious designs.
20. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom's house--He was her natural protector, and the children of polygamists lived by themselves, as if they constituted different families.
23-27. Absalom had sheep-shearers in Baal-hazor, which is beside Ephraim--A sheep-shearing feast is a grand occasion in the East. Absalom proposed to give such an entertainment at his estate in Baal-hazor, about eight miles northeast of Jerusalem near a town called Ephraim ( Joshua 11:10 ). He first invited the king and his court; but the king declining, on account of the heavy expense to which the reception of royalty would subject him ( 2 Samuel 13:25 ), Absalom then limited the invitation to the king's sons ( 2 Samuel 13:26 ), which David the more readily agreed to, in the hope that it might tend to the promotion of brotherly harmony and union.
2 Samuel 13:28-36 . AMNON IS SLAIN.
28. Absalom had commanded his servants, saying . . . when Amnon's heart is merry with wine . . . kill him, fear not--On a preconcerted signal from their master, the servants, rushing upon Amnon, slew him at the table, while the rest of the brothers, horror-struck, and apprehending a general massacre, fled in affrighted haste to Jerusalem.
29. every man gat him up upon his mule--This had become the favorite equipage of the great. King David himself had a state mule ( 1 Kings 1:33 ). The Syrian mules are, in activity, strength, and capabilities, still far superior to ours.
30, 31. tidings came to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king's sons--It was natural that in the consternation and tumult caused by so atrocious a deed, an exaggerated report should reach the court, which was at once plunged into the depths of grief and despair. But the information of Jonadab, who seems to have been aware of the plan, and the arrival of the other princes, made known the real extent of the catastrophe.
2 Samuel 13:37-39 . ABSALOM FLEES TO TALMAI.
37. Absalom fled, and went to Talmai--The law as to premeditated murder ( Numbers 35:21 ) gave him no hope of remaining with impunity in his own country. The cities of refuge could afford him no sanctuary, and he was compelled to leave the kingdom, taking refuge at the court of Geshur, with his maternal grandfather, who would, doubtless, approve of his conduct.