2 Samuel 13

Listen to 2 Samuel 13

Amnon and Tamar

1 Now 1Absalom, David's son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was 2Tamar. And after a time Amnon, David's son, loved her.
2 And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her.
3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of 3Shimeah, David's brother. And Jonadab was a very crafty man.
4 And he said to him, "O son of the king, why are you so haggard morning after morning? Will you not tell me?" Amnon said to him, "I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister."
5 Jonadab said to him, "Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill. And when your father comes to see you, say to him, 'Let my sister Tamar come and give me bread to eat, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat it from her hand.'"
6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. And when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, "Please let my sister Tamar come and 4make a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand."
7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, "Go to your brother Amnon's house and prepare food for him."
8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house, where he was lying down. And she took dough and kneaded it and made cakes in his sight and baked the cakes.
9 And she took the pan and emptied it out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, 5"Send out everyone from me." So everyone went out from him.
10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, "Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from your hand." And Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.
11 But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, "Come, lie with me, my sister."
12 She answered him, "No, my brother, do not violate[a] me, for 6such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this 7outrageous thing.
13 As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of 8the outrageous fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you."
14 But he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her.
15 Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, "Get up! Go!"
16 But she said to him, "No, my brother, for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me."[b] But he would not listen to her.
17 He called the young man who served him and said, "Put this woman out of my presence and bolt the door after her."
18 Now she was wearing 9a long robe[c] with sleeves, for thus were the virgin daughters of the king dressed. So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her.
19 And Tamar 10put ashes on her head and 11tore the long robe that she wore. And 12she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went.
20 And her brother Absalom said to her, "Has Amnon your brother been with you? Now hold your peace, my sister. He is your brother; do not take this to heart." So Tamar lived, a desolate woman, in her brother Absalom's house.
21 When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry.[d]
22 But Absalom spoke to Amnon 13neither good nor bad, for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had violated his sister Tamar.

Absalom Murders Amnon

23 After two full years Absalom had 14sheepshearers at Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king's sons.
24 And Absalom came to the king and said, "Behold, your servant has sheepshearers. Please let the king and his servants go with your servant."
25 But the king said to Absalom, "No, my son, let us not all go, lest we be burdensome to you." He pressed him, but he would not go but gave him his blessing.
26 Then Absalom said, "If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us." And the king said to him, "Why should he go with you?"
27 But Absalom pressed him until he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him.
28 Then Absalom commanded his servants, "Mark when Amnon's 15heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, 'Strike Amnon,' then kill him. Do not fear; have I not commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant."
29 So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons arose, and each mounted his mule and fled.
30 While they were on the way, news came to David, "Absalom has struck down all the king's sons, and not one of them is left."
31 Then the king arose and 16tore his garments and 17lay on the earth. And all his servants who were standing by tore their garments.
32 But 18Jonadab the son of Shimeah, David's brother, said, "Let not my lord suppose that they have killed all the young men, the king's sons, for Amnon alone is dead. For by the command of Absalom this has been determined from the day he violated his sister Tamar.
33 Now therefore let not my lord the king so 19take it to heart as to suppose that all the king's sons are dead, for Amnon alone is dead."

Absalom Flees to Geshur

34 20But Absalom fled. And the young man who kept the watch lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, many people were coming from the road behind him[e] by the side of the mountain.
35 And Jonadab said to the king, "Behold, the king's sons have come; as your servant said, so it has come about."
36 And as soon as he had finished speaking, behold, the king's sons came and lifted up their voice and wept. And the king also and all his servants wept very bitterly.
37 21But Absalom fled and went to 22Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of 23Geshur. And David mourned for his son day after day.
38 24So Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there three years.
39 And the spirit of the king[f] longed to go out[g] to Absalom, because 25he was comforted about Amnon, since he was dead.

2 Samuel 13 Commentary

Chapter 13

Ammon's violence to his sister. (1-20) Absalom murders his brother Ammon. (21-29) David's grief, Absalom flees to Geshur. (30-39)

Verses 1-20 From henceforward David was followed with one trouble after another. Adultery and murder were David's sins, the like sins among his children were the beginnings of his punishment: he was too indulgent to his children. Thus David might trace the sins of his children to his own misconduct, which must have made the anguish of the chastisement worse. Let no one ever expect good treatment from those who are capable of attempting their seduction; but it is better to suffer the greatest wrong than to commit the least sin.

Verses 21-29 Observe the aggravations of Absalom's sin: he would have Ammon slain, when least fit to go out of the world. He engaged his servants in the guilt. Those servants are ill-taught who obey wicked masters, against God's commands. Indulged children always prove crosses to godly parents, whose foolish love leads them to neglect their duty to God.

Verses 30-39 Jonadab was as guilty of Ammon's death, as of his sin; such false friends do they prove, who counsel us to do wickedly. Instead of loathing Absalom as a murderer, David, after a time, longed to go forth to him. This was David's infirmity: God saw something in his heart that made a difference, else we should have thought that he, as much as Eli, honoured his sons more than God.

Cross References 25

  • 1. 2 Samuel 3:2, 3; 1 Chronicles 3:2
  • 2. 1 Chronicles 3:9
  • 3. 1 Chronicles 2:13; [1 Samuel 16:9; 1 Samuel 17:13]
  • 4. Genesis 18:6
  • 5. [Genesis 45:1]
  • 6. Leviticus 18:9, 11; Leviticus 20:17
  • 7. Genesis 34:7; Judges 19:23; Judges 20:6
  • 8. [2 Samuel 3:33]
  • 9. Genesis 37:3; Judges 5:30; Psalms 45:14
  • 10. See Joshua 7:6
  • 11. See 2 Samuel 1:11
  • 12. Jeremiah 2:37
  • 13. Genesis 24:50; Genesis 31:24
  • 14. Genesis 31:19; Genesis 38:12, 13; 1 Samuel 25:4
  • 15. See Judges 19:6
  • 16. See 2 Samuel 1:11
  • 17. 2 Samuel 12:16
  • 18. ver. 3
  • 19. 2 Samuel 19:19
  • 20. ver. 37, 38
  • 21. ver. 34
  • 22. 2 Samuel 3:3; 1 Chronicles 3:2
  • 23. 2 Samuel 14:23, 32; 2 Samuel 15:8
  • 24. [See ver. 37 above]
  • 25. Genesis 24:67; Genesis 38:12; [Genesis 37:35]

Footnotes 7

  • [a]. Or humiliate; also verses 14, 22, 32
  • [b]. Compare Septuagint, Vulgate; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
  • [c]. Or a robe of many colors (compare Genesis 37:3); also verse 19
  • [d]. Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint add But he would not punish his son Amnon, because he loved him, since he was his firstborn
  • [e]. Septuagint the Horonaim Road
  • [f]. Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Hebrew David
  • [g]. Compare Vulgate ceased to go out

Chapter Summary


This chapter relates some of the evils that were to arise out of David's house, and which were similar to the evils committed by him; the deflowering of his daughter, and the murder of his eldest son: the story is this; Amnon falls in love with Tamar, his sister, and grew thin upon it, which being observed by a friend of his, inquires the reason of it, which having got out of him, forms a scheme for obtaining his desire, and which succeeded; for by it he had the opportunity of ravishing his sister, 2Sa 13:1-14; the consequences of which were extreme hatred of her, hurrying her out of doors, lamentation and mourning on her part, grief to David, and enmity in the heart of Absalom to Amnon, which put him upon meditating his death, 2Sa 13:15-22; and which was brought about after this manner. Absalom had a sheep shearing, to which he invited the king and all his sons, and to which they all came excepting the king, 2Sa 13:23-27; when Absalom gave orders to his servants to observe Amnon when he was merry, and at his word smite him and kill him, as they did, 2Sa 13:28,29; tidings of which soon came to the ears of David, and these aggravated, that all the king's sons were killed, which threw the king into an agony; but Jonadab endeavoured to pacify him, by assuring him that only Amnon was dead, the truth of which soon appeared by the coming of the king's sons, 2Sa 13:30-36; but Absalom fled to Geshur, where he remained three years, when David's heart began to be towards him, and to long for him, who was to bring more evil against him, 2Sa 13:37-39.

2 Samuel 13 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.