2 Samuel 13

1 After this, David's son Amnon fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of David's son Absalom.
2 Amnon was so obsessed with his half sister Tamar that he made himself sick. It seemed impossible for him to be alone with her because she was a virgin.
3 Amnon had a friend by the name of Jonadab, a son of David's brother Shimea. Jonadab was a very clever man.
4 He asked Amnon, "Why are you, the king's son, so worn out morning after morning? Won't you tell me?" "I'm in love with Absalom's sister Tamar," he answered.
5 Then Jonadab told him, "Lie down on your bed. Act sick, and when your father comes to see you, say to him, 'Please let my sister Tamar come to feed me. She can prepare a meal in front of me as I watch her, and she can feed me.'"
6 So Amnon lay down and acted sick, and the king came to see him. Amnon asked the king, "Please let my sister Tamar come and make some bread in front of me, and she can feed me."
7 David sent for Tamar at the palace. "Please go to your brother Amnon's home," he said, "and prepare some food for him."
8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's home. He was lying down. She took dough, kneaded it, made flat bread in front of him, and cooked it.
9 Then she took the pan and served him [the bread]. But he refused to eat. "Have everyone leave me," he said. So everyone left him.
10 Amnon told Tamar, "Bring the food into the bedroom so that you can feed me." Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in the bedroom.
11 When she handed it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, "Come to bed with me, Tamar!"
12 "No," she told him, "don't rape me! That shouldn't be done in Israel. Don't do this godless act!
13 Where could I go in my disgrace? And you will be considered one of the godless fools in Israel! Speak to the king. He won't refuse your request to marry me."
14 But Amnon wouldn't listen to her. He grabbed his sister and raped her.
15 Now, Amnon developed an intense hatred for her. His hatred for her was greater than the lust he had felt for her. "Get out of here," he told her.
16 She said to him, "No, sending me away is a greater wrong than the other thing you did to me!" But he wouldn't listen to her.
17 Then he called his personal servant and said, "Get rid of her. Put her out, and bolt the door behind her."
18 (She was wearing a long-sleeved gown. The king's virgin daughters wore this kind of robe.) So his servant took her out and bolted the door behind her.
19 Tamar put ashes on her head, tore the long-sleeved gown she had on, put her hands on her head, and went away crying.
20 Her brother Absalom asked her, "Has your brother Amnon been with you? Sister, be quiet for now. He's your brother. Don't dwell on this matter." So Tamar stayed there at the home of her brother Absalom and was depressed.
21 When King David heard about this, he became very angry. But David didn't punish his son Amnon. He favored Amnon because he was his firstborn son.
22 Absalom wouldn't speak at all to Amnon. He hated Amnon for raping his sister Tamar.
23 Two years later Absalom had sheepshearers at Baal Hazor near Ephraim. He invited all the king's sons.
24 Absalom went to the king and said, "Since I have sheepshearers, Your Majesty and your officials are invited [to feast] with me."
25 "No, Son," the king answered Absalom. "If we all go, we'll be a burden to you." Even when Absalom continued to urge him, David did not want to go, though he did give Absalom his blessing.
26 So Absalom said, "If you won't go, then please let my brother Amnon go with us." "Why should he go with you?" the king asked him.
27 But when Absalom urged him, he let Amnon and all [the rest of] the king's sons go with him.
28 Then Absalom gave an order to his servants. "Watch now," he said. "When Amnon begins to feel good from drinking [too much] wine, I'll tell you, 'Attack Amnon.' Then kill him. Don't be afraid. I've given you the order, haven't I? Be strong and courageous."
29 Absalom's servants did to Amnon as Absalom had ordered. Then all the king's sons got up, mounted their mules, and fled.
30 While they were on their way, David heard this rumor: "Absalom has killed all the king's sons, and not a single one is left."
31 The king stood up, tore his clothes, and lay down on the ground. All his servants were standing beside him with their clothes torn [to show their grief].
32 Then Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shimea, said, "Sir, don't think that all the young men, all the king's sons, have been killed. Only Amnon is dead. Absalom decided to do this the day his half brother raped his sister Tamar.
33 You shouldn't burden your heart with the idea that all the king's sons are dead, Your Majesty. Only Amnon is dead.
34 Absalom has fled." When the servant who kept watch looked up, he saw many people coming down the road beside the mountain west of him.
35 Then Jonadab told the king, "The king's sons have come. It's just as I said."
36 When he finished speaking, the king's sons arrived and cried loudly. The king and all his men also cried very bitterly.
37 Absalom, however, fled to Geshur's King Talmai, Ammihud's son. But the king mourned for his son Amnon every day.
38 Absalom, having fled to Geshur, stayed there three years.
39 King David began to long for Absalom once people had consoled him over Amnon's death.

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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO SECOND SAMUEL 13

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