2 Samuel 13

1 And it came to pass after this that Absalom, the son of David, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar, and Amnon, the son of David, loved her.
2 And Amnon was so distressed that he fell sick for his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and Amnon thought it difficult for him to do any thing to her.
3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother, and Jonadab was a very astute man.
4 And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king’s son, becoming thinner from day to day? Wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.
5 And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed and pretend to be sick; and when thy father comes to see thee, say unto him, I pray thee, let my sister Tamar come and give me food and make the food in my sight that I may see it and eat it at her hand.
6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick, and when the king came to see him, Amnon said unto the king, I pray thee, let Tamar, my sister, come, and make me a couple of cakes in my sight that I may eat at her hand.
7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon’s house and make him something to eat.
8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house, and he was lying down. And she took flour and kneaded it and made cakes in his sight and baked the cakes.
9 Then she took a pan and poured them out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Send everyone out from me. And they all went out from him.
10 Then Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the food into the chamber that I may eat from thy hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon, her brother.
11 And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister.
12 And she answered him, No, my brother, do not force me, for no such thing ought to be done in Israel. Do not commit this folly.
13 And I, where shall I go with my reproach? And as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now, therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king, for he will not withhold me from thee.
14 Howbeit, he would not hearken unto her voice, but, being stronger than she, forced her and lay with her.
15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.
16 And she said unto him, There is no cause; this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her.
17 Then he called his servant that ministered unto him and said, Put now this woman out from me and bolt the door after her.
18 And she had a garment of different colours upon her, for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out and bolted the door after her.
19 And Tamar put ashes on her head and rent her garment of different colours that was on her and laid her hand on her head and went on crying.
20 And Absalom, her brother, said unto her, Has Amnon thy brother been with thee? But now remain silent, my sister; he is thy brother; do not regard this thing in thy heart. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house.
21 But when King David heard of all these things, he was very angry.
22 And Absalom spoke neither good nor bad unto his brother Amnon, for Absalom hated Amnon because he had forced his sister Tamar.
23 And it came to pass after two full years that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baalhazor, which is beside Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king’s sons.
24 And Absalom came to the king and said, Behold now, thy slave has sheepshearers; let the king, I beseech thee, and his slaves go with thy slave.
25 And the king said to Absalom, No, my son, let us not all go lest we be burdensome unto thee. And he pressed him; however, he would not go but blessed him.
26 Then said Absalom, If not, I pray thee, let my brother Amnon go with us. And the king said unto him, Why should he go with thee?
27 But because Absalom pressed him, he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him.
28 Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon, then kill him. Fear not; have I not commanded you? Be courageous, and be valiant.
29 And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and they all got upon their mules and fled.
30 And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that the rumour came to David, saying, Absalom has slain all the king’s sons, and there is not one of them left.
31 Then the king arose and tore his garments and lay on the earth; and all his slaves stood by with their clothes rent.
32 And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother, answered and said, Do not let my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men, the king’s sons, for only Amnon is dead, for by the mouth of Absalom this has been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar.
33 Now, therefore, do not let my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead, for only Amnon is dead.
34 But Absalom fled. And the young man that kept the watch lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there came many people by the way of the side of the mountain behind him.
35 And Jonadab said unto the king, Behold, the king’s sons come; as thy slave said, so it is.
36 And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of speaking, that, behold, the king’s sons came and lifted up their voice and wept. And the king also and all his slaves wept very sore.
37 But Absalom fled and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day.
38 So after Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he was there three years.
39 And King David longed to see Absalom, for he was now comforted concerning Amnon, who 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.

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