2Samuel 13:1 ¶ And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.

2Samuel 13:2 And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her.

 

In this chapter we will begin to see evidence of the LORD’s judgment against David for his sin with Bathsheba when He declared that “the sword would not depart from his house.”

 

David’s firstborn son was Amnon by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess.  His third son was Absalom by Maacah, daughter of the king of Geshur; he had a beautiful sister named Tamar.  Amnon fell in “love” with Tamar, but we will soon find out that it wasn't love at all; it was lust.  Amnon wanted Tamar so badly that it made him sick.  Tamar was a virgin and well protected, and Amnon could see no way of fulfilling his lust.

 

2 Samuel 3:2–3 “And unto David were sons born in Hebron: and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; And his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;”

 

2Samuel 13:3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man.

2Samuel 13:4 And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.

2Samuel 13:5 And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed, and make thyself sick: and when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him, I pray thee, let my sister Tamar come, and give me meat, and dress the meat in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it at her hand.

 

One of Amnon’s buddies was his cousin Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother.  Jonadab was a very cunning man, and he devised a plot to get Tamar to Amnon’s bedroom.  He suggested that Amnon lay in bed and appear to be sick.  When David came to check on him, he should ask for his father to send Tamar to come and prepare some food for him and serve him.

 

2Samuel 13:6 So Amnon lay down, and made himself sick: and when the king was come 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.

2Samuel 13:7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon’s house, and dress him meat.

2Samuel 13:8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house; and he was laid down. And she took flour, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes.

2Samuel 13:9 And she took a pan, and poured them out before him; but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out every man from him.

 

Amnon immediately set the plan into motion.  When his father came to check on him, he asked for him to send Tamar to make him some cakes and serve him—and David did.  Tamar showed up at Amnon’s house and made him some cakes, but he refused to eat.  Amnon then asked that everyone but Tamar leave him, and they did.

 

2Samuel 13:10 And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the meat into the chamber, that I may eat of thine hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.

2Samuel 13:11 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.

2Samuel 13:12 And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.

2Samuel 13:13 And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? 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.

2Samuel 13:14 Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.

 

Amnon then called for Tamar to bring the food to him in his private chamber to feed him.  Innocent Tamar did as she was asked.  When she came into his chamber, Amnon grabbed hold of her and asked her to lay with him.  She immediately refused and begged him not to force her.  She reminded him that no such thing should be done in Israel (according to God’s law is implied), and begged him again not to force her. 

 

Leviticus 18:9 “The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.”

 

Tamar continued to plead with her brother reminding him of the shame such action would bring upon both of them and the subsequent consequences.  She urged him to ask their father if they could marry because he would surely allow it. 

 

Note from JFB:  It was not uncommon in those days for a prince to marry his half sister.

 

Amnon totally ignored her; he was bent only upon fulfilling his lust and raped his sister.

 

2Samuel 13:15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.

2Samuel 13:16 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.

2Samuel 13:17 Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.

 

After satisfying his sexual desire, Amnon’s feelings for Tamar turned to hatred; in fact, his hatred of her exceeded the desire he previously had for her that had caused him to be sick.  His brutal command to Tamar—Get out of here.

 

Tamar then turned her plea into one of not adding sin upon sin by sending her away.  Amnon’s heart was hard; he would not listen.  He called out for his personal servant to put Tamar out of his house and lock the door.

 

2Samuel 13:18 And she had a garment of divers 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.

2Samuel 13:19 And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.

2Samuel 13:20 And Absalom her brother said unto her, Hath Amnon thy brother been with thee? but hold now thy peace, my sister: he is thy brother; regard not this thing. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house.

 

Tamar was dressed in a specially colored robe that marked her as a king’s daughter and a virgin.  When Amnon’s servant locked her out of his house, she put ashes on her head and tore her robe as a sign of mourning and great sorrow for what she had lost.  She held her head and could not stop crying.

 

Tamar must have run to Absalom‘s home, presumably where she lived considering the note from JFB below.  He immediately asked her if Amnon had violated her.  This tells me that he already suspected Amnon of wrong feelings toward his sister.  He probably knew that she had gone to serve him and concluded that he had taken advantage of the situation considering the state his sister was in.  He tried to comfort her and urged her to keep quiet about what had happened.  He tried to make it sound like it wasn’t so bad since Amnon was her brother.  Tamar could not be consoled and stayed in Absalom’s home.

 

Another note from JFB:  “In Eastern countries, where polygamy prevails, the girls are considered to be under the special care and protection of their uterine brother, who is the guardian of their interests and their honor, even more than their father himself….the children of polygamists lived by themselves, as if they constituted different families.”

 

2Samuel 13:21 ¶ But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth.

 

This is a very sad verse to me.  David heard what had happened, and it made him angry.  Nothing else.  No action to punish his son or comfort his daughter.  How sad.  This certainly wasn’t acting like a man “after God’s own heart.”  I think his refusal to act against Amnon found its roots in the guilt of his own sexual sin.  He probably knew in his heart that he should never have left his daughter in such a vulnerable position.

 

2Samuel 13:22 And Absalom spake unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad: for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.

2Samuel 13:23 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.

2Samuel 13:24 And Absalom came to the king, and said, Behold now, thy servant hath sheepshearers; let the king, I beseech thee, and his servants go with thy servant.

2Samuel 13:25 And the king said to Absalom, Nay, my son, let us not all now go, lest we be chargeable unto thee. And he pressed him: howbeit he would not go, but blessed him.

2Samuel 13:26 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?

2Samuel 13:27 But Absalom pressed him, that he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him.

 

Absalom said absolutely nothing to Amnon about what he had done.  But…he hated Amnon because he had raped his sister Tamar.  Absalom let his hatred brew for two years before deciding to seek vengeance.  He probably figured that no one would suspect him of ill will against his brother after this long.

 

Absalom decided to use the time of sheepshearing to throw a feast and invite all the king’s sons to come celebrate with him.  He presented himself to the king and invited his father to come and bring his servants (which would have included his sons).  The king declined by saying that he didn’t want to put such a burden on his son.  Absalom continued to pressure his father into coming, but he maintained his refusal.  He did, however, pronounce a blessing upon him.   Absalom was determined.  He then asked his father if Amnon, the oldest son, could come.  The king asked him why he wanted Amnon to go.  It seems as though Absalom sidestepped the question by urging his father to let all his brothers go with him, and eventually the king relented.

 

Was David suspicious of Absalom’s motives?  Was he thinking about the rape of Tamar?  Is that why he decided to send all of the sons thinking that would surely deter any evil?  Did he want to hope that all was well among his sons?

 

2Samuel 13:28 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 not I commanded you? be courageous, and be valiant.

2Samuel 13:29 And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and every man gat him up upon his mule, and fled.

 

Absalom had commanded his servants to kill Amnon when he gave the command; he would wait until Amnon was well under the influence of the wine.  He told them they had nothing to fear because they would be following his command.  Then he urged them to be courageous and brave.

 

Absalom’s servants followed his command.  When the rest of the brothers saw what had happened they got on their mules and fled.

 

2Samuel 13:30 ¶ And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that tidings came to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king’s sons, and there is not one of them left.

2Samuel 13:31 Then the king arose, and tare his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent.

2Samuel 13:32 And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother, answered and said, Let not my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the king’s sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar.

2Samuel 13:33 Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead: for Amnon only is dead.

 

It seems that word got back to David before his sons did.  As is often the case, the first report was flawed.  David was told that Absalom had killed all of his brothers.  David got up and tore his clothes and prostrated himself on the ground in grief.  His servants also tore their clothes to show compassion for their king.

 

Jonadab, Amnon’s buddy and David’s nephew, corrected the report and told David that only Amnon was dead.  He explained that his murder was an act of vengeance by Absalom because Amnon had raped his sister Tamar.  He assured the king once again that only Amnon was dead. 

 

Jonadab was so sure of himself that some commentators believe he was actually in on the plot to kill Amnon.  If so, he was as two-faced as they come.  Maybe he was jealous of the royal position of his cousins.

 

2Samuel 13:34 But Absalom fled. And the young man that kept the watch lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came much people by the way of the hill side behind him.

2Samuel 13:35 And Jonadab said unto the king, Behold, the king’s sons come: as thy servant said, so it is.

2Samuel 13:36 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 servants wept very sore.

 

Absalom ran away.  Meanwhile, the young man that kept watch at the gate looked up and saw that a large group of people was coming up the hill behind him.  Jonadab told the king that it was his sons returning home.  Sure enough, the king’s sons came before him in tears, moving both the king and the servants that were with him to tears as well.

 

2Samuel 13:37 But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day.

2Samuel 13:38 So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years.

2Samuel 13:39 And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.

 

Absalom fled to his maternal grandfather, king of Geshur, for sanctuary.  David mourned for his son—Amnon, his firstborn—every day.  Absalom stayed in Geshur for three years; this kingdom was located in the southern portion of the Golan Heights in Bashan according to JFB.  Having come to terms with the death of Amnon, David began to long to see Absalom.

 

I would assume that the LORD’s words of judgment haunted him.  He must have considered himself partly to blame for all that happened.