2 Samuel 13


In the previous chapter we read about God’s judgment on David and his household because of his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah her husband, 2 Samuel 12:7-12, in this chapter we will see God’s judgment having an immediate happening. Because David had so many wives, he is now going to reap what he sowed, Galatians 6:7-8, because he had children with different his other wives.

Amnon And Tamar

‘In the course of time, Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David. Amnon became so obsessed with his sister Tamar that he made himself ill. She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her. Now Amnon had an adviser named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother. Jonadab was a very shrewd man. He asked Amnon, ‘Why do you, the king’s son, look so haggard morning after morning? Won’t you tell me?’ Amnon said to him, ‘I’m in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.’ ‘Go to bed and pretend to be ill,’ Jonadab said. ‘When your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I may watch her and then eat it from her hand.’ So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. When the king came to see him, Amnon said to him, ‘I would like my sister Tamar to come and make some special bread in my sight, so I may eat from her hand.’ 2 Samuel 13:1-6

When David was on the run from Saul, he married Maacah and they had two sons together, Absalom and Amnon, 2 Samuel 3:2-3. Because Amnon was the half-brother of Tamar, he wouldn’t be allowed to marry her because the law said he couldn’t, Leviticus 18:9.

Ammon loved Tamar and knows he shouldn’t marry her but Jonadab, his cousin, gives him some advice, he tells him to pretend to be ill, this way Tamar would come to him, especially since David would ask her to go to him.

‘David sent word to Tamar at the palace: ‘Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare some food for him.’ So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon, who was lying down. She took some dough, kneaded it, made the bread in his sight and baked it. Then she took the pan and served him the bread, but he refused to eat. ‘Send everyone out of here,’ Amnon said. So everyone left him. Then Amnon said to Tamar, ‘Bring the food here into my bedroom so I may eat from your hand.’ And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, ‘Come to bed with me, my sister.’ ‘No, my brother!’ she said to him. ‘Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.’ But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.’ 2 Samuel 13:7-14

David informs Tamar that Ammon is ill and tells her to go to him. she makes bread but he refuses to eat and after asking everyone to leave, Tamar enters his bedroom and he grabbed her and tells her to come to bed with him. Tamara immediately knows what he’s trying to do and refuses because she knows it’s immoral and she knows that the practising incest was against God’s law, Leviticus 18:11.

Although Tamar is thinking about God and his laws, Ammon is being completely selfish, all he wanted was his sexual desires to be fulfilled, he didn’t stop to think of the consequences this act would have on his half-sister. His desire to fulfil his own selfish needs was so great, that he refused to listen to anything she said and went on to rape her, which is the lowest of lows for any man to do.

‘Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her, ‘Get up and get out!’ ‘No!’ she said to him. ‘Sending me away would be a greater wrong than what you have already done to me.’ But he refused to listen to her. He called his personal servant and said, ‘Get this woman out of my sight and bolt the door after her.’ So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her. She was wearing an ornate robe, for this was the kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore.’ 2 Samuel 13:15-18

Interestingly, one minute Ammon loved his half-sister, 2 Samuel 13:1, and the next minute he intensely hates her. The true nature of Ammon’s so-called love for Tamar is shown here, he hated her and treated her badly, and he refuses to listen to her. This was all about him because if he truly did love her, he would have listened to her and never committed such a vile act against her and treated her the way he did, Deuteronomy 22:27.

Tamar wore an ornate robe, Genesis 37:3, which means she was high ranking as a virgin daughter of the king.

‘Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went. Her brother Absalom said to her, ‘Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother. Don’t take this thing to heart.’ And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman. When King David heard all this, he was furious. And Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar.’ 2 Samuel 13:19-22

It’s in these verses we see the effect of Ammon’s sin against Tamar, she put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. This shows us how sorrowful she is, she is expressing her complete humiliation, she’s overwhelmed with what’s happened to her and can’t control her emotions.

When her brother Absalom meets her, it appears that he knows what’s happened to her but he doesn’t help the situation because he more or less tells her to forget about it and so she goes to live in Absalom’s house as a desolate woman. This is tragic, the tragic effect that rape had on this innocent woman.

When David got news about what happened, he was furious but notice he did nothing about it. We don’t know why he didn’t do anything, maybe he remembered his own sinful actions with Uriah, 2 Samuel 11:14-17, maybe he couldn’t bring himself to have his son, Ammon punished, which meant death, Numbers 35:30-31.

One thing is clear because David did nothing about Ammon’s behaviour, his sorrow over this wasn’t going to end well, it was going to lead to more sorrow as Absalom was going to take revenge on Ammon for what he did to his Tamar, his sister.

Absalom Kills Amnon

‘Two years later, when Absalom’s sheepshearers were at Baal Hazor near the border of Ephraim, he invited all the king’s sons to come there. Absalom went to the king and said, ‘Your servant has had shearers come. Will the king and his attendants please join me?’ ‘No, my son,’ the king replied. ‘All of us should not go; we would only be a burden to you.’ Although Absalom urged him, he still refused to go but gave him his blessing. Then Absalom said, ‘If not, please let my brother Amnon come with us.’ The king asked him, ‘Why should he go with you?’ But Absalom urged him, so he sent with him Amnon and the rest of the king’s sons. Absalom ordered his men, ‘Listen! When Amnon is in high spirits from drinking wine and I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon down,’ then kill him. Don’t be afraid. Haven’t I given you this order? Be strong and brave.’ So Absalom’s men did to Amnon what Absalom had ordered. Then all the king’s sons got up, mounted their mules and fled.’ 2 Samuel 13:23-29

We can imagine throughout those two years that Ammon, would have had his suspicions about what Absalom was thinking because of what Ammon did to Absalom’s sister, Tamar. Absalom has been very patient, he’s waited two years for an opportunity to get his revenge, 2 Samuel 13:22.

A festival was planned and Absalom knows that Ammon would be very apprehensive about attending, so he intentionally also invites David, knowing that David wouldn’t leave Jerusalem to attend the festival. His plan worked because Ammon believed that David was also going to be at the festival, he decides it would be safe for him to go.

As the party is in full swing and people were drinking wine, notice that Absalom himself didn’t murder Ammon, but he ordered his men to do it for him. Absalom was the next oldest son of David, and because Ammon was now dead, this put him first in line to be king after David. It’s clear that Absalom’s murder of Amnon not only satisfied his revenge, but also set him up to be the next king of Israel.

‘While they were on their way, the report came to David: ‘Absalom has struck down all the king’s sons; not one of them is left.’ The king stood up, tore his clothes and lay down on the ground; and all his attendants stood by with their clothes torn. But Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother, said, ‘My lord should not think that they killed all the princes; only Amnon is dead. This has been Absalom’s express intention ever since the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar. My lord the king should not be concerned about the report that all the king’s sons are dead. Only Amnon is dead.’ Meanwhile, Absalom had fled. Now the man standing watch looked up and saw many people on the road west of him, coming down the side of the hill. The watchman went and told the king, ‘I see men in the direction of Horonaim, on the side of the hill.’ Jonadab said to the king, ‘See, the king’s sons have come; it has happened just as your servant said.’ As he finished speaking, the king’s sons came in, wailing loudly. The king, too, and all his attendants wept very bitterly. Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. But King David mourned many days for his son. After Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he stayed there three years. And King David longed to go to Absalom, for he was consoled concerning Amnon’s death.’ 2 Samuel 13:30-39

When word God back to David about how his son Ammon was murdered, I’m sure he would have remembered Nathan’s word to him, 2 Samuel 12:10, and I’m sure he would have remembered his orders to have Uriah murdered, 2 Samuel 11:14-17.

Notice that Absalom fled and went to Talmai, the king of Gusher, who was the grandfather of Absalom, 2 Samuel 3:3, we can imagine how welcome he would have been and how the king would have approved of everything Absalom had done.

Geshur was north of Jerusalem in Syria and it was here that Absalom waited until the time when David would be comforted concerning his act of revenge against Amnon.

Notice also that David mourned thinking that all of his sons were dead and he mourned over Absalom, but he quickly forgave him, this is possibly because he understood that his son, Ammon deserved to die. Uriah should never have been murdered because he was innocent, whereas Ammon did deserve to die because of his actions with Tamar, 2 Samuel 13:14.

This was the beginning of God’s judgement against David and his household and things were only going to get worse as time goes on.

Go To 2 Samuel 14


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."