2 Samuel 13 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

Chart from recommended resource Jensen's Survey of the OT - used by permission
2 Samuel Chart from Charles Swindoll









1 Samuel 2 Samuel 1 Kings 1 Kings 2 Kings


1-4 5-10 11-20 21-24 1-11 12-22 1-17 18-25



  1 Chr
  1 Chr

2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles

Legend: B.C. dates at top of timeline are approximate. Note that 931BC marks the division of the Kingdom into Southern Tribes (Judah and Benjamin) and Ten Northern Tribes. To avoid confusion be aware that after the division of the Kingdom in 931BC, the Southern Kingdom is most often designated in Scripture as "Judah" and the Northern Kingdom as "Israel." Finally, note that 1 Chronicles 1-9 is not identified on the timeline because these chapters are records of genealogy.

Map of David's Kingdom-ESV Global                           Map of Cities in 2 Samuel         
Source: Life Application Study Bible (borrow)                   

2 Samuel 13:1  Now it was after this that Absalom the son of David had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar, and Amnon the son of David loved her.

  • Absalom: 2Sa 3:2,3 1Ch 3:2 
  • a beautiful sister: 2Sa 11:2 Ge 6:2 39:6,7 Pr 6:25 31:30 
  • Tamar: 2Sa 14:27 1Ch 3:9 
  • loved her: 2Sa 13:15 Ge 29:18,20 34:3 1Ki 11:1 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Job 4:8  “According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity And those who sow trouble harvest it. 

Hosea 8:7 For they sow the wind And they reap the whirlwind (HURRICANE). The standing grain has no heads; It yields no grain. Should it yield, strangers would swallow it up. 

Galatians 6:7-8+ Do not be deceived (present imperative with a negative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey - stop an action already going on or do not let it begin), God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Statute of Tamar
(Partially broken = metaphor of her fate)


This chapter describes the firstfruits of David's sins of adultery and murder. One writer aptly calls this "The Beginning of an Avalanche of Evil (2Sa 13:1-14:3)" (Gerhke)

J D Greear outlines the next two chapters - Main Idea: King David, unfortunately, has much in his life to teach us about the painful consequences of sin.

  I. David’s Sin: The Headwater of Family Dysfunction
  II. From Family Dysfunction to Family Destruction (2Sa 13:1–14:24)
  III. From Family Destruction to National Unraveling (2Sa 14:25–33)
Destruction follows destruction, violence begets violence, until the entire thread of God’s grace seems to disappear. God is still at work in this dark time, but the consequences of sin are running their due course. (from Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Samuel)

Rich Cathers - We’re about to start into the section where the consequences begin to come. As we’ve mentioned before, David already has several wives, now at least eight (Michal, Ahinoam, Abigail, Maacah, Haggith, Abital, Eglah, and Bathsheba). Some of the problems we’re going to run into revolve around the fact that many of David’s children are only partially related to each other. They all have David as their father, but they will have different mothers. Sounds a little like today’s “blended family”.

Chuck Swindoll comments - And David said to Nathan, “I have sinned.” Three words he should have said the morning after he slept with Bathsheba. I am convinced the consequences would have been much, much less if he had declared his sin, openly confessed it before God and the people and laid his life bare. But he didn’t. And now, a year later, Nathan says, “You’re the man, David!” And David admits, “I have sinned.” But wait. Wait a minute. Look at the prediction Nathan makes in spite of David’s confession. Under the guidance and inspiration of God, the prophet declares, “The sword shall never depart from your house.” Never? NEVER. “I thought he was forgiven,” you say. Hey, he was. Nathan says so: “The Lord has taken away your sin; you shall not die.” That’s forgiveness. But the consequences are still there. “The sword will not depart from the house.” Am I saying that everyone who sins will have the same consequences? No. God, in His sovereign manner, fits the consequence for the person. It’s His choice. It’s His move. It’s His plan. Why He chooses some to go this way and some that, I do not know. That’s not our concern here. All I know is, in David’s case, He led him down a path of misery so that he would never forget (nor would we in retrospect) the consequences of that series of acts.  “The sword shall never depart from your house. . . . Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household.”  2 Samuel 12:10-11 Twice, mention is made of David’s own house.....David has been forgiven, but his problems are not over. Trouble will come upon David’s household. Remember my words in the opening paragraph of this chapter? There are two kinds of problems a family can endure: trouble from without and trouble from within. For David, the trouble comes from within, and I don’t think words can express the awful pain this man lived with as he saw the misery that unfolded as a result of his own sin  (Borrow David: A Man of Passion & Destiny - page 212)

Swindoll quotes from John W. Lawrence The Seven Laws of the Harvest (borrow see page 38), in which he traces the truth of harvesting what we have sown. 

When David sowed to the flesh, he reaped what the flesh produced. Moreover, he reaped the consequences of his actions even though he had confessed his sin and been forgiven for it. Underline it, star it, mark it deeply upon your conscious mind: Confession and forgiveness in no way stop the harvest. He had sown; he was to reap. Forgiven he was, but the consequences continued. This is exactly the emphasis Paul is giving the Galatians even in this age of grace. We are not to be deceived, for God will not be mocked. What we sow we will reap, and there are no exceptions.

Do you see what faulty theology has led us to believe? We have set ourselves up with a sin mind-set. We have told ourselves that grace means those consequences are all instantly removed, so we let ourselves be sucked under by the power of the flesh, rather than believing what Paul teaches, that we don’t have to sin day after day after day. We sin because we want to. We have the power in the person of the Holy Spirit to say no to it at every turn in our life. If we choose to say yes against the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we may be certain we will live in the backwash of the consequences. Unfortunately, so will innocent people who are closely related to us. It is those domestic consequences that create what has come to be known as dysfunctional families. (Borrow Swindoll's David: A Man of Passion & Destiny - page 214)

Now it was after this (expression of time) - Discipline yourself to personally interact with the living and active Word by learning to "interrogate" it with who, what, when, where, why, and how type questions. You will never stump the Holy Spirit and you will be amazed at the deeper insights He will give you by just practicing this simple discipline every time you read the Word. So what's the question here? Obviously it is "After what?" Notice how this will force you to examine the context (re-read the preceding Word, never a waste of your time!) The "time" is After chapters 11 and 12, sins of David committed, confessed, cleansed, but with consequences. Sin's consequences would continue for the rest of David's days on earth. Don't read that statement too fast -- pause and ponder that immutable truth, that it might give you (and me) a Spirit empowered hesitancy (cf Ro 8:13+), the next time you (I) are tempted to commit a "little" sin! Holy Spirit, recall this truth to our heart (our "control center") in that moment when the fiery missile flies into our mind (Eph 6:16+, Jas 1:14+). so that we can take it captive (2Co 10:5NIV+), kill it (Col 3:5NLT+, Ro 8:13+) and replace it with God's Word (Php 4:8+), doing so for our Father's glory and in the Name (authority) of Jesus His Son. Amen. There are no "little sins" and no "secret" sins for they all will come into the light (Nu 32:23+) and they all will reverberate and affect all those with whom we have contact. In these next chapters the "reverberation" begins first in those closest to David, his dear children. O God, keep us from falling into this deceptive, destructive web of sin that it would not come back like a "boomerang" on us and our children. In Jesus' Name. Amen. 

That Absalom the son of David had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar - Absalom is the Hebrew word Abishalom which is from ab, father, and shalom, peace, thus "father of peace," which is ironic, for he was anything but peaceful and would in fact soon be at war with his father David ("beloved")! Tamar means "palm-tree" "date palm." OT women were often named after trees! The date palm's silhouette looked like a woman's form (cf. Song 7:7). Notice the text does not say David had a beautiful daughter, but Absalom had a beautiful sister. Absalom immediately steps on stage, for the third born son of David, whose mother was Maacah from Geshur, would become the key character in the next 4 chapters of David's life.

And Amnon the son of David loved (aheb/ahab; Lxx - agapao) her - Amnon had a "love" for Tamar (who had same mother Maacah as Absalom) but it was not a healthy filial love but more akin to lust. Amnon "love" came from his fallen flesh and what God meant for good, Amnon's sinful flesh would twist for evil. Isn't it sadly ironic that Amnon's name meant "faithful," for he would soon prove to be unfaithful in his relationship with Tamar! 

Trapp -  The name Tamar means “Palm Tree,” signifying fruitfulness. The name Absalom means “His Father’s Peace.” The name Amnon means “Faithful, Stable.” “None of them answered their names.” 

QUESTION - Who was Tamar in the Bible?

ANSWER - There are three women named Tamar in Scripture. One Tamar, the beautiful daughter of Absalom, is only mentioned in passing in 2 Samuel 14:27; this Tamar became the mother of Queen Maacah, who married King Rehoboam. The other two Tamars are both tragic figures, women who were ruined by the neglect and abuse of close family members. Their stories seem to be included in Scripture for the purpose of providing historical and spiritual information about the Messianic line. This article will focus on Tamar the daughter-in-law of Judah; and Tamar the daughter of David.

Jacob’s son Judah (patriarch of the line of Judah) had three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah. A woman named Tamar married Er, but then Er died, leaving her a widow. Since it was required that the next of kin care for a brother’s widow, Tamar was given to Onan, but he also died. Shelah was still a boy and could not marry Tamar, so Judah asked her to return to her father’s house and wait until Shelah was grown up. However, once Shelah was old enough, Judah did not honor his promise. Tamar remained an unmarried widow. Tamar then went into town disguised as a prostitute, tricked Judah, and got him to sleep with her. She then became pregnant by Judah and bore twin sons named Perez and Zerah. The story is recorded in Genesis 38.

The other Tamar was King David’s daughter. She had a brother, Absalom, and a half-brother, Amnon. Amnon had an obsessive desire for his half-sister Tamar, and one day he pretended to be sick and called for her to come to him in his bedroom to help him. When she was there alone with him, he raped her. Unfortunately, though David was angry, he did not punish Amnon or require him to marry Tamar, so Absalom took it upon himself to murder Amnon in revenge (2 Samuel 13:1–22). Absalom’s anger and bitterness toward his father because of these events eventually led to his attempt to usurp his throne and to disgrace David by committing public immorality with his father’s concubines.

We would expect the twin sons of Judah’s incestuous union with his daughter-in-law to be outcasts, hidden away, or perhaps not even mentioned in the Bible. However, surprisingly, the Messianic line continues through Tamar’s son Perez. God did not provide a “cleaner” way to continue the line that would eventually include His Son. Perez was the ancestor of Jesus of Nazereth.

It is the same with King David’s story. Absalom’s anger and rejection of his father’s rule seem to have been born out of a festering bitterness toward David. Though Absalom was clearly in the wrong for the murder of Amnon, we sympathize with him, and we sympathize with his disgraced sister. Considering David’s own immorality and the murder he committed, it is easy to see why Absalom thought himself the better man. But, despite David’s faults, God still chose to continue the line of the Messiah through David rather than through Absalom.

Why are these unpleasant stories included in Scripture, and why are the people involved—people who hurt others, even their own family members—granted the privilege of being included in the Messianic line? It may be simply to show us that God’s purpose is accomplished despite man’s unrighteousness. In Hebrews 11 there is a long list of Old Testament people who are commended for their faith, and among them are many sinful people who did dreadful things. But, because they believed God, their faith was credited to them as righteousness (Genesis 15:6).GotQuestions.org (Bolding added)

QUESTION: Who was Amnon in the Bible?

ANSWER: Amnon was King David’s firstborn son. His mother was Ahinoam. Amnon showed despicable character, an alarming lack of self-control, and great selfishness.

Amnon fell in love—or in lust—with his half-sister Tamar. She was the full sister of David’s son Absalom, and the Bible says she was very beautiful (2 Samuel 13:1). Amnon was obsessed with the desire to sleep with her, and his obsession became so consuming that Amnon grew physically sick (verse 2).

Jonadab, David’s nephew, was Amnon’s adviser. He noted Amnon’s depression and, being a shrewd man (1 Samuel 13:3), came up with a plan for Amnon to sate his desire to have Tamar for himself. Jonadab gave Amnon wicked advice: he advised Amnon to feign illness and request that Tamar come to his quarters to make him some food and feed him herself. This would provide the opportunity that Amnon desired. Amnon followed the counsel, and Tamar innocently came to Amnon’s quarters to prepare some bread. When the food was ready, Amnon cleared his quarters of everyone except for Tamar and asked her to come into his bedroom to feed him. She did, and he grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister” (verse 11).

Tamar refused Amnon’s advances, calling his actions a “wicked thing” (2 Samuel 13:12). She tried to reason with him, pointing out the unlawfulness of his desire and that, if he took her virginity, she would bear a lifelong disgrace. She warned him that he would be counted among “the wicked fools in Israel” (verse 13). To buy time, Tamar told Amnon to request their father for her hand in marriage—such a marriage was unlawful and would not have been granted, but Tamar was clutching at straws. But Amnon did not heed her, and he proceeded to rape her (verse 14).

Immediately after the rape, Amnon was filled with hatred toward Tamar; in fact, “he hated her more than he had loved her” (2 Samuel 13:15). In all likelihood, Amnon knew what he had done was abhorrent. But instead of allowing himself to feel guilty, he turned his anger on Tamar. He ordered her out and had his servant bolt the door, ignoring Tamar’s pleas to not shame her in this manner. Tamar knew she was ruined, so she tore the robes that designated her as a virgin, put ashes on her head, and mourned loudly as she left.

Sadly, David, although furious at his son’s crime, did not punish Amnon (2 Samuel 13:21). But Absalom hated Amnon for what he had done to his sister and sought revenge. Two full years later, he devised a plan to move Amnon into a place of vulnerability. Absalom asked David and the princes to attend a sheep-shearing with him. David declined but allowed his sons to go with Absalom. When all the sons had gathered and were drinking together, Absalom ordered his men to kill Amnon in cold blood (verse 28). In fear for their lives, the rest of Absalom’s brothers fled back to the palace (verse 29).

While they were on their way, a false report saying that Absalom had killed all his brothers reached David. Distraught, David fell down in despair (2 Samuel 13:31). Jonadab appeared to inform the king that only Amnon had been killed, and Jonadab told him why: “This has been Absalom’s express intention ever since the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar” (verse 32). When the remainder of David’s sons reached the palace, they came to David and mourned with him. Absalom, meanwhile, fled to Geshur to escape punishment for his brother’s murder.

Although David eventually found consolation and wanted Absalom to return (2 Samuel 13:39), it was several years before the two met again. Sadly, however, the family had been irreparably torn apart by Amnon’s and Absalom’s actions. In time, Absalom tried to take his father’s throne and was killed by David’s army commander, Joab. GotQuestions.org (See also Who are the sons of David mentioned in the Bible?

QUESTION - Who was Absalom in the Bible? (See also Character study by Alexander Whyte)

ANSWER - Absalom was the third son of King David, by his wife Maacah. The bulk of Absalom’s story is told in 2 Samuel 13-19. He had a strong influence on his father’s reign.

The first recorded event defining Absalom’s life also involved his sister Tamar and half-brother Amnon. Tamar was beautiful, and Amnon lusted after her. When Tamar rebuffed Amnon’s advances, he arranged, through subterfuge, to have her come to his house, where he raped her. After the rape, Amnon put Tamar out of his house in disgrace. When Absalom heard what happened, he took his sister in to live with him. For the next two years, Absalom nursed a hatred of his half-brother. Then, using some subterfuge of his own, Absalom invited Amnon to his house for a party. During the festivities, in the presence of David’s other sons, Absalom had his servants kill Amnon in cold blood.

Out of fear of his father, Absalom ran away to Geshur, where he stayed for three years. During that time, Scripture says that David “longed to go out to Absalom,” but we’re never told that he actually did anything to reconcile the relationship. David’s general, Joab, was ultimately responsible for bringing Absalom back to Jerusalem. However, even then, Absalom was not permitted to enter David’s presence, but had to live in a house of his own. He lived this way, presumably never contacting or being contacted by his father, for two years. Finally, once again by way of Joab’s intercession, the two men get back together, and there is a small measure of reconciliation.

Unfortunately, this peace did not last. Possibly resenting his father’s hesitancy to bring him home, Absalom began to stealthily undermine David’s rule. He set himself up as judge in Jerusalem and gave out promises of what he would do if he were king. After four years of this, he asked to go to Hebron, where he had secretly arranged to have himself proclaimed king.

The conspiracy strengthened, and the number of Absalom’s followers grew steadily, such that David began to fear for his own life. David gathered his servants and fled Jerusalem. However, David left behind some of his concubines and a few informers as well, including Zadok and Abiathar the priests and his adviser Hushai.

Upon entering Jerusalem as king, Absalom sought to solidify his position, first by taking over David’s house and sleeping with his concubines, considered an unforgivable act. Then he laid plans to immediately pursue and attack David’s forces, but the idea was abandoned owing to the advice of Hushai. This delay allowed David to muster what troops he had at Mahanaim and mount a counterattack to retake the kingdom.

David himself did not take part in the counterattack, having been persuaded by his generals to remain behind. He did give explicit instructions to the generals to “deal gently” with Absalom, in spite of his treason. Scripture makes the point that all the troops heard David’s orders concerning Absalom. However, the orders were disobeyed. As Absalom was riding under some trees, his long hair became entangled in the branches, and he was unhorsed. Joab found Absalom suspended in mid-air and killed him there. Thus, the rebellion was quelled, and David returned to Jerusalem as king.

David mourned deeply over his son, so much so that it affected the morale of the army. His grief was so great that their victory seemed hollow to them, and they returned to the capital in shame rather than triumph. It was not until he was rebuked by Joab that David was restored to a measure of kingly behavior.

Much has been said about David’s neglect of Absalom in this sad incident. It is possible that parental responsibility is a lesson we can take from this episode, but Scripture does not expressly teach it here. We do know that David did nothing about Amnon’s rape of Tamar, although he knew about it. If David had avenged Tamar, would Absalom have taken it upon himself to mete out justice? And what was the impact on Absalom’s soul of carrying hatred for Amnon for so long? We don’t know the answers to those questions, but it seems that David’s inaction had a deleterious effect in Absalom’s life.

What we can say with certainty, however, is that pride goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). Absalom’s self-promotion led to nothing. Also, God is sovereign. God foiled Absalom’s plan to overthrow his father’s kingdom (see 2 Samuel 17:14). All events are settled in eternity, and nothing, not even the Absaloms of the world, can thwart the power of God to do as He pleases in history.GotQuestions.org

Related Resources from Gotquestions:

2 Samuel 13:2  Amnon was so frustrated because of his sister Tamar that he made himself ill, for she was a virgin, and it seemed hard to Amnon to do anything to her.

BGT  2 Samuel 13:2 καὶ ἐθλίβετο Αμνων ὥστε ἀρρωστεῖν διὰ Θημαρ τὴν ἀδελφὴν αὐτοῦ ὅτι παρθένος ἦν αὐτή καὶ ὑπέρογκον ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς Αμνων τοῦ ποιῆσαί τι αὐτῇ

LXE  2 Samuel 13:2 And Amnon was distressed even to sickness, because of Themar his sister; for she was a virgin, and it seemed very difficult for Amnon to do anything to her.

KJV  2 Samuel 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.

NET  2 Samuel 13:2 But Amnon became frustrated because he was so lovesick over his sister Tamar. For she was a virgin, and to Amnon it seemed out of the question to do anything to her.

CSB  2 Samuel 13:2 Amnon was frustrated to the point of making himself sick over his sister Tamar because she was a virgin, but it seemed impossible to do anything to her.

ESV  2 Samuel 13:2 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.

NIV  2 Samuel 13:2 Amnon became frustrated to the point of illness on account of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her.

NLT  2 Samuel 13:2 Amnon became so obsessed with Tamar that he became ill. She was a virgin, and Amnon thought he could never have her.

NRS  2 Samuel 13:2 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.

NJB  2 Samuel 13:2 Amnon was so obsessed with his sister Tamar that it made him ill, since she was a virgin and Amnon thought it impossible to do anything to her.

NAB  2 Samuel 13:2 He was in such straits over his sister Tamar that he became sick; since she was a virgin, Amnon thought it impossible to carry out his designs toward her.

YLT  2 Samuel 13:2 And Amnon hath distress -- even to become sick, because of Tamar his sister, for she is a virgin, and it is hard in the eyes of Amnon to do anything to her.

GWN  2 Samuel 13:2 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.

BBE  2 Samuel 13:2 And he was so deeply in love that he became ill because of his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin, and so it seemed hard to Amnon to do anything to her.

  • Amnon was so frustrated: 1Ki 21:4 Song 5:8 2Co 7:10 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Amnon was so frustrated (obsessed, tormented; tsarar; Lxx - thlibo) because of his sister Tamar - "It was distressing to Amnon" -  The idea of frustrated is that he felt restricted, cramped, distressed, bound up by his sinful thoughts about Tamar and those thoughts repeatedly pressed in on his heart (the Septuagint translates "frustrated" with thlibo in the imperfect tense depicting an act which occurs over and over). His fallen flesh was pressing on him over and over again. He was battling with his fallenness, against an inner enemy that is not only powerful but deceitful, so deceitful that it would cause him to reason unclearly or even more to the point, to not use sound reason at all. He was consumed with passion for his beautiful sister. In a word, he had the seeds of lust growing, the same seed that had caused his father David to commit unspeakable evil (cf 2Sa 11:2+). David committed evil against another man's wife, but Amnon had become so deceived that he would soon commit evil against his very own sister. I am reminded of Hosea 8:7 which says "they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind." David had sown the wind, but would begin to reap the whirlwind (or hurricane), incest being an even greater evil than he had committed with Bathsheba (if there can be a greater degree of evil). 

That he made himself ill (chalah; Lxx - arrosteo = be weak, sickly), for she was a virgin (bethulah; Lxx - parthenos) - Josephus says "his grief so eat up his body, that he grew lean, and his colour was changed." Why was he "ill?" He was "lovesick" (Song 2:5, Song 5:8). Lovesick (at WebMD) refers to the strong feelings that arise from being unable to be with your loved one physically or emotionally. In Amnon's case as the context shows, we might more better term it "lust sick!" (see also infatuation) His desires for Tamar were so strong, so continual that it was as if he was actually ill (he may have even been that). Such is the effects of lust let out of its cage! It begins by devouring the one who has tried unsuccessfully to keep it in the cage! Of course this term of explanation, for, makes it clear why he was feeling overwhelmed with a sense of sickness! Not only was she beautiful. Not only was he her brother. But Tamar was also a virgin, untouched by a man's hand. The thought that it would be his own hand that was seeking to touch her was enough to make him ill! Unfortunately, being made ill is no defense against a raging fire of lust in one's breast! 

True love waits.
Lust doesn’t!

THOUGHT - For all you young ladies, if a man is pressuring you to go to bed with him, tell him that if he really loves you, he’ll wait.

Utley "she was a virgin" This term is used to show (1) she was of marriageable age (2) she was strictly guarded by palace servants and was not allowed any private contact with a man, even her half-brother (read the account in chapter 8 in Josephus, Antiquities 7.8.1) (3) this heightens David's poor decision to order her to go to Amnon's house (v. 7; apparently all the kings sons had their own residences)

David Guzik - It was even more difficult for him because she was a virgin – meaning that she was available for marriage, but not to Amnon because marriage between half-brother and half-sister was forbidden.

And it seemed hard to Amnon to do anything to her - CSB = "but it seemed impossible to do anything to her." Or as the NET says "it seemed out of the question to do anything to her." Intellectually true. Morally true. Reasonable. All these words would have screamed from Amnon's conscience "NO! NO! NO! Do not touch!!!"

Frustrated (06887tsarar means to be narrow, to be cramped, to be straitened, to be constricted, to hem or be hemmed in and so can mean (as in this passage) to feel hard pressed, distressed or troubled. 

Make ill (02470)(chalah) means (meaning I) to be or become weak, be or become sick, be or become diseased, be or become grieved, be or become sorry. In OT usage, of the various expressions referring to general conditions of bodily malaise and disease. (Meaning II) In addition to the meanings related to illness, chalah can also mean to appease, to entreat, to appeal to as in Moses' attempt to get the Lord to relent from judgment (Ex 32:11) or Daniel (Da 9:13). Chalah to ask for the favor of the Lord (Jer 26:19; Zech 8:21, 22, 1Sa 13:12). Chalah describes entreaty to the Lord for His favor (Ps. 45:12) or the favor of persons also (Job 11:19; Pr 19:6).

Gilbrant - This verb has two groups of meaning. The basic meaning, "to be weak," "to be sick" or "to be tired," occurs in the Qal stem. In Gen. 48:1, Joseph was told that his father was "weak" or "sick." Jeroboam's son also "became sick" (1 Ki. 14:1, 5). Illness is spoken of as the result of accidents (2 Ki. 1:2), or it may be the state of animals (Ezek. 34:4). Chālāh may refer to mortal illness (2 Ki. 20:1), or it may refer to love-sickness (SS 2:5). The wicked do not become ill in the face of the Lord's rebuke because they have hardened themselves to his correction (Jer. 5:3).

In the Niphal, this verb means "to be exhausted" or "to become ill." Jeremiah 12:13 speaks of those who will exhaust themselves "for no gain." Isaiah 17:11 prophesies of a day of chronic illness for those who forget to honor the God Who can save. Jeremiah 10:19 speaks of a wound which is "exhausted," that is, "incurable."

The Pual, Hiphil, Hophal and Hithpael all have only one or two occurrences of chālāh. The Pual form means "to be made weak" and occurs only in Isa. 14:10. The causative, Hiphil form occurs in Isa. 53:10, "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief" (cf. Prov. 13:12). The Hophal occurs in 1 Ki. 22:34, meaning "to be severely wounded." The Hithpael occurs in 2 Sam. 13:2 where Amnon becomes ill with lust for his sister Tamar (cf. 13:5f).

The Piel form of chālāh is the most difficult to interpret. It carries its basic meaning in Deut. 29:22, which says that foreigners will see the plagued land and say, "The Lord has made it sick." The other Piel occurrences depart from this basic meaning considerably. These uses are often attributed to a secondary root. These secondary Piel uses are usually found with the word pānîm (HED #6686), "face." The resulting translation is "to seek the favor of" or "to entreat." This form usually refers to seeking the Lord at the threat of danger (Exo. 32:11). Zophar, Job's counselor, told him that if he was good, people would "entreat his favor" (Job 11:19; cf. Prov. 19:6). (Complete Biblical Library)

(I) Chalah - 59v - afflicted(1), am severely wounded(2), became ill(1), became sick(4), became...ill(3), become ill(1), become weak(3), been sick(2), diseased(2), faint(1), fell sick(1), grief(1), grieved(1), grievous(2), incurable(2), infected(1), lovesick*(2), made himself ill(1), made weak(1), make you sick(1), makes the sick(1), pretend to be ill(1), pretended to be ill(1), putting him to grief(1), serious(1), sick(13), sickliness(1), sickly(1), sorry(1), strained(1), weak(3), weaken(1), wounded(1). Gen. 48:1; Deut. 29:22; Jdg. 16:7; Jdg. 16:11; Jdg. 16:13; Jdg. 16:17; 1 Sam. 19:14; 1 Sam. 22:8; 1 Sam. 30:13; 2 Sam. 13:2; 2 Sam. 13:5; 2 Sam. 13:6; 1 Ki. 14:1; 1 Ki. 14:5; 1 Ki. 15:23; 1 Ki. 17:17; 1 Ki. 22:34; 2 Ki. 1:2; 2 Ki. 8:7; 2 Ki. 8:29; 2 Ki. 13:14; 2 Ki. 20:1; 2 Ki. 20:12; 2 Chr. 18:33; 2 Chr. 22:6; 2 Chr. 32:24; 2 Chr. 35:23; Neh. 2:2; Ps. 35:13; Ps. 77:10; Prov. 13:12; Prov. 23:35; Eccl. 5:13; Eccl. 5:16; Cant. 2:5; Cant. 5:8; Isa. 14:10; Isa. 17:11; Isa. 33:24; Isa. 38:1; Isa. 39:1; Isa. 53:10; Isa. 57:10; Jer. 5:3; Jer. 10:19; Jer. 12:13; Jer. 14:17; Jer. 30:12; Ezek. 34:4; Ezek. 34:16; Ezek. 34:21; Dan. 8:27; Hos. 7:5; Amos 6:6; Mic. 1:12; Mic. 6:13; Nah. 3:19; Mal. 1:8; Mal. 1:13

(II) Chalah - 15v - asked(1), entreat(6), entreated(4), favor*(3), seek(2), seek the favor(1), sought(2). Exod. 32:11; 1 Sam. 13:12; 1 Ki. 13:6; 2 Ki. 13:4; 2 Chr. 33:12; Job 11:19; Ps. 45:12; Ps. 119:58; Prov. 19:6; Jer. 26:19; Dan. 9:13; Zech. 7:2; Zech. 8:21; Zech. 8:22; Mal. 1:9

Virgin (01330bethulah is a feminine noun meaning virgin, a mature young woman that has never had sexual intercourse, and under the authority and protection of the father, in this case King David (who instead of protecting her, actually sent her to Amnon!!!). The first use in Ge 24:16 describes "a virgin, and no man had had relations with her." The Lxx translates bethulah with the Greek noun parthenos which generally refers to a young woman of marriageable age with a focus on her virginity. 

Chuck Swindoll - Before we look once again into the life of David, I want to give you a principle from Galatians 6:7–8. “Do not be deceived” are the first words of these verses—words we read several times in the New Testament. The Lord gives us that warning ahead of time because the devil or the flesh or the world will work havoc on our thinking, deceiving us into doubting the truth God presents. And so ahead of the principle, God says, “Don’t be deceived about this. Don’t let anyone teach you the opposite. Don’t let yourself, or someone else, or some experience lead you to believe that something other than this is the truth. Don’t be deceived.”
Now, here’s the principle:

God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption. . . . Galatians 6:7–8

We reap what we sow, forgiveness notwithstanding. If there is anything we have been duped into believing in our era of erroneous teachings on grace, it is the thinking that if we will simply confess our sins and claim God’s forgiveness, then all the consequences of what we have done will be quickly whisked away. When we fall into the trap of sin, all we have to do is to turn to the Lord and say, “Lord, I confess to You the wrong. And I agree with You that it is wrong. And I declare before You (and You only!) the wrongness of my actions. Now, I claim Your forgiveness and I count on You to get me back on track.” And we think at that point everything is hunky-dory and all the consequences are gone.

But that is not what this verse (or any other verse of Scripture) says. The verse is written to people like you and me living in the era of grace, written to the church. It’s not a law verse. It’s not addressed to Israel. It’s written to God’s people, children of the King, people who are in Christ, living under grace. And the verse says:

 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption [forgiveness notwithstanding]. . . . Galatians 6:7–8

Grace means that God, in forgiving you, does not kill you. Grace means that God, in forgiving you, gives you the strength to endure the consequences. Grace frees us so that we can obey our Lord. It does not mean sin’s consequences are automatically removed. If I sin and in the process of sinning break my arm, when I find forgiveness from sin, I still have to deal with a broken bone.

Isn’t it amazing how we will accept that in the physical realm? Not a person reading these words would deny that. A broken arm is a broken arm, whether I have been forgiven or whether I’m still living under the guilt of my sin. But the same happens in the emotional life. When a parent willfully and irresponsibly acts against God’s written Word, not only does the parent suffer, but the family suffers as well. And that means internal trouble that seriously affects other family members.
Now let me address the consequence.

 The one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption. . . . Galatians 6:8

These are the words I use to describe the consequence: The pain of the harvest eclipses the pleasure of the planting.

Think of your life as being like the life of a farmer. As you walk along, you are planting daily, one kind of seed or another. If you choose to sow the seeds of carnality, you may enjoy a measure of pleasure. Anyone who denies that is a fool. Even Scripture declares that sin has its pleasure. As I mentioned earlier, the pleasures are short-lived, but sin has its pleasure. That’s one of the things that draws us into it. It is exciting. It is adventurous. It brings stimulation. It satisfies the body; it stimulates the desires of the flesh.

What we don’t like to face, of course, is that the pain that comes in the harvesting of those sinful seeds eclipses the short-lived pleasure. Nothing concerns me more than today’s propensity for using grace as a tool to justify sin or to take away the pain of the consequences. Too much teaching on corrective theology and not enough on preventive theology......

Most of us were taught 1 1 John 1:9 long before we learned Romans 6. Why? Because we have been trained to sin. Sounds heretical, doesn’t it? But look! From our earliest days we have been taught that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (John 1:9). So, when you sin, claim it. Claim God’s forgiveness.

That’s a marvelous verse. I call it our bar of soap in the Christian life. It keeps us clean. It certainly is the answer to the problem of sin once it has happened.

But it’s not the best answer. The best answer is in Romans 6:12-13

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” 

Meaning what? Meaning, as I yield myself to God, when sin approaches, I can say, “No.” And in the power of Jesus Christ, I can turn away from it. I don’t have to sin hour after hour, day after day.

Part of the reason we don’t get the full truth of Romans 6 is that nobody’s talking about the consequences. Grace does not take away the consequences of sin.

If David could rise from the grave today, he would say “Amen” to that last statement. The sin in David’s life led to trouble the likes of which few fathers on earth will ever experience.  (Borrow David: A Man of Passion & Destiny - page 210)

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

  • a friend: Ge 38:1,20 Jdg 14:20 Es 5:10,14 6:13 Pr 19:6 
  • Shimeah: 2Sa 13:32 1Sa 16:9 
  • shrewd man, 2Sa 14:2,19,20 Ge 3:1 Jer 4:22 1Co 3:19 Jas 3:15 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


But - An ugly term of contrast. Amnon's "self-control" was still under control, as much as was humanly possible. As an aside, of course the only truly efficacious "self-control," is NOT SELF, but rejection of self-reliance, instead relying wholly on the Holy Spirit, for His omnipotent, supernatural control. No man can truly control the SELF by himself. He may have seasons of what look like success or victory. I will never forget the final scene of the movie Bill W (see Wikipedia article), when the man who had begun Alcoholics Anonymous made the statement (after decades of sobriety), and I can only paraphrase, "O, what I would give to have a drink right now (he was on his deathbed)!" The flesh simply cannot cast out the flesh! Only the Spirit of the Living God can defeat the fallen flesh and even then this battle will be daily and for the rest of our lives, so that it will be necessary to daily jettison self-effort and trust and receive the Spirit's enabling power (see Galatians 5:16, 17+). 

Trapp on friend - “A friend no friend; a carnal friend, a spiritual enemy, who advised, for the recovery of the body, the ruin of his soul.”

Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David's brother - What Amnon needed at this time was what David had needed in 2 Samuel 11:1-2ff, a "Jonathan," a kindred spirit, a man who was closer than a brother, a man who would not be afraid to speak the truth of God's Word and Way to him. Jonadab was his first cousin and was the kind of "friend" we could all do without. Jonadab was more like a "friendly enemy," for Proverbs 27:6 says "Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy." 

THOUGHT- As an aside, men (and women), if you do not have a "Jonathan" in your life, then you are vulnerable to falling into sin, sin you would not even have imagined was possible for you to commit! Do not be deceived (by sin, by fallen flesh)! You MUST have an accountability partner (whose name is not "Jonadab"!). You need a kindred spirit, a man with a pure heart. Paul gave this same advice to Timothy writing "Now flee (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) from youthful lusts and pursue (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) righteousness, faith, love and peace, (WATCH THIS NEXT CLAUSE!!!) with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (a heart continually seeking Jesus, His Word, His Spirit, His glory)." (2Ti 2:22+). The preposition "with" (meta) means "with someone, to aid, to help!") The secular saying is true - no man is an island. A man (woman) needs accountability which is authentic and transparent and protecting! They have to be willing to ask the tough questions and after they've ask them, ask one more - "Did you just lie to me?"!

and Jonadab was a very shrewd man - The Septuagint has a good rendering of Jonadab as "a very cunning (crafty) man."  NET says he was "crafty" which means exceptionally clever, cunning, or shrewd, especially in devious or underhanded ways. In Genesis 3:1+ we read "the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made." Jonadab's devilish advice makes us think he was most likely a son of his father the devil! Jonadab was wise but not with the wisdom "from above (which ) is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits (HIS ADVICE WOULD LEAD TO "ROTTEN FRUIT"), unwavering, without hypocrisy." (James 3:17+). Jonadab's wisdom was "not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic." (James 3:15+). Jonadab was a man who did not live up to his name which means something like "Jehovah is willing." His tactics were more like "flesh is willing!" One English dictionary has an excellent definition of shrewd as "having or showing astute or sharp judgment in practical matters, sometimes at the cost of moral compromise." This definition would prove to an apt description of Jonadab to the degradation of Amnon's character and the defiling of Amnon's sister. 

Rich Cathers - Jonadab is one smart cookie. The word here is normally used to describe great wisdom, such as Solomon had. But here we see that though Jonadab’s advice is shrewd, it isn’t very ethical. “Smart” isn’t always “right”!  We ought to be careful about what kind of influence our friends have on us. Do they encourage us to follow the Lord, or do they encourage us to follow the flesh?

Do not be deceived
(present imperative w/ a negative see need for Spirit to obey)
"Bad company corrupts good morals."
-- 1Cor 15:33+

Clearly Amnon was already "corrupted" by his sinful desire for Tamar and just needed a "catalyst" to make his lust a reality! 

2 Samuel 13:4  He said to him, "O son of the king, why are you so depressed morning after morning? Will you not tell me?" Then Amnon said to him, "I am in love with Tamar, the sister of my brother Absalom."

  • why are you so depressed: 1Ki 21:7 Es 5:13,14 Lu 12:32 
  • morning by morning Isa 3:9 Jer 8:12 Mic 7:3 
  • why are you so depressed Lev 18:9 Lev 20:17 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


He said to him, "O son of the king - Note his manner of addressing Amnon. It was like saying, you are the king's son and the king's son should have no worries, no complaints for he can have anything his heart desires. The NET has "Why are you, the king's son, so depressed every morning?" noting that "An more idiomatic translation might be "Why are you of all people…?" Recall also that 2Sa 3:2+ tells us "Sons were born to David at Hebron: his firstborn was Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess." And so, in theory, Amnon was the crown prince, heir apparent and first in line of succession to the throne when David passed. 

Why are you so depressed (dal) morning after morning? Will you not tell me?" - The Hebrew word depressed is used in Ge 41:19NET to describe the "scrawny" cows. The Septuagint translates depressed with asthenes which describes bodily sickness or one who is physically weak. This was Amnon. So something about Amnon's countenance, physical appearance or affect was obvious to (shrewd) Jonadab, who quickly picked up on it, asking in essence "Why are you so downcast?" Why would Amnon's physical appearance be so obvious? He knew (when he was thinking clearly) that to lie with Tamar (which is what he desired) would be an awful, despicable, heinous sin. And even in his deceived reasoning, he knew that the outcome could not be good. This tells us how strong was his desire for Tamar, because it clouded his reasoning and caused him to cast aside any "warning lights" (like being cut off from your people for sleeping with your sister! Lev 20:17+) that should have served as major impediments against following through on the lusts of his flesh. If he knew anything about the Law of Moses, he knew this was sin. However it is not too much to assume that he had fantasized about Tamar and thus had already committed sin in his heart. As Jesus would teach almost 1000 years later, "I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Mt 5:28+) And what had Amnon done with this sin? Had he confessed it to God? I don't think so, but instead of confess it, he covered it and kept silent about it, with the result that his body wasted away, for God's hand was heavy upon him and his vitality drained away ("like father, like son") (Ps 32:3-4+). Amnon's asthenic appearance was proof of the truth of Proverbs 28:13+ that says "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper." And while Amnon had not yet sexually violated Tamar physically, he undoubtedly had violated her in his mind! Like his father, his eyes got him in trouble. And like his father who had concealed his sin, Amnon concealed his and thus he did not prosper! 

Amnon's appearance reminds me of Cain when God asked him “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Ge 4:6-7+) Cain's condition set him up for sin to jump on him, which is exactly what it did with Cain and would soon do with Amnon. Sin was crouching at the door of Amnon's heart, just waiting to pounce and urge him to take what his flesh was lusting for. After all, he was the king's son and women in that day were treated as little more than "property." Sin is deceptive! 

Then Amnon said to him, "I am in love with Tamar, the sister of my brother Absalom - Amnon replies  to Jonadab that he is in love with his own sister. As the story unfolds, one has to believe that this was not genuine love, but the perversion of love, which is lust, the fruit of which is sin and the wages of which are death (Ro 6:23+ > 2Sa 13:28, 29+).

Depressed (01800)(dal from dalal = to hang, be low, languish, to be small) is an adjective (often used as a noun Ex 23:3) which means poor, weak, thin, insignificant, helpless. Poor are opposite the rich (Ex 30:15; 1Sa. 2:8; Pr 10:15; 22:16), and generally have no earthly power and thus are weak, even helpless (Job 34:28; Ps. 82:3; Pr. 22:22). It described the cattle in Ge 41:19NET = "scrawny". 

TWOT - Unlike ʿānî, dal does not emphasize pain or oppression; unlike ʿebyôn, it does not primarily emphasize need, and unlike rāsh, it represents those who lack rather than the destitute. We might consider dāl as referring to one of the lower classes in Israel (cf. 2 Kings 24:14; 2 Kings 25:12). In dāl the idea of physical (material) deprivation predominates. Compare, also, dallâ denoting the opposite of fatness (Genesis 41:19), and the poorest and lowest of Israel whom the Babylonians left behind (2 Kings 24:14). Gideon cites the weakness (dal) of his clan when he questioned God's call to him to deliver Israel (Judges 6:15; cf 2 Samuel 3:1). dal describes the appearance of Amnon as he pined for Tamar (2 Samuel 13:4).

Dal - 47v - depressed(1), helpless(7), least(1), lowly(2), needy(1), poor(29), poor man(3), poorest(1), weak(2), weaker(1). Gen. 41:19; Exod. 23:3; Exod. 30:15; Lev. 14:21; Lev. 19:15; Jdg. 6:15; Ruth 3:10; 1 Sam. 2:8; 2 Sam. 3:1; 2 Sam. 13:4; Job 5:16; Job 20:10; Job 20:19; Job 31:16; Job 34:19; Job 34:28; Ps. 41:1; Ps. 72:13; Ps. 82:3; Ps. 82:4; Ps. 113:7; Prov. 10:15; Prov. 14:31; Prov. 19:4; Prov. 19:17; Prov. 21:13; Prov. 22:9; Prov. 22:16; Prov. 22:22; Prov. 28:3; Prov. 28:8; Prov. 28:11; Prov. 28:15; Prov. 29:7; Prov. 29:14; Isa. 10:2; Isa. 11:4; Isa. 14:30; Isa. 25:4; Isa. 26:6; Jer. 5:4; Jer. 39:10; Amos 2:7; Amos 4:1; Amos 5:11; Amos 8:6; Zeph. 3:12

2 Samuel 13:5  Jonadab then said to him, "Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill; when your father comes to see you, say to him, 'Please let my sister Tamar come and give me some food to eat, and let her prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat from her hand.'"

  • Lie down: 2Sa 16:21-23 17:1-4 Ps 50:18,19 Pr 19:27 Mk 6:24,25 Ac 23:15 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

Leviticus 18:9 ‘The nakedness of your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether born at home or born outside, their nakedness you shall not uncover.

Leviticus 20:17+If there is a man who takes his sister, his father’s daughter or his mother’s daughter, so that he sees her nakedness and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace; and they shall be cut off (Lxx = exolethreuo = utterly destroyed!) in the sight of the sons of their people. He has uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he bears his guilt.


Jonadab then said to him, "Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill - This is an ironic statement for clearly Amnon already looked "depressed" (v4). Jonadab urges him to take it a step further and look really sick! 

NET NOTE on pretend to be ill - This verb is used in the Hitpael stem only in this chapter of the Hebrew Bible. With the exception of 2Sa 13:2 it describes not a real sickness but one pretended in order to entrap Tamar. The Hitpael sometimes, as here, describes the subject making oneself appear to be of a certain character. 

When your father comes to see you - Jonadab knew Amnon's servants or attendants would alert David that one of his sons was so sick he had taken to bed. 

say to him, 'Please let my sister Tamar come and give me some food to eat, and let her prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat from her hand.' - Jonadab gives Amnon evil advice, but by now Amnon is so engrossed in his lust that he is willing to do anything that might allow him make his fantasy a reality. Note the repetitive emphasis by Jonadab on the eyes (in my sight....I may see), so that the sight of beautiful Tamar would only inflame his lustful passions to the boiling point and bypass any hindrances his conscience might have presented! 

BAD ADVICE 2 Samuel 13:5 - James Butler - Sermon Starters Volume 4

“Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on they bed, and make thyself sick; and when they 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” (2 Samuel 13:5).

Jonadab was a cousin of Amnon who was en evil rascal but was also a friend of Amnon. This friendship resulted in Amnon’s death. Bad friends are not conducive to a good life. In our text we learn of the bad advice of evil friends give.


“Jonadab said unto him.” Bad friends will give bad advice. What Jonadab told Ammon to do was very deceitful.

• The deceiving about his feelings. “Make thyself sick” The deceit in the advice started early. Amnon was to pretend he was sick. The only sickness Amnon truly had was sin-sickness.
• The deceiving for his father. “When thy father cometh.” David would be deceived as to the condition of Amnon and of the request from Amnon.
• The deceiving of the female. “Let my sister come, and give me meat [food].” Poor Tamar would really be deceived. She was deceived about Amnon’s sickness, about David’s request, and about Amnon’s character.
• The deceiving of the felon. “Him.” The person who was deceived the most was Amnon himself. He thought he was getting the desires of his perverted heart but it actually resulted in his death (2 Samuel 13:28, 29). Sin deceives its victim.


This advice was a result of Amnon’s desire to have sex with his sister, Tamar. Evil friends give evil advice to fulfill evil desires.

• It was a forbidden desire. The law forbid this incest (Leviticus 18:9, 22; Deuteronomy 27:22). But evil friends have no respect for the law. They are lawbreakers and will encourage you to break the law. Don’t let the law hinder your desire is their counsel.
• It was a favored desire. Jonadab did nothing to hinder this foul desire of Amnon. Evil friend will help you fulfill your forbidden desire. They will do nothing to oppose it. Foolishly we turn against those who advise us to walk a holy life. We like people who encourage us in our evil ways. That is how many pastors get their pastorates. They preach what the people want to here.
• It was a foolish desire. “Let my sister Tamar come.” Tamar told Amnon that his desire was “folly” and in fulfilling it “thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel” (2 Samuel 13:12, 13). She was right.
• It was a fatal desire. “Lay thee down on they bed.” Amnon would be killed (2 Samuel 13:28, 29) because of his desire. Sin brings death (Romans 6:23). It deceives you into thinking it will bring you many delights when in truth it results in death.

2 Samuel 13:6  So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill; when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, "Please let my sister Tamar come and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand."


So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill; when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, "Please let my sister Tamar come and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand - Amnon has taken Jonadab's shrewd (wicked) advice "hook, link and sinker," and put the plan into action by acting the part of a sick brother, and hiding the truth that he was a sin-sick brother! Note how Amnon's lust led to pretense (lying) which parallels David's sin of the lust of his flesh that led to his lying to Uriah. Once again we see the principle that sin almost always has other wicked "offspring."  

David Guzik comments - Amnon’s behavior was clearly childish, and David indulged it. Amnon acted like a baby. It is childish to refuse food unless it is served the way we want it. From this and other passages, it appears that David was generally indulgent towards his children. This may be because he felt guilty that in having so many wives, children, and responsibilities of state, he didn’t take the time to be a true father to his children. He dealt with the guilt by being soft and indulgent with his children. Amnon took Jonadab’s wicked advice quickly and completely. It’s too bad that men don’t often respond to godly advice the same way. Amnon showed by this that everything he told David was a lie. He continued the deception, so he could force himself upon Tamar in the bedroom.

2 Samuel 13:7  Then David sent to the house for Tamar, saying, "Go now to your brother Amnon's house, and prepare food for him."


Then David sent to the house for Tamar - David will actually unwittingly help orchestrate the sin of Amnon and the shame of Tamar! A king's virgin daughter was normally very protected to make sure she stayed a virgin and marriageable! David was not a protective father nor an observant father as I discuss below.

THOUGHT - If David, a man after God's own heart can fail so miserably, oh, how we Christian fathers need to memorize, meditate on and live out Paul's warning in 1Co 10:12+ "let him who thinks he stands take heed (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) that he does not fall!"

saying, "Go now to your brother Amnon's house, and prepare food for him - One would have thought that David might have had at least a suspicion that something was not right in Amnon's house. After all, Amnon is the king's son, and surely does not need to send out for pizza delivery, but had some of the best culinary chefs in all Israel. Why would he need food specifically from his sister? Why did he not ask for his mother Ahinoam the Jezreelitess to bring him some hearty, healthy good Jewish chicken soup and matzo balls? And yet David apparently never questions why Amnon was specifically asking for Tamar! Big mistake! While I can only speculate, one has to wonder had David questioned Amnon's request, might the king's question have stirred his conscience not to carry out his evil deed? 

2 Samuel 13:8  So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house, and he was lying down. And she took dough, kneaded it, made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes.


So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house, and he was lying down - Tamar obeyed apparently without any questioning of "Why me?" 

And she took dough, kneaded it, made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes - Again notice this took place in his sight. Amnon's eyes were surely burning with lust as he watched her every movement and began to visualize her movements with him! Poor Tamar is innocent and seemingly to oblivious to Amnon's evil plan.

TSK Note - Rather, as Mr. Parkhurst renders, "and tossed it in his sight, and dressed the tossed cakes."  This will receive illustration from the account which Mr. Jackson gives of the Arabian manner of kneading and baking.  "They have a small place built with clay, between two and three feet high, having a hole at the bottom for the convenience of drawing out the ashes, something similar to that of a brick-kiln.  The oven is usually about fifteen inches wide at top, and gradually grows wider to the bottom.  It is heated with wood; and when sufficiently hot, and perfectly clear from smoke, having nothing but clear embers at bottom, which continue to reflect great heat, they prepare the dough in a large bowl, and mould the cakes to the desired size on a board or stone placed near the oven.  After they have kneaded the cake to a proper consistency, they pat it a little, then toss it about with great dexterity in one hand till it is as thin as they choose to make it.  They then wet one side of it with water, at the same time wetting the hand and arm with which they put it into the oven."

2 Samuel 13:9  She took the pan and dished them out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, "Have everyone go out from me." So everyone went out from him.

Related Passages:

Judges 3:19-21+  But he himself turned back from the idols which were at Gilgal, and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” And he said, “Keep silence.” And all who attended him left him. Ehud came to him while he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he arose from his seat. Ehud stretched out his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh and thrust it into his belly.


She took the pan and dished them out before him, but he refused to eat - He is not interested in the food but the one preparing the food. His trap is being set and is almost ready to be sprung! 

And Amnon said, "Have everyone go out from me." So everyone went out from him - Amnon knows he cannot commit this horrendous evil in the front of the servants and/or attendants, so he clears the room of all witnesses. Of course there is always one Witness he cannot ask to leave the room, the One Who is both Witness and Judge, for "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good." (Pr 15:3+) Jesus' words in John 3:20+ are apropos for Amnon's clearing the room of witnesses “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed."

2 Samuel 13:10  Then Amnon said to Tamar, "Bring the food into the bedroom, that I may eat from your hand." So Tamar took the cakes which she had made and brought them into the bedroom to her brother Amnon.

Then Amnon said to Tamar, "Bring the food into the bedroom, that I may eat from your hand." - Presumably they had been in the kitchen, not the bedroom. Apparently Ammon was in that room, although he was lying down pretending to be ill. But now he entices Tamar into his bedroom with lies and pretense. 

So Tamar took the cakes which she had made and brought them into the bedroom to her brother Amnon - Poor Tamar does not seem to be suspicious of taking the cakes into Amnon's bedroom. But again she is obedient. 

2 Samuel 13:11  When she brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, "Come, lie with me, my sister."


When she brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, "Come, lie with me, my sister. - NCV = "come and have sexual relations with me."  For the first time in their interactions Amnon is now not pretending but is deadly serious. He does not want food but he wants his sister! The Hebrew word for took hold is not a gentle touch but is chazaq (verb derived from chazaq - strong, mighty; Lxx - epilambano seized in middle voice - drawing her to himself is the picture) which means to seize, hold fast, prevail and expresses Amnon's aggression and also implies that Tamar was trying to pull away from Amnon's grasp. He was beginning to force himself on his own sister.

James 1:14-15+ says "But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." Clearly Amnon's lust has conceived and will give birth to the sin of rape, which will bring death to their relationship and many other family relationships and would literally end in death for Amnon. 

2 Samuel 13:12  But she answered him, "No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this disgraceful thing!

  • violate Ge 34:2 De 22:29 
  • such a thing: Heb. it ought not so, Lev 18:9,11 20:17 
  • folly: Ge 34:7 Jdg 19:23 20:6 Pr 5:22,23 7:7 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Leviticus 18:9+  ‘The nakedness of your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether born at home or born outside, their nakedness you shall not uncover.

Leviticus 18:11+  ‘The nakedness of your father’s wife’s daughter, born to your father, she is your sister, you shall not uncover her nakedness.

Leviticus 20:17+  ‘If there is a man who takes his sister, his father’s daughter or his mother’s daughter, so that he sees her nakedness and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace; and they shall be cut off in the sight of the sons of their people. He has uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he bears his guilt.

Deuteronomy 22:28-29+  “If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated ("humbled" - anah; Lxx - tapeinoo - make humble or low) her; he cannot divorce her all his days. 


But she answered him, "No, my brother, do not violate (anah; Lxx - tapeinoo - make humble or low) me - NET has a good rendering "No, my brother! Don't humiliate me!" Tamar warns Amnon that what he was preparing to do would make her feel ashamed and foolish because it would injure her dignity and self-respect, especially when she would go out in public. Sin is damaging and destructive! 

for - Term of explanation. Tamar is trying to explain why he should not humiliate her by trying to talk some sense into him, but as the scene progresses he has already given himself over entirely to his greedy desire to gratify his fallen flesh which is now in full control of his heart and actions now. He is acting now as if God did not even exist, despising His words of warning (e.g., Lev 20:17+) and thus despising God, committing this sordid deed against Tamar but ultimately sinning against the Holiness of God! 

such a thing is not done in Israel - First reason to back off - "This just is not done in our nation!" This is the sort of behavior that occurred in the book of Judges where everyone did what was right in their own eyes (Jdg 20:25). And in fact the next reason ("disgraceful thing") is a word used only 13x in the OT but 4 are in the horrible section of Judges in which the evil committed was unspeakable! (Jdg 19:23, 24+ = folly; Jdg 20:6,10+ = disgraceful)!!!

Do not do this disgraceful (horrible, outrageous, wicked, vile, godless) thing! - Second reason to back off - It is a horrible, senseless, foolish thing so do not do it! The word disgraceful (nebalah; Lxx - aphrosune) means an inappropriate, outrageous sin! This same Hebrew word was used of sodomy, a sin which caused God to rain fire and brimstone on the touch of Sodom! Amnon knew what Tamar was saying, but the fires of lust are at full flame and in that state nothing good and holy and righteous makes sense and in fact cannot even be heard, the sinner is so focused on gratifying his flesh! 

John Walton - There are four elements to Tamar’s plea. The first is that such behavior is not the custom among the Israelites. Obviously taking brides by force is not unknown (see Shechem’s rape of Dinah in Ge 34:2 and the abduction of the female dancers of Shiloh in Jdg 21:19-23), but apparently it was considered an unacceptable “non-Israelite” custom. When Tamar describes this act of rape, she uses a “shock” word that is designed to bring someone to their senses. The second and third elements of her plea concern personal honor, hers and Amnon’s respectively. She realizes that without witnesses there can be no case made against him, and therefore her only hope is to play upon his better judgment and his character as a prince of Israel. She tells him that he will be counted among the fools, a term that applies to men without principle or personal honor who come to a bad end. In Tamar’s final attempt (v. 13) she suggests her willingness to join Amnon’s household as his wife. (See IVP OT Bible Background Commentary)

Violate (Humble) (06031'anah means to be afflicted, be bowed down, be humbled, be meek. 'Anah frequently expresses the idea God sends affliction to discipline (Dt 8:2-3, see context Dt 8:5, 1Ki 11:39; Ps 90:15 Luke 3:5). It often speaks of harsh and painful treatment (Isa 53:4, Ge16:6). 'Anah is most frequently translated in LXX by tapeinoo (as it is here in Lev 16:29). God commanded them to “afflict themselves” (“deny yourselves” Lev 16:31NIV), which is the same word used to describe the pain that the Egyptians inflicted on the Hebrews (Ex 1:11,12) and the suffering Joseph felt in prison (Ps 105:18)! Even today religious Jews observe Yom Kippur (or from Judaism 101 = Yom Kippur) with fasting and prayer. Although the Day of Atonement is listed among the feasts of Jehovah, it was actually a time for fasting rather than feasting. However, after the sin question was settled, there came a time of rejoicing in the Feast of Tabernacles.

Disgraceful (05039)(nebalah from nabal = to be senseless or foolish) means senselessness, disgraceful folly and of immorality indicating profane actions and refers to deeds that are especially serious, grave, sinful, arrogant: rape, harlotry (Ge. 34:7; Dt. 22:21). The breaking of Israel’s covenant laws (Josh 7:15); sodomy (Jdg 19:23, 24); offering incorrect advice in an arrogant way (Job 42:8). Foolish talk (Isa. 9:17). And worst of all spiritual adultery against the Most High God (Jer. 29:23).

Nebalah - 13x - act of folly(2), disgraceful act(1), disgraceful acts(1), disgraceful thing(3), folly(3), foolishly(1), foolishness(1), nonsense(1). Ge 34:7; Deut. 22:21; Jos. 7:15; Jdg. 19:23; Jdg. 19:24; Jdg. 20:6; Jdg. 20:10; 1 Sam. 25:25; 2 Sam. 13:12; Job 42:8; Isa. 9:17; Isa. 32:6; Jer. 29:23

2 Samuel 13:13  "As for me, where could I get rid of my reproach? And as for you, you will be like one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you."

Related Passage:

Genesis 19:8  “Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.”

Judges 19:24  “Here is my virgin daughter and his concubine. Please let me bring them out that you may ravish them and do to them whatever you wish. But do not commit such an act of folly against this man.”

Genesis 20:12  (Abraham to Abimelech) “Besides, she (Sarah) actually is my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife;


As for me, where could I get rid (remove, carry, Lit - cause to go) of my reproach (shame, disgrace, humiliation)- Third reason - Tamar says essentially "How could I ever be rid of my sense of humiliation and disgrace?" This surely fell on deaf ears because Amnon is now like a ravaging beast, ready to devour his helpless prey! 

And as for you, you will be like one of the fools (scoundrels) in Israel - Fourth reason - consider the personal consequences - Tamar now tries to speak to stir his conscience that if he did this sordid deed, he would in effect make himself like one the outrageous, wicked fools, the immoral men of Israel. In short, he himself would also be disgraced in Israel! NAB says "And you would be a discredited man in Israel."  (2Sa 13:13NAB)

Utley - Tamar had no cultural options after being raped but to stay unmarried. Amnon was thinking only of himself! He saw her as an object, not a person, a sister! The UBS Handbook, p. 875, mentions the emphatic PRONOUNS "me" and "you." "What about me?" What about you?" This impetuous act would affect both of them and their family for life!

Now therefore - Therefore introduces Tamar's conclusion based on her aforementioned logical (and godly) reasons for restraint! 

Please speak to the king - This is in the form of a command, but Amnon is in no mental or spiritual condition to hear righteous words or commands.

For (term of explanation) he will not withhold me from you - This could be interpreted either that Tamar is saying that she thinks David might be willing to go against the Law of Moses and give Tamar to Amnon as a wife or that this is a ploy to try and talk Amnon out of raping her. The NIV says "he will not keep me from being married to you." (2Sa 13:13NIV) GWN has "He won't refuse your request to marry me." 

Reproach (02781cherpah means scorn, disgrace, contempt (referring to a state of dishonor and low status), shame. It refers to the casting of blame or scorn on someone. The Lxx translates cherpah with the noun oneidos (used in NT only in Lk 1:25+) which refers to the loss of standing connected with disparaging speech = disgrace, reproach, insult, censure. Reproach in English describes censure mingled with contempt or derision. It expresses rebuke or disapproval. As an aside on the cross Christ bore the shame of our sin. Followers of Jesus are called to bear the reproach of Christ and to suffer for His name (2 Cor. 12:10; 1 Pet. 4:14). Scorn in English describes open dislike and disrespect or derision often mixed with indignation Disgrace in English refers to the state or condition of suffering loss of esteem and of enduring reproach, and often implies humiliation and sometimes ostracism

2 Samuel 13:14  However, he would not listen to her; since he was stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her.

  • he violated (and forced) her and lay with her  2Sa 12:11 De 22:25-27 Jdg 20:5 Es 7:8 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

Deuteronomy 22:25-27+ “But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die. 26 “But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case. 27 “When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her. 

Leviticus 18:11+ ‘The nakedness of your father’s wife’s daughter, born to your father, she is your sister, you shall not uncover her nakedness.

Amnon Rapes Tamar


However - Term of contrast. Truth was spoken but not received. 

he would not listen to her - Are we surprised? His lust is in full control, on full throttle so to speak! He was blinded by his lust. Don't say that sin does not have power over our rational logical mind!!! This is why Paul warns gives us a warning command in Romans 6:12+ "do not let sin reign (present imperative with a negative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts."

since he was stronger than she, he violated (and forced) her and lay with her - In a word he raped her! He overpowered her and proceeded to afflict and humiliate her by raping her. This evil act by Amnon was only the beginning of the fulfillment of God's prophecy "Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household!" (2Sa 12:11+).

QUESTION: Why did Amnon rape Tamar?

ANSWER: The sordid story of Amnon and Tamar is part of the disintegration of David’s family after his sin with Bathsheba. Amnon was the half-brother of Tamar, as they shared the same father, David. Tamar is described as a virgin and “beautiful,” and Amnon was highly attracted to her (2 Samuel 13:1–2). Amnon did not know what to do about his infatuation, and he soon confided in a friend named Jonadab. Jonadab was “very shrewd” and gave Amnon a plan, saying, “Go to bed and pretend to be ill. . . . 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’” (2 Samuel 13:5). The idea was to get Amnon and Tamar alone together, and then Amnon could do as he pleased.

Amnon followed this evil plan. He asked for his half-sister to bring him some food, and Tamar, out of obedience to her father and the kindness of her heart, did so. Amnon sent everyone else out of the room and asked Tamar to come closer. Rather than take the food she offered, Amnon grabbed Tamar and tried to wrestle her into the bed. Tamar firmly refused the incestuous relationship, crying out, “No, my brother! . . . Don’t do this wicked thing” (2 Samuel 13:12). Amnon then forced himself upon Tamar and raped her (2 Samuel 13:14).

Afterwards, Amnon was said to hate Tamar more than he had “loved” her before the rape occurred—it was never really “love” at all, but brazen lust. Absalom, Tamar’s full-brother, found out about the deed, and so did David. David’s response was to become “furious” (2 Samuel 13:21), but he took no real action. Absalom cared for Tamar in his own home and would not speak to Amnon. Two years later Absalom commanded his servants to murder Amnon in revenge (2 Samuel 13:28–29). Absalom fled the country for a time and later returned to David.

Why didn’t David punish Amnon for his sin against Tamar? Many reasons have been suggested. One likely reason is that Amnon was David’s son and that David had been guilty of sexual sin himself (in the case of Bathsheba)—therefore, in the case of Amnon and Tamar, he felt inadequate to judge. Another possible reason is that there was no witness to the crime. Amnon’s friend Jonadab had carefully orchestrated the crime to avoid the possibility of witnesses; therefore, there was no way to prove the crime according to Jewish law.

Regardless of the reason, Absalom took matters into his own hands. He avenged Tamar by killing their half-brother Amnon, though it resulted in many problems for himself. Absalom lived away from his family for three years after the murder and then lived for an additional period in Jerusalem before seeing his father’s face. Absalom would also later seek to usurp his father’s throne, resulting in his own death.

The wretched, tragic story of Amnon and Tamar highlights some of the problems associated with sexual sin and its aftermath. No one should experience the treatment Tamar endured, and it is important to respond to such situations with integrity and justice. David neglected justice, and Absalom implemented his own standards, creating additional problems in the process. Got Questions

QUESTION - What does the Bible say about rape? Watch the associated video.

ANSWER - The Bible does address the issue of rape. As expected, when the Bible mentions the crime of rape, it is depicted as a gross violation of God’s design for the treatment of the human body (Genesis 34). The Bible condemns rape whenever it is mentioned. For example, there is a particular passage in the laws given to the nation of Israel before entering the Promised Land under Joshua’s leadership. This passage (Deuteronomy 22:23–29) spoke directly against forcing a woman into a sexual encounter against her will, or what we know today as rape. This command was meant to protect women and to protect the nation of Israel from committing sinful actions. 

Deuteronomy 22:23–27 gives guidelines on what constituted rape and specifies the punishment for a man who raped a betrothed woman. In a sexual assault, the betrothed woman was responsible to actively resist the rapist, if possible—she was to “scream for help” (Deuteronomy 22:24). If she failed to resist when she could have done so, the law viewed the situation as consensual sex, not rape, and both parties were guilty. If the assault took place in an isolated area, the law gave the woman the benefit of the doubt, assuming she had resisted her attacker, and she was not held culpable (Deuteronomy 22:27). The law stipulated that a rapist was to be killed by stoning (Deuteronomy 22:25). Though the Mosaic Law was for the nation of Israel during the time of Moses, the principle is clear that rape is sinful in the eyes of God and, under the law, led to the most extreme punishment possible—death for the rapist.

There are some difficult passages in the Old Testament in relation to this issue. One is Deuteronomy 22:28–29, “If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.” If the rape victim was not betrothed, then the rapist faced different consequences.

We must see Deuteronomy 22:28–29 through the lens of ancient culture. In those days, social convention treated women poorly. They couldn’t own property. They couldn’t get a job to support themselves. If a woman had no father, husband, or son, she had no legal protection. Her options were slavery or prostitution. If an unmarried woman wasn’t a virgin, it was extremely difficult for her to get married. If she wasn’t marriageable, her father didn’t have much use for her.

God’s punishment on the rapist of a virgin—a monetary fine and lifelong responsibility—was designed to deter rape by holding the rapist responsible for his actions. He ruined her life; it was his responsibility to support her for the rest of her life. This may not sound fair to modern ears, but we don’t live in the same culture they did. In 2 Samuel 13, Prince Amnon raped his half-sister, Tamar. The horror and shame of being violated yet unmarried made Tamar beg him to marry her (her half-brother!), even after he had rejected her. And her full-brother, Absalom, was so disgusted with the situation that he murdered Amnon. That’s how highly virginity in women was prized back then.

Critics of the Bible also point to Numbers 31 (and similar passages) in which the Israelites were allowed to take female captives from nations they conquered. Critics say this is an example of the Bible’s condoning or even promoting rape. However, the passage says nothing about raping the captive women. It is wrong to assume that the captive women were to be raped. The soldiers were commanded to purify themselves and their captives (verse 19). Rape would have violated this command (see Leviticus 15:16–18). The women who were taken captive are never referred to as sexual objects. Did the captive women likely eventually marry amongst the Israelites? Yes. Is there any indication that rape or sex slavery was forced upon the women? Absolutely not.

In the New Testament, rape is not mentioned directly, but within the Jewish culture of the day, rape would have been considered sexual immorality. Jesus and the apostles spoke against sexual immorality, even offering it as justifiable grounds for divorce (Matthew 5:32).

Further, the New Testament is clear that Christians are to obey the laws of their governing authorities (Romans 13). Not only is rape morally wrong; it is also wrong according to the laws of the land. As such, anyone who would commit this crime should expect to pay the consequences, including arrest and imprisonment.

To the victims of rape, we must offer much care and compassion. God’s Word often speaks about helping those in need and in vulnerable situations. Christians should model the love and compassion of Christ by assisting victims of rape in any way possible.

People are responsible for the sins they commit, including rape. However, no one is beyond the grace of God. Even to those who have committed the vilest of sins, God can extend forgiveness if they repent and turn from their evil ways (1 John 1:9). This does not remove the need for punishment according to the law, but it can offer hope and the way to a new life.GotQuestions.org

Related Resource:

2 Samuel 13:15  Then Amnon hated her with a very great hatred; for 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 away!"

Related Passage:

Exodus 20:5+ “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers (THINK OF DAVID'S LUST) on the children, on the third and the fourth generations (FIRST AMNON, THEN SOLOMON) of those who hate Me,


Then - When? After he had gratified his flesh. This proves his love was really lust, like father like son! 

David Guzik makes a good point "In this single-minded lust, Amnon only built upon the example of his father David. David was never this dominated by lust, but he was pointed in the same direction. David’s multiple marriages (2Sa 3:2-5) and his adultery with Bathsheba (2Sa 11:2-4) displayed this same tendency.. This is often how the iniquity of the fathers is carried on by the children to the third and fourth generations (Ex 20:5). A child will often model a parent’s sinful behavior and may go further in the of sin the parent.

Amnon hated her with a very great hatred; for the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her - Why did his "love" turn to hate? First, he did not truly love her in a godly, righteous way. His love was more akin to lust. Second, his conscience kicked back in, now that his lust was temporarily satisfied. And it is almost as if he is blaming her for being so beautiful and so enticing. Hebrews 11:25+ says Moses did not desire to "to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin." Amnon enjoyed the passing pleasures for a moment, but the pleasure now was past and he immediately felt the bitterness of stolen water which seemed sweet (Pr 9:17), for it left a bitter taste in his mouth! He wanted every reminder of his sin to be put far away and Tamar was a clear reminder!

Perhaps he began to get a sense of what he had done, centuries later Paul writing that "it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret." (Eph 5:12). Amnon's lust when gratified turned to hatred, for he hated the sin he had just committed and by default hated the one with whom he had committed it. It is good to hate sin, but it is best to hate it become committing it, not after! 

And Amnon said to her, "Get up, go away - Notice she appears to be still lying down, possibly not even yet fully dressed! He is a sexual abuser and he could care less, as evidenced by issuing two strong commands, likely words that were not whispered but shouted! 

J D Greear - The scene that follows conforms to a familiar pattern in sexual abuse. “Amnon hated Tamar,” the text tells us, “with such intensity that the hatred he hated her with was greater than the love he had loved her with” (2Sa13:15). The man (or woman) driven by lust is not consumed with desire for a person but for a selfish pleasure. Once the pleasure is grasped, the person is discarded. As C. S. Lewis put it, “How much he [the lustful man] cares about the woman as such may be gauged by his attitude to her five minutes after fruition (one does not keep the carton after one has smoked the cigarettes)” (Borrow The Four Loves, page 108). (Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Samuel)

Smith writes - “Let me give a friendly, fatherly tip unto all of you young girls, who may be in the position of Tamar, in that you have some fellow who is really pressing hard to have sex with you. He is the soul of kindness. He is very attentive. He calls all the time. He opens the door for you. He brings you flowers, but he’s pushing hard for a sexual relationship. Don’t give in. If you really love him, make him wait until you’re married. If he really loves you, he will. Over and over, time and again, the fellow will press and press until he has taken you to bed, and that’s the last you see or hear from him. You’re no longer a challenge. He’s conquered, and he’s off for new conquests. If you really love him and want him, make him wait. If you really love God, and love yourself, make him wait.” 

2 Samuel 13:16  But she said to him, "No, because this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you have done to me!" Yet he would not listen to her.


But she said to him, "No, because this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you have done to me!" - Why was it a greater wrong. If she was aware of and was in some way alluding to the Mosaic Law, the Law declared "the man who lay with her shall give to the girl's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days." (Dt 22:29)

David Guzik - What Amnon did to Tamar was wrong, but he could still somewhat redeem the situation by paying her bride-price in accordance with Exodus 22:16-17 and Deuteronomy 22:28-29. The payment was meant to compensate for the fact that Tamar was now less likely to be married because she was no longer a virgin.

Yet he would not listen to her - Even as he would not listen to her four reasonable protests, he would now not listen to her post-coital protest. 

2 Samuel 13:17  Then he called his young man who attended him and said, "Now throw this woman out of my presence, and lock the door behind her."


Then - When? When Tamar protested. Apparently she is not heading out the door in obedience to his two callous commands in verse 16! 

He called his young man who attended him and said, "Now throw this woman out of my presence, and lock the door behind her - He is a classic abuser -- he cannot even say her name. This woman" was a gesture of contempt! Note the ironic twist - his father has used the phrase "the woman" (at that moment David saw her as an object of his lust!) when he sought to inquire and acquire Bathsheba! (2Sa 11:3,5+). The sins of the father are visited on the sons! And so Amnon did not even use his half-sister's name!  Amnon, who could not keep his hands off of her, now refuses to touch her, calling his attendant to do his dirty work! Throw...lock indicate Amnon was completely finished with Tamar. Bolting the door would keep her from trying to enter and reason some more with him. I think of the saying that goes something like this "Leave and don't let the door hit you on your way out!" which is a sarcastic idiom indicating that Amnon was glad and unmoved to see Tamar leaving. Amnon would have made a good poster boy for the prototypical abusive male! 

2 Samuel 13:18  Now she had on a long-sleeved garment; for in this manner the virgin daughters of the king dressed themselves in robes. Then his attendant took her out and locked the door behind her.

"Desolation of Tamar" by J. Tissot.
Tamar is depicted shaken after her rape, leaving Amnon's 


Now she had on a long-sleeved garment - Tamar wore a robe with sleeves reaching to the wrists. 

for in this manner the virgin daughters of the king dressed themselves in robes - The king's virgin daughters had this characteristic style of dress, a style Tamar would henceforth never be able to wear (at least to wear honestly).

Then his attendant took her out and locked the door behind her - Notice there is no evidence that the attendant even asked why treat your own sister so rudely. Perhaps he knew what had just taken place since they had all been asked to leave them in private. 

2 Samuel 13:19  Tamar put ashes on her head and tore her long-sleeved garment which was on her; and she put her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went.

  • put ashes: 2Sa 1:2 Jos 7:6 Job 2:12 42:6 
  • put her: Jer 2:37 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Tamar (1) put ashes on her head and (2) tore her long-sleeved garment which was on her - The tearing of one’s robe was an ancient way of showing mourning, grief, and loss. This is one of four aspects characterize Tamar's deep grief. Ashes signified mourning, often for the dead, and in a sense, something of Tamar had died in Amnon's bedroom (Esther 4:3; Jer 6:26). And from the preceding context, we can understand why she specifically tore her long sleeves, for she no longer could wear the clothing that marked the king's daughter as a virgin. Note that all of these signs of her deep pain and anguish would be like "flashing red lights" to anyone who saw her, as if these actions were shouting "My virginity has been violated!"

Walton - The costly, embroidered robe (the term only appears elsewhere in the Joseph narrative [Gen 37:3]) worn by Tamar marked her as one of the virgins of the household of David. It implied that she was pure and not yet spoken for, and therefore still under the care and protection of the royal house. Now, by tearing her robe, Tamar demonstrates her grief and the fact that her honor has been compromised. Her right to wear this special garment has ended, and her future prospects have been dramatically changed. ashes on head. Like tearing one’s garment and wearing sackcloth, placing ashes on the head is a sign of mourning (Esther 4:3; Jer 6:26). The gesture of placing her hand on her head has perhaps been illustrated by the mourning female figures on the Phoenician sarcophagus of Ahiram, thirteenth-century king of Byblos, but there the mourning women are putting both hands on their head. The Egyptian Tale of Two Brothers also describes this gesture as an indication of mourning. (See page 341 IVP Background Commentary - OT)

And (3) she put her hand on her head and went away, (4) crying aloud as she went - When someone walked with their hand on their head in ancient Israel, this was symbolic of exile and/or banishment (cf Jer 2:37). And it is possible, that in her non-virginal state, she had lost any further opportunity for marriage. She cried as one who considered herself now like a "dead person!"

Josephus writes "Whereupon she was sorely grieved at the injury and violence that had been offered to her; and rent her loose coat: (for the virgins of old time wore such loose coats, tied at the hands, and let down to the ankles, that the inner coats might not be seen:) and sprinkled ashes on her head; and went up the middle of the city, crying out, and lamenting for the violence that had been offered her.

SPECIAL TOPIC: GRIEVING RITES The Israelites expressed sorrow for the death of a loved one and for personal repentance, as well as corporate crimes, in several ways:

  • 1. tear outer robe, Gen. 37:29,34; 44:13; Jdgs. 11:35; 2 Sam. 1:11; 3:31; 1 Kgs. 21:27; Job 1:20
  • 2. put on sackcloth, Gen. 37:34; 2 Sam. 3:31; 1 Kgs. 21:27; Jer. 48:37
  • 3. take off shoes, 2 Sam. 15:30; Isa. 20:3
  • 4. put hands on head, 2 Sam. 13:19; Jer. 2:37
  • 5. put dust on head, Jos. 7:6; 1 Sam. 4:12; Neh. 9:1
  • 6. sit on the ground, Lam. 2:10; Ezek. 26:16 (lie on the ground, 2 Sam. 12:16); Isa. 47:1
  • 7. beat the breast, 1 Sam. 25:1; 2 Sam. 11:26; Nah. 2:7
  • 8. mourn, 1 Sam. 25:1; 2 Sam. 11:26
  • 9. cut the body, Deut. 14:1; Jer. 16:6; 48:37
  • 10. fast, 2 Sam. 1:12; 12:16,21; 1 Kgs. 21:27; 1 Chr. 10:12; Neh. 1:4
  • 11. chant a lament, 2 Sam. 1:17; 3:31; 2 Chr. 35:25
  • 12. baldness (hair pulled out or shaved), Jer. 48:37
  • 13. cut beards short, Jer. 48:37
  • 14. cover head or face, 2 Sam. 15:30; 19:4

These were outward signs of inner feelings.

QUESTION: What does the Bible say about mourning?

ANSWER: Mourning is the state of being in deep grief. We mourn over a profound loss, such as the death of a loved one or a crippling accident. We also mourn over our own sins or mistakes. We mourn for the purity of heart we once enjoyed or for a future our choices have destroyed. Mourning is part of being human. It is an expression of our hearts when something we value has been taken from us. It can also be a way to convey our agreement with God’s moral law that we have violated. Mourning, although painful, can help us align our hearts with the heart of God: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).

Mourning is a familiar theme throughout the Bible. When Israel was invaded by an enemy, Joel 1:8 compares the nation’s mourning to that of an engaged woman over the death of her fiancé. Ezra mourned over the sins of his people (Ezra 10:6). Nehemiah mourned at the news that his beloved Jerusalem lay in ruins (Nehemiah 1:4). Days or weeks were set aside for the proper mourning of a king or other important person, such as Jacob (Genesis 50:1–6), Samuel (1 Samuel 25:1), or Moses (Deuteronomy 34:8).

Common ways to show mourning in biblical times included weeping (Psalm 6:6) and crying loudly (Genesis 50:10; Ruth 1:9). Also, beating the breast (Luke 18:13), bowing the head (Lamentations 2:10), and fasting (2 Samuel 3:35) were often part of the mourning process. Sometimes, mourners would sprinkle ashes, dust, or dirt upon themselves (2 Samuel 1:2; Joshua 7:6) and tear their clothing (Genesis 37:29; 2 Chronicles 34:27). Mourning was a time to remove jewelry and other ornamentation (Exodus 33:4), walk barefoot (2 Samuel 15:30), and possibly wear a coarse, goat-hair garment called sackcloth (Genesis 37:34; Jonah 3:6, 8).

God limited Jewish expressions of mourning to keep them from copying the paganism of other nations. The Law forbade the Israelites from cutting their flesh, tattooing themselves, or shaving their heads or beards (Leviticus 19:28; Deuteronomy 14:1).

There were also times when the Lord commanded His people not to mourn at all, because His actions had a higher purpose that they were to follow without looking back (Jeremiah 16:5; 22:10; Ezekiel 24:15–17). Aaron and his sons Ithamar and Eleazar were not to show any sign of mourning over the deaths of Nadab and Abihu, on pain of death (Leviticus 10:6). God’s judgment on Nadab and Abihu was just, and Aaron, Ithamar, and Eleazar were not to imply, through their actions, that they thought otherwise.

Mourning over our sin is right (Psalm 51:17). Sinners and the double-minded are told to seek cleansing and “grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom” (James 4:8–9). Mourning, as part of repentance, is natural and healthy. But we are not to live in continual mourning. Ecclesiastes 3:4 reminds us that there is a time for mourning and a time for dancing. Repentance turns our mourning into joy because God washes our sin away and restores us to fellowship with Him (Psalm 30:11; 103:12; Luke 15:10; John 16:20).

When a Christian loved one dies, we mourn, but we do not mourn as the world does for the simple reason that we have an eternal hope that the world does not have. First Thessalonians 4:13–18 reminds us that death is not the end for those who are in Christ and that our mourning is temporary. Mourning is not pleasant, but it is a part of life. Those who know Jesus look forward to the day when “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:17; cf. 21:4; Isaiah 35:10). GotQuestions.org

2 Samuel 13:20  Then Absalom her brother said to her, "Has Amnon your brother been with you? But now keep silent, my sister, he is your brother; do not take this matter to heart." So Tamar remained and was desolate in her brother Absalom's house.

  • but now: Pr 26:24 Ro 12:19 
  • desolate:  Ge 34:2 46:15 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Tamar at Absalom's House
(Click to enlarge and look at his eyes!)


Then - Marks a fateful progression in this sordid narrative. The evil game is now afoot

Absalom her brother said to her, "Has Amnon your brother been with you? - Why would he ask this? Clearly he saw the "red flashing lights" (discussed in the previous passage) which were indicative of one who had been violated. How did he know it was Amnon? Notice Tamar speaks no words in this passage. Absalom was no fool, and surely he had witnessed Amnon's long gazes at his sister. As they say, Absalom now put two and two together, an idiom which means to guess the truth about a situation from what you have seen or heard (Absalom had seen enough to be convinced)! 

But now keep silent ("hold your peace" "keep quiet for now"), my sister, he is your brother - BBE says "let there be an end to your crying my sister." The Septuagint adds "be careful not to mention this matter." The rendering "keep quiet for now" implies that Absalom is already planning to avenge his sister's violation! 

do not take this matter to heart - Absalom encourages Tamar not to take this too seriously (that's easy for him to say of course). Try not to worry about this. Don't dwell on this. Don't let this eat you up!

So Tamar remained and was desolate (shamen) in her brother Absalom's house - This is a very sad verse. The Hebrew phrase was desolate (shamen) means to be in a state of ruin or destruction. It was used to describe places that were “laid waste,” “made desolate,” quiet and silent because they are no longer inhabited (Isa 61:4). The concept of desolation was also applied to persons in regard to tragedies in personal life as with Tamar. And so was desolate (shamen) is translated in the Septuagint with chereuo which means to be bereaved and specifically to be bereaved of a husband. Thus the English translation of the Septuagint reads "So Tamar stayed as a widow in the house of Absalom her brother." In sum, after Tamar's half-brother Amnon sexually assaulted her and did not marry her to remove her shame in society, she remained desolate. Oh, the wages of sin! 

Walton - Tamar’s fate. Because she was no longer a virgin, her worth to her household was diminished, and it is quite possible that no marriage was contracted for her. This is suggested by the comment that she came under the care of Absalom’s household rather than David’s. She would have lived an unfulfilled existence. The El Amarna texts equate a woman without a husband with an unplowed field. (See page 341 IVP Background Commentary - OT)

2 Samuel 13:21  Now when King David heard of all these matters, he was very angry.

English of the Septuagint - And king David heard of all these things, and was very angry; but he did not grieve the spirit of his son Amnon, because be loved him, for he was his first-born. (2Sa 13:21 LXE)

Josephus - When David his father knew this, he was grieved at the actions of Amnon. But because he had an extraordinary affection for him, for he was his eldest son, he was compelled not to afflict him. 

NRS  2 Samuel 13:21 When King David heard of all these things, he became very angry, but he would not punish his son Amnon, because he loved him, for he was his firstborn.

NJB  2 Samuel 13:21 When King David heard the whole story, he was very angry; but he had no wish to harm his son Amnon, whom he loved because he was his first-born.

NAB  2 Samuel 13:21 King David, who got word of the whole affair, became very angry. He did not, however, spark the resentment of his son Amnon, whom he favored because he was his first-born.

GWN  2 Samuel 13:21 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.

BBE  2 Samuel 13:21 But when King David had news of all these things he was very angry; but he did not make trouble for Amnon his son, for he was dear to David, being his oldest son.

  • he was very: 2Sa 3:28,29 12:5,10 Ge 34:7 1Sa 2:22-25,29 Ps 101:8 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


A passive father avoids conflict, lets his children get away with too much, or does not discipline them. Read James MacDonald's Are You a Passive Father

Now when King David heard of all these matters, he was very angry - The New Revised Version (see other similar versions above) picks up on the Septuagint translation and reads "When King David heard of all these things, he became very angry, but he would not punish his son Amnon, because he loved him, for he was his firstborn." (2Sa 13:21NRSV) What action should David have taken? Did he even reprove Amnon? There is no record and yet we know that "reproofs for discipline are the way of life." (Pr 6:23+) And what would soon transpire? Death! J D Greear quips "The man who had stood up to the giant Goliath does nothing to avenge his little girl." (Ibid) In fact, there is no record of David doing anything to console his daughter Tamar! That compassionate act was actually carried out by Absalom (2Sa 13:20), the man who would be the lead villain in this tragic story!

THOUGHT - David was a great king but a terrible father and yet is still called a man after God's own heart -- this should give all of us imperfect fathers hope that despite our weaknesses, faults and mistakes, we can still end our life being called a man after God's own heart! What this teaches of course is that God's forgiveness and grace to sinful men is incomprehensible and infinite and truly amazing! Be encouraged beloved (imperfect father or mother)!

The chickens are beginning to come home to roost
-- J Vernon McGee

Proverbs adds several sayings that would have been good for David to follow -

"Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline." (Pr 13:18) David neglected disciplining his son (as far as we can tell from the text). Proverbs 13:24 says "He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently." Proverbs 15:10 says "Stern discipline is for him who forsakes the way." Proverbs 19:18 says "Discipline your son while there is hope, And do not desire his death." Proverbs 22:15 says "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him."

In short, King David abdicated his responsibility as father and king (remember he was the "supreme court judge" in the nation) by refusing or neglecting to take any punitive action against Amnon. According the Mosaic Law in Lev 20:17+, David should have "cut off" (banishment from Israel or utter destruction of) Amnon in the sight of all Israel. David's leniency would lead to not only Amnon's death but also Absalom's death and would also sow the seeds for revolts by two of his sons, Absalom and Adonijah! 

J D Greear points out that Absalom "watches as his father responds to horror with silence (v. 21). What a disappointment that must have been! Absalom had grown up hearing stories of David’s heroism and courage. His father was his hero. And at this crucial moment, when courage and heroism were most required, David was nowhere to be found. So Absalom decides he will take matters into his own hands. Amnon must die."  (Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Samuel)

J Vernon McGee - David is angry about what happened but does nothing about it. David was like many other men in Scripture: he was an indulgent father who raised a bunch of kids who were bad. That has happened again and again. It started with old Eli, God’s high priest. His sons were not only immoral, they were godless and had a religious racket going. Then we come to Samuel. Since he was raised in the same atmosphere as Eli’s sons, you would think Samuel would be more of a disciplinarian and that he would have maintained some authority and control over his sons. But his sons turned out to be corrupt and dishonest. Next we come to David. He knew Samuel, and he knew Samuel’s sons. You would think he would have been more strict with his children, but he was not. He too was an indulgent father. He was angry about what Amnon did to his sister Tamar. But, after all, what kind of an example has David set for his boys? The chickens are beginning to come home to roost.....Another strike against David is the fact that he had multiple wives and many children. As a king with many heavy responsibilities, how much time do you think he spent in rearing his children? The problem with many of us who have been in Christian work is that we probably have neglected our families for the sake of the work....Christian parents need to realize that they need to spend time training their children. Don’t get the impression that you are raising a little angel. There are many parents who treat a child as if he were a cross between an orchid and a piece of Dresden china. They believe that if they apply the board of education to the seat of knowledge they will break him in pieces or he will come apart. Proverbs 23:13 says, “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.”

Rich Cathers - Inaction can lead to trouble. I can certainly understand David’s place. Sometimes you just don’t know how to respond to a situation, and so you don’t do anything. It could be that David can’t stand to think of what he should be doing. Lev 20:17+ "And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity." Being “cut off” could be taken to mean banishment, or it could be taken to mean death. I imagine that neither of those sound acceptable to David. It could be that David is thinking of his own life.He committed adultery and tried to cover it up with murder. And God spared his life. How could he turn around and have his own son put to death? The problem is that David’s inaction will bring about a simmering bitterness in Absalom, one that will result in murder.

One recalls that the priest Eli had also failed to punish his sons for their egregious sins as priests (read 1Sa 2:12-17, 22-25+), and then had to suffer the consequences with the death of his two sons for their sin and neglect of his duty to punish them (prophecy - 1Sa 2:34+, fulfillment - 1Sa 4:17+), which would be exactly what would happen to David! 

Swindoll on David was very angry - That’s all! Classic passivity. Incredible paternal preoccupation. His head is somewhere else. It has been for a long time. These kids have raised themselves, without the proper parental authority and discipline. As we discussed earlier, this is just another consequence of sin in David’s life.

F B Meyer - “They say a man never hears his own voice till it comes back to him from the phonograph. Certainly a man never sees the worst of himself until it reappears in his child.” 

Pulpit Commentary has an interesting note on David's failure to punish Amnon - It would have been wise to have given proof that his (David's) repentance (Psalm 51+) included the suppression of the crime to which his previous conduct had given encouragement. But David was a man whose conduct was generally governed by his feelings. He was a creature of warm and often generous impulse, but his character lacked the steadiness of thoughtful and consistent purpose.

TSK Note - The Septuagint and Vulgate add, "But he would not grieve the soul of Amnon his son, for he loved him because he was his first-born."  The same addition is found in Josephus; and it is probable (possible) that it once formed a part of the Hebrew text.

2 Samuel 13:22  But Absalom did not speak to Amnon either good or bad; for Absalom hated Amnon because he had violated his sister Tamar.

  • did not speak: Lev 19:17,18 Pr 25:9 Mt 18:15 
  • good: Ge 24:50 31:24,29 
  • hated: Lev 19:17,18 Pr 10:18 26:24 27:4-6 Ec 7:9 Eph 4:26,31 1Jn 3:15 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


But Absalom did not speak to Amnon either good or bad - Essentially Absalom thereafter had no good or bad words for Amnon about his violation of Tamar. Speak...good or bad was a proverbial phrase meaning to speak nothing that is in opposition or which interferes with the other's affairs. Nevertheless, talk about some tense times at family dinners!!!

for - Explains why Absalom never spoke to Amnon about these things. 

Absalom hated Amnon because he had violated his sister Tamar - This is a sad verse. Hatred is sin and when it comes to full bloom can lead to murder, which is of course what transpired in the following verses. Jesus explained that hatred and anger in one's heart made them guilty of judgment for murder (Mt 5:21-22)

Alexander Whyte in his study of Absalom writes "POLYGAMY is just Greek for a dunghill. David trampled down the first and the best law of nature in his palace in Jerusalem, and for his trouble he spent all his after-days in a hell upon earth. David’s palace was a perfect pandemonium of suspicion, and intrigue, and jealousy, and hatred—all breaking out, now into incest and now into murder. And it was in such a household, if such a cesspool could be called a household, that Absalom, David’s third son by his third living wife, was born and brought up. But be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a patriarch, or a prophet, or a psalmist soweth, that shall he also reap. For he, saint or sinner, that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption. (See full study below)

J D Greear brings this sad story home to all Christian men - David’s family is in shambles at this point, but each successive tragedy is preventable. Had David been more involved, he could have prevented Amnon from acting on his perverse desires. Had David gone to Tamar after her assault, he could have prevented Absalom from avenging his sister’s death. Even now, with all this death and destruction in the rear view, David could still stem further damage. If he would reach out to Absalom, he could prevent him from descending further into darkness. Sadly, once again, David does nothing. The greatest temptation men face, then as now, is not to outright wickedness but to the smoother—and equally destructive—path of apathy and inaction. When we look around at the family situation in the United States today, we are grieved by the failure of fathers to fulfill the role God has given them. In some instances this manifests in outright abuse. But far more often it manifests in absent dads, men who would rather know what is happening on ESPN than in the lives of their sons and daughters. Were most of the men in our churches to show the same level of apathy in their jobs as they do in their home lives, they would have been fired long ago. (Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Samuel)

2 Samuel 13:23  Now it came about after two full years that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king's sons.

  • sheepshearers: Ge 38:12,13 1Sa 25:2,4,36 2Ki 3:4 2Ch 26:10 
  • invited: 1Ki 1:9,19,25 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

1 Samuel 25:2,8+  (SHEEP SHEARING = FESTIVE TIME) Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel; and the man was very rich, and he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And it came about while he was shearing his sheep in Carmel....8 ‘Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we have come on a festive day. Please give whatever you find at hand to your servants and to your son David.’” 


Now it came about after two full years (Lit - years of days) - An important time phrase. Marks the occurrence of an event which would change the trajectory of David and several of his sons. Two years gives a grudge a long time to grow! The time phrase full years only occurs 5 times in the entir 

J D Greear points out that "Absalom decides he will take matters into his own hands. Amnon must die." He must have known Amnon might suspect violence initially, so instead of attacking Amnon in the immediate aftermath, he plans a scheme that will take a full two years. He believed back then what they say nowadays: revenge is a dish best served cold (ED: taking revenge at a later date is more satisfying that enacting it immediately. Taking revenge later means you have time to premeditate your revenge to perfection instead of acting in haste). But in the end the corrupt fruit was the same as if Absalom had assaulted Amnon the next day.  (Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Samuel)

That Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king's sons - Baal-hazor was about 15 miles north of Jerusalem and five miles northeast of Bethel, in a rugged part of the Central Hill Country. Sheep shearing time was often a time of joy and celebration (1Sa 25:8+), so Absalom plans a feast and invited all of David's sons including Amnon. 

Walton on sheep shearing - The wool industry was extremely important in the ancient Near East. For instance, a large percentage of the administrative tablets from the Sumerian city of Nippur deal with the wool industry and the wool trade. Sheep were sheared in the early summer, generally near sites associated with dyeing and weaving (for instance, a large quantity of loom weights was discovered at Timnah). Since this labor required large numbers of laborers, like the grain harvest, the burden was lightened by associating it with a holiday time as well (see 1Sa 25:7-8). (See page 341 IVP Background Commentary - OT)

Baal-hazor - Means "having a courtyard" or "Baal's village," the place on the borders of Ephraim and Benjamin where Absalom held the feast of sheep-shearing when Amnon was assassinated (2 Sam. 13:23). Probably it is the same with Hazor (Neh. 11:33) The sheep-shearing was evidently the occasion of a festival which was attended by Absalom's brethren. Here Absalom murdered Amnon in revenge for the outrage upon his sister.

2 Samuel 13:24  Absalom came to the king and said, "Behold now, your servant has sheepshearers; please let the king and his servants go with your servant."

  • let the king: 2Sa 11:8-15 Ps 12:2 55:21 Jer 41:6,7 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Absalom came to the king and said, "Behold now, your servant has sheep shearers (cutting the wool of his sheep); please let the king and his servants (retinue, officials, retainers) go with your servant - CSB and NLT poses this as a question "Will the king and his servants please come with your servant?"  (2Sa 13:24CSB)

Swindoll - Now if David had been on top of things in his own household, he would have known that Absalom had not spoken to Amnon for two years. He would also have been aware of the hatred brewing among his children. You’ve got to be rather thick as a father not to know that a son isn’t speaking to another son for two years. (Borrow David : a man of passion & destiny)

2 Samuel 13:25  But the king said to Absalom, "No, my son, we should not all go, for we will be burdensome to you." Although he urged him, he would not go, but blessed him.

  • urged: Ge 19:2,3 Jdg 19:7-10 Lu 14:23 24:29 Ac 16:15 
  • blessed: 2Sa 14:22 Ru 2:4 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


But the king said to Absalom, "No, my son, we should not all go, for we will be burdensome (kabod - heavy; katabaruno - overlad, weigh down) to you." - David turns down Absalom's invitation reasoning that they would all be too much of a burden to him. The implication is that the king's large retinue would result in too great of a financial burden for Absalom.

Although he urged (pressed, was insistent) him, he would not (was not willing to) go, but blessed (barak; Lxx - eulogeo) him - David would not go but sent him away with a blessing, which has the idea of calling down God's gracious power on someone. 

Burdensome (glorify, to honor) (03513kabad is a verb which means to weigh heavily, to be heavy (weighty, burdensome), to be honored, to be wealthy, to get honor, to make dull, to make hard, to multiply or make numerous. There are 2 literal uses of kabad describing Eli as heavy (1Sa 4:18) and Absalom's hair as heavy (2Sa 14:26). Most of the uses of kabad are figurative and most of these figurative uses in turn convey the sense of honor or glory (e.g., a “weighty” person in society is one who is honored or worthy of respect ["respected" = Ge 24:19].)

2 Samuel 13:26  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?"

  • let my brother: He urged this with the more plausibility because Amnon was the first-born, and presumptive heir to the crown; and he had dissembled his resentment so long and so well that he was not suspected. 2Sa 3:27 11:13-15 20:9 Ps 55:21 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


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?" - Can you sense David's apprehension in his question? NLT says "Why Amnon?" This is interesting for Absalom had said all the king's sons were invited. Apparently Amnon and Absalom had been estranged and had not had much (if any) communication for 2 years. So now Absalom seeks David's permission to allow Amnon to attend the feast. Presumably the "rift" between Absalom and Amnon was known to King David, but after 2 full years he seems to be convinced (even if slightly apprehensive) Absalom's house is safe for Amnon to visit. Undoubtedly, when Tamar was raped, David had expected Absalom to have an immediate outburst of anger, but is not as concerned now. Furthermore there is some guile in Absalom in that he invited all the sons and David, so David would be thinking surely Absalom had nothing but congenial feelings toward them all (including Amnon).

2 Samuel 13:27  But when Absalom urged him, he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him.


But - Apparently David was hesitant to let Amnon go but Absalom persisted. Clearly (from the context) Absalom had an ulterior motive which he essentially disguised. Proverbs says "He who hates disguises it with his lips, But he lays up deceit in his heart. When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, For there are seven abominations in his heart.  Though his hatred covers itself with guile, His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly." (Pr 26:24-26)

When Absalom urged (parats; Lxx - biazo him, he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him - NLT = "Absalom kept on pressing the king until he finally agreed to let all his sons attend, including Amnon." (2Sa 13:27NLT) The NLT is a good paraphrase for the Hebrew (and Greek translations) do not describe a gentle urging, but a badgering, a brow beating, a forceful urging even with a sense of trying to intimidate. David’s children manipulated and intimidated him, and look at what happened. David was not firm and should have said "No!"

Several versions follow the Septuagint rendering and add another clause - NRSV - "Absalom made a feast like a king's feast." (2Sa 13:27NRSV) NAB says "Absalom prepared a banquet fit for royalty." (2Sa 13:27NAB)

Brian Bell - By ordering Tamar to obey her half brother’s wishes, he sent her into pain & humiliation By ordering Amnon to attend Absalom’s feast, hew sent his 1st born to his death.

Urged (broke)(06555) parats means to break through; burst out (qal); to spread abroad (niphal); to be broken down (pual); break loose (hitpael). Parats is a word which speaks of power that sweeps all obstacles before it, effectively undermining and demolishing all that would resist it.  Here in 2Sa 13:27 parats means to speak in a way to strongly encourage a particular type of behavior (1Sa 28:23; 2Sa 13:25, 27; 2Ki 5:23). The Septuagint translates parats in 2Sa 13:27 with a picturesque verb biazo (from bia = violence) which means to overpower, to apply force, to  strongly urge or constrain. 

2 Samuel 13:28  Absalom commanded his servants, saying, "See now, when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, 'Strike Amnon,' then put him to death. Do not fear; have not I myself commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant."

  • commanded: 2Sa 11:15 Ex 1:16,17 1Sa 22:17,18 Ac 5:29 
  • heart is merry: 2Sa 11:13 Ge 9:21 19:32-35 Jdg 19:6,9,22 Ru 3:7 1Sa 25:36-38 1Ki 20:16 Es 1:10 Ps 104:15 Ec 9:7 10:19 Da 5:2-6,30 Na 1:10 Lu 21:34 
  • fear: Nu 22:16,17 1Sa 28:10,13 
  • have I:  Jos 1:9 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Absalom commanded his servants, saying, "See now (Look!), when Amnon's heart is merry (gets drunk, in a good mood, in high spirits) with wine, and when I say to you (at my signal), 'Strike (kill) Amnon,' then put him to death - Note the parallel of Absalom's sin with his father's sin. Just like his father Absalom did not himself lift the sword against Uriah. But like his father David, Absalom had also committed premeditated murder! The second ironic parallel is that David had unsuccessfully made Uriah drunk, but Absalom succeeded with his plot in making Amnon drunk. Like father, like son! The prophecy that "the sword shall never depart from your house" (2Sa 12:10+) was beginning to be fulfilled in front of David's eyes! What goes around, comes around. The "divine sword" was beginning to swing as prophesied by Nahum when he declared to David "the sword shall never depart from your house." (2Sa 12:10+)

Note that Absalom may have had a second motive for killing Amnon who was firstborn and therefore first in line to succeed his father as king of Israel.

Youngblood quips that "To be "in high spirits from drinking wine" (v.28) is often to invite mischief at best (cf. Est 1:10-11) and disaster at worst (see 1 Sam 25:36) )—in this case mayhem ("Kill him"). (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

Do not fear (do not be afraid); have not I myself commanded you (given this order)- Do not fear is Qal IMPERFECT used in a JUSSIVE sense (like an imperative or command). Absalom assumes full command (note the "I myself") and is saying he will take full responsibility for the dastardly deed. Is his "I myself" command a harbinger of his future attempt to usurp rule from King David? 

Be courageous and be valiant (lit - "become sons of valor") - "Use your strength and show your mettle!" (2Sa 13:28NJB); "Be resolute and act manfully." (2Sa 13:28NAB)

Rich Cather's humor - I think you could make a point that Absalom was really a panda bear. Illustration - A panda walks into a diner, sits down, and orders a sandwich. He eats the sandwich, pulls out a gun, and shoots out the restaurant’s windows. As the panda stands up to go, the owner shouts, “Hey! Where are you going? You just shot out my windows and you didn’t pay for your sandwich!” The panda yells back at the owner, “Hey man, I’m a PANDA! Look it up!” The owner opens his dictionary and sees the following definition for “panda”: “A tree dwelling marsupial of Asian origin, characterized by distinct black and white coloring. Eats shoots and leaves.”

2 Samuel 13:29  The servants of Absalom did to Amnon just as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons arose and each mounted his mule and fled.

  • servants: 1Sa 22:18,19 1Ki 21:11-13 2Ki 1:9-12 Pr 29:12 Mic 7:3 
  • mule: 2Sa 18:9 Ge 36:24 Lev 19:19 1Ki 1:33 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


The servants of Absalom did to Amnon just as Absalom had commanded - Amnon was foolish for coming but his act with Tamar was foolish  and he seems to not have been very wise at best! The servants obey Absalom's command to murder Amnon, David's firstborn son, and thereby commit a capital offense that is punishable by their death. Clearly they sense Absalom has enough political clout that they are protected from punishment. One other point to keep in mind is that Absalom is the third son of David, the second being Chileab (aka Daniel) (2Sa 3:3, 1Ch 3:1), but Chileab is never mentioned in adulthood and we must surmise he died as  a child. Here is the point, with Amnon dead, now Absalom is the next in line to replace King David, but as the saga unfolds Absalom is not willing to wait for David to die! 

Recall the prophecy in 2Sa 12:10 "‘Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’" David is beginning to reap the consequences of the seeds of sin he had sown! Woe! 

F B Meyer may be correct when he says "Absalom’s fratricide would never have taken place if David had taken instant measures to punish Amnon.” 

Then - This marks a rapid progression in the narrative! The sons are not willing to wait and see what Absalom's intentions are toward them!

All the king's sons arose and each mounted his mule and fled - Mules were consider to be a "royal animal" at this time (1Ki 1:33, 38, 44). David's other sons "high tail it" out of there. Undoubtedly they feared for their lives at this juncture. It is surprising that this reference to mule is the first in the Bible. The Torah forbade the breeding of hybrids in Leviticus 19:19, so most likely the mules were procured, as were horses, by trade.

Trapp - “As David had committed adultery, made Uriah drunk, and then murdered him: so Amnon committeth incest, is made drunk, and [is] then murdered.” 

Warren Wiersbe points out that "The problem with revenge is that it doesn't really solve any problems and eventually turns around and hurts the perpetrator. "In taking revenge," wrote Francis Bacon, "a man is but even with his enemy, but in passing it over, he is superior." No one was treated more unjustly and inhumanely than Jesus Christ at His trial and crucifixion, yet He refused to retaliate; and He is our example (1 Peter 2:18-25). The old slogan "Don't get mad-get even" may satisfy some people, but it can never be pleasing to the Lord. The Christian way is the way of forgiveness and faith, trusting the Lord to work everything out for our good and His glory (1 Peter 4:12-19)." (Borrow Be Restored)

Lesson - Resolve your conflicts. Don’t let it stew. Make peace. Eph 4:26-27KJV Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil." Love doesn’t keep track of wrongs, but works towards forgiveness. (1Co 13:5NLT)says "love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged."

Easton's Bible Dictionary note on mules - (Heb. pered), so called from the quick step of the animal or its power of carrying loads. It is not probable that the Hebrews bred mules, as this was strictly forbidden in the law (Lev. 19:19), although their use was not forbidden. We find them in common use even by kings and nobles (2 Sam. 18:9; 1 Kings 1:33; 2 Kings 5:17; Ps. 32:9). They are not mentioned, however, till the time of David, for the word rendered "mules" (R.V. correctly, "hot springs") in Gen. 36:24 (yemim) properly denotes the warm springs of Callirhoe, on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. In David's reign they became very common (2 Sam. 13:29; 1 Kings 10:25). Mules are not mentioned in the New Testament. Perhaps they had by that time ceased to be used in Palestine. David had a favourite mule (1Ki 1:33), and Solomon received mules as tribute (1Ki 10:25). Horses seem to have been used chiefly for chariots. Mule occurs in 13v in the OT - 2 Sam. 13:29; 2 Sam. 18:9; 1 Ki. 10:25; 1 Ki. 18:5; 2 Ki. 5:17; 1 Chr. 12:40; 2 Chr. 9:24; Ezr. 2:66; Neh. 7:68; Ps. 32:9; Isa. 66:20; Ezek. 27:14; Zech. 14:15

2 Samuel 13:30  Now it was while they were on the way that the report came to David, saying, "Absalom has struck down all the king's sons, and not one of them is left."


Now - Marks a shift in the scene from Baal-hazor to Jerusalem. 

It was while they were on the way that the report came to David, saying, "Absalom has struck down all the king's sons, and not one of them is left." - Some men (presumably servants) saw Amnon's murder and fled immediately beating David's sons back to Jerusalem and assuming that all had been killed which they falsely reported to David. Fake news is not just a 21st phenomenon! Wiersbe quipped that "Bad news travels fast and often is exaggerated." What is fascinating is that David did not say "No way," indicating he had an inkling that Absalom was capable of such gross iniquity! So he reacts with mourning rather than disbelief! 

2 Samuel 13:31  Then the king arose, tore his clothes and lay on the ground; and all his servants were standing by with clothes torn.

  • arose: 2Sa 12:16 Ge 37:29,34 Jos 7:6 Job 1:20 
  • all his servants: 2Sa 1:11 2Sa 3:31 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Then the king arose, tore his clothes and lay on the ground; and all his servants were standing by with clothes torn - Note David's reaction was not "Such a thing is not possible, for I know my son Absalom and he would never do anything like that." He does not express disbelief but distress and clearly feels Absalom was capable of such a dastardly deed. Tearing clothes and lying prostrate were signs of mourning. David had a similar reaction to news of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan (2Sa 1:11) and later for Abner when he was murdered by Joab (2Sa 3:31). 

The next time sin looks attractive to you...remember David’s trials.

F B Meyer - Our Daily Homily - 2 Samuel 13:31   Then the king arose, and tare his garments, and lay on the earth.

Throughout the incidents of this chapter, the soul of David touched the bottom of the sea of anguish and remorse. The circumstances narrated were in themselves sad enough; but there was a more bitter element in them for David, because he knew that they were the harvest of which his own sin was the seed. Here began to be fulfilled the sentence of God through Nathan, ‘‘The sword shall never depart from thine house.”

He had broken up the peace of another’s home, and peace had quitted his home, never to return. He had defiled the purity of Uriah’s wife, and the purity of his own daughter had been trampled under foot. He had smitten Uriah, and now Absalom had murdered Amnon. Through those awful hours when the entire fate of the whole of his family seemed trembling in the balance, he drank to the dregs the cup of bitterness. Oh, how true are the apostle’s words: “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall be also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

Sin resembles the Australian weed, which when once it is sown in the waters will spread with such rapidity as to spoil their beauty, and choke their flow. We must distinguish between the penal and natural results. The penal were borne by Christ for us all, and are remitted forevermore; but the natural remain even to forgiven penitents, as they did to David. Still, God’s grace may transmute them into blessings, and cause pearls to grow where before there had been gaping wounds. Ask God to take in hand the natural consequences of your sins, and make them means of grace and ennoblement.


2 Samuel 13:32  Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David's brother, responded, "Do not let my lord suppose they have put to death all the young men, the king's sons, for Amnon alone is dead; because by the intent of Absalom this has been determined since the day that he violated his sister Tamar.

  • Jonadab: 2Sa 13:3-5 
  • Shimeah: 1Sa 16:9
  • determined: Ge 27:41 Ps 7:14 Pr 24:11,12 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David's brother, responded, "Do not let my lord suppose (don't believe) they have put to death all the young men, the king's sons, for Amnon alone is dead - Jonadab (David's nephew and a shrewd man) is a hypocrite for he is the very one who had put the sinister plot to rape Tamar into Amnon's mind (2Sa 13:3-5+). Somehow Jonadab learns that all the sons were not killed as originally reported, but only Amnon was killed. He is a weasel (sneaky, devious, deceitful) and likely sought to curry favor with David by being the bearer of "better news."

TSK note on Jonadab - This was a very bad man:  he had given his cousin Amnon the most detestable advice; and here speaks coolly of a most bloody tragedy of which he had been the cause.

Because - Term of explanation. Jonadab explains why only Amnon was assassinated.

By the intent (the command) of Absalom this has been determined (has planned this, has been plotting this) since the day that he violated (shamed, humiliated, raped) his sister Tamar - GWN = "Absalom decided to do this the day his half brother raped his sister Tamar." (2Sa 13:32GWN) Jonadab explains to David that the murder of Absalom is what he had talked about from the day that Amnon humiliated Tamar. It is unclear how Jonadab knew that Absalom had been plotting murder for 2 years. I would suggest Jonadab is a trouble maker and he may not have actually known but wanted to sow seeds of division between David and Absalom. 

In one sense Absalom did what David had should have done - he took punitive action. As noted Lev 20:17 (cf Lv 18:11, 29) said a man who lay with his sister was to be cut off (Septuagint has "utterly destroyed"!) which some interpret as put to death or at the very least banished from the nation of Israel. 

2 Samuel 13:33  "Now therefore, do not let my lord the king take the report to heart, namely, 'all the king's sons are dead,' for only Amnon is dead."


Now therefore, do not let my lord the king take the report to heart, namely, 'all the king's sons are dead - "don't take seriously the report that says all the king's sons are dead" (2Sa 13:33CSB)

For only Amnon is dead - "Only Amnon" Jonadab coolly relates. He is only the crown prince, only the man next in line to be king! Jonadab has an evil heart! 

2 Samuel 13:34  Now Absalom had fled. And the young man who was the watchman raised his eyes and looked, and behold, many people were coming from the road behind him by the side of the mountain.

NAB - Meanwhile, Absalom had taken flight. Then the servant on watch looked about and saw a large group coming down the slope from the direction of Bahurim. He came in and reported this, telling the king that he had seen some men coming down the mountainside from the direction of Bahurim. 

NIV  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."

NRS  But Absalom fled. When the young man who kept watch looked up, he saw many people coming from the Horonaim road by the side of the mountain.

  • Absalom fled: 2Sa 13:38 Ge 4:8-14 Pr 28:17 Am 5:19
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Now Absalom had fled - Absalom is no fool and he realizes his life is potentially in danger from King David. 

And the young man who was the watchman (on the Jerusalem wall) raised his eyes and looked, and behold, many people were coming from the road behind him by the side of the mountain (from the west of the city) - "he saw many people coming from the west on a road beside the hill." (2Sa 13:34NET) "I see a crowd of people coming from the Horonaim road along the side of the hill." (2Sa 13:34NLT) This crowd of people which represented the king's sons and servants was coming not from the east which would have been the direct route back to Jerusalem but had circled around to approach from the west. 

Note that several of the translations have the word Horonaim 

2 Samuel 13:35  Jonadab said to the king, "Behold, the king's sons have come; according to your servant's word, so it happened."

  • as they servant said, Heb. according to the word of thy servant, 2Sa 13:35 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Jonadab said to the king, "Behold, the king's sons have come; according to your servant's word, so it happened - Jonadab pats himself on the back again attempting to curry favor with the king by confirming his earlier report saying "It's exactly like your servant said." As we said earlier, this guy is a real weasel of a man! 

2 Samuel 13:36  As soon as he had finished speaking, behold, the king's sons came and lifted their voices and wept; and also the king and all his servants wept very bitterly.

  • wept very bitterly 2Sa 13:15 2Sa 12:21 18:33
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 


As soon as he had finished speaking - It is almost like Jonadab times his words perfectly with the entrance of the rest of David's sons. 

 behold, the king's sons came and lifted their voices and wept; and also the king and all his servants wept very bitterly - The king, the sons and the servants all weep Amnon's assassination. 

David Guzik -  David is rightly grieved at learning of the death of his eldest son, the Crown Prince Amnon. Yet David’s lack of correction of Amnon contributed to this murder. If David had administered biblical correction according to Exodus 22:16-17 and Deuteronomy 22:28-29, Absalom would not have felt so free to administer his own brutal correction.

Youngblood - Thus David's adultery with Bathsheba is mirrored in his son Amnon's rape of Tamar, and David's murder of Uriah is reprised in Absalom's execution of Amnon. "It will suffice here to conclude that Amnon and Absalom are chips off the old block" (Fokkelman, King David, p. 125). Applicable to the present situation, a principle enunciated by Paul is terser still: "A man reaps what he sows" (Gal 6:7+). (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

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

Related Passages:

2 Samuel 3:3 and his second (SON OF DAVID), Chileab, by Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur; (TALMAI IS ABSALOM'S GRANDFATHER)

1 Chronicles 3:2 the third (SON OF DAVID) was Absalom the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; the fourth was Adonijah the son of Haggith;


Now Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur - See location of Geshur in the NE section of the map above, just north and east of the Sea of Galilee in the southern portion of the Golan Heights in Bashan. Since Absalom had committed premeditated murder (and not an accidental death), he could not flee to one of the cities of refuge. Instead he fled to Talmai, king of Geshur, who was his  grandfather on his mother's side. David could have forced him to return but he did not. 

David Guzik points out that "Absalom did not go to a city of refuge because he was guilty, and the cities of refuge were only meant to protect the innocent."

And David mourned (grieved) for his son every day - It is interesting that the text does not state the name of the son, although the NLT and GWN add "his son Amnon". While presumably it is correct that David is mourning for Amnon, one wonders how he feels about the gone Absalom?

Walton on Absalom fled - After Amnon’s murder, Absalom fled back to his grandfather’s kingdom in Geshur, in the southern portion of the Golan Heights in Bashan. This independent kingdom and its cities just east of the Sea of Galilee are known from the El Amarna and Egyptian execration texts. David’s marriage to Talmai’s daughter is just one of several diplomatic alliances created by such unions (2 Sam 3:3).(See page 341 IVP Background Commentary - OT)

Geshur - Wikipedia - Geshur is identified with the area stretching along the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee and reaching south to the Yarmuk River,[1] in what is now called the Golan Heights.[3][4] This location places it on one of the routes connecting the region of Bashan with the Phoenician coast. 

G Campbell Morgan - Borrow Life applications from every chapter of the Bible 

And David mourned for his on every day. He was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.—2Sa 13.37, 39.

What tragedy there is in these two sentences. They are concerned with two sons of David. Amnon was his first-born. He had fallen into sin after the pattern of his father's. Absalom had secured the murder of his brother, and as a result was a fugitive. Thus in his family life David was reaping something of the harvest of those lower things of his own nature which had led him into sin. When the sin of Amnon had been made known to him, we are told he was wroth, but we are not told that he took any disciplinary action. How could he? Surely he had rendered his own arm nerveless by the sin of the past. A very solemn consideration arises out of all this. It is, that sin may be forgiven most surely, so as to restore to the sinner the possibility of the sense of reconciliation with God; but its results, on the level ofhuman relationship and experience in this life, run on. To the end of our earthly life we shall find how true it is that "God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." And is not this also a proof of the beneficent character of the government of God? If, in a world like this, forgiveness meant that men were released from all the results of sins committed in the past, even that blessing would become the occasion of yet more disastrous consequences.

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

  • Geshur  De 3:14.  Jos 12:5. 2Sa 14:23,32 15:8 
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


So Absalom had fled and gone to Geshur, and was there three years

2 Samuel 13:39  The heart of King David longed to go out to Absalom; for he was comforted concerning Amnon, since he was dead.

NET  2 Samuel 13:39 The king longed to go to Absalom, for he had since been consoled over the death of Amnon.

CSB  2 Samuel 13:39 Then King David longed to go to Absalom, for David had finished grieving over Amnon's death.

ESV  2 Samuel 13:39 And the spirit of the king longed to go out to Absalom, because he was comforted about Amnon, since he was dead.

NIV  2 Samuel 13:39 And the spirit of the king longed to go to Absalom, for he was consoled concerning Amnon's death.

NLT  2 Samuel 13:39 And King David, now reconciled to Amnon's death, longed to be reunited with his son Absalom.

NRS  2 Samuel 13:39 And the heart of the king went out, yearning for Absalom; for he was now consoled over the death of Amnon.

NJB  2 Samuel 13:39 Once the king was consoled over Amnon's death, his anger against Absalom subsided.

NAB  2 Samuel 13:39 The king continued during all that time to mourn over his son; but his longing reached out for Absalom as he became reconciled to the death of Amnon.

  • The heart of King David Ge 31:30 De 28:32 Php 2:26 
  • longed: or, was consumed, Ps 84:2 119:20 
  • comforted: 2Sa 12:23 Ge 24:67 37:35 38:12
  • 2 Samuel 13 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries 


The heart (added by translators - see other renderings above) of King David longed (was consumed, "wasted with desire"- BBE) to go out to Absalom; for he was comforted concerning Amnon, since he was dead - "And King David, now reconciled to Amnon's death, longed to be reunited with his son Absalom." (2Sa 13:39NLT) Apparently David slowly accepted Amnon's death by his son Absalom and now wanted to see his living son Absalom, who in fact was the next in line to be king after David passed. 

David Guzik - David simply longed to be reconciled to Absalom again – without correcting his son for his evil. David’s indulgence towards Amnon is repeated towards Absalom and he will meet a similar end.

NET Note - The understanding reflected in the translation above is that David, though alienated during this time from his son Absalom, still had an abiding love and concern for him. He longed for reconciliation with him. A rather different interpretation of the verse supposes that David's interest in taking military action against Absalom grew slack with the passing of time, and this in turn enabled David's advisers to encourage him toward reconciliation with Absalom. 

Alexander Whyte

 POLYGAMY is just Greek for a dunghill. David trampled down the first and the best law of nature in his palace in Jerusalem, and for his trouble he spent all his after-days in a hell upon earth. David’s palace was a perfect pandemonium of suspicion, and intrigue, and jealousy, and hatred—all breaking out, now into incest and now into murder. And it was in such a household, if such a cesspool could be called a household, that Absalom, David’s third son by his third living wife, was born and brought up. But be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a patriarch, or a prophet, or a psalmist soweth, that shall he also reap. For he, saint or sinner, that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.

Maachah, Absalom’s mother, was the daughter of a king. And this, taken together with his distinguished appearance and his princely manners, gave Absalom the pre-eminence over all his brethren. Absalom inherited all the handsomeness, manly bearing, and beauty of his father’s handsome and manly house. The sacred writer expatiates with evident relish upon Absalom’s extraordinary beauty. In all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty. From the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. And the hair of his head is a proverb to this day.

A little ring of jealous and scheming parasites, all hateful and hating one another, collected round each one of David’s wives. And it was in one of the worst of those wicked little rings that Absalom grew up and got his education. Absalom had a sister, named Tamar, who was as beautiful as a woman as Absalom was as a man. And how her beauty became the occasion of her ruin in that horrible household the sacred historian tells us with sufficient plainness of speech. Suffice it here to say that Absalom determined, sooner or later, to wash off his sister’s terrible wrongs in the blood of the wrongdoer. And, then, as the divine vengeance would have it to be, that wrongdoer to one of David’s fairest daughters was one of David’s favourite sons. The Septuagint frankly tells us that David loved the wrongdoer so much that he could not so much as rebuke him for his brutality. But, after giving his father two full years to avenge his sister’s ruin, Absalom took the law into his own hand till Amnon fell, when his heart was merry with wine, under Absalom’s revengeful sword. And, then, all the plots and counter-plots connected with Absalom’s revenge, and flight, and restoration, and too-late reconciliation to his father; his deep-laid schemes to wrench the kingdom out of his father’s hands; and then his defeat and murder by Joab—all that, if we have the courage to look at it, will give us a picture of the men and the times, humiliating beyond all words, and never to be forgotten. David and his wives and concubines and mixed-up children, Tamar and her half-brother Amnon, Absalom and Jonadab, Joab and the wise woman of Tekoa, Ittai and Shimei, Ahithophel and Hushai, and the righteousness and the grace of God reigning over them all. Truly, all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

It is this so terrible plain-spokenness of the Bible that makes it so precious to all who are in earnest about themselves and their children. Had this sacred writer not been in earnest in his work, we should have had an altogether different David. And we make an altogether different David to ourselves in spite of the sacred writer, and in spite of all that David himself can say and do. The David that we set up for ourselves has always a halo round his head and a harp in his hand, and his eyes fixed on the heavens. We are willingly ignorant that David had ever any other wife but Solomon’s mother, as also that she had ever any other son but Solomon. And, then, our Solomon is always dreaming his dream at Gibeon, and when he is not choosing wisdom for himself he is always writing inspired proverbs about wisdom for his son. While all the time David prevents the night-watches with psalms like this: I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no thing of Belial before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me, and so on. A David like that in our Bible would have delighted us, and would not have offended and shocked us. No. But then neither would he have been of any real use to us when we went to our Bible for real use. It is when we go to our Bible for real use, for the experiences of men of like passions with ourselves, it is then that we discover and see the pen of God in the Bible life of David. And it is from that pen that I gather these closing lessons out of the life of David and out of the death of Absalom.

‘The inconceivable evil of sensuality’ was surely never more awfully burned in upon any sinful house than it was upon David’s house. David himself is a towering warning to all men, and especially to all godly men against this master abomination. And, all the more that he sinned so terribly against such singular grace. David, to use his own words, was as white as snow as long as he was young, and poor, and struggling up, and oppressed, and persecuted, and with Samuel’s horn of oil still sanctifying all the thoughts and all the imaginations of his heart. But no sooner had David sat down on the throne of Israel than his life of sin and shame began. And all the woe upon woe of his after-life, almost every single deadly drop of it, came down out of that day when he first introduced open and unblushing sensuality into his palace in Jerusalem. There was military success, and extended empire, and great wealth, and great and far-sounding glory in David’s day in Israel; but beneath it all the whole ground was mined and filled to the lip with gun-powder, and the divine tinder all the time was surely burning its way to the divine vengeance on David’s house. Our doctors, our lawyers, our ministers, and many of ourselves, will all subscribe to Newman’s strong words in one of his sermons—‘The inconceivable evil of sensuality.’

You sometimes hear speak about the historical imagination, and the right and the fruitful uses of the historical imagination. Well, here is the history of young Absalom, and you must bring your imagination to bear upon it. You must read all the chapters about David’s manner of life in Jerusalem, and all the chapters in which Absalom’s name comes up, and then you must imagine yourself to be Absalom, and to be in his place. I dare not put in words what you will see when you read Second Samuel with your eye upon the object. For one thing, Absalom did not see his father David at all as we see him. He saw him as his enemies then saw him, and as infidels and scoffers see him now. It was impossible that Absalom could look on his father with our admiring eyes. ‘It helped me, too,’ says Santa Teresa in her happy ‘Life of Herself’; ‘It helped me much that I never saw my father and my mother respect anything but goodness.’ ‘It poisoned me at my father,’ said Absalom to Ahithophel; ‘the life we all led in our several stews.’ Yes, polygamy is indeed a dunghill. Only, it is a dunghill with hell at the heart of it. We have nothing like the city of David on this side the Dardanelles. And no real lesson for our day and our household can be got out of Absalom’s early life. Unless it is that far-fetched lesson to that fatal house where there is a father who is no father. And to that house where the father and the mother are full of divided lives, divided interests, divided counsels, divided tastes, and divided desires for themselves and their children. The sons and the daughters of such divided fathers and mothers will need neither history nor imagination to see and to feel with poor Absalom. Only, this lesson to such fathers and mothers is all but too late and irrecoverable.

The Hebrew Bible for some unaccountable reason is silent where the Greek Bible speaks out boldly about David, and delivers a great lesson to all of us who are fathers. The law of Moses was plain. It is to be read in the Book of Leviticus to this day. ‘It is a wicked thing. And he that does it shall be cut off in the sight of all the people. He shall bear his iniquity.’ Well, Amnon did it. Amnon was worse than if he had been the actual murderer of his own sister. But what do we read on this matter in the Septuagint? We literally read this: ‘Notwithstanding Amnon’s sin David did not trouble the spirit of Amnon his son, because he loved him, and because he was his first-born.’ But, not to trouble the spirit of your son for his sin is to trouble other people’s spirit all his days, ay, and your own spirit and his too, to the bargain. The Greek Bible has recovered for us one of the lost links in David’s downward career, and in the downward career of Absalom his son. For it was David’s unwillingness to trouble Amnon that made Absalom in the cause of his sister first a murderer, and then a conspirator, and then, after a life of terrible trouble, himself a mangled corpse under the revengeful and murderous hands of Joab, that other arch-troubler of Israel. ‘Praise them openly, reprehend them secretly,’ is the second of Lord Burleigh’s ten precepts to his son concerning his children. But David did the very opposite of that with Absalom. All Jerusalem heard David for two years reprehending his half-pardoned son Absalom openly, till Absalom was exasperated out of all endurance, and till the last link of sonship was broken for ever between David and Absalom.

But, with all that, it is the terrible cry that comes out of the chamber over the gate of Mahanaim that makes the name of Absalom so well known and so full of the most terrible lessons to us. ‘O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!’ Yes, that is love, no doubt. That is the love of a broken-hearted father, no doubt. But the pang of the cry, the innermost agony of the cry, the poisoned point of the dagger in that cry is remorse. I have slain my son! I have murdered my son with my own hands! I neglected my son Absalom from a child! With my own lusts I laid his very worst temptation right in his way. It had been better Absalom had never been born! If he rebelled, who shall blame him? I, David, drove Absalom to rebellion. It was his father’s hand that stabbed Absalom through the heart. O Absalom, my murdered son! Would God thy murderer had been in thy place this day. And the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!

Come all you who are fathers and mothers, come to the chamber over the gate of Mahanaim, and let us take counsel together as to how we are to bring up our children to virtue and godliness and everlasting life. Let us read all Holy Writ on this subject together; and after Holy Writ, all other good and true books that in any way bear upon this supreme subject. Let us set ourselves to gather together all our experience and all our observation, and let us counsel and correct and comfort one another concerning this one thing that we do, our children. Let us take time to it, and pains, and pursue it until we succeed in it. Let us search the Scriptures up to the top and down to the bottom for this pearl of great price. Let us set on one side all the fathers and mothers in Israel to whom God hath ever said, I know him that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment, that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him. And then let us set on the other side David and all those fathers and mothers on whom God took vengeance, and said, Now, therefore, the sword shall never depart from thine house. I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house. Let us collect into a secret and solemn book all such instances; and let us, husband and wife, minister and people, and one anxious parent with another, let us meet together, and confer together, and pray together, saying, This one thing will we do. Why do men and women combine and consult together about everything else but the thing in which so many are so ignorant, so stupid, and so full of fatal mistakes? If we asked our happy neighbours, they would surely tell us the secret of their success in their children. How did they come so well and so soon to understand their children? How early did they discover what manner of heart was already in their children? And at what age did they begin to deal with the hearts of their children? What amount of time did they set aside and keep sacred for reflection and for prayer to God for their child; naming their child and describing him; and how did God’s answer begin to show itself first in the parents and then in the child? When did your child first begin to show some sure signs of saving grace? And how did that grace show itself to your satisfaction and thanksgiving; first in one child and then in another? Tell us about the Sabbath—how it was observed, occupied, and sanctified as your children grew up? About the church also and the Sabbath-school? About the books that were read on Sabbath-days and week days; both by your children alone and of their own accord, as also with you all reading together; one reading and all the rest listening? Things like that. All that you can tell us about such children as yours will be eagerly listened to and attended to. What priceless stores of experience, and observation, and success and defeat are lost all around us just because we do not speak more to one another about our ways with our children; our hopes and our fears; our neglects and our recoveries of neglects; the things that one household is so happy in, and the same things that cause such unavailing remorse in another household. Yes, this whole matter must surely be collected together and made into a science soon, and taught in every true church to every young father and young mother as their very life.