The Second Book of Samuel

Chapter 13

Amnon loving Tamar, by Jonadab's counsel feigning himself sick, defiles her, 1-14. He hates her and shamefully turns her away, 15-18. Absalom entertains her and conceals his purpose, 19-22. At a sheep-shearing among all the king's sons, he kills Amnon, 23-30. David grieving at the news, is comforted by Jonadab, 31-36. Absalom flies to Talmai at Geshur, 37-39.

1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister whose name was Tamar. And Amnon the son of David loved her. 2 And Amnon was so afflicted that he fell sick for his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin. And Amnon thought it hard for him to do anything to her. 3 But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David's brother. And Jonadab was a very subtle man. 4 And he said to him, "Why are you, being the king's son, pining from day to day? Will you not tell me?" And Amnon said to him, "I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister." 5 And Jonadab said to him, "Lay yourself down on your bed and make yourself sick. And when your father comes to see you, say to him, 'I pray you, let my sister Tamar come and give me food and dress the food in my sight so that I may see it and eat it at her hand.'" 6 So Amnon lay down and made himself sick. And when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, "I pray you, let Tamar my sister come and make for me a couple of cakes in my sight so that I may eat at her hand."

7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, "Go now to your brother Amnon's house and prepare food for him." 8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house, and he was laid down. And she took flour, kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight and baked the cakes. 9 And she took a pan and poured them out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, "Have all men go out from me." And every man went out from him. 10 And Amnon said to Tamar, "Bring the food into the chamber so that I may eat from your hand." And Tamar took the cakes which she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother. 11 And when she had brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, "Come, lie with me, my sister." 12 And she answered him, "No, my brother, do not force me, for no such thing ought to be done in Israel. Do not do this folly. 13 And I, where shall I cause my shame to go? And as for you, you will be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray you, speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you." 14 But he would not listen to her voice, and being stronger than she was, he forced her and lay with her.

15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, "Arise, be gone." 16 And she said to him, "There is no cause. This evil in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me." But he would not listen to her. 17 Then he called his servant who ministered to him and said, "Now put this woman out from me and bolt the door after her." 18 And she had a garment of diverse colors upon her, for with such robes the king's daughters who were virgins were appareled. Then his servant brought her out and bolted the door after her. 19 And Tamar put ashes on her head, rent her garment of diverse colors that was on her, laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.

20 And Absalom her brother said to her, "Has Amnon your brother been with you? But hold now your peace, my sister. He is your brother. Do not regard this thing." So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom's house. 21 But when king David heard of all these things, he was very angry. 22 And Absalom spoke to his brother Amnon neither good nor bad, for Absalom hated Amnon because he had forced his sister Tamar.

23 And it came to pass after two full years, that Absalom had sheep-shearers in Baal-hazor, which is beside Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king's sons.

24 And Absalom came to the king and said, "Behold now, your servant has sheep-shearers. Let the king, I implore you, and his servants go with your servant." 25 And the king said to Absalom, "No, my son, let us not all go, lest we be chargeable to you." And he pressed him, yet he would not go, but blessed him. 26 Then Absalom said, "If not, I pray you, let my brother Amnon go with us." And the king said to him, "Why should he go with you?" 27 But Absalom pressed him that he should let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him.

28 Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, "Now mark when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, 'Smite Amnon,' then kill him. Do not fear. Have I not commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant." 29 And the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons arose, and every man rode upon his mule, and fled.

30 And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that information came to David, saying, "Absalom has slain all the king's sons, and there is not one of them left." 31 Then the king arose, tore his garments, and lay on the earth, and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent. 32 And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David's brother, answered and said, "Do not let my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the king's sons, for only Amnon is dead. For by the appointment of Absalom this has been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar. 33 Now therefore, do not let my lord the king take the thing to his heart to think that all the king's sons are dead, for only Amnon is dead."

34 But Absalom fled. And the young man who kept the watch lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there came many people by the way of the hillside behind him. 35 And Jonadab said to the king, "Behold, the king's sons come. As your servant said, so it is." 36 And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of speaking, that behold, the king's sons came and lifted up their voice and wept. And the king also and all his servants wept exceedingly.

37 But Absalom fled and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day. 38 So Absalom fled and went to Geshur and was there three years. 39 And the soul of king David longed to go forth to Absalom, for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Samuel, Chapter 13[➚]


[v.22a] - "neither good nor bad" - Think of this phrase as Absalom pretending to be ignorant of what Amnon did to Tamar. He didn't tell him of any good things or bad things, which would include a sin against his sister.

[v.22b] - "Absalom hated Amnon" - The Scriptures say that we may, "Stand in awe, and do not sin" (Psalm 4:4), or as Paul worded the same verse, "Be angry, and do not sin" (Ephesians 4:26). It is one thing to be angry, but to be angry to the point of hatred is sin. Absalom was right to be angry with Amnon, but he was in transgression of God's law because his anger was out of hatred for Amnon for what he did to Tamar. Christ made this point clear with His sermon on the mount when He was interpreting the law. In that sermon, He said, "You have heard that it was said to them of old time, 'You shall not kill,' and whoever kills, shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you, that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment" (Matthew 5:21-22), and then, "be reconciled to your brother" (Matthew 5:24). What Christ is saying is that anyone who is angry with his brother and does not forgive him, is compared with someone who has actually killed another person. Christ's message is illustrated here in this passage, as Absalom's hatred towards Amnon causes him to exact revenge for what he did and have him killed (verses 28-33).