12 Aug. 2 Samuel 13:1-39

12 Aug.  David’s son Absalom flees the kingdom

“David had a son named Absalom and a son named Amnon. Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar, and Amnon loved her. Tamar was a virgin. Amnon made himself sick just thinking about her, because he could not find any chance to be alone with her…”

“So Amnon went to bed and acted sick. When King David came in to see him, Amnon said to him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come in. Let her make two of her special cakes for me while I watch. Then I will eat them from her hands.’…”

“So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house, and he was in bed. Tamar took some dough and pressed it together with her hands. She made some special cakes while Amnon watched… Amnon said to Tamar, ‘Bring the food into the bedroom so I may eat from your hand’.”

“Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them to her brother Amnon in the bedroom. She went to him so he could eat from her hands, but Amnon grabbed her. He said, ‘Sister, come to bed with me.’ Tamar said to him, ‘No brother! Don’t force me… Don’t do this shameful thing! I could never get rid of my shame! ... Please talk with the king, and he will let you marry me.’”

“But Amnon refused to listen to her. He was stronger than she was, so he forced her to have sexual relations with him. After that, Amnon hated Tamar. He hated her more than he had loved her before… He called his young servant back in and said, ‘Get this woman out of here and away from me! Lock the door after her!’ So his servant led her out of the room and bolted the door after her…”

“To show how upset she was, Tamar put ashes on her head and tore her special robe and put her hand on her head. Then she went away, crying loudly. Absalom, Tamar’s brother, said to her, ‘Has Amnon, your brother, forced you to have sexual relations with him? For now, sister, be quiet. He is your half-brother. Don’t let this upset you so much!’ So Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house and was sad and lonely.”

“When King David heard the news, he was very angry. Absalom did not say a word, good or bad, to Amnon. But he hated Amnon for disgracing his sister Tamar.”

“Two years later Absalom had some men come to Baal Hazor, near Ephraim, to cut the wool from his sheep. Absalom invited all the king’s sons to come also…”

“Then Absalom commanded his servants, ‘Watch Amnon. When he is drunk, I will tell you, “Kill Amnon.” Right then, kill him!’ ... So Absalom’s young men killed Amnon as Absalom commanded, but all of David’s other sons got on their mules and escaped.”

“While the king’s sons were on their way, the news came to David, ‘Absalom has killed all of the king’s sons!’… Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother, said to David, ‘Don’t think all the young men, your sons are killed. No, only Amnon is dead! Absalom has planned this ever since Amnon forced his sister Tamar to have sexual relations with him…”

“As soon as Jonadab had said this, the king’s sons arrived, crying loudly… But Absalom ran away to Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. After Absalom ran away to Geshur, he stayed there for three years. When King David got over Amnon’s death, he missed Absalom greatly.”

          (2 Samuel 13:1-39)



In today’s passage, David’s eldest son Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar. David was very angry when he heard what had happened, but he appears to have taken no action to punish his son Amnon or to console his daughter Tamar (see 2 Samuel 13:21).

Having been disgraced in the eyes of Israel’s people, Tamar continued to live a sad and lonely life in the house of her brother Absalom, who were both children of the same mother, Maacah (see 2 Samuel 3:3). Absalom was furious with his half-brother Amnon, and vowed to get his revenge in due course.

Two years later, Tamar’s brother, Absalom, killed Amnon in revenge during the annual sheep shearing at Baal Hazor. During the festivities, Absalom ensured that Amnon was drunk before getting his servants to kill him. David’s other sons realised that they were all in danger, but they managed to escape back to Jerusalem.

Having killed his half-brother, Absalom fled to seek refuge with his maternal grandfather – Talmai, the king of Geshur (an independent kingdom in the southern Golan) (see Joshua 13:13 & 2 Samuel 3:3). The account of Amnon’s murder ends on an unusual note. We’re told that King David “got over Amnon’s death”, but “he missed Absalom greatly.” (2 Samuel 13:30) Perhaps the king realised at this point that Absalom’s murderous revenge had occurred because David had failed to take any disciplinary action against Amnon over two years earlier.

The photo (by Davidbena) shows the Sea of Galilee from Gamla fortress in the Golan Heights – the region where Geshur was situated.

You can read more about David’s relationship with Absalom @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/30-israel-becomes-a-kingdom-under-saul-and-david/absaloms-flight-amp-his-rebellion-against-david/

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