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“Now it was after this” – shows that these tragic events were directly tied to God’s judgment against David’s house as prophesied by Nathan in Chapter 12 for his sins of Chapter 11. But God’s sovereignty in no way mitigates man’s responsibility. We have much to learn here about unchecked lust and the festering power of anger and hatred as it erupts in revenge. Probably the most intriguing character is the conniving schemer Jonadab who provides Amnon with the game plan for violating Tamar and then turns around and tries to ingratiate himself with King David.

David Roe: David is a polygamist. He had a very strong sensual desire which he catered to. As king he could cater to it with magnificent regal splendor. He had probably at least 10 wives, as near as we can figure, and unnumbered concubines. Under the law of that day, what the king saw he took, unless she was married. So David acted like the other kings of the earth instead of like God’s king. As a result, his household consisted of a series of wives all competing for his affections, as Leah and Rachel did back in Jacob’s time. There was no family unit, and the kids grew up competing with one another. They lived in separate houses. Each wanted to be king, so each looked with a jaundiced eye on the first born above him. Amnon was the first born, Chileab was the second born, but apparently by now he has been slain in battle, which moves Absalom up to number two. We are going to see that Absalom is not above a little self-interest when revenging his sister’s violation. He wants to be king, but Amnon the first born is standing in his way. So, we have brothers Amnon and Absalom in competition with one another because of the household that David himself set up in defiance of Deuteronomy 17. This is where we are at the beginning of Chapter 13. . .


– Consequences of Sin

– Lust vs Love

– Anger, Hatred and Revenge

– Selfish ambition and rivalry

– Deception and intrigue

– Failure to discipline and administer justice

– Separation and lack of reconciliation

Who would follow David on the throne of Israel – very important

12:23-24 – Solomon recognized prophetically as the one especially beloved of the Lord; complexity of David’s family situation because of his sin – much contention and selfish ambition and rivalry

Going to see account of how the rivals to the throne disqualified themselves and were eliminated from the picture – but not in an easy, peaceful fashion

Understand the law of God – Lev. 18:1-18; Lev. 20:17; Deut. 27:22


A. (:1-2) Fanning the Flames of Lust

1. (:1) The Unseemly Royal Players

a. The Target of Lust = Beautiful Tamar

“Absalom the son of David had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar”

b. The Fantasizer of Lust = Deceived Amnon

“and Amnon the son of David loved her”

Difference between love and lust

What type of images were racing through Amnon’s mind?

Ryrie: Amnon and Tamar were David’s children by Ahinoam (3:2) and Maacah (3:3) respectively.

2. (:2a) The Sexual Tension Stirred Up By Lust

“And Amnon was so frustrated because of his sister Tamar that he made himself ill”

3. (:2b) The Virtuous Reputation of Tamar

“for she was a virgin, and it seemed hard to Amnon to do anything to her.”

It was very unlikely she would respond to any attempts at seduction.

B. (:3-5) Scheming the Scenario for Sexual Liaison

1. (:3) Conniving Counselor

a. Close Friend

“But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab”

Look at the type of friend that Amnon cultivated – one that he did not mind sharing this account of his own sexual lust and asking for assistance in carrying out his desires.

b. Politically Connected

“ the son of Shimeah, David’s brother;”

c. Politically Motivated

“and Jonadab was a very shrewd man.”

2. (:4) Persistent Prober

a. Probing the Cause of Depression

“And he said to him, ‘O son of the king, why are you so depressed morning after morning? Will you not tell me?’”

b. Pinpointing the Source of Depression

“Then Amnon said to him, ‘I am in love with Tamar, the sister of my brother Absalom.’”

3. (:5) Devious Deceiver

“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.’”

C. (:6-10) Setting the Stage – Executing the Game Plan

Step by step recounting of the events that put Tamar in harm’s way

D. (:11-14) Violating the Victim – Refusing to Take “NO” for an Answer

1. (:11-13) Desperate Attempt at Consensual Sex

a. (:11) Shameful Proposition to Commit Incest

“When she brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, ‘Come, lie with me, my sister.’”

b. (:12-13a) Efforts at Resistance

1) (:12) Based on Accepted Standards of Righteousness

a) Appealed to her close family connections

“But she answered him, ‘No, my brother, do not violate me”

Calling a spade a spade; not talking about some cozy love affair

b) Appealed to his conscience — Based on National Standards of Righteousness – sense of right and wrong

“for such a thing is not done in Israel”

c) Appealed to the Abhorrent Nature of the Act –Based on Personal Standards of Righteousness

“do not do this disgraceful thing.”

2) (:13a) Based on Tragic Consequences for both of them

a) For Tamar

“As for me, where could I get rid of my reproach?”

b) For Amnon

“And as for you, you will be like one of the fools in Israel.”

c (:13b) Desperate Appeal to His Craftiness – Something can be worked out – you are a smooth operator

“Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.”

Doubtful that the king would give his assent to such a relationship? Is Tamar just stalling for time here? Otherwise Amnon would have already gone and asked the king for permission?

2. (:14) Determined Assault Despite Resistance

“However, he would not listen to her; since he was stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her.”


A. (:15-19) Response of Amnon – Hatred and Rejection

1. (:15a) Intense Hatred

“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.”

Gordon: Self-gratification is followed by a feeling of revulsion at the act for which it was responsible. The observation that Amnon loathed his half-sister with an intensity exceeding his earlier passion for her represents an interesting psychological insight on the part of the narrator.

2. (:15b) Cold Dismissal

“And Amnon said to her, ‘Get up, go away!’”

3. (:16a) Aside: Response of Tamar: Don’t Compound Your Sin!

“But she said to him, ‘No, because this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you have done to me!’”

4. (:16b-17) Hard Hearted Rejection

“Yet he would not listen to her. 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.’”

5. (:18-19) Aside: Response of Tamar: Unmitigated Mourning and Grief

“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. And 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.”

C. (:20, 22) Response of Absalom – Anger and Hatred

Rooted in Selfish Ambition – they had been competitors from day one;

Now Absalom saw his opportunity to go after Amnon.

1. (:20) Immediate Damage Control

“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.”

Moore: Absalom was wrong to tell Tamar to be quiet and not take it to heart. The shame was crushing her to pieces. He minimized the significance of the terrible crime against her. She was invited to live with him, but she was not invited to be honest with him. She was left desolate – like the living dead.

2. (:22) Festering of Anger and Hatred

“But Absalom did not speak to Amnon either good or bad; for Absalom hated Amnon because he had violated his sister Tamar.”

D. (:21) Response of David – Angry with Amnon

“Now when King David heard of all these matters, he was very angry.”

But like the failure of Eli, he did nothing to discipline his sons.


A. (:23-27) Laying the Trap to Kill Amnon

1. (:23a) Biding His Time for the Proper Moment

“Now it came about after two full years that Absalom had sheepshearers n Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim”

2. (:23b) General Invitation to All the King’s Sons

“and Absalom invited all the king’s sons.”

3. (:24-25) Strategic Invitation to the King to Secure His Blessing

“And Absalom came to the king and said, ‘Behold now, your servant has sheepshearers; please let the king and his servants go with your servant.’ But the king said to Absalom, ‘No, my son, we should not all go, lest we be burdensome to you.’ Although he urged him, he would not go, but blessed him.”

Somehow Absalom knew the king would reject this insincere invitation.

4. (:26-27) Persuasive Invitation to King David to Command Amnon to Attend

“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?’ But when Absalom urged him, he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him.”

B. (:28-29) Taking Revenge on Amnon

1. (:28) Absalom Giving the Murder Instructions

“And 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.’”

2. (29a) His Servants Carrying Out the Assassination

“And the servants of Absalom did to Amnon just as Absalom had commanded.”

3. (:29b) King’s Remaining Sons Fleeing the Scene

“Then all the king’s sons arose and each mounted his mule and fled.”


A. (:30-31) Initial Exaggerated False Report

1. (:30) Tale of Total Devastation

“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.’”

2. (:31) Picture of Abject Mourning

“Then he king arose, tore his clothes and lay on the ground; and all his servants were standing by with clothes torn.”

B. (:32-36a) Reassurance from Jonadab – Amnon was Absalom’s Sole Target

1. (:32-33) Prediction by Jonadab that Amnon was the Sole Target

“And 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. 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.’”

If Jonadab knew that Absalom had it in his heart to kill Amnon, why had he not warned his friend? Could he already have switched allegiances to protect his position in the king’s court and his political future?

2. (:34-36a) Corroborating Report by the Spared King’s Sons

C. (:36b) Mourning for Death of Amnon

“the king’s sons came and lifted their voices and wept; and also the king and all his servants wept very bitterly.”


A. Long Exile for Absalom

1. Fleeing to a City of Refuge

“Now Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur.

2. Remaining in Exile

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

Roe: Absalom flees to his grandfather. Remember he was the son of a Syrian princess. Geshur was a little Syrian country east of Galilee up in the middle of David’s sphere of influence. David didn’t conquer it because he married into the family. It was within the boundaries of Israel, although it was a separate kingdom. He could easily have taken it if he had wanted to , but he didn’t.

B. Longing for Reconciliation on the Part of David

1. Dealing with the Loss of Amnon

“And David mourned for his son every day.”

2. Desiring Reconciliation with Absalom

“And the heart of King David longed to go out to Absalom; for he was comforted concerning Amnon, since he was dead.”

Ryrie: David gradually accepted the fact of Amnon’s death, and became anxious to see Absalom again.