2 Samuel 13
Crown prince rapes half-sister
Prince Amnon falls in lust with sis1Sometime later, David’s oldest son, crown prince Amnon  fell in lust with his beautiful half-sister Tamar. They had the same father, different mothers. Tamar’s full brother was Absalom.
2Amnon’s obsession with his sister tortured him, consumed him, and eventually made him sick. She was off limits as a virgin, yet he wanted her more each day. But he couldn’t think of a way to get to her.
3Amnon had a conniving cousin named Jonadab. He was the son of David’s brother Shimeah. 4Jonadab visited Amnon one morning and said, “You’re the son of a king. Why have you been looking so upset lately? Tell me what’s going on.” Amnon said, “I’m in love with Tamar. She’s the sister of my brother Absalom.”
5Jonadab said, “Well, why don’t you stay in bed and pretend you’re sick. When your dad comes in to visit, say, ‘Have Tamar come here and fix me a meal. I’d like to watch her prepare it and have her feed me.’” 6So, that’s what Amnon did. He pretended he was sick and when David came to see him, Amnon asked for Tamar: “Please, have Tamar come and fix me a couple loaves of her special bread.” 
Tamar comes cooking7David told Tamar, “Go to your brother Amnon’s house and fix him something to eat.” 8Tamar went to Amnon’s house. He was lying down when she got there. So she started working the dough. She kneaded and shaped those dumplings while he watched. Then she baked them.
9She served her dumplings hot, taking them out of the pan and setting them in front of him. He wouldn’t eat. Instead, he told his servants in the room, “I want all of you out.” So they left.
10Amnon told Tamar, “Bring the food into my bedroom and feed me there.” Tamar carried her dumplings into her brother’s bedroom.
”Get in bed with me sister”11When she brought them to her brother in bed, he grabbed her. He said, “Get in bed with me sister.”
12She said, “No, no, no. Don’t do this to me. It’s disgusting. And it’s not allowed in Israel. 13Who would marry me after you shamed me like this? It would ruin your reputation, too. I’m begging you, if you want me, go to the king and ask him for me. He’ll give you anything you want.” 
14Amnon didn’t take the time. He took Tamar. He was stronger than she was, so he raped her.
Amnon’s version of rape remorse15When Amnon finished, his lust turned to loathing. He hated Tamar more than he ever loved her. He told her, “Get out!”
16She said, “No, brother, don’t do this. Sending me away now is worse than what you’ve already done. It will hurt me even more.” He wouldn’t listen. 17He called in his personal servant and said, “Get this woman out of my sight and lock the door once she’s out!”
18So the servant led Tamar out of the house and locked the door. Tamar was wearing a long-sleeved robe made with designs woven into the fabric. The style identified her as a virgin, unmarried and eligible.
Tamar’s shame19Tamar ripped her long and beautiful robe. Then she poured dust onto her head.  She walked home in shame, burying her face in her hands.
20Her brother Absalom immediately guessed what happened. “Amnon did this to you, didn’t he? Let’s keep this quiet for the time being because he’s your brother. Don’t think about it.”  Tamar moved from the palace to Absalom’s home,  where she remained unmarried, lonely, and depressed.
21When David heard about what happened, he got incredibly angry.  22Absalom hated Amnon for raping his sister. But he never mentioned it.
Absalom’s revenge: Amnon’s murder23Two years later, Absalom threw a party to celebrate sheepshearing season—a shepherd’s payday. He invited all his brothers to the feast at Baal-hazor, near the village of Ephraim. 
24Absalom told the king, “My sheepshearers are working now. I’d like you and your servants to join us for the celebration.” 25The king said, “No, there would be too many people. That would be too hard on you.” Absalom pushed back a bit. Still, the king declined. But he gave Absalom his blessing for the celebration.
26Absalom said, “If you can’t come, would you please send Amnon in your place?” David said, “Why Amnon?” 27Absalom kept pushing until David agreed to send Amnon. Absalom threw a party with a feast fit for a king.
28Absalom instructed some of his servants to wait until Amnon got good and drunk, and then to kill him. “When he’s feeling the wine, I’ll give you the word: Hit him. Don’t be afraid to kill him. I’m the one ordering you to do it. Stay alert and be brave.”  29Absalom’s servants did what he told them. The rest of David’s sons rushed to their mules and rode away.
David’s grief30The princes of Israel were still on the trail when someone got to the king first and reported that Absalom had killed all David’s other sons. Only Absalom was left. 31David stood and tore his clothes, then he dropped to ground. Everyone standing near David tore their clothes, too.
32The king’s nephew, Jonadab, said it’s unlikely Absalom killed all the brothers. Jonadab was the son of David’s brother Shimeah. (He had advised Amnon about how to get to Tamar.) Jonadab said, “We shouldn’t presume Absalom killed them all. He killed Amnon. He has been planning this ever since Amnon raped his sister Tamar. 33Your Highness don’t take your worry that far. Your sons aren’t all dead. Only Amnon.”
Absalom on the run34Absalom fled the country. Back near Jerusalem, a lookout posted along a nearby road  reported that he saw a group of riders headed to town.
35Jonadab said, “See. I told you that your sons were coming. Here they are now.” 36As soon as he finished talking, the king’s sons arrived. They were screaming and crying. The king and all the people with him started crying, too.
37Absalom had fled to his Grandpa Talmai—his mother’s dad. Talmai, the son of Ammihud, was king of Geshur.  David missed Absalom and grieved the loss every day. 38Absalom stayed in Geshur for three years. 39By this time, David was doing okay in managing his grief over Amnon. But he desperately missed Absalom and wanted him to come home.
Amnon was David’s oldest son, and the presumed successor when David died. But Solomon would become the next king, though he had older brothers. David passed them over when, on his deathbed, he chose Solomon (1 Chronicles 21:1; 1 Kings 1).
The “special bread” is sometimes translated “loaves” or “cakes.” But some scholars say they were more likely dumplings. Some add that people may have thought the dumplings had healing qualities, perhaps a bit like mama’s chicken soup today. Some scholars also say the Hebrew phrase for “making dumplings” can hint of excitement and arousal. Today, the phrasing of a woman “serving her dumplings” could do much the same as a double entendre.
Well, maybe not this. If David knew the Laws of Moses, he knew the Law prohibited incest, including marriage and sex with a half-sister (Leviticus 18:9).
Ripping clothes and pouring dust or ashes over the head was a common way of expressing grief, shame, or other brands of hardship.
Clearly, Absalom was such a guy. But it was the patriarchal age when men were men and women served dumplings.
The writer simply said she lived with Absalom. But scholars generally presume she moved there from the palace housing for virgin princesses waiting for whatever husband her father cut out of the herd. She apparently felt she had to move out. There’s no indication she ever married. “Used” women apparently weren’t in demand, even if they were royalty.
David got angry, but apparently not angry enough to do something about it. There’s no indication he did anything but put the disturbing matter out of his mind, as Absalom had advised Tamar to do.
The original Hebrew language says only “Ephraim,” but scholars say the context suggests a town and not the tribal territory of Ephraim, north of Jerusalem. Some scholars associate the name with Ephron (1 Chronicles 13:19), a town about 12 miles (20 km) north of Jerusalem, known today as Taibe. That would have been about a half-day walk from Jerusalem.
The writer doesn’t make Absalom sound especially brave.
It’s unknown where the road was. The road is identified as Horonaim. It’s the plural of Horon. The name may refer to the two cities of Horon: Upper Horon and Lower Horon, about 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Jerusalem.
Geshur was a territory off the northeast shores of the Sea of Galilee, in what is now the Golan Heights.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.