Study Guide

2 Samuel Chapter 13

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Chapter 13

No Kidding—This Next Part is Awful

  • As if the last series of events wasn't bad enough, things are about to get pretty disturbing again.
  • David's first-born son Amnon has fallen in love with (or, more accurately, become sexually obsessed with)… his sister, Tamar (technically, his half-sister).
  • Amnon turns to his crafty cousin, Jonadab, after Jonadab asks him why he looks so haggard and beat-up. Amnon admits he's in love with his sister, so Jonadab tells him to pretend to be sick and then ask Tamar to come into his room to prepare food for him.
  • So, Amnon does this.
  • David tells Tamar to go to Amnon's house to feed him. When she arrives, she prepares some cakes, but Amnon refuses to eat with other people around. So the other people leave, and Tamar and Amnon are left alone.
  • Then, Amnon seizes her and asks her to sleep with him—but she says that this is clearly wrong and a violation of the basic morals and laws of Israel.
  • But she says that if he asks the king, David will probably give him permission (perhaps this is doubtful.)
  • Amnon doesn't listen—and rapes his own sister.
  • After committing this heinous crime, Amnon is overcome with loathing for Tamar and kicks her out of his room, despite her protestations that this is (according to Israel's laws) an even worse crime than the one he just committed. But Amnon has his servants forcibly kick her out anyway.
  • Tamar puts ashes on her head and tears her long robe, crying as she walks away.

Revenge… with a Side of Lamb Kofta

  • Tamar goes to her brother (by the same mother), Absalom, who comforts her, but tells her not to speak of what happened for the present.
  • When he hears what happened, David gets very angry, but doesn't want to punish Amnon, since he is his first-born child. Yet Absalom now hates Amnon.
  • Two years later, Absalom decides that it's time to take revenge.
  • He invites David and David's servants to go hang out with some sheep-shearers and Absalom in Ephraim. David, as Absalom apparently expected, doesn't want to go—so Absalom asks if Amnon can go.
  • David seems reluctant (maybe a bit suspicious), but he says yes. So Amnon and the king's other sons go with Absalom.
  • Thus, when Amnon and Absalom are feasting with the sheepshearers, Amnon gets drunk and merry. Absalom orders his servants to kill him while he is intoxicated—and they do.
  • King David's other sons run away.

Just a Renegade Who Had it Made

  • A rumor reaches David that Absalom has killed all of David's sons.
  • David weeps and tears his clothes, but Jonadab steps up and says that Absalom has probably just killed Amnon for what he did to Tamar.
  • This proves to be the case, as the king's other sons all arrive safely at the palace, where they mourn Amnon's death.
  • Meanwhile, Absalom runs away, and hides with the son of the King of Geshur.
  • But King David gets over Amnon's death—after all, he was totally awful—and yearns for Absalom to return.

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