II Samuel 13

Fleshly lusts are their own punishment and not only war against the soul but against the body also,
and are the rottenness of the bones.
The sin of adultery makes awful mischief in families and the sinner serves a hard master.

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 vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her.

3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man.

4 And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.

5 And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed, and make thyself sick: and when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him, I pray thee, let my sister Tamar come, and give me meat, and dress the meat in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it at her hand.

6 ¶ So Amnon lay down, and made himself sick: and when the king was come to see him, Amnon said unto the king, I pray thee, let Tamar my sister come, and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat at her hand.

7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon’s house, and dress him meat.

8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house; and he was laid down. And she took flour, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes.

9 And she took a pan, and poured them out before him; but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out every man from him.

10 And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the meat into the chamber, that I may eat of thine 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 unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister.

12 And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.

13 And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee.

14 Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.

15 ¶ Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.

16 And she said unto him, There is no cause: this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her.

17 Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.

18 And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.

19 ¶ And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.

20 And Absalom her brother said unto her, Hath Amnon thy brother been with thee? but hold now thy peace, my sister: he is thy brother; regard not 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 wroth.

22 And Absalom spake unto 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 sheepshearers 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, thy servant hath sheepshearers; let the king, I beseech thee, and his servants go with thy servant.

25 And the king said to Absalom, Nay, my son, let us not all now go, lest we be chargeable unto thee. And he pressed him: howbeit he would not go, but blessed him.

26 Then said Absalom, If not, I pray thee, let my brother Amnon go with us. And the king said unto him, Why should he go with thee?

27 But Absalom pressed him, that he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him.

28 ¶ Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then kill him, fear not: have not I commanded you? be courageous, and be valiant.

29 And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and every man gat him up upon his mule, and fled.

30 ¶ And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that tidings came to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king’s sons, and there is not one of them left.

31 Then the king arose, and tare 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, Let not my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the king’s sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar.

33 Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead: for Amnon only is dead.

34 But Absalom fled. And the young man that kept the watch lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came much people by the way of the hill side behind him.

35 And Jonadab said unto the king, Behold, the king’s sons come: as thy 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 very sore.

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 unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.

2 Samuel 13:1-14 – Sin in David’s Household

   The law of Moses clearly forbade the union which Amnon sought, Leviticus 18:11. It was an infamous passion, and the suggestion of Jonadab, if it was any reflection of his father’s character, would show why the Lord had said of Shammah, “Neither hath the LORD chosen this” (1 Samuel 16:9). Passion is deaf to the remonstrances and pleadings of its victim, and strangles pity and honor. Let us walk in the Spirit, that he may save us from ourselves; for there is no knowing to what lengths we may go if not kept by the grace of God.
   It seems difficult to believe that this was the home-life of the man that wrote the Psalms. It had been better to remain in the valley of the wild goat than amid the luxury of Jerusalem, which made so great an inroad upon the peace and purity of his home. We prosper better amid the bleak climate of the mountains than in the enervating atmosphere of the plains.
   Thus David’s sin began to bear the entail of misery to his own household. None of us can limit the far-reaching harvests of the seeds that we drop upon the flowing stream.

2 Samuel 13:15-27 – Absalom Executes Judgment

   When men yield to irregular passion, they go from one extreme to the other—from wicked love to wicked hate. If women would but realize this, how often it would save them from lives of misery. To yield to a man’s impulse is not to secure his loyalty, but to alienate and perhaps destroy it.
   Absalom was Tamar’s own brother and, since her father had failed her, was therefore her natural protector. Recommending her to hold her peace, Absalom quietly awaited a suitable opportunity for wreaking vengeance; but she, poor girl, had to face a blighted life. The crime of her betrayal would hang over it as a dark cloud which even the vengeance that Absalom was about to take could never remove. How many myriads of girls have had to face the same sad lot!
   It was David’s duty, as her father, to punish the evildoer. The law enjoined the penalty of death for such an offense, Leviticus 18:9, 29. But David’s hands were not clean. He had himself incurred the same penalty, and could not condemn in another what he had condoned in himself. Besides this, he loved Amnon, because he was his first-born. How tortuous are the ways of sin!

2 Samuel 13:28-39 – Absalom Flees While David Mourns

   For two years Absalom nursed his anger. Time did not alter his resolve, though it lulled to sleep any suspicion that might have been excited if he had taken immediate steps to get Amnon into his power. Then came the festival of a sheep-shearing, the enticement of Amnon from the shelter of the palace and his murder, the rumor that reached David, and the flight of the murderer to his mother’s father, Talmai, the king of Geshur. Of course, if David had insisted upon his surrender, Absalom would have had to be handed over for punishment; but again, the memory of his own sin withheld David’s hand. Had he not treacherously plotted Uriah’s death! How could he punish the avenger of a sister’s wrong! His own sin had come home to roost.
   The punishment of sin is much more swift and certain than many seem to suppose, not only in the next life, but also in this. We need not climb the throne to exercise vengeance. That is God’s part, and it is carried out by the inevitable working of law. What a man sows, he is invariably called to reap.

2 Samuel 13:31—Then the king arose, and tare his garments, and lay on the earth.

   Throughout the incidents of this chapter, the soul of David touched the bottom of the sea of anguish and remorse. The circumstances narrated were in themselves sad enough; but there was a bitterer element in them for David, because he knew that they were the harvest of which his own sin was the seed. Here began to be fulfilled the sentence of God through Nathan (2 Samuel 12:10), “The sword shall never depart from thine house.”
   He had broken up the peace of another’s home, and peace had quitted his home, never to return. He had defiled the purity of Uriah’s wife, and the purity of his own daughter had been trampled under foot. He had smitten Uriah, and now Absalom had murdered Amnon. Through those awful hours when the entire fate of the whole of his family seemed trembling in the balance, he drank to the dregs the cup of bitterness. Oh, how true are the apostle’s words (Galatians 6:7-8): “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
   Sin resembles the Australian weed, which when once it is sown in the waters will spread with such rapidity as to spoil their beauty, and choke their flow. We must distinguish between the penal and natural results. The penal were borne by Christ for us all, and are remitted for evermore; but the natural remain even to forgiven penitents, as they did to David. Still, God’s grace may transmute them into blessings, and cause pearls to grow where before there had been gaping wounds. Ask God to take in hand the natural consequences of your sins, and make them means of grace and ennoblement.