The Agora
Bible Commentary
2 Samuel

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2 Samuel 13

2Sa 13:1

2Sa 13: David's great sin, although especially forgiven, led to many severe trials during all his remaining years -- trials involving his son Amnon (in the matter of Tamar his sister), his son his son Absalom (guilty of murder and rebellion), Adonijah (the same), and his chief counselor Ahithophel (conspiracy).

It seems quite evident that David, with his many wives and many sons, does not personally teach his children as he should have -- their characters sometimes bearing witness to this shortcoming. See specifically 1Ki 1:6: "His [Adonijah's] father [David, of course] had never interfered with him by asking, 'Why do you behave as you do?' "

TAMAR: Sister of Absalom, half-sister of Amnon (2Sa 3:2,3).

2Sa 13:2

IT SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO DO ANYTHING TO HER: Unmarried women were kept closely secluded from men -- even from relatives -- and were seen only in the company of witnesses and chaperones.

2Sa 13:3

SON OF SHIMEAH, DAVID'S BROTHER: David showed kindness to all his relatives, unusual for an ANE monarch. (Kings were usually very afraid of close relatives, fearing usurpers.)

2Sa 13:4

MY BROTHER ABSALOM'S SISTER: In ANE, where polygamy prevailed, unmarried women are under the special protection of their full brothers -- perhaps even more so than of their fathers (cp Gen 34:6-28).

2Sa 13:6

MY SISTER: Note the subtle misdirection: Amnon calls Tamar "my sister" now, when commonly she might be called "my brother's sister" (v 4).

2Sa 13:13

HE WILL NOT KEEP ME FROM BEING MARRIED TO YOU: A last desperate appeal, for such marriages were unlawful: Lev 18:9.

2Sa 13:15

Amnon, the firstborn, a spoiled, selfish man of irregular passions.

2Sa 13:18

RICHLY ORNAMENTED ROBE: "A long garment of sleeves" (RV mg). Heb "ketoneth" = a priestly garment; was Tamar a temple virgin (2Ch 36:17r)?

2Sa 13:20

HE IS YOUR BROTHER: So Tamar should not reproach herself for having visited him alone.

2Sa 13:21

WHEN KING DAVID HEARD ALL THIS: Absalom counsels Tamar not to report this to David; but he hears any way -- gossip, rumor...

HE WAS FURIOUS: But he did nothing! Note his deep sense of guilt: we cannot wield the sword when our own arm is maimed. LXX adds: "For he loved Amnon, because he was his firstborn son" (cp Josephus).

2Sa 13:22

Also, Absalom has his own ulterior motive: Amnon is ahead of him in line for the throne.

2Sa 13:23

Sheep shearing season: a grand occasion for celebration in ANE.

2Sa 13:25

2Sa 13:25.

WE WOULD ONLY BE A BURDEN TO YOU: Absalom would be put to a great expense by the visit of the king.

2Sa 13:29

THEN ALL THE KING'S SONS GOT UP, MOUNTED THEIR MULES AND FLED: They feared a general massacre, knowing Absalom's vengeance and ambition.

2Sa 13:32

Jonadab seems to have been aware of Absalom's intentions from the very first. A "double agent"!

2Sa 13:37

TALMAI SON OF AMMIHUD: His grandfather: 2Sa 3:3; 1Ch 3:2.

KING DAVID MOURNED FOR HIS SON EVERY DAY: Bitter fruits of his own sins, of lust and murder -- reenacted in the next generation.

2Sa 13:39

HE WAS CONSOLED CONCERNING AMNON'S DEATH: He now realizes that Amnon's death was a just punishment.

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