Amnon Rapes Tamar

13 Some time passed. David’s son Absalom(A) had a beautiful sister named Tamar,(B) and David’s son Amnon(C) was infatuated with her. Amnon was frustrated to the point of making himself sick over his sister Tamar because she was a virgin, but it seemed impossible to do anything to her. Amnon had a friend named Jonadab, a son of David’s brother Shimeah.(D) Jonadab was a very shrewd man, and he asked Amnon, “Why are you, the king’s son, so miserable(E) every morning? Won’t you tell me?”

Amnon replied, “I’m in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”

Jonadab said to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend you’re sick. When your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare a meal in my presence(F) so I can watch and eat from her hand.’”

So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick. When the king came to see him, Amnon said to him, “Please let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my presence so I can eat from her hand.”

David sent word to Tamar at the palace: “Please go to your brother Amnon’s house and prepare a meal for him.”

Then Tamar went to his house while Amnon was lying down. She took dough, kneaded it, made cakes in his presence, and baked them. She brought the pan and set it down in front of him, but he refused to eat. Amnon said, “Everyone leave me!” And everyone left him. 10 “Bring the meal to the bedroom,” Amnon told Tamar, “so I can eat from your hand.” Tamar took the cakes she had made and went to her brother Amnon’s bedroom. 11 When she brought them to him to eat, he grabbed her and said,[a] “Come sleep with me, my sister!”

12 “Don’t, my brother!” she cried. “Don’t disgrace(G) me, for such a thing should never be done in Israel.(H) Don’t commit this outrage!(I) 13 Where could I ever go with my humiliation? And you—you would be like one of the outrageous fools in Israel! Please, speak to the king, for he won’t keep me from you.” 14 But he refused to listen to her, and because he was stronger than she was, he disgraced her by raping her.

15 So Amnon hated Tamar with such intensity that the hatred he hated her with was greater than the love he had loved her with. “Get out of here!” he said.

16 “No,” she cried,[b] “sending me away is much worse than the great wrong you’ve already done to me!”

But he refused to listen to her. 17 Instead, he called to the servant who waited on him, “Get this away from me, throw her out, and bolt the door behind her!” 18 Amnon’s servant threw her out and bolted the door behind her. Now Tamar was wearing a long-sleeved[c] robe, because this is what the king’s virgin daughters wore. 19 Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long-sleeved robe she was wearing. She put her hand on her head(J) and went away crying out.

20 Her brother Absalom said to her, “Has your brother Amnon been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister. He is your brother. Don’t take this thing to heart.” So Tamar lived as a desolate woman(K) in the house of her brother Absalom.

Absalom Murders Amnon

21 When King David heard about all these things, he was furious.[d] 22 Absalom didn’t say anything to Amnon, either good or bad, because he hated Amnon since he disgraced his sister Tamar.

23 Two years later, Absalom’s sheepshearers were at Baal-hazor near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king’s sons. 24 Then he went to the king and said, “Your servant has just hired sheepshearers. Will the king and his servants please come with your servant?”

25 The king replied to Absalom, “No, my son, we should not all go, or we would be a burden to you.” Although Absalom urged him, he wasn’t willing to go, though he did bless him.

26 “If not,” Absalom said, “please let my brother Amnon go with us.”

The king asked him, “Why should he go with you?” 27 But Absalom urged him, so he sent Amnon and all the king’s sons.[e]

28 Now Absalom commanded his young men, “Watch Amnon until he is in a good mood from the wine. When I order you to strike Amnon, then kill him. Don’t be afraid. Am I not the one who has commanded you? Be strong and valiant!” (L) 29 So Absalom’s young men did to Amnon just as Absalom had commanded. Then all the rest of the king’s sons got up, and each fled on his mule.

30 While they were on the way, a report reached David: “Absalom struck down all the king’s sons; not even one of them survived!” 31 In response the king stood up, tore his clothes, and lay down on the ground, and all his servants stood by with their clothes torn.(M)

32 But Jonadab, son of David’s brother Shimeah,(N) spoke up: “My lord must not think they have killed all the young men, the king’s sons, because only Amnon is dead. In fact, Absalom has planned this[f] ever since the day Amnon disgraced his sister Tamar. 33 So now, my lord the king, don’t take seriously the report that says all the king’s sons are dead. Only Amnon is dead.”

34 Meanwhile, Absalom had fled. When the young man who was standing watch looked up, there were many people coming from the road west of him from the side of the mountain.[g] 35 Jonadab said to the king, “Look, the king’s sons have come! It’s exactly like your servant said.” 36 Just as he finished speaking, the king’s sons entered and wept loudly. Then the king and all his servants also wept very bitterly. 37 But Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, king of Geshur.(O) And David mourned for his son[h] every day.

38 After Absalom had fled to Geshur and had been there three years, 39 King David[i] longed to go to Absalom, for David had finished grieving over Amnon’s death.

Absalom Restored to David

14 Joab son of Zeruiah realized that the king’s mind was on Absalom. So Joab sent someone to Tekoa(P) to bring a wise(Q) woman from there. He told her, “Pretend to be in mourning: dress in mourning clothes and don’t put on any oil.(R) Act like a woman who has been mourning for the dead for a long time. Go to the king and speak these words to him.” Then Joab told her exactly what to say.[j]

When the woman from Tekoa came[k] to the king, she fell facedown to the ground, paid homage,(S) and said, “Help me, Your Majesty!”

“What’s the matter?” the king asked her.

“Sadly, I am a widow; my husband died,” she said.(T) “Your servant had two sons. They were fighting in the field with no one to separate them, and one struck the other and killed him. Now the whole clan has risen up against your servant and said, ‘Hand over the one who killed his brother so we may put him to death for the life of the brother he murdered. We will eliminate the heir!’ They would extinguish my one remaining ember by not preserving my husband’s name or posterity on earth.”(U)

The king told the woman, “Go home. I will issue a command on your behalf.”

Then the woman of Tekoa said to the king, “My lord the king, may any blame be on me(V) and my father’s family, and may the king and his throne be innocent.”

10 “Whoever speaks to you,” the king said, “bring him to me. He will not trouble you again!”

11 She replied, “Please, may the king invoke the Lord your God, so that the avenger of blood will not increase the loss, and they will not eliminate my son!” (W)

“As the Lord lives,” he vowed, “not a hair of your son will fall to the ground.”(X)

12 Then the woman said, “Please, may your servant speak a word to my lord the king?”

“Speak,” he replied.

13 The woman asked, “Why have you devised something similar against the people of God? When the king spoke as he did about this matter, he has pronounced his own guilt. The king has not brought back his own banished one. 14 We will certainly die(Y) and be like water poured out on the ground, which can’t be recovered. But God would not take away a life; he would devise plans so that the one banished from him does not remain banished.

15 “Now therefore, I’ve come to present this matter to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid. Your servant thought: I must speak to the king. Perhaps the king will grant his servant’s request. 16 The king will surely listen in order to keep his servant from the grasp of this man who would eliminate both me and my son from God’s inheritance. 17 Your servant thought: May the word of my lord the king bring relief, for my lord the king is able to discern the good and the bad like the angel of God.(Z) May the Lord your God be with you.”

18 Then the king answered the woman, “I’m going to ask you something; don’t conceal it from me!”

“Let my lord the king speak,” the woman replied.

19 The king asked, “Did Joab put you up to[l] all this?”

The woman answered. “As you live, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or left from all my lord the king says. Yes, your servant Joab is the one who gave orders to me; he told your servant exactly what to say.[m] 20 Joab your servant has done this to address the issue indirectly,[n] but my lord has wisdom like the wisdom of the angel of God, knowing everything on earth.”

21 Then the king said to Joab, “I hereby grant this request. Go, bring back the young man Absalom.”

22 Joab fell with his face to the ground in homage and blessed the king. “Today,” Joab said, “your servant knows I have found favor with you, my lord the king, because the king has granted the request of your servant.”

23 So Joab got up, went to Geshur, and brought Absalom(AA) to Jerusalem. 24 However, the king added, “He may return to his house, but he may not see my face.” So Absalom returned to his house, but he did not see the king.[o]

25 No man in all Israel was as handsome(AB) and highly praised as Absalom. From the sole of his foot to the top of his head, he did not have a single flaw. 26 When he shaved his head—he shaved it at the end of every year because his hair got so heavy for him that he had to shave it off—he would weigh the hair from his head and it would be five pounds[p] according to the royal standard.

27 Three sons were born to Absalom, and a daughter named Tamar, who was a beautiful woman. 28 Absalom resided in Jerusalem two years but never saw the king. 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab in order to send him to the king, but Joab was unwilling to come to him. So he sent again, a second time, but he still would not come. 30 Then Absalom said to his servants, “See, Joab has a field right next to mine, and he has barley there. Go and set fire to it!” So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.[q]

31 Then Joab came to Absalom’s house and demanded, “Why did your servants set my field on fire?”

32 “Look,” Absalom explained to Joab, “I sent for you and said, ‘Come here. I want to send you to the king to ask: Why have I come back from Geshur? I’d be better off if I were still there.’ So now, let me see the king. If I am guilty, let him kill me.”

33 Joab went to the king and told him. So David summoned Absalom, who came to the king and paid homage with his face to the ground before him. Then the king kissed Absalom.

Footnotes

  1. 13:11 Lit said to her
  2. 13:16 Lit she said to him
  3. 13:18 Or ornate; Gn 37:3
  4. 13:21 LXX, DSS add but he did not grieve the spirit of Amnon his son, for he loved him because he was his firstborn; 1Kg 1:6
  5. 13:27 LXX adds And Absalom prepared a feast like a royal feast.
  6. 13:32 Lit In fact, it was established on the mouth of Absalom
  7. 13:34 LXX adds And the watchman came and reported to the king saying, “I see men on the Horonaim road on the side of the mountain.”
  8. 13:37 Probably Amnon
  9. 13:39 DSS, LXX, Tg read David’s spirit
  10. 14:3 Lit Joab put the words into her mouth
  11. 14:4 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Tg, Vg; other Hb mss read spoke
  12. 14:19 Lit “Is the hand of Joab in
  13. 14:19 Lit he put all these words into the mouth of your servant
  14. 14:20 Lit to go around the face of the matter
  15. 14:24 Lit king’s face
  16. 14:26 Lit 200 shekels
  17. 14:30 DSS, LXX add So Joab’s servants came to him with their clothes torn and said, “Absalom’s servants have set the field on fire!”

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