2 Samuel 13-14
New International Version - UK
Amnon and Tamar
13 In the course of time, Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David.
2 Amnon became so obsessed with his sister Tamar that he made himself ill. She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her.
3 Now Amnon had an advisor named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother. Jonadab was a very shrewd man. 4 He asked Amnon, ‘Why do you, the king’s son, look so haggard morning after morning? Won’t you tell me?’
Amnon said to him, ‘I’m in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.’
5 ‘Go to bed and pretend to be ill,’ Jonadab said. ‘When your father comes to see you, say to him, “I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so that I may watch her and then eat it from her hand.”’
6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. When the king came to see him, Amnon said to him, ‘I would like my sister Tamar to come and make some special bread in my sight, so that I may eat from her hand.’
7 David sent word to Tamar at the palace: ‘Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare some food for him.’ 8 So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon, who was lying down. She took some dough, kneaded it, made the bread in his sight and baked it. 9 Then she took the pan and served him the bread, but he refused to eat.
‘Send everyone out of here,’ Amnon said. So everyone left him. 10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, ‘Bring the food here into my bedroom so that I may eat from your hand.’ And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. 11 But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, ‘Come to bed with me, my sister.’
12 ‘No, my brother!’ she said to him. ‘Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. 13 What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.’ 14 But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.
15 Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her, ‘Get up and get out!’
16 ‘No!’ she said to him. ‘Sending me away would be a greater wrong than what you have already done to me.’
But he refused to listen to her. 17 He called his personal servant and said, ‘Get this woman out of my sight and bolt the door after her.’ 18 So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her. She was wearing an ornate[a] robe, for this was the kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore. 19 Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.
20 Her brother Absalom said to her, ‘Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother. Don’t take this thing to heart.’ And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman.
21 When King David heard all this, he was furious. 22 And Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar.
Absalom kills Amnon
23 Two years later, when Absalom’s sheep-shearers were at Baal Hazor near the border of Ephraim, he invited all the king’s sons to come there. 24 Absalom went to the king and said, ‘Your servant has had shearers come. Will the king and his attendants please join me?’
25 ‘No, my son,’ the king replied. ‘All of us should not go; we would only be a burden to you.’ Although Absalom urged him, he still refused to go but gave him his blessing.
26 Then Absalom said, ‘If not, please let my brother Amnon come with us.’
The king asked him, ‘Why should he go with you?’ 27 But Absalom urged him, so he sent with him Amnon and the rest of the king’s sons.
28 Absalom ordered his men, ‘Listen! When Amnon is in high spirits from drinking wine and I say to you, “Strike Amnon down,” then kill him. Don’t be afraid. Haven’t I given you this order? Be strong and brave.’ 29 So Absalom’s men did to Amnon what Absalom had ordered. Then all the king’s sons got up, mounted their mules and fled.
30 While they were on their way, the report came to David: ‘Absalom has struck down all the king’s sons; not one of them is left.’ 31 The king stood up, tore his clothes and lay down on the ground; and all his attendants stood by with their clothes torn.
32 But Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother, said, ‘My lord should not think that they killed all the princes; only Amnon is dead. This has been Absalom’s express intention ever since the day that Amnon raped his sister Tamar. 33 My lord the king should not be concerned about the report that all the king’s sons are dead. Only Amnon is dead.’
34 Meanwhile, Absalom had fled.
Now the man standing watch looked up and saw many people on the road west of him, coming down the side of the hill. The watchman went and told the king, ‘I see men in the direction of Horonaim, on the side of the hill.’[b]
35 Jonadab said to the king, ‘See, the king’s sons have come; it has happened just as your servant said.’
36 As he finished speaking, the king’s sons came in, wailing loudly. The king, too, and all his attendants wept very bitterly.
37 Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. But King David mourned many days for his son.
38 After Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he stayed there for three years. 39 And King David longed to go to Absalom, for he was consoled concerning Amnon’s death.
Absalom returns to Jerusalem
14 Joab son of Zeruiah knew that the king’s heart longed for Absalom. 2 So Joab sent someone to Tekoa and had a wise woman brought from there. He said to her, ‘Pretend you are in mourning. Dress in mourning clothes, and don’t use any cosmetic lotions. Act like a woman who has spent many days grieving for the dead. 3 Then go to the king and speak these words to him.’ And Joab put the words in her mouth.
4 When the woman from Tekoa went[c] to the king, she fell with her face to the ground to pay him honour, and she said, ‘Help me, Your Majesty!’
5 The king asked her, ‘What is troubling you?’
She said, ‘I am a widow; my husband is dead. 6 I your servant had two sons. They got into a fight with each other in the field, and no one was there to separate them. One struck the other and killed him. 7 Now the whole clan has risen up against your servant; they say, “Hand over the one who struck his brother down, so that we may put him to death for the life of his brother whom he killed; then we will get rid of the heir as well.” They would put out the only burning coal I have left, leaving my husband neither name nor descendant on the face of the earth.’
8 The king said to the woman, ‘Go home, and I will issue an order on your behalf.’
9 But the woman from Tekoa said to him, ‘Let my lord the king pardon me and my family, and let the king and his throne be without guilt.’
10 The king replied, ‘If anyone says anything to you, bring them to me, and they will not bother you again.’
11 She said, ‘Then let the king invoke the Lord his God to prevent the avenger of blood from adding to the destruction, so that my son shall not be destroyed.’
‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ he said, ‘not one hair of your son’s head will fall to the ground.’
12 Then the woman said, ‘Let your servant speak a word to my lord the king.’
‘Speak,’ he replied.
13 The woman said, ‘Why then have you devised a thing like this against the people of God? When the king says this, does he not convict himself, for the king has not brought back his banished son? 14 Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.
15 ‘And now I have come to say this to my lord the king because the people have made me afraid. Your servant thought, “I will speak to the king; perhaps he will grant his servant’s request. 16 Perhaps the king will agree to deliver his servant from the hand of the man who is trying to cut off both me and my son from God’s inheritance.”
17 ‘And now your servant says, “May the word of my lord the king secure my inheritance, for my lord the king is like an angel of God in discerning good and evil. May the Lord your God be with you.”’
18 Then the king said to the woman, ‘Don’t keep from me the answer to what I am going to ask you.’
‘Let my lord the king speak,’ the woman said.
19 The king asked, ‘Isn’t the hand of Joab with you in all this?’
The woman answered, ‘As surely as you live, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right or to the left from anything my lord the king says. Yes, it was your servant Joab who instructed me to do this and who put all these words into the mouth of your servant. 20 Your servant Joab did this to change the present situation. My lord has wisdom like that of an angel of God – he knows everything that happens in the land.’
21 The king said to Joab, ‘Very well, I will do it. Go, bring back the young man Absalom.’
22 Joab fell with his face to the ground to pay him honour, and he blessed the king. Joab said, ‘Today your servant knows that he has found favour in your eyes, my lord the king, because the king has granted his servant’s request.’
23 Then Joab went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. 24 But the king said, ‘He must go to his own house; he must not see my face.’ So Absalom went to his own house and did not see the face of the king.
25 In all Israel there was not a man so highly praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom. From the top of his head to the sole of his foot there was no blemish in him. 26 Whenever he cut the hair of his head – he used to cut his hair once a year because it became too heavy for him – he would weigh it, and its weight was two hundred shekels[d] by the royal standard.
27 Three sons and a daughter were born to Absalom. His daughter’s name was Tamar, and she became a beautiful woman.
28 Absalom lived for two years in Jerusalem without seeing the king’s face. 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab in order to send him to the king, but Joab refused to come to him. So he sent a second time, but he refused to come. 30 Then he said to his servants, ‘Look, Joab’s field is next to mine, and he has barley there. Go and set it on fire.’ So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.
31 Then Joab did go to Absalom’s house, and he said to him, ‘Why have your servants set my field on fire?’
32 Absalom said to Joab, ‘Look, I sent word to you and said, “Come here so that I can send you to the king to ask, ‘Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me if I were still there!’” Now then, I want to see the king’s face, and if I am guilty of anything, let him put me to death.’
33 So Joab went to the king and told him this. Then the king summoned Absalom, and he came in and bowed down with his face to the ground before the king. And the king kissed Absalom.