Bible: 2 Samuel 13-15

The Rape of Tamar

13:1 Now David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. In the course of time David’s son Amnon fell madly in love with her. 1  13:2 But Amnon became frustrated because he was so lovesick 2  over his sister Tamar. For she was a virgin, and to Amnon it seemed out of the question to do anything to her.

13:3 Now Amnon had a friend named Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimeah. Jonadab was a very crafty man. 13:4 He asked Amnon, 3  “Why are you, the king’s son, 4  so depressed every morning? Can’t you tell me?” So Amnon said to him, “I’m in love with Tamar the sister of my brother Absalom.” 13:5 Jonadab replied to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend to be sick. 5  When your father comes in to see you, say to him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come in so she can fix some food for me. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I can watch. Then I will eat from her hand.’

13:6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick. When the king came in to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come in so she can make a couple of cakes in my sight. Then I will eat from her hand.”

13:7 So David sent Tamar to the house saying, “Please go to the house of Amnon your brother and prepare some food for him.” 13:8 So Tamar went to the house of Amnon her brother, who was lying down. She took the dough, kneaded it, made some cakes while he watched, 6  and baked them. 7  13:9 But when she took the pan and set it before him, he refused to eat. Instead Amnon said, “Get everyone out of here!” 8  So everyone left. 9 

13:10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the cakes into the bedroom; then I will eat from your hand.” So Tamar took the cakes that she had prepared and brought them to her brother Amnon in the bedroom. 13:11 As she brought them to him to eat, he grabbed her and said to her, “Come on! Get in bed with me, 10  my sister!

13:12 But she said to him, “No, my brother! Don’t humiliate me! This just isn’t done in Israel! Don’t do this foolish thing! 13:13 How could I ever be rid of my humiliation? And you would be considered one of the fools 11  in Israel! Just 12  speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.” 13:14 But he refused to listen to her. 13  He overpowered her and humiliated her by raping her. 14  13:15 Then Amnon greatly despised her. 15  His disdain toward her surpassed the love he had previously felt toward her. 16  Amnon said to her, “Get up and leave!

13:16 But she said to him, “No I won’t, for sending me away now would be worse than what you did to me earlier!” 17  But he refused to listen to her. 13:17 He called his personal attendant and said to him, “Take this woman out of my sight 18  and lock the door behind her! 13:18 (Now she was wearing a long robe, 19  for this is what the king’s virgin daughters used to wear.) So Amnon’s 20  attendant removed her and bolted the door 21  behind her. 13:19 Then Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went on her way, wailing as she went.

13:20 Her brother Absalom said to her, “Was Amnon your brother with you? Now be quiet, my sister. He is your brother. Don’t take it so seriously!” 22  Tamar, devastated, lived in the house of her brother Absalom.

13:21 Now King David heard about all these things and was very angry. 23  13:22 But Absalom said nothing to Amnon, either bad or good, yet Absalom hated Amnon because he had humiliated his sister Tamar.

Absalom Has Amnon Put to Death

13:23 Two years later Absalom’s sheepshearers were in Baal Hazor, 24  near Ephraim. Absalom invited all the king’s sons. 13:24 Then Absalom went to the king and said, “My shearers have begun their work. 25  Let the king and his servants go with me.”

13:25 But the king said to Absalom, “No, my son. We shouldn’t all go. We shouldn’t burden you in that way.” Though Absalom 26  pressed 27  him, the king 28  was not willing to go. Instead, David 29  blessed him.

13:26 Then Absalom said, “If you will not go, 30  then let my brother Amnon go with us.” The king replied to him, “Why should he go with you? 13:27 But when Absalom pressed him, he sent Amnon and all the king’s sons along with him.

13:28 Absalom instructed his servants, “Look! When Amnon is drunk 31  and I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon down,’ kill him then and there. Don’t fear! Is it not I who have given you these instructions? Be strong and courageous! 32  13:29 So Absalom’s servants did to Amnon exactly what Absalom had instructed. Then all the king’s sons got up; each one rode away on his mule and fled.

13:30 While they were still on their way, the following report reached David: “Absalom has killed all the king’s sons; not one of them is left! 13:31 Then the king stood up and tore his garments and lay down on the ground. All his servants were standing there with torn garments as well.

13:32 Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimeah, said, “My lord should not say, ‘They have killed all the young men who are the king’s sons.’ For only Amnon is dead. This is what Absalom has talked about 33  from the day that Amnon 34  humiliated his sister Tamar. 13:33 Now don’t let my lord the king be concerned about the report that has come saying, ‘All the king’s sons are dead.’ It is only Amnon who is dead.”

13:34 In the meantime Absalom fled. When the servant who was the watchman looked up, he saw many people coming from the west 35  on a road beside the hill. 13:35 Jonadab said to the king, “Look! The king’s sons have come! It’s just as I said!

13:36 Just as he finished speaking, the king’s sons arrived, wailing and weeping. 36  The king and all his servants wept loudly 37  as well. 13:37 But Absalom fled and went to King Talmai son of Ammihud of Geshur. And David 38  grieved over his son every day.

13:38 After Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he remained there for three years. 13:39 The king longed 39  to go to Absalom, for he had since been consoled over the death of Amnon. 40 

David Permits Absalom to Return to Jerusalem

14:1 Now Joab son of Zeruiah realized that the king longed to see 41  Absalom. 14:2 So Joab sent to Tekoa and brought from there a wise woman. He told her, “Pretend to be in mourning 42  and put on garments for mourning. Don’t anoint yourself with oil. Instead, act like a woman who has been mourning for the dead for some time. 43  14:3 Go to the king and speak to him in the following fashion.” Then Joab told her what to say. 44 

14:4 So the Tekoan woman went 45  to the king. She bowed down with her face to the ground in deference to him and said, “Please help me, 46  O king! 14:5 The king replied to her, “What do you want?” 47  She answered, “I am a widow; my husband is dead. 14:6 Your servant 48  has two sons. When the two of them got into a fight in the field, there was no one present who could intervene. One of them struck the other and killed him. 14:7 Now the entire family has risen up against your servant, saying, ‘Turn over the one who struck down his brother, so that we can execute him and avenge the death 49  of his brother whom he killed. In so doing we will also destroy the heir.’ They want to extinguish my remaining coal, 50  leaving no one on the face of the earth to carry on the name of my husband.”

14:8 Then the king told the woman, “Go to your home. I will give instructions concerning your situation.” 51  14:9 The Tekoan woman said to the king, “My lord the king, let any blame fall on me and on the house of my father. But let the king and his throne be innocent!

14:10 The king said, “Bring to me whoever speaks to you, and he won’t bother you again! 14:11 She replied, “In that case, 52  let the king invoke the name of 53  the Lord your God so that the avenger of blood may not kill! Then they will not destroy my son!” He replied, “As surely as the Lord lives, not a single hair of your son’s head 54  will fall to the ground.”

14:12 Then the woman said, “Please permit your servant to speak to my lord the king about another matter.” He replied, “Tell me.” 14:13 The woman said, “Why have you devised something like this against God’s people? When the king speaks in this fashion, he makes himself guilty, for the king has not brought back the one he has banished. 14:14 Certainly we must die, and are like water spilled on the ground that cannot be gathered up again. But God does not take away life; instead he devises ways for the banished to be restored. 55  14:15 I have now come to speak with my lord the king about this matter, because the people have made me fearful. 56  But your servant said, ‘I will speak to the king! Perhaps the king will do what his female servant 57  asks. 14:16 Yes! 58  The king may 59  listen and deliver his female servant 60  from the hand of the man who seeks to remove 61  both me and my son from the inheritance God has given us!’ 62  14:17 So your servant said, ‘May the word of my lord the king be my security, for my lord the king is like the angel of God when it comes to deciding between right and wrong! May the Lord your God be with you!’

14:18 Then the king replied to the woman, “Don’t hide any information from me when I question you.” The woman said, “Let my lord the king speak! 14:19 The king said, “Did Joab put you up to all of this?” 63  The woman answered, “As surely as you live, my lord the king, there is no deviation to the right or to the left from all that my lord the king has said. For your servant Joab gave me instructions. He has put all these words in your servant’s mouth. 14:20 Your servant Joab did this so as to change this situation. But my lord has wisdom like that of the angel of God, and knows everything that is happening in the land.” 64 

14:21 Then the king said to Joab, “All right! I 65  will do this thing! Go and bring back the young man Absalom! 14:22 Then Joab bowed down with his face toward the ground and thanked 66  the king. Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord the king, because the king has granted the request of your 67  servant!

14:23 So Joab got up and went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. 68  14:24 But the king said, “Let him go over 69  to his own house. He may not see my face.” So Absalom went over 70  to his own house; he did not see the king’s face.

14:25 Now in all Israel everyone acknowledged that there was no man as handsome as Absalom. 71  From the sole of his feet to the top of his head he was perfect in appearance. 72  14:26 When he would shave his head – at the end of every year he used to shave his head, for it grew too long 73  and he would shave it – he used to weigh the hair of his head at three pounds 74  according to the king’s weight. 14:27 Absalom had 75  three sons and one daughter, whose name was Tamar. She was a very attractive woman. 76 

14:28 Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years without seeing the king’s face. 14:29 Then Absalom sent a message to Joab asking him to send him to the king, but Joab was not willing to come to him. So he sent a second message to him, but he still was not willing to come. 14:30 So he said to his servants, “Look, Joab has a portion of field adjacent to mine and he has some barley there. Go and set it on fire.” 77  So Absalom’s servants set Joab’s 78  portion of the field on fire.

14:31 Then Joab got up and came to Absalom’s house. He said to him, “Why did your servants set my portion of field on fire? 14:32 Absalom said to Joab, “Look, I sent a message to you saying, ‘Come here so that I can send you to the king with this message: 79  “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me if I were still there.”’ Let me now see the face of the king. If I am at fault, let him put me to death!

14:33 So Joab went to the king and informed him. The king 80  summoned Absalom, and he came to the king. Absalom 81  bowed down before the king with his face toward the ground and the king kissed him. 82 

Absalom Leads an Insurrection against David

15:1 Some time later Absalom managed to acquire 83  a chariot and horses, as well as fifty men to serve as his royal guard. 84  15:2 Now Absalom used to get up early and stand beside the road that led to the city gate. Whenever anyone came by who had a complaint to bring to the king for arbitration, Absalom would call out to him, “What city are you from?” The person would answer, “I, your servant, 85  am from one of the tribes of Israel.” 15:3 Absalom would then say to him, “Look, your claims are legitimate and appropriate. 86  But there is no representative of the king who will listen to you.” 15:4 Absalom would then say, “If only they would make me 87  a judge in the land! Then everyone who had a judicial complaint 88  could come to me and I would make sure he receives a just settlement.”

15:5 When someone approached to bow before him, Absalom 89  would extend his hand and embrace him and kiss him. 15:6 Absalom acted this way toward everyone in Israel who came to the king for justice. In this way Absalom won the loyalty 90  of the citizens 91  of Israel.

15:7 After four 92  years Absalom said to the king, “Let me go and repay my vow that I made to the Lord while I was in Hebron. 15:8 For I made this vow 93  when I was living in Geshur in Aram: ‘If the Lord really does allow me to return to Jerusalem, 94  I will serve the Lord.’ 15:9 The king replied to him, “Go in peace.” So Absalom 95  got up and went to Hebron.

15:10 Then Absalom sent spies through all the tribes of Israel who said, “When you hear the sound of the horn, you may assume 96  that Absalom rules in Hebron.” 15:11 Now two hundred men had gone with Absalom from Jerusalem. Since they were invited, they went naively and were unaware of what Absalom was planning. 97  15:12 While he was offering sacrifices, Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s adviser, 98  to come from his city, Giloh. 99  The conspiracy was gaining momentum, and the people were starting to side with Absalom.

David Flees from Jerusalem

15:13 Then a messenger came to David and reported, “The men of Israel are loyal to Absalom! 100  15:14 So David said to all his servants who were with him in Jerusalem, 101 Come on! 102  Let’s escape! 103  Otherwise no one will be delivered from Absalom! Go immediately, or else he will quickly overtake us and bring 104  disaster on us and kill the city’s residents with the sword.” 105  15:15 The king’s servants replied to the king, “We will do whatever our lord the king decides.” 106 

15:16 So the king and all the members of his royal court 107  set out on foot, though the king left behind ten concubines 108  to attend to the palace. 15:17 The king and all the people set out on foot, pausing 109  at a spot 110  some distance away. 15:18 All his servants were leaving with him, 111  along with all the Kerethites, all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites – some six hundred men who had come on foot from Gath. They were leaving with 112  the king.

15:19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why should you come with us? Go back and stay with the new 113  king, for you are a foreigner and an exile from your own country. 114  15:20 It seems like you arrived just yesterday. Today should I make you wander around by going with us? I go where I must go. But as for you, go back and take your men 115  with you. May genuine loyal love 116  protect 117  you!

15:21 But Ittai replied to the king, “As surely as the Lord lives and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king is, whether dead or alive, 118  there I 119  will be as well! 15:22 So David said to Ittai, “Come along then.” 120  So Ittai the Gittite went along, 121  accompanied by all his men and all the dependents 122  who were with him.

15:23 All the land was weeping loudly 123  as all these people were leaving. 124  As the king was crossing over the Kidron Valley, all the people were leaving 125  on the road that leads to the desert. 15:24 Zadok and all the Levites who were with him were carrying the ark of the covenant of God. When they positioned the ark of God, Abiathar offered sacrifices until all the people had finished leaving 126  the city.

15:25 Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back to the city. If I find favor in the Lord’s sight he will bring me back and enable me to see both it and his dwelling place again. 15:26 However, if he should say, ‘I do not take pleasure in you,’ then he will deal with me in a way that he considers appropriate.” 127 

15:27 The king said to Zadok the priest, “Are you a seer? 128  Go back to the city in peace! Your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan may go with you and Abiathar. 129  15:28 Look, I will be waiting at the fords of the desert until word from you 130  reaches me.” 15:29 So Zadok and Abiathar took the ark of God back to Jerusalem and remained there.

15:30 As David was going up the Mount of Olives, he was weeping as he went; his head was covered and his feet were bare. All the people who were with him also had their heads covered and were weeping as they went up. 15:31 Now David 131  had been told, “Ahithophel has sided with the conspirators who are with Absalom. So David prayed, 132 Make the advice of Ahithophel foolish, O Lord!

15:32 When David reached the summit, where he used to worship God, Hushai the Arkite met him with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. 15:33 David said to him, “If you leave 133  with me you will be a burden to me. 15:34 But you will be able to counter the advice of Ahithophel if you go back to the city and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king! Previously I was your father’s servant, and now I will be your servant.’ 15:35 Zadok and Abiathar the priests will be there with you. 134  Everything you hear in the king’s palace 135  you must tell Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 15:36 Furthermore, their two sons are there with them, Zadok’s son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan. You must send them to me with any information you hear.” 136 

15:37 So David’s friend Hushai arrived in the city, just as Absalom was entering Jerusalem.

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