Scripture reading – 2 Samuel 13

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We recall that the prophet Nathan admonished David for his adultery with Bathsheba and warned that his hands were stained with the blood of Uriah (2 Samuel 12:7-9). The prophet forewarned, “10Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me…Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house” (2 Samuel 12:10-11).

David did confess and repent of his sins, but only after Nathan confronted him (2 Samuel 12:13). Yet, though the law demanded an adulterer’s death (Leviticus 20:10), the LORD was gracious and spared the king’s life (2 Samuel 12:13b). Nevertheless, the consequences of David’s sins would haunt him to his grave.

Nathan foretold, “By this deed [adultery and the death of Uriah] thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:14). The immediate consequence of David’s sin was the death of the son borne by Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:14-15, 18-20); however, that was but the beginning of the sorrows David would face within his household.

2 Samuel 13

2 Samuel 13 begins with a familiar expression: “And it came to pass” (2 Samuel 13:1). What God declared would “come to pass” did, and David could not escape the consequences of his sins. Tragically, his sons followed their father’s sinful ways.

Amnon’s Lust Toward Tamar, and Absalom’s Murderous Revenge (13:1-20)

Tragic is an apt description of events recorded in 2 Samuel 13. Here were recorded incest (Amnon, the eldest son of David, entrapped and raped Tamar, his half-sister, who was the sister of Absalom, 13:1-14); murder (for Absalom sought revenge and ordered his servants to kill his half-brother Amnon, 2 Samuel 13:15-29); and irreconcilable sorrows (not only was Amnon killed, but Absalom fled from Israel). David mourned not only the death of his eldest son but also the loss of Absalom, 2 Samuel 13:31-39).

Several spiritual lessons are found in 2 Samuel 13.

Amnon’s friendship with Jonadab, his cousin, a sly, cunning man (2 Samuel 13:3), provoked him to inconceivable wickedness (1 Corinthians 15:33). Amnon had failed to put away wicked lusts (for incest is a grievous sin forbidden by the Law, Leviticus 18:9). When Jonadab questioned him, Amnon verbalized the wickedness in his heart, and thus breached a moral barrier to sin (2 Samuel 13:4). It was one thing to regard sin in his thoughts but another to speak of it.

Rather than reprove Amnon, Jonadab enticed him with a plot that inevitably defiled the virgin, Tamar. When she protested, Amnon raped her and then “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” (2 Samuel 13:15). Amnon’s infatuation with Tamar was not love. He entertained forbidden lust and, in an act of physical violence, raped his sister.

Amnon had no remorse, and after stealing his sister’s purity, he humiliated her further and ordered his servants to cast her out of his home (2 Samuel 13:11-17).

Closing thoughts –

We must not overlook a sad pattern of failures that emerged in David’s home. The king had failed to confront the sins of his household, and I suggest his weakness resulted from his moral shortcomings. His sins sacrificed his moral authority and made his administration of justice weak and compromised.

When David learned that Amnon, his eldest, had raped his sister, he was furious…but he did nothing! (2 Samuel 13:21) The king’s failure to act as a loving, caring father and a righteous judge (for so was his role as king), provoked Absalom, to avenge his sister’s honor (2 Samuel 13:18-20, 22-29). Two years passed (2 Samuel 13:23), and Absalom plotted to slay his brother.

David was overcome with weeping and sorrow when he learned Amnon was dead (2 Samuel 13:31, 36). Nevertheless, the king’s failure to confront the sin in his household eventually cost him two sons, for Amnon was dead, and Absalom was departed (2 Samuel 13:37-39).


“Be sure your sin will find you out!” (Numbers 32:23)

Questions to ponder –

  • Who was Tamar, and what was the name of her father? (2 Samuel 13:1)
  • What was the name of Tamar’s half-brother who violated her purity? (2 Samuel 13:1-2)
  • Who was Jonadab, and how did the Scriptures describe him? (2 Samuel 13:3)
  • What was the plan Jonadab suggested to Amnon to ensnare his half-sister, Tamar? (2 Samuel 13:5-6)
  • What was Amnon’s attitude toward Tamar after he raped her? (2 Samuel 13:15)
  • How did Absalom avenge his sister’s rape? (2 Samuel 13:26-28)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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