Amnon and Tamar
After some time, David’s son Amnon fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of David’s son Absalom. Amnon was sick with frustration over his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed implausible for him to do anything to her.
Now Amnon had a friend named Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimeah.* Jonadab was a very shrewd man, so he asked Amnon, “Why are you, the son of the king, so depressed morning after morning? Won’t you tell me?”
Amnon replied, “I am in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”
Jonadab told him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend you are ill. 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 it in my sight so I may watch her and eat it from her hand.’ ”
So Amnon lay down and feigned illness. When the king came to see him, Amnon said, “Please let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my sight, so that I may eat from her hand.”
Then David sent word to Tamar at the palace: “Please go to the house of Amnon your brother and prepare a meal for him.”
So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon, who was lying down. She took some dough, kneaded it, made cakes in his sight, and baked them. Then she brought the pan and set it down before him, but he refused to eat. “Send everyone away!” said Amnon. And everyone went out.
10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the bedroom, so that I may eat it from your hand.”
Tamar took the cakes she had made and went to her brother Amnon’s bedroom. 11 And when she had brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her and said, “Come lie with me, my sister!”
12 No, my brother!” she cried. “Do not humiliate me, for such a thing should never be done in Israel. Do not do this disgraceful thing! 13 Where could I ever take my shame? And you would be like one of the fools in Israel! Please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.”
14 But Amnon refused to listen to her, and being stronger, he violated her and lay with her.
15 Then Amnon hated Tamar with such intensity that his hatred was greater than the love he previously had. “Get up!” he said to her. “Be gone!”
16 No,” she replied, “sending me away is worse than this great wrong you have already done to me!”
But he refused to listen to her. 17 Instead, he called to his attendant and said, “Throw this woman out and bolt the door behind her!”
18 So Amnon’s attendant threw her out and bolted the door behind her. Now Tamar was wearing a robe of many colors, because this is what the king’s virgin daughters wore. 19 And Tamar put ashes on her head and tore her robe. And putting her hand on her head, she went away crying bitterly.
20 Her brother Absalom said to her, “Has your brother Amnon been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister. He is your brother. Do not take this thing to heart.”
So Tamar lived as a desolate woman in the house of her brother Absalom.
21 When King David heard all this, he was furious. 22 And Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad, because he hated Amnon for disgracing his sister Tamar.
Absalom’s Revenge on Amnon
23 Two years later, when Absalom’s sheepshearers were at Baal-hazor near Ephraim, he invited all the sons of the king. 24 And he went to the king and said, “Your servant has just hired shearers. Will the king and his servants please come with me?”
25 No, my son,” the king replied, “we should not all go, or we would be a burden to you.” Although Absalom urged him, he was not willing to go, but gave him his blessing.
26 “If not,” said Absalom, “please let my brother Amnon go with us.”
Why should he go with you?” the king asked.
27 But Absalom urged him, so the king sent Amnon and the rest of his sons.§
28 Now Absalom had ordered his young men, “Watch Amnon until his heart is merry with wine, and when I order you to strike Amnon down, you are to kill him. Do not be afraid. Have I not commanded you? Be courageous and valiant!”
29 So Absalom’s young men did to Amnon just as Absalom had ordered. Then all the other sons of the king got up, and each one fled on his mule.
30 While they were on the way, a report reached David: “Absalom has struck down all the sons of the king; not one of them is left!”
31 Then the king stood up, tore his clothes, and lay down on the ground; and all his servants stood by with their clothes torn.
32 But Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimeah, spoke up: “My lord must not think they have killed all the sons of the king, for only Amnon is dead. In fact, Absalom has planned this since the day Amnon violated his sister Tamar. 33 So now, my lord the king, do not take to heart the report that all the sons of the king are dead. Only Amnon is dead.”
Absalom Flees to Geshur
34 Meanwhile, Absalom had fled. When the young man standing watch looked up, he saw many people coming down the road west of him,* along the side of the hill. And the watchman went and reported to the king, “I see men coming from the direction of Horonaim, along the side of the hill.”
35 So Jonadab said to the king, “Look, the sons of the king have arrived! It is just as your servant said.”
36 And as he finished speaking, the sons of the king came in, wailing loudly. Then the king and all his servants also wept very bitterly.
37 Now Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. But David mourned for his son every day.
38 After Absalom had fled and gone to Geshur, he stayed there three years. 39 And King David longed to go to Absalom,§ for he had been consoled over Amnon’s death.
* 13:3 Shimeah is a variant of Shammah, Shimea, and Shimei; see 1 Samuel 16:9, 1 Chronicles 2:13, and 2 Samuel 21:21. 13:18 Or a robe with long sleeves; see also Genesis 37:3. 13:21 DSS and LXX include But he would not punish his son Amnon, because he loved him, since he was his firstborn. § 13:27 LXX and Vulgate include And Absalom prepared a feast fit for a king. * 13:34 Or behind him 13:34 LXX; Hebrew does not include And the watchman.... 13:39 MT; DSS and LXX And the spirit of the king § 13:39 Or ceased to go out after Absalom