2 Samuel

2 Samuel - Lesson 13

Chapter 13:1-22

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  • David’s fall into sin and his unwillingness to repent have led him to the place where God had to deal with His sin

    • The process began with the Lord revealing David’s sin to the prophet Nathan, who in turn confronted David about it

      • To his credit, David immediately confessed and repented, which was characteristic of David’s heart overall

      • David was not a man who gloried in sin nor practiced sin, as the New Testament would describe it

      • David was a sinful man, yes, but he desired for better, so even when he did fall, he was quick to return to the Lord in humility 

    • If we catalogued all of David’s positive, godly traits, I believe David’s humility in repentance was perhaps his most admirable quality 

      • And that’s why this section of our study on David’s failings is so valuable

      • It’s not merely a look at what David did wrong…it’s an examination of how David responded well to those failures 

    • In this example, David committed serious sin, perhaps the most serious sins a person can commit in the case of adultery and murder 

      • Initially for several years, David failed to hide his sin, and the Lord graciously gave David time to repent

      • And we have to wonder what would have happened had David confessed on his own? Would his son have lived?

      • We can’t know because David never took that path

  • Instead, it required the Lord to expose it for him and to bring consequences against David as discipline so the Lord could protect His name, He said

    • As we learned last week, the Lord needed the world to see that David’s sin brought severe consequences so no one could claim God approved

      • The nation of Israel was to be a light to the world, meaning they were representatives of God’s righteous ways

      • And so when the leader of God’s people behaved in ways more consistent with pagans than with God, the Lord had to act

      • As the prophet Nathan explained to David:

2Sam. 12:14 “However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.”
  • Nevertheless, the Lord showed grace delaying the child’s death for a week giving David time with him, which David used to plead with God

    • In the end the Lord did as He declared by taking the child home, and David learned a valuable lesson 

    • So David ended his pleading and mourning and accepted the discipline of the Lord with humility and moved on

  • David went directly from his child’s bedside to worship before the Lord, humbly recognizing his part in these circumstances 

    • He also recognized the Lord’s right to discipline him in the way that God chose, as David wrote in the psalms

Psa. 51:3  For I know my transgressions, 
And my sin is ever before me.
Psa. 51:4  Against You, You only, I have sinned 
And done what is evil in Your sight, 
So that You are justified when You speak 
And blameless when You judge.
  • David said he knew His God is a God of righteous judgment, and therefore He is blameless in whatever He does, and yet He is also a God of mercy and grace

    • And these two sides of God’s nature often work hand-in-hand, sometimes in the very same set of circumstances

      • So even as God was disciplining David for his sin, the Lord was also prepared to bless David for his humility 

      • This pattern can confuse us at times, since we commonly expect only one or the other from someone in authority

      • Either we do good and get rewarded or go poorly and get punished, but we never expect both at the same time

      • But God’s ways are not man’s ways

    • We pick up near the end of Chapter 12

2Sam. 12:24  Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her; and she gave birth to a son, and he named him Solomon. Now the LORD loved him
2Sam. 12:25 and sent word through Nathan the prophet, and he named him Jedidiah for the LORD’S sake.
  • First, we’re told David comforts his wife in her sorrow over the loss of her son, and this must have been a difficult conversation for David to have

    • David is obviously fully repentant at this point, but we don’t know where his wife was at this point

    • Does she blame God for her son’s death? Was she willing to acknowledge her own culpability in the situation? 

    • Has she forgiven David for killing Uriah?

    • Sometimes the hardest step in accepting God’s discipline with humility is helping others in your life accept it with you 

  • Then David and Bathsheba conceive again, and the new son is born probably around 991 BC, and David names the boy Solomon

    • The name Solomon comes from the Hebrew word shalom, meaning fullness, completeness or peace

    • His name probably reflects both David’s peace with God having been forgiven and restored from his sin

    • And also Solomon’s time ruling Israel in peace, since Solomon ruled over a kingdom largely absent external threats 

  • Curiously, the prophet Nathan chooses to give the boy another name, Jedidiah, which means beloved of Yahweh 

    • It says Nathan assigned Solomon this additional name for the Lord’s sake, meaning to honor the Lord for His work in David’s life

    • Jedidiah was Nathan’s pet name for Solomon, not a name Solomon ever used, and the name is never mentioned again

  • Now clearly we see the grace of God at work in David’s life in giving David another son, almost as if to replace the one that died

    • Every child we receive is the result of a conscious, purposeful decision by God to bring a new life into existence through us

      • And of course, this child is no different…the Lord has chosen to bless David and Bathsheba with another son

      • And therefore, the birth of this son is evidence by itself that the Lord is still willing to bless David

    • And as we move on, we see further evidence of God’s sovereign purpose in all this, as God foretold that this new son would one day rule

      • Later in his life, David tells Solomon how the Lord spoke to David before Solomon was conceived

1Chr. 22:7 David said to Solomon, “My son, I had intended to build a house to the name of the LORD my God.
1Chr. 22:8 “But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to My name, because you have shed so much blood on the earth before Me.
1Chr. 22:9 ‘Behold, a son will be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days.
1Chr. 22:10 ‘He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’
  • At some point before Solomon’s conception, the Lord revealed His plans to David to give him a son who would build a house for the Lord

    • This moment in 1 Chronicles 22 probably happened early in David’s life soon after the death of David’s son

    • The Lord appeared to David and comforted him with the knowledge that he would have another son

    • And the Lord said the son’s name would be Solomon and he would build a house to the Lord in this age

  • You’ll remember another moment in Chapter 7 when David was contemplating building a house for the Lord

    • The events of that chapter happen near the end of David’s life after Solomon is already alive

    • So apparently, David returned to the thought of building a house for God later in life as he felt self-conscious in his palace 

  • At that time the Lord told David not to pursue the idea, because He had plans for a future descendant who would build a permanent house 

    • That promise was the Davidic Covenant, which says that a descendant of David, Jesus, would reign in a day to come

    • Meanwhile, God told David earlier that his son, Solomon, would build a lessor house in his day

    • But either way, David wasn’t going to build a temple for the Lord

  • So the point here is David knew Solomon was going to be born before Bathsheba conceived

    • Which reinforces our understanding of the sovereignty of God in all that happened between him and Bathsheba

      • At the end of v.24, the writer says the Lord loved Solomon, and this is an important statement that holds great meaning

      • This is one of those times in the Bible when the Lord uses the term “love” to mean chose or selected 

    • The most famous example is found in Malachi:

Mal. 1:2  “I have loved you,” says the LORD. But you say, “How have You loved us?” “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob;
Mal. 1:3 but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness.”
  • The Lord tells Israel that He has loved them, and then the Lord says, “You will ask Me how I loved you?”

  • At that time, the nation of Israel was still recovering from years spent in exile as God’s discipline against His people for their sin

  • And the Lord knows that His people were questioning His love for them in light of that great hardship

  • So the Lord says I will show how you know that I love you: I chose you to be My people

    • The Lord points back to the moment that He chose one brother over another which led to Israel coming from Jacob

    • In fact, the Lord changed Jacob’s name to Israel reflecting that God intended to bring a nation from this man 

  • So the Lord reminded Israel that they can see His love for them in that He chose them for His covenant

    • And at the same time God did not choose Esau, and not choosing Esau is expressed as the Lord hated Esau

    • Esau’s descendants have no future and no blessing from God unlike Jacob

  • From this passage we come to understand that to be chosen by God is to be loved by God, and to be passed over by God is to be “hated” by God

    • Later, in Romans Paul points to this text in teaching that all who descend from Abraham are God’s chosen people

Rom. 9:10 And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac;
Rom. 9:11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls,
Rom. 9:12 it was said to her, “THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.”
Rom. 9:13 Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.”
  • Paul draws from Malachi 9 using the same phraseology…God loved Jacob, meaning God chose Jacob, and Esau He didn’t

  • And this makes perfect sense…to be chosen by God is to be loved by God, and to not be chosen is not to be loved (or we say to be hated)

    • This isn’t a description of God’s emotions…God didn’t have better “feelings” for Jacob over Esau

    • In fact, Paul emphasizes that this choice was made while the sons were in the womb before they did anything good or bad

    • In that way we would see that it was by God’s choice that one received good things and one received bad things

    • God makes such choices all the time, because that’s what it means to be sovereign…to have authority over every outcome

  • Knowing this, we come back to 2 Samuel 12 to find God saying that He loved Solomon, and now we understand it means God chose him

    • We heard this already from David in 1 Chronicles 22 when David recounted how the Lord said He had chosen his son Solomon

    • That’s what this writer is saying also here in 2 Samuel 12…Solomon was God’s choice to succeed David

  • The writer needs to tell us this now because Solomon was not the expected choice

    • Normally, the oldest son of the king would be expected to inherit the throne at the death of the father

      • David’s first born son was Amnon, while Solomon was the 7th born son of David

      • So Solomon was far down the pecking order for succession

    • But God chose Solomon as David’s successor, just as the Lord told David He would, and that choice supersedes anything that men expected

      • And it’s notable that David’s successor would come by the woman that David took through adultery and murder

      • And it’s also notable that this son would be a uniquely wise and powerful king in all the history of Israel, save only Christ Himself

    • These details are proof that we cannot sin our way out of God’s grace, nor does our sin separate us from the love of God

      • Most of us were raised to believe that bad people should get bad outcomes, while good people should get good outcomes

      • The problem is that from God’s perspective, every human being is bad…there is none who do good, no not one Romans 3 says

    • So therefore the only way for God to ever give us something good is by His grace, not because we merit good things

      • When you understand this, then you can make sense of why God put one son to death as discipline and gave another as grace…

      • God is not rewarding David’s bad behavior…God is showing David grace, undeserved merit

      • And both acts were good for David…because God disciplines us as a blessing, and so everything that comes from God is good

  • God used David’s greatest sin to ultimately produce David’s greatest blessing, his son Solomon

    • In grace, God granted David another son through Bathsheba and assigned this new son earthly prominence and spiritual significance

      • Truly, this is an example of Paul’s statement in Ephesians:

Eph. 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,
Eph. 3:21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
  • God does this for all His children, blessing us even as we sin and sometimes even if we aren’t ready or willing to repent

    • Clearly, we should expect discipline when we sin and perhaps blessing when we don’t

    • But that’s not a rule nor does it predict God’s behavior 

    • God turns all circumstances to good, so He often mixes discipline with other forms of blessing at the same time 

  • Interestingly, the son that was taken from David and Bathsheba could never have received the blessings that Solomon received

    • He was conceived out of wedlock, so he was a bastard son, and as such he could not have been king of Israel

Deut. 23:2 “No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the LORD; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the LORD.
  • So the only way the Lord could bless an offspring of David and Bathsheba with the throne was to give a new son

  • And in addition to blessing David with a new son, the Lord continues to bless David and the nation in warfare, leading to a defeat of the Ammonites

2Sam. 12:26  Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the sons of Ammon and captured the royal city.
2Sam. 12:27 Joab sent messengers to David and said, “I have fought against Rabbah, I have even captured the city of waters.
2Sam. 12:28 “Now therefore, gather the rest of the people together and camp against the city and capture it, or I will capture the city myself and it will be named after me.”
2Sam. 12:29 So David gathered all the people and went to Rabbah, fought against it and captured it.
2Sam. 12:30 Then he took the crown of their king from his head; and its weight was a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone; and it was placed on David’s head. And he brought out the spoil of the city in great amounts.
2Sam. 12:31 He also brought out the people who were in it, and set them under saws, sharp iron instruments, and iron axes, and made them pass through the brick kiln. And thus he did to all the cities of the sons of Ammon. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.
  • The war against the Ammonites had been raging on and off for some time now

    • Remember, years earlier David had Uriah killed in battle against these same Ammonites 

    • And it would seem the Lord left Israel’s victory out of reach for as long as David hid his sin

    • But once the sin was exposed, and David had repented, then the Lord was ready to move His plan for Israel forward 

  • Here again, as David goes, so goes the nation, so not only is David moving back to a place of blessing, so is the nation 

    • And that’s why the author of 2 Samuel includes this account here at the conclusion of the story of David and Bathsheba 

    • He’s making the connection that because of David’s restoration, now the Lord was willing to bring about the Ammonites’ defeat

  • And the story starts with a summary statement in v.26 as we’re told Joab captures the Ammonites’ royal city, their capital city, Rabbah

    • The rest of the passage explains how that happened, beginning with Joab sending word to David

      • Joab speaks as if the deal were already done saying he has captured Rabbah because he captured their water supply

      • Without water, he knew the city couldn’t last more than a short time, so Joab calls for David to share in the final victory

      • Joab wryly adds that if David hesitates, Joab will win without him and name it for himself

    • So David sends his entire army of men to the battle, and with the extra manpower, Joab succeeds in taking Rabbah

      • Part of the spoil was the crown of the king of the Ammonites, which weighed a talent of gold, which was about 75 lbs

      • It’s very unlikely that David (or any king) ever wore a crown this heavy, or even let it rest on his head

      • It was a symbol of power, so when v.30 says Joab placed it on David’s head, we can probably imagine that several men held it

    • But the imagery is certainly powerful…David victorious over perhaps Israel’s most dangerous enemy, and gaining more power and riches 

      • The spoil of the battle is brought to Jerusalem in great amounts we’re told in v.30

      • And the people living in all the cities of Ammon were enslaved and made to work for Israel 

      • These same people had long done the same to Israel, tormenting the people of Israel for centuries, but now they cease to exist

  • The story of David’s victory over the Ammonites sits as bookends in the story of David’s sin, and as such, it shows how our walk with the Lord gets sidetracked

    • The Lord’s work in our life proceeds until we get sidetracked in sin or worldliness, and then He pauses our progress with Him

      • He leads us through that battle with our flesh and through discipline if necessary until we repent and return

      • Then our walk and our progress in other areas of our life picks up again where we left off

    • In a sense, everything is progress, because even during the pause, He is moving us away from our wayward path walking us back to the narrow

      • But we tend to see spiritual progress only in terms of big changes happening around us or through us

      • While God measures spiritual progress by what happens inside us, which makes the pauses the most important times of growth 

    • When you’re not making progress in plans and goals and “ministry,” it’s probably because the Lord is busy attending to something inside you

      • When we’ve repented, put away our sin, and learned the lesson, then He will open new doors for the next spiritual adventure

      • The three chapters of David and Bathsheba give us a vivid example of that pattern 

      • David’s “ministry” was leading Israel in defeat of their enemies and in growing prosperity

      • But his walk was sidetracked at times while the Lord contended  with personal issues in David’s life

  • Our next section beginning in Chapter 13 is the longest single section of the book running from Chapters 13-20

    • The section is another telling of David’s failures and their impact on the nation of Israel 

      • But unlike the section we just studied, the sin driving this section doesn’t stand out so obviously

      • The principle sin driving this section will be David’s choice to take multiple wives and the consequential rivalries that resulted

      • Adding to those consequences will be David’s hesitation to implement the will and law of God

      • The consequences of these sins lead to some of David’s sons dying and David being forced to leave Jerusalem for a time

    • The story begins with three new characters, Amnon, Absalom and Tamar

2Sam. 13:1 Now it was after this that Absalom the son of David had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar, and Amnon the son of David loved her.
2Sam. 13:2 Amnon was so frustrated because of his sister Tamar that he made himself ill, for she was a virgin, and it seemed hard to Amnon to do anything to her.
  • Absalom is David’s third-born son by Maacah, and David also had a daughter by Maacah called Tamar

    • David’s first-born son, Amnon, was born to a different wife named Ahinoam

    • Technically, these three children of David are half-brother and half-sister, sharing the same father but different mothers

    • Both Amnon and Absalom were in their early 20s, born to David while he was still in Hebron waiting to become king over Israel

    • Tamar, the full sister of Absalom, was probably in her early teens 

  • And one of the consequences of David’s sin of taking multiple wives were these unnatural desires and jealousies between families  

    • David’s son Amnon finds his half-sister, Tamar, attractive to the point of distraction and lusts after her

      • He is so infatuated with her he makes himself ill, because he sees she was unmarried and yet he can’t see a way to have her

      • Under the Law of Moses, a half-brother couldn’t take his half-sister as a wife, which is why he sees no way to marry her

    • So Amnon is frustrated at the prospect of being unable to have her for himself and it’s depressing him greatly 

      • But then a friend offers a solution of sorts

2Sam. 13:3 But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother; and Jonadab was a very shrewd man.
2Sam. 13:4 He said to him, “O son of the king, why are you so depressed morning after morning? Will you not tell me?” Then Amnon said to him, “I am in love with Tamar, the sister of my brother Absalom.”
2Sam. 13:5 Jonadab then said to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill; when your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come and give me some food to eat, and let her prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat from her hand.’”
  • Jonadab, the son of one of David’s brothers, was Amnon’s cousin and also a cousin to Absalom and Tamar, and he was a shrewd young man
    • When the Bible calls a person shrewd, it’s usually not a compliment, and certainly not in this case

    • This young man notices that his cousin, Amnon, was depressed day after day and presses for an explanation 

  • Amnon confides in Jonadab that he is in love with his half sister, Tamar, Jonadab sees opportunity to ingratiate himself to Amnon

    • Jonadab is smart, but not in a godly way, and Amnon is easily influenced for the worse by his cousin

    • These two serve as poster children for Paul’s comment in 1 Corinthians 15 that bad company corrupts good morals

    • Only in this case it’s more a case of bad company makes bad morals worse

  • Jonadab tells Amnon to set a trap for Tamar by pretending to be sick and then asking David to send Tamar with food

    • In that day, a young, unmarried woman was not typically in the company of young, unmarried men

      • Had Amnon sought her company under normal circumstances, it would have raised concerns and questions

      • Preparing food was exclusively the work of women, so it became the perfect excuse to ask for Tamar

      • But by pretending to be ill, Amnon’s request will seem harmless 

    • Why does Jonadab want to help this cousin? Because Jonadab wants to gain a friend in David’s successor

      • Amnon was the first-born of David, so Amnon was most likely to become king after David died, or so Jonadab thought

      • On the other hand, Tamar’s brother, Absalom, was the strongest leader among the sons of David

    • So shrewd Jonadab sees an opportunity to pit one brother against another and either way he gains favor

      • If Amnon becomes king, then Amnon will remember Jonadab’s helpful counsel

      • But by encouraging Amnon to take Tamar, he sets up Absalom to take revenge and eliminate a rival  

      • Either way, he can play the situation to his advantage to gain the favor of the winner

    • So Amnon takes the advice and the plan moves ahead

2Sam. 13:6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill; when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand.”
2Sam. 13:7 Then David sent to the house for Tamar, saying, “Go now to your brother Amnon’s house, and prepare food for him.”
2Sam. 13:8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house, and he was lying down. And she took dough, kneaded it, made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes.
2Sam. 13:9 She took the pan and dished them out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, “Have everyone go out from me.” So everyone went out from him.
  • Obviously, the point of this plan is for Amnon get Tamar alone so he can force himself on her when no one could help her

    • We call this rape, of course, and it’s no coincidence that one of David’s sons is about to sin in a way very similar to the way his father sinned

      • The acorn doesn’t fall from the tree and the hens have come home to roost, etc.

      • In other words, David’s sin with Bathsheba has consequences for the way his sons think and act toward women

      • And there is a basic biblical principle (and a principle of human nature) that says the parents’ sin influences their children’s sin

    • And David displays some naiveté here by agreeing to send Tamar to her half-brother’s bed

      • She works in a room adjacent to his bedroom making bread, and through the doorway he can watch her work

      • Once more, his eyes see something that provokes lust and lust is consummated in sin as we learned before

    • So when she was ready to serve him, he orders the other servants out of his bedroom and orders her to bring the food herself

2Sam. 13:10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the bedroom, that I may eat from your hand.” So Tamar took the cakes which she had made and brought them into the bedroom to her brother Amnon.
2Sam. 13:11 When she brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.”
2Sam. 13:12 But she answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this disgraceful thing!
2Sam. 13:13 “As for me, where could I get rid of my reproach? And as for you, you will be like one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.”
2Sam. 13:14 However, he would not listen to her; since he was stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her.
  • As she offers him the bread, he grabs her arm and demands she lie with him 

  • She begs him as her brother not to violate her for such a thing was not proper in Israel

  • She’s speaking both of the general violation of an unmarried woman and the specific sin of incest 

    • In that time the one and only thing of value a woman had to offer a husband in marriage was her virtue

      • If that was taken from her, she would find it very difficult to attract an honorable man and might remain unmarried for life

      • She asks him where she could get rid of her approach, meaning that since they couldn’t marry, there was no way to be made whole 

Deut. 22:28 “If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered,
Deut. 22:29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days.
  • So she can’t be restored by marrying him, and since there was no way he could keep her, he would be seen as a fool in Israel

  • And then as a final try at escaping, she suggests Amnon talk to David to ask for Tamar’s hand in marriage

    • She certainly must have known that David would have refused the marriage, but she suggests this option as a delaying tactic

    • She’s looking for any way she can to keep her half-brother from taking this step

  • In the end, he overpowers her, rapes her and sets in motion a cascade of devastation in David’s family

2Sam. 13:15 Then Amnon hated her with a very great hatred; for the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up, go away!”
2Sam. 13:16 But she said to him, “No, because this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you have done to me!” Yet he would not listen to her.
2Sam. 13:17 Then he called his young man who attended him and said, “Now throw this woman out of my presence, and lock the door behind her.”
2Sam. 13:18 Now she had on a long-sleeved garment; for in this manner the virgin daughters of the king dressed themselves in robes. Then his attendant took her out and locked the door behind her.
2Sam. 13:19 Tamar put ashes on her head and tore her long-sleeved garment which was on her; and she put her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went.
  • As soon as the act was complete, Amnon’s lust for Tamar turned to hatred, and in fact the hatred was greater than the passion he had previously felt

    • This response is evidence that Amnon’s attraction for Tamar had been entirely selfish and fleshly, if not downright demonic 

      • Once his flesh obtained what it desired, he reacted with self-loathing, which came out of him as a hatred for Tamar

      • He begins to blame the object of his lust for his feelings of guilt and the awareness that he will face consequences 

    • Sexual sin is somewhat unique in this respect…it’s an action that can’t be reversed, has lasting ramifications, and the body itself is one of the victims

      • As Paul says, speaking about sexual sin

1Cor. 6:18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.
  • Immorality refers to sexual immorality, and Paul says flee this sin particularly because it demoralizes and desecrates our own body

  • And that has effects on our mind and heart that are far greater than we may realize until much later 

  • Amnon shows that effect immediately as he throws Tamar out of the room

    • But she is now trying to salvage something of the situation for herself

    • Though the Law prohibited a marriage between them, she was grasping at straws hoping that a solution might be found

    • The one thing she didn’t want was to be rejected by the only man who could marry her with her honor intact 

  • But Amnon would not have it, and so he compounds his sin by sending her away a violated woman with no prospects

    • Amnon calls for his servants to throw her out of the room, and the text says that she wore a long outer cloak

      • The writer is making the subtle point that this outer cloak obscured any evidence of her having been violated 

      • So the servants take her out without knowing what transpired between them and lock the door so she can’t return

    • With no hope, she tears her garments in distress and mourning and weeps loudly as she goes

      • Naturally, her hysterics attract attention and that leads to the next part of the story…

2Sam. 13:20 Then Absalom her brother said to her, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? But now keep silent, my sister, he is your brother; do not take this matter to heart.” So Tamar remained and was desolate in her brother Absalom’s house.
2Sam. 13:21 Now when King David heard of all these matters, he was very angry.
2Sam. 13:22 But Absalom did not speak to Amnon either good or bad; for Absalom hated Amnon because he had violated his sister Tamar.
  • As she returns to her family home, her brother Absalom immediately suspects the cause and asks if Amnon had raped her

    • The very fact that Absalom knew to ask that specific question tells us that Amnon’s desire for his sister is not a secret

    • Somehow he knew that his half-brother was on the hunt for Tamar

    • So now when she has shown up in torn clothing and crying, he is ready to ask that question

  • He tells his sister to be silent, meaning she should not say anything more about it and do not let it trouble your heart

    • He’s promising he will take care of her in his home as spinster forever since she is unlikely to ever be married off

    • So we’re told she remained in her brother’s house desolate

  • This sounds like Absalom is being kind and brotherly, and he is to a degree, but he’s also working an angle here for himself

    • He wants to keep the incident quiet to allow him time to take revenge and advance his path to the throne

    • Absalom sees an opportunity to take out a rival for the throne in a semi-legitimate manner when the timing is right

  • But if Absalom saw this coming, then certainly David should have known also, and that makes his decision to send Tamar to Amnon all the more foolish

    • And even more surprising, in v.21 David learns of this incident, probably from the servants, and he is very angry

      • But what’s surprising is what the text doesn’t say…there is no further commentary on David’s response to Amnon’s sin

      • Under the law, a man who did what Amnon did to Tamar was to be cut off from the nation, which generally meant to die

      • So David should have immediately acted against Amnon to keep the Law in defense of his daughter and for righteousness sake

    • But David does nothing at all, and that plays into Absalom’s hands, for had David done the right thing, then Absalom’s plan would have ended

      • Although David’s sexual sin gets the most attention, David’s hesitation to merit out timely justice was a close second 

      • He failed to bring justice against Joab for killing Abner and that has longterm consequences for him and the nation

      • And here again, David fails to deal swiftly with the sin of Amnon, and as a result it leads to a coup and the loss of two more sons

  • On the one hand it’s easy to understand David’s hesitation to condemn his first-born son, but on the other hand what of his daughter, Tamar?

    • It seems David’s loyalties and desire to please and be loved clouded his judgment of right and wrong

      • Love without justice leads to injustices like the one visited upon Tamar

      • Not only did David not defend Tamar afterward, he allowed the situation in the first place by not dealing with Amnon’s lust

    • Again, if Absalom could know so easily what happened to his sister, then clearly the word was out about Amnon’s intentions

      • And it’s hard to believe no one would have warned the king that his daughter might be in danger

      • Maybe that’s why David didn’t act against his son for the rape…perhaps David felt that the blame rested with him 

    • Or perhaps David hesitated because he felt like a hypocrite in judging his son for taking a step similar to David’s own sin

      • Yes, David didn’t rape his sister, but he did have a man murdered

      • So David could hardly say his son’s sin was worse, but of course that wasn’t the standard for justice

    • God’s Law doesn’t demand that we be sinless before an authority can hold someone else accountable to the Law

      • But it does demonstrate the difficulty of standing up for righteousness when we ourselves aren’t standing there

      • We are likely to shrink back from doing right by someone else when we aren’t doing right by God

    • So whether out of misplaced affections or guilt, David doesn’t act against Amnon 

      • David is sinning against the Law of Moses by not holding his son accountable

      • And that decision has long and devastating consequences 

    • These events set up Absalom’s revenge which itself leads to a coup and the ripping apart of David’s family and Israel’s government 

      • Sin has consequences for all of us

      • And when you’re king of Israel, your sin has consequences for an entire nation