Amnon and Tamar
1Some time later, David’s son Amnon fell in love with Tamar. She was the beautiful sister of Absalom. He was another one of David’s sons.
2Amnon wanted his sister Tamar so much that it made him sick. She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do what he wanted with her.
3Amnon had an adviser named Jonadab. He was the son of David’s brother Shimeah. Jonadab was a very clever man. 4He asked Amnon, “You are the king’s son, aren’t you? So why do you look so worn out every morning? Won’t you tell me?”
Amnon answered, “I’m in love with Tamar. She’s the sister of my brother Absalom.”
5“Go to bed,” Jonadab said. “Pretend to be sick. Your father will come to see you. When he does, tell him, ‘I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food right here in front of me where I can watch her. Then she can feed it to me.’ ”
6So Amnon went to bed. He pretended to be sick. The king came to see him. Amnon said to him, “I would like my sister Tamar to come here. I want to watch her make some special bread. Then she can feed it to me.”
7David sent a message to Tamar at the palace. He said, “Go to your brother Amnon’s house. Prepare some food for him.” 8So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon. He was lying in bed. She got some dough and mixed it. She shaped the bread right there in front of him. And she baked it. 9Then she took the bread out of the pan and served it to him. But he refused to eat it.
“Send everyone out of here,” Amnon said. So everyone left him. 10Then he said to Tamar, “Bring the food here into my bedroom. Please feed it to me.” So Tamar picked up the bread she had prepared. She brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. 11She took it to him so he could eat it. But he grabbed her. He said, “My sister, come to bed with me.”
12“No, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me! An evil thing like that should never be done in Israel! Don’t do it! 13What about me? How could I ever get rid of my shame? And what about you? You would be as foolish as any evil person in Israel. Please speak to the king. He won’t keep me from marrying you.” 14But Amnon refused to listen to her. He was stronger than she was. So he raped her.
15Then Amnon hated Tamar very much. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her before. He said to her, “Get up! Get out!”
16“No!” she said to him. “Don’t send me away. That would be worse than what you have already done to me.”
But he refused to listen to her. 17He sent for his personal servant. He said, “Get this woman out of my sight. Lock the door behind her.” 18So his servant threw her out. Then he locked the door behind her. Tamar was wearing a beautiful robe. It was the kind of robe the virgin daughters of the king wore. 19She put ashes on her head. She tore the beautiful robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away. She was weeping out loud as she went.
20When her brother Absalom saw her, he spoke to her. He said, “Has Amnon, that brother of yours, forced you to go to bed with him? My sister, don’t let it upset you. Don’t let it bother you. He’s your brother.” After that, Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house. She was very lonely.
21King David heard about everything that had happened. So he became very angry. 22And Absalom never said a word of any kind to Amnon. He hated Amnon because he had brought shame on his sister Tamar.
Absalom Kills Amnon
23Two years later, Absalom invited all the king’s sons to come to Baal Hazor. It was near the border of Ephraim. The workers who clipped the wool off Absalom’s sheep were there. 24Absalom went to the king. He said, “I’ve had my workers come to clip the wool. Will you and your attendants please join me?”
25“No, my son,” the king replied. “All of us shouldn’t go. It would be too much trouble for you.” Although Absalom begged him, the king still refused to go. But he gave Absalom his blessing.
26Then Absalom said, “If you won’t come, please let my brother Amnon come with us.”
The king asked him, “Why should he go with you?” 27But Absalom begged him. So the king sent Amnon with him. He also sent the rest of his sons.
28Absalom ordered his men, “Listen! When Amnon has had too much wine to drink, I’ll say to you, ‘Strike Amnon down.’ When I do, kill him. Don’t be afraid. I’ve given you an order, haven’t I? Be strong and brave.” 29So Absalom’s men killed Amnon, just as Absalom had ordered. Then all the king’s sons got on their mules and rode away.
30While they were on their way, a report came to David. It said, “Absalom has struck down all your sons. Not one of them is left alive.” 31The king stood up and tore his clothes. Then he lay down on the ground. All his attendants stood near him. They had also torn their clothes.
32Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimeah, spoke up. He said, “You shouldn’t think that all the princes have been killed. The only one who is dead is Amnon. Absalom had planned to kill him ever since the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar. 33You are my king and master. You shouldn’t be concerned about this report. It’s not true that all your sons are dead. The only one who is dead is Amnon.”
34While all of that was taking place, Absalom ran away.
The man on guard duty at Jerusalem looked up. He saw many people coming on the road west of him. They were coming down the side of the hill. He went and spoke to the king. He said, “I see men coming down the road from Horonaim. They are coming down the side of the hill.”
35Jonadab said to the king, “See, your sons are coming. It has happened just as I said it would.”
36As he finished speaking, the king’s sons came in. They were weeping out loud. The king and all his attendants were also weeping very bitterly.
37When Absalom ran away, he went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud. Talmai was king of Geshur. King David mourned many days for his son Amnon.
38So Absalom ran away and went to Geshur. He stayed there for three years. 39After some time the king got over his sorrow because of Amnon’s death. Then King David longed to go to Absalom.