Amnon loves Tamar
1After some time, David's son, Amnon, began to love Tamar. She was the beautiful sister of David's son, Absalom. 2Amnon became ill because he wanted his sister Tamar so much. But she had never slept with a man and it seemed difficult for Amnon to do anything to her.
3But Amnon had a friend called Jonadab. He was the son of David's brother Shimeah. And he seemed to know what to do about anything. 4He asked Amnon, ‘Why do you seem so sad every morning? Tell me about your trouble.’
Amnon said to him, ‘I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister.’
Jonadab suggests a bad idea to Amnon
5‘Go to bed. Say that you are ill’, said Jonadab. ‘Your father will come to see you. Then you can ask him that your sister Tamar might come to give you something to eat. Say, “Please let me see her make food. And then let her feed me with it.” ’
6So Amnon went to bed. He said that he was ill. When the king came to see him, Amnon spoke to him. ‘Please let my sister Tamar come. I want her to make some special bread while I watch her. Then she can feed me with it.’
7David sent a servant to Tamar. ‘Go to your brother Amnon and make some food for him’, he said. 8So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house. He was in his bed. She took flour and water and she mixed them well. She made cakes while he watched her. And she baked them.
Amnon has sex with Tamar
9Then she took some and she gave them to him. But he would not eat them.
‘Send everyone out of here’, Amnon said. So everyone left him. 10Then Amnon said to Tamar, ‘Bring the food here into my bedroom so that you can give it to me with your own hands.’ So Tamar took the cakes that she had made. And she brought them to Amnon in his bedroom. 11But when she went to him he took hold of her. And he said, ‘Come to bed with me, my sister.’
12‘Do not do it, my brother’, she said. ‘Do not cause me to do a wrong thing like that. We in Israel should not do things like that. It is an evil thing. 13Think about me. Nobody would honour me. I would be ashamed and I would not be able to hide myself. And nobody would honour you. People would think that you were like the worst men in Israel. Speak to the king. I am sure that he will let you marry me.’ 14But he refused to listen to her and he was stronger than she. So he took her and he had sex with her.
Amnon causes Tamar to be put out of his house
15Then Amnon hated her. He hated her more than he had loved her. ‘Go away!’ he shouted.
16‘No!’ she said to him. ‘To send me away would be a worse thing to do. It would be worse than the bad thing that you have already done to me.’
But he refused to listen to her. 17He shouted for his special servant. He said to him, ‘Take this woman out of here and lock the door behind her.’ 18So the servant put her out and he locked the door behind her. She was wearing a very beautiful dress. All the king's daughters who were not yet married wore these beautiful clothes. 19Tamar put dirt on her head. And she tore the beautiful dress that she was wearing. She put her face in her hands. And she wept aloud when she went away.
Everyone is very angry with Amnon
20When her brother Absalom saw her he said, ‘I think that my brother Amnon has hurt you! Now be quiet; he is your brother. Do not let it make you angry.’ And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom's house. She was sad and lonely.
21When someone told King David about all this, he was very, very angry. 22Absalom hated Amnon because he had done that very wrong thing to his sister, Tamar. So he would not even speak to him.
Absalom kills Amnon
23After two years, Absalom's servants were cutting the wool from his sheep. That was at Baal Hazor, near to Ephraim's land. Absalom asked all the king's sons to meet him there. 24He spoke to the king. ‘Your servant has men with him to cut the sheep's wool. Would it give the king and his officers pleasure to come too?’ he said.
25‘No, my son’, the king replied. ‘We should not all go. It would cause you too much trouble.’ Absalom asked him again. He refused again, but he gave his blessing to him.
26‘If you will not come, will you let my brother Amnon come?’ Absalom asked.
The king said, ‘I do not know why he should go with you.’ 27But Absalom asked more strongly, so he sent Amnon with the other king's sons.
28Absalom told his servants what they must do. He said, ‘When Amnon has drunk a lot of wine I will say, “Hit him!” Then you will kill him. Do not be afraid. I am causing you to do this. Be strong and brave.’ 29So Absalom's men obeyed him. Then all the king's other sons ran to their mules. They rode away.
30While they were returning, men said to David, ‘Absalom has attacked all the king's sons. Not one son is still alive.’ 31The king stood up and he tore his clothes. Then he fell on the ground and all his servants stood round him. They had torn their clothes, too.
32But Jonadab, son of David's brother, Shimeah spoke. ‘My lord, do not think that they have killed all the king's sons. Only Amnon is dead. Absalom has wanted to do this since Amnon caused his sister Tamar to have sex with him. 33My lord should not believe the report that all the king's sons are dead. Only Amnon is dead.’
Absalom runs away
34While this was happening, Absalom had run away.
A man was standing on the wall of Jerusalem. He watched. And he saw that many people were coming down the hill. They came from the west. He went and he told the king, ‘I saw men towards Horonaim, on the side of the hill.’
35Jonadab said to the king, ‘See, the king's sons are here. It is as I said.’
36While he was speaking, the king's servants came in. They were weeping loudly. The king and all his servants were also weeping. They were very, very sad.
37Absalom ran to Talmai, son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. But King David continued to weep for his son every day.
38After Absalom had run to Geshur he stayed there for three years. 39And the king wanted very much to go to see Absalom. He had stopped being very sad about Amnon's death.