[2-Samuel 13:1] AND IT CAME TO PASS AFTER THIS, THAT ABSALOM THE SON OF DAVID HAD A FAIR SISTER, WHOSE NAME WAS TAMAR; AND AMNON THE SON OF DAVID LOVED HER.
There is an emphasis in this tale from the beginning on Absalom.
Amnon was the firstborn of David and may have considered himself the prime candidate to succeed David. Absalmon and Tamar were apparently brother and sister from the same mother and father whereas Amnon was related tot hem only through David and had a different mother.
"AND UNTO DAVID WERE SONS BORN IN HEBRON: AND HIS FIRSTBORN WAS AMNON, OF AHINOAM THE JEZREELITESS;
.AND THE THIRD, ABSALOM THE SON OF MAACAH THE DAUGHTER OF TALMAI KING OF GESHUR
The mother of Absalom was the daughter of a foreign king and according to tradition she was a captive woman.
WHEN THOU GOEST FORTH TO WAR AGAINST THINE ENEMIES, AND THE LORD THY GOD HATH DELIVERED THEM INTO THINE HANDS, AND THOU HAST TAKEN THEM CAPTIVE,
AND SEEST AMONG THE CAPTIVES A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN, AND HAST A DESIRE UNTO HER, THAT THOU WOULDEST HAVE HER TO THY WIFE;
THEN THOU SHALT BRING HER HOME TO THINE HOUSE, AND SHE SHALL SHAVE HER HEAD, AND PARE HER NAILS;
AND SHE SHALL PUT THE RAIMENT OF HER CAPTIVITY FROM OFF HER, AND SHALL REMAIN IN THINE HOUSE, AND BEWAIL HER FATHER AND HER MOTHER A FULL MONTH: AND AFTER THAT THOU SHALT GO IN UNTO HER, AND BE HER HUSBAND, AND SHE SHALL BE THY WIFE. [Deuteronomy 21:11-13]
<< FAIR>>: Hebrew Yafah" i.e. beautiful. Absalom. her brother, was also extremely good looking, as it says later,
BUT IN ALL ISRAEL THERE WAS NONE TO BE SO MUCH PRAISED AS ABSALOM FOR HIS BEAUTY: FROM THE SOLE OF HIS FOOT EVEN TO THE CROWN OF HIS HEAD THERE WAS NO BLEMISH IN HIM [2-Samuel 14:25]
[2-Samuel 13: AND AMNON WAS SO VEXED, THAT HE FELL SICK FOR HIS SISTER TAMAR; FOR SHE WAS A VIRGIN; AND AMNON THOUGHT IT HARD FOR HIM TO DO ANYTHING TO HER.
<<THOUGHT IT HARD>>: Hebrew "va-yipalei" connoting miraculous, wondrous, hardly possible. IN HIS EYES: Scripture implies that there was in fact a possible way that Amnon could have married Tamar as explained below.
[2-Samuel 13:3] BUT AMNON HAD A FRIEND, WHOSE NAME WAS JONADAB, THE SON OF SHIMEAH DAVID'S BROTHER: AND JONADAB WAS A VERY SUBTIL MAN.
[2-Samuel 13:4] AND HE SAID UNTO HIM, WHY ART THOU, BEING THE KING'S SON, LEAN FROM DAY TO DAY? WILT THOU NOT TELL ME? AND AMNON SAID UNTO HIM, I LOVE TAMAR, MY BROTHER ABSALOM'S SISTER.
[2-Samuel 13:5] AND JONADAB SAID UNTO HIM, LAY THEE DOWN ON THY BED, AND MAKE THYSELF SICK: AND WHEN THY FATHER COMETH TO SEE THEE, SAY UNTO HIM, I PRAY THEE, LET MY SISTER TAMAR COME, AND GIVE ME MEAT, AND DRESS THE MEAT IN MY SIGHT, THAT I MAY SEE IT, AND EAT IT AT HER HAND.
<<MEAT>>: This is the KJ translation and in Old English "meat" could have meant food in general. The Hebrew here is "Lechem" meaning "bread".
[2-Samuel 13:6] SO AMNON LAY DOWN, AND MADE HIMSELF SICK: AND WHEN THE KING WAS COME TO SEE HIM, AMNON SAID UNTO THE KING, I PRAY THEE, LET TAMAR MY SISTER COME, AND MAKE ME A COUPLE OF CAKES IN MY SIGHT, THAT I MAY EAT AT HER HAND.
<<CAKES>>: Hebrew: "Levavot" meaning pancakes fried in olive oil.
[2-Samuel 13:7] THEN DAVID SENT HOME TO TAMAR, SAYING, GO NOW TO THY BROTHER AMNON'S HOUSE, AND DRESS HIM MEAT.
<<MEAT>>: Hebrew "HaBiriah". This is a play on words. "Bari" means "healthy" and HaBiriah" connotes something to restore health. It also connotes something made out of grain. The word "BAR" in Hebrew means grain and is the probable source of the English word "barley".
[2-Samuel 13:8] SO TAMAR WENT TO HER BROTHER AMNON'S HOUSE; AND HE WAS LAID DOWN. AND SHE TOOK FLOUR, AND KNEADED IT, AND MADE CAKES IN HIS SIGHT, AND DID BAKE THE CAKES.
[2-Samuel 13:9] AND SHE TOOK A PAN, AND POURED THEM OUT BEFORE HIM; BUT HE REFUSED TO EAT. AND AMNON SAID, HAVE OUT ALL MEN FROM ME. AND THEY WENT OUT EVERY MAN FROM HIM.
[2-Samuel 13:10] AND AMNON SAID UNTO TAMAR, BRING THE MEAT INTO THE CHAMBER, THAT I MAY EAT OF THINE HAND. AND TAMAR TOOK THE CAKES WHICH SHE HAD MADE, AND BROUGHT THEM INTO THE CHAMBER TO AMNON HER BROTHER.
[2-Samuel 13:11] AND WHEN SHE HAD BROUGHT THEM UNTO HIM TO EAT, HE TOOK HOLD OF HER, AND SAID UNTO HER, COME LIE WITH ME, MY SISTER.
[2-Samuel 13:12] AND SHE ANSWERED HIM, NAY, MY BROTHER, DO NOT FORCE ME; FOR NO SUCH THING OUGHT TO BE DONE IN ISRAEL: DO NOT THOU THIS FOLLY.
Fornication is forbidden in Israel as it says:
DO NOT PROSTITUTE THY DAUGHTER, TO CAUSE HER TO BE A WHORE; LEST THE LAND FALL TO WHOREDOM, AND THE LAND BECOME FULL OF WICKEDNESS [Leviticus 19:29] .
Here the words translated as PROSTITUTE, WHORE, WHOREDOM, are all derived from the root "ZaNeH" meaning to depart from the right path especially in sexual matters. It is the source of the English word "sin".
Apart from that Israelites are forbidden to commit rape or to tolerate acts of rape:
AND THE SONS OF JACOB CAME OUT OF THE FIELD WHEN THEY HEARD IT: AND THE MEN WERE GRIEVED, AND THEY WERE VERY WROTH, BECAUSE HE HAD WROUGHT FOLLY IN ISRAEL IN LYING WITH JACOB'S DAUGHTER: WHICH THING OUGHT NOT TO BE DONE [Genesis 34:7]
Tamar said: "NO SUCH THING OUGHT TO BE DONE IN ISRAEL" and thus repeated what is said in Genesis: WHICH THING OUGHT NOT TO BE DONE.
FOLLY: Hebrew "Navalah" : "something despicable and ugly" (Metsudat Zion).
[2-Samuel 13:13] AND I, WHITHER SHALL I CAUSE MY SHAME TO GO? AND AS FOR THEE, THOU SHALT BE AS ONE OF THE FOOLS IN ISRAEL. NOW THEREFORE, I PRAY THEE, SPEAK UNTO THE KING; FOR HE WILL NOT WITHHOLD ME FROM THEE.
<<FOOLS>>: Hebrew "Havavalim" plural of "Nabal". "The lower and despicable types" (Metsudat Zion).
" I PRAY THEE, SPEAK UNTO THE KING; FOR HE WILL NOT WITHHOLD ME FROM THEE." What does this mean? It is forbidden to have intercourse with one's sister whether through the father or mother. Several possible solutions exist but the one that would seem the most likely is that of the Sages.
Originally only the daughter of the same mother was forbidden to marry her father. Later when Israelite influence spread amongst the Gentiles the prohibition was universally extended to brothers and sister from either side but in principle the basic law for Gentiles remained. It was also accepted in those times for close kin to intermarry. The pharaohs of Egypt usually married their sisters. In the east for generation after generation it was accepted for first cousins and uncles and nieces to marry. Usually nothing untoward happened though in Arab society an impaired child might be done away with. Close marriages emphasize family qualities for better or for worse and in many cases in the past it could have been for the better. At that time the Genetic stock was younger and there may have been less deleterious genes whose reinforcement had to be avoided.
There existed the Written Law and Oral Tradition that was basically as it is now but more fluid and many laws that are now accepted were not then in practice.
Tamar was the daughter of a captured Gentile woman and conceived as a Gentile. Technically even if she had converted she was not legally the brother of Amnon and according to both Israelite Law (as it then stood) and Gentile custom she could have married Amnon.
Absalom was the full biological brother of Tamar and therefore Scripture emphasizes this but Absalom was probably younger than her and conceived after their mother had become a full-fledged Israelite.
Technically Absalom in Israelite Law could also have married Tamar but he would not have been allowed to do so since Gentile Law would not permit it and Israelite Law tries not to allow things forbidden to Gentiles.
[2-Samuel 13:14] HOWBEIT HE WOULD NOT HEARKEN UNTO HER VOICE: BUT, BEING STRONGER THAN SHE, FORCED HER, AND LAY WITH HER.
[2-Samuel 13:15] THEN AMNON 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 13:16] AND SHE SAID UNTO HIM, THERE IS NO CAUSE: THIS EVIL IN SENDING ME AWAY IS GREATER THAN THE OTHER THAT THOU DIDST UNTO ME. BUT HE WOULD NOT HEARKEN UNTO HER.
[2-Samuel 13:17] THEN HE CALLED HIS SERVANT THAT MINISTERED UNTO HIM, AND SAID, PUT NOW THIS WOMAN OUT FROM ME, AND BOLT THE DOOR AFTER HER.
[2-Samuel 13:18] AND SHE HAD A GARMENT OF DIVERS COLOURS UPON HER: FOR WITH SUCH ROBES WERE THE KINGS DAUGHTERS THAT WERE VIRGINS APPARELLED. THEN HIS SERVANT BROUGHT HER OUT, AND BOLTED THE DOOR AFTER HER.
<<A GARMENT OF DIVERS COLOURS>>: Hebrew "Cotonet Pasim" the same as that of Joseph.
"NOW ISRAEL LOVED JOSEPH MORE THAN ALL HIS CHILDREN, BECAUSE HE WAS THE SON OF HIS OLD AGE: AND HE MADE HIM A COAT OF MANY COLOURS.
"AND WHEN HIS BRETHREN SAW THAT THEIR FATHER LOVED HIM MORE THAN ALL HIS BRETHREN, THEY HATED HIM, AND COULD NOT SPEAK PEACEABLY UNTO HIM [Genesis 373-:4].
This coat was of colored stripes (passim) or interlaced squares (Gersonides) like Tartan. The colors denoted rank and so too the more colors in a tartan design the higher the rank of the person wearing it is supposed to be.
The brothers of Joseph resented his "coat of many colors" not because he had received a present from their father and they had not but because the coat indicated that Joseph was to be ranked higher than they were.
[2-Samuel 13:19] AND TAMAR PUT ASHES ON HER HEAD, AND RENT HER GARMENT OF DIVERS COLOURS THAT WAS ON HER, AND LAID HER HAND ON HER HEAD, AND WENT ON CRYING.
[2-Samuel 13:20] AND ABSALOM HER BROTHER SAID UNTO HER, HATH AMNON THY BROTHER BEEN WITH THEE? BUT HOLD NOW THY PEACE, MY SISTER: HE IS THY BROTHER; REGARD NOT THIS THING. SO TAMAR REMAINED DESOLATE IN HER BROTHER ABSALOM'S HOUSE.
[2-Samuel 13:21] BUT WHEN KING DAVID HEARD OF ALL THESE THINGS, HE WAS VERY WROTH.
[2-Samuel 13:2 AND ABSALOM SPAKE UNTO HIS BROTHER AMNON NEITHER GOOD NOR BAD: FOR ABSALOM HATED AMNON, BECAUSE HE HAD FORCED HIS SISTER TAMAR.
Absalom by keeping silent did not reveal his hatred. He therefore left the stage open for Amnon and even David to interpret the situation as they wished it to be. Amnon would have preferred that the event had never occurred but since it had happened it was easier for him to distance it from his mind and imagine to himself that Absalom was not an interested party.
[2-Samuel 13:23] AND IT CAME TO PASS AFTER TWO FULL YEARS, THAT ABSALOM HAD SHEEPSHEARERS IN BAALHAZOR, WHICH IS BESIDE EPHRAIM: AND ABSALOM INVITED ALL THE KING'S SONS.
<<EPHRAIM>>: Opinions are greatly divided as to the location of these places and as to whether "Ephraim" means the territory of Ephraim or a city named Ephraim or something else entirely.
[2-Samuel 13:24] AND ABSALOM CAME TO THE KING, AND SAID, BEHOLD NOW, THY SERVANT HATH SHEEPSHEARERS; LET THE KING, I BESEECH THEE, AND HIS SERVANTS GO WITH THY SERVANT.
[2-Samuel 13:25] AND THE KING SAID TO ABSALOM, NAY, MY SON, LET US NOT ALL NOW GO, LEST WE BE CHARGEABLE UNTO THEE. AND HE PRESSED HIM: HOWBEIT HE WOULD NOT GO, BUT BLESSED HIM.
[2-Samuel 13:26] THEN SAID ABSALOM, IF NOT, I PRAY THEE, LET MY BROTHER AMNON GO WITH US. AND THE KING SAID UNTO HIM, WHY SHOULD HE GO WITH THEE?
[2-Samuel 13:27] BUT ABSALOM PRESSED HIM, THAT HE LET AMNON AND ALL THE KING'S SONS GO WITH HIM.
[2-Samuel 13:28] NOW ABSALOM HAD COMMANDED HIS SERVANTS, SAYING, MARK YE NOW WHEN AMNON'S HEART IS MERRY WITH WINE, AND WHEN I SAY UNTO YOU, SMITE AMNON; THEN KILL HIM, FEAR NOT: HAVE NOT I COMMANDED YOU? BE COURAGEOUS, AND BE VALIANT.
[2-Samuel 13:29] AND THE SERVANTS OF ABSALOM DID UNTO AMNON AS ABSALOM HAD COMMANDED. THEN ALL THE KING'S SONS AROSE, AND EVERY MAN GAT HIM UP UPON HIS MULE, AND FLED.
[2-Samuel 13:30] AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHILE THEY WERE IN THE WAY, THAT TIDINGS CAME TO DAVID, SAYING, ABSALOM HATH SLAIN ALL THE KING'S SONS, AND THERE IS NOT ONE OF THEM LEFT.
[2-Samuel 13:31] THEN THE KING AROSE, AND TARE HIS GARMENTS, AND LAY ON THE EARTH; AND ALL HIS SERVANTS STOOD BY WITH THEIR CLOTHES RENT.
[2-Samuel 13:3 AND JONADAB, THE SON OF SHIMEAH DAVID'S BROTHER, ANSWERED AND SAID, LET NOT MY LORD SUPPOSE THAT THEY HAVE SLAIN ALL THE YOUNG MEN THE KING'S SONS; FOR AMNON ONLY IS DEAD: FOR BY THE APPOINTMENT OF ABSALOM THIS HATH BEEN DETERMINED FROM THE DAY THAT HE FORCED HIS SISTER TAMAR.
[2-Samuel 13:33] NOW THEREFORE LET NOT MY LORD THE KING TAKE THE THING TO HIS HEART, TO THINK THAT ALL THE KING'S SONS ARE DEAD: FOR AMNON ONLY IS DEAD.
[2-Samuel 13:34] BUT ABSALOM FLED. AND THE YOUNG MAN THAT KEPT THE WATCH LIFTED UP HIS EYES, AND LOOKED, AND, BEHOLD, THERE CAME MUCH PEOPLE BY THE WAY OF THE HILL SIDE BEHIND HIM.
[2-Samuel 13:35] AND JONADAB SAID UNTO THE KING, BEHOLD, THE KING'S SONS COME: AS THY SERVANT SAID, SO IT IS.
[2-Samuel 13:36] AND IT CAME TO PASS, AS SOON AS HE HAD MADE AN END OF SPEAKING, THAT, BEHOLD, THE KING'S SONS CAME, AND LIFTED UP THEIR VOICE AND WEPT: AND THE KING ALSO AND ALL HIS SERVANTS WEPT VERY SORE.
[2-Samuel 13:37] BUT ABSALOM FLED, AND WENT TO TALMAI, THE SON OF AMMIHUD, KING OF GESHUR. AND DAVID MOURNED FOR HIS SON EVERY DAY.
<<TALMAI>>: He was the father of the mother of Absalom and Tamar (2-Samuel 3:3). Geshur was in the Golan Heights region in Northern Israel close to Maacah. Geshur was a subject kingdom of David which was allowed a degree of autonomy. David probably could have brought Absalom back and punished him but it seems he did not really want to.
[2-Samuel 13:38] SO ABSALOM FLED, AND WENT TO GESHUR, AND WAS THERE THREE YEARS.
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