2 Samuel 13 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Like father, like son – so the saying goes. In this case, like father, likes sons.
The unraveling of David’s household is revealed quite brutally in the immediate chapter following his repentance and consequent consequences that would follow. I think about this thought alone: he was forgiven for all but the grief that would come to him personally would seemingly never leave. He would be forced to face time and again what these choices had brought; what hardship he would endure; and yes, what absolute sorrow and grief that would press in on him within his own family.
For some of these thoughts, I wonder if when David looked at his sons, he saw reflections of himself. Adultery and murder were David’s sins. His boys were fast on his same tracks with Amnon raping his half-sister Tamar and Absalom murdering his brother Amnon. His own example, they had witnessed. Did his own bad example bring them to these choices? Even more interesting and actually disturbing, Matthew Henry questions if David’s larger grief was due to his unwittingly being made an accessory to both by sending Tamar to Amnon and Amnon to Absalom.
It’s hard to imagine that David who was such a great warrior, truly a great man of faith who had yes, fallen but been restored – was such a terrible parent. He was a horrible father. He didn’t deal with the sin of Amnon. He didn’t lead with his own household. With Absalom, he didn’t rebuke or reign things in. The passage says when David heard these things, he was angry. As he should be! His own daughter was violated. The loss of her virginity in the ancient days, meant she was marked for the rest of her life, more than likely never to marry.
And he didn’t do anything about it! This would have, of course, set a different storyline for what Absalom had done had David just dealt with it. But this would be the very unraveling of things predicted to come.
In Exodus 20:5 God spoke of the sins of the father carrying on for up to 4 generations. These generational curses are passed on through the modeling of the parent and pointing children toward sin. Had David dealt with Amnon according to the word of God, the laws of God, Absalom would have never felt he could do what he did.
Choices have consequences, no doubt. But even through such things we lead through our example. We are making impressions upon people by how we respond, what we do, where we go, reactions and follow through continually. If the saying is true, ‘Like father, like son’, what are our own children being modeled that they will too be the same? Yes, the good, the bad and the ugly. What are those who have been entrusted to us in discipleship relationships, mentoring and leadership training that is being modeled and learned?
Sobering thought? I hope so. We lead through example and we are leading right now whether we recognize it or not.
2 Samuel 13 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
What a mess here in 2 Samuel 13! It’s hard to know where to begin.
Amnon was obsessed. The thought of sinning consumed him. He seemingly had no relief from these lustful thoughts about his half-sister. But when he finally got what he wanted, we read that it only enraged him.
“But he refused to listen to her, and because he was stronger than she was, he raped her. 15 After this, Amnon hated Tamar with such intensity that the hatred he hated her with was greater than the love he had loved her with. “Get out of here!” he said.”2 Samuel 13:14-15 HCSB
The satisfaction he had hoped for turned out to be a mirage. But this shouldn’t surprise us. Sin always seems fulfilling but it never fails to disappoint. Amnon got what he wanted but he couldn’t stand to look at Tamar anymore because her presence was a reminder of the heinous act he had just committed so he orders her to leave. You would think she would want to leave at this point, but she begs him not to throw her out. Why?
Culturally, Amnon still had some options. He could have married Tamar or, at the very least, obeyed the law by paying the bridal price. This monetary amount was given due to the fact that she was now considered “damaged goods” and not being a virgin would severely hinder her chances of finding a husband.
“If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and he has sexual relations with her, he must certainly pay the bridal price for her to be his wife. 17 If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must pay an amount in silver equal to the bridal price for virgins.”Exodus 22:16-17 HCSB
This is why Tamar is furious that she is being thrown out. Not only was she raped, she now must live with the reality that she will probably never get married – and Amnon refuses to pay up like the law requires.
Word finally gets back to David but he refuses to step in and handle the situation, most likely because Amnon was his first-born son. The other reason we know David did nothing is because Absalom began plotting his murder of Amnon that day. Had David stepped in, Absalom would never have thought to take vengeance the way that he did.
On top of this, David was the ideal candidate to sit down with Amnon and offer correction. David knew firsthand the devastating consequences of lust!