David’s Problem Sons

2 Samuel 13-14

Amnon, David’s first son, lusts after his beautiful sister Tamar to the point of obsession. He asks his advisor for a plan to get Tamar alone with him so he can seduce her. She refuses to be disgraced and Amnon rapes her then sends her out.

When King David heard all this, he was furious. And Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar. 2 Samuel 13:21-22

Absalom’s anger boiled inside of him. Two years later, he exacts his revenge and has Amnon killed. It’s an odd story, but part of it includes David listening to Jonadab son of Shimeah, his brother, the same “advisor” that gave Amnon the plan to rape Tamar. In this narrative, Jonadab tells David the rumor of all of his sons being killed is inaccurate, “only Amnon is dead” (2 Samuel 13:32). Absalom fled and hid for three years. “And King David longed to go to Absalom, for he was consoled concerning Amnon’s death.” (2 Samuel 13:39)

Chapter 14 describes Joab’s effort to reinstate Absalom by having David forgive him. Joab uses a wise women to tell David a story that convicts him and compels him to have Joab retrieve Absalom. Joab goes and gets Absalom with a proviso:

Then Joab went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. But the king said, “He must go to his own house; he must not see my face.” So Absalom went to his own house and did not see the face of the king. 2 Samuel 14:23-24

After another two years, Absalom demands to see the king, but Joab refuses to even come to him, so Absalom sets Joab’s field on fire to get his attention (I’m thinking it is not a good idea to make Joab angry).

So Joab went to the king and told him this. Then the king summoned Absalom, and he came in and bowed down with his face to the ground before the king. And the king kissed Absalom 2 Samuel 14:33

We pick up the story of Absalom tomorrow.


2 Samuel 3:2-3

Sons were born to David in Hebron:
His firstborn was Amnon the son of Ahinoam of Jezreel;
his second, Kileab the son of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel;
the third, Absalom the son of Maakah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; …

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