Second Samuel 13 Commentary
When the grace lifts, evil reigns. It is very difficult for us to divorce events in this chapter from events in chapter 11. In chapter 11, David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and later murdered her husband, Uriah.
Absalom’s beautiful sister Tamar is raped by Amnon. Amnon is Absalom’s half-brother and both are David’s children. David is furious. But Absalom has other plans. After two years, Absalom kills Amnon and flees to Geshur, to his maternal grandfather’s house. The family is in disarray.
David didn’t sign for this. But again, when grace is lifted, evil takes charge. Who would have guessed what a brief moment of moral failure would bring? We are still counting the troubles for David.
For Amnon, the punishment is immediate. Evil is punished by evil. Even the pleasure he had hoped to derive from his wickedness is non-existent. Amnon discovered what every man eventually discovers: sin is not good after all. As the first-born son of David, Amnon was easily the undisputed heir to the throne. A moment of madness can be very costly.
Looking at Tamar is chocking and makes this chapter very difficult to read. To say David is furious is an understatement. It is a father’s constant nightmare.
Without justifying Amnon’s wickedness, we have an ungodly culture to look at. It’s only David who thought of Tamar as Amnon’s sister. Amnon didn’t see a sister. Absalom saw a sister. The fact is that the culture that encouraged polygamous marriages didn’t help Amnon’s situation. Men who go in that direction expect children from different mothers to look at each other as sisters and brothers but it is rarely that way.
“He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” Matthew 19 verse 8. It would be for the same hardness of heart that Moses allowed them to have more than one wife, but even then the law specifically discouraged kings from having many wives.
“Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.” Deuteronomy 17 verse 17.
By taking many wives to himself, David is in breach of the above injunction. It is the purpose of this commentary that men are encouraged to look back at the purposes of the LORD from the very beginning. We had cried and wished with everyone for a king in the Book of Judges. We saw what became of Saul and were sad. The LORD also regretted having made Saul king. Here we are with David counting scandals from a place that should be radiating righteousness. Then we know the search for perfection is on. Only in Jesus is perfection achieved.
The world is invited to have a look at Jesus again. He is perfection itself. He can be followed on all social media platforms. He can be a friend. He can be your hero. In him, the world has the perfect leader. Begin with the Gospel of John in the Bible and see what this Jesus is all about. He is the purpose for which this commentary exists.
The chapter closes with David longing to see his son Absalom. In essence, he had lost both sons. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.
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