Reading through the Bible together
Scandals in chapter after chapter are all linked to David. Again this chapter records the embarrassing moments of one of the sons of David, Amnon. He fell in love with a sister of one of David's other sons, Absalom. He pretended to be ill and was assisted by another bad person, the nephew of David, Jonadab. Jonadab heard of the love of Amnon for Tamar and advised him to pretend to be ill. David sent Tamar to Amnon to bring him food and nurse him back to health, which unknowingly to here played in the hands of the plotters. Tamar and Amnon sat together in the living room to eat but Amnon sent everyone out and asked Tamar to follow him to the bedroom to feed him. He asked her to lie with him and when she refused, he forced her and violated her virginity (verse 14). Amnon’s conscience turned bitter and he hated his sister. She had a longsleeved garment on that virgins use to dress with and when she was thrown out of Amnon's room, she tore her garment and wept. She went to Absalom in great distress and stayed in his house. When David heard about it, he was very angry (verse 21).
Absalom hated Amnon for what he did to his sister and two years later he came up with a wicked plan to go to a sheepshearer farm of his and invite all David's sons, including Amnon, for a feast. Then he asked his servants to kill Amnon when he is drunk with wine. The servants killed Amnon and the rest of David's sons stood up and fled on their mules. News came to David and to say the least David was very shocked. Absalom had ordered this because of the rape of Tamar. The evil Jonadab asked David not to weep about the loss of Amnon since it was only one of his sons.
Then Absalom fled to another city and hid there for three years. David longed to see his son, Absalom. It is a chapter of "burning bridges", rape-crimes, incest, revenge assassination, hatred, depression, and separation from loved ones. The one who advised the evil became the comforter of David. How ironic. It’s like the shopping-list of Satan, and all these things happened, because David opened the gates of his life in chapter 11. The sin that connects all these events is found in David and in his giving in to Satan to bring Bathsheba to the palace which has cost him this painful experience.
Help us not to be so selfrighteous as to realize that if we quietly witness wickedness of this kind and not saying anything, we are in essence condoning the crime and passively participate in its approval. Keep us in the hollow of Your Hands. Amen.
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea