In these chapters we see the fulfillment of Nathan’s prophecy to David, “Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, for you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. Thus says the Lord: I will raise up trouble against you from within your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this very sun.” (2 Samuel 12:10-11)
In chapter 13, we find that Amnon is a lusty man just like his father before him. Of course, most men are no different than Amnon or David regarding sexual desire. The only difference with David and Amnon from most of us is that they had power and opportunity to fulfill their desires to the Nth degree. That is part of what makes their story so interesting.
In this case, Amnon lusts after his half-sister, Tamar. Amnon’s friend Jonadab comes up with a crafty scheme so that Amnon and Tamar may be alone together. In those moments alone, Amnon rapes Tamar, despite the fact that Tamar says to him, “Now therefore, I beg you speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you.” (2 Samuel 13:13) Tamar sees no problem with becoming the wife of her half-brother, perhaps because there is a history of this in Israel. Remember Abraham and Sarah?
At any rate, Amnon does not listen to Tamar and so he rapes her instead. Apparently, the male members of this family have not learned very much about delayed gratification.
When David hears of this, he is very angry but does nothing, apparently because he favors Amnon. The danger of favoritism is something we have encountered already in our study of the Hebrew Scriptures. Remember the story of Jacob and his son Joseph?
Tamar’s full brother, Absalom, is provoked enough by the actions of his half brother Amnon to want to kill him. However, Absalom bides his time; two years later he arranges to have Amnon killed at a family party which David chooses not to attend.
Afterwards, Absalom flees to the home of his grandfather Talmai, king of Geshur, and remains there in exile for three years. David has mixed emotions. He mourns the death of his beloved Amnon, but eventually his heart yearns for his living son, Absalom.
Despite this yearning, David does not bring Absalom home until his general, Joab, cleverly urges him to this end. Joab sends a woman of Tekoa to tell David a story; once again, David is convinced by a story. He is convinced that he needs to forgive Absalom and welcome him home. However, though David gives permission for Absalom to come home, he does not see him for two years. This incomplete forgiveness causes anger to fester in Absalom, an anger that leads him to plot how he can usurp the throne of David.
Eventually, Absalom’s conspiracy succeeds and David is forced out of Jerusalem. Absalom then goes into his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel, that is, in a tent pitched on the roof of the palace.
Amazingly, David handles all of this with great grace. Once again, we see David praying to the Lord. Specifically he prays that the Lord will turn the advice of his counselor Ahithophel, who has gone over to Absalom, into foolishness. Then, during David’s departure from Jerusalem, when he is cursed by Shimei (a member of the household of Saul) David does not respond, though he could instantly have the man killed. Rather, David trusts the Lord to repay him with good if this cursing is undeserved.
David’s actions in this case remind me of the words of Abraham Lincoln….
If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.