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David’s family troubles begin (13:1-14:33)
The first of the foretold disgraces that fell on David’s family followed the same pattern as David’s own sin: sexual immorality followed by murder, with the murderer carefully plotting how to get rid of his victim.
Amnon, David’s eldest son, tried to seduce his half-sister Tamar, but when Tamar resisted him he raped her (13:1-14). Cruelly, Amnon then drove Tamar away, and the young princess cried bitterly at the loss of her virginity in such circumstances (15-19). David knew what had happened but did nothing. Tamar’s brother Absalom also knew, and waited for an opportunity to take revenge on behalf of his sister (20-22).
After two years Absalom got the opportunity he was looking for and had Amnon murdered (23-29). While news of the murder was sent to David (30-33), Absalom fled to the safety of his mother’s family in Geshur (34-39; cf. 3:2-3). David had now lost two sons - an adulterer who was dead and a murderer who was in exile.
Joab apparently wanted to see some stability restored to the royal household, with one man firmly recognized as heir to the throne. That man, in Joab’s opinion, was Absalom. David made no attempt to bring Absalom back from exile, because this would require him to sentence him to death for murder. Joab therefore laid a plan that would enable the king to bring Absalom back safely (14:1-3). He used a woman to win from the king a judgment that in certain circumstances it was not wrong to show mercy to a murderer (4-11). The woman then used this principle to show that David should allow Absalom to return (12-17).
Although David realized that he had been tricked by Joab into making this judgment (18-20), he stuck to his decision and allowed Absalom to return. However, he did not allow Absalom to enter the royal court. In this way he showed firstly that he had not forgiven his son, and secondly that he did not consider Absalom a suitable person to succeed him as king (21-24).
Whatever David’s opinion of Absalom might have been, the people in general were impressed by his handsome appearance (25-27). He was also ambitious and was becoming impatient for power. He had spent three years in exile (see 13:38) and another two years back in Jerusalem, yet he had still not been accepted by the king (28). He decided he would wait no longer. When Joab showed an unwillingness to give him further help, he persuaded Joab to take notice of him by burning Joab’s fields. Without delay Joab arranged for him to meet the king, with the result that he received the king’s pardon. His fierce ambition had at last brought him back into the royal court (29-33).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30