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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
2 Samuel 13

 

 

Verse 1

2 Samuel 13:1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name [was] Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.

Ver. 1. And it came to pass after this.] God’s justice, which seemed to sleep, now beginneth to show itself in the punishment of David’s foul offences.

That Absalom the son of David.] By Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur, whom, say the Rabbins, David had taken prisoner, and knew her before she was proselyted. This haste God might punish in these miscarriages of his children by her.

Whose name was Tamar.] Which signifieth a palm tree; like as Absalom signifieth his father’s peace, and Amnon faithful, stable; but none of them answered their names.

Fallitur augurio spes bona saepe suo.

And Amnon the son of David.] His eldest son, but by another wife: he proved to be one of his tres vomicae, imposthumated ulcers, as Augustus said of his children. (a)

Loved her,] i.e., Lusted after her. Of this the poet speaketh,

Amor est amaror, et melle et felle faeeundissimus:

Gustu dat dulce, amarum ad satietatem usque aggerit. ”

- Plaut. Gist. Act. i.

And to the same sense another,

Non Amor antiquo fuerat sed Amaror ab aevo;

Dicendus cure sit semper amarus Amor. ”

{a} Sueton.


Verse 2

2 Samuel 13:2 And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she [was] a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her.

Ver. 2. And Amnon was so vexed that he fell sick.] So did Antiochus, the son of Seleucus, king of Syria, for the love of his step-mother, Stratonice; so that he was near to death. (a) Mors et Amor comites sunt, et mutant et mutuant aliquando sagittas. (b)

Mutarunt arma inter se Mors atque Cupido:

Haec falcem gestat, gestat at ille facem. ”

The reason hereof is given by some, and it is this: The affections are in the grossest and basest part of the mind, which hath greatest affinity with the body; and thence it is that the vehemency of the affections worketh such bodily distempers.

For she was a virgin.] And therefore of herself more averse from any such unchaste thoughts; and besides, she was strictly kept in, being the king’s daughter especially, and for aught we find, his only daughter.

And Amnon thought it hard.] He knew not how to compass his desire, and therefore lay broiling on the gridiron of his own unruly passions; but the devil found him out a broker.

{a} Appian. Syriat.


Verse 3

2 Samuel 13:3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name [was] Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab [was] a very subtil man.

Ver. 3. But Amnon had a friend.] A friend no friend; a carnal friend, but a spiritual enemy, who advised, for the recovery of his body, the ruin of his soul. Such a false friend to Antiochus was Erasistratus, the physician, who, finding him lovesick, persuaded his father Seleucus to part with his wife Stratonice to him, for the saving of his life.

And Jonadab was a very subtle man.] Ingeniose nequam, witty, but wicked; and therefore a fit tool for the devil to work with. Good natural parts abused prove to be as press money to impiety, - auctoramentum maioris infidelitatis, as one well phraseth it, - and their wisdom culpae suasoria, as Ambrose speaketh. Augustine, writing to such another as this Jonadab, telleth him that the devil desired to be tricked up by him. (a)


Verse 4

2 Samuel 13:4 And he said unto him, Why [art] thou, [being] the king’s son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.

Ver. 4. Why art thou, being the king’s son?] And therefore needest not want for anything. But in addition Amnon should have considered, that in maxima libertate minima licentia, that although the king’s son, yet he should not have desired or done anything unbeseeming his dignity; and Jonadab, had he been a friend indeed, would have told him as much. Antigonus, being invited to a place where a notable harlot was to be present, asked counsel of Menedemus what he should do: he bade him only remember that he was a king’s son.

Lean from day to day.] Heb., Thin every morning; sc., For want of sleep, through thoughtful anxieties by night.

Invidia vel amore vigil torquebere. ” - Horat.

Plato saith, He that is in love liveth in the body of another, but dieth in his own; whilst the whole man macrescit, marcescit et contabescit ex amoris vehementia. Hence Apollonius Tyanaeus the philosopher, when the king of Babylon - devising how to punish a certain young courtier who had lain with a concubine of his - asked him what was the greatest of all tortures, answered, that he could not punish him worse than by suffering him to live in the fire of lust, which would secretly but certainly devour him. (a) Hence that of the poet,

Tristatur, pallet, non dormit, nil edit, ardet,

Nec tamen aegrotat Calliodorus: amat. ”

Wilt thou not tell me?] Who can both keep counsel and give counsel. But what counsel gave he other than what Julia gave Caracalla, her son-in-law, when he said, O si liceret Oh that I might lie with thee! She impudently answered, Si libet licet: imperator dat leges, non aceipit, You may if you will: for an emperor giveth laws to others, he taketh none himself.

I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.] He saith not, My sister, for shame. Sin is a blushful business. This filthy love is the disease which the physicians call Eρων, and is by one not unfitly compared to that shirt which Clytemnestra put upon her husband Agamemnon; or to those asps (b) which Cleopatra applied to her body to suck out her lifeblood; or to those Charonean ditches, mortiferum spiritum exhalantes, that send out a deadly air. Good, therefore, is the tragedian’s counsel,

Recedat a te, temere ne credas, Amor:

Florem decoris singuli ne carpent dies. ”

- Sen. in Octav.


Verse 5

2 Samuel 13:5 And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed, and make thyself sick: and when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him, I pray thee, let my sister Tamar come, and give me meat, and dress the meat in my sight, that I may see [it], and eat [it] at her hand.

Ver. 5. Lay thee down on thy bed, &c.] Pestilent counsel; such as is oft instilled into young princes, to their utter undoing, and the public mischief: Nero, for instance, and our Henry III, who was called Regni dilapadator; and another German prince, of whom it was said, Esset alius, si esset apud alios, he would have been better if he had had better men about him.


Verse 6

2 Samuel 13:6 So Amnon lay down, and made himself sick: and when the king was come to see him, Amnon said unto the king, I pray thee, let Tamar my sister come, and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat at her hand.

Ver. 6. So Amnon lay down, and made himself sick.] He was Cereus in vitium flecti, easily drawn to do evil. He answered Jonadab, upon the matter, as Tiberius did Justinus, I am only thy clay and wax. Oh that we could find men so docile and ductile to that which is good! Sed hoc est magis optabile quam opinabile.

And when the king was come to see him.] As fearing to lose him, like as he had lately done the child of his adultery. But could he have foreseen what shortly followed, he would either have wished himself childless with Augustus, or else have said with Moses in another case, Lord, if thou deal thus with me, "kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness." [Numbers 11:15]

And make me a couple of cakes.] Laganet ante oculos meos duo lagana. Let her prepare me two cordial cakes, such as may refresh my heart; so the word signifieth.


Verse 7

2 Samuel 13:7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon’s house, and dress him meat.

Ver. 7. Go now to thy brother Amnon’s house.] David might have suspected that there was something more than ordinary in this request of Amnon, that there was vipera sub veprecula, an ill intention in this petition. But God had a purpose to chastise him, and therefore suffereth him to be led blindling to do that which he should shortly repent with every vein of his heart, as we say. Sometimes both grace and wit are asleep in the holiest and wariest breasts.


Verse 8

2 Samuel 13:8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house; and he was laid down. And she took flour, and kneaded [it], and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes.

Ver. 8. So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house.] As an ox to the butcher, or as an innocent sheep to the ravenous wolf.

And she took flour, and kneaded it.] This she disdained not to do, though a king’s daughter; neither was she unused to such employments. Rebekah was a dainty cook; so was Sarah before her. Augustus wore no garments but what his wife and daughters made him. Our Queen Katharine, and her successor Anne Boleyn, are famous for their good housewifery; not taking leisure to follow such pastimes as are usual in princes’ courts.


Verse 9

2 Samuel 13:9 And she took a pan, and poured [them] out before him; but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out every man from him.

Ver. 9. But he refused to eat.] As if he had been very sick: and so bade all to go out: then he called for her again, and so forced her. This was the fruit of those base, vain, wanton, capering thoughts, which he should at first have resisted, before they had thus broken out into foul incest; as ill humours in the body do into sores and botches. The poets tell us, that whoso washeth in the river Silenus, is forthwith cured of his love passions. The Stoics say, Aut mentem, aut restim. Let a man either moderate his lusts, or go hang himself. But Amnon might have learned better than all this of his father and other holy prophets, had he more minded their counsel, than that of his cousin Jonadab.


Verse 10

2 Samuel 13:10 And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the meat into the chamber, that I may eat of thine hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought [them] into the chamber to Amnon her brother.

Ver. 10. That I may eat of thine hand.] This he pretended; but he had more mind to feed on those murdering morsels of iniquity, which nourish not, but rend and consume the belly that receiveth them; as being sauced and spiced with the bitter wrath of God, as Job 20:23.


Verse 11

2 Samuel 13:11 And when she had brought [them] unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister.

Ver. 11. Come lie with me, my sister.] Os ferreum! how could he have the face to say thus to a sister? But of some men Seneca saith truly, Nolunt solita peccare, et paudet non esse impudentes, they have put off all manhood, and are become dogs, worse than dogs; such were King Agrippa and Bernice, [Acts 25:13] son and daughter to that Herod mentioned in Acts 12:1, and known to live in detestable incest, saith Josephus.


Verse 12

2 Samuel 13:12 And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.

Ver. 12. Do not force me.] Heb., Do not humble me; sc., by bereaving me of my virginity, which is my chief honour. Custus, quasi καστος, ornatus: αγνος αβ αγος, veneratio.

For no such thing ought to be done in Israel.] As being a holy people, professionally at least. What will the heathen say to this? will not the banks of blasphemy be broken down in them hereupon

Do not thou this folly.] Ne committito flagitium hoc; thus she filleth her mouth with arguments; but to no purpose. (a) As the belly, so that which is beneath it hath no ears. All that Tamar can say in this case is of Davy Dutton’s dream, as the proverb hath it, and he will in no wise heed it. Amantis amentes.


Verse 13

2 Samuel 13:13 And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee.

Ver. 13. And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go?] True it is that Invita virgo vexari potest, violari non potest; { a} A virgin forced may be vexed, but not violated. And Corpora sanctarum mulierum non vis maculat sed voluntas; { b} Not force but consent defileth the bodies of holy women. Nevertheless a ravished Tamar cannot but be ashamed ever after to show her face anywhere: the blot is indelible, like that of an iron mould. Lucretia would not outlive it, nor Paulina, - those Roman ladies.

Thou shalt be as one oy the fools in Israel.] A stigmatic Belialist, no way fit to succeed thy father: which if thou shouldst, yet God would surely cross thee, and curse thee in all thy proceedings. So he did Heraclius that incestuous emperor, who having married Martian his own brother’s daughter, and turning Monothelite, was soon overthrown by the Saracens, and, like the loss of Sennacherib, a hundred and eigthy-five thousand men of his army were found dead in one night without any apparent executioners. Himself also was followed with a strange priapism, which together with a dropsy ended his days, himself being no better esteemed than as one of the fools in Israel; and the rather for those two foolish and impious laws that he made; - one that whosoever would might marry his brother’s daughter, as he had done; the other, that no man should determine whether there were either one or two operations or wills in Jesus Christ.

For he will not withhold me from thee.] This she said, either as one unskilled in the law, which flatly forbiddeth such incestuous marriages, [Leviticus 18:6; Leviticus 18:11] - Papal dispensations in such cases were not then heard of, - or else as one willing, by any means she could make, to get out of his hands.


Verse 14

2 Samuel 13:14 Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.

Ver. 14. He forced her, and lay with her.] A double abomination, either of them deserving death; which because David inflicted not on him, God did. Where we may easily see a hand of justice. As David had committed adultery, made Uriah drunk, and then murdered him: so Amnon committeth incest, is made drunk, and then murdered.


Verse 15

2 Samuel 13:15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her [was] greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.

Ver. 15. Then Amnon hated her exceedingly.] Heb, With great hatred greatly; so did Nero, that shame of mankind, hate his own mother, after that he had carnally known her. So did Semiramis hate her son Ninus; Phaedra her Hippolitus; Medea her Jason, &c. Of these filthy pleasures, a man may break his neck before his fast:

Labor est etiam ipsa voluptas.

At the last, howsoever, it biteth] like a serpent, and stingeth like a cockatrice. [Proverbs 23:32] Amnon was now pricked in conscience, and ashamed of his horrible sin; hence this extreme hatred. Neither was it without the Lord that this foul crime might come abroad to David’s grief, as Martyr noteth, that he might further feel what "an evil and bitter thing sin is."


Verse 16

2 Samuel 13:16 And she said unto him, [There is] no cause: this evil in sending me away [is] greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her.

Ver. 16. There is no cause,] sc., Of adding this inhumanity to thy former impiety. I have given thee no just occasion for so serving me. She had not therefore exasperated him, either by railing upon him, or hurting him in the bustle. We read (a) of a certain seamster who thrust her scissors into the belly of Walter, bishop of Hereford, who would have ravished her, A.D. 1060; but here was no such violence offered, whatever the Rabbins here feign.

This evil … is greater than the other] Because done in cold blood, and not without public notice; whereas else, the rape might have been concealed, and the matter taken up, by repentance, in the judge’s privy chamber of mercy, to the stopping of all open judicial proceedings in court.


Verse 17

2 Samuel 13:17 Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this [woman] out from me, and bolt the door after her.

Ver. 17. Put now this woman out from me.] His evil conscience he could not so easily thrust out of his bosom: this the poets call furies, quia ex furentibus cogitationibus promanant. Oh that we could cast out the idols of our hearts in like sort, saying unto them, Get ye hence! [Isaiah 30:22] Oh that we could, out of pure hatred of our sins, as heartily desire to forego them, as to have them forgiven: to part with them, as to have them pardoned!


Verse 18

2 Samuel 13:18 And [she had] a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king’s daughters [that were] virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.

Ver. 18. A garment of divers colours.] Wrought or embroidered.

For with such robes were the king’s daughters, &c.] So are all God’s children apparelled with the vestis variegata of saving graces [Colossians 3:12 1 Peter 5:5] which maketh them amiable and admirable in the sight of God and all good people.

Then his servant brought her out, &c.] Evil masters are not without evil servants, ready to humour them in anything they command.


Verse 19

2 Samuel 13:19 And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours that [was] on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.

Ver. 19. And Tamar put ashes on her head.] Most grievously bewailing in the open street the loss of her virginity; exclaiming against Amnon, as Chrysostom thinketh, and saying that he had ravished her, lest she should be thought to have been put away as a whore.

And rent her garment of divers colours] To show that her virginity had been by force rent from her.

And laid her hand on her head.] To cover her face, that seat of shamefacedness. See Jeremiah 2:37.

And went on crying.] She cried not out before, that she might have been rescued: but now, like one grown desperate, as not caring what became of her, she made known by her crying what abuse she had suffered.


Verse 20

2 Samuel 13:20 And Absalom her brother said unto her, Hath Amnon thy brother been with thee? but hold now thy peace, my sister: he [is] thy brother; regard not this thing. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house.

Ver. 20. And Absalom her brother said unto her.] For to him she addressed herself, and not to her father, against whom haply she was exasperated in her mind, for sending her to Amnon’s house; which was not the wisest act that ever he did. {See Trapp on "2 Samuel 13:7"}

Hath Amnon thy brother been with thee?] Synechdoehe generis verecunda, a modest expression of an immodest action.

He is thy brother.] Whereby Absalom meant not, that therefore he might do to her as he did - Clodia indeed, that impudent strumpet, to excuse her incest, said, that she lay with Metellus as a husband, but with Clodius as with a brother; this covering was too short - but that the less blame could be laid upon her for being alone with him, and that she had the less cause to suspect him. Besides, by blazoning his folly, she should set a blur upon the whole family. (a)

Regard not this thing.] Do not grieve too much for that which, being now done, cannot be undone; but make the best of an ill matter: let that which is past cure, be past care.


Verse 21

2 Samuel 13:21 But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth.

Ver. 21. But when king David heard … he was very wroth.] Why! but was that all? Wherefore did not David, as supreme magistrate, see due execution done on this malefactor, though never so great? Why did he not reprove him at least very sharply for this foul fact? Should he have thus connived at Amnon’s offence, because he was his firstborn, and now looked so thin and wan? Knew he not how ill good Eli sped for his fondness in a like case? Why should the Septuagint and Vulgate hold it but needful here to add to the text these words following, "And he would not grieve the spirit of Amnon, because he greatly loved him, and he was his firstborn?" Queen Elizabeth loved Sir Walter Raleigh well enough, and besides many other favours, made him captain of her guard. Nevertheless when he had deflowered one of her maids of honour - whom he later took to wife - she not only cast him out of favour, but kept him many months in prison. (a) She never suffered any lady to approach her presence, of whose stain she had but the least suspicion, (b) Piety, sobriety, purity, charity, and chastity were her unseparable companions. But it may be the edge of David’s justice against Amnon was somewhat rebated, by the consideration of his own recent sin with Bathshebah, and against Uriah, which yet God had graciously pardoned and remitted his punishment, more than what was to befall him by the miscarriages and miseries of his own family, whereof this of Amnon was one of the first. But what an unsufferable wickedness was that in Pope Alexander, who when he had heard that his son Caesar Borgia, Duke of Valence, had first invited to a feast his nobility, and then after dinner cut off their heads, smiled at the conceit, and said, his son had showed them a Spanish trick!


Verse 22

2 Samuel 13:22 And Absalom spake unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad: for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.

Ver. 22. And Absalom spake unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad,] sc., About that abuse done to his sister; but made as if he had digested that injury, and put it up. Nothing is more unsafe to be trusted, than the fair looks of a festered heart.

For Absalom hated Amnon.] With a habit of hatred, wherein is steeped the venom of all other vices. Gunpowder will take and blaze, sooner than lime; yet lime hath more innate heat, and burneth more within; so is it with the malicious resolved upon revenge, and waiting their opportunity. Beware of such.

Because he had forced his sister Tamar.] This was the great grudge, the ground of that inveterate hatred. Now if Absalom, though wicked and unnatural, could not endure the wrong done his sister: if Jacob’s sons fell so foul upon the Shechemites for the rape of Dinah, how will the Lord Christ, think we, take the misusages done to his sister, his spouse, the Church, and her members, by those that seek to turn her glory into shame?


Verse 23

2 Samuel 13:23 And it came to pass after two full years, that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baalhazor, which [is] beside Ephraim: and Absalom invited all the king’s sons.

Ver. 23. And it came to pass after two full years.] So long Absalom had dissembled his wrath, which is - as we use to say of Runnet - the older, the stronger: and so long Amnon had gone unpunished by the patience of God, and the fondness of his father. Now, therefore, subito tollitur qui diu toleratur, God taketh the sword in hand which David - as to Amnon - bore in vain, [Romans 13:4] and executed justice upon him by such an executioner as afflicted his soul with double grief.

That Absalom had sheepshearers.] At which times there used to be feasting, - see 1 Samuel 25:7, - as there is still in many places.


Verse 24

2 Samuel 13:24 And Absalom came to the king, and said, Behold now, thy servant hath sheepshearers; let the king, I beseech thee, and his servants go with thy servant.

Ver. 24. Behold now thy servant hath sheepshearers.] Absalom, though the king’s son, was a sheep-master, - such was the simplicity of former times, - which now-a-days would be accounted terminus diminuens, a disparagement. That was a tart but true answer of the Lord Spencer - in the Parliament held A.D. 1621 - to the Earl of Arundel, who hit him in the teeth with his ancestors, that they were sheepkeepers; Spencer instantly replied, When my ancestors - as you say - were keeping sheep, your ancestors were plotting treason. (a)

Let the king, I beseech thee.] Absalom was so enraged against his king-father for his remissness, that in his presence he would have slain Amnon, could he have got him along.


Verse 25

2 Samuel 13:25 And the king said to Absalom, Nay, my son, let us not all now go, lest we be chargeable unto thee. And he pressed him: howbeit he would not go, but blessed him.

Ver. 25. Lest we be chargeable unto thee.] So tender was David over this his ungracious son: he was ever too passionately affected to his children, as is afore noted.

And he pressed him.] Too fair shows are a just argument of unsoundness. No natural face hath so clear a white and red as the painted.

But blessed him.] Benedixet, i.e., vale dixit ei, as Vatablus rendereth it: he dismissed him with good wishes, et fortassis etiam munere, and haply also with a gift, saith Junius.


Verse 26

2 Samuel 13:26 Then said Absalom, If not, I pray thee, let my brother Amnon go with us. And the king said unto him, Why should he go with thee?

Ver. 26. If not, I pray thee, let my brother Amnon go.] Who, being thine eldest, may represent thy person there. Here was a fair glove drawn upon a foul hand: by courtesy he seeketh to cover his bloody design.


Verse 27

2 Samuel 13:27 But Absalom pressed him, that he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him.

Ver. 27. But Absalom pressed him.] His so great importunity might well have begotten a jealousy and suspicion both in David and Amnon - had they not been infatuated - that some mischief was intended. But Deus quem destruit, dementiat. Let God make deranged whom he destroys.


Verse 28

2 Samuel 13:28 Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then kill him, fear not: have not I commanded you? be courageous, and be valiant.

Ver. 28. Now Absalom had commanded his servants.] His assassins, whom some conceive to have been Geshurites of his mother’s country, ready to flee thither with him, as 2 Samuel 13:37.

When Amnon’s heart is merry with wine.] See on 2 Samuel 13:13.

And when I say unto you, Smite Amnon.] So cowardly he was that he durst not do it himself, saith Pellican.

Then kill him, fear not.] This bloody command he uttered in plainer terms than did Tarlton, bishop of Winchester, when he gave order for the death of King Edward in these words unpointed, and therefore of doubtful interpretation, Edvardum occidere nolite timere bonum est.

Have not I commanded you?] Am not I the next heir to the crown? and so shall be able both to secure you and reward you.


Verse 29

2 Samuel 13:29 And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and every man gat him up upon his mule, and fled.

Ver. 29. And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon, &c.] So bitter is the end of sinful pleasures. Cavete a Melampygo. Amnon died in his sin, which is worse than to die in a ditch. Be not wicked too much: why shouldst thou die before thy time, [Ecclesiastes 7:17] i.e., when it were better to do anything than die? Luther, when he heard of a horrid murder, fetched a deep sigh, and said Heu quam furit Satan et impellit homines securos ad horrenda flagitia quae corpus et animam perdunt! Oh, how doth Satan rage, and drive secure people into flagitious practices, that destroy body and soul together!

And every man gat him upon his mule, and fled.] Fled for his life: as fearing haply lest themselves also should be in like manner massacred: as the sons of the great Turk are, that the elder brother may not have a co-rival in the kingdom.


Verse 30

2 Samuel 13:30 And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that tidings came to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king’s sons, and there is not one of them left.

Ver. 30. Absalom hath slain all the king’s sons.] Rumour is a loud liar, like a snowball that gathereth as it goeth,

Mobilitate viget, viresque acquirit eundo. ” - Virgil.

Thales the Milesian being asked how far truth differeth from a lie, answered, As far as the eyes are distant from the ears: intimating, that there is little trust to be given to tales and reports, further than a man is an eye-witness of what he hath by hearsay. Meanwhile David, as he took on more than needed, so by this false report he was the better prepared to bear the loss of Amnon only, seeing the rest of his sons were in safety.

And there is not one of them left.] Heavy news to so tender a father. Mauritius the emperor cried out in like case, ‘Righteous art thou, O Lord, and just are thy judgments,’ taking up David’s words but whether at this time he said so, it appeareth not.


Verse 31

2 Samuel 13:31 Then the king arose, and tare his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent.

Ver. 31. Then the king arose, and tare his garments.] To show that his heart was torn with extreme sorrow for so sad a disaster. It was the time when he took delight to hear of Uriah’s death: now he smarts for it.

And lay on the earth.] As not able to stand under so importable an affliction.


Verse 32

2 Samuel 13:32 And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother, answered and said, Let not my lord suppose [that] they have slain all the young men the king’s sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar.

Ver. 32. And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah.] This cunning pated man, seeking somewhat to mitigate his uncle David’s extreme sorrow, which he had caused by his wicked counsel to Amnon, guesseth at the truth, and hitteth upon the right: whereunto, perhaps, he might be at some time by Absalom made privy. He had advised Amnon how to compass his unlawful lust: and now that he was slain, he could tell what was become of him: the devil can do the like. Great pity it was that David did no further sift him hereupon, to find out the bottom of the business, and to give him his due payment.

For by the appointment of Absalom.] Heb., By the mouth, i.e., by the purpose of his exulcerate heart, breaking forth haply some time at his lips.

From the day that he forced his sister Tamar.] So the Lacedemonian commonwealth was utterly overturned at Leuctra, for a rape there committed on the two daughters of Scedasus. So when a certain monk had ravished the sister of Zisca, that noble Bohemian, he took up arms against the monks, and those that favoured them; casting to the ground three hundred monasteries, and doing many great exploits against the Papists in Bohemia and Germany. But what an impenitent and impudent man was this Jonadab, that he could speak of the rape of Tamar, which he had contrived, together with the sad consequents, without any remorse or regret! And what sots are some Rabbis for saying that this Jonadab here was Nathan the prophet, who knew by the Spirit what was done at Baalhazor!


Verse 33

2 Samuel 13:33 Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead: for Amnon only is dead.

Ver. 33. For Amnon only is dead.] See on 2 Samuel 13:32.


Verse 34

2 Samuel 13:34 But Absalom fled. And the young man that kept the watch lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came much people by the way of the hill side behind him.

Ver. 34. But Absalom fled.] If he had stayed, he should by right have been served as our king Richard I used to serve murderers: he caused such to be tied to the murdered, and buried with him quickly.

Lifted up his eyes, and looked.] And by the sound of his trumpet signified what he had seen.

By the way of the hill side,] viz., Between Baalhazer and Jerusalem: which were eight miles apart, saith Hen. Bunting. (a)


Verse 35

2 Samuel 13:35 And Jonadab said unto the king, Behold, the king’s sons come: as thy servant said, so it is.

Ver. 35. As thy servant said, so it is.] But how could he say it and not blush and bleed?


Verse 36

2 Samuel 13:36 And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of speaking, that, behold, the king’s sons came, and lifted up their voice and wept: and the king also and all his servants wept very sore.

Ver. 36. And the king also … wept very sore.] Heb., With a great weeping greatly: this was the product of his sweet sin with Bathsheba. Macrobius telleth us that the Romans placed the image of Angeronia upon the altar of Volupia. And the poets feign that pleasure and pain once accused one another before Jupiter: and that whenas he could not decide the controversies between them, be tied them together with a chain of adamant, and so made them inseparable companions.


Verse 37

2 Samuel 13:37 But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And [David] mourned for his son every day.

Ver. 37. And went to Talmai.] His grandfather by the mother’s side, to whom he was the welcomer, because he had slain Amnon, who had deflowered his niece Tamar.


Verse 38

2 Samuel 13:38 So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years.

And David mourned for his son every day,] i.e., For his son Amnon. This was a long while to mourn for a lost son - viz, every day for three years’ time. The grief was, - (1.) For that he was so basely butchered by his own brother (we had a like example lately here ia England in the family of Sir George Sandys); (2.) For that he died in his drunkenness, having never soundly repented of his incest, though Hugo thinketh he did, and was therefore spared by his father.


Verse 39

2 Samuel 13:39 And [the soul of] king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.

Ver. 39. And the soul of king David longed to go forth.] He had many sallies and egressions of affection toward him, and could, but for stark shame, have gone himself, or sent others to fetch him home. Tbere is an ocean of love in a father’s heart.

Seeing he was dead.] And could not by any tears be recovered, though he had wept himself into a stone with Niobe, or blind, as did Faustus the son of king Vortiger, for his parent’s incest.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-13.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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