Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 13:21

Now when King David heard of all these matters, he was very angry.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Rape;   Tamar;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Amnon;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Absalom;   Concubine;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Family Life and Relations;   Woman;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Tamar;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Laban (2);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Rape;   Samuel, Books of;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Amnon ;   Tamar ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Absalom;   Amnon;   David;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Am'non;   Ta'mar;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Relationships, Family;   Samuel, Books of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Absalom;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

But when King David heard - To this verse the Septuagint add the following words: Και ουκ ελυπησε το πνευμα Αμνων του υἱου αυτου, ὁτι ηγαπα αυτον, ὁτι πρωτοτοκος αυτου ην ; "But he would not grieve the soul of Amnon his son, for he loved him, because he was his first-born." The same addition is found in the Vulgate and in Josephus, and it is possible that this once made a part of the Hebrew text.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:21". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The Septuagint adds, what is a good explanation, “but he did not vex the spirit of Amnon his son, because he loved him, because he was his first-born.” This want of justice in David‘s conduct, and favoritism to Amnon, probably rankled in Absalom‘s heart, and was the first seed of his after rebellion.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:21". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-samuel-13.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But when King David heard of all these things,.... Of Amnon's ravishing Tamar, and turning her out of doors in that inhuman manner he did, and of her distress upon it:

he was very wroth; with Amnon; but we read not of any reproof he gave him, nor of any punishment inflicted on him by him. Abarbinel thinks the reason why he was not punished was because his sin was not cognizable by a court of judicature, nor was punishable by any way, or with any kind of death inflicted by the sanhedrim, as stoning, burning, &c. nor even by scourging, because there were no witnesses; but the punishment of it was cutting off, i.e. by the hand of God. The Jews sayF5T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 21. 1. a law was made on this, that virgins or unmarried persons should not be alone; for if this was done to the daughter of a king, much more might it be done to the daughter of a private man; and if to a modest person, much more to an impudent one.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:21". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-13.html. 1999.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

(21) ¶ But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth.

Why did not David's wrath prompt him to punish the sin in his son Amnon? We hear nothing of this, neither of his bringing his affliction before the Lord. No doubt he connected with the subject of his son's incest the recollection of his own adultery. How beautiful the subject would have been, if David had been introduced as lamenting it before the Lord.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:21". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/2-samuel-13.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth.

Wroth — With Amnon: whom yet he did not punish, at least so severely as he should either from the consciousness of his own guilt in the like kind; or, from that foolish indulgence which he often shewed to his children.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:21". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-samuel-13.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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!

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:21". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-13.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Samuel 13:21. When king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth We may easily conceive what resentment and uneasiness David felt for this crime: but how he punished it we know not. The truth is, he could not punish it without exposing the infamy of his house, and cutting off his eldest son: and how hard was it for a father to do this. The LXX and the Vulgate, whom Houbigant follows, add these words to the present verse: David, when he knew all these things, was very much afflicted: but he would not grieve the spirit of his son Amnon, for he loved him exceedingly, as being his first-born. There can be no doubt but that David's consciousness of his own guilt with Bath-sheba, rendered him more backward to punish that of Amnon. However, the guilt which human justice or human infirmity did not chastise as it deserved, the divine vengeance did.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:21". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-samuel-13.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

To wit, with Amnon; whom yet he did not punish, at least so severely as he should; either from the conscience of his own guilt in the like kind; or from that foolish indulgence which he oft showed to his children; or because the case was perplexed; for if he had been put to death for the fact, by virtue of that law, Deuteronomy 22:23,24, she also, who was innocent, must have died with him, because she did not cry out; although indeed that law did not reach the present case, Tamar not being betrothed to a husband: and for the following law concerning a virgin not betrothed, that could have no place here: he could not force Amnon to marry Tamar, because that marriage had been incestuous.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:21". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-13.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

21.He was very wroth — But he let him go unpunished, for, as the Septuagint adds, “he afflicted not the spirit of Amnon, his son, for he loved him because he was his firstborn.” In more than one instance did David’s paternal affection run away with his judgment. But Amnon’s deed must have brought home to David’s soul a bitter memory of his own dark crime.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:21". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-13.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Samuel 13:21. When David heard, he was very wroth — With Amnon: whom yet he did not punish, at least so severely as he ought to have done; perhaps, because he was his eldest son, and the next heir to his crown, and therefore he was unwilling either to cut him off, or to expose him to contempt among the people he might hereafter be called to govern; or, because he could not punish him in any legal or equitable manner, without laying open the infamy of his house; or, which seems to have been the most weighty reason, because he was conscious of his own guilt, in an instance not very dissimilar, which certainly had set Amnon a bad example; and because he had otherwise been partly accessory to his guilt by a very unguarded compliance with his son’s irrational request in sending Tamar to him. There can be no question but that David’s guilt with Bath-sheba rendered him more backward to punish that of Amnon. “However, the guilt which human justice or human infirmity did not, or could not chastise as it deserved, the divine vengeance did.” — Delaney.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:21". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-samuel-13.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

And he, &c. This is not in Hebrew, &c., nor in St. Jerome's version. Josephus and some copies of the Septuagint read it. But the reason here alleged would not suffice to excuse David. (Calmet) --- He might think that, as he had shewn such a bad example himself, he could not with a good grace punish others. (Sanctius) --- This however was requisite, as long as he was king. Whatever faults he might have fallen into, he was not on that account to suffer crimes to remain unpunished; (Haydock) and it is supposed that he testified his resentment to Amnon; (Salien, &c.) though the Scripture be silent thereon. (Haydock) --- Abulensis condemns him for too great remissness. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:21". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-13.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth.

When king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth. It cannot be supposed but that David would be grieved and incensed at so gross an outrage, perpetrated by a member of his own family. In our version his indignation merely is declared, without the infliction of any penalty, whether by degradation or banishment from court. [A leniency so singular and misplaced is accounted for by a sentence which is found in the Septuagint version: kai ouk elupeese to pneuma Amnoon tou huiou autou hoti eegapa auton, hoti proototokos autou een, but he did not vex the mind of Amnon his son, because he loved him, because he was his firstborn son. (See also Josephus, 'Antiquities,' b. 7:, ch. 8:, sec. 2, where the same clause occurs, whence it may be referred that both drew it from the same source, the ancient Hebrew text of this book).]

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:21". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-samuel-13.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(21) He was very wroth.—The LXX. adds, “but he vexed not the spirit of Amnon his son, because he loved him, because he was his firstborn,”—which is doubtless in part the reason of David’s guilty leniency. The remembrance of his own sin also tended to withhold his hand from the administration of justice. David’s criminal weakness towards his children was the source of much trouble from this time to the end of his life.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:21". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth.
he was very wroth
The Septuagint and Vulgate add, [Kai ouk elupese to pneuma Amnon tou huiou autou, hoti egapa auton, hoti prototokos autou en;] et noluit contristare spiritum Amnon filii sui, quoniam diligebat eum, quia primogenitus erat ei: "But he would not grieve the soul of Amnon his son, for he loved him because he was his first-born." The same addition is found in Josephus; and it is probable that it once formed a part of the Hebrew text.
3:28,29; 12:5,10; Genesis 34:7; 1 Samuel 2:22-25,29; Psalms 101:8
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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:21". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-13.html.