Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 13:39

The heart of King David longed to go out to Absalom; for he was comforted concerning Amnon, since he was dead.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Thompson Chain Reference - Family;   Fathers';   Home;   Love;   Parental;   Parents;   Paternal Love;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Amnon;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Murder;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Samuel, Books of;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Absalom;   Amnon;   David;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Murder;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Murder;   Samuel, Books of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

David longed to go forth unto Absalom - We find that he had a very strong paternal affection for this young man, who appears to have had little to commend him but the beauty of his person. David wished either to go to him, or to bring him back; for the hand of time had now wiped off his tears for the death of his son Amnon. Joab had marked this disposition, and took care to work on it, in order to procure the return of Absalom. It would have been well for all parties had Absalom ended his days at Geshur. His return brought increasing wretchedness to his unfortunate father. And it may be generally observed that those undue, unreasonable paternal attachments are thus rewarded.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:39". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Longed to go forth - Rather, “longed after Absalom,” literally, was consumed in going forth, with a sense of disappointed hope.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:39". "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

And the soul of King David longed to go forth unto Absalom,.... In like manner it is supplied and paraphrased in the Targum, because the word rendered "longed" is feminine; though it may be used to denote the effeminateness of David's disposition and carriage on this occasion. Aben Ezra thinks the word "wife", should be supplied, and then the sense is, that the wife of King David, the mother of Absalom, made supplication to him to send forth one of the young men to fetch Absalom, and that by her importunity to him she stirred up a longing desire in David after him. Abarbinel observes, from another writer of theirs, that all the three years David was mourning for his son, he went out continually to seek to take vengeance on Absalom; but after that time, the mother of Absalom, or Tamar his sister, or his daughter, was importunate with the king, and restrained him from going forth to seek vengeance on Absalom; and when he was comforted concerning Amnon, that woman found means to restrain him from going out, and he restrained his servants from going forth against Absalom; and so he observes the word is used for withholding or restraining in Psalm 40:10; and this agrees with several ancient versions, as the Vulgate Latin,"King David ceased to persecute Absalom;'and the Septuagint,"King David ceased to go out to Absalom;'and the Syriac version,"and King David abstained from going out after Absalom:"

for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead; and could not be brought back from the grave, though Absalom might be from his exile, to which he had an inclination; but he knew not how to do it, consistent with justice and his own honour.

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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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:39". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-13.html. 1999.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

“And it (this) held king David back from going out to Absalom, for he comforted himself concerning Amnon, because he was dead.” In adopting this translation of the difficult clause with which the verse commences, we take ותּכל in the sense of כּלא, as the verbs כלה and כלא frequently exchange their forms; we also take the third pers. fem. as the neuter impersonal, so that the subject is left indefinite, and is to be gathered from the context. Absalom's flight to Geshur, and his stay there, were what chiefly prevented David from going out to Absalom. Moreover, David's grief on account of Amnon's death gradually diminished as time rolled on. אל־אבש צאת is used in a hostile sense, as in Deuteronomy 28:7, to go out and punish him for his wickedness. The כּי before נחם might also be rendered “but,” as after a negative clause, as the principal sentence implies a negation: “He did not go out against Absalom, but comforted himself.” There is not only no grammatical difficulty in the way of this explanation of the verse, but it also suits the context, both before and after. All the other explanations proposed are either at variance with the rules of the language, or contain an unsuitable thought. The old Jewish interpretation (adopted in the Chaldee version, and also by the Rabbins), viz., David longed (his soul pined) to go out to Absalom (i.e., to see or visit him), is opposed, as Gusset has shown (in his Lex . pp. 731-2), to the conduct of David towards Absalom as described in 2 Samuel 14, - namely, that after Joab had succeeded by craft in bringing him back to Jerusalem, David would not allow him to come into his presence for two whole years (2 Samuel 14:24, 2 Samuel 14:28). Luther's rendering, “and king David left off going out against Absalom,” is not only precluded by the feminine תּכל, but also by the fact that nothing has been said about any pursuit of Absalom on the part of David. Other attempts at emendations there is no need whatever to refute.

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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:39". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/2-samuel-13.html. 1854-1889.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

REFLECTIONS

THINK, Reader, in the perusal of the history of Amnon's gratified lust, how wretched the man that is given up for a prey to his own corrupt passions! Think also, in the sudden departure of his soul into eternity, in the moment of sin and drunkenness, what an awful termination to a life of iniquity; and how horrible his state, closing his eyes in sin, and opening them again in everlasting misery.

Behold, Reader! in the history here presented to thy view of David's family affliction, how sure the words of the Lord are in their accomplishment. The Lord had told him, that he would raise evil out of his own house, and here we see it. It hath been but a short time since David rioted in adultery and murder; and already we find he had gathered the bitter fruits of the sinful tree he planted. Incest and murder already stain his walls, and these, as the sequel of his history shows, were but the beginning of sorrows.

Precious Jesus! what a relief doth the remembrance of thee, and of thy sweet compassion to our nature, afford in the recollection of the sorrows of it! What but the tidings of great joy, which thy rich, and free, and full deliverance from all the sorrows of our nature brought from heaven, could tend to bind up the broken heart under its manifold afflictions! But when my soul turns to the contemplation of my Jesus, and the everlasting remedy he is in himself, and his complete salvation, here in him alone I find a relief for every sorrow, a balm for every care. Yes, thou sweet Redeemer! my eyes dry up their tears when I consider that every sin, sorrow, and affliction, hath lost its force, and almost its very name in thy gracious sanctification of it by thy blessed, glorious, gracious, and complete redemption. Oh! heavenly Lord! kindly go on to overrule the powers of Satan, and defeat his triumphs over our poor fallen nature, in leading us to sin, by counteracting his malice, and bringing our hearts nearer to thee. Correct, Lord, the angry passions of our nature; let our lusts of uncleanness be subdued; and when at any time the enemy cometh in like a flood, do thou, blessed God, lift up a standard against him. Let me behold with the eye of faith Jesus hastening to my relief, and in the innumerable sorrows that I have in my heart, let the precious promises of thy glorious gospel be the comforts to refresh my soul. Make them as good news from a far country; as rivers of water in a dry place; or as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:39". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/2-samuel-13.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.

Go forth — And could not he recalled, to visit him, or to send for him. What amazing weakness was this! At first he could not find in his heart, to do justice to the ravisher of his sister! And now he can almost find in his heart to receive into favour the murderer of his brother? How can we excuse David from the sin of Eli; who honoured his sons more than God?

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:39". "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 13:39 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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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:39". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-13.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

To go forth unto Absalom, to wit, to visit him, or to send for him. And thus this word the soul is here understood, partly from the Hebrew verb, which being of the feminine gender, agrees not with David, but with David’s soul; and partly by comparing this with other places, where the same verb is used, and the soul expressed, as Psalms 84:2 119:81. But as this supplement may seem too bold, so this version seems not so well to agree with that phrase of going out to Absalom; for David neither desired nor intended to go out to Absalom, but that Absalom should come home to him. And these words may be and are otherwise rendered, by the most ancient and remarkable interpreters, to this purpose; And king David made an end of going out (to wit, in an hostile manner, as that verb is oft used, Genesis 14:18 2 Samuel 11:1) against (for so the Hebrew particle el is oft used, as Jeremiah 34:7 Eze 13 9,20 Am 7:15). Absalom; i. e. having used some, though it is probable but cold and remiss, endeavours to pursue after Absalom, and to fetch him from his grandfather’s to receive condign punishment, he now gave over thoughts of it. Thus the same verb, and that in the same conjugation, is used in the same manner, 1 Kings 3:1, he made an end of building. It is to be objected, That the Hebrew verb is of the feminine gender, and therefore doth not agree with king David, which is masculine. It may be answered, That enallage of genders is a most frequent figure; and as the masculine gender is sometimes applied to women when they do some manly and gallant action, Exodus 1:21, so the feminine gender is sometimes used of men when they show an effeminate tenderness in their disposition; which is the case here, as some learned Hebricians have noted.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:39". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-13.html. 1685.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Samuel 13:39. The soul of King David longed to go forth to Absalom — To visit him, or to send for him. What amazing weakness was this! At first he could not find in his heart to do justice to the ravisher of his sister; and now he can almost find in his heart to receive into favour the murderer of his brother! How can we excuse David from the sin of Eli, who honoured his sons more than God.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:39". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-samuel-13.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the soul of king David. The Aramaean reads "the soul (nephesh) of the king". Compare the omission of nephesh in Psalms 16:2.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:39". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-13.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.

The soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom. The verb, being feminine, does not refer to David, neither is it correct to say that David longed to go forth to Absalom; because there is no ground to suppose that he entertained either an intention or a wish to visit his exiled son. The clause should be rendered: The anger of king David ceased to go (left off going) forth against Absalom. In this sense the verb is used, 2 Samuel 11:1; Genesis 14:18, in apparent efforts to pursue the fratricide, and bring him to condign punishment for his crime. [So the Septuagint renders it: kai ekopasen ho basileus Dauid tou exelthein pros Abessaloom, and king David ceased from the labour of going out against Absalom.]

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:39". "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

(39) The soul of King David.—The words, “the soul of,” are not in the original, and the most opposite interpretations have been given of the rest of the sentence. The sense of the English is that of the Chaldee and of the Jewish commentators—that David, after his grief for Amnon had abated, longed after Absalom and pined for his return. But it may be objected to this view, (1) that there is no ground for supplying the ellipsis in this way; (2) that the verb (which is a common one) never has elsewhere the sense given to it; and (3) that the representation thus made is contrary to fact, since David could easily have recalled Absalom had he chosen to do so, and when he actually was brought back, through Joab’s stratagem, the king refused to see him (2 Samuel 14:24), and only after two years more (2 Samuel 14:28), reluctantly admitted him to his presence. The other interpretation is better, which takes the verb impersonally, and gives the sense, David desisted from going forth against Absalom. He ought to have arrested and punished him for a murder, which was at once fratricide and high treason, as being the assassination of the heir-apparent; but the flight to Geshur made this difficult, and as time went by David “was comforted concerning Amnon,” and gradually gave up the thought of punishing Absalom.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:39". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.
the soul of
Genesis 31:30; Deuteronomy 28:32; Philippians 2:26
longed
or, was consumed.
Psalms 84:2; 119:20
comforted
12:23; Genesis 24:67; 37:35; 38:12 Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 12:20 - I will;  2 Samuel 14:1 - toward Absalom;  Psalm 109:4 - For my;  Romans 1:11 - I long;  2 Corinthians 12:15 - though;  1 Thessalonians 2:17 - endeavoured

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 13:39". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-13.html.