Amnon and Tamar
1 Now David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Ta mar. It hap pened that Amnon, another of David’s sons, loved her. 2 Amnon was so obsessed that he became ill and, as Tamar was a virgin, he could not do anything. 3 Amnon had a friend named Jonadab, son of Shimeah, David’s brother. Jonadab, who was a very shrewd man, said to him, 4 “Oh son of the king, why do you look so miserable morning after morning? Will you not tell me?” Amnon replied, “I love Tamar, sister of my brother Absalom.” 5 So Jonadab said to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill; and when your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Let my sister Tamar come to give me bread to eat and let her prepare the food in my presence so that I may eat it from her hand.” 6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill; and when the king came to see him, he told the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come to make some cakes in my presence; I will eat from her hand.”
7 So David sent for Tamar and said to her, “Go to your brother Amnon’s house and prepare him some food.” 8 Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house where he was lying down. She took dough, kneaded it, made and baked cakes before him. 9 But when she took the pan and set the cakes before him, he refused to eat and said, “Send everyone outside.” After they all left, 10 Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the bedroom and let me eat from your hand.” Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them to her brother Amnon in the bedroom. 11 But when she brought them to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” 12 She answered him, “No, my brother, do not force me. No such thing is done in Israel. Do not commit this foolish ness. 13 Where will I hide my shame? And you yourself would be regarded as a foolish man by all the people. So please, talk to the king for he will not keep me from you.” 14 But he refused to listen to her and, being stronger than she, forced her and lay with her.
15 Afterwards, Amnon hated her with a hatred exceeding the love he had had for her; and he said to Tamar, “Get up and leave.” 16 But she answered him, “No, my brother. Sending me away is a greater offense than what you did to me.” But Amnon refused to listen. 17 He called his servant and said, “Get this woman out and bolt the door behind her.” 18 (Now Tamar was wearing a long robe with sleeves like the virgin daughters of the king used to wear.) So the servant brought her out, bolting the door behind her. 19 Tamar then put ashes on her head and tore the long robe she was wearing. Laying her hand on her head, she went away crying aloud.
20 Her brother Absalom spoke to her, “Has your brother Amnon been with you? Be calm and do not take this to heart for he is your brother.” Desolate as she was, Tamar stayed in her brother Absalom’s house.
21 When King David heard of this, he was very angry but he did not like to scold Amnon because he loved him as his firstborn. 22 Absalom, for his part, no longer spoke to Amnon. He hated him for having raped his sister Tamar.
23 Two years later, when Absalom had celebrated the shearing of his flock at Baalhazor near Ephraim, he invited all the king’s sons. 24 He himself went to the king and said, “I have shearers; so please let the king and his servants accept my invitation.” 25 But the king answered Absalom, “No, my son, not all of us should go lest we be a burden to you.” As Absalom urged him the king refused to go personally but gave him his blessing. 26 Then Absalom said, “If you will not go, please let my brother Amnon come with us.” The king replied, “Why should he go with you?” 27 But Absalom insisted until the king allowed Amnon and all the king’s sons to go with him. Absalom prepared a royal feast. 28 Then he commanded his servants, “Watch until Amnon gets drunk and when I tell you, ‘Strike Amnon,’ kill him. Have no fear for I myself have given you this order. Be brave and determined.” 29 So Absalom’s servants did to Amnon what he had commanded. On seeing this all the sons of the king hastily mounted their mules and fled.
30 While they were on the way, a report reached David, “Absalom has slain all the king’s sons, leaving no one alive.” 31 At this, the king tore his garments and lay on the ground; and all his servants around him also tore their garments. 32 But Jonadab, son of Shimeah, David’s brother, said, “Don’t imagine that they have killed all your sons. Only Amnon is dead, for Absalom had decided to kill him from the day Amnon raped his sister Tamar. 33 So let not my lord the king believe that all his sons are dead: Amnon alone is dead.”
34 Meanwhile, Absalom had fled. Then the young watchman saw many people coming from the Horonaim road by the side of the mountain. 35 Jonadab said to the king, “Was it not true what I said to you? It is your sons who are coming.” 36 As soon as he had spoken, the king’s sons came, crying aloud; the king, too, and all his servants wept bitterly.
37 - 38 As for Absalom, he fled to Tal mai son of Ammihud, king of Geshur, where he remained for three years. 39 All this time King David mourned for his son. And when he had recovered from the death of Amnon he began to yearn for Absalom.