II Samuel 13 Amnon, Jonadab, Tamar, And Absalom.
While David was in Hebron he had six sons, all by different wives (3:2-5; I Chr. 3:1-4). What follows in this passage is just one of the consequences for him not following the creation ordinance of marriage between one man and one woman. Absalom and his sister Tamar were born of a different mother that Amnon, David’s firstborn. Amnon became sick not just because he couldn’t have sex with her, but he couldn’t have sex with her because she was a virgin and they would be found out (v. 2). David had a nephew named Jonadab, who was Amnon’s friend, who inquired as to why Amnon was so sickly (v. 3). When he learned of why this was so (v. 4), he conconcted a plan to get Tamar to visit Amnon (vv. 5ff.). David told Tamar to go to Amnon, and when Amnon ordered everyone but Tamar out he was taking away Tamar’s option to alert others that she was about to be raped (Dt. 22:24). She even counseled him to talk to David, that he would give her to him (v. 13), but he raped her anyway (v. 14), and then “hated her exceedingly” (v. 15). Amnon had his servant put Tamar away, but she said this would be a worse evil even than rape, for it would take away her presumption of innocence (vv. 16-17).
Tamar could not participate in this lie, so she put ashes on her head, tore her robe of many colours, which was indicative that she was a virgin daughter of the king, and went about crying bitterly (vv. 18-19). Absalom, her blood brother, told her to keep silent, and she “remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house” (v. 20). David became angry, and Absalom hated Amnon so much they never spoke to each other (vv. 21-22). However, Absalom plotted Amnon’s murder (vv. 23ff.), stating to his servants that he took the responsibility for his command to them to kill him (v. 28), and his brothers, “all the king’s sons,” did not prosecute a case, instead they fled (v. 29). However, the news that got to David was that Absalom had killed all his sons (v. 30). This caused David and his servants to tear their clothes and to mourn, but his nephew Jonadab, the author of the original scheme, informed David that it was only Amnon who was killed (vv. 31-32a). “For by the command of Absalom this has been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar” (v. 32b). Note well, the schemer Jonadab acts like David’s comforter (v. 33).
As the schemer had said, David’s other sons returned to him, and together they wept (vv. 34-36). “Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur” (v. 37), because he was also “the son of Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur” (3:3). In other words, he fled to his mother’s family, Talmai being his maternal grandfather, who when he learned of what had taken place, provided him a place of refuge, and he “was there three years” (v. 38).* “And King David longed to go to Absalom. For he had been comforted concerning Amnon, because he was dead” (v. 39). There are plenty of actors in this horrible drama, but one can see how it all ultimately started with David having many wives, and children by all those wives. The rivalry would manifest itself in the lust of Amnon, no doubt a spoiled firstborn, and in the conniving activity of his nephew Jonadab, which no doubt stems further back to the rivalry that was present between David and his older brothers. “According to the Bible, it was allotted to the half-tribe of Manasseh which settled east of the Jordan river, but its inhabitants, the Geshurites, could not be expelled (Joshua 13:13).” (Wikipedia)
*Joshua 12:5 and 13:11 “seem to make Geshur and Maacath the western boundary of Bashan. If this were so, then these unconquered peoples literally ‘dwelt in the midst of Israel.’” (bibleatlas.org) Golan was the northern most city of refuge in Bashan. “Golan was a city in the territory allotted to Manasseh in Bashan, the most northerly of the three cities of refuge East of the Jordan (Deuteronomy 4:43 Joshua 20:8); assigned with its “suburbs” to the Gershonite Levites (Joshua 21:27 1 Chronicles 6:71). (bibleatlas.org)