Absalom, a son of David, had a sister named Tamar, who was loved by Amnon, David’s firstborn son. Amnon was distressed because he couldn’t be with Tamar and so he raped her. Tamar then went and stayed with her brother, Absalom. Absalom hated Amnon for raping his sister, and David was also angry with Amnon, but did nothing against him. Two years after the rape, Absalom had Amnon killed and fled to Geshur for three years. David mourned the death of Amnon, but did not go after Absalom.
Because David had so many wives, the relationship between all these people is confusing. It seems that Absalom and Amnon are half brothers, which would mean that Tamar is the half sister of Amnon. Just as Jacob did nothing on behalf of his raped daughter, Dinah, David did nothing for Tamar. David’s love for his firstborn son is more important than the protection of his daughter. The only comfort from this chapter is that Absalom eventually defends his sister, although I don’t think he should have had servants kill Amnon.
Joab, the son of Zeruiah who killed Abner, sent a wise woman of Tekoa to David, so that she could convince him to let Absalom come back to Jerusalem. David agreed that Absalom could return to Jerusalem, but did not want to see him. After two years, Absalom asked Joab to see David, but Joab ignored him. Finally, Absalom burned Joab’s field in order to get his attention. David agreed to see Absalom and welcomed him.
Joab and Absalom seem like they would be natural allies. Joab killed Abner as revenge for his brother’s death and Absalom killed Amnon as revenge for his sister’s rape. I don’t understand why Joab ignored Absalom, but it seems pretty extreme to burn someone’s field just because they won’t return a call. I think it’s good that David welcomes Absalom back, but it still doesn’t make up for his deafening silence on the rape of Tamar.
Absalom began to greet everyone who came to David for counsel and started stealing the heart of the people. After that, Absalom went away to Hebron to gather an army. David heard the news that Absalom was coming to Jerusalem with an army, and so he fled with everyone except for ten concubines who were left to take care of the palace. David then sent the priests Zadok and Abiathar back to the city with their sons, Ahimaaz and Jonathan, in order to spy on Absalom. He also sent Hushai to spy and to try to contradict the counsel of Ahithophel.
First, David seduces a married woman, then he does nothing to protect or defend his raped daughter, and now he leaves ten concubines to protect his palace although they could be killed by an advancing army. I think it’s blatantly clear that David has no respect for women. Furthermore, I’m not too surprised that Absalom wants to build an army against David, seeing as David did banish him for three years and then refused to see him for an additional two years. I’m struggling to understand what’s so great about David. For every one act of kindness he performs, he ends up doing about twenty things that are wrong or just plain despicable. At the same time, human beings are not perfect. David is bound to make mistakes. I don’t think his mistakes should be ignored, but I should show some mercy. Especially since I expect mercy from the Lord for my sins. If a book is ever written about me, I’m sure people thousands of years from now will think I did some pretty stupid things. As Christ said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Matthew 7:1-2). That being said, God doesn’t speak in any of these chapters (2 Samuel 13-15), so it is a purely human account, not a divine one.
These are my thoughts on 2 Samuel 13-15.