Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 13

Absalom protects Tamar

2 Samuel 13:20

Absalom was David’s third son (3:3). He had the same mother as Tamar, who was Maacah, the daughter of a foreign king. Therefore, he was Tamar’s closest relative.

Absalom realised at once what had happened to Tamar. He did not need anyone to tell him that Amnon was responsible for this evil deed. He knew Amnon’s character. In the original Hebrew language, Absalom calls his brother ‘Aminon’, perhaps to express his disgust.

Absalom saw that he could not truly comfort his sister. So, instead, he spoke as if he were careless about this matter. Amnon was too powerful for them to hope that he would suffer any punishment. It would not benefit Tamar to cry about it or even to think about it. That seemed to be what Absalom was saying. He provided a place for her to live in his own house. There, she continued to live for the rest of her life. She never recovered fully, and she never married.

However, Absalom did not really believe that it was impossible to punish Amnon. Nor was Absalom careless about this matter. He was following an ancient custom when he took Tamar into his house. By that custom, he had responsibility for his closest relatives - including the responsibility to punish someone who had hurt them.

That custom existed even before Moses; the laws that God gave to Moses brought it under the control of courts and judges (Numbers 35:6-29). However, Absalom did not try to get any help from Israel’s legal system. Instead, he made his own plan to kill Amnon.

Next part: Amnon suffers no punishment whatever (2 Samuel 13:21-22)


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