Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 13

Amnon suffers no punishment whatever

2 Samuel 13:21-22

The legal punishment for what Amnon had done was to be separated from Israel (Leviticus 20:17; Deuteronomy 27:22). That did not happen. We do not read that he suffered any legal punishment whatever for his crime.

We ask why that was so.

In Israel, the chief judge was the king - in other words King David, Amnon’s father. David was extremely angry about this situation, but he did nothing. We have already read about a previous situation where David considered himself too weak to punish powerful men (3:37-39).

Amnon too was in a very powerful position. As the king’s oldest son, he had the right to become king after David’s death. The king’s son would be more popular than David, who had ruled for about 20 years at this time (see Ecclesiastes 4:13-15). The people felt tired of David’s rule and his many wars. If David tried to act against his son, that son might try to gain control over the country.

We see another possible reason in 2 Samuel 15:1-6. Later in his rule, David began to neglect his work as the chief judge in Israel. He neither did the work, nor did he appoint anyone else to do it. Perhaps he became afraid to act as judge after his own guilty acts became clear (12:1-9).

So although David was angry, he did not punish Amnon. Clearly, Absalom was very angry too. From that time, he refused to say anything whatever to Amnon. However, Absalom was not neglecting this matter. Rather, he was waiting for his opportunity to act against Amnon.

Next part: Absalom organises a party for the king's sons – including Amnon (2 Samuel 13:23-27)


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© 2022, Keith Simons.