Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 13

Amnon and Tamar

2 Samuel 13:1

King David had several wives. His first son was called Amnon; Amnon’s mother was David’s first wife, Ahinoam (3:2). The first son had special importance in Israel’s families. Therefore, the people in Israel expected Amnon to be the next king, after David’s death.

Absalom and Tamar were David’s children by another of his wives, Maacah. Maacah was a foreigner, the daughter of the king of Geshur. David probably received her as his wife as part of a peace agreement with Geshur.

Both Absalom and Tamar were very beautiful in their appearance. We have a description of how handsome Absalom was in 2 Samuel 14:25-26. He was especially proud of his hair.

In Israel, the custom was, probably, to separate young men from young women (Ruth 2:8-9). However, in the palace, the young children of all David’s wives perhaps played together. They saw each other constantly. They knew each other well.

So it does not surprise us that Amnon liked this beautiful young woman, Tamar. She was of course his sister; they had the same father, David, but different mothers. In many ancient countries, the law would have permitted Amnon to marry Tamar. However, the laws that God gave to Israel did not permit such close relatives either to marry or to have sex (Leviticus 20:17).

Next part: Amnon's wrong desire makes him ill (2 Samuel 13:2)


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