Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 20

David’s decision about his concubines

2 Samuel 20:3

When David returned to his palace, he had to decide what to do about his concubines. These were maids in his palace, whom he had accepted as additional wives. It was against God’s law for him to have so many wives (Deuteronomy 17:17). However, the problem for David was that Absalom, his son, had taken these women to have sex with them (16:20-22).

Previously, David had taken back his first wife, Michal, after another man had married her (3:13-16). However, he did not consider it right to do that with these women. That was perhaps because of the rules in Leviticus chapters 18 and 20. Absalom had dealt with these women as if they were his wives. It is not right for a man to sleep with his son’s wife.

David considered himself responsible for these women, so he did not divorce them. He decided that they should have their own house, perhaps in the palace. There they would live as if they were widows; and he would provide for them. So, they would no longer work in the palace, as formerly they had to do.

David arranged a guard for them. Partly, that was to protect them from other people, who might insult them because of their experience with Absalom.

Tamar had chosen to live with very similar arrangements after Amnon forced her to have sex (13:20). People at that time probably considered David’s decision about his concubines to be right and proper.

Next part: Amasa gathers Judah's army too slowly (2 Samuel 20:4-5)


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