Amnon and Tamar
1Some time passed. David's son Absalom had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar; and David's son Amnon fell in love with her. 2Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her. 3But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shimeah; and Jonadab was a very crafty man. 4He said to him, ‘O son of the king, why are you so haggard morning after morning? Will you not tell me?’ Amnon said to him, ‘I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister.’ 5Jonadab said to him, ‘Lie down on your bed, and pretend to be ill; and when your father comes to see you, say to him, “Let my sister Tamar come and give me something to eat, and prepare the food in my sight, so that I may see it and eat it from her hand.” ’ 6So Amnon lay down, and pretended to be ill; and when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my sight, so that I may eat from her hand.’
7Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, ‘Go to your brother Amnon's house, and prepare food for him.’ 8So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house, where he was lying down. She took dough, kneaded it, made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes. 9Then she took the pan and set them13.9 Heb and poured out before him, but he refused to eat. Amnon said, ‘Send out everyone from me.’ So everyone went out from him. 10Then Amnon said to Tamar, ‘Bring the food into the chamber, so that I may eat from your hand.’ So Tamar took the cakes she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother. 11But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her, and said to her, ‘Come, lie with me, my sister.’ 12She answered him, ‘No, my brother, do not force me; for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do anything so vile! 13As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the scoundrels in Israel. Now therefore, I beg you, speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you.’ 14But he would not listen to her; and being stronger than she was, he forced her and lay with her.
15Then Amnon was seized with a very great loathing for her; indeed, his loathing was even greater than the lust he had felt for her. Amnon said to her, ‘Get out!’ 16But she said to him, ‘No, my brother;13.16 Cn Compare Gk Vg: Meaning of Heb uncertain for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me.’ But he would not listen to her. 17He called the young man who served him and said, ‘Put this woman out of my presence, and bolt the door after her.’ 18(Now she was wearing a long robe with sleeves; for this is how the virgin daughters of the king were clothed in earlier times.13.18 Cn: Heb were clothed in robes) So his servant put her out, and bolted the door after her. 19But Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore the long robe that she was wearing; she put her hand on her head, and went away, crying aloud as she went.
20Her brother Absalom said to her, ‘Has Amnon your brother been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother; do not take this to heart.’ So Tamar remained, a desolate woman, in her brother Absalom's house. 21When King David heard of all these things, he became very angry, but he would not punish his son Amnon, because he loved him, for he was his firstborn.13.21 Q Ms Gk: MT lacks but he would not punish…firstborn 22But Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad; for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had raped his sister Tamar.
Absalom Avenges the Violation of His Sister
23After two full years Absalom had sheepshearers at Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king's sons. 24Absalom came to the king, and said, ‘Your servant has sheepshearers; will the king and his servants please go with your servant?’ 25But the king said to Absalom, ‘No, my son, let us not all go, or else we will be burdensome to you.’ He pressed him, but he would not go but gave him his blessing. 26Then Absalom said, ‘If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us.’ The king said to him, ‘Why should he go with you?’ 27But Absalom pressed him until he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him. Absalom made a feast like a king's feast.13.27 Gk Compare Q Ms: MT lacks Absalom made a feast like a king's feast 28Then Absalom commanded his servants, ‘Watch when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, “Strike Amnon”, then kill him. Do not be afraid; have I not myself commanded you? Be courageous and valiant.’ 29So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons rose, and each mounted his mule and fled.
30While they were on the way, the report came to David that Absalom had killed all the king's sons, and not one of them was left. 31The king rose, tore his garments, and lay on the ground; and all his servants who were standing by tore their garments. 32But Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shimeah, said, ‘Let not my lord suppose that they have killed all the young men the king's sons; Amnon alone is dead. This has been determined by Absalom from the day Amnon13.32 Heb he raped his sister Tamar. 33Now therefore, do not let my lord the king take it to heart, as if all the king's sons were dead; for Amnon alone is dead.’
34But Absalom fled. When the young man who kept watch looked up, he saw many people coming from the Horonaim road13.34 Cn Compare Gk: Heb the road behind him by the side of the mountain. 35Jonadab said to the king, ‘See, the king's sons have come; as your servant said, so it has come about.’ 36As soon as he had finished speaking, the king's sons arrived, and raised their voices and wept; and the king and all his servants also wept very bitterly.
37But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. David mourned for his son day after day. 38Absalom, having fled to Geshur, stayed there for three years. 39And the heart of13.39 Q Ms Gk: MT And David the king went out, yearning for Absalom; for he was now consoled over the death of Amnon.
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.