Skip to content

2 Samuel 13

I'm preaching on this sobering passage on Sunday.

I'm struck by the sins of the fathers repeated in the children.  Just as 2 Samuel 11 showed lust => deception => illicit taking => death => further chaos so it is here.  In fact, just as Genesis 3 involved lust, deception, illicit taking, death and a spiral into chaos so this is re-played once again in the royal house.

From 1 Sam 16 until 2 Sam 10 we see good king David.  A wonderful mirror of Christ.  David is anointed among his brothers (1 Sam 16) then fights on their behalf to win victory for God's people (1 Sam 17).  While the world acknowledges one king, there is a faithful remnant who serve God's choice as king.  The women sing his praises, the mighty men join him in battle.  Eventually he is vindicated (2 Sam 5ff).  He ascends Zion and is enthroned.  He shows unfailing love to those in covenant with him (2 Sam 9) elevating the helpless to table fellowship.  He makes peace to the ends of the land/earth (same word in Hebrew) by defeating all his enemies and bringing peace. (2 Sam 8 and 10 - see my recent sermon on 2 Samuel 10).  There ends the narrative of good king David.  From chapter 11 we have bad king David.  In fact, from here, we see the outworkings of sin in the kingdoms of the world.  The house of David had been a mirror to the house of the LORD (see 2 Sam 7).  But now (see 2 Sam 12:20) the house of David is contrasted with the house of the LORD.

Think of how important the 'house' is in Scripture.   Just as the world is a 'house' (e.g. Isaiah 66:1), so is a kingdom, so is a family.  These family problems are a microcosmos - a little world in crisis.  (think of the Genesis 3 link above).  Everything that is so heart-breakingly wrong with this family is everything that is so heart-breakingly wrong with the kingdom of the world.  The sin we read about here cannot be held at arms length.  It is being brought home to us because it is the problem at the heart of every house, every kingdom, the whole world.

Note how these four men are distorted pictures of true men:

Amnon is a lover.  But it's love turned to lust. 

Jonadab is a wise man, yet it's wisdom turned to deceit. 

David is a king, but inactive in the face of evil. 

Absalom is an avenger, a rescuer - yet he silences Tamar and seems to protect his own reputation more than hers. 

How wonderful the lover, the wise man, the king and the rescuer could have been.  But they are perverted and together make for one dysfunctional house!

And what is the state of the virgin daughter in the royal house?   (This very broken mirror of the church (cf Psalm 45).  How is this virgin daughter in this kingdom treated?

Desired (v1)

Deceived (v11)

Disgraced (v14)

Despised (v15)

Discarded (v17)

Dismissed (v20a)

Destroyed (v20b)

And what a word to describe her in v20: Desolate!  Literally - destroyed.  It's such a violent word.  It's the word for Job and his household - devastated.  It's most used with regard to the curse of exile - the ravaged land, the desolated temple, the agriculture dried up.  She is destroyed like a war-torn country, like a shrivelled up vine, like a desecrated temple.  (There is hope though for the Desolate woman - cf Isaiah 54!)


Now v15 has intrigued me for a long time.  Can anyone help me with the psychology of this.  Literally it says that after he raped her "Then Amnon hated her with a very great hatred.  In fact the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her."  What's going on there?  What is it about this illicit taking that makes him despise what he had previously desired so fiercely??


6 thoughts on “2 Samuel 13

  1. yemsee

    psychology of the act?

    isn't it the same when you know you desire something 'wrong' and then once you do it, it is a constant reminder of your failure so now you hate it with a great loathing - as opposed to seeking repentance and forgiveness

    total worldly repentance mindset? which unfortunately i still tend to do....

  2. glenscriv

    Here's what I ended up saying:

    Amnon’s love really is hatred. And it probably always has been hatred – really. You see, a desire to do something ‘to’ another person (v2) is not love in any biblical sense. It might qualify as love in today’s pop songs, it might qualify as love in films, but it’s not biblical love. The feelings that Amnon had nursed for Tamar actually find their fulfillment in violent sexual abuse. Amnon’s ‘love’, which had made him ill with longing, was a love that found its consummation in rape. I wonder how many love songs betray Amnon’s love. A desire to do something to her. I wonder how many of our romantic desires are actually like Amnon’s love.

    And when Amnon’s so called love is consummated in rape, then the façade of love can no longer be maintained. Now he *feels* a hatred greater than his prior feelings of ‘love’. But really I think this is the hatred that drove him throughout.

  3. Tara

    The idol did not satisfy, perhaps?
    It wasn't love, for sure, but desire. Doesn't all desire seek satsifaction - satisfaction that is to be found in God alone?

    Just my take on it. . .

  4. glenscriv

    Hi Tara, yes I think idolatry is surely important here. The ugliness of illicit (idolatrous) desire hits Amnon once the very temporary satisfaction is gone. I found this one hard to preach on - especially since it was 9 days before Christmas. Then again - nightmare families and Christmas seem to go together too unfortunately!

    Thanks for stopping by, Glen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Twitter widget by Rimon Habib - BuddyPress Expert Developer