Amnon and Tamar
13 1 It happened after this, that Absalom the son of David had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her. 2 Amnon was so troubled that he fell sick because of his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and it seemed hard to Amnon to do anything to her. 3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother; and Jonadab was a very subtle man. 4 He said to him, “Why, son of the king, are you so sad from day to day? Won’t you tell me?”
Amnon said to him, “I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.” 5 Jonadab said to him, “Lay down on your bed, and pretend to be sick. When your father comes to see you, tell him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come and give me bread to eat, and dress the food in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it from her hand.’” 6 So Amnon lay down and faked being sick. When the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come, and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand.” 7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, “Go now to your brother Amnon’s house, and prepare food for him.” 8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house; and he was laid down. She took dough, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes. 9 She took the pan, and poured them out before him; but he refused to eat. Amnon said, “Have all men leave me.” Every man went out from him. 10 Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the room, that I may eat from your hand.” Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them into the room to Amnon her brother. 11 When she had brought them near to him to eat, he took hold of her, and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister!” 12 She answered him, “No, my brother, do not force me! For no such thing ought to be done in Israel. Don’t you do this folly. 13 I, where would I carry my shame? And as for you, you will be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you.” 14 However he would not listen to her voice; but being stronger than she, he forced her, and lay with her. 15 Then Amnon hated her with exceeding great hatred; for the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. Amnon said to her, “Arise, be gone!” 16 She said to him, “Not so, because this great wrong in sending me away is worse than the other that you did to me!”
But he would not listen to her. 17 Then he called his servant who ministered to him, and said, “Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.” 18 She had a garment of various colors on her; for with such robes were the king’s daughters who were virgins dressed. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her. 19 Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore her garment of various colors that was on her; and she laid her hand on her head, and went her way, crying aloud as she went.
Absalom's Revenge and Flight
20 Absalom her brother said to her, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? But now hold your peace, my sister. He is your brother. Don’t take this thing to heart.”
So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house.
21 But when king David heard of all these things, he was very angry. 22 Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad; for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar. 23 It happened after two full years, that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal Hazor, which is beside Ephraim: and Absalom invited all the king’s sons. 24 Absalom came to the king, and said, “See now, your servant has sheepshearers. Please let the king and his servants go with your servant.” 25 The king said to Absalom, “No, my son, let us not all go, lest we be burdensome to you.” He pressed him; however he would not go, but blessed him. 26 Then Absalom said, “If not, please let my brother Amnon go with us.”
The king said to him, “Why should he go with you?” 27 But Absalom pressed him, and he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him. 28 Absalom commanded his servants, saying, “Mark now, when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine; and when I tell you, ‘Strike Amnon,’ then kill him. Don’t be afraid. Haven’t I commanded you? Be courageous, and be valiant!” 29 The servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and every man got him up on his mule, and fled.
30 It happened, while they were in the way, that the news came to David, saying, “Absalom has slain all the king’s sons, and there is not one of them left!” 31 Then the king arose, and tore his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants stood by with their clothes torn. 32 Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother, answered, “Don’t let my lord suppose that they have killed all the young men the king’s sons; for Amnon only is dead; for by the appointment of Absalom this has been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar. 33 Now therefore don’t let my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead; for Amnon only is dead.” 34 But Absalom fled. The young man who kept the watch lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold, many people were coming by way of the hillside behind him. 35 Jonadab said to the king, “Behold, the king’s sons are coming! It is as your servant said.” 36 It happened, as soon as he had finished speaking, that behold, the king’s sons came, and lifted up their voice, and wept. The king also and all his servants wept bitterly. 37 But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai the son of Ammihur, king of Geshur. David mourned for his son every day. 38 So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years. 39 the soul of king David longed to go forth to Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.
Joab's Scheme for Absalom's Return
14 1 Now Joab the son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was toward Absalom. 2 Joab sent to Tekoa, and fetched there a wise woman, and said to her, “Please act like a mourner, and put on mourning clothing, please, and don’t anoint yourself with oil, but be as a woman who has mourned a long time for the dead. 3 Go in to the king, and speak like this to him.” So Joab put the words in her mouth. 4 When the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, and did obeisance, and said, “Help, O king!” 5 The king said to her, “What ails you?”
She answered, “Truly I am a widow, and my husband is dead. 6 Your handmaid had two sons, and they both fought together in the field, and there was no one to part them, but the one struck the other, and killed him. 7 Behold, the whole family has risen against your handmaid, and they say, ‘Deliver him who struck his brother, that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he killed, and so destroy the heir also.’ Thus they would quench my coal which is left, and would leave to my husband neither name nor remainder on the surface of the earth.” 8 The king said to the woman, “Go to your house, and I will give a command concerning you.” 9 The woman of Tekoa said to the king, “My lord, O king, the iniquity be on me, and on my father’s house; and the king and his throne be guiltless.” 10 The king said, “Whoever says anything to you, bring him to me, and he shall not touch you any more.” 11 Then she said, “Please let the king remember Yahweh your God, that the avenger of blood destroy not any more, lest they destroy my son.”
He said, “As Yahweh lives, there shall not one hair of your son fall to the earth.” 12 Then the woman said, “Please let your handmaid speak a word to my lord the king.”
He said, “Say on.” 13 The woman said, “Why then have you devised such a thing against the people of God? For in speaking this word the king is as one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring home again his banished one. 14 For we must die, and are as water split on the ground, which can’t be gathered up again; neither does God take away life, but devises means, that he who is banished not be an outcast from him. 15 Now therefore seeing that I have come to speak this word to my lord the king, it is because the people have made me afraid: and your handmaid said, ‘I will now speak to the king; it may be that the king will perform the request of his servant.’ 16 For the king will hear, to deliver his servant out of the hand of the man who would destroy me and my son together out of the inheritance of God. 17 Then your handmaid said, ‘Please let the word of my lord the king bring rest; for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad. May Yahweh, your God, be with you.’” 18 Then the king answered the woman, “Please don’t hide anything from me that I ask you.”
The woman said, “Let my lord the king now speak.” 19 The king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?”
The woman answered, “As your soul lives, my lord the king, no one can turn to the right hand or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken; for your servant Joab, he urged me, and he put all these words in the mouth of your handmaid; 20 to change the face of the matter has your servant Joab done this thing. My lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.”
21 The king said to Joab, “Behold now, I have done this thing. Go therefore, bring the young man Absalom back.” 22 Joab fell to the ground on his face, and did obeisance, and blessed the king. Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your sight, my lord, king, in that the king has performed the request of his servant.” 23 So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24 The king said, “Let him return to his own house, but let him not see my face.” So Absalom returned to his own house, and didn’t see the king’s face. 25 Now in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26 When he cut the hair of his head (now it was at every year’s end that he cut it; because it was heavy on him, therefore he cut it); he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels, after the king’s weight. 27 To Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar: she was a woman of a beautiful face.
28 Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem; and he didn’t see the king’s face. 29 Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king; but he would not come to him: and he sent again a second time, but he would not come. 30 Therefore he said to his servants, “Behold, Joab’s field is near mine, and he has barley there. Go and set it on fire.” Absalom’s servants set the field on fire. 31 Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom to his house, and said to him, “Why have your servants set my field on fire?” 32 Absalom answered Joab, “Behold, I sent to you, saying, ‘Come here, that I may send you to the king, to say, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still. Now therefore let me see the king’s face; and if there is iniquity in me, let him kill me.”’” 33 So Joab came to the king, and told him; and when he had called for Absalom, he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king: and the king kissed Absalom.
Absalom Revolts against David
15 1 It happened after this, that Absalom prepared him a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2 Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate. It was so, that when any man had a suit which should come to the king for judgment, then Absalom called to him, and said, “What city are you from?”
He said, “Your servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.” 3 Absalom said to him, “Behold, your matters are good and right; but there is no man deputized by the king to hear you.” 4 Absalom said moreover, “Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man who has any suit or cause might come to me, and I would do him justice!” 5 It was so, that when any man came near to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took hold of him, and kissed him. 6 In this manner Absalom did to all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
7 It happened at the end of forty years, that Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to Yahweh, in Hebron. 8 For your servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, ‘If Yahweh shall indeed bring me again to Jerusalem, then I will serve Yahweh.’” 9 The king said to him, “Go in peace.”
So he arose, and went to Hebron. 10 But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron!’” 11 Two hundred men went with Absalom out of Jerusalem, who were invited, and went in their simplicity; and they didn’t know anything. 12 Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. The conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.
13 A messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.” 14 David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee; for else none of us shall escape from Absalom. Make speed to depart, lest he overtake us quickly, and bring down evil on us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword.” 15 The king’s servants said to the king, “Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king chooses.” 16 The king went forth, and all his household after him. The king left ten women, who were concubines, to keep the house. 17 The king went forth, and all the people after him; and they stayed in Beth Merhak. 18 All his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men who came after him from Gath, passed on before the king. 19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why do you also go with us? Return, and stay with the king; for you are a foreigner, and also an exile. Return to your own place. 20 Whereas you came but yesterday, should I this day make you go up and down with us, seeing I go where I may? Return, and take back your brothers. Mercy and truth be with you.” 21 Ittai answered the king, and said, “As Yahweh lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in what place my lord the king shall is, whether for death or for life, even there also will your servant be.” 22 David said to Ittai, “Go and pass over.” Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones who were with him. 23 All the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron, and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.
24 Behold, Zadok also came, and all the Levites with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God; and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people finished passing out of the city. 25 The king said to Zadok, “Carry back the ark of God into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of Yahweh, he will bring me again, and show me both it, and his habitation; 26 but if he say thus, ‘I have no delight in you;’ behold, here am I. Let him do to me as seems good to him.” 27 The king said also to Zadok the priest, “Aren’t you a seer? Return into the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. 28 Behold, I will stay at the fords of the wilderness, until word comes from you to inform me.” 29 Zadok therefore and Abiathar carried the ark of God again to Jerusalem; and they stayed there. 30 David went up by the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up; and he had his head covered, and went barefoot: and all the people who were with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.
31 Someone told David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.”
David said, “Yahweh, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.” 32 It happened that when David had come to the top of the ascent, where God was worshiped, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat torn, and earth on his head. 33 David said to him, “If you pass on with me, then you will be a burden to me; 34 but if you return to the city, and tell Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king. As I have been your father’s servant in time past, so will I now be your servant; then will you defeat for me the counsel of Ahithophel.’ 35 Don’t you have Zadok and Abiathar the priests there with you? Therefore it shall be, that whatever thing you shall hear out of the king’s house, you shall tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36 Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son, and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son; and by them you shall send to me everything that you shall hear.” 37 So Hushai, David’s friend, came into the city; and Absalom came into Jerusalem.