“Get out of here!” (II Samuel 13:15c, NLT), Amnon screamed at Tamar. Tamar, traumatized beyond what most of us can imagine, is booted out into the street like a common prostitute. Her father the king did absolutely nothing to defend or avenge her.
Only her brother Absalom showed her compassion: “Well, my sister, keep quiet for now, since he’s your brother. Don’t you worry about it” (II Samuel 13:20b).
Absalom, however, had no intentions of letting it go. “Though Absalom never spoke to Amnon about this, he hated Amnon deeply because of what he had done to his sister” (II Samuel 13:22).
You’ve heard it said: revenge is a dish best served cold. That’s exactly what happened with Amnon:
“Two years later, when Absalom’s sheep were being sheared at Baal-hazor near Ephraim, Absalom invited all the king’s sons to come to a feast. He went to the king and said, ‘My sheep-shearers are now at work. Would the king and his servants please come to celebrate the occasion with me?’” (II Samuel 13:23-24).
“The king replied, ‘No, my son. If we all came, we would be too much of a burden on you.’ Absalom pressed him, but the king would not come, though he gave Absalom his blessing” (II Samuel 13:25).
“‘Well, then,’ Absalom said, ‘if you can’t come, how about sending my brother Amnon with us?’” (II Samuel 13:26a).
“‘Why Amnon?’ the king asked. But Absalom kept on pressing the king until he finally agreed to let all his sons attend, including Amnon. So Absalom prepared a feast fit for a king” (II Samuel 13:26b-27).
“Absalom told his men, ‘Wait until Amnon gets drunk; then at my signal, kill him! Don’t be afraid. I’m the one who has given the command. Take courage and do it!’ So at Absalom’s signal they murdered Amnon. Then the other sons of the king jumped on their mules and fled” (II Samuel 13:28-29).
Absalom had to do some fast talking to get David to agree to send Amnon to this shindig. But with Absalom as the favorite son, David simply wouldn’t refuse.
Notice Absalom’s instructions to his men: “Wait until Amnon gets drunk.” Amnon was clearly known for being self-absorbed and overindulgent. Absalom didn’t have to instruct anyone to keep the liquor coming – he knew that Amnon would drink himself silly.
Amnon, thinking only of the fact that he was partying on someone else’s nickel, probably never gave one thought to the fact that Absalom was Tamar’s full brother or that he had taken her into his household. After throwing her out of his house in disgrace, he’d never given Tamar as much as a fleeting thought. Amnon was definitely the all-about-me show.
Amnon’s sin set in motion his own death. But wasn’t God capable of dealing with Amnon? Apparently Absalom thought He needed a helping hand. And Absalom’s revenge would set more heartache into motion.
“Revenge... is like a rolling stone, which, when a man hath forced up a hill, will return upon him with a greater violence, and break those bones whose sinews gave it motion.” (Albert Schweitzer)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates