Absalom, refusing to let God deal with Amnon, took matters into his own hands: “At Absalom’s signal they murdered Amnon. Then the other sons of the king jumped on their mules and fled” (II Samuel 13:29, NLT).
“As they were on the way back to Jerusalem, this report reached David: ‘Absalom has killed all the king’s sons; not one is left alive!’ The king got up, tore his robe, and threw himself on the ground. His advisers also tore their clothes in horror and sorrow” (II Samuel 13:30-31).
As we saw with Tamar, the tearing of one’s clothes was a sign of great sorrow. David was devastated by the news he received. But as is so often the case, the news was untrue.
Why would David think that Absalom had “killed all the king’s sons?” Because it was a common practice. If you wanted to insure you’d be next on the throne, the way to do it was to knock off all the competition. Absalom, however, being the firstborn, was already a shoe-in for the job and he certainly wouldn’t have wanted to incur his father’s disfavor. So there was really no basis for what had been told; someone had simply lied – which is how all rumors get started.
Was Absalom so foolish as to think he could pull off Amnon’s murder in front of so many witnesses without being blamed for it? No. Remember, Absalom had also invited “the king and his servants” (II Samuel 13:24b). David had merely declined the invitation.
Absalom intentionally killed Amnon in the presence of “all the king’s sons.” He had hoped to do so in front of their father, also. Why? He was making a statement: every single one of you knew what happened to our sister, but not a one of you did anything about it. Well, I have; and all of you are my witnesses.
So David and his advisers were wild with grief when “Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimea, arrived and said, ‘No, don’t believe that all the king’s sons have been killed! It was only Amnon!’” (II Samuel 13:32a).
Jonadab, the very one who’d cooked up the plan for Amnon to take advantage of Tamar, flippantly says, “It was only Amnon!” Like tossing out a broken pot, the self-absorbed Jonadab writes off his friend and cousin Amnon; and yes, he also allays the king’s fears about his other sons.
And then he offers the explanation that David probably already knew in his heart: “Absalom has been plotting this ever since Amnon raped his sister Tamar” (II Samuel 13:32b).
Remember God’s message the prophet Nathan delivered to David? “Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you” (II Samuel 12:11).
David was seeing his chickens come home to roost. And it was only just beginning.
“Sin is not just breaking God's laws; it is breaking His heart.” (Adrian Rogers)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates