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2 Samuel 13:1-22

Context
The Rape of Tamar

13:1 Now David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. In the course of time David’s son Amnon fell madly in love with her. 1  13:2 But Amnon became frustrated because he was so lovesick 2  over his sister Tamar. For she was a virgin, and to Amnon it seemed out of the question to do anything to her.

13:3 Now Amnon had a friend named Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimeah. Jonadab was a very crafty man. 13:4 He asked Amnon, 3  “Why are you, the king’s son, 4  so depressed every morning? Can’t you tell me?” So Amnon said to him, “I’m in love with Tamar the sister of my brother Absalom.” 13:5 Jonadab replied to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend to be sick. 5  When your father comes in to see you, say to him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come in so she can fix some food for me. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I can watch. Then I will eat from her hand.’”

13:6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick. When the king came in to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come in so she can make a couple of cakes in my sight. Then I will eat from her hand.”

13:7 So David sent Tamar to the house saying, “Please go to the house of Amnon your brother and prepare some food for him.” 13:8 So Tamar went to the house of Amnon her brother, who was lying down. She took the dough, kneaded it, made some cakes while he watched, 6  and baked them. 7  13:9 But when she took the pan and set it before him, he refused to eat. Instead Amnon said, “Get everyone out of here!” 8  So everyone left. 9 

13:10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the cakes into the bedroom; then I will eat from your hand.” So Tamar took the cakes that she had prepared and brought them to her brother Amnon in the bedroom. 13:11 As she brought them to him to eat, he grabbed her and said to her, “Come on! Get in bed with me, 10  my sister!”

13:12 But she said to him, “No, my brother! Don’t humiliate me! This just isn’t done in Israel! Don’t do this foolish thing! 13:13 How could I ever be rid of my humiliation? And you would be considered one of the fools 11  in Israel! Just 12  speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.” 13:14 But he refused to listen to her. 13  He overpowered her and humiliated her by raping her. 14  13:15 Then Amnon greatly despised her. 15  His disdain toward her surpassed the love he had previously felt toward her. 16  Amnon said to her, “Get up and leave!”

13:16 But she said to him, “No I won’t, for sending me away now would be worse than what you did to me earlier!” 17  But he refused to listen to her. 13:17 He called his personal attendant and said to him, “Take this woman out of my sight 18  and lock the door behind her!” 13:18 (Now she was wearing a long robe, 19  for this is what the king’s virgin daughters used to wear.) So Amnon’s 20  attendant removed her and bolted the door 21  behind her. 13:19 Then Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went on her way, wailing as she went.

13:20 Her brother Absalom said to her, “Was Amnon your brother with you? Now be quiet, my sister. He is your brother. Don’t take it so seriously!” 22  Tamar, devastated, lived in the house of her brother Absalom.

13:21 Now King David heard about all these things and was very angry. 23  13:22 But Absalom said nothing to Amnon, either bad or good, yet Absalom hated Amnon because he had humiliated his sister Tamar.

1 tn Heb “Amnon the son of David loved her.” The following verse indicates the extreme nature of his infatuation, so the translation uses “madly in love” here.

sn Amnon was the half-brother of Tamar; Absalom was her full blood-brother.

2 tn Heb “and there was distress to Amnon so that he made himself sick.”

3 tn Heb “and he said to him.”

4 tn An more idiomatic translation might be “Why are you of all people…?”

5 tn This verb is used in the Hitpael stem only in this chapter of the Hebrew Bible. With the exception of v. 2 it describes not a real sickness but one pretended in order to entrap Tamar. The Hitpael sometimes, as here, describes the subject making oneself appear to be of a certain character. On this use of the stem, see GKC 149-50 §54.e.

6 tn Heb “in his sight.”

7 tn Heb “the cakes.”

8 tn Heb “from upon me.”

9 tc A few medieval Hebrew mss have “and they removed everyone” (Hiphil preterite with vav consecutive 3cp, rather than Qal preterite with vav consecutive 3cp).

10 tn Heb “lie with me” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV); NCV “come and have sexual relations with me.”

11 tn Heb “and you will be like one of the fools.”

12 tn Heb “Now.”

13 tn Heb “to her voice.”

14 tn Heb “and he humiliated her and lay with her.”

15 tn Heb “and Amnon hated her with very great hatred.”

16 tn Heb “for greater was the hatred with which he hated her than the love with which he loved her.”

17 tn Heb “No, because this great evil is [worse] than the other which you did with me, by sending me away.” Perhaps the broken syntax reflects her hysteria and outrage.

18 tn Heb “send this [one] from upon me to the outside.”

19 tn The Hebrew expression used here (כְּתֹנֶת פַּסִּים, kÿtonet passim) is found only here and in Gen 37:3, 23, 32. Hebrew פַּס (pas) can refer to the palm of the hand or the sole of the foot; here the idea is probably that of a long robe reaching to the feet and having sleeves reaching to the wrists. The notion of a “coat of many colors” (KJV, ASV “garment of divers colors”), a familiar translation for the phrase in Genesis, is based primarily on the translation adopted in the LXX χιτῶνα ποικίλον (citona poikilion) and does not have a great deal of support.

20 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Amnon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

21 tn The Hebrew verb is a perfect with nonconsecutive vav, probably indicating an action (locking the door) that complements the preceding one (pushing her out the door).

22 tn Heb “Don’t set your heart to this thing!”

23 tc The LXX and part of the Old Latin tradition include the following addition to v. 21, also included in some English versions (e.g., NAB, NRSV, CEV): “But he did not grieve the spirit of Amnon his son, because he loved him, since he was his firstborn.” Note David’s attitude toward his son Adonijah in 1 Kgs 1:6.



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