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2 Samuel 13:23-39

Context
Absalom Has Amnon Put to Death

13:23 Two years later Absalom’s sheepshearers were in Baal Hazor, 1  near Ephraim. Absalom invited all the king’s sons. 13:24 Then Absalom went to the king and said, “My shearers have begun their work. 2  Let the king and his servants go with me.”

13:25 But the king said to Absalom, “No, my son. We shouldn’t all go. We shouldn’t burden you in that way.” Though Absalom 3  pressed 4  him, the king 5  was not willing to go. Instead, David 6  blessed him.

13:26 Then Absalom said, “If you will not go, 7  then let my brother Amnon go with us.” The king replied to him, “Why should he go with you?” 13:27 But when Absalom pressed him, he sent Amnon and all the king’s sons along with him.

13:28 Absalom instructed his servants, “Look! When Amnon is drunk 8  and I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon down,’ kill him then and there. Don’t fear! Is it not I who have given you these instructions? Be strong and courageous!” 9  13:29 So Absalom’s servants did to Amnon exactly what Absalom had instructed. Then all the king’s sons got up; each one rode away on his mule and fled.

13:30 While they were still on their way, the following report reached David: “Absalom has killed all the king’s sons; not one of them is left!” 13:31 Then the king stood up and tore his garments and lay down on the ground. All his servants were standing there with torn garments as well.

13:32 Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimeah, said, “My lord should not say, ‘They have killed all the young men who are the king’s sons.’ For only Amnon is dead. This is what Absalom has talked about 10  from the day that Amnon 11  humiliated his sister Tamar. 13:33 Now don’t let my lord the king be concerned about the report that has come saying, ‘All the king’s sons are dead.’ It is only Amnon who is dead.”

13:34 In the meantime Absalom fled. When the servant who was the watchman looked up, he saw many people coming from the west 12  on a road beside the hill. 13:35 Jonadab said to the king, “Look! The king’s sons have come! It’s just as I said!”

13:36 Just as he finished speaking, the king’s sons arrived, wailing and weeping. 13  The king and all his servants wept loudly 14  as well. 13:37 But Absalom fled and went to King Talmai son of Ammihud of Geshur. And David 15  grieved over his son every day.

13:38 After Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he remained there for three years. 13:39 The king longed 16  to go to Absalom, for he had since been consoled over the death of Amnon. 17 

1 map For location see Map1 D2; Map2 D3; Map3 A2; Map4 C1.

2 tn Heb “your servant has sheepshearers.” The phrase “your servant” also occurs at the end of the verse.

3 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Absalom) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

4 tc Here and in v. 27 the translation follows 4QSama ויצפר (vayyitspar, “and he pressed”) rather than the MT וַיִּפְרָץ (vayyiprats, “and he broke through”). This emended reading seems also to underlie the translations of the LXX (καὶ ἐβιάσατο, kai ebiasato), the Syriac Peshitta (wealseh), and Vulgate (cogeret eum).

5 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the king) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

6 tn Heb “he”; the referent (David) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

7 tn Heb “and not.”

8 tn Heb “when good is the heart of Amnon with wine.”

9 tn Heb “and become sons of valor.”

10 tn Heb “it was placed on the mouth of Absalom.”

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

12 tn Heb “behind him.”

13 tn Heb “and they lifted their voice and wept.”

14 tn Heb “with a great weeping.”

15 tc The Hebrew text leaves the word “David” to be inferred. The Syriac Peshitta and Vulgate add the word “David.” Most of the Greek tradition includes the words “King David” here.

16 tc The translation follows 4QSama in reading רוּחַ הַמֶּלֶךְ (ruakh hammelekh, “the spirit of the king”) rather than the MT דָּוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ (david hammelekh, “David the king”). The understanding reflected in the translation above is that David, though alienated during this time from his son Absalom, still had an abiding love and concern for him. He longed for reconciliation with him. A rather different interpretation of the verse supposes that David’s interest in taking military action against Absalom grew slack with the passing of time, and this in turn enabled David’s advisers to encourage him toward reconciliation with Absalom. For the latter view, see P. K. McCarter, II Samuel (AB), 344, and cf. CEV.

17 tn Heb “was consoled over Amnon, because he was dead.”



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