Today’s reading begins with the rape of Tamar by David’s son Amnon and concludes with David fleeing from Jerusalem.
God had promised David after his adultery with Bathsheba and his subsequent actions in having Uriah sent to his death, that the sword would not leave his house. The reading for today begins covering the fulfillment of that word from the prophet Nathan. David had several wives and as such had several children from his several wives.
David’s son Amnon by his wife Ahinoam began to lust after his half-sister Tamar, the daughter of Maachah. On the advice of his friend, Amnon made a request through David to have Tamar come a care for him during a time when Amnon feigned illness. David instructed Tamar to go care for her half-brother and when she complied with David’s instruction Amnon forced himself upon her and raped her. Filled with guilt for his actions or disappointment in himself for having committed an act of wickedness, Amnon sent Tamar away and when her full-brother Absalom found out about it he became enraged.
David had found out about the rape of his daughter by Amnon, but refused to punish Amnon. Absalom found out about his father David’s refusal to punish Amnon and decided to put him to death. Absalom gathered all of the king’s sons together for the shearing of the king’s herds and when Amnon was merry with wine Absalom ordered Amnon killed. When David heard of his son’s murder he was greatly distraught but took no action against his other son Absalom.
From this point forward, Absalom would do his best to undermine the kingdom’s confidence in their king. He would stay at the entrance to the city and lament his father, David, and his unwillingness and inability to make judgments on behalf of the people. Daily he would do this and while David refused to punish his son, Absalom did his best to win the hearts of the people until finally Absalom was able to force David from his throne and the royal city and seeking refuge from the people he ruled.
Absalom had won the hearts of the people and David now feared for his own life. His lack of action in punishing the evil of his sons was costing him the kingship.