2 Samuel 13: Amnon and Tamar: Part One


  • Amnon’s lust
  • Jonadab’s counsel
  • Absalom’s hatred
  • David’s permissiveness


‘The sword shall never depart from your house.’ This sword of God’s chastening hangs over David’s life as we move forward. The main way in which judgement is going to come upon David’s house is through Absalom. So although this chapter is all about Amnon and Tamar, you will notice in v1 that it begins by mentioning that Tamar was Absalom’s sister. This chapter is nothing more than the backstory as to how Absalom will rise up against David as a fulfilment of the punishment God is meting out. Now our chapter has four main male characters apart from Tamar, four men who sin. We will evaluate our chapter in four points around these men in their sin. I warn you that things are going to get messy, crimes are going to be committed, you are going to see terrible actions and people falling prey as victims, but know this; it is all under God’s sovereign guiding as He gives sin some of its desserts. The next chapters of David’s life and not simply the bloody and gory details of a sinful life put forward to satisfy our voyeurism, but a parading of the consequences of sin.

This might bother you to think that God’s sovereignty take this form but let me remind you of what the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith says: chapter 5 paragraph 6:

‘As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as the righteous judge, for former sin doth blind and harden; from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understanding, and wrought upon their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had, and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan, whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, under those means which God useth for the softening of others.’

How does God sovereignly reign over the sins of the wicked? He is not sovereign by the direct means of causing the sin to be planted in the heart of the sinner, or coerce them in any way. Rather by indirect means, as an act of justice, God hardens them not by putting something into their hearts but by withdrawing His grace. The natural hardness of their hearts takes over automatically, simply because God chose to do nothing. And then it is out of their own sinfulness that they become the rod of their own judgement. They pursue the sins of their hearts and reap the judgement God intends them to receive.

This chapter is all about the consequences of sin, God judging sin, and sin destroying families and relationships. So we will look then at the sin of Amnon’s lust; Jonadab’s counsel; Absalom’s hatred, and David’s permissiveness. Let me also highlight that this is a chapter with four young people in it, teenagers and young adults and should be read very carefully by that age group as well.