But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He was very wroth.—The LXX. adds, “but he vexed not the spirit of Amnon his son, because he loved him, because he was his firstborn,”—which is doubtless in part the reason of David’s guilty leniency. The remembrance of his own sin also tended to withhold his hand from the administration of justice. David’s criminal weakness towards his children was the source of much trouble from this time to the end of his life.2 Samuel 13:21. When David heard, he was very wroth — With Amnon: whom yet he did not punish, at least so severely as he ought to have done; perhaps, because he was his eldest son, and the next heir to his crown, and therefore he was unwilling either to cut him off, or to expose him to contempt among the people he might hereafter be called to govern; or, because he could not punish him in any legal or equitable manner, without laying open the infamy of his house; or, which seems to have been the most weighty reason, because he was conscious of his own guilt, in an instance not very dissimilar, which certainly had set Amnon a bad example; and because he had otherwise been partly accessory to his guilt by a very unguarded compliance with his son’s irrational request in sending Tamar to him. There can be no question but that David’s guilt with Bath-sheba rendered him more backward to punish that of Amnon. “However, the guilt which human justice or human infirmity did not, or could not chastise as it deserved, the divine vengeance did.” — Delaney. Deu 22:23,24, she also, who was innocent, must have died with him, because she did not cry out; although indeed that law did not reach the present case, Tamar not being betrothed to a husband: and for the following law concerning a virgin not betrothed, that could have no place here: he could not force Amnon to marry Tamar, because that marriage had been incestuous.
he was very wroth; with Amnon; but we read not of any reproof he gave him, nor of any punishment inflicted on him by him. Abarbinel thinks the reason why he was not punished was because his sin was not cognizable by a court of judicature, nor was punishable by any way, or with any kind of death inflicted by the sanhedrim, as stoning, burning, &c. nor even by scourging, because there were no witnesses; but the punishment of it was cutting off, i.e. by the hand of God. The Jews say (e) a law was made on this, that virgins or unmarried persons should not be alone; for if this was done to the daughter of a king, much more might it be done to the daughter of a private man; and if to a modest person, much more to an impudent one.But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)21. was very wroth] The Sept. and the ordinary text of the Vulgate add, “and he vexed not the spirit of Amnon his son, because he loved him, because he was his firstborn,” i.e. in spite of his anger he did not punish or even rebuke the offence, though the legal penalty of his crime was death. David’s indulgent treatment of his sons was a fruitful source of mischief (cp. 1 Kings 1:6), and led in this case to the murder of Amnon, and ultimately to Absalom’s rebellion. The consciousness of his own guilt moreover weakened his hands for dealing with Amnon’s offence.Verse 21. - David... was very wroth. The legal punishment for Amnon's crime was "the being cut off in the sight of the people" (Leviticus 20:17). But how could David, who had himself committed crimes for which death was the appointed penalty, carry out the law against his firstborn for following his example? Still, he might have done more than merely give Amnon words of reproof. Eli had done as much, and been punished with the death of his sons for his neglect of duty (1 Samuel 2:34). The sin of David's son had been even more heartless than theirs; and could David hope to escape the like penalty? It would have been wise to have given proof that his repentance included the suppression of the crime to which his previous conduct had given encouragement. But David was a man whose conduct was generally governed by his feelings. He was a creature of warm and often generous impulse, but his character lacked the steadiness of thoughtful and consistent purpose.
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