2 Samuel 13:32
And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David's brother, answered and said, Let not my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the king's sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the appointment of Absalom this has been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar.
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(32) Jonadab.—The same subtle counsellor who had led Amnon into his sin, now at once divined how the case really stood and reassured the king.

By the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined.—Literally, upon Absalom’s mouth it hath been set, an expression which has given rise to much variety of interpretation. The Authorised Version expresses the sense accurately.

13:30-39 Jonadab was as guilty of Ammon's death, as of his sin; such false friends do they prove, who counsel us to do wickedly. Instead of loathing Absalom as a murderer, David, after a time, longed to go forth to him. This was David's infirmity: God saw something in his heart that made a difference, else we should have thought that he, as much as Eli, honoured his sons more than God.The history supplies another (compare 2 Samuel 13:3) instance of Jonadab's subtlety and sagacity. He at once gave the true explanation of the catastrophe at Baal-hazor, in spite of the false rumour.

By the appointment of Absalom ... - Meaning that Absalom's resolution to slay Amnon had been formed at the time, and only waited an opportunity to give expression to it.

30, 31. tidings came to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king's sons—It was natural that in the consternation and tumult caused by so atrocious a deed, an exaggerated report should reach the court, which was at once plunged into the depths of grief and despair. But the information of Jonadab, who seems to have been aware of the plan, and the arrival of the other princes, made known the real extent of the catastrophe. Jonadab was a man of great craft and subtlety, and one that had exact knowledge of Amnon’s fact, and of Absalom’s temper.

By the appointment, or, by the command; Heb. mouth, put for command, Numbers 3:16. From the day; it was resolved from that time in his breast; but the word of command was not then given to others, for that would probably have hindered his design. But all this he seems to have spoken from a probable conjecture, rather than of certain knowledge, as appears by the sequel. And Jonadab the son of Shimeah, David's brother,.... The same that advised Amnon to feign himself sick, to get Tamar sent to him, that he might enjoy her, 2 Samuel 13:3,

answered and said; said in answer to the report brought to the king, which threw him into such an agony:

let not my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the king's sons; he did not believe it himself, and would not have the king entertain such a thought, and distress himself with it:

for Amnon only is dead; he is very positive, and speaks with great assurance; it looks as if he was in the secret, and knew of the plot against Amnon's life; and, if so, he must be a very wicked man, first to form a scheme whereby Amnon might come at Tamar to ravish her, and then be accessory to the murder of him, as he must, if he knew of the design against his life, and did not acquaint him and the king of it; and this seems to be confirmed by what follows:

for by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined, from the day that he forced his sister Tamar; that is, the slaying of Amnon; the meaning is, either that Absalom had given orders to his servants to slay him, whenever they had an opportunity; or it was "in the mouth of Absalom" (p), as it may be rendered; he used to declare it to his intimate friends, that it was the purpose and resolution of his heart to kill Amnon some time or another; and this he had taken up from the time of his sister Tamar's being forced, and because of that, of which Jonadab had intelligence by some means or another; and who speaks of this rape without any seeming emotion, as if he had no concern at all in it.

(p) "in ore Absalom", V. L. Vatablus.

And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David's brother, answered and said, Let not my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the king's sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar.
32. Let not my lord suppose, &c.] A practical illustration of the sagacity for which Jonadab was famous (2 Samuel 13:3). He at once rejects the exaggerations of rumour, and predicts accurately what had really happened.

by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined] Lit., upon Absalom’s mouth hath it been set; that is, Absalom’s sinister looks have all along betrayed his determination to kill Amnon; or, his purpose has been obvious from his words; but the latter explanation is less likely, as Absalom seems to have dissembled his revenge in order to disarm Amnon’s suspicion.Verse 32. - By the appointment; literally, for upon the mouth of Absalom it was laid from the day he humbled Tamar his sister, "Mouth" is not the word we should have expected here, and the Syriac instead has "mind," and the Chaldee "heart." But the mouth often expresses determination, and Jonadab may have noticed Absalom looking at his brother with compressed lips. More probably, however, it is a colloquial phrase, with no special application to Absalom; and the Syriac gives the true sense. Then Absalom said, "And not (i.e., if thou doest not go), may my brother Amnon go with me?" The king would not give his consent to this; whether from suspicion cannot be determined with certainty, as he eventually yielded to Absalom's entreaties and let Amnon and all the other king's sons go. From the length of time that had elapsed since Amnon's crime was committed, without Absalom showing any wish for revenge, David might have felt quite sure that he had nothing more to fear. But this long postponement of revenge, for the purpose of carrying it out with all the more certainty, is quite in the spirit of the East.
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