GOD'S WORD® Translation
1After this, David's son Amnon fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of David's son Absalom. 2Amnon was so obsessed with his half sister Tamar that he made himself sick. It seemed impossible for him to be alone with her because she was a virgin. 3Amnon had a friend by the name of Jonadab, a son of David's brother Shimea. Jonadab was a very clever man. 4He asked Amnon, "Why are you, the king's son, so worn out morning after morning? Won't you tell me?" "I'm in love with Absalom's sister Tamar," he answered. 5Then Jonadab told him, "Lie down on your bed. Act sick, and when your father comes to see you, say to him, 'Please let my sister Tamar come to feed me. She can prepare a meal in front of me as I watch her, and she can feed me.'" 6So Amnon lay down and acted sick, and the king came to see him. Amnon asked the king, "Please let my sister Tamar come and make some bread in front of me, and she can feed me."
7David sent for Tamar at the palace. "Please go to your brother Amnon's home," he said, "and prepare some food for him." 8So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's home. He was lying down. She took dough, kneaded it, made flat bread in front of him, and cooked it. 9Then she took the pan and served him [the bread]. But he refused to eat. "Have everyone leave me," he said. So everyone left him. 10Amnon told Tamar, "Bring the food into the bedroom so that you can feed me." Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in the bedroom. 11When she handed it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, "Come to bed with me, Tamar!" 12"No," she told him, "don't rape me! That shouldn't be done in Israel. Don't do this godless act! 13Where could I go in my disgrace? And you will be considered one of the godless fools in Israel! Speak to the king. He won't refuse your request to marry me." 14But Amnon wouldn't listen to her. He grabbed his sister and raped her.
15Now, Amnon developed an intense hatred for her. His hatred for her was greater than the lust he had felt for her. "Get out of here," he told her. 16She said to him, "No, sending me away is a greater wrong than the other thing you did to me!" But he wouldn't listen to her. 17Then he called his personal servant and said, "Get rid of her. Put her out, and bolt the door behind her." 18(She was wearing a long-sleeved gown. The king's virgin daughters wore this kind of robe.) So his servant took her out and bolted the door behind her. 19Tamar put ashes on her head, tore the long-sleeved gown she had on, put her hands on her head, and went away crying.
20Her brother Absalom asked her, "Has your brother Amnon been with you? Sister, be quiet for now. He's your brother. Don't dwell on this matter." So Tamar stayed there at the home of her brother Absalom and was depressed. 21When King David heard about this, he became very angry. But David didn't punish his son Amnon. He favored Amnon because he was his firstborn son. 22Absalom wouldn't speak at all to Amnon. He hated Amnon for raping his sister Tamar.
23Two years later Absalom had sheepshearers at Baal Hazor near Ephraim. He invited all the king's sons.
24Absalom went to the king and said, "Since I have sheepshearers, Your Majesty and your officials are invited [to feast] with me." 25"No, Son," the king answered Absalom. "If we all go, we'll be a burden to you." Even when Absalom continued to urge him, David did not want to go, though he did give Absalom his blessing. 26So Absalom said, "If you won't go, then please let my brother Amnon go with us." "Why should he go with you?" the king asked him. 27But when Absalom urged him, he let Amnon and all [the rest of] the king's sons go with him.
28Then Absalom gave an order to his servants. "Watch now," he said. "When Amnon begins to feel good from drinking [too much] wine, I'll tell you, 'Attack Amnon.' Then kill him. Don't be afraid. I've given you the order, haven't I? Be strong and courageous." 29Absalom's servants did to Amnon as Absalom had ordered. Then all the king's sons got up, mounted their mules, and fled.
30While they were on their way, David heard this rumor: "Absalom has killed all the king's sons, and not a single one is left." 31The king stood up, tore his clothes, and lay down on the ground. All his servants were standing beside him with their clothes torn [to show their grief]. 32Then Jonadab, the son of David's brother Shimea, said, "Sir, don't think that all the young men, all the king's sons, have been killed. Only Amnon is dead. Absalom decided to do this the day his half brother raped his sister Tamar. 33You shouldn't burden your heart with the idea that all the king's sons are dead, Your Majesty. Only Amnon is dead.
34Absalom has fled." When the servant who kept watch looked up, he saw many people coming down the road beside the mountain west of him. 35Then Jonadab told the king, "The king's sons have come. It's just as I said." 36When he finished speaking, the king's sons arrived and cried loudly. The king and all his men also cried very bitterly.
37Absalom, however, fled to Geshur's King Talmai, Ammihud's son. But the king mourned for his son Amnon every day. 38Absalom, having fled to Geshur, stayed there three years. 39King David began to long for Absalom once people had consoled him over Amnon's death.