Tabletalk Subscription
You have {{ remainingArticles }} free {{ counterWords }} remaining.You've accessed all your free articles.
Unlock the Archives for Free

Request your free, three-month trial to Tabletalk magazine. You’ll receive the print issue monthly and gain immediate digital access to decades of archives. This trial is risk-free. No credit card required.

Try Tabletalk Now

Already receive Tabletalk magazine every month?

Verify your email address to gain unlimited access.

{{ error }}Need help?

“Like father, like son” could very well be an appropriate superscription above 2 Samuel 13 in our English Bibles. In it, we see the beginning of the fulfillment of Nathan’s prophecy of woes against the house of David (2 Sam. 12:10–12). The rape of Tamar by the crown prince Amnon (2 Sam. 13:1–22; cf. 11:1–13) provides us with the first parallel to King David, while the murder of Amnon by the hand of Absalom provides the uncanny second parallel to his father (2 Sam. 13:23–29; cf. 11:14–27). Chips off the old block, indeed.

Monday’s passage (2 Sam. 13:30–33) brings us to the final section of this story of rape and murder—an event that eventually shattered all stability within the kingdom. It is during this chapter that one flaw repeatedly comes into view: David’s growing lack of discernment.

The king should have been off to war with his army in the early spring (2 Sam. 11:1) instead of actually looking for trouble. Now, the same lack of discernment manifested itself when the nagging Absalom requested the presence of his brother Amnon at his feast, to which David gave his acceptance (13:24–27). Despite his suspicion, the king gave in for want of godly acumen.

The same flaw appeared again after the murder, when “news” came to David that all of his sons had been killed. The king reacted like a broken man, but was quickly corrected by his nephew, Jonadab (vv. 30–32). What David should have known about Absalom and the rest of his sons, Jonadab knew all too well: “… only Amnon is dead. For by the command of Absalom this has been determined from the day he forced his sister Tamar” (v. 32). In essence, the possibility existed that the nation would have been rescued from civil strife if David had not lacked the discernment to punish Amnon in the first place.

This portion of Scripture, then, serves as one of the clearest descriptions of the effects of sin. To be sure, every Biblical book speaks of it, but none so strikingly as the latter half of 2 Samuel. The wages of David’s sin actually brought physical death. Enigmatically, God’s chosen king, whose kingdom marked great success early on, suffered horrible decline after his great sins against Bathsheba and Uriah. But in the end, it is not so enigmatic after all: While God’s standards cannot be violated without impunity, He worked and continues to work through the most wretched of sinners.

The Fruit of Long Hatred

Accessory to Murder

Keep Reading George Whitefield: Predestined to Preach

From the October 2003 Issue
Oct 2003 Issue